Eight men were executed in Indonesia on April 29, 2015. Two of them were from Australia, four were from Nigeria, one from Brazil and one was an Indonesian national, all convicted of drug trafficking. They faced the firing squad despite multiple interventions on their behalf from leaders around the world. But what is not so well known is that these men were singing to the Lord as they were marched to their death. “They were praising their God,” Pastor Karina de Vega said. “It was breathtaking. This was the first time I witnessed someone so excited to meet their God.” All but one had given their lives to Christ. According to de Vega the prisoners sang ‘Bless the Lord O My Soul’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ as they were lined up and bound to crosses, to face the firing squad.
Two of those executed, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, gained particular media attention in the days leading up to their deaths, after Australian government intervention. Brian Houston, senior pastor of Hillsong Church, Sydney, was in almost daily contact with Chan before his death. While in prison. Chan studied theology, and was ordained a minister earlier in the year. Houston said it had been a great privilege to get to know Chan and Sukumaran.
“By all accounts, these two young men… have not only accepted the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, but have also rehabilitated themselves to be upstanding members of the prison system,” Houston wrote. “Even in jail they have made a positive contribution to the lives of other prisoners, and sought to pay their debt to society. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Chan almost every day and his faith and strength under extreme duress, have inspired me.”
In a post on his Facebook page, Australian activist Jarrod McKenna said: “This is the power of the Gospel. The power to transform drug dealers into pastors of inmates. The power to show mercy to those who are offering no mercy. The power to love your enemies even while they are planning to execute you,” he wrote.
Source: Charisma News; Christian Today
Bible Study: Hebrews 13:5
APRIL: Praise God for Christian witness in prisons around the world. Pray WIDER that more and more inmates may find real freedom from their past through Christ Jesus.