Article source: www.opendoors.org.za

A story of amazing miracles and fiery faith is unfolding in India. But the Church is under pressure – and Christians need your help.

Laxman

“He will be with me”

When Laxman’s* wife was sick, he took her to a church in sheer desperation. What happened that day was the start of an extraordinary story…

“My wife received healing with just one prayer,” said Laxman, who was a devout Hindu at the time. “I understood the power of this God, and I became determined to spread His message.”

Later, after studying theology, Laxman started a church and watched as incredible miracles began to happen. Sadly, one day he was falsely accused of luring someone into converting to Christianity. This resulted in the police raiding his church.

“I was conducting a service and the police came,” remembers Laxman, with tears in his eyes. “They beat me, took me by the collar and hit me with their batons. I thought the villagers would save me, but nobody came.”

Laxman was jailed, tortured and mocked. After six days he was released – only to find his church in ruins, the believers scattered, his livelihood gone. Now Laxman is under constant police surveillance.

It’s a desperate situation – but Laxman won’t give up. He meets secretly with a handful of Christians, saying: “God has promised He will be with me.”

Hari

“Nothing can stop us”

Hari* has known difficulty ever since he started following Jesus. After all, faith in Christ meant turning his back on the traditional religion of his tribe in rural India. He was kicked out of his home and rejected by his family.

But nothing could prepare Hari, a church leader, for the persecution that burst through the doors as his congregation celebrated the risen Jesus.

“Religious extremists barged into our Easter service, along with the police,” said Hari. “They threatened believers and drove them away from church. The police banned me from conducting church services and the extremists threatened to kill me.”

The unprompted attack was devastating not only spiritually, but also financially. “As a pastor of a small church, offerings from believers are my only source of income,” said Hari. “When the church shut, I could not manage the expenses of my family.”

But thanks to you, Hari received vital support. “I prayed to the Lord for help, and He sent you,” said Hari. “I now gather in secret with other believers, in small numbers in houses. Nothing can stop us from loving Christ and serving him.”

Ajay

“They can never destroy God’s people”

What happened in Manipur State in May 2023 was a frightening example of unchecked persecution and mob brutality. Hindu extremists, with a radical nationalist agenda, targeted Christians with extreme violence.

“I remember watching helplessly as things that took years to build were burned to ashes within hours,” said Ajay*. “After setting the church on fire, extremists attacked houses, throwing bricks and smashing the doors.”

Thousands of Christians fled the region, and many others lost their livelihoods and homes. Pastors were pressured to reject Jesus or face terrible consequences.

While the need to protect his own family was strong, as an Open Doors partner, Ajay also felt an overwhelming responsibility to care for God’s family.

Your support gave Ajay the strength, resources and faith to stay in Manipur State and minister to persecuted believers.

“I have the strength to encourage my fellow believers because I have been encouraged by you,” said Ajay. “God has been protecting us. Extremists might destroy our buildings, but they can never destroy God’s people.”

Your part in the story
India’s Church is victorious and growing – but it’s also vulnerable. You have a vital part to play in this extraordinary story of faith.

Your support can provide food aid, persecution training, counselling and small business support to believers like Laxman, Hari and Ajay. Your gifts and prayers strengthen Indian Christians to be resilient, and you fuel a thriving Church.

*Names changed for security reasons.

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Date published: 10/06/2024

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