India and Covid 19
Christian families in India receive food aid while attacks continue
With the most populous democracy in the world under coronavirus lockdown, many of India’s Christians have nowhere to go to provide for their families.
“People do not even have money to buy food for their families. It’s really sad. It’s not just one story, or four or five such stories, but the story of almost every family,” said Open Doors local partner Heena, whose real name is being withheld for security reasons.
“Many people depend on small businesses or work as day labourers or are holding small church services. All of them are affected, all of them don’t have food.”
Through its partners and volunteers, Open Doors so far has been able to help hundreds of families in mostly remote areas with enough food for at least one month. Some recipients told Heena they had never seen so much food before, as they normally live hand-to-mouth.
Another local partner, a pastor named Samuel*, said he is grateful for the support and prayers from Christians around the world. “God has given five loaves and two fish,” he said. “We need to commit it to the Lord to multiply and feed thousands of people. We need to participate. We realize that God is blessing his people and is satisfying them.”
Even during a national directive restricting social interaction, Christians continue to be vulnerable to attacks. Pastor Samuel told Open Doors about an attack on a church during the week of 13 April in which Christians were threatened with “re-conversion” to Hinduism. “The leader of that (Christian) community then left the village and there was a big scare: nobody knew where he was. Perhaps he was killed, but he was in hiding,” the pastor said.
At the same time, a pastor in Delhi in northern India says the tragedy of the pandemic might yet contain blessings. “I believe the pandemic lockdown is being used by God to use his church in a new way,” he wrote in Christianity Today. Not only is there a marked increase in audience since churches in urban areas started broadcasting their services online, there are also more ministry opportunities in mid-week online gatherings.
And communities once hostile to churches are now looking for ways to collaborate, writes Isaac Shaw, senior pastor of the Bible Bhavan Christian Fellowship. “I believe the church has been ushered into a new age of growth and engagement with each other and with the world around us,” he said. “We are witnessing a huge turning after God. The last revival in India was in 1905-1906. If all the nations of the world repent, then we can anticipate a mighty movement from God in our times.”
Many believers are under significant pressure to recant their faith during this time in the lockdown situation in the country. May their faith continue to stay strong.
Pray for protection for our partners who are helping distribute urgent aid to our persecuted family in India, they are stepping out despite the lockdown measures to help families from starvation.