India (MNN) — Although India
claims to have a constitutional commitment to secularism, there's a definite
bent against Christians. Dave Stravers
of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India says their partners are
experiencing a lot of hostility and little protection.
He describes what happened to one
church planter living in extreme Northern India. "One of them, a converted Muslim, was
attacked by a local Muslim priest. The family forcibly separated the married
couple, and then subsequently our church planter was poisoned and
Both the church planter and his
wife were converted Muslims, and they had small children. As of the last report, Stravers says the wife
has yet to be reunited with her children.
In Northern India, a Christian's
evangelistic work is interpreted by the Muslims as "interference." Although the region is deeply religious, conversion
to another faith is strongly discouraged. In some areas, the speed of church growth
alarms the local clerics and prompts them to try to stop the missionaries.
However, because the people are
open to the Gospel, they ask questions.
New believers need discipleship. That's why Mission India assists Indian men and women who ask for
training and resources as they seek to reach their own people through Church
In response, Mission India
developed a two-year training program that includes approximately 8 months of
classroom study and a total of 16 months in villages and communities, where
they make themselves available to share the Gospel.
The agency also provides each
student with 100 Scripture books, 50 New Testaments, 25 Bibles, classroom
textbooks on the topic of church planting, training/materials to organize a
Children's Bible Club and an Adult Literacy Class,
and a bicycle for travel to outlying areas. All printed materials are in the
Stravers urges prayer for their
church planters to stay committed, because the persecution of Christians isn't
likely to lessen any time soon. "Persecution against our workers that we're supporting and training
seems to have been increasing quite dramatically in many different parts of the
country. We think this is because of the good response to the Gospel. It's
almost like Satan's forces are getting worried."