GFA Missionaries Held Hostage in India

( [email protected] ) Sep 09, 2004 08:57 PM EDT

Anti-Christian elements in Bihar have captured, severely beaten and are threatening to kill native Indian missionary and his wife, a missions organization reported on Thursday. According to Gospel For Asia, Pastor Manrathan and his wife are currently being held hostage along with a one other believer.

In a recent release made by GFA, the organization reported that an anti-Christian mob from six villages are holding the Gospel workers, tying them to a tree and demanding 25,000 rupees as a ransom. The mob has reportedly accused the hostages of desecrating their village with the Gospel.

Pastor Manrathan, who had recently planted a church there, reportedly held a service a few weeks ago where new believers publicly proclaimed their Christian faith. "It was a significant time for the congregation," GFA wrote. "One new believer, a tribal person, renounced his old faith publicly by turning away from everything else to believe in God."

This act was brought to the attention of the whole village by his neighbors, who objected to his conversion. Soon after, news of the event spread to six surrounding villages. Soon a large mob descended on the small congregation of new believers and began to beat them. Pastor Manrathan, his wife and one other believer were taken from the church, beaten mercilessly and tied to a tree. No one was allowed to leave the village, to prevent others from hearing of the beatings. Only yesterday, one of the believers escaped with the news.

"The anti-Christian group spearheading the incident is the same one that burned missionary Graham Staines and his two children alive in Orissa several years ago," reported GFA. "In recent years a number of GFA missionaries serving in their native India have been brutally murdered for sharing their faith as well."

GFA reports that if the ransom money is not received within 48 hours, they plan to kill the missionaries as a sacrifice to their deities. There are reportedly no police in the isolated area to intervene. "GFA leaders are fervently praying for wisdom on how they can best help the situation," the organization reported.

[Source: GFA]