When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He declared, “For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders…” Exodus 34:24. This same sentiment can be applied to the ministry of Pastor Prem Kumar, who at sixty-seven years old, had an effective outreach that extended beyond the boundaries of his church in Nizamabad, India. He taught at prayer gatherings, corner meetings, and conventions, expanding God’s kingdom with fruitful work. However, his hard work did not go unnoticed.
On Thursday, 8 June 2006, Kumar went to his regular prayer service at the local church in Kotagiri. Later that day, an unidentified, well-dressed man visited Kumar’s house and asked his wife if this was indeed his home. He claimed to have come from Nizamabad to take Kumar to lead a service. Since Kumar had already left, the man wrote down Kumar’s phone number and left.
Around 3 o’clock that afternoon, Kumar called his son Sunil and informed him that he was going with a man on his scooter to lead a prayer service in Rampur Thanda, in Kotagiri Mandal. Later that night, Kumar called his son again, stating that he was at the Bodhan bus stop and was accompanying four unidentified people to another prayer service. He expressed his fear and asked Sunil to call him every half hour. He was expected to arrive in Kotagiri in thirty minutes.
However, when Sunil tried calling his father later, he could not reach him as his mobile phone was in an area without service. Despite repeated attempts, Sunil still couldn’t reach him, and when he discovered that his father’s phone was turned off, the family began to panic.
Kumar’s sons reached out to their friends in Kotagiri to find out if they had seen their father. Unfortunately, nobody had, so the sons immediately left for Kotagiri. After searching all night, they gave up and resumed their search early the next morning. One person reported seeing a dead body and a scooter in an open space nearby. They rushed to the spot and found a pair of glasses, slippers, a scooter, and a Bible. To their shock, they discovered their father’s body mutilated beyond recognition in a pool of blood in the hills near Rampart in Kotagiri Mandal of the Nizamudeen district. The Kotagiri sub-inspector had to identify the remains from a description of the clothes he had been wearing.
Kumar’s family brought his body home and bid farewell to him at a funeral at ten o’clock that night. The family suspects that a pair of local landlords and some villagers may have killed Kumar because one of his family members had been sharing her faith with her relatives, drawing them and others to believe in Christ. However, a police official claimed that personal rivalry was the likely motive and that Kumar was one of the accused in a separate murder case. He also stated that one of Kumar’s sons was involved in a kidnapping, and after the kidnapped woman was released, she threatened him.
Despite the persecution and threats from Hindu radicals, believers in Jesus are standing strong and continuing to witness the love of Christ, just like Prem Kumar. God is enlarging the borders of their outreach, gathering more into His kingdom every day.