Christians from India are reportedly preparing for persecution as the celebration of Christmas approaches.
Mission Network News (MNN) said Indian Christians are bracing for more persecution as Christmas approaches this year. Mission India's Erik, not his real name, said Christmas sees an increase in persecution for Christians around the world.
"(Christmas) is a time that around the world, I believe, Christians see an increase of persecution because it is the holiday for Christians--that and Easter. People know that and people don't like that some people are Christian and celebrating the birth of Jesus. So they want to deter that as much as possible," Erik said.
Erik also raised the difficulty of Christians in India to find communities where they feel safe to practice their faith especially during the Christmas season such as attending church service. The pandemic, he said, has actually brought them the opportunity to find that community, though online.
"There's unique ways that those believers are doing that, especially now given digitalization currently in the pandemic. They have found different ways to worship online--Facebook Live and YouTube and all that stuff. So they're finding community," Erik revealed.
Another way Christians in India connect is through Mission India's Children's Bible Clubs, which has allowed God to change families. Erik cited the story of a girl named Jada who shared what she learned from the Children's Bible Club to her father after he was hospitalized due to his alcoholism.
"I've always been blown away by how God uses children to change families," Erik shared.
"One of the stories I recently came across was about a girl named Jada. Jada's father was an alcoholic and spent whatever money he made on alcohol. In turn, he beat his family. As a father of a five-year-old, I can't imagine the pain that Jada and her mom and family were experiencing because of her father's addiction. So one day, her father drank so much over years, his liver failed. The doctor said there was no hope," he highlighted.
Erik narrated that the father was eventually converted because Jada shared the Gospel to her father whenever she visited him in the hospital. The father meets Jesus for the first time while at his deathbed and promised that if he gets healed, he "will worship him as the only true God." Jada prayed for her father's healing and asked her father to receive Jesus, which he did. This then led to the miraculous healing of his liver.
"In the midst of persecution, in the midst of alcoholism, addictions, all the different things that go on in this world, Jesus is still changing people. Jada has forever changed that family progression from this darkness to now this opportunity to be changed by the love of Jesus going forward," Erik stressed.
Erik asked for prayers for persecuted Christians not only in India but globally, especially now that Christmas is near, and especially for those who will be celebrating the momentous occasion for the first time. He also asked that prayers be said for those who have newly-found Jesus.
"We believe the first work of missions is prayer - praying for Christians in India specifically, but also Christians around the world, praying that they would be comforted in the midst of persecution that they will experience. But also, as many celebrate their first Christmas ever, be praying that they would feel Jesus in a whole new way and be encouraged by their newfound faith in Jesus," Erik urged.