Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Orissa Update

This is from our Brother Santanu Patro.


Dear Brothers and Sisters, The latest information is that the violence is now contained and killing has been stopped. However people are crowding in relief camps and from relief camps they move to the jungles in the nights for safety. They are still under fear and stress. As transportation is made available many are moving to cities away from the actual riots. Vision Orissa [Santanu's organization] has received several riot victims, who are not willing to deny Christ as force is put on them in relief camps. They are put in different houses in Berhampur with the help of the local churches. When we provided shelter to 35 people in a church, Police came and removed them from the church and sent them to relief camps established by Govt.

The people donʼt feel safe and they want to run away. Many are put in houses of believers. Vision Orissa staff are threatened. It is much the same as refugeesin your own land. They need food, clothes, medicine and shelter. We arecollecting from people and distributing to them. No amount of relief would helpthem, but it is a small and helpful beginning.

Again these are urgent but temporary needs. I am advised not to visit Orissa atthe moment, therefore I am going to receive few believers of Orissa and takethem around the churches and church leaders in Chennai to make the churches to move as well as put pressure on Govt. to help Christians who have become refugees. Please write to World Vision International office why they cannot help persecuted Christians. If they think Govt is putting pressure they must find alternative, like channeling their relief through other agencies.

Most of them are coming out as they refuse to be converted back to Hinduism. Itis a very bold step which may have further suffering. They have to start all over again by literally being on streets for the sake of Christ. I am hearing reports that many are refusing to deny Christ and some of them are withstanding all kinds of torture even to the point of death.

Yesterday I had called to a friend with whom I went to the Seminary, a Baptist leader as well as someone who is deeply involved in politics and fighting forthe political rights of the people of Orissaʼs tribes. I could talk to him after the riots for the first time. He now lives in a relief camp. He was saying that the people are planning to retaliate by attacking the high castes Hindus who have come with blue colour jobs and businesses in order to revenge the death and destruction. This seems to be very dangerous. Yes, they are angry, but Christ reminds us the Cross as symbol of persecution and the Resurrection the hope of New Life. If you are led to support our efforts of relief you may send your support to Armitage Baptist Church, Chicago by visiting their website. Or send me money through western union and inform the money transaction details.


Rev. Dr. Santanu K Patro

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Blogger Aaron said...

man Steve this is really something. I am very encouraged to see people "stand firm in the faith" while in the midst of great persecution but also truly saddened by what is going on. Just thinking of families being displaced and tortured for Christ is heart wrenching but in a weird way very inspirational. I only wish that we as the "western" church would know what it means to be Christ followers in this way.
I better be careful what I wish for huh?

Thanks for the update Steve! God bless you homie!

September 10, 2008 at 2:30 PM  

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