India (MNN) — It was an alarming week for Mission India last week. They learned that over the course of four days, three separate ministry partners were arrested.
Mission India’s local partners share the Gospel in their communities through Adult Literacy Classes, Children’s Bible Clubs, and Church Planter Training.
Erik* with Mission India points out that while their ministry partners are no strangers to persecution, this series of arrests was unusual.
“To have three partners arrested like that in quick succession was somewhat rare for us to see. Basically, each one of them [was] arrested for, as people would say, forcing those who aren’t Christians to be converted into Christians. It’s typically a line that we see from time to time being extended to our partners and it’s just an easy way to kind of rile up everyone.”
He says, “Some people were threatened by mobs and in some cases, the police were protecting them from the mobs themselves.”
Two of the three ministry partners were released after lengthy discussions with the police. One man is still in police custody. He was forcibly brought to the police after anti-Christian extremists became enraged by rumors of a “Christian conversion house” in the home of a new Christian family.
According to Open Doors’ World Watch List, India is the 11th harshest country for Christian persecution. That ranking has gone up in recent years as persecution increases.
“The persecution is getting far more prominent and relevant and more frequent, along with the violent persecution. As I mentioned before, a mob was beating up or threatened to beat up a lot of our partners. It is concerning for us to see, but no doubt this has been going on to some extent, the subtle persecution, for a period of time now.”
Some people may think these hostilities would intimidate or even halt Christian ministry. However, it often has the opposite effect.
“In some cases, they are strengthened and emboldened. [They say,] ‘We know we’re doing God’s work and we now we’re doing it correctly. We’re not forcing anyone to make a decision that they don’t want to make.’”
Erik observes, “It’s one of the most powerful things I have ever experienced in my life is watching people [who], despite being persecuted, they continue to do what God has called them to do.”
Your prayers really do make a difference and offer encouragement. And right now, your prayers are needed.
“We’re just asking that in the situation where our partner hasn’t been released yet…just be praying for him to be released from jail, that no charges are brought, and that he can go back to his community and just continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ,” asks Erik.
“Also, remember India in your prayers, and specifically those who are Christians in India. As God has called us to continue to reach this nation with the love of Jesus, we do it through people who live in India and we ask for prayers that they would be uplifted with courage and wisdom and joy.”
Click here to learn more about Mission India’s ministry.
*Name changed for security purposes.