PERSECUTION IN INDIA
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church," wrote Tertullian about 205 A.D. Persecution continues hi India, but the morale of our brethren is high. They remember their Lord. However, even as the Jerusalem brethren "made great lamentation over Stephen," the first to be martyred for our Lord, so we too mourn over the loss of life, destruction of property, and the terrorized church in India. Tertullian also wrote, "the more you mow us down, the more numerous we grow; the blood of Christians is the seed."There are many examples of loss of life, shelter, and fears for the safety of one's children which may be offered from this present wave of persecution. The following report concerning the persecution, hi November 2008, of brother Rajendra Gouda from Davangeri District in Karnataka, by our co-worker, brother Keith Ball, will help us to appreciate the pain of the present suffering. Brother Ball wrote:
I have been making periodic trips to India since 1985 and have known of persecutions that brethren have endured. However I have never seen it as intense as it is now. I worked in the state of Karnataka—in years past it has been a relatively peaceful state. In recent months a pro-Hindu political party has come to power that is not friendly to Christianity. Many of the congregations in India are small and meet in homes. If these small homes and churches are on rented properties, the government of Karnataka is trying to make it illegal to conduct worship services—yet our brethren proceed anyway. They know to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). For the first time I have seen microphones (for broadcasting the singing and preaching) turned off. For the first time I have seen Indian preachers being careful not to baptize in open places. These are necessary precautions. You need to know that the resolve of these dedicated Christians has not diminished. We should be encouraged by the faithful perseverance of our brethren right now in India.
I want to tell you about a brother whose situation has touched me deeply. His name is Rajendra Gouda. He formerly lived in Davangeri District in Karnataka. Like many congregations in India, the preacher's house also serves as the church meeting place. About 2 months ago this brother was worshiping God when he was assaulted by a radical Hindu group. They beat him and burned his house and all his earthly possessions. Rajendra's wife and 14 year-old daughter escaped any physical harm. Bro. Rajendra was told if he continued to preach and practice Christianity, they would rape his daughter. Radical Hindus dragged our brother to the local police station where they found a supporter of their violence in a policeman.
With our beaten brother lying on the floor of the police station, the police officer proceeded to kick brother Rajendra, in the face, knocking out his entire upper front teeth. When Rajendra was released, he and his family had only ashes for a home to return to. They decided to go to Sister Rajendra's parents. Unfortunately, her family is Hindu— and Rajendra's father-in law would not allow him to stay there. Wounded and weary, Rajendra found refuge at brother R. Premdas' home in Gulbarga. With limited funds, bro. Premdas helped Rajendra with his medical needs. In spite of all that has happened, Rajendra's resolve to preach the Gospel has not diminished.Brethren, Rajendra has tremendous family needs right now. I have already helped to move his wife and daughter to Gulbarga. Their living quarters are temporary. They have need of clothing, household items, and additional medical expenses. I have purposed to do what I can to help this brother in his great time of need. Will you assist us in helping him—and others like him?
GOD GIVES THE INCREASE
CAMPAIGN RESULTS FOR 2008
God is adding on average 671 souls to the church daily in India. To Him we give all the praise and glory. Pray fervently for our new brothers and sisters. Also pray for us, and all the Indian brethren, as we continue to do the necessary follow-up work to establish these new ones in the faith.
$53,611.00—WINTER-SPRING 2009 BUDGET SUMMARY
The following summary of our Winter-Spring Mission budget is offered in the hope that you will be able to "see" where your gifts are being used in the effort to evangelize India.
Fourteen trained evangelists—Native Indians—are helped on a regular monthly basis most receive $75.00 or $100.00 (US dollars) per month.
We expect to work in eleven areas doing evangelistic preaching in an attempt to win souls for Christ. We will also teach classes and conduct worship services as we seek to do follow-up work to establish recently baptized brethren. Additionally, we will conduct leadership development classes. This will require travel (rental cars, trains, and planes), hotels, and meals for ourselves and hundreds of students and workers.
TOOLS TO SUPPORT CAMPAIGNS AND LOCAL WORK—$8,575.00
This encompasses a broad area: Office supplies, printing of song books, bicycles for preachers, Bibles, communion supplies, sewing machines for poor preacher's wives, and benevolence which covers anything from medical matters, food, and construction assistance for houses for those whose homes have been burned as a result of persecution
CONSTRUCTION AND PROVISION OF CHURCH BUILDINGS—$9,000.00
We do not normally construct church buildings. However, when it is necessary to have a school of preaching and /or quarters for missionaries we may do so. We may also rent a house which will serve as a place for the church to meet and double as a residence for a local preacher. At the present time we only have two rental properties.
TULSI HOME—QUARTERS IN HYDERABAD—SIX MONTHS TOTAL $2,232
We purchased a 3 bedroom, 3 bath condominium in 1997. "Tulsi Home" serves as quarters for us (as well as that of other American Missionaries who work in Hyderabad), and Indian brethren who may use the house for doing the Lord's work from time to time. This may be seen as one of our wisest investments when it is observed that good quality hotels which are desirable by Americans now cost from $100 to $350 dollars per night in any major city of India. Tulsi Home's average expenses are $372 dollars monthly. We have a full-time caretaker, utility bills, local taxes, and a home owner's association fee.
In the city of Imphal, northeastern state of Manipur, we have a school of preaching. The school has a 3 year curriculum and is in its 15th year of operation. It currently has 12 students, with a planned future enrollment of 30. Our building is on prime property which we purchased in 1987. We have a Director—Teacher, who is self-supported, two additional supported teachers, and one secretary. Other costs are daily food for the students and some transportation costs to help the students come to the school and return home on their Summer and Winter breaks. The average monthly expenses are $850 dollars per month.
AN APPEAL AND A CHALLENGE
The barbarism in Mumbia, Orissa, Karnataka, Bihar, and Manipur along with the economic crisis here at home have cast fearful shadows over our work in India. Such clouds of fear and uncertainty will not prevail. God is in control. As someone has said, "We do not know what the future may bring, but we know who holds the future!"I want to challenge you, on behalf of our brethren in India, to trust God.. .to know He is in control of our economic futures. Please continue to give to this great mission work. Your gift is needed...it will count. The Lord said, "Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6: 34). His blessings for the day will also be sufficient. God can, and will provide. Ask Israel as they gather then- daily manna. Ask Paul in Corinth as he sews the material in his hands to make tents...just as the brethren from Macedonia arrive with their offerings for his ministry ( Phil. 4: 14 -16; 2 Cor. 8: 1-5). God provides! Thanks for the generous outpouring of your gifts over the last two months. The results of your generosity enable Juanita and I to return to India as scheduled on January 22 .
IN MEMORY...THEIR WORKS FOLLOW AFTER THEM (Rev. 14:13)
JOHN TUCKER LEWIS ELLENBERG A. DAVID MAORI
Manassas, Virginia Huntsville Alabama Sholapur, Maharashtra India
These brothers were our co-workers in the India Work. We shall miss them.
Grace and Peace,
Jems Bullard, Missionary