India (MNN) — Despite the government of India's attempts to protect minority religions, persecution of Christians continues.
Gospel for Asia continues to feel the effects of violence against their works. Gospel for Asia-supported film team members Bhanu Singh and Mareechi Malik encountered harsh opposition one night as they attempted to screen a Christian film.
GFA's Daniel Punnose says, "There were over 200 villagers who came out to see the life of Christ. Some anti-Christian people came in and disrupted the meeting, destroyed the generator, damaged the equipment, and beat up the missionaries."
The villagers actually protected the missionaries by taking them into their house.
Punnose says he's not surprised by the attacks during the film. "It's one of the biggest ways to open doors to share the Gospel. And a lot of times, these opposition groups know that. They know that these films are very effective in reaching people's hearts. So they'll do whatever they can to stop the Gospel from being spread."
Persecution like this is on the rise in many different regions of Asia. Punnose says we shouldn't be surprised by it because Jesus said we would be persecuted for our faith. "Persecution will happen, and people will get hurt. But at the same time, the people who do the persecution are often the very first ones who come to Christ."
Punnose says Christ tends to change their anti-Christian zeal into a zeal to see people come to Christ.
The interesting thing about persecution is that it tends to draw people to Christ. Punnose says Orissa is just one example. "There were people in those communities who were saying, 'There must be something real because otherwise, why would they be doing this? Look at the Christians; they're standing strong in their faith. They're not retaliating. There's something different.'"
Punnose says the best thing you can do is pray that these believers will be bold in their witness and that they can withstand the persecution. He's also encouraging you to support believers like Bhanu and Mareechi who know how to do evangelism and plant churches. "GFA has become a partnering tool for the western church to be able to partner with these native missionaries who are overseas already doing the work. It's less than $30 a month to support one of these native missionaries."
Please pray for missionaries like Bhanu and Mareechi as they share the message of Jesus' love in the face of increased danger and opposition.