India (MNN) — The violence in Orissa has been affecting the distribution of Bibles in India, according to the World Bible Translation Center. The increasing distribution difficulties have forced WBTC to rethink their strategy and begin work underground.
"There has never been a time like this in Orissa, and even in other parts of India," says "Samson" of WBTC. The "time" Samson speaks of is one of persecution and upheaval. Christians have been under attack by Hindu extremists since August, many forced to stand by as their houses and possessions burn, including their Bibles. Even a WBTC worker was martyred last month at the hands of these extremists.
Clearly, the need for Bibles is great in Orissa. WBTC plans to distribute 66,000 Bibles to the 30 districts of Orissa in due time. "That is the least that we can do right now," says Samson.
However, this will have to be done a little more quietly it was previously. Outside distributers are being chased away now, so the only people that be given this responsibility are those native to the area. These evangelists are doing what they can, but they have been beaten, tortured and even killed for their work.
The request for Bibles has been overwhelming. In one district of Orissa, 10,000 Bibles were requested.
"People at the relief camps do not have even a single copy of the Bible," says Samson. To remedy this problem, many house church members are sneaking Bibles into relief camps for those who have lost their homes, so they can be encouraged by the Word even in light of persecution.
WBTC faces many challenges in their ministry. Alongside threats and torture, the weather has been bad, creating flooding in many areas. WBTC needs new strategies, but more importantly, they need prayer.
"Those who are praying for this ministry: please continue to pray for the safety of the workers and for the new channels that are being established," says Samson. "At the same time, [pray] for the human network that has been formed to take these Bibles to different places."
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