(Photo coutesy Orphan Outreach)
India (MNN) ― The Vatican will be observing Good Friday tomorrow with the traditional Way of the Cross (or Via Crucis) ceremony to remember the crucifixion. But this year, the ceremony will also include a special focus on the persecuted church in India.
Since last year's ceremony, thousands of Indian Christians have been displaced, and dozens have been killed due to anti-Christian sentiment. Most of the heavy persecution, such as church burning and murder, has subsided, but there are still thousands of believers left to deal with the aftermath.
"A lot of times when you have a situation like this with this kind of persecution, it hits the newspapers, and everyone is interested in it. Then it kind of goes off the screen when the intense persecution stops," says Mike Douris of Orphan Outreach. "You then have thousands of people who have been impacted and are now displaced."
Orphan Outreach has not forgotten about the many suffering believers who remain victims of the aftermath of life-altering persecution. Many children have been orphaned and torn from their families as a result of the events that began in August 2008, and they are in need of much more than a little hospitality.
At the height of the siege against Christians who professed Christ rather than Hinduism, one group of believers began to care for children in Orissa state whose parents had died or could not support them. "Because the families had been displaced and the parents had been killed, there were children who had been both orphaned and displaced. So this group of Christians opened an orphanage, just on faith."
The believers began to pool their money to create an orphanage for boys, while sending girls to another orphanage in southern India. They quickly began to accumulate children until their numbers reached to 70 kids.
When Orphan Outreach discovered this faithful group of Christians who established the children's home, they were eager to help. Orphan Outreach is now supporting the orphanage and working hard to reunite children with their families. "The ultimate goal would be to reunite the families and place them back into the ministry areas they were in, or the villages they were in, if that's possible. If not, relocating and finding another place for them to live will be our focus," explains Douris.
In the meantime, Orphan Outreach is helping the orphanage take care of basic needs for the children with provision of safety, schooling, food and other necessities. They are doing their best to assure the children they are in a safe place.
Although intense persecution did not last as long as it could have, many children have been scarred with the memories of weapon-bearing men chasing them away from their villages and into the jungle. This was the case for one boy who said he prayed for safety as his family fled. He says now that he is at the orphanage, he knows God has heard his prayer.
Please do not stop praying for believers in India. Many churches have yet to be rebuilt, ministries have yet to resume, and families have yet to be united. Pray that the children would be impacted for Christ while in the orphanages and that they would be joined with their parents again if they are still alive.
You can adopt a displaced family through Orphan Outreach and help them reunite. To learn more about what you can do, click here or call the Orphan Outreach number to the left of this article.