THINGS IN COMMONBy admin
If there is one thing in common among those who are being persecuted for following the Lord Jesus Christ in South Asia, it’s the fact that they are being persecuted by people from every religion in the Affinity. Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus are rising up in anger against the church where it is making inroads into the darkest corners of South Asia. Nearly one billion Hindus, almost five hundred million Muslims and over thirty million Buddists inhabit these lands, along with Sikhs, Jains and Maoists.
In one area, some colleagues arrived at a church for a follow up meeting. There was chaos when they arrived. The pastor and his daughter had been attacked by zealous Hindus with machetes. The attackers had come to attack his daughter because of her witness and the pastor stepped in to stop them. They were both deeply wounded. Blood was everywhere. The attackers were neighbors who wanted the church closed. They had taken the church to court trying to get their land by saying they didn’t rightfully own it. Eventually it spilled over into blood.
My colleague took them immediately to the nearest hospital about an hour away where they were treated and slowly began to recover. The pastor and his daughter did not file a complaint against the perpetrators. When they returned to their home days later, tensions were high. They decided not to press charges against their attackers, but instead shared the Gospel with them. They are an example of many believers who have done similar things when persecuted for their faith in Christ.
Another colleague met Mr. Trip Pun recently. His long matted hair and crimson red robe identified him as a Hindu holy man. Through the witness of a local evangelist, he gave his life to Christ and has truly been transformed.
When he was baptized, his family all cried. They were very happy when he was a sadhu (Hindu holy man), but when he abandoned all that to become a Christian, they were very sad. When they cried, it made him feel happy. It was as though they were watching him die when he was baptized—just as Jesus had died for him. When he was brought out of the water it was as if he became new again.
He faced a lot of persecution after he became a believer, not only from Tribals but from Muslims and Hindus. He destroyed the temple and the idol where he used to worship as a holy man. As he said, “That idol could never tell me one good word, and the temple never did anything for me, so I destroyed it.” There are two or three young men in his village who have become believers due to his witness.
One local brother was training his network of leaders how to work through persecution or arrest. This brother taught that when someone is arrested they do not necessarily want someone to come in and post their bail; but they do want to know that people are praying for them to be bold and for them to share with the people around them. He said, “Don’t pay the fine.” This would only cause them to be arrested more often. They also believe that the people who heard the Gospel and were saved while they were in jail would not have heard otherwise.
South Asian believers are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus—and standing firm! Will you pray for them?
Darren Cantwell* serves with the Affinity of South Asian Peoples (ASAP) where he serves as the Affinity Group Strategy Leader, working with those who are called to reach 1.5 billion people in the most concentrated heart of darkness in the world. Darren and his wife Yvonne* were first appointed in 1991 to South Asia where they served for eight years. Later they served in Indonesia and Singapore with the Pacific Rim Region before returning to serve with ASAP. Darren is from Arizona and Yvonne is from Alabama—both are graduates of Southwestern Seminary in Texas.
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