Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Remembering Dr Graham Staines

How does one react when religious extremists kill a husband and two boys in a fire? In Eastern India, on the night of January 22nd, 1999, Hindu extremists set fire to a station wagon where Dr Graham Staines and his two boys, Philip and Timothy, aged 10 and 6 were sleeping. All three died leaving behind Gladys Staines and her daughter, Esther. Working with leprosy patients, the Australian family had been accused of forcefully converting Hindus to be Christians. The tragedy happened in Orissa, known as a place with great anti-Christian sentiments and persecution.

Photo of the Staines family.   Source: NewsCore
For thirty years, the family worked with in a remote village in Orissa. They treated patients. They reached out in love. They let their lives display the love of God through their skills. Think about it. Thirty years. That is a long time. How can anyone forcibly make people convert and take thirty years to do that? As far as I know, anything that requires force has an element of speedy achievement of results. But 30 years? How can the Staines family be forcing people to convert? It boggles my mind.

There is a high price to pay when it comes to mission work. That is why not many of us are in missions. Far too often, Churches pay lip service to the Great Commission or the mission work. They prefer to take the stance to let others do it. They prefer to remain in their comfort zone. They prefer to keep their one talent buried, thinking that they are doing God a favour by preserving their talent safe. We know the rest of the story. In case you are not familiar, read Matthew 25:14-30.

This week is also Missions Fest week in Vancouver. I'll write more tomorrow. For now, let us take a pause to remember Graham Staines, Philip, and Timothy, and give thanks to God for their sacrificial service and example.


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