GFA Tsunami Relief Workers Face Opposition in India

Prominent groups against Christianity in one part of India are accepting tsunami aid but are forcing the missionaries to minister in private.
( [email protected] ) Jan 13, 2006 07:19 PM EST

Anti-Christian groups in one part of India are accepting tsunami aid but are forcing the missionaries to minister in private.

According to a statement released on Jan. 13, Gospel For Asia said the groups have threatened to throw new believers out of their villages and to deny them access to the water supply in some regions of Tamil Nadu.

Because of this, some of the villagers are afraid to profess their faith in Christ openly in their villages, a GFA team was told.

"Maybe some secret believers are there," GFA's regional leader by the name of Melbin said according to the statement, "but they will not openly confess Jesus. It is a very difficult situation."

Tamil Nadu, an area most devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami that struck the coast of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India on Dec. 26, 2004 and recently by floods, had 26 indigenous mission-based groups in the state who were the first on the scene, GFA being one of them.

A GFA native missionary identified as Timothy was one of the relief workers, and has been working in the area since the day the tsunami struck the coast.

"He is constantly watching for a chance to share the Word of God," Melbin said, adding that despite the challenges they are confident that "God will bring fruit."

"We are continuously encouraging our people to do ministry in those difficult places," Melbin said. "Sometimes our missionaries meet people who say, 'Some time ago, I heard the message of love. Through that I met Jesus.' In the same way, after some weeks, months or years, there will be fruit here. That is my confidence."

GFA reported that through such initiatives as the Bridge of Hope program, the team has already begun to see doors and hearts opening.

The Bridge of Hope program, is an outreach for children in Asia designed to rescue thousands who live in "poverty and hopelessness by giving them an education and introducing them to the love of God."

Through such hopes, GFA workers are not discouraged, the statement said. Even though it is impossible to start new fellowships in some places, GFA added, existing churches are growing rapidly.

"As in the Bible, where there is trouble and tribulation facing God's servants, there will definitely be church growth," Melbin said.