India (MNN) — Christians have the highest levels of unemployment in India, according to the recently released Periodic Labor Force Survey 2017-18.
For Christian males, the level of unemployment was worst in urban areas, dropping to 8.9 percent. Among other urban religious minorities, Muslims have a 7.5 percent unemployment rate and Sikhs 7.2 percent. Jobless Christians in rural areas also topped the list — 6.9 percent for men and 8.8 percent for women.
It can be a struggle for minority believers in India to find jobs, often because their neighbors refuse to employ them or because they aren’t given the same opportunities to gain marketable skills.
Unemployment is another way Indian Christians are targeted and pushed out of the country.
Erik Morsehead with Mission India says, “Since 2014, persecution towards Christians in India has increased by 400 percent. Persecution can look physical, it can look verbal, it can look many different ways. Our partners have experienced the full breadth of those different types of persecution.”
While we’ve seen this growing trend of Christian persecution in India over the past several years, Morsehead says it doesn’t make it any easier to process. And there are some believers around the world who still don’t know about the struggles our Indian brothers and sisters face.
“I believe awareness is increasing thanks to different resources that have been created to kind of showcase what’s taking place and what the reality is. But at times, I think we’re all surprised by just the ways and the levels of which Christians in India are persecuted.”
However, Mission India is also encouraged by the stories they hear from national partners and how they respond to persecution. “They use it as a way of knowing that God is moving, and because God is moving, things are changing. That’s why persecution is increasing. So our partners celebrate the fact that God is moving and they’re seeing Him just move in powerful ways and lives are being transformed.”
To support national believers and give them marketable skills, Mission India hosts Adult Literacy Classes and Church Planter Trainings. The classes and trainings are led by local Christians employed by Mission India.
“All the money that we raise, it enables and trains Christians who live in India to go do the work,” Morsehead explains. “A byproduct of that is we’re assisting them. But then they’re also being enabled to take the skills that they’ve learned to go better themselves, to go into the workforce and find different jobs.”
In Adult Literacy Classes, students achieve a 5th-grade level in reading, writing, and math. Empowered with literacy and math skills, these men and women are able to apply for better jobs, assure they aren’t cheated in their wages, and save money. They also learn about personal health and hygiene.
But the Adult Literacy Classes aren’t reserved for Christians. Non-Christians are welcome to join the classes as well. The teachers share the Gospel along with lessons, and many students have started a relationship with Jesus!
For a one-time gift of $40, you can sponsor an Adult Literacy Class student for a full year! Or you can give $200 a month and support one year’s worth of training for a Church Planter.
“By investing in Mission India, you’re helping to enable ministry to take place,” Morsehead says. “As ministry takes place, more lives can be transformed. Our hope, obviously, is to see India transformed by the love of Christ.”
Morsehead also asks the Church to be “praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ in India, that they would be confident in Him. And pray for the people that persecute them, that their hearts would be opened to love and grace of Jesus Christ.”
Header photo courtesy of Mission India.