Violence threatens India church-planting ministry, fails to stop it

By July 4, 2007

India (MNN) — A church planter working in India's Orissa state was recently threatened by a mob while leading a prayer meeting.

22-year old Ameena has been ministering to several impoverished villages in Orissa.  200 people broke in to interrupt and ordered her not to preach there again.  Religious activists dragged her out of the house and to a nearby temple.  In the midst of the tense mob, Ameena once again started sharing the Word of God with the men.

Although warned again, she told them, "Jesus is asking me to go and preach in this village. If you don't want to believe, it's okay, but there are many people who believe and I will continue to come and tell them more about Jesus."

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India's Dave Stravers says many feel evangelistic work is a direct threat to their country. Anti-conversion laws exist in Orissa, provoking strong reaction.  "It's mostly the threat of physical violence or even death, trying to intimidate these Christian workers into stopping their activity. This is happening more and more in Orissa.  We met with 15 different ministry organizations that we've been helping. they're all reporting this kind of opposition in their work."

The state of Orissa is a dangerous area for Indian Christians to live and work in, heightened by anti-conversion laws in the books. As a result, many of the state's villages are hostile to Christians.

Stravers says it's almost like the persecution energizes their team. "Their attitude was extremely positive, almost 'Praise the Lord, we're experiencing severe persecution!'  In fact, our staff member who leads our ministry in that state said he's never had so many requests for help, he's never had so many volunteers of Christian workers."

Mission India's two-year church planter program trains Indian Christians like Ameena to go into unreached villages and share the Gospel.   Sponsors will ensure that Church Planters will have the tools they need through training, Bibles, and materials that enable them to minister so effectively.

 

Leave a Reply