Missionaries have always been a great inspiration in every Christian’s life. Many people believe martyrs belong to bible times and the early Christianity days. Graham Stuart Staines martyrdom caught the attention of millions on Jan 23 1999.
Staines (1941-1999) was an Australian missionary who had been working in Orissa among the tribal poor and especially with leprosy patients since 1965. He worked with Evangelical Missionary Society of Mayurbhanj (EMSM). Staines took over the management of the Mission at Baripada in 1983. He also played a role in the establishment of Mayurbhanj Leprosy Home as a registered society in 1982. He met Gladys June in 1981 while working for leprosy patients, and they married in 1983, and worked together since then. They had three children, daughter Esther and two sons Philip and Timothy.
During his ministry he faced lots of obstacles by from the Hindus of Sangh Parivar. On January 23rd of 1999, Graham and his two sons, Phillip (11 yrs.) and Timothy (6 yrs.) were murdered by a large mob of militant Hindus. They had gone to a Christian camp in the jungle, where Graham was ministering. At midnight the mob attacked, setting fire to the jeep in which Graham and his sons were sleeping. They were burned alive.
The death caused a profound change in the hearts of many but the response of his wife Gladys, made many more get a glimpse of Christ’s love and forgiveness towards mankind. Gladys said, “I have only one message for the people of India. I’m not bitter. Neither am I angry. But I have one great desire: that each citizen of this country should establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave his life for their sins…let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”