India (MNN) — Christians in India are joyful today after a calm Christmas in Orissa. Last year at this time, radicals attacked Christians, beating them, burning their homes and destroying churches.
Founder and President of Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan says even though more attacks were threatened this year, that did not happen. And he thinks he knows why. "By God's grace and in answer to prayer from people around the world, I believe, the state government stepped in and said, 'Anyone causing disturbances in the state would be arrested and punished severely.'"
Christians were able to hold Christmas services publicly. "Christians were able to gather in their worship places–in public buildings, and they had a Christmas service," said Yohannan. "Still, there are thousands of Christians in refugee camps. Our people were going around and gathering these people in a common place and having these celebrations."
GFA leaders were able to give away Christmas presents of basic necessities to those who have lost everything and are unable to return home. Thousands of Christians lost their homes when rioting radicals destroyed them in reaction to the murder of a Hindu leader, even though Christians had nothing to do with it.
With the political tide turning, Yohannan says secular Hindus are speaking out in support of believers. "Intelligent people all over the state are now coming out in public saying, 'What we need is a peaceful society, and Christians are never a threat to our society.' And that is a new thing. So I think God is working, and I see a lot of people coming to Christ in the days to come in Orissa."
Rebuilding homes in Orissa is a priority for GFA leaders. We'll have more on that tomorrow.