“Hundreds of future missionaries have graduated at a Bible college in India's northern state of Rajasthan and pledged to ‘die for Christ’ if necessary amid expected persecution,” BosNewsLife reports.
By Stefan J. Bos
4/27/2012 India (BosNewsLife) – Hundreds of future missionaries have graduated at a Bible college in India's northern state of Rajasthan and pledged to "die for Christ" if necessary amid expected persecution, a major mission group said.
In a statement published by BosNewsLife Friday, April 27, Hopegivers International (HI) said 605 students graduated at its Hopegivers' Emmanuel Bible College on the outskirts of the city of Kota in India's Rajasthan state.
After receiving their diplomas each graduate took the "Martyr's Oath" promising to use their bodies to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and "to love" and serve others, including their families, orphans, widows, lepers, the wealthy and the poor "the way Christ loved the Church."
They pledged to "stand with the Apostle Paul in stating that 'For me to live is Christ and to die is gain',” according to the oath text seen by BosNewsLife.
It comes amid reports of attacks against churches and missionaries in several parts of India.
Additionally, "Many [graduates] have already experienced severe persecution from their families and friends because they have chosen to follow Christ," the group said.
HI President and Chief Executive Officer Samuel Thomas, who has faced opposition from Hindu militants, said he "encouraged the graduating class and other believers who were present to take the lessons taught in [the Bible's] Proverbs 30: 27-28 to heart.
These verses say in the Bible's New Living Translation: "Locusts—they have no king, but they march in formation. Lizards—they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces."
Thomas urged "all to live in complete surrender and dependence on our Sovereign King."
That's not without reason. "Each year Hopegivers sends out each graduate for their Pioneer Mission work with a new Study Bible, a one way train ticket, and a bicycle for transportation. However, this year we did not have the funds to buy each graduate a bicycle, or provide them support as they go forth with the Gospel," the group said.