Gondia district (also known as Gondiya) is an administrative district in the state of Maharashtra in India.Pastor Anand Dongre lives in one of the 141 villages that Gondia covers. For the past 12 years he has been serving with Mission India– an organization that works alongside Churches and missions across India, equipping them for the extension of God’s Kingdom. Pastor Anand regularly gathers 50-60 believers at Trinity Prarthna Bhavan to praise and worship Jesus Christ.
Recently, Pastor Anand has been facing a lot of persecution from the local villagers. There are a few people from the vicinity that belong to the SC Buddhist caste, who have been instigating the villagers against Pastor Anand, because of his faith. This group of people have been telling the villagers not to associate with the Pastor, or go to his home, not talk to him. The past few days have been depressing for the Pastor as he is witnessing many of his neighbours ignore and ridicule him. This harassment has directly affected his work as well.
When Pastor Anand called Persecution Relief to report his challenges and seek guidance, Founder-Shibu Thomas advised him to inform the Police about the group that instigated social Boycott and request for protection and security as he continues to serve God. Mr. Thomas will soon be speaking to the local SP regarding this issue.
We request you to stand with us and pray that Pastor Anand would experience God’s wisdom, direction, strength and protection as he goes through this challenge. Pray that the group of religious fanatics and local villagers would leave Pastor Anand alone. That they may be set free from the clutches of the evil one and come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
2 Corinthians 1:10 ‘He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us.’ Yes! We have a God who loves us greatly. Irrespective of how much importance we give Him, He still chooses to deliver us and continues to do so. He does not love us because of who we are, but loves us because of who He is, that is the very nature of God. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Wow! What an awesome God we serve. As Christians, we must stand in the Gap and pray for our broken nation. Only the indescribable love of God is able to restore us. The time has come for India to be transformed by His amazing grace and love.
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Between January 2016 to December 2019, there has been a rise of 59.6% of Hate Crimes against Christians all across the country. In 2019 alone, Persecution Relief has recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017 and 330 in 2016.
What stands out amongst the Hate Crimes in India is that 4 Christians were murdered in 2019. We recorded 199 incidents related to Threats, Intimidations & Harassments against Christians, 104 incidents of Church attacks, 85 incidents of Physical Violence reported which includes Women & Children, 100s of House Churches were forcefully closed down by Religious Fanatics and the local administrations.
The state of Uttar Pradesh has showed a shocking 179.4% leap in cases of Christian Persecution between 2016 to 2019! From 39 cases being reported in 2016, the number has sky rocketed to 109 cases in 2019 alone bringing the total count from across the country to 527 cases. Uttar Pradesh has proved to be the most hostile state in the country against Christians for the past 3 consecutive years. Tamil Nadu continues to rank as the second most hostile state in the country with 75 cases, followed by Karnataka with 32 cases, bringing the state of Maharashtra to number 4 with 31 cases and Bihar with 30 cases stands at number 5.
US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.
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