Christians stands in front of a church that was destroyed by Hindu extremists.
Sampson is the Director for Distribution with World Bible Translation Center in India. He says the violence in Orissa is taking its toll. "Nearly 700 houses are destroyed, and thousands of Christians are displaced. They are staying in refugee camps, in dormitories at schools in villages, and in make-shift tents."
Not only have these Christians lost clothing, food, homes and more, they've also lost something even more important. "Many Bibles (have been) burned and destroyed. So many of the new believers don't have Bibles right now. They're missing the Word of God. We need to get Bibles to these village schools. Some are staying in the jungles. So we need to get the Word of God in these places."
According to Sampson, the State government is controlled by a coalition of Hindu nationalists who hate the spread of Christianity. He says the reason these attacks are taking place is because many are turning to Christ. "A leading fundamentalist party leader has suggested that there has been an increase of nearly double the number of Christians -- nearly 5.5 percent of the population is Christian, up from 2.1."
The World Bible Translation Center distribution program has had a direct impact on that increase, says Sampson. "34,000 Oriya Bibles were distributed in May 2007. So God was greatly blessing the efforts of the distribution. And all of a sudden the devil tries to thwart the attempts by using the Hindu fundamentalists and starting the persecution in Orissa."
However, Sampson isn't discouraged by the increasing violence. "God is going to do great things in Orissa because of the persecution. More churches will be raised and more house church, too, and the number of believers will increase in the coming days."
Sampson says their faith is strong. He says, "Hindu fundamentalists are visiting house to house asking believers to renounce their faith. But these believers are not willing to give up Jesus Christ. And as a result, they're facing more persecution."
While Orissa's state law prohibits Hindus from converting to Christianity, in violation to India's constitution, Sampson says it's not stopping church growth. "All of these believers are accepting Christ secretly and taking baptism secretly."
World Bible Translation Center is asking you to help provide a new easy-to-read Oriya Bible to one of the displaced Christians in Orissa. $6 provides a complete Bible -- God's Word that will provide comfort and encouragement to a persecuted believer there.