The first incident occurred on December 11 during a film showing in a village. About 100 people were watching a movie about the life of Christ when a group of 25 people came and disrupted the event. They shouted at Shail Ansal, the GFA missionary who serves in the village, and attempted to beat him up. They also began shouting abusive words at Sarah Faith, the Women’s Mobile Team leader in charge of the movie screening. During the resulting chaos, the four other women on the team disconnected the film equipment and hid it inside Shail’s house.
The extremists called the police and complained that Shail and the women were forcing people to convert to Christianity. When the police arrived, they did not charge the missionaries with any crime. Instead, they asked them to continue the film, which they did. About 60 people, including many of the officers and the vice-president of the village council, watched the movie that night. The police made sure that there were no more disturbances from the extremists, who stood at a distance and watched everything.
When the movie ended, Sarah thanked all the officers and gave each of them a New Testament and a calendar. The police offered to keep two officers at the scene to protect the missionaries, but the missionaries declined the kind offer, saying they would rely on the Lord to protect them. The officer gave them a private number to call in case they had any more trouble. The team was able to continue their ministry activities peacefully that night and the next day in that village.
About 60 people, including many of the officers and the vice president of the village council, watched the movie that night.
The situation for Shail is still tense. Prior to the screening, five families in the village had chosen to follow Christ. When the local anti-Christian extremists learned about these decisions, they went to the homes of the new Christians and threatened to harm them unless they stopped worshipping Jesus and returned to the practices of their native religion. As a result, three of the families no longer attend services at Shail’s church.
The next day, the Women’s Mobile Team moved to a village where GFA missionary Prem Sharma serves, and they showed the film.
When they were returning home around 10:30 p.m., they noticed a freshly-painted sign hanging on an electric pole near the pastor’s house. The sign said “Christian Colony.” Prem quickly realized that anti-Christian extremists had put up the sign and were trying to cause trouble for him.
The Women’s Mobile Team was showing Dayasagar, an Indian-made movie about the life of Jesus, when extremists intervened and stopped the film.
There are very few Christians in the village. Rather, many of the villagers worship an idol in the shape of a monkey. The extremists who put the sign up called the police and tried to implicate Prem and the Women’s Mobile Team for committing a crime. The police came to Prem’s house. After he explained the situation, they declined to take any further action, but the situation remains tense for Prem and his family.
Shail and Prem sent the following prayer requests:
- Protection for their families. Continued favor with the police and the village leadership.
- That God will move in the hearts of the villagers so they will realize their need for Him.
- Pray for the anti-Christian extremists who are provoking the villagers and disturbing the ministry. Prem and Shail would like for the Lord to open the persecutors’ eyes to their folly; and that they will receive the Lord as their personal savior.
- Pray for the Women’s Mobile Team, that they will not lose heart and continue to boldly serve the Lord.
- Pray for fruit among the villagers and police officers who view the film.
- Also pray for the believers who are worshipping in secret, that they will soon be able to stand firm in their faith and become a testimony to many others of the saving power and love of Jesus.