Facing Challenges at 3 of our Leadership Seminars


Earlier this year, we had made arrangements for 11 Leadership Seminars in South Asia. With three of those conferences, we faced significant opposition.

In India, one of the Leadership Seminars was cancelled after the first day because some of the pastors and missionaries were facing significant threats from some of the locals who discovered what the meeting was about. Because our partner suspected further attacks the second day, it was determined best to not continue with the conference. Finding an appropriate venue in the right location can sometimes be very difficult.

A few weeks later in Nepal, an ENGAGE team was preparing to go to the airport to fly to a remote Leadership Seminar location where church leaders were gathering. Only one hour before the team needed to go to the airport, our partner we were working with contacted the team to let them know that significant threats were being directed at him on Facebook. His picture along with false accusations of him paying money to convert Hindus at this planned Seminar was inciting strong and violent threats. The ENGAGE leadership, together with our partner, decided to postpone the Seminar until late April. (The seminar was conducted in late April by local indigenous leaders without incident in the absence of ENGAGE team members.)

Opposition with a third seminar came while pastors and missionaries were returning home from from a Seminar. Here is an excerpt from a letter we received from Madan:

Dear respected brothers and Sister in Christ,< Thank you for your valuable prayers that we are still safe while the persecution continues among us. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).

We thank our Lord Jesus for the victory of the Leadership Seminar (LS). The seminar produced new blessings in our lives.  Your sacrificial prayers and support to our ministry were a great gift for all the couples. Most of the pastors and missionaries took this time off from the mission field for training. This is also the first Marriage Seminar they have attended. We received good feedback from all the couples.

As their mission leader, I encouraged all couples to sit together during the five-day  seminar and to spend time with each other after the sessions. (Culturally, men and women do not sit together in church.) The total number of delegates was 117. Everyone was excited to attend all the sessions. We were very happy with the worship time for each tribe sang in their dialects. We also enjoyed meeting again fellow workers from different mission fields. We thank the Lord for His presence among the believers.

We appreciate all the speakers. They taught in a very simple way, and people liked it. We thank God for sending them to us to teach the Word of God and share the Biblical principles of marriage. Thank you very much for everything.

After the seminar, some of the delegates returning were interrogated by the border intelligence. They were detained at the borders and were asked questions about why they crossed the border. They wanted to find out where they went, how many attended the seminar, and if the speakers came from Canada or America. They also wanted to know who covered the cost of the seminar, and if people were converting to Christianity. They investigated them for hours.

A few days later, the police came to my house asking when I became a Christian. They asked me who is paying the expenses of the mission and why I keep a ministry with the lepers. My personal bank account was also taken including the registration certificate of our organization. Afterward, the police went door-to-door to find out if families were forced to convert to Christianity or not. The investigation is still in process. They want to get evidence from the people that we have forcibly converted them to Christianity so they can put us in jail. The police are thinking that we are bringing people outside the country so that they could become Christians. As I write this letter, they are still monitoring me so I am unable to reply to anyone at this time. Communication is getting difficult. 

We share these things because of the reality that we and our partners are facing in the ministry. As believers we are not surprised by opposition and persecution but we trust the Lord through it. Engage Today covets your prayer for future Leadership Seminar planning.  We need the Lord’s wisdom on how to best proceed in light of current realities.