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Death Threat Turns into Opportunity

Anti-Christian Elements Attack Believers at Ardh Kumbh Festival

Contact: Taun Cortado, 972-300-3120

UTTAR PRADESH, India, June 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- A Gospel for Asia missionary who was the subject of a death threat by an anti-Christian extremist group is no longer in immediate danger. He joyfully reports that the death threat turned into an opportunity to share the Gospel with nearly his entire village at one time.

"Praise the Lord! Once again, God has taken what man meant for evil and used it for His own good purpose," said Gospel for Asia President Dr. K.P. Yohannan.

Missionary Daya Marandi works in Uttar Pradesh, India. In late May, anti-Christian extremists threatened to kill him if he did not immediately abandon his work and leave Uttar Pradesh. They also threatened to harm the 60 members of Daya's church unless they each agreed to return to their former religions.

GFA leaders in Uttar Pradesh responded to the threats by contacting the police. The police superintendent who met with the GFA leaders is familiar with Daya's ministry and ordered his local officers to protect the missionary. Additionally, the police superintendent ordered a plainclothes officer to attend Sunday services at Daya's church to offer protection for the entire congregation.

When word of the death threats spread throughout the village, the people became curious about Daya and the church he had started. They wanted to know what the Christians were doing that had raised the ire of the extremists. That Sunday, nearly every person in the village attended the worship service at Daya's church. These people who heard the Gospel preached are now defending the missionary against the extremists.

The villagers - even those who are not followers of Christ - concluded that the Christians are nice people who are not doing anything bad or unlawful.

Daya is greatly encouraged by the turn of events and looks forward to seeing what God will do next in this area of Uttar Pradesh.

"We pray that this missionary's message will penetrate the hearts of the entire village—including the extremists who threatened him," Dr. Yohannan said. "Our desire is to see each of them choose to receive Jesus and follow him."

The extremists became concerned about Daya's ministry when he attempted to secure land on which to build a new church building. The goal of this particular extremist group is to ensure that Indian citizens remain loyal to the traditional religions of the country, which they see as a way of maintaining unity. They often cause trouble for people who choose to follow Christ and those who become Muslims.

The extremists did all they could to prevent Daya from purchasing the land, but when their efforts failed, they went after the missionary and his congregation.

"Please continue to pray for Daya and all these believers. There is only a small handful of Christians - including these dear brothers and sisters - in all of Uttar Pradesh," Dr. Yohannan noted.