Thursday, August 28, 2008

More tears for India:

[This is email is from someone working in tribal areas in the region near Orissa. For security I have abbreviated and eliminated proper names and place names. Clarifications are in italics & brackets.]

[Beginning of report] “Dear Friends, Orissa burns… Pray for our beloved fellow believers in Jesus. DR. GRAHAM STAINES suffered with his two sons some years ago in a fiery blaze when his vehicle was set ablaze. Now other believers in Jesus are suffering the same way.

“We awoke this morning with the sun shining brilliantly in through our living room windows. What a JOY it was to see it appear after an all night vigil, waiting for reassuring reports that our Children’s Home in B--, Orissa was safe and sound. Plus we have had continuous rain for over a week and the tumultuous clouds had ruled the skies… Yesterday in the evening, phone contact revealed that some 25-30 miscreants, with a container of petrol, had attempted to forcibly enter the campus in B--, Orissa and on not succeeding, broke down the two crosses that had crowned the pillar posts of the main entrance gate.


Gate Entrance to Church & Children’s Home - Crosses were torn down on 25.Aug. 08


Worship Hall in B-- Orissa.


Boys in the B-- Home
.
“THE ABOVE WERE SAVED FROM DESTRUCTION WITH THE TIMELY ARRIVAL OF POLICE YESTERDAY…AUG. 25, 2008. Seven armed constables arrived soon after and the gang scurried for cover. Reports then in came reports of church buildings that had been set ablaze in D--, P-- and V-- and some other ten places in this immediate area. The Indian version of CNN T.V. continued a report of the conflagration spreading throughout the state, every few minutes. A few kilometers outside of B--, a Catholic orphanage for destitute, lower caste girls was set ablaze after the children were allowed to evacuate. It was later revealed that two young girls, fearing for their lives, stayed behind in hiding and went up in flames. A young Catholic nun..(sister) pled with the mob to spare their place of abode, but instead in vengeance they threw her into the blazing building and burnt her alive. The Catholic Priest managed to escape with severe burns from the fire and beatings. He succumbed later to his wounds in the hospital. These reports were conveyed by the constabulary stationed on the B-- Campus.

“On receiving this news 3 battalions of armed Security personnel arrived in the city to protect our property and the Children’s home. Even then, they were apprehensive of the outcome of such a possible encounter and requested Pastor B-- to leave the Church property and to go into hiding outside. He pleaded…”No, I cannot go and will NOT leave the children,” who were some 56 in number. He would have been committing suicide to leave the campus and be confronted by an unruly, angry mob armed with axes, spears and clubs. The armed forces then packed the boys into the girls quarters, with three lady staff members, Pastor B-- and his family and were told to remain quiet and out of sight. They spent the night in prayer, listening to the shouts of the mob outside, seeking revenge for the murder of one of their highly respected [Hindu] priests, by the Jungle Militia, some 100 kilometers to the South. We can say confidently that Christians had nothing to do with that incident, BUT while “ Rome burns; destroy the Christians”, was their goal. The negative report given in the media states that this ‘COMMUNAL TENSION’ has arisen due the large number of convrsons to Christianity by the missionaries, is totally unacceptable and could well be the match that will ignite future fires. The prayers of GOD’S PEOPLE world-wide are requested. Pray for peace and reconciliation in these troubled waters. May His People shine like the morning sun in service to the masses.” [End of report]

What is happening is more or less a pogrom against Christians in Orissa. Currently most of the violence is happening in two districts of the state – it is feared that this will spread. The Hindu, a major national newspaper has carried reports of the violence on the front page for the last several days. This violence has spread due to the murder in Orissa of one of the leaders of a Hindu social / political group called the VHP. Though an investigation of the murder has been ordered by government, elements of the group have framed the murder as a Christian conspiracy against the VHP and violent reprisals have ensued leaving many Christian homes, churches, & other institutions burned. The death toll as reported by The Hindu today was 9 confirmed on Wednesday morning, expected to rise to 14 with unconfirmed incidents during the day on Wednesday.

Please pray for the church in India that it would make Christ’s Name famous in the way it responds to this suffering. Is. 52:13 & 53, 1 Pet. 3:13-18, 1 Pet. 4:12-19.

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