India – A five-day pastor’s conference will be concluding today despite threats of violence by people of the Hindu nation. K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel for Asia, said that more than 800 missionaries and pastors have been participating in the conference.
The conference, which began on March 5, is currently being held in Orissa State, the state where missionary Graham Staines and his children were killed by Hindu militants five years ago. Among those attending the conference are a few pastors currently facing charges by their local authorities. Yohannan reported, “There are 17 pastors here who are out on bail. Their case is pending. They have all been arrested and taken to jail or prison and they’ve been released on bond. They’ve been accused of forced conversion and stuff like that.”
However, despite the difficulties, Yohannan says the work is moving forward. However, one concern is about the future. “What is going to happen after the next election,” says Yohannan, “if the fundamentalist government gets a majority we don’t know where India’s going to head for.” He added, “People by the millions all over the world need to pray that the Lord wil keep the freedom in this country for preaching the Gospel.
Yohannan’s prayer is that “The Lord will give an absolute determination for everyone of these brothers to lay down their life for preaching the Gospel. The only way to go is making a commitment to die for Christ’s sake and not holding anything back. When Jesus called, he called us to come and die. And, I want every pastor, missionary and evangelist to leave this place saying that I’m wiling to die for Christ’s sake.”
While persecution is growing against Christians, it’s not preventing people from coming to Christ. Currently, Gospel for Asia is raising money to purchase one million Bibles and New Testaments to address this need.