India (MNN) — India's new
government is following through on its promises to protect minorities. It elected a new speaker, Meira Kumar, who is
both the first woman and the first Dalit to hold that position.
"It's good news because the
Congress Party coalition that won the election in May is carrying through on
their promise to try to downplay or get rid of the communal violence and all of
the disruptive things happening because of Hindu extremists," said Dave
Stravers, president of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India.
The election results showed that
Indian voters are rejecting the violence of Hindu extremism, Stravers
said. This is especially important for
the Dalits, India's lowest "untouchable" class.
Stravers said many Dalits are "becoming Christians because they're fed
up with their unjust social system…this changing political climate is promising
at least to bring justice to them and protection for them."
In the meantime, however,
Christians still face a lot of violence and persecution.
"The fact remains that on the
ground in local situations, Christians all over the country face the kinds of threats
of violence and opposition that we can hardly imagine," Stravers said. "And this is happening still in Orissa, the
state where we had the outbreak of people killed last year, but it's also
happening in other states in India."
Persecution has tragically
impacted Paul, one of Global Action's Christian workers in the Muslim Kashmir
province. Muslim militants kidnapped and
killed his 10-year-old son, then threatened Paul.
They did this "in order to
discourage him in his ministry," Stravers said.
"He's still working hard, but here's a man who's given a child to his
Nevertheless, God is doing a
great work in India through thousands of people like Paul. Persecution even seems to energize Christians
for the ministry. Many volunteers
working in Mission India's Children's Bible Clubs-10-day clubs in which needy
children have a rare opportunity to hear Bible stories, memorize Scripture,
learn to pray, and enjoy songs, skits and games.
One club changed the life of a
little girl in Punjab named Mahita. Her
family was Dalit, and her father was drunkard.
Her parents initially refused to let her attend the club, but Mahita
begged for weeks and they finally allowed her to attend a meeting.
"She came back so happy, telling
them stories," Stravers said. "They saw
her happiness; they said ‘ok, I guess you can join your friends.' That happened some months ago. Today, her father is no longer a drunkard,
her family is happy to have her teaching them how to pray to Jesus.
"The workers who are working with
Mahita and her family say they believe that her family is going to come to know
the Lord Jesus and they're not saying anything about, ‘well, we're Hindus,
don't mess with the Christians.' They're
realizing that there's something much more hopeful and the blessings of God
come to them in ways they just couldn't imagine before."
Every year, millions of people in
India come to know Jesus Christ, and billions more are waiting to hear. Stravers called on Christians to thank God
for what He's doing and to pray for those facing opposition.
"Satan has had his way in India
for centuries, and now Satan's oppressive system is being upset, dramatically
upset, because the Holy Spirit is just working all over India," he said. "And so he's striking back, whatever way he
can, to try to discourage the believers."
Every dollar you donate can
introduce a child to Jesus Christ through a Children's Bible Club.