Monday, September 01, 2008

Prayer Request: Persecution

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.
They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
- Revelation 6:9-10

I've been receiving these news reports from GFA (Gospel For Asia) about increasing violence in Orissa against Christians by Hindu extremists, it has been a horrible situation and it has kept on getting worse. Here's a description of what has been going on from K.P. Yohannan the President and Founder of GFA:

"Imagine how you would feel if a mob broke into your home, raped your wife and daughters, tried to kill you and then burned your house down—all because you are a Christian. That's exactly what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Orissa, India, right now. Read the latest update on the continuing volatile situation here.

Dear friend, I have seen a lot of violence against Christians in my more than 30 years of sharing the Gospel with the people of Asia. I have even been on the receiving end of some of those attacks. But the events in Orissa are by far the most orchestrated and horrifying atrocities I have ever witnessed. Please join me in praying for these persecuted brothers and sisters in their time of great suffering."

From the TeamPyro Blog, a more detailed description of what is being done to our brothers and sisters in Christ from Orissa and names of Pastors who have been harmed, tortured and the churches they pastored destroyed, or burned, or ransacked.

Maoists (communists) have taken responsibility for Swami Saraswati's murder, but Christians have been the main targets of the radical Hindiu backlash. VHP leaders insist Christian missionaries plotted the murder.

More than 50,000 Christians are said to have fled the region, hiding in jungles and forests to escape the violence. Many of them will likely be permanently dispossessed of all they have.

Reports also allege that the partisan government in Orissa has done little to stop the anti-Christian violence, and has perhaps even been complicit in the persecutions.

I've received a few e-mails this weekend from friends in India describing some of the persecution. The Web is full of stories about it as well. None was more disturbing than this e-mail I received, from an evangelical church in India:

Yesterday one of our church members B_____ P______ hailing from Orissa reported that Fanatic Hindus came to her home in Orissa and asked all of them to become Hindus. On refusal they started threatening the family, so her brother said, "We will worship our Lord Jesus." The Hindus said that they would kill him, and asked, "Don't you fear to be killed?" He said, "I am willing to die for Jesus." So they cut him in three pieces. They also killed her maternal uncle, burnt the whole house and threw them on the road. Kindly keep on praying. Things are started happening in our state also. Kindly see Orissa violence on Net for more information.

I thank you all for praying, & we can say that He is El-Shaddi God. S_____ F______.

Here's another document, compiled by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, listing forty-six typical acts of violence that have occurred over the past week. At the end of the document is contact information for three government officials to whom letters of concern and protest may be addressed.

  • On 24th of August Pastor Jeebaratna Lima from Khurda District, was attacked and beaten up mercilessly. The miscreants doused petrol on him and about to set him on fire but timely arrival of Police saved his life. He was in Police custody but later was released on bail next day.
  • Pastor Bahumulya Paik of Bamandei, Patpur Police Station. Ganjam District was beaten to a point of death by a mob of around 100 people. He vomited blood and later gained conciousness and managed to flee from the place while the group was engaged in attacking the local believers. Since the hospitals were closed no medical help was available. On August 26, the police escorted him to some distance by their vehicle and left him on the way to take a bus and go away.
  • Pastor Bishnu Kumbhar and his pregnant wife of village Dutta, under Madan Rampur Police Station of Kalahandi district, were chased out. To save their lives, they ran away in the darkness and hid themselves from the attackers.
  • Pastor Susanjit Beero of Tengada Pathar under Tikabali Police Station of Phulabani, was attacked by a group of Hindutva miscreants. Along with few believers he is still reported to be taking shelter in the forest though without food and clothes from the last 48 hours.
  • Pastor Dillip Koshla of Tiangia village, under Raikia Police Station was attacked by the mob. His house and property are burned and looted by the unruly mob.
  • Pastor Birendra Harijan, of Nakapolo Church under Dharmasala Police Station of Jajpur District was beaten up badly. As the miscreants were about to set his house on fire the timely arrival of police saved the disaster.
  • Pastor Amit Pani of Ampani village, Koksora Police Station(PS) under Kalahandi district was chased out and locked in a house but they manage to escape.
  • Pastor Lebiyo Raito of Kanjamendi, Nuagam PS, Phulbani, was attacked and chased away from his house. He is still hiding in the jungle.
  • Pastor Jatan Nayak, of Bhadrak district was attacked and his house ransacked. He is in the Police protection at the moment.
  • Pastor Abinash Garjang, of Tattaguda, Malkangiriis attacked and the Church building was ransacked.
  • Pastor Aurobindo Sahu of Tumgurpada Church, Bargarh District is threatened to leave the place with dire consequences.
  • District pastor Anant Benya of Badibahal church, Luisingha PS, in Bolangir District was issued threat to attack the church on 26th August..
  • ...

  • Continue reading at TeamPyro

    Please let us keep praying for ALL of our brothers and sisters in Christ, from India and all over the world.


    Stephanie said...

    Thank you for sharing this Rita, it's such a great reminder to be in constant prayer for suffering belivers over the world. It is too easy to forget them when we are enjoying safety. It breaks my heart to hear reports like these - unimaginable horrors. But at the same time I praise God that He is sovereign and that He controls the suffering, and is working all things out for His glory and good.
    (I hope that doesn't sound too glib...)

    GFA is such an excellent organization - it's so clear that they are being used in a mighty way by God.

    Penn Tomassetti said...

    Wow. Thank you for this report, Rita. This is the most widespread violent persecution I have read of in India. I often pray for persecuted believers in general, but this really hits my heart, because it is so awful.

    I know the Father has a fierce love for those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit. What a testimony ("martyr") that man's words were who said, "We will worship Jesus Christ." Amen. Grace be with those dear brothers and sisters.

    Moon said...

    Amen Steph and Penn.
    It breaks my heart as well, and even more when I look at how easy we've all got it on this side of the planet but as you say Steph God is in control and His word says that the pains of this world cannot be compared to the glories that await us in heaven.
    Thanks both of you for posting it on your blogs, we need to spread the word and together join in prayer for our brethren, they need it!
    May the Lord bless and keep you both!