PUBLISHED ON 14 JULY, 2016 BY LYNDSEY KOH
India (MNN) — Recently, 50 anti-Christian extremists attacked a congregation of believers as they were worshipping at a church in east India.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India heard of the situation after their church planting partner, Biren, was one of the congregation members who was attacked.
The extremists assaulted and beat everyone in the church — including women and children — with sticks and rods.
Erik Morsehead shares, “Extremists demanded that Christians leave the village or they’d face even more dire consequences just for worshipping Jesus. So, fearing for their lives, those Christians fled the village. And with all this going on, the police refused to offer any assistance. In fact, they said the church planter himself, if he continues to lead people to Christ, they will beat him worse than the extremists did.”
Believers are afraid to return to their homes. They have taken shelter in another village in the area.
While elements of India’s constitution hint at being a secular state with diversity of religion, there isn’t much to ensure freedom from religious persecution. The caste system is still very prevalent and Hinduism is the reigning religious majority of the country.
According to the CIA World Factbook, roughly 80-percent of India’s population is Hindu. Then Muslims follow at around 14-percent, and Christians only represent just over two-percent of India. The rest are of varying unspecified religions.
So when it comes to persecution of Christians in India, Morsehead says, “It is more common than people realize, although in certain regions it’s a little more prevalent than others. But it does take place on a regular basis.”
India has come a long way as a nation in terms of influence and position in the modern world, but it is still considered a developing country in various regards.
“It’s a nation that’s going through tremendous change economically, politically, and religiously. And Jesus is moving in mighty ways through these partners and through these church-goers. We just ask everyone to join us in prayer as many of our sisters and brothers just go through unbelievable amounts of persecution.”
So why would someone think that persecution could be a good sign? Morsehead encourages, “It means that Jesus is moving. When there are people reacting, whether negatively or positively, to what is being shared by other believers, it means that Jesus is moving. All this persecution just means that the Word of God is being proclaimed and these believers are not afraid to proclaim the Good News to their neighbors and friends.”
And proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ is so needed in India. Especially since one-fourth of all the world’s unreached people live in India. Mission India trains church planters like Biren who go into remote villages, cities, and urban slums with the Gospel message.
To keep up-to-date on what’s going on with Mission India’s partners on the ground, and to know how to pray, you can sign up for their prayer list here!
Mission India also currently has Children’s Bible Clubs underway in India, and could use your help to instill the Gospel in India’s future generation.
Morsehead says, “Just one dollar a month can send a child to our Children’s Bible Club…. Right now we’re in full-swing of our Children’s Bible Clubs this summer. And everything is going really well with those, despite the extreme heat over in India!
“If you could just pray for God to move in those little hearts experiencing the Good News of the Gospel on a daily basis, we would truly appreciate that. And just continue to lift India up in prayer as these brothers and sisters in Christ struggle with persecution.”
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give Biren and the other believers courage, strength, and compassion as they cope with living away from their homes. Also pray that God will transform the hearts of their attackers for His glory.
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