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India: "I can die or I can witness. Make me a witness for you."
18 July 2016
"I can die or I can witness. Make me a witness for you."
This was the courageous prayer of Sunita* as she hid in a goat shed from her attackers. She had been beaten with bamboo rods by a group of men until she was unconscious, then dragged to the edge of her town. When she awoke, her wrist was broken; a bone was sticking out of it. She had no idea if her sister, Meena*, who was also beaten, was alive or dead.
Sunita and Meena's only crime was to decide to leave Hinduism and follow Jesus. Theirs is just one example of the discrimination and violence that is becoming increasingly common for Christians in India. India was number 28 in the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List; last year, it rose to 21; this year, it's number 17. In 2015 Open Doors recorded 179 incidents of men, women and children being beaten by Hindu extremists. For the first quarter of 2016 alone, we have recorded 132 such incidents.
Sunita is only 25, but has already experienced more persecution than most will face in a lifetime. And yet, she has refused to give up her faith in Christ. As she hid in that goat shed, she says: "I prayed that God's will be done."
She was reunited with Meena shortly afterwards. Open Doors partners have been able to provide them with food and pay for their medical expenses; they now live in hiding. Meena says: "Thank you for praying and helping us. You help us stand strong."
*names changed for security reasons.
WATCH MEENA AND SUNITA'S STORY
STAND WITH YOUR CHURCH FAMILY IN INDIA
Open Doors works through local partners in India to provide persecuted Christians with Bibles and Christian literature, holistic training, livelihood and community development, adult literacy programmes, vocational education, advocacy support, legal seminars, and urgent aid and relief.
- Pray. Use the prayer points below. You could show the video below in your church or small group, and ask them to pray for Christians in India too.
- Give. Every £36 can equip a rapid response team of local volunteers for three weeks. This team helps to provide food, medical care and legal aid for victims of persecution.
- Speak out. The Indian constitution assures all citizens of the right to 'profess, practise and propagate any religion', yet Christians in India are frequently denied this right. Write to the Indian High Commission and urge them to raise these concerns with the Indian government.
- For healing and provision for Meena and Sunita
- That their family and community would encounter Jesus and decide to follow Him
- For wisdom and energy for Open Doors partners in India working to support victims of persecution
- That the Indian government will do more to protect minorities, including Christians.
More News from India:
- Pastor attacked with a sword and left for dead
- 'Firebrand' appointed Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh
- Hindu nationalist party makes big gains in elections
- Churches warned to not celebrate Christmas
- Christian woman stripped and beaten to death
Find out more about persecution in India.