Every other month our CLC Board of Missions updates us with recent news from various mission fields.
Persecution in India has been on the rise since 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), rose to power. Over the last five years, India’s rank as one of the worst persecutors of Christians in the world has risen from twenty-eighth to tenth. The fear is that persecution will only get worse over the next five years now that Modi and the BJP have scored a landslide victory in the recent Indian elections.
The two Indian church bodies with whom we are in fellowship, the CLCI and the BELC, have seen some of the effects of this persecution. In October of last year, a CLCI pastoral conference was attacked by a group of over sixty men with knives and rods. Six people were injured. Cell phones, wallets, a laptop, and a projector were stolen. Pastor Jyothi Benjamin, who was present during this attack, said, “In my life, I have faced many incidents, but not like this.”
In January, Missionary Peter Evensen was denied reentry into India. The 2019 Mission Helper Trip was scheduled for India, but that trip was moved to East Africa. Pastors Tim Daub and David Pfeiffer planned to take a three-week trip to India. Pastor Daub’s visa application was denied. Fortunately, Pastor Pfeiffer’s visa application was approved, and he was willing to make the trip by himself.
Pastor Pfeiffer arrived in India on June 22nd. He traveled to the CLCI and was able to participate in the CLCI graduation ceremony where seventeen men graduated from seminary. He then traveled to the BELC for a leadership conference in which he taught on the book of Romans. The rest of his trip was spent teaching throughout the districts of the BELC. The members of the CLCI and BELC were encouraged by Pastor Pfeiffer’s visit especially since it was the first visit by someone from the CLC in a little over a year.
It is uncertain what opportunities we will have in the near future to send men to teach and encourage our fellow saints in India. Persecution seems likely to continue and increase. However, we take comfort in the fact that all of this is in the Lord’s hands. History demonstrates that the church not only survives but thrives during times of persecution. Please continue to keep our fellow Christians in India in your prayers.
Robert Sauers is pastor of Luther Memorial Church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and a member of the CLC Board of Missions