Extremist violence in India disrupts Christian project

By April 8, 2009

India (MNN) — A mob of anti-Christian extremists tried to
murder a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary working at a Jesus Well drilling
site in Jharkhand state, where anti-conversion laws are in force.

KP Yohannan with Gospel For Asia (GFA) says the trouble started when "this group of people said, ‘You guys are
drilling this well because you want to use this to convert people to

The well-drilling team arrived in the village on April 3rd where missionary
Bala Nunwate serves. Bala, along with
ministry intern Vincey Rao and the men who work for the well-drilling
contractor, began working. About 20 minutes later, a mob of people who belong
to a well-known, violent anti-Christian group showed up and tried to attack
Bala. He managed to escape from their grasp, but the mob grabbed Vincey and the
drilling crew chief.

The attackers badly beat Vincey and forced him to sign a statement saying that he
was an outsider who came to the village to convert people to Christianity. They
threatened to take his life unless he signed the paper. After he signed it,
they sent him away. It is illegal in many Indian states to convert people to
Christianity by using force or allurement. These anti-conversion laws are
ironically called "freedom of religion" laws.

After he was released, Vincey found himself in a dilemma. He was unfamiliar
with the village, so he hid out in a rice paddy overnight. At daylight, Vincey
found his way back to the church. The other GFA workers took him to the
hospital to treat his wounds and then to the police station.

The extremists also badly beat the drilling crew chief. He was also able to
escape and go the local police, who took him to the hospital for treatment.

GFA officials had to go to the police station and file reports about the
crime and the fact that the mob had taken the drilling equipment and the
missionaries' bicycles. Later in the day, the officials were able to meet with
the superintendent of police, who helped them recover their equipment from
the mob.

Yohannan says the setback is disappointing. "Through prayer and hard work, we
saw breakthroughs. I'm told now that they had to abandon this particular
project. But they'll keep praying and hoping that God will do a miracle. They hope to be able to go back and complete this project because it is going to help so many

Yohannan says trouble
will continue, but not for religious reasons. "The truth of the matter is that
these persecutions are happening. I don't think it has anything to do with
conversions. The real issue is a power

Keep praying for protection for pastors, evangelists and other Christian
workers as they share the Good News of Jesus. Pray for that those who turn to
Christ will grow in their faith. Click here if you want to help.




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