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Christians and Cows in India

Fact
McDonald’s restaurants in India do not serve beef in their burgers. Instead they sell vegetarian products, as well as chicken and fish.

Cows are respected and protected in India because they are honored in the Hindu religion and because they are useful to rural families. About 80 percent of the people in India are Hindus, though there are also more than 20 million Christians. Laws in some parts of the country forbid killing or eating cattle.

(Photo: Cattle in Uttar Pradesh, India, near the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s best- known landmarks.)

Radical Hindu “cow protection” groups attack people who sell or eat beef products, including Christians. Through social media, they encourage others to join their attacks. Sometimes the police protect the attackers from arrest after the attacks.

Read more about Christians in India below and in the book Bold Believers in India, available in the Downloads section.

What It Means to Follow Christ in India
Radical Hindu informants live in nearly every village and report on the activities of Christians, resulting in attacks and arrests. Christians in India are open and visible. When they are attacked, they often drop charges against their attackers to show forgiveness.

Churches have been demolished and burned, worship gatherings have been disrupted, crosses in graveyards have been vandalized, Bibles and other Christian literature have been confiscated and burned, and more pastors are being beaten and jailed.

Christians are often arrested and held for up to three weeks after being falsely accused of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity. With assistance, they are usually able to post bail or show that the charges are unfounded. (Source: VOM’s Global Prayer Guide and Global Prayer Journal)


Amy Carmichael’s Birthday

Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland 152 years ago on December 16, 1867. During her time as a missionary in India, she freed many children from captivity in Hindu temples. Amy died in 1951, but the children she helped grew up to serve Jesus and to take care of more children in India.

Enter “Carmichael” in the Search box to learn more about Amy’s life. Then click here to read  “Torchlighters Shine On: Amy Carmichael and the Dohnavur Fellowship,” a Torchlighters blog post about the people in India who continue the work she started.

(Photo credit: Dohnavur Fellowship)


India: Christian Visitors and a Sick Terrorist

Each year The Voice of the Martyrs works through its global network of staff and partners to reach the children of persecuted Christians in restricted nations and hostile areas with a special Christmas Care Pack. The contents are tailored to the needs of children in each region. (See the photo above of a boy in India with his Christmas Care Pack.) Sometimes Christians share the packs with non-Christian neighbors.

One of the people in India whose village received clothes, candy, and other items from Christmas Care Packs sent VOM the following message.

At Christmastime, a group of Christians arrived in our village. They sang Christmas songs, distributed clothes, and passed out candy to everyone. It was strange thing for me because I was a non-Christian. “These are not our people, but they love us!” I thought. “What must be the reason?”

I went to a church and asked the pastor. He told me about Jesus and gave me a Bible to read.

Expelled and Threatened
We didn’t have peace in my family. We prayed to our gods to solve the problems, but our problems were increasing. “Why should I not pray to Jesus?” I asked myself. I started praying to Jesus about our problems. All our problems solved one by one.

My parents thought that all our problems got solved by themselves. So I had to tell them that I was praying to Jesus about our problems. In just a few days, they too accepted Jesus. Then the pastor baptized us in the church.

Our tribal leaders found out about our decision to follow Christ, and they became furious. They kicked us out of our tribe. We lost all our privileges. People stopped talking to us. Later terrorists came to our church and ordered us not to have a gospel meeting.

A week after that, one of the terrorists came to me and said, “On the same evening that we warned you not to have a gospel meeting, our leader got sick. We gave him medicine, we prayed to our gods, but he is not getting healed. We believe that this sickness has come because we threatened you to stop Jesus’ work. Please pray for our leader.”

What do you think the Christian did? Do you think he was afraid of what might happen if the terrorist leader was not healed? Read more below.

“Jesus, you are all powerful,” I said in my heart, and then I prayed for that leader. In a few hours he got healed completely. “Go ahead, conduct the meeting for Jesus,” the terrorists said.

All the believers in our church rejoiced in the Lord. There was no one to stop the gospel meeting, because the Lord had brought the terrorists to our side. By this miracle of Jesus, many came to know Him.”

(Source: VOM contacts. Edited for length and clarity.)

Check The Voice of the Martyrs magazine or visit christmascare.com for information about how to participate in this year’s Christmas Care project.


Diwali

An important Hindu festival is Diwali, the Festival of Lights (also spelled “Divali” or “Devali”). It will be celebrated this week.

More than 900 million people in the world are Hindus. India has the largest number of Hindus. Diwali is celebrated in many countries where Hindus live. In India and some other places, Indians of other religions also celebrate Diwali.

During the days of Diwali, people light lamps, set off fireworks, eat desserts, give gifts, and recall legends about gods and goddesses honored in Hinduism.

Hinduism
God has made us with a longing in our hearts to be close to him. (See Acts 17:26–27 and Ecclesiastes 3:11.) Many Hindus feel that longing, too. But they do not believe, or have not been told, that the way to be close to God is through his Son, Jesus. So they try to fill that longing with other gods, rituals, and works.

Some Hindus add Jesus to the list of gods they honor, but do not forsake other gods. The Bible tells us we must have no other gods.

Pray that Hindus will meet Christians who can tell them about Jesus, the light of the world, and that they will open their hearts to Him. Pray especially for radical Hindus who oppose Christianity in India and other places.


Blind to the Truth

Sundar Singh was a Christian from India who died many years ago. He once told the following story.

“Suppose you are walking down the street and you see a blind man coming toward you. It is your responsibility to move to one side so you won’t run into each other. It is not the blind man’s responsibility. He does not know you are nearby, because he can’t see you. If you and the blind man accidentally bump into each other, you would say, ‘Excuse me.’ Then you would help him on his way. It would not make sense to get angry with the blind man for the accident.

“In the same way, if a person who is blind to the truth persecutes us because we follow Jesus, we must not get angry. We should forgive him. We must love and pray for him. Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44).”

[Photo: Varanasi, a Hindu stronghold in India]