Date: December 30, 2022
South Asia (MNN) — The Church in South Asia faces increasing pressure from religious majority groups in various countries.
Joe Handley with Asian Access says sometimes the persecution comes from governments. Sometimes, the government looks the other way. “It’s happening to the degree that most of my colleagues are alarmed. They’re very worried about this. And they’re asking for help.
Handley says Christians who have suffered persecution often need counseling. “They need pastoral care and then equipping. How do you face these kinds of challenges? What do you do when the wife of somebody in your church has been burned? Or maybe their sister or their daughter?”
Handley spoke to one Christian who was tortured with literal salt in his wounds. His captors demanded he recant his Christian faith. In another country, the military captured a man and nailed his hand to a board, taunting him and asking him if Jesus would save him.
Many of these countries have some measure of religious freedom implemented in government documents.
Handley says in one country, “They did lessen the sentences. So if you lead somebody to Christ and baptize them, formerly you’d be in prison for seven years. They’ve taken it down to five years. You’re still in prison for a long time.”
Pray for these believers. Handley says, “Number two, be friends. Most of us now are connected somehow to somebody in China or to somebody in South Asia or other countries that are facing these. They are desperate for a touchpoint. So that could be a WhatsApp call. It could be a text message.”
Of course, many partners need extra security caution when talking to people outside the country. Handley says, “Some of my colleagues only operate on Signal because, for them, that’s the safest way to reach people.”