In attendance were 125 other teens and children along with parents and counselors, who bonded together proudly calling themselves Ã¢â‚¬Å“Gods ArmyÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Finishing up to what turned out to be a successful Bible Camp, Roy along with the other teenagers were left in the camp with a few parents while several
other camp counselors drove to Koramil (local military post) to seek protection from the military, requesting escorts for the teenagers back to their homes, because of area reports of increasing Muslim extremist violence within the region towards Christians.
Failing to get military protection from Koramil, the counselors, one of whom was RoyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s youth Pastor Meiky Sainyakit, one retired police officer and two other
Christian men, began driving back towards camp when their vehicle was stopped by an angry mob of Muslim extremist and Laskar Jihad fighters in the village of
Being pulled from their vehicle, Meiky Sainyakit and the driver were both stabbed to death, while the third passenger, Henry Kursepuny, a police officer,
was rescued by a retired police officer within the crowd whom dragged him to safety. Both Meiky Sainyakit and the drivers bodies were later found to have been burned by the mob.
Continuing on, the mob advanced towards the university and assembled out in front of the camp, armed with machetes, swords and knives, screaming angrily and chanting hate, which over time attracted more villagers, who joined in swelling the ranks of the ever growing a crowd. Frightened at the sight of the crowds obstreperous bbehavior the remaining parent began hiding the children within the campuses classrooms and closets. In hiding the teenagers and parents could still hear the crowds chanting and yelling out front until approximately 4PM, when the crowd finally broke into the camp and began systematically searching for the teens. As they were found, they were beaten and clubbed mercilessly, then
separated from one another interrogated and verbally harassed.
One of those teens being Roy Pontoh, who was additionally singled out from the others and dragged onto the street for questioning. Upon questioning Roy
was asked, Ã¢â‚¬ÂWho are you? Though frightened he answered, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am a soldier of God!Ã¢â‚¬Â at which time, he was struck by a machete against his left arm almost
severing it. Roy was asked the same question again and again he responded with the same answer, that produced another blow of the machete. This time creating a
large gash upon his right shoulder. The third question to Roy was, Ã¢â‚¬Å“What is a soldier of God?Ã¢â‚¬Â Although in intense pain and awareness that his answer would
likely produce immanent death, Roy bravely stated that a soldier of God was willing and ready to die for Christ. An answer that brought a blow to his stomach, ripping it open. Roy waas heard shouting Ã¢â‚¬Å“JESUUS!Ã¢â‚¬Â a he dropped to his knees. While Roy was on his knees, his attacker martyred him by slitting his throat with the machete. His body was found dumped in a ditch and found a week or two later.
When I first heard of this story, it touched my heart deeply, in that myself as a Christian was struggling with faith. The struggle over faith after a life time
of constant bombardment of dishearting news of Christian and clergy misconduct, the increasing Catholic Pedophile cases, one of which being Father Bredermann, whom instead of healing sexually abused boys that had come to him for counseling, ended up sexually abusing some 20 previously abused boys, that
came to him for help over that issue. Or the Salvation Army Captain William Douglas, who was convicted of molesting, sodomizing and sexually terrorizing young Indian boys in British Columbia
We as Christian men and women are also faced with subliminal discrimination by the government whose opinions and suspicions of any Christian group, are
that of radical bible thumpers or Ã¢â‚¬Å“potential terroristsÃ¢â‚¬Â. Because of some past and present Christian based groups such as: The PeopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s temple-the Reverend Jim Jones, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, The Order of the solar Temple,
Heavens Gate, the Church of the lamb God and Yahweh & the temple of love, just to name a few.
These groups and acts by or very own, on top of our very own personal trials and tribulations, consistently challenges our faith and ask the ever popular questions, Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Where is God in all of this? And why does God continue to allow these horrendous deeds and acts to happen? And of course, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Is God really
Faith is the only answer to this question and the understanding that God is and has always been there. As Christians we live our daily lives on faith, faith
that is placed upon the divine scriptures and of the Lord our saviors Jesus ChristÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ promises. Yet even though we as human beings know this and realize
this...we often question faith or take it for granite. Sometimes we out right refuse faith because we feel that it is not tangible, nor something that we can
actually possess. Yet Judas saw first hand the miracles of Jesus, but in the end betrayed Jesus possibly for one important reason, that we must understand, if our faith is to be supported and strengthened.
That is, that God instilled within us Ã¢â‚¬Å“FREE WILLÃ¢â‚¬Â. The right to choose our own path and destiny. Free will is what actually separates us from other species, in that we have the knowledge to learn and to decide for ourselves, what makes sense or what motivates our lives. To worship what makes us comfortable to
worship, and although we have this diversity, all roads continues to lead towards heaven and the creator. No matter how or what religion we choose to
We as Christians however understand that faith towards God is the essence of the entire Christian life. Initially it has to do with our own access to God and our standing before God. It is by Faith that we as Christians are justified and brought into right standing with God.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“How can God then allow such brutality in the world and still expect believers to continue to have Faith?
If you take moment to reflect, you probably will come to the realization that we rarely advance in faith without some difficulty. We as Christians are basically incomplete without trials, after all it is within those trials that tests our belief system, while at the same time strengthening them. Through our prayer requests to God along with a stern conviction, we trust that God will deliver us from those particular trials at the time. ( CF James 1:2f, 1Peter 1:6)
And even though after faithful prayers, if what we are praying to overcome does not go the way that we want or hope that it does..we still exhibit faith by
convincing ourselves that it Ã¢â‚¬ËœMust be the will of GodÃ¢â‚¬Â. However our personal challenge is when we have to put our faith on the line by ourselves, in which we
often have to do all of the time, as Roy Pontoh unexpectantly faced, as well as our greatest example, Jesus of Nazareth.
Pontoh being on a roadside in Indonesia and Jesus within the wilderness of Gethsemane. Jesus whom was praying searching for other alternatives, never
received an answer from his father. However such silence gave Jesus the awareness and interpretation of his fathers silence correctly. In that he must go to the cross. But he was ready. He faced his enemies and his betrayer courageously. Eventually coming to realize that God is with him and although silent, has always been with him.
Make no mistake, I am not comparing sacrifices and tests of faith on Roy Pontoh versus our lord savior Jesus Christ. But we have got to recognize RoyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s strength of faith and bravery. Would we be so brave in light of the aforementioned terror? Is our faith concrete, secure in the fact that we can face our own demise without questioning our beliefs and faith?
We can, if we as Christians come to realize that we are really not alone as we undergo Christian trials. Once we realize that we as Christians are expected to
undergo such trials, as did numerous other biblical figures did. We can come to the understanding that having faith will and does come with an element of risks. Judah(Genesis 44), Ester (Ester 4), Peter (Matthew 14) and other notable examples, one of whom is Jesus Christ.
Our resolutions for God are also cemented when they are done in prayer. If Jesus learned obediance through what he suffered, and he learned it by offering up
prayers and tears to God (Hebrews 5:7), what makes us think that it will be any different for us?
In Pakistan let us honor those that equally have stood up for their faith and love of our God and the savior Jesus Christ.
Let us pray for these and other brave Christians for their safety and hopeful return to their families and loved ones.
Ashiq Ã¢â‚¬ËœKingriÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Masih
Please address your comments to the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Chain MailÃ¢â‚¬Â and let me hear from you and of your opinions being of the Christian faith.
Chevalier Lehman F. Smith
PCP Bureau Chief USA