Fear hangs over Christmas in India

By December 19, 2008

India (MNN) — About 2,100
Christian families driven from their homes in India's Orissa state are finally
receiving badly-needed relief supplies.

Tens of thousands of Christians were
forced from their homes after riots in August following the murder of a Hindu
swami and four of his followers. Hindu
extremists blamed Christians and mounted mob attacks on churches, as well as
homes and villages populated by Christians.

Though arrests have been made in
the murders, thousands of believers are too frightened to return home. Many evangelical mission agencies are calling
the pogrom an effort to exterminate Christians completely. 

As a result, thousands have fled
to camps operated by the government, police officials and private groups.

However, because of extremist threats, Tom Dudenhofer with Audio
Scripture Ministries
says not everyone is getting what they
need to survive the deteriorating conditions.
"It's cold there now, and the families are suffering. The kids, especially, need blankets and
clothing. However, attempts to take supplies to these people have been rejected
by the state authorities who say that they don't want to give this material to
the Christians because they'll only use it to force conversions on other
people." 

Though some try to return home, extremists are forcing them to make a choice: reconvert to Hinduism, die, or
leave. Dudenhofer is encouraged that it
appears many believers are refusing to recant.

The anti-Christian brutality
spread from Orissa into Karnataka state. However, ASM has seen a unique
evangelistic opportunity.   

Dudenhofer says their partners in
Bangalore say, "There's nothing else that these people have to turn to.
There is no hope; there is no promise of any material blessings or anything
coming out of this situation. Our
directors in Bangalore tell us that all of a sudden, a huge increase in
requests for Scriptures in audio has been coming out of this area."

Keep praying for those who are in
ministry in these dangerous areas. Pray
that their faith will not waver. And pray that God will sustain and provides for their needs.

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