16 OCTOBER 2006
On 16 October 2006, Pastor Irianto Kongkoli was killed for his Christian faith.
It was an ordinary Monday morning as Pastor Irianto, his wife, Rita, and their five-year-old daughter travelled to a hardware shop in Central Sulawesi to buy ceramic tiles.
As the family left the shop and headed back to their van, two masked men appeared on a motorbike and shot Pastor Irianto in the back of the head.
Rita, who was a member of the police force and was accustomed to dealing with crises, ran to her husband and called for him to be taken to a hospital. Tragically, his wound was too severe and he passed away shortly after the attack.
Shortly before his death, Pastor Irianto had taken over as acting head of the Protestant Church in Central Sulawesi. He had a passion to protect victims of violence and often spoke out against governing authorities who failed to investigate incidents in the region.
Together with another pastor in the area, Pastor Irianto helped run several crisis centres for victims of violence. They used the centres as a way to demonstrate Christ’s love for all, and welcomed all victims, regardless of faith or ethnicity.
A Muslim refugee at the centre wrote a letter saying he was amazed by the love of these Christians. “Even though we differ in religion,” he wrote, “their hearts were extraordinary.”
In his life, Pastor Iranto lived out many roles: father, husband, pastor, beloved friend, defender of the oppressed, and a voice of justice for the wronged. Above all, may he be remembered as a faithful disciple of Jesus.
As we remember Pastor Iranto today, please pray for his wife Rita and now 21-year-old daughter. Pray also for the countless other Christians living in Indonesia who face persecution for their faith.