Despite violence, believers in India committed to outreach

By January 28, 2008

India (MNN) — "During 2007 there was more opposition, attacks and violence against Christians, church and its workers than all other years put together," says Gospel For Asia's Founder and President KP Yohannan.

Yohannan, speaking from India, says Christians in India now understand that being a Christian means persecution. "The only thing that is getting better, I think, is the boldness and the determination of the Christian workers and the body of Christ, making it a part of their life that the persecution and the opposition is going to be here."

According to Yohannan, Hindu nationalists are attacking those who are helping the poorest of the poor — the Dalits. He equates the Dalits to the slaves in Europe and the United States. The puzzling thing about the violence is that Hindu nationalists are targeting people who are helping the Dalits. "Just imagine, seeing the pain and the suffering, the brutality. You are coming there to help them, educate them, give them medicine. Then, a bunch of people come and beat you up. They say, 'We don't want you to help these poor people. We want them to remain our slaves. They are not human beings.'"

That's the picture of what's happening to Christians today in India.

Gospel For Asia has 56 Bible colleges across the country. They're training willing Christians to reach out in love. "Our job is not going out converting all of these people, but rather showing Christ's love."

Yohannan says persecution gives believers a platform to share. "The love of Christ's forgiveness that's demonstrated by these suffering Christians and missionaries does speak to the nation, and I think this will only help people know more about that love of Christ."

Through their Bible colleges, GFA is teaching students the essentials of the faith. "Love others," says Yohannan, "serve the community, and if need be, lay down your life for them. Freely this is all given to you. Go and give it freely."

With thousands of believers who are willing to risk their lives for the sake of the Gospel, there's only one thing they're lacking. "The greatest hindrance that we face today and keeps us from reaching the people that need the Gospel, especially in the 10-40 window, it is lack of resources — finances to get the job done."

Yohannan would also like to see people seriously fast and pray about lost people like the people of India.

If you'd like to help financially and find out how to pray more specifically, click here.

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