We have received an update from one of our missionary partners in South Asia that repressive acts targeting Christians continue to escalate in his country. The country was officially declared a secular state several years back. Yet sanctions recently approved by its top leaders evidently suppress Christians and those belonging to other minority religions.
Our partner is part of a national Christian advocacy group fighting to stem the rising ride of persecution in the land. The country’s law makes religious conversion a criminal offense. Their organization has diligently represented Christians who have been arrested and jailed for proselytizing. It is seeking to defend the right of the country’s growing number of Christians to share their faith. The Christians living in the nation number around 375,000 out of a population of 26 million.
Some emerging radical groups have systematically threatened followers of the majority religion and people in the upper crust of society. Unfortunately for the Christian population, these extremists sometimes claim that their hostile acts are in the name of Christianity. One activist group shot a ranking member of the majority religion early in April. The shooting has further engendered anti-Christian sentiment, as a note purportedly found by the police in the crime scene made reference to the Bible.
In a recent secret meeting with a top government official, the advocacy group told him that these hostile groups are counterfeit Christians. They explained that Christians are not aggressive but are the most loyal and prayerful people in the nation.
Our missionary partner bemoans the lack of unity in the body of Christ in his country. Denominational differences seem to take precedence over Christianity’s unifying foundational precepts. Sadly, opponents of Christianity are aware of this disunity and seek to exploit it.
Amidst these challenging circumstances, the organization strives to work hard with the government. With very meager resources, it earnestly pursues its advocacy campaign on behalf of persecuted individual Christians and churches.
Believers certainly face enormous odds as the environment becomes progressively hostile. Our missionary partner and the advocacy group have been courageously standing up for the rights of the Christian minority in this so-called secular state. Your prayers will go a long way in supporting its invaluable services to our suffering brothers and sisters in this South Asian country.