October 21, 2008
[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.