Indian Missionaries Call It a 'Privilege' to Suffer

Missionaries in training with Gospel for Asia have spoken of the "privilege" they felt in suffering for Christ after being attacked on their Bible college campus in Mumbai, India, earlier in the month.

Seven students were seriously injured in the attack by suspected anti-Christian extremists on May 9.

They were preparing the evening meal when attackers armed with wooden sticks, iron rods and fluorescent light tubes stormed onto the campus, beating them and vandalizing the buildings.

The students tried to speak to the assailants and find out why they were attacking them but got no answer.

Hemanti Kashyap was injured when the attackers hit him in the stomach with an iron rod. He said the incident had given him the chance to live out the difficult lessons he had learned in Bible college.

"Through this situation I learned what the Bible means when it says, "Blessed are those who suffer for Christ," he said. "This opposition was the test of my faith to march forward and to share the Gospel. They hit my stomach with an iron rod and I was injured, but I am grateful to the Lord Jesus who kept me safe to be a witness for Him."

Sunil Pattanayap recalls the moment the attack began: "For a moment I was shocked about why this was happening to me. Then I understood that the time had come for me to glorify His name," he said.

"It was my privilege to suffer for Christ and I am happy today because I can testify that God protected me and brought me safe from death to proclaim His Word and stand as a living testimony for Christ with a strong faith.

Three of the injured students are still recovering in hospital. Beedram Sena had to undergo surgery on his broken leg, while Sudershan Yadavan required surgery to repair his broken kneecap. Sunil Reedy needed extensive dental surgery to replace teeth that were knocked out by the attackers.

Brijeshware Nayan, who was injured on his back but did not require hospitalization, said the attack had helped him to see the spiritual value in suffering.

He said: "I came to serve the Lord. If we get scared of this opposition then how can we learn to grow up in our faith?"

The attackers broke windows and furniture in the campus buildings, and also destroyed teaching materials.

Gospel for Asia Vice President Daniel Punnose also took a positive stance towards the incident.

"While persecution is not uncommon and many of our people suffer greatly, the Lord has been so faithful to prove Himself by allowing our brothers and sisters to show love to those who need it the most," he said.

"This type of persecution only proves that people need to experience the love of Jesus. It is only then they find their life has meaning and a purpose to turn hate into love."