(MNN) — August marks the three-year anniversary of the arrest of two Children's Bible Club leaders in Karnataka on false
Late one night in
2009, a mob of 20 Hindu extremists
burst into a training for Year-Long Children's Bible Club leaders working through Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India. Shouting
threats, they moved from room to room. The extremists dragged people out of
bed, beat them mercilessly, and burned every book and Bible they could find.
finally arrived, they arrested two Children's Bible Club partners and charged
them with coercing children to become
Christians. Mission India President Dave Stravers says, "There's no basis for the charge. They
were actually sound asleep in the middle of the night. It's during a training
session, (but) there weren't even any non-Christians involved, so how could
they be converting anyone?"
The pair is out on bail…and STILL awaiting trial. "This is normal. They claim there is a
20-year backlog in the Delhi court system, for instance," Stravers reports. The United Nations Development Program
estimates that some 20 million legal cases are pending in India. the country has roughly 11 judges for every
million people, so the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel" (hope for an
end) isn't likely coming soon.
The problem is
the expectation of those who are awaiting their day in court. Stravers
explains, "Every month, they get on the train [for a] 12-hour train ride,
sit all day in the court, and be told.
'No, no progress. A new date has been set.'" That's added expense and time lost to travel
back and forth.
While the delay may be "normal" in Delhi, Stravers
wonders if the "dragging feet" could be because
"judges and the accusers know that there is no case, so if the case
actually comes to trial, all the charges will be dismissed. So they want to
drag it out as long as possible to make life as difficult as possible."
The case is at a standstill in the courts. The most recent
court date was postponed until September 21. It's harassment, pure and simple, Stravers
However, it also revealed an
indomitable spirit. "These people are still working hard,
training Children's Bible Club leaders. We have a long list of Christian
workers who are waiting to be trained." In fact, Karnataka State is one of Mission
India's biggest fields of ministry.
Why do the extremist Hindus oppose the Children's Bible Clubs? First, explains Stravers, "God is working. And this is why the persecution
is happening, because the general population is so open to the Gospel and the
Lord Jesus is doing His work in a really powerful way in India today."
provides in-depth training for volunteer Children's Bible Club leaders as well
as materials to teach up to five age levels in nearly two dozen Indian
Bible Clubs are introduced in a community through a 10-day program. In the
clubs, children enjoy songs, skits, and play games. They also listen to Bible stories, memorize
Scripture, and learn more about relationship with Jesus, which helps them discover
a loving Savior.
says, by the end of the Children's Bible Club, many children make a decision to
follow Jesus. They then share their new
faith and are bringing their parents to Christ. As a result, every year new
churches grow out of Children's Bible Clubs.
As far as their two
workers go, the danger of this case is that it's a distraction. "We need to pray that the Lord will be
faithful to them, that they'll feel the Lord's hand of protection. And when the
persecution comes, [pray that] they will understand that this is not the devil winning any battles, [that] they need to keep speaking boldly for Christ."
that there will be no further delays in the courts. Pray that the false charges
will be dropped. Pray for the safety of this year's Year-Long Children's Bible
Club leaders who are being trained right now across India.
Featured Links Section for more details about the Children's Bible Clubs.