India (MNN) — Two years ago, thousands of Christians were displaced by radical fundamentalists in India during the Christmas season. Homes and churches were burned, pastors were beaten, and many were killed. It all happened in the state of Orissa. While many Christians feared similar violence this year, all was quiet.
Founder and President of Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan says although it was quiet, fear continues. "There was publicity spread throughout the state of Orissa by the radical fundamentalists that they will stop the celebration of Christmas for the Christians, especially in Kandhamal." That's where 54, 000 people were displaced.
But nothing happened this year, says Yohannan. "In Kandhamal, some 2,000 Christians gathered for the celebration. But there are hundreds of small communities and churches, and many were scared to death to have any kind of celebrations."
The persecution around India isn't going away. Yohannan likens it to outrageously high gasoline prices. "All of a sudden the entire media is talking about it. But after about six or seven months, nobody talks about it. It all becomes normal. Persecution is exactly the same. I see that no change has taken place."
Yohannan says a couple of their workers are in prison right now accused of things they never did. Their only crime is believing in Christ.
Yohannan says in 2011 Christians could face even more persecution. Why? "There's a general sense that 2011 is going to be possibly the best year in terms of the move of God — people coming to know the Lord." He says that will especially be true among the Dalits, or "the untouchables."
In places where previously nobody was responding to the Gospel, Yohannan says now there's a huge response, and the church can't keep up. "We need to set up training centers to train new workers and produce Bibles for these people. One of the biggest [needs] we have is to see churches established where people in the community can come and worship the Lord."
It costs $10,000 to $15,000 to build a 200 to 300 seat church building. Yohannan says it's a great project for a church like yours to take on. "The center place of the community is their temple, their worship place. So when you have villages where there's never been a church there, and now 100 to 200 people have come to Christ, have a place of their own." it speaks volumes to a community.
You can help GFA with the church building project. Click here http://www.gfa.org/donation/items/major-ministries/ or call them at the number listed on their information page.