Agartala, Tripura, India., Jan. 5 - Recently the hilly state of Tripura, tucked away in the far north-eastern part of India, witnessed vicious attacks that were being perpetrated by Hindu extremists on the Christians. In fact, such attacks raised questions whether Christians could surivive in the state, let alone thrive there.
Bibles for the World's Rochunga Pudaite says, "We have about 60 missionaries working there. And, one of these missionaries had been very successful and started building a church with a little over 100 (in) membership. Non-Christians kept coming and tell him to tear down the church. And, he told them before you tear down and burn my church you're going to have to burn me first."
Pudaite says these non-believers did exactly that. He says, "They set the church on fire, and then they took him to the forest, beat him up." They also attempted by burn him alive with kerosene, but the effort was stopped by passers by.
The pastor was beaten so severely that no one expected him to regain his eye sight, let alone preach again. However, Pudaite says God had other plans. "I just got a message that God not only (brought) him back to full health now, but also his eye sight has been restored by God. And so, he's back at his pulpit, without the walls. But he said, 'We will rebuild this church,'" says Pudaite.
Pudaite says while the burning and beating was tragic, he believes God meant it for good. He says, "I think it's going to excite our church and there's going to be more converts than I can see. I think the more you go through persecution, the more the church is growing because it brings commitment and reassurance."