India: Meteor Foils Persecution Attack

Thursday, October 30, 2003

October 30, 2003 (Christian Aid) -- Severe persecution against church planting ministry in India's Orissa State was interrupted with a sign from heaven when a meteor crashed to earth near the Bay of Bengal.

Missionaries with an indigenous church-planting ministry had won to Christ and discipled 15 families in a certain village. So in early September the ministry sent builders to construct a church building on a piece of land donated by one of the local believers.

Suddenly on the third day of construction about 50 Hindus gathered about 50 yards away, placed a stone there, and said that someone had dreamed they should construct a Hindu temple there.

The next morning about 300 people gathered at the site and attacked the laborers working on the church building. They snatched $220 from the builder's pocket, beat him mercilessly, and ordered him to stop construction.

At that time the pastor and the president of the church arrived to see what the trouble was. The angry crowd dragged them both and ordered them to turn over 50 bags of cement and iron rods to them.

The next day, two missionaries with the church planting ministry arrived at the site and they, too, were beaten, but managed to escape by motorbike. Then the tide began to turn.

That very same night, one of the villagers who had forcibly taken four bags of cement died.

Two days later a meteor streaked across the sky, spreading flaming fragments as it went. Witnesses said the meteor lit up the night sky and others reported hearing a deafening roar. It crashed into a house and news reports said at least 20 people were injured. Local citizens were terrified.

After this, the leaders of the militant Hindus apologized to the Christians and said they wanted to return the materials they had taken away.

"The police authorities were not helpful at all, but the situation is under control," the leader told Christian Aid.

For more information about this church planting ministry in Orissa write and put MI-443 640-OFU on the subject line.