Indian Missionaries Released by Hostage Takers

Friday, September 10, 2004

Mission organization calls it "miraculous turn of events."

By: Stefan J. Bos
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
Native Christians gather for worship.
Source: GFA

PATNA, INDIA (ANS) -- Gospel for Asia (GFA) said late Friday, September, 10, that three of its native missionaries who were captured and threatened with death in India's north-eastern state of Bihar have been released by anti-Christian militants "in a miraculous turn of events."

The Hostage takers had threatened to kill Pastor Manrathan, his wife and Bible woman Sarita within 48 hours for "desecrating a village with the Gospel" unless a ransom of 25,000 Indian rupees (roughly $550) dollars was paid, a huge amount in the impoverished region, GFA said earlier.

They were "severely beaten and tied to a sacred tree by an anti-Christian group," since Thursday, September 9, added GFA President K.P. Yohannan in a message to his organization's supporters, which include many evangelical Christians.


"While I am still waiting on the full details, I wanted to inform you of this wonderful news as soon as possible," he said in a statement obtained by ASSIST News Service. "We are so grateful for how the Lord has answered the prayers of thousands of believers worldwide."

He said it was important to "continue to pray for these three native missionaries as they recover from their injuries" (so) that "they would take hold of God's grace made so abundant during suffering such as theirs."


The official stressed that many other Indian Christians "continue to face opposition, persecution, imprisonment and even death for the sake of Jesus." Several GFA missionaries are known to have been killed in recent years.

GFA, which is supported by American and other Western Christians, wants to send 100,000 native missionaries to what it calls "unreached" places in Asia.

Currently over 14,000 GFA pastors and missionaries, planting 10 new churches a day, are spreading the Gospel in the region, the organization said. A little more than two percent of India's over 1 billion strong population is Christian, according to official estimates. GFA and other groups have suggested that this number is expected to rise rapidly in the near future.