Atts was going through some old letters the other day and came across one mailed from south India in 1994 telling a strange story of persecution.
The story was about an evangelist who set out on a forty-kilometer trip with a bike-load of Bibles. Along the way he was stopped by a bullock cart filled with anti-Christian extremists who jumped out of the cart and surrounded him. They demanded to know where he was going and why he had so many Bibles. They seized the Bibles, tore them apart, threw them on the ground and poured kerosene on them and burned them up. They threatened him.
An old lady approached and demanded to know what the extremists were doing to the man on the bike. She scared them away. They jumped in their cart and hurried off. The evangelist thanked the woman for scaring the men away and then got on his bike and continued on to the village he had planned on reaching. When he got there he again was surrounded by anti-Christian extremists, and he gave them the only thing he had left: tracts.
They showed some interest and so he slowly explained the story of Jesus to them and they seemed very interested. The evangelist told them of the problem he had along the way with the other group of anti-Christian extremists and they became very angry. They said let’s hurry and catch those men and beat them up! The evangelist stopped them. He said, “Jesus said that we must love our enemies!” Their hearts were touched at this follower of Jesus who refused to go after the men who burned his Bibles.
This occurred in the early nineties and persecution has intensified greatly since then. There is regular intimidation of Christians. One church meets in a cemetery because the anti-Christian extremists don’t dare to come into that place. In spite of all the fear and terror the church continues to grow as God transforms India. Pray for the Indian evangelists and pastors who are under constant, daily threat of persecution.
Until India is transformed,
John and Atts DeVries