On August 25, when GPdI (Indonesian Pentecostal Church) Efata Church was having its Sunday service outside of the home of its pastor, the Inhil District Civil Service Police Unit came and stopped the worship.
The reason that this church was shut down is due to the implementation of a letter issued by the government of Indragiri Hilir Regency with regards to the “termination of the use of residential houses as worship places.”
The issuance of this letter was caused by neighbors who filed complaints against Pastor Ganda Damianus Sinaga’s church earlier this year. These villagers did not want the church’s presence and accused the church of using the pastor’s residence as worship venue.
On September 3, ICC reached out to Pastor Sinaga. Pastor Sinaga said that after the dissolution of the worship service, they no longer worshipped at the same place. Initially, they conducted their worship by borrowing church buildings from GBI (Indonesian Bethel Church), with alternating hours of worship. Now they moved to another empty house to meet, as provided by the police, which is five kilometers away. The members can only use motorbikes to reach this location, so transportation is still a challenge.
There is a legal aid institution that offers legal assistance so that the issue facing his church can be resolved legally, but Pastor Sinaga prefers to solve the problem amicably as facilitated by the TNI and POLRI (Indonesia National Army and Indonesia National Police). The local government also promised to provide land to relocate GPdI Efata in order for them to have their service.
The saddest thing, according to Pastor Sinaga, was the response of other neighboring churches. Besides GBI (Bethel Church in Indonesia) and GPdI (same denomination), they did not receive any help from other churches. Pastor Sinaga explained that most of the churches nearby were not paying attention to what happened to GPdI Efata and its congregation. Instead of being disappointed, he still thinks positively and assumes that these churches are acting this way becuase they are concerned for their own security and do not want to experience similar problems.
At the end of the conversation with Pastor Sinaga, he shared the following prayer requests:
- Please pray that, by having this experience, it will make the GPdI Efata Church stronger in their faith. Pray that they will become a church that is truly dependent on the Lord.
- Please pray for the planning of the relocation that will be realized soon and for the new place to not be far from the members’ houses.
- Pray for the mediation between GPdI Efata and other residents, facilitated by military and police, to run properly and safely.
Date published: 01/10/2019
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