The Hard-Won Lessons of Terror and Persecution
In interviews with Christianity Today, Reimas and evangelical leaders from Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, and Malaysia discussed their experiences of terrorism, violent religious extremism, and wartime atrocities.
In the Malukus, an estimated 8,000 people have been killed and 500,000 displaced in a prolonged series of shootings and arson since January 1999. About half of the Malukus are Christian. Radicals from Afghanistan with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the U.S. attack, have joined with the extremist Indonesian group Laskar Jihad to purge Christians from the islands and establish an Islamic society.
Facing his family's tragic losses and trusting in God's sovereignty, Reimas said he struggled to apply the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." This determination to practice what he preaches, rather than minimize his pain, allowed him to confront his tragic losses directly.
"Only [then] could I stand up and face the situation," Reimas says. "No one expects things like this, but they happen."
Reimas's response to suffering is more than internal. He now hosts regular meetings of Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox leaders in Indonesia and says the participants have become ...