India (MNN) — Investigation continues
into the shooting death of a church planter in Jharkhand State, India. The body of Trans World Radio missionary, 38-year old
Ajay Topno, was found September 19 in a
jungle of the Ranchi district. The
circumstances surrounding his murder are still under inquiry.
Obviously, the murder has unnerved the
Christian community in the state. Jharkhand has close to 27 million people, out
of which about 1 million are Christian. Although Jharkhand is ruled by the
Congress Party, Hindu extremists are active in many pockets, as a sizeable
number of people in the state are tribal or aboriginal people.
In spite of that, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India's Dave Stravers says the spiritual
atmosphere remains very open. "Our
ministry director for this region told me about the increasing persecution that
Christians are experiencing. He had a very positive take on it. He said this
persecution actually is encouraging more volunteers to get involved in the work,
because Christians are saying, 'We have to stand up and testify to the Lord,'
and 'What can we do to help?'"
Last year, Mission India's Jharkhand
team trained 20 church planters and launched numerous adult literacy classes,
along with numerous Children's Bible Clubs, with more than 100,000
Tribal people believe in indigenous faiths, not Hinduism, but Hindu
nationalists claim they are followers of Hinduism. Extremists accuse Christians of using
inducement to convert tribal people because a majority of them are poor and uneducated.
Stravers says believers can pray for courage. In addition, "We first of all need to
thank God for the response to the Gospel. The fact is, persecution is a
reaction against the work of the Holy Spirit. Satan is losing his grip, and this
is what happens when people start to turn to Christ." Click here if you can help.