After mass, Valeri and the two other young women went to the chapel where they continued to pray. Following a time of prayer, they gathered their things and were leaving when they were hit by something akin to a heat wave, along with a loud explosion.
Caught off guard, they were shocked by each other’s appearances–their hair had vaporized and their faces were bright red. Screams filled the air—followed by chaos.
The church-goers had fallen victim to a terrorist attack.
Experiencing intensifying pain, the women moved away from the church to find help. The police quickly arrived and escorted the women to a hospital.
A subsequent investigation revealed the terrorists’ plot: A married couple linked to the Indonesian terrorist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah detonated a bomb as they drove through the church’s gate. Thankfully, although more than a dozen were wounded, no church-goers were killed in the attack.
Valeri suffered various degrees of burns and went through several rounds of surgeries in the following days.
Along with part of her face, both of Valeri’s arms were severely burned. The injury impeded her fingers’ mobility, especially on her right hand, to where even clenching her fists provided to be difficult. But Valeri remains optimistic, saying, “Thank God I am left-handed.”