Peter Youngren is asking believers to pray for this week’s Gospel Festival in Allahabad, India. The last four days militant Hindu groups have tried to stop the six day event. Many advertising billboards have been torn down, and the radicals have threatened further violence to force the authorities to revoke all permits. On Tuesday morning newspapers reported that police removed 250 rioters outside the Festival venue. A 5000 man demonstration was threatened this morning outside the hotel where Peter and Taina Youngren are staying, but less than 1000 turned out.
At issue is whether or not Youngren’s Gospel Festival converts people to Christianity, which is illegal in India. Seventy journalists and cameramen from all major media packed the venue for the press conference on Tuesday afternoon with questions like: “Are you a healer? Is your purpose to convert people?” Amazingly, one journalist queried, “Why do your prayers heal the sick, while the prayers of our religion do not?”
World Impact Ministries’ Festival Director, Johan Olehall, reports that in spite of the protests, there are many who want the Festival. At a Friendship Dinner Tuesday evening political and religious leaders welcomed Youngren to Allahabad. Among the dignitaries was a famous Hindu guru with a strong influence within the Hindu religion and several Muslim leaders, as well as the Minister of Agriculture, a Christian.
With only two hours to go until the Festival and with thousands already waiting on the Crusade grounds, the District judge refused a court motion spear headed by one the political parties, to stop the Festival.
Youngren comments, “Our goal is to present Christ in large cities where there is little Gospel awareness. The key for us is simply to trust that God will give us favor, and that is what’s happening here in Allahabad. I am especially impressed to see the quality of commitment from local believers, who really care about their city having an opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ. A big thank you to everyone who is praying with us.”