India (MNN) — The murder of a senior Hindu activist by suspected Maoists has sparked fresh violence on Christians in the state of Orissa, India, further making daily life difficult for Christians. The wave of violence, which began in August, has seen hundreds of Christians killed, thousands injured, and homes and churches destroyed.
Founder and President of Serve India Ministries Ebenezer Samuel says the violence has been widespread. "At least 50,000 Christians have been rendered homeless. Close to 30,000 of them are in refugee camps. 10,000 to 12,000 are hiding in forests. They're not at the refugee camps because they're not able to find safe passage."
According to Religious Intelligence, more than 500 Christians have been killed in what's being called religious genocide in Orissa.
Now, Samuel says, the violence is spreading. "In the neighboring state Jharkhand, there was a procession. They were shouting slogans against Christians there. The persecution is spreading to the neighboring states as well. Jharkhand in the north, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in the west, and Andhra Pradesh in the south. And some other states are also responding to the persecution."
Samuel says there doesn't appear to be an end to the violence, and overt ministry has all but come to an end. "They are not able to go to villages that they visit regularly. And believers that are with them in the churches have all been displaced. No one is sure what is going to happen."
Pastors are now staying with believers and helping their church members the best they can — sharing resources and trying to help one another.
That's why Serve India Ministries is launching a plan to help 50 Christian families who have faced incredible amounts of persecution. "Some have lost loved ones. All of them have lost their houses, their property, belongings, everything, and they can't go back to where they were living for the past 10, 15 or 20 years."
Samuel says you can help these families. "We would like to help each of these families with $50 per month. It will provide them with food, water, clothes, a safe place to stay and finding jobs for them because they can't go back to their own villages."
Serve India Ministries is asking people to contact the ministry directly, as this is a new program, and it's not on their Web site. Contact information is available to the left of this article (above).