Adi Walujo July 23, 2015 Mennonite World Conference Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Interviewer: Angeliky Santos AW=Adi Walujo AS=Angeliky Santos
AW: My name is Adi Walujo and I was March 26, 1976.
AS: And what church are you currently a part of? And where is it located?
AW: Well, I'm a part of GITJ. Many people say the Javanese Mennonite Church in Indonesia. And I'm one of..you know, serving them.
AS: Could you tell us about your story of the church and how it deals with persecution? [00:00:56;02]
AW: I'm pastoring small churches in rural area and it happened several years ago that just right after Easter celebrations, a group of the Muslims come to the church compound. And then they pulled a paper and also blocked the door of our church and said that we...you know, that they not allow us to use our church building.
And even it's not only that, you know, that group, you know, said that, you know, we not allow you to do any activities related to the Christian faith. You know, it's really, you know, surprising us because our church member also a part of, you know, their family. And I will tell you that most of--you know 99%--of our church member are Muslim background.
And all of them a part of the family of the community. Also the group who closed the church still family, relatives with our church member. Even I didn't know. And all of us didn't know what it, the reason, you know, they close our church.
And just said that we are not allowed to use our church building for worship. And any kind of, you know, church activities. [00:02:56;03]
At that time we were surprised and some of our church member didn't, you know, go to the church. But as a pastor I encouraged our church member, my church member, to attend on Sunday worship, even though it's not the church building. But at the front yard of the church building, the back yard of the church building. Just, we sat on the ground. Even in rainy season, we worship with our umbrella and also a plastic to cover our head. We worship our God just on the ground.
Because, you know, speaking about church, it's not building, but people who believe in God personally. We meet together, we worship Jesus Christ as God and serve Him. And yes, we still did the worship, you know, on Sunday outside the building, but still in the church compound. And by doing this, the people in the community start talking about why. You know, why they don't allow, you know, Christian worship in the church. You know, why the church will close.
People will start talking, you know. The Muslim men, you know, start talking about the reason why the Muslim leader of group close our church building.
And also, you know, as a church leader, myself and some other church leaders, we tried to communicate with the Muslim leaders. You know, we went to the house to discuss with the Muslim leader, asking what happened, what is reason, you know, they closed the church building.
Well, actually, there was no answer about that. Just, you know, they didn't want it that we worship God in that area. And once the church will close, five church during the church would close, when we had a Sunday worship, a group of young people, Muslim, came. And you know some of them brought stick just to, you know, beaten us.
And then we had conversations why you close our church. And some of them said that green area. It mean this [is a] Muslim area. So you as Christian, you want to worship your God, you have to go from this area. Go away from this area, because this area is Muslim area. [00:06:18;17]
It not just stop at that time and then, you know, my staff and others, Christians, you know, from my church. We went and have discussions with the Muslim leader. Just asking, have a conversation, you know.
Something that surprising us, you know, there is a well that supply water. At that time there is the only well which supply water to the community. It's not only for the Christian member of my church, but the water, most of the people who consume the water from our well are Muslim. And we realize that many people need the water, although they close our church building, they persecuted us. But the water from our well still running around. [00:07:32;19]
That gave a good impact in the community. Because those people who consume day by day the water from our well then told to the Muslim leader, you know, that they still have the water from our well. That they, we didn't stop the water, although they persecuted us and although, you know, a group of the Muslim closed our church building. But the water still running to the Muslim family.
That will, you know, give a good impact in our conversation with the Muslim leader. Then finally after eight months, you know, they close our church building then just one day after Christmas celebrations, December 26, we have a special gift from God.
The Muslim leader spoke to me and they said, "Brother, you Christian are good people. We realize that, you know, you are a part of the community. Your people work together in the community with us. And another thing that I would like to say to you: Although we close your church. But the water from your well is still running around. It give life to our people in the community. So that's a wonderful impact to my people here."[00:09:29;27]
And then he said, "I apologize for that. And finally we decided we allow you to use your church building again to worship your God."
It happened in December 26. It was wonderful. And I just want to tell that, and maybe people think persecution's always give a negative. But from, for us, you know, we experience that during the persecution, during our church would close, we learned a lot how we depended on God. How we grow spiritually. How we believe and trust that God will open the way, someday that we will be able to use our church building again.
And then during the persecution, all the church member always got together. We got together in prayer, and just really dependent on God. God, we need you to help us, how to deal with the community, how to talk with the Muslim leader, how to talk with the people in the community. And, you know, just....God's open. God has opened the door for us...to have our church building again! [emotional] [00:11:20;08]
And, and we worship God...afraid. Even, even right now after that happens, we put the cross as a symbol that is church. Before that, before the persecutions, there was no cross. There was no sign that this building a church. But after that, the Muslim allow us to put a cross and symbol that is a church. That is wonderful. It's wonderful!
Yeah. Our God, you know. [shakes head] Has done a miracle thing with us, to give us a time to grow spiritually, to dependent on God. And also give us a time also how we relate, how we relate to the people. How we embrace people around in the community. Wonderful thing that we ??????????. [00:12:30;19]
Being a peace church. It doesn't mean that we have to, just, to be quiet. But we have to active, to be a part of the community that we love them. Because maybe the people didn't know, what is the meaning of love. Right? We always talking about love, but even they didn't see the impact of the love that we feel in our life. It's very important how we show, you know, the feel of love, the meaning the love through our life. This is very important ???????????. This is the story that, you know, comes from our church. How we deal with the persecution. We grow. Our faith grow. And also the relationship with the Muslim also grow. Yeah. Thank you for listening to this story. [00:13:38;01]
AS: Would you like to say anything else?
AW: Well, this is still many persecution there. Actually we're still struggle to how to get the permit to build the church building. So we would like to invite other Christian from other, you know, places, would you please pray for Indonesia. So that the government will give the right for a Christians to have a permit to build a church building. And also the Holy Spirit will move around the Muslim leaders, so that they will give permission for Christians and sign off the official law that they allow us to build a church in the community. Because according to our Constitution, if a Christian want to build a church building, at least need sixty signature from the neighbors. Sixty! Yeah. From the Muslim in the community. So sometime it not easy to get sixty signatures. Yeah, so we would like to invite, you know, all the Christian from different places, would you join with us to pray about Indonesia? Because Indonesia is the biggest Muslim populous country in the world. [00:15:37;19]
Yeah. This is our story.
AS: Thank you for sharing.
AW: You're welcome.
AS: Sorry, I'm starting to cry.
AW: And sometimes when I tell this story, you know, I .....because I experience that, you know. I was in that situation. I know how my people felt about it at that time. How the feeling of my family about. When I deal with this kind of situation. But we just praise God that God stand with us.
AS: You'll continue.
AW: Yeah, we'll continue. God will continue. Yeah.