India (MNN)– Hindu militants in
India have extended their anti-Christian attacks across 12 states. Violence has
claimed 60 lives, injured thousands and displaced thousands more.
That toll is skyrocketing. CNN reported that a series of blasts went off
in Assam last week, leaving some 74 people dead and more than 370 injured. An explosion
in Guwahati, the state's capital, left a Baptist church and the parsonage
destroyed. The Rev. M. Haokhothong, formerly of the Council of Baptist Churches in North East
India, says 15 shops belonging to Guwahati Baptist Church were also heavily
damaged by the bomb blast.
The recent bombings in Assam
rattled nerves, and worse yet, Don
Edwards with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India says, "The government is not acting responsibly on behalf of the
people who are being chased out of their homes and losing everything. Police,
in many cases, are being complicit with these extremists. That's not a good
sign for the future."
After two months of continued
violence, many Christians fearing for their lives are worshipping in secret. Mission India says a new trend has emerged
that is causing some consternation. Reports are surfacing of forced reconversion ceremonies. These play into the overall climate of fear that has gripped the
region of Orissa since late August. Edwards
urges prayer "that people who are being persecuted would continue to
preach with great boldness, that they would continue to have
Mission India's ministry in Orissa has felt the impact of the ongoing
violence. Church planters in a third of the state are unable to
minister openly, and they face frequent threats. Dozens of Adult Literacy programs were forced
to suspend classes, and many year-round Children's Bible Clubs are not meeting
due to safety concerns.
However, Mission India's ministry
team won't quit. Edwards notes,
"What we find in some cases, in fact, is that the people who have been
persecuted end up standing stronger for their faith." Click here if you can help support this team
through this ordeal.