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Persecuted Christian in Indonesia survives terrorist attack


At Palm Sunday in Makassar Cathedral Church, in the Indonesian Sulawesi Island was a terrorist attack. Valeri survived.

Valeri went to Makassar Cathedral Church in Sulawesi Island, with her nursing school friend and relative, to celebrate Palm Sunday. The cathedral filled up quickly as parishioners greeted each other with joy in anticipation of the Holy Week’s commencement. But they would soon all become 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 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.


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