Government and village support missionary

By June 5, 2007

India (MNN) — Yesterday, authorities in Uttar Pradesh, one of India's least-evangelized states, promised protection to a Gospel for Asia missionary and his church. GFA is praising God for this miracle.   

The missionary's life was threatened by Hindu extremists if he didn't leave the community within 24 hours after he baptized 60 people. When the missionary's plans to build a church reached the extremists, they also tried to stop the selling of the land where the church would be built. The land was sold to the missionary anyway. 

"That is when the whole problem broke loose. And then they said, ‘We are going to, by force, convert all these Christians back to Hinduism.' And they were making huge noises, newspaper articles," said KP Yohannan of Gospel for Asia.

The uproar surrounding the situation caused the local community to wonder. "The people said, ‘We don't know what is going on in our community. What did these people do that is so bad that they should have this much problems?' So they came to the church," said Yohannan.

"After the service was over, hearing the worship and teaching the Bible and everything, the village folks said, ‘These people are only praying to God. We like it. We don't want them to go away from this place. We want them to be here.' And this whole thing turned around," said Yohannan. 

The extremists were not from the village but had simply heard about the Christian work. The community is a location where most of the Dalits live. "The upper class are always opposing these people from leaving the caste system and becoming Christians," said Yohannan. 

As more people hear about this, more may become Christians, which would lead to more persecution. But Yohannan still has dreams for the future of this community since extremists groups are not a majority. "Someday we can talk about it and say, 'You know what? That whole village came to Christ, and we now have two or three churches there.'"

With the close proximity of Indian villages, news will travel easily. "More and more people are going to ask the question, ‘Why did you become a Christian?' And they are going to testify: 'I was a drug addict. I was an alcoholic. I was demon possessed. I was sick, and Jesus healed me. Jesus saved me.' And I think just like in the Gospels, this news is going to spread," said Yohannan.

The missionary has already committed to continue to pastor this church no matter what happens.

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