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India: Families Ignored and Excluded

Praising God in India

Suppose you wake up one morning, dress and eat breakfast, and head out the door to walk to a store to buy some food for your mother to fix for lunch. “Good morning!” you say to your neighbor. But she turns away and doesn’t answer your greeting.

You pass several more people you know and classmates from school, but all of them refuse to speak to you. When you get to the store, you choose what you want to buy, but the store owner ignores you and won’t even take your money. So you start home, empty handed. On the way home, friends and neighbors cross the road instead of passing close to you or greeting you.

Six Christian families in India had to deal with similar treatment. At a village meeting earlier this year, the families and their pastor were ordered to stop being Christians or be “socially excommunicated.” But the families would not deny Jesus.

“Excommunicate” usually means to be excluded from activities of a church. It can also mean that someone is excluded from a group other than a church. When the villagers socially excommunicated the Christians, they quit talking and associating with them.

Pray that the Christians will stay strong in their faith and grow closer to Jesus, even when they are treated rudely. Pray that others in the village will be drawn to Christ after seeing the Christians’ bold faith.


No Complaints

Leanna Cinquanta, a missionary to India, recently visited The Voice of the Martyrs and shared stories of Indian Christians with VOM workers.

“Every 40 hours, another Christian [in India] is attacked,” Leanna told the workers. “Persecution in India has now become a lifestyle; it’s not an incident….It’s not an event; it’s in the atmosphere.”

But Indian Christian pastors are persevering. They understand that persecution is part of being a Christian. (See 2 Timothy 3:12.) The pastors are persevering under persecution, not complaining.

Needed: Duct tape, scissors, writing instruments (optional)
Cut a piece of duct tape 1 inch longer than necessary to fit around your wrist. Cut off the top half of the strip 1 inch from the right end and the bottom half of the strip 1 inch from the left end. Fold the tape in half lengthwise, sticky sides together. Wrap the tape around your wrist, fastening it by pressing the exposed sticky parts together. (You may want to write a Bible verse on your band.)

Read aloud Philippians 2:14 and 4:4, and James 1:2. Many persecuted Christians talk about how they experienced God’s comfort during their struggles. God’s presence helps them to not complain.

Try praising God instead of complaining when things do not go your way. Keep your wristband on as long as you can. When you complain about something, remove it. You may want to ask family members or classmates to join you in the project and see who can keep their band on the longest, while remembering Christians who rejoice in spite of their trials.

Langdi, A Game of India

Children playing langdi

Divide students into two teams with an equal number of players. Set off a small area as a playing field. To begin, one team is on the field, and a “raider” team is off the field. The raider team sends one raider (player) into the territory of the team on the field. The raider must hop on one foot while tagging as many players as possible.

The other team’s players try to run away from the raider to avoid being tagged, but they must stay within the boundaries of the field. If the raider’s other foot touches the ground, he or she is out of the game. If he or she is able to hop off the court on one foot successfully, anyone he or she tagged is out.

After the raiders’ turn, the teams switch positions. Those who were tagged out during the first raiders’ turn stay out of the game. The game is over when all the players on one team are out. The other team wins. If raiders are having difficulty tagging members of the other team, reduce the size of the playing field.

(Source: Bold Believers in India, available in the free Downloads section)

India: Poonam’s New Bible

Poonam and her torn Bible

The majority of people in India are Hindus, and Poonam was no exception. But she decided to leave the Hindu religion and follow Jesus! (See more about what Hindus believe here.)

At first, Poonam kept her new faith a secret from her Hindu husband. But one day, he found her Bible and tore it up in anger. After a while, he was so angry that he kicked her out of the house and would not let her see their two sons and daughter anymore.

Poonam moved in with relatives. Every day she prayed for her situation to improve. Other Christians prayed with her, and one day a Christian friend brought her a new Bible to replace the one her husband tore up. Poonam was so happy, she cried.

Poonam’s husband is still a Hindu, but in answer to her prayers, his heart has softened toward her, and their family is now back together. Sometimes he even attends church with Poonam. Please pray that he will come to Christ and will also understand and believe the truths in Poonam’s precious Bible.

India: We Keep Doing the Ministry

Dr. Carl Moeller is the leader of Biblica, the International Bible Society. He recently spoke with VOM’s Todd Nettleton on Part of the interview is below. (Edited for length, clarity, and reading level.)


Children in India reading the Bible

Dr. Moeller: When I talk to pastors and church leaders and evangelists in the persecuted church, their idea of being blessed is quite different. They say, “We consider it a privilege to suffer for Christ, and in so doing we know that our reward will be eternal.”

There is a movement that is trying to get rid of Christianity in India, and there are millions and millions of Christians in India. This could be a very, very bad situation in the next decade or so.

I met two evangelists in their early 20s who told me about their ministry in India. They went out by twos, like in the New Testament. [See Mark 6:7-12.] They would go from village to village. They would pray, and as the Spirit led them to different villages, they distributed Bibles, prayed for people, and healed some of the people. Then they would move on.

Well, a Hindu group heard about these guys. The Hindus beat them senseless; they were beaten and left for dead. They were actually thrown off a bridge leading into a village. They landed in the mud flats below and were unconscious.

Both of them woke up the next morning, and you can imagine this beating. They were beaten with a pipe. I saw the scar on the head of one of them. I said, “What did you do?”

They answered, “We washed off in the river and then we went back into the village to keep doing the ministry.”

To Think About
Read Acts 14:19-22. How is Paul’s story in Acts like the story of the evangelists in India?
Why do the persecuted Christians consider it a privilege to suffer for Christ?