India (MNN) — It's happened again. It seems as though every week there are more reports of Christians being attacked in India. During Christmas, entire villages were destroyed. Last week, two churches were attacked and the pastors beaten. Now, Gospel for Asia is dealing with another tragedy.
Founder and President of Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan says Haresh Kujur, 49, was kidnapped in the state of Asam in Northeast India, the home to many radical groups. "They're anti-government and anti-Christians, and they kidnap people for the sake of getting money. Only in very few cases they do it for religious reasons," says Yohannan.
Kujur was kidnapped Saturday night as he was leading a youth service in his church in Assam, India. An anti-Christian extremist group in the area is thought to be responsible for the kidnapping. Yohannan says, "He's a senior pastor who's established quite a good number of churches. And obviously he has a larger profile in the community, and I believe that could be the reason why they have done it."
Yohannan is more concerned in this case. "In the past when people kidnapped our missionaries for money, they let us know that's what they're waiting for. But in this case, our people are still waiting to find out."
I asked Yohannan how he fights discouragement with so many tragic things happening in India. He says he looks to God and to the workers in the field. "We hear the same thing from these missionaries and pastors in all of these places that the Lord has given them grace and courage not to deny the Lord and not to give up. He's able to strengthen us, to give us grace, and that's what's happening on the mission field when these things happen."
While persecution against Christians continues, more and more people in India are turning to Christ. And there are challenges. "One of the most significant things is when you have tens of thousands of people coming to know the Lord from backgrounds who have no clue about Christianity, no clue about the Bible. One of the biggest challenges we face is establishing them in the faith."
In order to accomplish that, they need more trained leaders. Funding is needed to support Bible college students in India. "We have 56 Bible colleges where some 7,500 young people go for three years of training. This is extremely important because in light of the number of people coming to Christ, the only way to address this issue is to send out more workers."