Missionaries in India are threatened for evangelical work.

By September 13, 2004

India (MNN)–A radical Hindu sect in Bihar has kidnapped three Gospel For Asia workers, Pastor Manrathan and his wife, and GFA Bible woman Sarita.

GFA’s KP Yohannan says the group spearheading the incident is the same one that burned missionary Graham Staines and his two children alive in Orissa several years ago.

What is different is that they’re demanding a ransom. “They want these people to be punished for what they’re calling ‘desecrating their villages’. Of course, they’re calling for death for our pastor, and his wife, and co-worker.”

Yohannan says this incident is not new. In fact, evangelical workers have had more challenge since the Hindu nationalists were defeated. “Persecution has increased a lot since this new government came into power. The government is not anti-Christian as such, they are for minorities. It is the localized anti-Christian elements that are now aggressively going against Christian workers, beating them up, churches burned down, and things like that happening.”

The team recently planted a church in this remote area of North India. A few weeks ago, Pastor Manrathan held a service where new believers publicly proclaimed their Christian faith. It was a significant time for the congregation. One new believer, a tribal person, renounced his old faith publicly by turning away from everything else to believe in God.

Yohannan says that act set off the violence. A large mob descended on the small congregation of new believers and began to beat them.

Pastor Manrathan, his wife and Sarita were taken from the church, beaten mercilessly and tied to a tree. No one was allowed to leave the village, to prevent others from hearing of the beatings. However, one of the believers escaped with the news. Yohannan is headed for the area to see how best to respond.

Pray the Lord will give them strength and that His presence would be real to them during this time of trial and persecution. Pray also for endurance and boldness.

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