Indonesia Celebrates Ramadan in Multiple Ways

The fasting month of Ramadan began this week. Every country has its own unique food and rituals to celebrate. In Indonesia, because there are so many people groups, Ramadan is celebrated differently throughout the country. The Javanese welcome Ramadan with nyadran. In this ritual, friends and family visit the graves of loved ones. They also end Ramadan this way. In Padang, Muslims take a sacred bath in the river the day before Ramadan begins in order to cleanse themselves for the month. In … [Read more...]

Aceh Stretched in Caring for Boat Migrants

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees have flooded into Aceh, Indonesia, as well as Malaysia. Thousands of others are believed to still be out at sea. Those on the ground say conditions are improving, but more assistance is needed as they aren’t just meeting immediate needs, but also trying to get the refugees set up in long-term housing. The burden of caring for the refugees has fallen mainly to the local government, and the head of the Social Department there … [Read more...]

Convicts Praised God Until They Were Executed

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 12:35 a.m., eight men were executed in Indonesia for drug trafficking. Indonesia has received worldwide criticism for these convictions, as all but one of the men were foreigners whose countries requested clemency, and Indonesia refused. The relationship between Australia and Indonesia is particularly strained. Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has had the Australian ambassador return home. But despite all of the controversy, there is some great … [Read more...]

Asia-Africa Conference Begins in Jakarta on Sunday

Sixty years ago, the historic first Asia-Africa Conference took place in Bandung, Indonesia. On this sixtieth anniversary, Indonesia invited 109 world leaders to the conference. As of April 16, 77 countries have representatives coming to the Asia-Africa Conference. There are also 34 heads of states attending the anniversary. The conference itself is taking place from April 19 – April 24. There will also be an Asia-Africa Business Summit on April 21 and 22, with close to 500 people attending. … [Read more...]

Racing in the Name of a Volcano

On April 10, 1815, Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island erupted. It shot volcanic material 27 miles into the sky, caused tsunamis, buried villages, and killed tens of thousands of people. On April 10 and 11 of this year, there will be several events to commemorate the disaster, calling it “Tambora Greets the World.” Several districts in West Nusa Tenggara will hold events. According to the tourism minister, West Nusa Tenggara is one of Indonesia’s most prominent tourist destinations. The Tourism … [Read more...]

Landslide in West Java Kills 6 People

On Saturday, March 28, a hill in Tegal Panjang, in the Sukabumi area of West Java, collapsed. The landslide buried 11 houses, causing 300 people to flee for their lives. The landslide also buried the road that goes through the village. Soldiers, volunteers, and policemen searched for missing people under the debris. They found 6 bodies, and as of Sunday were still searching for 4 more bodies. Heavy rains caused the landslide. Landslides are fairly common in Indonesia, especially during the … [Read more...]

Despite World Leaders’ Pleas, Jokowi Moves Ahead With Executions

World leaders from Australia, Brazil, and France have contacted Indonesian President Jokowi to ask him to not execute the 11 convicts on death row scheduled to go before a firing squad sometime this week. All of these countries have citizens scheduled to be executed, and yet Jokowi has denied clemency. He has instead warned foreign countries not to intervene in his government’s right to practice capital punishment. This strong stance has strained Indonesia’s relationship with Brazil and … [Read more...]

Indonesia’s Religious Minorities Hope for Safer Future Under New President

Over the past few years, persecution against religious minorities has risen. Ahmadi Muslims have been refused places to bury their dead, church congregations have had their church buildings torn down, and Shia Muslims have been chased out of their own villages. But they are finding hope in the new president, Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi. He has vowed to defend religious minorities. But these are not just words, as a bill is now being drafted that will guarantee religious minorities … [Read more...]

Indonesia Reverses Local Election Ban

In September, Indonesia’s old parliament passed a law ending local elections to choose mayors, provincial governors, and district heads. Instead, local parliaments were given the power to choose them. Many people condemned Indonesia for this, saying that this was a backwards step for democracy. On Tuesday, Indonesia’s new parliament formally reversed this decision by backing direct elections. Direct elections are now a permanent law. This decision is a boost for Widodo and also shows that the … [Read more...]

AirAsia Passengers Remembered At Prayer Service

On Sunday, January 4th, a special service was held at Surabaya’s Mewar Sharon Christian Church to remember the passengers, and crew of AirAsia Flight 8501, and pray for their families. Fourteen families from this church lost relatives in the crash, totaling of fifty-two members. More than 2,500 people attended the service where pastors encouraged the flock. Pastor Caleb Natanielliem shared from Psalm 139, saying, “It talks about flying. If I can fly with my wings to the ends of the Earth, your … [Read more...]