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Persecuted Christian in Indonesia survives terrorist attack

September 11, 2023 by Tim Dustin in Persecuted Christians in Indonesia

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.

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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.”

Valeri shows the extent of the burns and scars on her hands and arms

Valeri shows the extent of the burns and scars on her hands and arms

Valeri remains grateful, despite having endured so much pain. She has tried several surgeries, including skin grafts, but none have worked out as well as hoped. From a trying recovery, limited help offered by the government, to her impaired eyesight, the journey has certainly not been easy.

Yet, the attack has not deterred her from going to church every week. During Holy Week in 2022, she returned to Makassar Cathedral Church to attend the same Palm Sunday mass. The priest was surprised to spot her and asked her why she was there. She told him, “I feel peace in my heart.” The tragedy has not scarred her spirit.

Valeri has endured much hardship and has been left with scars to remind her daily, but her faith shines through. They are a testament of her belief in God as she continues to share about God’s grace in her life with others. We’re also happy to report Valeri has taken an internship at a hospital where she received care.

What a story of courage, gratitude and unshakeable faith. Will you join us in praying for Valeri?

Father God, we come before You with our dear sister Valeri on our hearts. We’re inspired by her optimism and commitment to You. Will You please continue to heal her, even two years later, of her injuries? Please give her full mobility and renew her stronger than she was before.

Even though she has physical challenges, we ask You bless Valeri as a nurse. Please fill her daily with Your love, that she’ll be able to share her testimony of faith with others.

And we ask You continue to grow her faith in a country that is predominantly Muslim. Bring her closer to You and help her to learn at Your feet. Give her a boldness that can only come from You. In Your name we pray. Amen.


About the author
Tim Dustin is a writer for Global Christian Relief and makes it his mission to share the story of the persecuted church with Christians everywhere. Get an overview of Christian persecution on our website and read the latest stories at

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