By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
BIHAR, INDIA (ANS) -- Anti-Christian elements in Bihar have captured, severely beaten and are threatening to kill Gospel For Asia (GFA) native missionary Pastor Manrathan and his wife. GFA Bible woman Sarita is also being held hostage.
An anti-Christian mob from six villages holds the Gospel workers tied to a sacred tree, demanding 25,000 rupees as a ransom for desecrating their village with the Gospel. If the exorbitant amount is not received within 48 hours, they plan to kill the missionaries as a sacrifice to their deities.
“There are no police in the isolated area to intervene. GFA leaders are fervently praying for wisdom on how they can best help the situation,” said K.P. Yohannan, GFA’s president.
“The anti-Christian group spearheading the incident is the same one that burned missionary Graham Staines and his two children alive in Orissa several years ago. In recent years a number of GFA missionaries serving in their native India have been brutally murdered for sharing their faith as well."
Pastor Manrathan’s village has proven extremely dangerous for Christian workers, yet God has blessed his courage and commitment. They recently planted a church in this remote area of North India.
“A few weeks ago, Pastor Manrathan held a service where new believers publicly proclaimed their Christian faith. It was a significant time for the congregation. One new believer, a tribal person, renounced his old faith publicly by turning away from everything else to believe in God,” said Yohannan.
This act was brought to the attention of the whole village by his neighbors, who objected to his conversion.
“In no time, the news of this event spread to six surrounding villages. Soon a large mob descended on the small congregation of new believers and began to beat them.”
Pastor Manrathan, his wife and Sarita were taken from the church, beaten mercilessly and tied to a tree, Yohannan said.
“No one was allowed to leave the village, to prevent others from hearing of the beatings. Only yesterday, one of the believers escaped with the news.
“Your urgent prayers for the lives of these missionaries are needed. Pray the Lord will give them strength and that His presence would be real to them during this time of trial and persecution. Pray also for endurance and boldness. We will let you know as we receive further news.”