Vijay and Sonia Madiki, with their two sons Sam and Paul, have served and shared Jesus in a rural village of 15,000 in southeast India for the past twenty years. Through God’s transforming power and guidance, the Madiki’s have seen their ministry grow beyond their wildest imaginations. Sonia has trained hundreds of women to start their own businesses to supply income for their families at four different SWAN ministry centers. Dozens of women have graduated from Swan with business skills and a new relationship with Jesus.
Vijay not only serves a local church as a preacher, but also mentors local rural ministers. The groups that started with a handful of ministers, has grown to four groups. Each of these groups has 60 to 70 rural ministers. Vijay travels to spend a day a month with each of these groups. During a recent Zoom call, I asked Vijay, “How many churches are there in the rural network?” Vijay replied, “About 400.” I followed up by asking, “How many people attend those 400 churches?” Vijay answered, “Over 25,000.”
I was astounded by that number. There are 25,000 Christians in a rural region in Southeast India that I would have trouble finding on a map! Twenty-five thousand Christians are leading scores of their fellow Indian citizens into Jesus’ Kingdom. Also, this rural network of churches helps to meet the food, housing, and medical needs of thousands of their community members – all while sharing and showing the love of Jesus.
During my most recent conversation with Vijay and Sonia, I asked them about the current persecution in India. This is a Christian church building in Manipur, India. They knowingly and emotionally shared that persecution of Christians in India is on the increase and is funded by the current national Indian government. Vijay and Sonia explained that while the Hindu religion has always been accommodating of other faiths, the current national government wants to become a solely Hindu nation. The current regime wants to weed out all other faiths. (For more information, here is a link to an article in Christianity Today: https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2023/february/india-protest-delhi-christians-persecution-government.html )
Vijay shared that just recently there has been open hostility to Christians in the Northeast part of India, with over one hundred Christian churches and homes being burned. The province where the Madiki’s live in southeast India is still accepting and welcoming Christians. Gratefully, Vijay is respected as a Christian leader and is asked to consult with local government officials. Vijay explained that they are hopeful that the situation in their province will remain the same. However, as a reminder, members of their church were falsely arrested and jailed following a Sunday night worship service two years ago. 40 Christian churches and homes were burned in Minipur.
As we concluded our conversation, Sonia and Vijay confirmed their belief that God is in control and that He will help them manage whatever situations they may encounter in the future. They also shared this statistic. It is believed that currently 14 percent of the population of India are Christians. India’s current population is 1.326 billion people. That means that there are over 185 million Christians in India who are facing the real threat of persecution. For comparison purposes, there are currently 212 million U.S. citizens who claim to be Christians. It is sobering, and frightening, to reflect that our countries have similar numbers of Christians, and that they are enduring persecution.
Christians like Sonia and Vijay remind me of the Apostle Paul, as they count it a joy to suffer for the cause of Jesus.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5
Satan hates salvation success. Commit to pray that through His people God will turn hatred, harm, and fear into love, grace, and unity. And donate to help courageous Christians like Vijay and Sonia continue their work! https://www.flowlivingwater.org/give