India (MNN) — There's a bit of skepticism about a recent
report coming out of India. It claims more than 150 Dalits in Himachal
(HIM-mitch-el) Pradesh, who had converted to Christianity, returned to Hinduism
after an elaborate ceremony this week. An anti-conversion law went into effect
on February 21, banning forcible religious conversions.
However, Dave Stravers, President of Mission India of Grand Rapids,
Michigan says this 're-conversion' may or may not have happened, but it is a
priority of nationalistic Hindus. "For centuries this area has been very
resistant to any form of Christian witness. And now, just in the last few years
it's suddenly very open to the Gospel. So many conversions to Christianity are
happening that it really has the Hindu leaders worried. So, they have made this
a stated objective."
Stravers doesn't know if this particular story is accurate.
"The cases I know about amounted to forced re-conversions. I heard a story
last month. All the Christians were rounded up, surrounded them and basically
threatened them to be basically beaten or killed if they did not agree to
undergo the ceremony."
Christians are being asked to pray for new believers.
"When we pray for new Christians in India, we pray that the Lord would
give them courage and the Lord will help them to be discipled in their new
found faith. It's very possible that a young people would be intimidated or convinced
to leave his faith," Stravers says.
However, he says it doesn't happen very often and hardly
makes a dent in the millions of Indian people that have turned their hearts to
Christ. Stravers is asking people to pray the Indian Christians would be courageous
and bold in their faith.
The good news is there are many Christians that want to help
Mission India. "There are literally millions of Indian Christians who want
to be a part of outreach ministries, but they don't have the training or the
materials. We have in some cases a four and five year waiting list for training
Funding is needed to help these Christians who are waiting.
"We're desperate to help these people who are waiting to go out there to a
new village (or) a new neighborhood. There (are) 600,000 villages in India with
no Christian church."
$100 supports 100 children in the Bible club ministry and
provides funding needed to support three people in their literacy program. Click here to support Mission India's work