“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
1 Peter 4:12-14
The following is reported by Renewal Ministries Fellowship:
“Remember to keep our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world in our prayers. The two most populous nations in the world, China and India, have both been suffering increasing persecution in recent years.
“The repression of Christianity in China is now at its worst since the Cultural Revolution. About 20 million people faced persecution last year in China and an estimated 50 million are expected to experience repression this year as the ruling Communist Party continues a severe crackdown on religion which has included closing and demolishing churches, removing crosses from churches, imprisoning pastors and church members under false allegations, exiling Christians from their community and putting others under surveillance. Chinese police are staking out churches, noting who attends, then appearing at their homes for “inspections”, causing fearful worshippers to stay away from church. Increasing numbers of employers are requiring that workers sign “no-faith” commitments or else be at risk of losing their jobs and livelihood. In December a 1,500 member church in Beijing was banned because its pastor refused to install CCTV to enable the Communist party to monitor those who attended.
“There were more than 12,000 reported violent attacks against Christians in India in 2018, while increasing numbers of persecution acts in this nation are going unreported. Increasing numbers of Christians are killed for their faith each year and the number of churches attacked increased from 34 last year to 98 this year. Christian NGOs are also being targeted by various government departments in attempts to accuse them of “anti-national” activities, especially concerning conversions to Christ. Hindu nationalist politicians are increasingly being elected to power and the government is systematically misusing the anti-conversion laws, religious laws, administration and police to deprive freedom to Christians while turning a blind eye to the brutal violence inflicted on Christians by Hindu extremists. Christian converts from a Hindu background face the worst of the persecution with daily harassment and constant pressure to return to Hinduism including societal pressure from family, friends and community members and local Hindu priests, beatings, hospitalizations and even death. On 9th January 2019 Hindu extremists tore down a church building in Narnepadu village, Muppalla Mandal, Guntur District, in Andhra Pradesh state, claiming that it violated Hindu principles of placement ad positioning. Earlier in neighbouring Telangana state radical Hindus stopped a Christian group’s van, beat a 51yo father of three and burned over 350 Bibles they were carrying for distribution. In a suburb of Hyderabad a group of Christian youths cleaning up their church grounds in preparation for the even service after a neighbour had dumped a large amount of trash on the site were set upon by a mob of over 40 Hindu extremists, the pastor who tried to come to their rescue and his father were also physically assaulted, but when the battered men went to the police station the police refused to take their complaint and the next day fabricated a charge of “voluntarily causing hurt using dangerous weapons” against the pastor and his father. On 23rd October 2018 Pastor John Lakra was taking his 18 month old baby to hospital for emergency treatment in Odisha (Orissa) state when hundreds of Hindu extremists surrounded his car, began hurling stones at them and hitting the windows with rods and shouting curses at them. Soon they pulled him out of the car, slapped and beat him black and blue, ripped off his cloths, kicked him then forced him onto a motorcycle to take him to a Durga idol and forced him to kneel before it even as they continued beating him, poured a gallon of petrol on him and shouted that he should be given as a live sacrifice to the goddess. God miraculously saved him and this time the police did act against the perpetrators, but after pressure from the RSS and BJP the Sundargarh police released them and booked the pastor for “deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings”, “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion” and “criminal intimidation”, the judge rejected his plea for bail and he spent 10 days in jail. The co-pastor of one of our Affiliates in Odisha was falsely charged by police on 28th July 2018 and is still in prison and his family are struggling. On 11th February 2019 a father of five, Anant Ram Gand, who had converted to Christ nine months earlier and recently been baptised with his family members in Raigarh Tehsil village was dragged out of his home by three men and beheaded in front of his 6yo son. His wife, Sukbati, is fearful about their future and terrified what the Hindu extremists might do to her and her five children. “But I am sure I will not forsake Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord,” she said. “Please remember us in your prayers so that we stand strong in faith and all our daily needs are met. God bless.” “