My friends, awhile back I wrote about the recent elections for a new Prime Minister of India. On Monday, May 16, Narendra Modi was sworn in as the next leader of India. Modi did not just win an election, but he won it in a landslide of popularity.
Prime Minister Modi is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which many are trying to downplay. The media is touting him, and the party, as pro business and anti corruption, which remains to be seen. Yet, the BJP is a hard-line nationalistic party whose policy has historically reflected Hindu nationalist positions. The party also advocates social conservatism and a foreign policy centered on nationalist principles.
Since that day, our ministry partner and his co-workers (Shall remain un-named for security reasons) in the state of Odisha, where there has traditionally been a great deal of persecution, has been attacked, Bibles destroyed, and brought before a magistrate. Praise God, they were released and not convicted of any crime, but this may be an indication of what the future may hold. Soon after that, our partner in Odisha received a letter stating that Christian ministries were no longer allowed to receive funds from outside that state.
And finally, just yesterday, we received news that several villages in the state of Chhattisgarh have passed laws that criminalize the outward expression of the Christian faith. These new state laws are at the very least illegal, and may encouraged anti-Christian violence.
Arun Pannalal, president of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, said the text reads as such, "To stop the forced conversion by some outsider religious campaigners and to prevent them from using derogatory language against Hindu deities and customs, and bans religious activities such as prayers, meetings and propaganda of all non-Hindu religions"
The Times of India, a national English-language daily newspaper, on July 9 quoted a claim by Suresh Yadav, the Bastar district president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World Hindu Council, that more than 50 villages have adopted similar resolutions.
In some places attacks on Christians have increased since passing this resolution. According to Rev. Vijayesh Lal, "a Christian man in Kue Mari village had been ordered to pay a fine for his Christian activities. He did, and yet his house was still burned down, Lal said. Today he is living under a plastic sheet with his family that includes three children and his elderly parents."
Chhattisgarh law already requires residents to obtain government permission before they can change religions, placing the state among the handful in India with laws restricting conversion. The BJP is the governing authority in this state.
At this time Prime Minister Modi has not stated his support for these activities, nor has he pushed any National policies that would encourage these type of policies. Yet, when a leader belongs to a group that expresses certain beliefs, and commits certain actions that are normally considered illegal, or when others commit these violations of the law and no one pursues charges against them, then there is every likelihood that these actions will not only continue, but increase as time goes on.
Yet throughout this entire struggle, the believers of India continue to do kingdom work; spreading the good news of Jesus Christ among their people.
Why do these people continue to endure persecution?
They have a different perspective than we
When they finally hear what Jesus did for them on Calvary, for them, persecution is a minor thing; it’s worth it to go through persecution if they can be forgiven of their sin. In the West we have believers whose faith doesn’t change their entire life. It may change what they do on Sunday, but not everything.
Gospel for Asia Vice President Daniel Yohanan says, "In America we’ve lost the theology of suffering. Because of our prosperity, we see suffering as an absence of God’s blessing in our lives. In the Bible, Joseph was in prison for 13 years and in the perfect will of God, but in America we don’t see it that way."
How to Pray Specifically:
1) For safety and security of our brothers and sisters who are living under religious oppression in the nation of India.
2) For our ministry partners as they seek to do the will of the Father, and obey His calling on their lives.
3) Pray that God moves upon the hearts of the people to turn their lives over to Him.
4) Pray for opposing factions and religions to stop persecuting followers of Jesus.
5) Pray for the effective planting of churches in villages that don’t yet have one.
6) Pray that God continues to provide the financial support needed in order to continue the work of the ministry.
Truly there is a staggering amount of work to do. However, with native missionaries we can reach them! Help Support a Missionary Today!
Only $40 per month. Upon receipt of your donation we will send you a packet with complete information on the missionary, his testimony, a photo, and return envelopes for each payment. At least once each quarter you will receive a letter about his ministry and prayer requests. These men work in a dangerous area so please do not post any of this information online. Thank you!
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