I posted this on our ministry blog, but it’s urgent enough that I thought I’d post it here as well. There is major persecution occurring right now in Orissa, India, that is NOT getting coverage on the U.S. news. We need to be in constant prayer for our brothers and sisters in hiding at this very moment! The following is a letter written by the BCM President and his wife, Marty and Jeanette Windle, dated August 30th. Very little has changed, to our knowledge, since this was written. Please pray. This battle is much bigger than we can see with physical eyes.
Dear praying friends:
We are writing with heavy hearts asking for urgent prayer. While the USA is in election fever, wars are waging across our planet that our news seems to have no interest in covering. Little has been said of over 3000 Christians who have been burned out of churches and homes just in the last few days since Monday in Orissa, India. The catalyst was the killing of a Hindu extremist leader by Maoist rebels. Police and rebels acknowledged openly who was responsible for the hit, but radical Hindus promptly used the killing to call for mass reprisals on Christians, which in the last few days has far surpassed what did hit the US news on Christmas Day. A Catholic aid worker was burned alive when her orphanage was torched with her in it. Many of you prayed for our BCM pastor Dasarath Digal and his elders who were jailed Christmas Day for murder when a Hindu extremist fell to his death from the roof of their church while tearing down its cross. This morning we received word that Pastor Dasarath’s son has been murdered by the Hindu extremists. He has quite young children, so we aren’t even sure yet of the boy’s age.
ALL BCM churches in the region are now destroyed, every pastor scattered. We have currently not been able to locate more than one or two of them. After Pastor Jonathan was beaten and left for dead last week, we received word of four more BCM pastors attacked, all by the same radical Hindu group. The police know exactly who is involved, but refuse to arrest them. Pastor Nayak, our area supervisor, is in hiding with his family. He has been listed at the top of a local Hindu hit list. As soon as the curfew lifts we will attempt to smuggle him and his family out before the radicals locate and kill him. We are trying to gather resources to take our remaining pastors and families to Palasas (neighboring to Orissa) where the small BCM church is preparing to receive them. This is the same church that hosted the Orissa pastors conference when Marty met with them there the end of June. We will keep them hidden and safe there temporarily, regroup, and help them recover.
40,000 Christian schools and colleges across India closed their doors Friday to protest the violence. Representation has been made to both the Indian government to intervene and the US government to speak out for religious freedom. Right now there seems little interest on either end. A curfew has been imposed. and police have been given shoot-to-kill authority, but since the state government itself is radical Hindu, they have simply encouraged the mobs.
At the moment it seems as though all BCM Orissa ministry has been swept away by the violence. But though Satan may think he has won, God IS in control. Churches can be destroyed, but not the Body of Christ. Time and time again our BCM missionaries and pastors have picked up after attacks and insisted on going back to continue speaking God’s Word and bearing a Christian witness in their community, as have other Christians as well. In Revelation 3:8-9, Jesus Himself gave witness to another body of believers suffering great persecution, the church of Philadelphia, “I know you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan . . . come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that have loved you.”
In the stronghold of evil forces committed to blotting out any message of God’s love in India, please pray together with us for these brave, dear brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. Scripture tells us that when one part of the Body in Christ suffers, every part suffers. Right now part of our body is in deep pain, and our own hearts ache deeply with these wonderful people we have come to know and love. Pray that they will truly experience God’s love holding them close in the midst of man’s hate. Pray for wisdom to know what to do next, and for resources to cover basic safety and life necessities. And above all, pray for Pastor Dasarath’s family who after enduring the six months he spent in jail are now grieving the murder of their son.
Serving together with the Body of Christ,
Marty and Jeanette Windle