---------- Forwarded message ----------
The below is a follow up report to your posting on Project Thessalonica.
Project Thessalonica s long-term project which utilizes Southern Baptist churches desiring to spread the gospel in areas of India with no missionary presence. It focus on the support systems of Hindu infrastructure, such as boatsmen, idol makers (Stapathies), temple builders, etc and expect the negative effect to filter throughout the Hindu society (eg reduced availability of temple builders, boatsmen,
Here is forwarded message which shows how much of progress they have made in our holy cities. ------
"We had been to Prayag, Varanasi & Gaya in September 2005 to perform Shraddam & Pitru Kaaryams. The boatmen in Kasi were very enthusiastic & cooperative, with helping tendency. The inflow from Tamil Nadu is so much that the boatmen there speak & understand Tamil well. In fact, in & around an area called "Hanuman Ghat", where Shankara Mutt, Shiva Mutt and Kamakoti Shivan Temple are located, we will feel as though we are very much in Tamil Nadu. Even in Bazaars around Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the shop keepers speak & undertsand Tamil. One young boatman by name Suresh was very enthusiastic and helpful to us through out our stay in Kashi. Most of the boatmen have thorough knowledge about the things required to perform the rituals sitting inside the boat going around the "Pancha Ghattam" (Five Ghats), which will take minimum of five hours.
I had the opportunity to join my relatives again in September 2006 to go to the same places. To my shock & dismay, I found that the guy Suresh and a few others were converted to Christianity. His enthusiasm & spirit were totally missing and he even avoided talking to us! When we walk from Hanuman Ghat to the River Ganga, a short distance of, say, 250 yards, we can find one 'inn' very close to the banks of the river, managed by "Missionaries of Charities". We can also see a few Ambulances in their name roaming around Varanasi.
There is no doubt that these boatmen & their families are targeted by the Christian thugs. But, there is a silver lining, that is, these boatmen depend a lot on Hindus and thier customs, rituals. melas & celebrations for their bread & butter. So, even if the boatmen are converted, the Hindu traditional practices will not come to a standstill. But, it doesn't mean that we should keep quiet about the conversion activities. The Sangh organisations in those areas must be proactive and put an end to this menace."