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INDIA: Three Christians Banished from Village

INDIA: Three Christians Banished from Village

Three young Christians from Talbora, located in India’s Odisha state, were banished from their home village because they refused to renounce their Christian faith and convert to Hinduism.

Surander, 22, Subash, 20, and Jamuna, 19, became Christians in 2017 and were baptised in 2018 and 2019. Because there was no church in their village, they would walk to one nearby called Padmathopa to attend weekly worship.

Jamuna’s parents did not approve of their daughter’s new faith and decided they would marry her to a Hindu boy. Jamuna refused her parents decision and secretly married Subash in the church in Padmathopa.

In Talbora, Surander led small prayer meetings under the trees and in open fields. Other villagers saw this activity and became very hostile towards the young Christians when others started to listen to Surander’s preaching.

On 29 August, Surander, Subash, Jamuna, and six others who had attended Surander’s prayer meetings were called to a village meeting. At this meeting, the Christians were threatened with severe consequences if they did not renounce their Christian faith.

Six Christians feared these consequences and renounced their faith. However, Surander, Subash, and Jamuna stood firm in their faith. For this, they were banished from the village.

Surander, Subash, and Jamuna left Talbora with their Bibles, some food, and a few other things given to them by their parents. Through the night, they travelled to Padmathopa where they attended church. In Padmathopa, they were taken in by the local pastor who continues to support the three young Christians.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Thank the Lord for the strong witness of these young believers. Pray they will continue to remain faithful.
  • Praise God for the pastor who was willing to aid them. Pray for the Spirit’s leading as they make plans for their future.
  • Pray the Lord may use the example of these believers to strengthen those who renounced their faith and encourage them to return. Pray the entire village of Talbora will experience a spiritual awakening.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

INDIA: Pastor Severely Beaten by Mob of Extremists

INDIA: Pastor Severely Beaten by Mob of Extremists

On 21 August, Pastor Kumar*, was attacked and brutally beaten by radical Hindu nationalists in Uttar Pradesh, India. The radicals reportedly accused Pastor Kumar of forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity and used this accusation as a justification for their assault.

According to Pastor Kumar, the radicals attacked while he was returning home from a prayer meeting in Bikampur village, located in the Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh. A mob of 10 fanatics, led by a man named Aklesh Gangyar, surrounded Pastor Kumar and pulled him from his motorbike. Once on the ground, the radicals began to beat Pastor Kumar with wooden clubs.

The attack on Pastor Kumar became so savage that he soon began to think the radicals would murder him.

“God gave me the grace to accept even death,” Pastor Kumar said. “Scriptures were running through my mind as I was being attacked. However, when I thought about my four-year-old daughter and my wife, I was shattered, and it was excruciating.”

The attack lasted nearly two hours. When the radicals finished beating Pastor Kumar, they told him that they would kill him if they saw him in Bikampur village again. As the radicals left, they stole Pastor Kumar’s motorbike and his mobile phone.

Members of Pastor Kumar’s congregation in Bikampur village soon discovered the injured pastor and helped him go to the local police station to report the attack. However, local police refused to file Pastor Kumar’s complaint and accused him of attempting to register a false report. Pastor Kumar’s complaint wasn’t accepted until three days later, after a church leader from outside Bareilly district called the police station and advocated on Pastor Kumar’s behalf.

Pastor Kumar has been serving as a church planter in the Bareilly district for nearly four and a half years. Bikampur village is one of the communities where Pastor Kumar has planted a small church.

To date, the police have not taken any action against the radicals Pastor Kumar named in his complaint. The police have also not recovered Pastor Kumar’s mobile phone or his motorbike.

Unfortunately, the impunity enjoyed by Pastor Kumar’s attackers is not uncommon. Across India, radical Hindu nationalists go unpunished for their crimes against religious minorities. This impunity only emboldens the radicals, whose attacks have become more severe and frequent.

*Name has been changed for security reasons.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Pray for complete healing for Pastor Kumar. Ask the Lord to give him wisdom and strength to continue in his ministry.
  • Pray He will help Pastor Kumar, his family and his fellow believers overcome any fear (2 Timothy 1:7).
  • Ask the Lord to embolden His church in India to withstand the increasing opposition.

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INDIA: Pastor Forced to Vacate Home after False Conversion Accusation

INDIA: Pastor Forced to Vacate Home after False Conversion Accusation

An independent church pastor in India’s Karnataka state has been told to vacate his rented home which was being used for worship gatherings. The pastor has to leave the house because radical Hindu nationalists have put pressure on the pastor’s landlord.

“They threatened that they would break my hands and legs,” Pastor Nallabothula Peter said. “I received several unknown phone calls with abusive language that claimed I am involved in illegal religious conversions and that I don’t have right to live in the area.”

On 30 June, Pastor Peter was praying for a demon possessed girl when police were called to his residence. According to Pastor Peter, neighbours, likely pressured by radicals, had complained about the prayer meeting.

“I doubt the neighbours gave a complaint,” Pastor Peter said. “For more than six years, we have been conducting house prayers and there were absolutely no complaints from anyone in our neighbourhood. This was planned and targeted in a way to shut down the house church and send me out of the colony.”

According to Pastor Peter, his landlord is continually receiving pressure from radical Hindu nationalists telling him that he must force the pastor to vacate the house. The radicals have also registered a false accusation against Pastor Peter, claiming he is attempting to convert the entire colony to the Christian faith.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made finding a new home difficult. “It will be miracle if I rent a house in the same area,” Pastor Peter said. “The Hindu radicals already alerted the entire area to not rent out their houses to me.”

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Ask the Lord to shield Pastor Peter from targeted violence. Pray for continued protection for him, his family and all the believers who he associates with.
  • Pray the Lord will provide a suitable new home for him.
  • Pray Pastor Peter will not be fearful. Ask the Lord to use this incident to further embolden him in his faith and ministry.

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INDIA: Hindu Militants Install Idol Inside Church

INDIA: Hindu Militants Install Idol Inside Church

Last week, a statue of a monkey-headed Hindu god was installed inside a Protestant AOG church that was undergoing renovations, in Haryana, northern India. The Hindu activists responsible then manhandled the church pastor and vandalised the building.

The group claims that a Hindu temple once existed there, though they have failed to produce any documents to substantiate the claim. The church holds documents of ownership to the land.

The Hindus continued to offer daily prayers before the monkey-headed Hindu god, according to church officials. After several days, the statue was removed by police. Tensions remain high.

Pastor Uday Pillai, the associate pastor of the church said violence against Christians is normal in Haryana and most cases go unreported. Only 0.2% of its people are Christian.

As part of its services, the church offers schooling to 210 slum children. Hindu groups claim Christian services such as education and health care among the poor, are a façade to attract them toward Christianity.

Sources: VOM Contacts, UCA News

  • Pray for the pastor, his family and the members of the church.
  • Fanatical groups are trying to force believers to return to their former Hindu faith. Pray the Lord will strengthen believers facing this kind of opposition.
  • Pray the believers in Haryana will be unified in their love for one another and their witness to the community.

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INDIA: Church Set on Fire by Suspected Radical Hindu Nationalist

INDIA: Church Set on Fire by Suspected Radical Hindu Nationalist

On Friday night, unknown aggressors set fire to an independent church in the state of Tamil Nadu, southern India.

The fire brought down the entire roof, affected the building structure, furniture, speaker boxes, and amplifier, causing damages estimated around $4,000.

While the reason for the attack is not yet apparent, members of the church suspect radical Hindu nationalists, who have been egregious in that region in the last few years.

According to local sources, on the morning of 13 June, Pastor Ramesh saw the flames and thick smoke coming from the church. By that time, the roof, made of coconut leaves and bamboo, was completely burnt.

“I was shocked for a moment looking at the church engulfed with flames and smoke. I was broken, and it was so painful, there was absolutely no way to save anything from inside the church. The church structure, instruments, and furniture inside the church are ten years of hard labour,” Pastor Ramesh said.

For the last ten years, Pastor Ramesh has led the Real Peach church in Vaylur, Changalpattu district. There are currently 100 members. He believes that this incident was an act of Christian persecution. He has been threatened to stop practising Christianity.

“After I recovered from the shock,” Ramesh said, “I filed a formal complaint with the police, and the police promised that they will carry on the investigation.”

In 2017, in the same district, a pastor was murdered only 8km from where Pastor Ramesh leads the church in Vaylur. “This place has been a difficult place for Christians,” Ramesh said, “and there are numerous instances where the Christians have been facing increased intimidations.”

The state of Tamil Nadu is known for its sizable Christian population despite being ranked two in the national tally of the most hostile states for Christians to live.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Pray for Pastor Ramesh and the church members as they come to terms with the loss. Pray their willingness to continue to worship will be a witness for the Gospel.
  • Commit to the Lord the investigation and pray for the protection of the Christians in the community.
  • Pray for the perpetrators and all those in the area who oppose the Lord and His people.

Post your prayer in the comments below.