Missionary Released by Terrorists Unharmed!
Update: July 29, 2012
Original Prayer Request: Mission Leader Kidnapped - July 28, 2012
Thank God—your prayers are answered! On Sunday, July 29, our missionary Ponnachan George was released unharmed by the terrorist group that had kidnapped him almost a week earlier in Assam, India.
All around the world, the people of God prayed, and just as in Acts 12, we have experienced His mercy.
I talked to Pastor Ponnachan a few hours ago. He simply wept for a long time, unable to say much. He thanked God and the Body of Christ for the massive fasting and prayer that took place on his behalf.
After kidnapping him at gunpoint, the terrorists blindfolded him and tied his hands behind his back. They forced him to walk for hours deep into the forest to their hideout. Throughout Ponnachan's entire ordeal, his captors repeatedly told him they were going to shoot him and would not spare him. He could hear them discuss their next moves and plans for demanding money, but he remained calm. We may be able to share more details later about the week-long, near-death experience he went through. But right now, we thank God for answering our prayers and causing these terrorists to release him unharmed without the huge ransom they demanded. Toward the end of our conversation, I asked him what went through his mind during this horrible experience.
"These people are known for shooting and killing in cold blood for their cause," he responded. "I was frightened and really thought I would never be freed. I thought about my wife and young children and felt helpless. That is when I began to meditate on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I reminded myself that my leader sent me out with a one-way ticket to this mission field. The passage in Acts 20 where Paul says 'I don't regard my life dear to myself' became a source of strength."
The entire local police force, army personnel and high-level officials, both from the state and federal governments, helped us immensely. Without their intervention, Pastor Ponnachan's freedom would not have been possible. We thank God for these officials who have been so helpful in securing the release of our brother.
But ultimately we must give praise and glory to our Lord. I cannot explain to you just what a miracle this is. These people simply do not release their victims alive. It is only through your prayers and God's faithfulness that this precious brother was returned to us unharmed.
Gospel for Asia and Believers Church are widely known in India and the surrounding nations for the ministry and hundreds of community development projects we do among the needy. In all we do, we seek to enrich lives and reach out to men, women and children with the love of God that is abundantly available for all.
Once again, I thank you for joining with God's family around the world as we prayed for the release of our dear brother Ponnachan. How we give thanks to our faithful, loving and powerful God!
Your brother in Christ,
Founder & President
Mission Leader Kidnapped - Urgent Prayer Needed
July 28, 2012
One of our senior leaders has been abducted by a terrorist group, and they are demanding a very high ransom for his release.
On July 23, at 7 p.m., a group of five armed terrorists kidnapped Pastor Ponnachan George from our Bible school campus in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam, India. They have taken him away to their forest hideout, and we are unaware of his location. This group is threatening to kill Pastor Ponnachan unless we give them a large sum of money.
We have faced similar situations before, but not to this extreme with such a high ransom demand. We have a policy never to negotiate with terrorists for money, because once you do, it opens a door for hundreds of such events. In the past, through prayer and fasting, we have always seen God bring release.
It is a policy of our mission to keep a low profile for the sake of each individual's safety while working toward their release. This time, however, Pastor Ponnachan's story has reached the Indian press, and this may further endanger his life. Therefore, please pray urgently for God's intervention.
We have been working with the local officials as well as the central government, and we are grateful for their helpfulness in this situation. I have also sent a special communication about this incident to the Prime Minister of India, asking him to intervene and do everything he can.
But I am reminded in the midst of this critical time that the most important thing we can do is to PRAY. As we see in Acts 12, when the Apostle Peter was imprisoned, God's people prayed, and God answered. Will you please join us in prayer for the release of our beloved Pastor Ponnachan? Please also pray for his wife and their two teenage children, who are waiting and entreating the Lord for his safe return.
Pastor Ponnachan oversees the ministry in this region of India, which includes 26 Bridge of Hope centers, three radio broadcasts (Karbi, Assamese and Kuki), a Bible college, more than 200 well-established churches and about 300 missionaries. Pray for the safety and strengthening of more than a dozen leaders who are overseeing the work with him.
Thank you so much for joining us in prayer for our brother Ponnachan's release. I am so grateful I can share this with you, and that together we serve a God whose faithfulness is never-ending.
Your brother in Christ,
Founder & President