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The Church in India is Growing in the Presence of Persecution

May 31, 2024 |  By Kelly Locklear

Reports from a recent trip to India indicate that the persecution of Christians is still on the rise. It has been a hard year already for many of the ministers and their families because of increasing government restrictions on the spread of any minority religion. In some parts of India, mobs of angry religious fanatics have driven Christians from their homes, stolen their property, and beaten them. Some have even been murdered.

Conferences in India

Some conferences were recently held for pastors and their wives that were focused on supporting a healthy family life and to encourage ministry leaders in light of the current persecution in the country. Believers from a church in North Carolina wanted to see how the ministries were doing and attended two of the conferences.

Even with all the precautions taken, leadership was contacted by the “Intelligence.” They demanded to know why foreigners were in the country visiting. Concerns especially centered on what their purpose was and whether they were giving any financial benefits to the Indian people. They were suspicious about why so many pastors were gathered since public preaching is not allowed. Leadership has to plan very carefully for such events.

Perseverance in the Faith

A remarkable number of people in the remote regions of India have become Christians. However, many of them keep their faith a secret so they do not lose the much-needed government funding they receive if they are from a tribal group. And if they do declare to the authorities that they have changed their religion, they are asked how they came to know about the new religion and who shared the Gospel with them. In that way, the leaders and the missionaries are jeopardized. For this reason, much of the church in India has gone underground.

More than 100 pastors came to each conference, along with at least 50 wives, who met separately for their own conferences. Three motorbikes were dedicated for field work. The women are requesting sewing machines to help earn extra income since they already face serious financial struggles trying to feed and clothe their families.

The Growing Body of Christ

At one conference, during a gathering for the evening mealtime, the leaders of the event reported on how many people had been reached with the Gospel in the past year. Over 5,000 people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.Under the current persecution, the number is truly overwhelming.

Evaluating the impact of the persecution on the believers in India, especially the pastors and their families, it is easy to conclude it is teaching them valuable lessons about how to care for the Body of Christ. The difficulty has caused these Christians to forge stronger and closer relationships with their brothers and sisters. Getting together with other pastors and pastors’ wives, attending meetings, singing, and eating meals together have strengthened their faith in the Lord, as well as grown their unity with each other.

Everyone left the conferences very encouraged and renewed. They know that their supporters – in some cases, brothers and sisters on the other side of the world – are praying for them. Knowing they are not alone on the battlefield means so much. In spite of any persecution or obstacle that may get in the way, they are learning to see each other as family. As one ministry leader said, “God is in charge and He’s building His church – even stronger.”

To pray for the missionaries who are working in spite of persecution, download the 7 Days prayer guide to know how to pray specifically.