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Christians Threatened by Opposition as Sikkim Prepares for Dalai Lama Visit

Many Buddhists live in Sikkim, India. Their worldwide leader is visiting the state this week, and GFA-supported missionaries are asking for prayer during this critical juncture.



SIKKIM, INDIA

(ANS) — The pastor of a Gospel for Asia-related church in Sikkim, India, is asking for prayer today as Buddhists in his area are hosting a visit by the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader is visiting this Himalayan state to participate in a conference.

Pastor Nandan Reddiar said that, while his congregation is growing, they are facing strong opposition from other religions in the area, and opponents are taking advantage of the Lama’s visit to increase the pressure.

“Some in this society are trying to convert our believers to their faith, either by threats of violence or by enticing them with worldly things,” pastor Nandan said.

GFA President K.P. Yohannan said it is ironic that “among those opposing the Christians are followers of the Dalai Lama, who preaches a message of non-violence and has been awarded the Nobel Peace prize.”

Invited by State
The Sikkim state government invited the Buddhist leader to come and lead a conference on “Cognitive Sciences and Eastern Contemplative Traditions.” The seminar, leaders say, is expected to lay the foundation for the state’s efforts to introduce morality and ethics into its school and college curricula.

The Dalai Lama will also visit the state’s Tibetan community, conduct a “teaching” in a sports stadium and bless a massive statute of Buddha now under construction. He will spend time at several Buddhist monasteries across Sikkim, including one in the city where Pastor Nandan serves. In fact, the government is building a special retreat center for the Dalai Lama at that location.

Prayer Needed
Pastor Nandan is asking Christians around the world to pray for the believers in his city during this time.

“Please pray that this visit will not cause problems for our church,” he asked, “and please pray that our people will have strong faith to face and overcome any problems.”

Dr. Yohannan also called for prayer for the Sikkim believers.

“Pray for Pastor Nandan and his congregation as they witness to the love of Christ among the people of Sikkim,” he said. “They have a strong desire to share the Good News among those who have not heard, so let us pray that the Lord will fulfill that desire of their hearts.”

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