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Archive for October, 2012

Gospel Going Forth Despite Government Crackdown on Christians, Churches

October 19th, 2012 Comments off

 

Evangelism

Gospel for Asia missionaries share the love of Jesus.

 

Gospel for Asia missionary Benita Viswanathan was arrested and jailed for preaching the Gospel in Bhutan in 2006. In 2007, she was appointed village head, or tshokpa.

Benita has been trusted with the authority to settle local disputes. She also represents the villagers’ concerns before the government on issues such as education, health and development. Because of her new role, Benita is more respected in the village and is also able to share the Gospel with much more ease.

Benita’s situation did not look so positive in June 2006. The Bhutanese government was cracking down on Christianity, closing churches and threatening to tear them down and putting Christians like Benita in jail. The authorities did not view these actions as persecution of the Christian church. Rather, they viewed them as an effort to uphold the law that makes it illegal to attempt to convert anyone away from Buddhism, the country’s official religion.

Christians refused to let the crackdown deter their worship. Instead, they broke into smaller groups and met in homes, a practice they continue today. Although the government threatened to tear down the church buildings, they are all still standing. No new churches are allowed to be constructed, however.

Christians in Bhutan

Christians in Bhutan are not allowed to meet in their church buildings right now. Many congregations are gathering in alternative locations, and people are still coming to Christ.

In southeastern Bhutan, GFA missionaries Dileshwar and Meenuka Subba are still sharing the Gospel and seeing many lives changed as a result. They have found that GFA’s Film Ministry is playing a vital role in helping them reach this area of Bhutan. In just one month, 12 people received Jesus as their Savior after seeing the film. These new Christians are regularly meeting for worship and prayer.

The situation in Bhutan is expected to improve. Residents of this tiny, remote and impoverished country are transitioning from a monarchy to a democratic form of government.

Benita, Dileshwar and Vinmugil ask for continued prayer for the country. They ask that you pray for continued favor with the government—especially the first legislators who will soon be elected by the people. Also pray that the Christians would be allowed back into their churches and that the laws against sharing one’s faith would be overturned.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

 

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Elephants Trample Believers’ Homes

October 5th, 2012 Comments off

 

Destroyed Hut

Like this hut, Shari and Daman’s homes were completely destroyed by an elephant rampage.

A herd of elephants barreled through a small village in West Bengal, India, completely destroying the homes of two Christians who attend a Gospel for Asia-related church. The believers fled their homes as they heard the elephants crashing toward their huts on January 29.

Shari Manini and Daman Kuvam and their families both regularly worship the Lord at the church where GFA native missionary Mohak Etash serves as pastor. The elephants completely crushed their homes and belongings during the rampage, along with several other houses in the village. No casualties have been reported at this time.

Located near a dense forest, the village is often damaged by elephants. Residents have nowhere else to go, so they are forced to endure the frequent terror of the elephant visits.

Elephants

In many rural areas throughout India, roaming elephants pose a threat to the villages.

“Sometimes the elephants trample through our fields just before harvest time, destroying the food we have worked to produce,” said another believer from Mohak’s church.

Mohak and others from the church are doing everything they can to aid the victims of this recent incident. Shari, who is a widow, and her two children are staying with another family whose hut was only partially damaged by the same herd of elephants. Daman has also found a safe place to stay.

Mohak requests prayer that the believers will grow stronger in their faith through this tragedy. He also requests prayer that the Lord would provide Shari and Daman with new homes soon.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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