Persecution Magazine, September 2015
International Christian Concern
In December 2009, an angry mob showed up during the church’s Christmas service. Though no one was hurt that time, the mob kept returning, and the military had to be called in to protect the church. An official claimed congregation members had forged the signatures of their Muslim neighbors in order to get the IMB needed to establish the church. The local government then yielded to pressure from radical Islamic groups to seal off the church property in January 2010 — the fourth time in 10 years. On this occasion, however, Pastor Palti and his congregation decided to take a stand, and for the next two years, the church assembled on the street outside of its sealed property and attempted to hold services there. It was a very challenging time.
“The [Muslims] would cover the ground where we planned to sit with animal and human feces and animal carcasses. We started to come early to clean up the street beforehand, and the congregation got used to holding their noses during the service,” Pastor Palti told ICC.
With a smile, he said the congregation eventually got so used to it they even started to laugh at their predicament. But there was more to come.
Muslim groups starting hanging signs near the property. They read, “Jesus is a dog” and “kill the Christians.” Soon, an angry mob was regularly showing up during services, and by January 2012, they had hung loudspeakers up and were blasting the Christians with loud Joshua Adams / Global Post Nearly 100 services have been held outside the presidential palace since the government forcefully shut down two churches in Indonesia. 27 PERSECU ION.org INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN music and obscenities. The Christians continued to worship, even though their ears were splitting and they couldn’t hear themselves. Pastor Palti continued to preach, but the congregation couldn’t even hear his sermon.
In March, the mob started to block all the routes to the church property. When church members tried to get through, they were jostled and forced back. So each Sunday the church would simply meet as close to the property as they could get, but each Sunday the mob pushed them farther and farther back. Eventually, they ended up on the steps of Pastor Palti’s home.
By May 2012, the mob had grown to more than 1,000 and had started hurling stones, dirt, eggs and frogs into the congregation. After one service, Pastor Palti saw his 7-year-old daughter covered in rotten eggs. That month in 2012, HKBP Filadelphia received international media attention after an Islamic mob threw bags of urine at the congregation. In an act of protest, church members finally decided to move their services to the area outside the presidential palace. That is where the church is meeting today, still waiting for justice.