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Archive for July, 2013

Gujarat Enacts Anti-Conversion Law

July 26th, 2013 Comments off

Gospel for Asia missionaries in Gujarat, India, may now face up to three years in prison if they are convicted of “forcibly converting” someone to Christianity. And believers across the state are concerned that the law will open doors for anti-Christian extremists to falsely accuse them of illegal practices.

“Our missionaries are trusting that the Lord will take care of them in this difficult time,” said K.P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia’s founder and president. “Several states in India have enacted these types of laws, but the love of Christ is still going out.”

The state’s legislative assembly passed the “Gujarat Religious Freedom Act,” an anti-conversion law, in 2003. But it remained dormant until April 1, when they finally formalized the rules for its implementation.

Now, if someone responds to the Gospel, the missionary must submit a completed form to the government, which includes detailed information about the person changing his or her faith. Also, the person who is “converting” must report to the government 30 days before the “conversion ceremony”—which includes events like baptism.

If religious workers do not comply with these rules, they will face criminal charges. However, those in the Hindu religion are exempt from the stipulations of the new law, leaving many to believe that it is targeting Christians and Muslims.

The state’s legislative assembly tried to get the rules for the law framed in March. But Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma declared the amendment unconstitutional because it “violated Article 25 of the (Indian) constitution, which guarantees to all citizens to freely profess, practice and propagate any religion.” The March amendment also included Jains and Buddhists as part of the Hindu religion. Now, in the new law, the two religions are considered separate.

Christians are concerned that the law will provide new ways for anti-Christian extremists to persecute them through false accusations. They are also worried that the needy will suffer, because charitable work could be construed as bribery for people to “convert” to Christianity.

“Please pray that our missionaries and other Christian workers in Gujarat will have wisdom and strength from the Lord,” said K.P. Yohannan. “Also lift up those that want to persecute the believers, that they will come to Jesus in a personal way.”

 

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

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Sharing God’s Love In Delhi

July 12th, 2013 Comments off

Boy in Delhi

There are thousands of homeless children in Delhi like this boy. Many of them live in the railway stations.

Bu Debbarma does not know when or where he was born. He does not know his mother’s or father’s name. But he does know that his Heavenly Father loves him, and he is committed to sharing that Good News with everyone he meets.

Bu is a Gospel for Asia missionary serving near the Delhi, India, airport. He is just one of many GFA missionaries in Delhi, which is one of the world’s largest cities with 11 million residents.

Delhi, including India’s capital city of New Delhi, is a territory much like Washington, D.C., in the United States. Delhi is one of the fastest growing places in India, with more than 500,000 people pouring in each year looking for economic opportunities and a better life. Sadly, half the city’s population lives in slums where massive pollution, disease, crime and hopelessness are a way of life.

In spite of its reputation as India’s melting pot, the country’s traditional religions still maintain a stronghold in Delhi. Less than one percent of the population professes to follow Christ.

Delhi is one of the fastest growing places in India, with more than 500,000 people pouring in each year looking for economic opportunities and a better life.

Bu can relate to people in Delhi, especially those in desperate situations. Orphaned at age two, he grew up in a Christian orphanage in Delhi where he learned about Jesus and became a believer. When he was in the 10th grade, he told the orphanage leaders what had been on his heart for many years already—he felt called to do God’s work for the rest of his life. His caretakers were thrilled that God chose Bu to serve Him, and they helped this young man enroll in a GFA Delhi Bible college.

Today Bu is reaching people for Christ in one of the world’s most difficult cities. He is just one of a number of GFA missionaries bringing the love of the Father to the people of Delhi.

From Child Labor to Serving Christ

Salam Kumar came to Delhi from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Today he also serves as a GFA missionary, sharing God’s love in this urban area.

Even though Salam’s family was deeply involved in a religion where they worshipped many traditional gods, there was no peace or joy in their family. They were also very poor. Because of their poverty, Salam was sent to work when he was in the first grade. By the time he was in the fifth grade, he was spending more hours at his job than at school. Even though he worked many hours, his income was still not sufficient to meet his family’s needs.

Local Church

These people are worshipping at a local church in Delhi. The majority of people in this congregation are immigrants from Nepal.

It was about this time in his life that Jadu Bikash, a Christian pastor, visited Salam’s village. Jadu introduced Jesus to the villagers. He preached the Gospel and sang a song titled “There is Freedom in Jesus’ Name.” The words of the song—and the promise of the Gospel—so moved the heart of Salam’s father that he chose to follow Jesus that very day. His wife, four daughters and his son, Salam, also gave their hearts to Christ that day.

Salam left Madhya Pradesh to study in the GFA Bible college in Delhi. He has since graduated and has spent the last five years sharing the Lord with the people of Delhi.

Nephew Receives Gift of Life

Rama Bhatti came to Delhi when he was in the 11th grade. The son of a farmer from Bihar in North India, Rama lived with his uncle in Delhi while pursuing a higher education. Rama’s uncle was a Christian, but Rama knew nothing about Jesus. Rama’s family was involved in a traditional religion and worshipped many gods. It was the only faith he knew.

Rama’s uncle took him to church every week. The more Rama heard about Jesus the more he wanted to know! He became good friends with Neba Tamang, the pastor of the church, and soon Rama surrendered his life to Christ.

Pastor Neba spent hours teaching this young disciple about the Lord. When Rama declared that he wanted to serve the Lord fulltime, Neba helped him enroll at a GFA Bible college in Delhi.

Rama is now serving the Lord full—time as a GFA missionary.

Shepherding the Flock in Delhi
Simon John

Gospel for Asia’s Delhi leader, Simon John, prays for a man during a Sunday morning worship service.

Simon John knows that it takes many different kinds of people to reach the residents of Delhi. Simon oversees GFA’s many ministries in the city. He himself was once a successful businessman, working in the corporate world. Yet he walked away from all of it to make sure that the people of Asia had a chance to hear the Gospel.

Today, he oversees the work of dozens of GFA missionaries reaching Delhi with the message of Christ.

Gospel for Asia missionaries first went to Delhi in 1992. Some of those missionaries are now pastors of local churches. There is also an active and vibrant ministry to children, GFA radio broadcasts in three languages and specialized ministry to the millions who live in Delhi’s slums.

Simon asks for prayer for the missionaries in Delhi, especially as they seek out meeting space for their prayer meetings and worship services. Property is difficult to find and very expensive.

He also asks for prayer on behalf of the children’s outreach and the Bridge of Hope centers in Delhi. Pray that many of the children in these programs will find the love of Jesus and share it with their families.

 

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

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