India (MNN) — According to Mission India, Hindu militants stormed a Children's Bible Club in a slum in Hyderbad, India last Thursday. Half-way through the festivities they arrived, overturning chairs, tearing down banners, and beating teachers.
"[They were] shouting that they were converting children to Christianity; this was not to be permitted and telling everyone nearby that this Christian church was actually intending to kidnap their children and sell them to foreigners," said Dave Stravers of Mission India. While locals know this is not the case, the violence caused them to flee.
Police came and arrested the Christians. The leader of the club, Srinivas Naik, was
interrogated and told to stop holding the club.
Everyday these kinds of clubs invite abut 40 children to get help with homework, learn songs, and verses and hear Bible stories. "More than 99-percent of all the children who
participate in these clubs are Hindus or Muslims and when they start praying to Jesus they start hearing Bible stories, they suddenly realize that Christianity is not something to be afraid of but something that will be very good for them," said Stravers.
Just through the Children's Bible Club last year, more than 7,000 new congregations were established and one-million children and families committed their lives to Christ.
Mission India expects persecution because of this. "This is all motivated out of fear on the part of these Hindu extremists who understand that this ministry is very effective. It's touching a felt need in the hearts of parents and their families and they're afraid of what's happening to their communities," said Stravers.
The church does not seem to be discouraged. "They said we're very proud to be persecuted for Jesus. We're going to lay low for a few weeks, and then we're going to go back and start over because these people will not be able to chase us out of the slums," Stravers said. By doing very little, they hope that the community will put pressure on the Hindu militants and the violence will cease.
"When you're hit over the head with a club, or have your lip split open by a fist of someone shouting at you, it's not easy. So it really does take a miracle of faith and
passion for these workers to persevere," said Stravers. Leaders plan to continue the club soon.