Martyr Monday – Graham Staines (1941-1999) and Orissa

Graham Stuart Staines (1941 – January 1999) was an Australian Christian missionary who was martyred along with his two sons Philip (aged 10) and Timothy (aged 6) while sleeping in his station wagon at Manoharpurvillage in Keonjhar district in Orissa, India in January 1999.  In 2003, the Hindu activist Dara Singh was convicted of leading the gang.  Graham Staines had been working in Orissa among the tribal poor and especially with leprosy patients since 1965.

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He was born in 1941 at Palmwoods, Queensland, Australia.  Graham visited India in 1965 for the first time and joined Evangelical Missionary Society of Mayurbhanj (EMSM), working in this remote tribal area, with a long history of missionary activity.  He met Gladys June in 1981 (at 40) while working for leprosy patients, and they married in 1983, and had worked together since then.  They had three children, daughter Esther and two sons Philip and Timothy.   Staines assisted in translating a part of the Bible into the Ho language of India, including proofreading the entire New Testament manuscript, though his focus was on a ministry to lepers.  He spoke fluent Oriya and was very popular among the patients whom he used to help after they were cured.  He used to teach them how to make mats out of rope and basket from Saboigrass and hand weaving.

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On the night of 22 January 1999, Graham Staines had attended a jungle camp, an annual gathering of Christians of the area to strengthen fellowship and for teaching.  In the night he was sleeping in his station wagon when it was set afire by a Hindu mob.  Graham and his two sons (10 and 6) were burnt alive.  Their charred bodies were found embracing each other.

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Graham Stains lost his life, but he did not waste it.  Writing that you might not waste yours-

Matt

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Lastly, I would HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU to watch this video about the persecution in Orissa (4 minutes long), and I would invite you to pray with me for believers in Orissa today!!!  Love you all!