India (MNN) — India's Freedom of
Religion Acts, or anti-conversion laws, have been implemented in five of
India's 28 states.
Christians in Orissa state are
especially concerned about the implementation in light of the attacks that came
at the end of 2007 and lasted through January 2008. Many believers fled their homes and hid in
the jungles, and many churches were destroyed.
Audio Scripture Ministries' Tom
Dudenhofer says riots in January separated church bodies, but "when they
didn't have any contact with their evangelists or pastors, they were able to
listen to God's Word with some of the Scripture players that have been made
available to them."
The laws are geared at curbing
religious conversions made by "fraud" or "allurement." According to the new rules of implementation, people
convicted under the anti-conversion law face up to three years in jail.
Dudenhofer says their work is
within the law, but pray. "The anti-conversion law also is open to
interpretation. Our specific Scripture Player distributions in India are always
accompanied by a small fee that is charged to the people to demonstrate that we
were not 'bribing' people to become Christians."
What's more, a new project has
been birthed because of the crisis.
"The people they talked to asked if it would be possible to get the
Old Testament. When believers request
the Old Testament, it's a demonstration of their desire to really grow deeper
in their walk with God." Recording
on the Old Testament begins on May 15th.
Please pray for God's grace and
protection for missionaries and churches in Orissa, that the believers would
stand firm in their faith and work. Click here if you can help.