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Celebration During Orissa’s Darkest Hours

Gospel for Asia
11/13/08 ORISSA, INDIA (ANS) — Despite living in the Orissa district hit hardest by the recent persecution against Christians, five new believers recently chose to publicly testify of their faith in Christ.

Gospel for Asia missionary Adhik Garjan serves in this district, where he serves as pastor of a church with over 60 people. Just before the intense persecution broke out in his area in late August, five young adults from tribal backgrounds chose to follow Jesus. But even when the anti-Christians began their horrific campaign of violence, the five new believers firmly clung to their faith and even desired to be baptized.

“The intense persecution could not stop the new believers’ hunger to demonstrate Christ’s work in their lives by receiving water baptism,” Adhik reported.

Although Adhik feels there may be a reaction once news of the five Christians’ declaration spreads, there was no opposition during the ceremony on October 27.

This comes as a ray of bright news among continuous reports of anti-Christian activity in Orissa and other states in India. On September 28, two GFA missionaries in Orissa were attacked, and another group of believers fled for their lives into the jungles. Mobs damaged two Jesus Wells in front of church buildings. However, the wells can still pump water, and villagers have noticed the very people who attacked the missionaries coming back for water from the wells.

In several areas outside the state, anti-Christian groups are organizing in an attempt to mimic the Orissa rampage.

On November 6, three GFA Bible college students and one graduate in Jharkhand, India, were beaten and told to leave the village where they were assisting two GFA missionaries.

“Opposition in Jharkhand is growing worse day by day,” our correspondent wrote.

Persecuted Christians in Orissa and other states depend on prayer and the Lord’s grace to make it through this time. They do not have many people standing up for them. Indian newspapers report their government’s long-awaited response to the Orissa violence: A one-man commission began an investigation into the situation in late October.

Adhik and missionaries like him plead to be remembered in prayer. They ask for strength for believers like the five who recently came to know Christ. They also desire that the people who persecute them will understand Jesus’ love.