South Asia (MNN) — India will likely have the largest Muslim population in the world by 2050, according to a recent Pew report. It raises questions about how this will affect the nation’s Christians down the road. Even now, we’ve seen an increase in pressure on believers in India by their communities and the government.
John Pudaite, president and CEO of Bibles For The World says, “We know that a number of large organizations are under a tremendous amount of scrutiny. There’s been things that have been happening, actions by the government as they’re under the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party, that really have made it difficult for ministries to operate. Even our own ministry, we’ve seen some of the screws tightening on us in terms of scrutiny of our accounts and finances and things like that.
“But at the same time, we see the work of the Kingdom continuing in a way like never before. It’s almost like with the government putting on this pressure, the Christians are just responding to it and trying to meet what the government requirements are, even as Bibles For The World is doing. I believe Christians are really being encouraged, and challenged to go and do even more work for the cause of Christ.”
Bibles For The World networks with and encourages local churches in India, and the ministry is seeing the Body of Christ grow in very tangible ways. Pudaite and his family even spent Christmas and New Years in a village with 42 new believers.
“I had received a picture of the local missionary — a woman actually who has worked in this village — and she was extending her church building, a very simple building, just bamboo walls and a tin roof. But here she was extending her church right before Christmas because she said the new believers won’t all fit in the church.”
Pudaite shares, “She had sent this report, and I said, ‘I’ve got to go to this church. I’ve got to see this.’ So with my wife and our two kids, we drove down quite a ways to this little village and spent the evening with this missionary and her congregation. What a joy it was to spend that evening with them just praying with them, singing with them, and encouraging them. But I’ll tell you, when you see new lives in Christ celebrating Christmas for the very first time, it just makes it so much more real to you.”
Shifting their sights further east as well, Bibles For The World will start planting the seeds of God’s Word in Southwest China this year.
“China has been a country that’s been on our hearts, I’d say, for more than 35 years, back to when we were sending Bibles legally into Russia from India during the 1970s. We’d always prayed a lot about China, talked about China, but my father’s position was also that this is the book of the King of Kings. If we can’t take it through the front door, we’re not going to take it in through the backdoor. So he never allowed our organization to get involved in any of the smuggling of Bibles or things like that, though those efforts were meeting very urgent needs for the believers in China.
“But just in the last year, God has opened some doors for Bibles For The World to distribute Bibles legally inside China. So my wife and I went there in December and were able to scout things out and check the contacts and the arrangements that were being made and God has really opened a tremendous door for us.”
Pudaite says Bibles For The World will do their first Bible distribution in the Yunnan province in Southwest China. They’ve felt God leading them to this particular area with a very personal connection.
“This area is really special to us because many centuries ago, perhaps 600 [or] 800 years ago, my forefathers would have migrated through this very area before they entered into Burma and what is now India. So we just felt drawn to this place, the place that my forefathers had been, that we should try to get involved in distributing God’s Word there.”
He explains, “We’re planning to go there in May for our first distribution, and we’re preparing 300,000 Gospels of John, as well as 12,000-15,000 Bibles that we’ll be distributing in the province of Yunnan. So we just ask listeners to pray for us that every little step of the way, every detail may come together and may have God’s blessing on it as we try to get His Word to those who are unreached in China.”
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