In January, With Open Eyes announced 6 new countries where we will be raising up Mobile Messengers. While the vast majority of our Mobile Messenger presence remains in Africa, we are so pleased that the Lord has opened up avenues to reach the underserved and unreached of Nepal and India.
Opportunities in India are rich and varied. While we cannot wait to come alongside brothers and sisters in Christ in these countries, we are aware of the dangers growing for Christians in these countries. Which is why we wanted to profile them for you. We want to raise awareness, give you points to pray for and to see how great the need is for the gospel of Jesus to go reach these nations.
A Closer Look at India
Today we want to focus on India. Boasting 1.3 billion people, India trails only China in population and continues to grow. India’s predominant religion is Hinduism, making up more than seventy-five percent of the country’s population. Islam is second at fourteen percent. Nevertheless, recent data suggests that it is rapidly growing among Indians. Christianity comes in third, with two percent of the population.
The environment for Christians is increasingly hostile. Earlier this month, Compassion International was forced to leave the country, accused of using funds for the sole purpose of religious conversion. Compassion was in India for more than 45 years. Other Christian faith-based organizations are facing similar pressures from an Indian government focused on increased radicalization of Hinduism and an increase of persecution of Christians.
In fact, Open Doors, a persecution watchdog group, has raised India on its list of countries where Christians face persecution from 17 to 15 in one year. The stories are harrowing. Men and women dragged from their homes and beaten. Some killed and their bodies lit on fire in the middle of cities. An Open Doors employee snapped a photo that boasted the claim of eradicating Christianity from their community by 2021.
With all the news coming out of India, why would With Open Eyes decide to go into this country at such a tense time? The answer is found in the Great Commission from Jesus in Matthew 28:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (emphasis mine)
Jesus promised persecution for our faith. He told disciples that they would preach, teach, and evangelize and people would reject their word because they reject Him. As He submitted to the will of the Father in His earthly life, we are called to submit to the same will, the same commands.
Pray for One Another
We cannot leave our brothers and sisters without encouragement in India. They need to know that they are prayed for and loved as they face hardships, persecutions, and even death for their faith. We do not know what Jesus will do. Still, we seek to continue to get the gospel into the hands of the Indian people. We are aware He has called, and we must obey.
Please pray for the Christians in India. Here are a few things you can lift to the Lord:
- Pray for Hindus and Muslims. Pray that their hearts become soft toward Jesus and that they would come to eternal life in Him.
- Pray that Christians would be bold in proclaiming the gospel at the leading of the Holy Ghost, and they find their mouths filled with His words.
- Pray for their families. As many go out to preach, their families and churches often don’t know if they will come back. Pray that they would be firm in their faith, no matter what happens.
- Pray for organizations like Compassion who are still looking for ways to stay connected to communities they’ve served for decades.
- Pray for us. The team at With Open Eyes needs the wisdom of the Father to be obedient to the task set before us.
Let these words from Jude 24 be our prayer as we boldly follow where our Lord Jesus leads us:
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen