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World for Widows

The World for Widows area of this website is to be a place of news from around the world.
 

October 21, 2008

Orissa, India

[Some names have been omitted for safetyís sake]

 

We have never seen anything like this.

We knew that Orissa was the most resistant and hostile State in India as far as the Gospel is concerned. And we brushed off the continuous threats and harassment we faced as we went about His work. But none of our staff imagined that they would see this kind of carnage.... And it seems to be totally under the radar of the Western Media....

Let me explain.... A militant Hindu priest and 4 of his attendants, who were zealously going around the villages of Orissa and 'reconverting' people back to Hinduism, were gunned down by unknown assailants in Central Orissa last weekend. Immediately the Christians were blamed. The cry rose up...'Kill the Christians!' And the horror began.... In the past 4 days, we have first hand witness to hundreds of churches being blown up or burned and many, many dozens of Christian tribals have been slaughtered. For no other reason than they bear the name of Christ.

Night and day I have been in touch with our Directors spread across Orissa... they are right in the middle of all this chaos. In Tihidi, just after the police came to offer protection, a group of 70 blood-thirsty militants came to kill our staff and destroy the home. They were not allowed to get in, but they did a lot of damage by throwing rocks and bricks and smashing our gate, etc.

They have promised to come back and 'finish the job.' Our kids and staff are locked inside and have stayed that way with doors and windows shut for the past 3 days. It has been a time of desperately calling on the Lord in prayer. More police have come to offer protection. In Kalahandi, the police and some local sympathizers got to our dream center and gave our staff and kids about 3 minutes notice to vacate. No one had time to even grab a change of clothes or any personal belonging. As they fled, the blood thirsty mob came to kill everyone in the building. We would have had a mass funeral there, but for His grace.

In Phulbani, the mob came looking for Christian homes and missions. The local Hindu people, our neighbors turned them away by saying that there were no Christians in this area. So they left. We had favor. The same thing happened in Balasore. All our dream centers are under lock down with the kids and staff huddled inside and police outside. The fanatics are circling outside waiting for a chance to kill. Others were not so fortunate. In a nearby Catholic orphanage, the mob allowed the kids to leave and locked up a Priest and a computer teacher in house and burned them to death. Many believers have been killed and hacked into pieces and left on the road.... even women and children.

At another orphanage run by another organization, when this began, the Director and his wife jumped on their motorbike and simply fled, leaving all the children and staff behind. Every one of our directors that I have spoken to said: 'We stay with our kids.... we live together or die together, but we will never abandon what God has called us to do.'

More than 5,000 Christian families have had their homes burned or destroyed.

They have fled into the jungles and are living in great fear waiting for the authorities to bring about peace. But so far, no peace is foreseen. This will continue for another 10 days.... supposedly the 14 day mourning period for the slain Hindu priest. Many more Christians will die and their houses destroyed. Many more churches will be smashed down. The Federal government is trying to restore order and perhaps things will calm down.

We ask for your prayers. Only the Hand of God can calm this storm. None of us know the meaning of persecution. But now our kids and staff know what that means. So many of our kids coming from Hindu backgrounds are confused and totally bewildered at what is happening around them. So many of their guardians have fled into the jungles and are unable to come and get them during these trying times.

Through all this, I am more determined than ever to continue with our goal: the transformation of a community by transforming its children. Orissa will be saved...that is our heart's cry. If we can take these thousands of throw-away children and help them to become disciples of Jesus, they will transform an entire region. It is a long term goal, but it is strategic thinking in terms of the Great Commission.

What can you do?

First, please uphold all this in fervent prayer.

Second, pass this on to as many friends as you can. We must get the word out and increase our prayer base for this is spiritual warfare at its most basic meaning. We are literally fighting the devil in order to live for His Kingdom. The next 10 days are crucial. We pray for peace and calm to pervade across Orissa.

Thank you for taking the time read this. Please pass it on and help us to get as many people to partner with us on this cutting edge effort to fulfill His mandate: Go and make disciples of all nations... Blessings,

Col 2:2,3-  My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

(Names withheld) on the frontlines

October 6, 2008

Din Bandhu Ministries, Maharashtra State, India.

 

Ministry to 160 Widows from Wadar people group.

The Wadars are hardworking nomads found in Maharashtra state. Their principle occupation is stone carving with hammer and chisel. Their women are recognizable by many tattoos on their body. Alcoholism is one of the biggest problems among both men and women.  They are also into using black magic and witchcraft. This people group is having lowest literacy rate, high child mortality rate, and is also one of the least reached people group in the state.

 

On 6th October 2008, 160 widows from Wadar people group coming from Yavatmal and adjoining districts were invited at DinBandhu Ministries. This program was in continuation of the program we had for Suicidal Farmerís widows in December last year. We wanted them to believe that in spite of being rejected by the society they are still very precious in the eyes of the God.

 

Din Bandhu Womenís Ministry team took care of the widows. We could see that they were touched when they saw the love and affection from the team. Mrs. Smita Papade shared Godís love to them. Mrs. Savita Kalaskar also briefed about Godís love and how they are important in His sight as they are His creation. Special prayer was offered for their welfare and future.

 

Honíble Haribhau Rathod, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, was also present for the function. He is from Banjara People group.  In his address he said that we all are children of the same God. We should love one another and we should learn well so that future generations will have prosperity and peace.

 

Rev. Nitin Sardar, Director, DinBandhu shared Godís great love for them. The widows followed the prayer said by him asking the Almighty to shower His blessings on them and their family, to take care of their children and to be a cause of blessing to others.

 

DinBandhu Ministries shared Godís love by giving gifts (kit containing sari, Blanket, two bed sheets, daily utility box containing soap, oil, etc, New Testament, prayer for widow etc.) 

Radhabai who was one among them said with tears in her eyes that after their husbandís death this is for the first time that somebody has honoured them and gave gifts. Astonishingly she said that definitely there is something in your God (Jesus Christ) that has enabled you to love and take care of rejected women like us.  

 

DinBandhu Ministries with openings through this program is now working on devising special strategy for this people group especially for their children. Please pray for the Godís children to come forward to adopt this people group and also to have more evangelists raised from the Wadars.

 

Seeking your prayers and encouragement for expansion of His kingdom.

PRESS RELEASE

Statement made to the Press by Sister Meena

October 24, 2008, New Delhi: On August 24th, around 4:30 pm, hearing the shouting of a large crowd, at the gate of Divyajyoti Pastoral Centre, I ran out through the back door and escaped to the forest along with others. We saw our house going up in flames. Around 8:30 pm we came out of the forest and went to the house of a Hindu gentleman who gave us shelter.

On 25th August, around1:30 pm,the mob entered the room where I was staying in that house, one of them stopped me on my face, caught my hair and pulled me out of the house. Two of them were holding my neck to cut off my head with axe. Others told them to take me out to the road; I saw Fr. Chellan also being taken out and being beaten. The mob consisting of 40-50 men was armed with lathis, axes, spades, crowbars, iron-rods, sickles etc.They took both of us to the main road. Then they led us to the burnt down Janavikas building saying that they were going to throw us into the smouldering fire.

When we reached the Janavikas building, they threw me to the verandah on the way to the dining room which was full of ashes and broken glass pieces. One of them tore my blouse and others my undergarments. Father Chellan protested and they beat him and pulled him out from there. They pulled out my saree and one of the stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me on the verandah mentioned above. When it was over, I managed to get up and put my petticoat and saree. Then another young man caught me and took me to a room near the staircase. He opened his pants and was attempting to rape me when they reached there.

I hid myself under the staircase. The crowd was shouting "where is that sister, come let us rape her, at least 100 people should rape." They found me under the staircase and took me out to the road. There I saw Fr. Chellan was kneeling down and the crowd was beating him. They were searching for a rope to tie us both of us together to burn us in fire. Someone suggested to make us parade naked. They made us walk on the road till Nuagoan market which was half a kilometer from there. They made to fold our hands and walk. I was with petticoat and saree as they had already torn away my blouse and undergarments. They tried to strip even there and I resisted and they went on beating me with hands on my cheeks and head and with sticks on my back several times.

When I reached the market the market place about a dozen of OSAP policemen were there. I went to them asking to protect me and I sat in between two policemen but they did not move. One from the crowd again pulled out from there and they wanted to lock us in their temple mandap. The crowd led me and Fr. Chellan to the Nuagaon block building saying that they will hand us over to BDO. From there along with the block officer the mob took us to police outpost Nuagaon, other policemen remained far.

The mob said that they will come back after eating and one of them who attacked me remained back in the police outpost. Policemen then came to police outpost. They were talking very friendly with the man who had attacked me and stayed back. In police outpost we remained until the inspector in charge of Balliguda with his police team came and took us to Balliguda. They were afraid to take us straight to the police station and they kept us sometimes in jeep. In the garage, from there, they brought us to the station. The inspector in charge and other government officers took me privately and asked whatever happened to me. I narrated everything in detail to the police, how I was attacked, raped, taken away from policemen paraded half naked and how the policemen did not help me when I asked for help while weeping bitterly. I saw the inspector writing down. The inspector asked me "are you interested in filing FIR? Do you know what will be the consequence?" At about 10:00 pm I was taken for medical check-up accompanied by a lady police officer to Balliguda Hospital. They were afraid to keep us in police station, saying the mob may attack police station. So the police took us to the IB (Inspection Bungalow) where CRP men were camping.

On 26th August around 9:00 am, we were taken to Balliguda police station. When I was writing the FIR, the I I C asked me to hurry up and not to write in detail. When I started writing about the police, the I I C told me "this is not the way to write FIR, make it short". So I re-wrote it for the third time in one and half page. I filed the FIR but I was not given a copy of it.

At around 4:00 pm the inspector in charge of Balliguda police station along with some other government officers put us in the OSRTC bus to Bhubaneswar along with other stranded passengers. Police were there till Rangamati where all passengers had their supper. After that I did not see the police. We got down near Nayagarh and traveled in a private vehicle and reached Bhubaneswar around 2:00 am on 27th August.

State Police failed to stop the crimes, failed to protect me from the attackers, they were friendly with the attackers. They tried their best that I did best that I did not register an FIR, not make complaints against police, police did not take down my statement as I narrated in detail and they abandoned me half of the way. I was raped and now I don't want to be victimized by the Orissa police. I want CBI enquiry.

God bless India, God bless you all.

 

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India

 

Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
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