following days of torture while in captivity, BosNewsLife learned Friday, July 30.
GFA said Lokesh, Yesuraj, Kumar, Anil and Ramesh who, on July 24 were "abducted and rongfully accused of robbery," by anti Christian militants, were freed after one of them escaped and informed police about their whereabouts.
In a message to ASSIST News Service (ANS) a GFA official, John Schwartz, said however that the authorities have asked the evangelists to in his words "minister in a different area."
He reported that Lokesh, one of the released missionaries, was still in a critical condition as he "suffered severe beatings from his captors." The latest attack against Christians comes amid growing concern about anti-Christian violence in parts of India and neighboring Nepal.
GFA said evangelizing is especially difficult in areas such as Karnataka which it described as "southern India’s most spiritually desolate state, claiming only 1.1 million Christians." It added that "many regions of the state are without even one follower of Jesus" as most people are Hindu’s. Only 2 percent are Christians, a decline from almost 3 percent in 1971."
"The Lord had blessed their evangelistic outreach in an area of Karnataka, India, but their ministry did not go unnoticed by anti-Christian elements in the community, Schwartz told
ANS. "Twice these native evangelists had received threats, but they nonetheless continued sharing their faith with needy people.
"As their ministry grew, their opposers watched them, looking for an opportunity to hinder their work," by committing a robbery and falsely accusing the missionaries.
"A group of anti-Christians forcibly abducted the five missionaries, accusing them of committing the robbery," before they were finally released, he said. "Increasingly, false accusations -"one of Satan’s devices -" are being used to harass our missionaries in India and Nepal."
GFA currently has 133 Bible schools where nearly 7,000 students are preparing to become full-time church planters among those who have never heard the Gospel.