|Tense circumstances are not stopping GFA’s missionaries in Orissa from spreading the Good News.|
“The situation against Christians in this area is now very tense,” wrote Gospel for Asia’s correspondent in Orissa, India, where missionary Durga Gedam works. Durga, who is pastor of a GFA-related church with more than 50 believers, has faced numerous dangerous situations in his recent ministry there, including being beaten just a few months ago. Now, he is in danger again.
Several weeks ago, Durga visited a village near his home and shared the Gospel with Answar, a well-known and revered guru in that area. Answar chose to receive salvation, and as word of his new faith spread, many villagers grew angry. Numerous anti-Christian extremist organizations vowed to kill Durga, and at one point one group did surround him with the intent to take his life. But one of Durga’s cousins helped him get away. Durga hid in the nearby jungle overnight.
This latest threat of violence against Durga came on the heels of a controversial caste-related decision by the government of Orissa. State officials plan to change the designation of a low caste made up mostly of new Christians. The change would group them together with another caste, whose members objected to sharing their affirmative action benefits with the Christians. The government’s decision fueled strong anti-Christian sentiment.
While the caste system is officially illegal in India, these religious-based social divisions run deep in society. Designations are made so that affirmative action benefits can be administered to individuals who fall into certain groups based on their caste designation under the old system.
Durga is stuck in the middle of a tense situation in a state already known for its lawlessness. But, he refuses to stop ministering despite the fact that anti-Christian extremists are putting pressure on him. In addition to the death threats, the extremists tried to poison him three times, but each time, the poison failed to harm him. Gospel for Asia leaders in Orissa request prayer for Durga. They specifically want Christians to pray that the Lord will continue to protect his life and bear eternal fruit through his ministry. Another prayer request is that Durga will remain encouraged in the Lord and remain strong. They also ask for prayer for Answar, who could be instrumental in leading many to the Lord.