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Recovery & Extraction- India Update

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
July 8, 2023 12:00 pm

Recovery & Extraction- India Update

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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July 8, 2023 12:00 pm

Today, Whitney speaks with John from Lantern's Recovery & Extraction Team. Listen as he shares the heartbreaking news that has been happening in India and the persecution of Christians in regions of great tribulation and pain. 

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This is Sam from the Masking Journey Podcast and our goal with the podcast has helped you to try to find your way in this difficult world. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Hi and welcome to Lantern Rescue's Podcast today. Man, I've really been looking forward to what you guys are going to hear today. We have John who is deeply partnered with us and our recovery and extraction team and he is going to be shedding a lot of light on persecuted Christians right now and specifically in India because if you are not aware of the situation that has broken out in, gosh, we said May, right, John?

It's May 3rd. I think our listeners are going to be blown away and I'm going to preface by this. As a believer, I think there is a call to intercede in prayer, especially for our persecuted brothers and sisters and I hope that today's podcast really allows all of us to redirect our efforts in that way to ensure that we are surrounding them and uplifting them in prayer. I'm going to let you kind of give us a brief rundown, John, of really what started this May 3rd.

What did that look like? And then we're going to talk a little bit about our part in it and some of the stories as you were on the ground, what you experienced there. So for our listeners, I'm so glad you're joining today. We are going to be chatting on a recovery and extraction team specifically with what's going on in Mirpur, India. Tell us a little bit about really the beginnings of it. I started realizing, you know, I think at that time they were saying 40 plus churches burned and I was just trying to wrap my head around the situation.

So I started doing a little digging because that is our passion is helping persecuted believers no matter where they are in the world. And the local news and Indian news that I was getting was giving me a very ethnic tribal clash. So a lot of the story was how there's a few different tribes, different ethnic groups there in Manipur, but specifically this was happening between two. And the easiest way to distinguish them is the Meitei, which are in the valley, predominantly in the valley and in the capital, Coltonfall. They make up over half the population of Manipur and they're predominantly Hindu.

And then you've got the surrounding areas is completely mountains, just giant mountains going all around this valley area. And then this area is what is called the Kuki tribe. And the Kukis were evangelized by Baptist missionaries over 100 years ago. And now they're really they're predominantly Baptist. In fact, I would say driving through when I was in the area, I didn't see a village without a Baptist, not a Baptist, but without some kind of church, a Protestant church.

And so very, very Christian. And what was happening was there was a lot of infractions happening by the local government to take over or to take action in these mountain lands. And the reason that was being protested is because that was actually illegal. According to their constitution, all these mountainous areas were native land. So only a native registered tribe could do anything there, could buy, sell land. And the central people, the valley people, the Meitei, they were wanting to buy land there. So it was being protested.

So again, this sounds really about politics and things like that. But what really starts getting interesting is May 3rd, there was a peaceful protest, a march, a large group of the Kuki tribe were marching down the street, holding signs in protest to an initiative by the local government saying that they were going to try to give the Meitei people tribal status, which would mean they could buy up all this mountainous land. And then that's where the problems started. And I couldn't tell, some people were saying the Meitei started it, some people said the Kuki started it. There was just attacks and fights going on.

It seemed very confusing. But as I began to go and hear the stories and find out what was actually happening, I realized it wasn't even just, you know, Meitei versus Kuki. It was actually, there was a kind of a deeper attack, something that was planned and formulated against the Kuki Christians as an ethnic cleansing. They were really just trying to wipe out, this attack came from militants and insurgent groups, religious groups on an attack on these Christians to wipe them from their land and to take over their land. And so, as we'll get into some of the stories, I suppose in a minute, but there's so many stories of people that were just completely caught off guard. They didn't expect this kind of violence.

In fact, many cases they were so shocked they didn't even defend themselves. They were just martyred and there's just a situation of just a local government that was trying to manipulate a situation and then this hate that they built, they sowed over years this animosity against these Kuki people that it really turned into a hate towards Christianity. And to the point where even the Meitei people, the Hindus there in the central area, after they attacked the Kukis, they began attacking other Christians in their own tribe, which I think is what separates this from just an ethnic attack.

They began burning their own churches, telling Christians, Meitei Christians, they're in the capital and fall in the valley, that if they didn't burn their Bibles, they were going to burn their houses and worse. So, it's clearly taken a very, I think, from the greed of politics, it's turned into this hate towards Christianity as a whole. And a genocide at this point, that's where it's headed, right, is this idea of wiping out Christians in this area. And I got to say, as you were talking about it, when you said it seemed very confusing initially, isn't that so how the enemy works? That is Satan's, one of his greatest tools is the ability to confuse so that we're so stuck on seeing the surface issue, we don't take the time to dig deeper and recognize what is really going on. What is his actual goal here? You know, it would be one thing for political unrest, but to specifically target God's people, that's his MO. You know, it's his day, but you just got to get a rifle through what's on the surface. And I think that's true in so much of today's time. Confusion is an easy one for him.

Yes. I think that's a fantastic point, especially since you look at a lot of the stories and honestly, the only thing I can describe it is as satanic. So in World War One, for example, there was a realization that humans had a very difficult time killing other humans. Men were put on the front lines of these trenches that were excellent shots, and yet they were missing a rate that was far unexpected. You may be already aware of this, but so what happened, the difference between World War One and World War Two, they began implementing human silhouette targets so that people, soldiers were brainwashed and thinking, I'm telling you, I'm just shooting at a target, you know. And that brainwash system had to happen before humans could easily shoot at, you know, not necessarily easily, but could systematically shoot at another human.

We don't have that kind of training here. We've got humans doing things to other humans that are just absolutely abhorrent. Before I even got there, there was, a few days actually before, there was an ambulance that was taking a Christian woman and her child to, as an emergency run to the hospital.

It was stopped by a group of women, and the women stopped the vehicle, pulled the mother and her child out and burnt them alive, and then burnt the ambulance drivers and their ambulance alive as well. I mean, just that kind of evil hatred, that's not natural. I think that we're clearly seeing a satanic attack here. Wow.

Wow. I almost need a minute to wrap my head around that. You know, I mean, we are so far away from understanding just the level of persecution that occurs. As believers in the US, I think we just really, it's hard for us to consider, and I've said it before, you know, we get on this idea of like, well, my freedoms are being stepped on because I'm a Christian.

And yes, while there may be elements of that that are absolutely true, but consider your livelihood stepped on literally in these other countries. It's not that we ever want to get there, but man, our heart should cry out. It should pour out to the people, our brothers and sisters in Christ who are dealing with this in this capacity.

It just breaks my heart. And, you know, as you're talking about the tribal thing, I can't, I can't help but to go back again to the Old Testament. And I recently said this on a podcast I did before, but it's like we keep, things don't change.

You know, it's the same God, right, throughout history from the beginning to the end. And there's so many things I think we can learn from that. But I feel like we're walking backwards into a story of the Old Testament where there's this tribal war over land and being wiped out for the beliefs. You know, I mean, this is, this is, we're right back in it, you know, and it's crazy to consider because it is, it seems so far away from who we are and where we are in the world. But really it's occurring and there's much to be done about it. And I think looking at numbers, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm looking at some of the reporting we've done and it's 100 plus men and women and children have been killed at this point. Over 35 Christians are now displaced, 350 churches plus have been burned down or destroyed, 2,000 homes left unlivable, and most of them have been burned to ashes. I mean, this is, this is the genocide that's occurring right now. This is the crisis that we're talking about. And where is it on the news, but we won't even get there.

You know, I mean, it's like, there's a call to action here, you know, as believers. Yeah, I would say the only, yes, definitely. I would say the only update I would say would be probably about 40,000 plus displaced at this point. And even though the number of deaths is over 100, I wouldn't be surprised that a lot of the numbers aren't being released by the local government. I wouldn't be surprised if that number was closer to 1,000. That's crazy.

And I'd say conservative would be 800, yeah. And this movement hasn't stopped. Like there's nothing stopping it still. It's still moving, like this is still happening.

Yeah, I was there about a week and a half ago and a man died from a sniper attack the day I got there. Well, we are, we're getting ready to edge into a break and I don't want to get into the stories yet because I want you to have the full time to be able to chat over them. And I know our listeners want to hear it. There is a call to action, believer. You know, there is a call to pray. There's a call to intervene in that way. And we have the ability to do that.

And not only that, but, you know, I'll chat more about it later. But Thessalonians really reminds us that, you know, the ability to encourage those in persecution is our role as believers here. So as we head into our break, listeners, I would love if you would take a minute to head over to the Lantern Rescue website. Or you can look us up on most all social media platforms at this point.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. We have a really amazing campaign that's going on right now. And it is Operation Freedom to the Fullest, where we have a donor that has come in and has been willing to match gifts up to $100,000.

So this is one of those times where that is just one of the ways that you can step in and make a difference. Such as genocide, terrorism, and human trafficking. As a nonprofit charity, they offer services free of charge to their host nations. Human trafficking has grown into the second largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated $150 billion in annual activity. Lantern Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Lantern operates through a trained international network in order to rescue women and children from sex and labor slavery, and facilitates holistic aftercare services.

They're gearing up for operations right now, and you can go to to see how you can support them financially. Welcome back, guys. Wow, we are really kind of jumping into a critical event, a current event that is happening right now, has not slowed down since May 3. And I mean, there's a lot to chat on, so I'm not going to delay too much in getting John to share a little bit about what's going on in India right now. If you are here for the first part of this podcast, or this Listen In, we chatted a little bit about what has led to the circumstances that are now taking place in India, in Manipur, India specifically.

So if you are catching up to this point, or if you landed at this point, I would definitely encourage you to go back and listen in on the podcast to the beginning half. John, I know you recently were on the ground in Manipur, India, where, you know, we said 40,000 plus displaced Christians are currently at, and gosh, you know, relatively close to 1000 persecuted Christians have already been martyred for their faith in this area, and it's not slowing down. So I'd love for you to tell us just what you experienced on the ground. And I really hope that this is brought to life for those that are listening into this. Because sometimes, again, it can be such a foreign idea or concept of what Christian persecution looks like now.

We read about it, you know, in the Bible and look back at some of those things and those that are part of Open Door Ministries and things like that. You're aware of those things, those issues happening, but we have someone here that has been on the ground and faced it firsthand, so I'm really excited to hear. I don't know if excited is the word, but I'm interested to hear kind of what you've experienced in that. So can you share some of those stories with us?

Yeah, yeah. This whole trip was God-blessed for sure. Getting into Manipur was difficult. There was security. I think we went through five checkpoints at anyone I could have entered and turned back.

And yet God paved the way. It was absolutely miraculous and brought me to really speak to some amazing people, people that had fled their homes. Some of the people weren't in Manipur. There's actually relief camps in multiple states in India, where many people have fled. Mostly the people that can afford to leave, a lot of them have left, but then some people are staying and trying to help support what's going on.

So there's so many heartbreaking stories. When you've got, you know, 40,000 people getting displaced, you know, most of them have lost their homes. Everything's burnt.

Everything's gone. And we're talking from the poorest, you know, third world country villager to politicians. I mean, no one's being spared. I actually talked to a politician. He was in command. He was second in charge when it comes to like ranking of the state government. He was a minister there and he was stuck in his house being attacked by militants for three hours. His security guards were just, would scare them off finally after three hours by shooting into the air. And they were able to escape via help from a paired military group that rescued him.

But his house is completely destroyed. But a few, I think, of the more, the one story that really touched me was my first day there. I spoke with a pastor's wife. She had three children, all of them that knew of the youngest was maybe six months old, six to eight months old. And she had been living in Imphal. They had a church there, Imphal's in the capital, the central area where the Mete people live. And her husband, again, was a pastor.

And they began hearing that attacks were happening. And he sent her away to go, I think, with his mother, her mother-in-law. They went off somewhere safe while he went to go help. Well, she sent a text message to him and he replied and then nothing. She went to a military camp for protection, didn't hear from her for a few days. And then word came to her that he'd been killed.

She asked for his clothing description and everything. And they confirmed that it had been killed. And I think the horrifying thing for me was there's a video online of his death. And I saw it. She still hasn't watched it.

Of course, you wouldn't expect her to. But it was literally, he was just surrounded by six or seven people with boards and sticks and baseball bats and they just beat him to death. And it was for no other reason than, you know, he was, and this is a pastor, he's out there trying to help Chinese, not looking for a fight.

In fact, I didn't see him even try to defend himself. It was just, he was overwhelmed by this mob. And there was another really touching story.

I spoke to a mother. She also, her and her family tried to shelter in their home, but then things kept getting worse. And so they tried to move. While they moved, they began to get attacked by a mob. And while her sons were trying to get her out, these are all adults, she's elderly and all her children are adults.

But one of her sons stopped to try to dissuade the mob and get them to calm down or stay back. And she watched him get beaten to death. And I mean, I can't imagine what it's like for a mother, you know, to see something like that from her own child. I know just whenever she was trying to tell the story, I mean, her voice kept breaking and she cried and she says she can't sleep.

She wakes up, you know, all the time with nightmares and everywhere she goes, she sees every young man looks like her son. So there's an enormous, you know, trauma that's happening here and there's going to be a long term need for just counseling and people to go in love. Something that really shocked me, I went there to try to facilitate the logistics to provide relief, whether that's food and medicine.

I just wanted to know, you know, if people donate money and they give it to our organization, I just want to make sure that the money gets used as efficiently and as resourcefully as possible. And so I but I also wanted to hear the stories and see what was really going on with my own eyes. But, you know, one thing I didn't necessarily expect was just the gratitude and the love and the hope that came with someone, you know, from my side of the world to come to where they were being the first white person there since the conflict started. There was just such a love and a gratitude that just being there and telling them, hey, you're not alone. You know, hearing these stories, I was lost for words.

I mean, how do you say, how do you comfort a mother or a wife, you know, that's lost their son and husband? And but my greatest comfort I could give is there are Christians in America, in Canada, in countries around the world that are praying for you right now. And that really was, I think, a huge encouragement to them. There was no doubt they were praying there. Every single church in that city that hadn't been burned down, every single school that hadn't been burned down had been turned into a relief center. I believe there was ninety three just in Churachanpur, which is the city I was in. There's a few other cities there that have relief centers and things.

But this is definitely the largest city for the Kuki tribes. And each shelter was housing at least one hundred people, some two, three hundred were staying in these churches and shelters, which really didn't have enough room to house them. So we traveled, I traveled around, just talked to, you know, several people.

But it was man, it was quite an experience. And it was just funny to me that really the only encouragement I could give was to let other people know, hey, you're not alone, you're not forgotten. And there are Christians that are praying because their Internet's completely shut down. They can't communicate out really. It's very difficult to get news or word out. So even and since it's kind of a war zone right now, even reporters and things are having a hard time getting into the area.

But God made a way for you to get there. Isn't that crazy? How awesome is he? Yeah. You know, he wants his people known and heard. And, you know, there's two two things that come to mind. And, you know, one of them is where we're reminded in Jeremiah, where he says, you know, call out to me and I will hear your cry, you know. And he's faithful to respond to that. And I think that was the cry out of the heart. Hey, God, do you see me?

You know, I can imagine that's got to be on their heart at some point during this. Do you see us? Do you see what's happening? So for him to answer that with you being available, that encourages my heart, you know, to know that he does see. He does see that the evil that is at hand and we can cry out to him in that way.

And he does hear us and he does respond. And that's the faithfulness of a good God. And then the other thing is Thessalonians three, seven, three, eight.

And that one is our first Thessalonians. It just that one stands firm and it says, for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we have been reassured by you because of your faith. For now, we can go on living as long as you are standing firm in the Lord. And that is the encouragement they received from from somebody being there to say, hey, we are praying for you. Right. We get to stand firm in the Lord for those that are persecuted, because that is the reassurance that they have is that that we come alongside as the body of Christ to pray and help.

Not just not just pray. That's a powerful piece. But and the most powerful piece. But also that you're there to help support and aid, you know, and just to ensure that things are done well and that they are taken care of to the best of our ability. Yes. Yes. I know that that was a heart wrenching time for you.

Yeah. You know, one verse that kind of has stuck with me the last year and it's just becoming more and more real. And it's been my challenge to those like myself who have grown up in the prosperity of a Western culture is Hebrews 13 three. Remember those who are in prison as though in prison with them and those who are mistreated since you are also in the body.

I mean, we are one body in Christ and when one part of the body is hurting, we're all hurting. And that's what I hope I can help bring. And others with my same passions can help bring is that connection with the prosperous church and the persecuted church. I really think that God has a plan for these kooky tribal Christians who are in Manafort. They are being faced with horrific circumstances. But through that, their faith is just being strengthened. You would think, you know, going there, that there would be a rejection of God. You know, people saying, you know, where God, where were you?

Why didn't you stop this from happening? But instead, I heard people talking about miracles, about how God had protected them, about how their village would have been destroyed, you know, days before. But somehow God, God protected them.

And those stories are absolutely undeniably miraculous. Just, you know, just to think off the top of my head, I can remember a few. One was a group of maybe less than 10 defenders of a village.

So a tiny little village. And again, these defenders, they're teenage boys, they're young men, they're people that some of them have never even held a gun before. They're grabbing their grandfather's shotgun. And by the way, the only weapon allowed for these kooky tribals was a single barrel shotgun that has to be reloaded every time you shoot it. So I mean, they're not out there with AK-47s.

They're just defending with bare minimum. And there was eight, eight or 10 of them, I think it was eight of them defending this village against a group of several hundred, some of them with AK-47s. Many of them were coming with these, they call them bulletproof gypsies, but they're like a jeep that's bulletproof that they stole from military supplies there in the local government. And they swore that this group of militants turned around and left because they swore there was over 100 soldiers defending this village. Wow. I know there's just a handful. Yeah. And there's another story where a village was overrun.

So if all the villagers ran away. I'm going to have to stop you and I'm going to have to leave our listeners in absolute peril trying to figure out what happens next. But it'll make them tune into the next podcast here because we are at time and I think we do another one because I think that there's a lot to be said here.

And not only the stories, the stories speak to the goodness of God, but they also call us to a deeper level of faith and understanding. So to our listeners, you know, we're going to jump off of this and we're going to record a second part two of this. And I hope that you will join us for that because there is a call to action in this as well. And there's a call to prayer. And so in that second one, I really want you guys to listen in and hear that piece of it, too, as well as these stories that magnify who our God is and how faithful he is in the midst of our deepest trials. So for today, we're going to sign it off. And thank you for joining us, our listeners. And John, thank you for joining us. We're going to step into a part two to this. So join us next week for the second part of our conflict in crisis and what's going on in India.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-08 14:24:37 / 2023-07-08 14:35:25 / 11

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