This past Thursday, India started the first phase of its month-long general election. It’s a massive affair. Over 900 million people are eligible to vote. An estimated 1 million polling stations are being managed by 10 million officials. The party that wins the election establishes a government for the next 5 years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of BJP, an ultranationalist party, is seeking re-election. He was swept into office 5 years ago promising to make great advances in India’s struggling economy. But his time in office has been filled with trouble. Border skirmishes with Pakistan continue. Economic gains have not benefited everyone equally. His re-election, while expected, has been effectively challenged.
Under Modi, BJP has worked to establish strongly nationalist policies, believing “that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith—including Christianity— is viewed as non-Indian.” Anti-conversion laws have passed in several of the 29 states and persecution of Christians has increased. Open Doors, a Christian organization that publishes its World Watch List, now places India as the 10th most difficult country in the world to be a Christian.
GBC’s connection to India is through the Tabors, a family we have supported for several years. After a period of living in the United States, they anticipate returning to India and continuing their work there.
Let’s pray for India. Pray that the results of the election will bring about a reduction of religious persecution and allow the gospel to be more openly shared. Pray that the economic conditions will improve for the un- deserved. Pray that the Tabors will be able to continue their outreach to the country and people they love.