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India!

August 27, 2008 Leave a comment

I have not posted anything new here for awhile, but wanted to update you on Tim and Kevin’s travels.  Please read his email below and also the post below this on Orissa State:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Kevin and I have sought a way that we could convey to you the powerful work of God we are seeing firsthand, but words cannot do it justice. It is beyond description to see young men and women shared from God’s Word the value of their walk with Christ, and their roles within the family and the church. Our teaching continues to be reduced greatly as we see the Holy Spirit working though His indigenous people teaching the Word of God. The leaders here say they have NEVER seen anything like this, me neither. Right before our eyes we are seeing the Word, like a “hammer breaking a rock,” break their perceived concepts of family and church as it relates to church planting. I am realizing more and more that our task is more about undoing than doing. Anyway, enough of this, I want to share with you an urgent prayer request.
Our brothers and sisters in Orissa State, India are experiencing great persecution. The past several years they have experienced persecution but as the Gospel and Word spreads like in Acts, the persecution intensifies. A couple of days ago, terrorist kill a prominent Hindu leader and then blamed it on the Christians. The past coupl e of days they have carried his body through the villages to incite the Hindus against the Christians. We were receiving hourly reports until noon yesterday when they cut all communications off. The police have been rendered helpless in this matter. The newspapers have been censored for obvious reasons. Yesterday morning’s paper had a small and brief article on the situation.
This is the last report that we had yesterday at noon.  All the church buildings have been destroyed. They then started destroying the homes of Christians burning their grass huts and blowing up the mortar homes with dynamite. One child had been burned to death, with many other believers being burned. The last report from an Orissa pastor here at our meeting, who cannot go back home, one pastor killed, and a priest was tied to a tree and most church leaders had fled to the mountains and jungles to hide. This pastor’s wife and sons are back in Orissa State and he is really hurting.
The good news, this will only work to spread and expand His Church. Last year a pastor in Nepal shared with Dale and me how they had burned their church building and homes about ten years ago. As a result, they scattered and one local church of about 60 people became over 30 churches of va rious sizes and locations. I would like to tell the Hindus and BJP authori ties, if they want to destroy the church and her power, treat it like we do in USA. (Sorry, I could not resist saying this.)
Our hearts ache for our brothers and sisters. So, we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Please pray for their protection, wisdom, joy and comfort, and of course, pray for their persecutors. India, with more unreached people groups than the whole world combined, probably remains the last frontier for the gospel but God is and Will BUILD His Church. Amen!
In Grace,
Tim and Kevin

AFTERMATH OF SWAMI’S KILLING: THE CHRISTIAN VICTIMS LIST

August 27, 2008 1 comment

1) NUN BURNT ALIVE: A nun was burnt to death on 25th, Monday, after an orphanage was torched in at Phutpali in Bargarh district in Orissa during a bandh called by Hindu nationalist parties.Twenty children, who were at the orphanage, managed to escape but a priest suffered serious burn injuries in the attack. 

2) RASANANDA PRADHAN TORCHED ALIVE: Another person, Rasananda Pradhan, was burnt to death when his house was set ablaze at Rupa village in Kandhamal district. 

3) INFLAMMATORY SPEECHES TARGET CHRISTIANS: During the bandh inflammatory speeches spreading hatred against the Christian workers and the community were given by the VHP leaders. To gain the mass support,the activists have also carried the body of Swamiji throughout the town. 

4) CHURCHES BURNT ALL ACROSS ORISSA STATE: Churches were attacked in Khurda, Bargarh, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Koraput, Boudh, Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur and Kandhamal districts as also in the state capital, police sources said, adding 40 houses were set ablaze in Phulbani town. 

5) BUSES AND VEHICLES TORCHED: Mr. Mishra Digal was beaten up, while the motorcycles of Mr. R. K. Digal and Jitendra were burnt. Several buses at Gee Udaigiri in Baliguda were burnt. 

6) PULBANI CHURCH RANSACKED: The Church at Phulbani,and several other churches at Phiringia were attacked and ransacked. Pastor D. Tatson’s house was vandalized and his property burnt. 

7) KAKRIGUMA CHURCHES VANDALISED: Churches in Kakriguma have been targeted by the mob that reportedly damaged the Assembly Of God Church and the Philadelphia Church. 

8 ) WORLD VISION STAFF FLED FOR SAFETY: World Vision India office ransacked and the Staff has also fled to jungle for protection. 

9) CHRISTIANS TAKE SHELTER IN FOREST FOR PROTECTION: A police camp at Barakhama was also attacked by the Hindu fundamentalists. With several houses being burnt down and people being made homeless, many Christians,particularly from Nua Sahi, Munda Sahi and Suna Tonga have fled into forests for their lives. 

10) NUN RAPED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed. 

11) SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was then set afire. 

12) BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008 evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent and hostel damaging the properties. 

13) CHRISTIAN BOYS HEADS TONSURED: The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads. 

14) PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in Phulbani, the district headquarter town. 

15) MOTHER TERESA BROTHERS ASHRAM ATTACKED: Mobs attacked the Mother Teresa Brothers’ residence and hospital in Srasanada, destroyed once before and rebuilt two months ago, and beat up the patients. 

16) BHUBANESWAR BISHOP’S HOUSE ATTACKED: On the morning of 25th August 2008, violent mobs made several attempts to enter the compounds of Catholic Church and Archbishop’s house in the heart of the Capital of the State of Orissa. They could not enter because of the police presence. They threw stones at the guesthouse of Archbishop’s House, damaging windows. 

17) DUBURI PARISH: Another group of fundamentalists entered presbytery in Duburi parish, managed by the SVDs and destroyed and damaged property. Two priests of the parish are missing. 

18) Mr. Jamaj Pariccha, Director of Gramya Pragati, is attacked and his property damaged, vehicle looted and burnt. 

19) A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar is also damaged. 

20) Christian institutions like St. Arnold’s School (Kalinga Bihar) and NISWASS report some damage. 

21) BOUDH DISTRICT [Adjoining Kandhamal]: Fundamentalists enter the Catholic parish church and destroy property. People are fleeing to safer places. But nothing seems safe. 

22) MUNIGUDA: Muniguda Catholic Fathers and Nuns’ residence have been damaged. 

23) SAMBALPUR: HM Sister’s residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage. 

24) PADANPUR: One priest is attacked and admitted to a hospital. Hostel boys and the in charge have moved away from the place. 

25) MADHUPUR: Madhupur Catholic Church currently under attack. 

26) SMALL CHURCHES: Attempted violence on small churches in various districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera, Dangsoroda, Narayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada, Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapad, Srasanranda. 

27) VILLAGE CHRISTIAN HOUSES ATTACKED: Houses attacked on forest hamlets of Balliguda, Kanjamandi Nuaguam (K.Nuaguam), Tiangia (G.Udayagiri), Padangiri, Tikabali. 

28) KALAHANDI DISTRICT: Houses burnt even though the district is more than 300 kilometers from the place where Swami Lakshmanananda was killed. 

29) PASTORS’ HOUSE BURNT: Pastor Sikandar Singh of the Pentecostal Mission beaten up and his house burnt in Bhawanipatna. 

30) KHARIHAR: 3 Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up. 

31) AAMPANI: Pastor David Diamond Pahar, Pastor Pravin Ship, Pastor Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their families. 

32) NAKTIKANI: Mob surrounds village to attack Christians. 

The government has sent forces, it is reported. A delegation of Christian leaders under the leadership of Archbishop Vincent Concessao, the President of National United Christian Forum of CBCI, NCCI and EFI, met the Home Minister Shri Shiv Raj Patil and submitted a memorandum. The Home Minister assured the delegation all necessary steps have been taken to maintain peace and harmony and protect the innocent. He also expressed his helplessness by stating that police protection cannot be given in all villages. 

[This list is compiled with assistance from Archbishop’s House, Bhubaneswar, John Dayal, Light Foundation and EFI News reporters and other sources]