Missionaries attacked in India, will continue their work

By March 19, 2009

India (MNN) — Violence has once again struck a team of missionaries in India's northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

Danny Yohannan of Gospel For Asia says a large mob of anti-Christian extremists brutally attacked two GFA-supported missionaries. "30 people took them to the local temple and stripped them naked and made fun of them, took all their Gospel tracts and Bibles and burned them. Then they beat up the missionaries really bad. Then, they took them to the police station and had them arrested."

While India's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, Yohannan says Himachal Pradesh has an anti-conversion law on the books. "The police didn't charge the people who beat up our missionaries with any crimes.

One man we'll call"Murari" sustained severe injuries to his back after mob members repeatedly kicked him, and the man we'll call "Atu" suffered acute head trauma. Other members of the mob set fire to everything the missionaries owned.

When GFA leaders in the area heard about the attack, they immediately went to the police station to try to help the missionaries. After much discussion, authorities released Murari and Atul. However, the men are still recovering, says Yohannan.

The next morning, the two missionaries had to go back to the police station to clear the case. The police found no fault in the mob for the unproved beatings, and the missionaries were not charged with any crime.

What's amazing is the prayer request from Murari and Atul. Yohannan says, "They're asking for prayer that they'll get better as soon as possible so they can go back out and share the Gospel with the same people that persecuted them."

This response is not surprising, says Yohannan. "Our missionaries go out with the expectations that they are going to face persecution. So this is nothing  new for them. It's just part of the daily sacrifice of sharing the Gospel."

Despite the persecution, churches are being planted, people are turning to Christ, and lives are being radically changed. "I think this is what makes people scared. And sometimes it causes persecution because they don't have the answers," Yohannan adds.

While this persecution may not affect you personally, these are our brothers and sister who are suffering for Christ. Yohannan says not only can we pray for them, but we can support them for $30 a month. "Families actually take one of these missionaries in as their own family member. You'll receive a profile to stick up on your refrigerator, or wherever. You can pray for them and have an eternal impact on fellow believers."

If your family, Sunday school class, or small group would like to support a GFA missionary, click here.

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