India (MNN) — Eight ministry workers with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India are finally free on bail in India.
Hindu extremists charged the Christians under India's penal
code for "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings
of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs".
The case stems from an incident two weeks ago in Karnataka
State. At that time, a group of 80
ministry partners in the state of Karnataka was gathered at a 4-day training
for the Year-Long Children's Bible Clubs, which will launch this fall in India. On the evening of August 11 around midnight,
a mob of 20 Hindu extremists
burst into the rented building, shouting threats and wielding sticks.
According to Mission India, the
attackers beat two partners, burned Bibles, and terrified the participants who
were held against their will for at least 14 hours. Another local pastor who rushed to the scene
was also badly beaten.
One Christian escaped the melee and ran to the police for
help. Police arrived on the scene and
promptly arrested 8 of the Christians,
including two members of Mission India's
ministry staff. Officials also refused bail
for several days.
Mission India's Don Edwards says while their team was in
jail, "They did what Paul and Silas
did while they were in prison. In the mornings and every evening, they had a
worship service. They developed
relationships with the prisoners. They shared the Gospel regularly with these
people in prison."
The team's release is an answer to prayer; however, the
false charges haven't been dismissed. It's
not over yet, says Edwards. "It's
very possible that there will be long term consequences. However, at the same time, when persecution like this sets in, often it often emboldens the Christian community
to take an even stronger position."
Please continue to pray for the situation as Mission India continues to fight for these charges to be dismissed. Pray, too, that the
training will be rescheduled in the near future so boys and girls can have the
chance to hear about Jesus.