A mixed team from India, Oman, Myanmar and the UK recently visited Shillong in north-east India to visit a local church we are partnering with there, Shillong Family Church. In the next of our “Focus On” series highlighting the pioneering work being done across the world, Sharon Clark shares a few highlights from the trip, challenges for the churches there, and pointers for how we can be supporting the Indian church in prayer.
Q: What’s the context like for churches in India?
In India in general, Christianity is under pressure. Here is an extract from Open Doors
“Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences. As a result, Christians have been targeted by Hindu nationalist extremists more and more each year. The view of the nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith—including Christianity—is considered non-Indian. Additionally, in some regions of the country, converts to Christianity from Hinduism experience extreme persecution, discrimination and violence.”
At present, in Shillong, the area is still predominantly Christian and so there is less pressure. However, there is growing unease that persecution is increasing country-wide.
Q: What were you encouraged by during your time in Shillong?
The church loves to worship. It was particularly encouraging to see children and teenagers totally caught up in worship. There was an openness to the Holy Spirit and His gifts too. We taught on the prophetic gift and encouraged all to be prophetic – a message that was well-received. God also did an amazing work of healing and restoration within the hearts of many whilst we were there, which was incredibly powerful to see.
Q: What are some challenges facing the Indian church?
The influence of Hinduism is a key challenge. Many people need to be set free of the spiritual bonds that come from being a Hindu. Also converting to Christianity is often met with hostility.
Q: How can we be praying for the church there?
– Please pray for unity and courage within the church leadership team at Shillong.
– Pray for all to recognise their identity in Jesus and to grow in the gifts of the Spirit.
– Pray for many more to come to know Jesus through the witness of the church.
– Pray for church members to have the courage to pray for non-believers and to see miracles take place across the city.