Like many countries, India has gone into lockdown to combat the coronavirus crisis. Without a financial safety net, the impact of measures to combat the outbreak is devastating on many Indian communities. A lot of persecuted Christians have lost their income, and are overlooked when aid is distributed. They need our help.
Reaching these believers is harder than ever but, thanks to your ongoing support, Open Doors partners are doing what they can to provide the most basic of needs to your persecuted family: food.
Image: Indian Christians receiving vital aid during the coronavirus lockdown
In the slums of India, where many of the country’s Christians live, the congregations are very poor and earn each day what they need to survive.
Now that nobody has any income to spare, pastors and their families are in desperate need. Shalom*, another Open Doors partner, recently spoke to a pastor called Jai*: “He told me how the lockdown is affecting him and other pastors. They can’t go to work, and they can’t visit their church members. He knows of at least 20 to 30 pastors who are starving because of the lockdown.”
Open Doors partners in the country are worried that this crisis situation could be used by Hindu extremists as an opportunity to target Christians.
“From experience we know that Hindu extremists may try to bribe poor Christians to become Hindus,” says Heena*, another local Open Doors partner. “Then – so they promise – their financial problems will be over. The current crisis makes the Indian church more vulnerable to these tactics.”
Christians are also vulnerable because they are often left til last when aid is distributed. In India, and many other countries, Christians are considered the lowest in society.
Despite the severe restrictions, Open Doors partners are already able to reach some areas to distribute food and are courageously taking risks and increasing their efforts. Suraj* was desperate when he stopped being able to earn money because of the lockdown. “I felt helpless and really prayed hard to God. I asked Him if He could open the door so that we could get food to survive. Suddenly, my pastor prayed and said that an organisation had dropped off groceries and other daily necessities for families hit by this crisis. Thank you so much! I was so happy to receive this help!”
To help you through this time of enforced social distancing and isolation, we’re releasing a series of new content every week. Were going to be looking at how the persecuted church can inspire us during this time of lockdown. Sign up for our weekly emails to get fresh videos, stories, reflections, prayers and actions – all of which you can do from home!
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