Pastors are usually the last to leave the church; they ensure everything is tidy before they close the door. Pastor James was putting things in order after a wonderful time of sharing God’s Word with 20 believers on 15 December 2015. He was happy as he went to get his motorcycle and leave.
Suddenly, a man appeared, asking, “Where is your neighbour?”
“I’m not sure,” Pastor James replied. “Perhaps they have gone to the market.”
Without any hesitation, the man reached into his pocket, pulled out a revolver and fired directly at him.
“I saw him aiming at me and counted three shots. I realised I’d been hit, then my motorbike toppled over on top of me,” James explained. “I immediately cried out to the Lord to help me!
“I didn’t want to die; I wanted to continue in ministry. I didn’t feel any pain, but I could not move. I lay very still as the man took my backpack, thinking I was unconscious or dead, and ran away.”
Hospital delays treatment
“I lay still, unable to move,” James continued. “I saw people staring at me and some were running to get help from the village captain. I lost consciousness and when I later woke up in hospital, I was in a great deal of pain.
The doctor didn’t want to operate because there were no family members present to sign authorisation forms and guarantee the medical bills would be paid. James was forced to wait until his father arrived to authorise medical attention.
His brother’s footsteps
James’ father wept while his son was in hospital. In 2000, terrorists had killed another of his sons, and he feared that James would die too.
His father described the incident. “My eldest son, then 19, operated a small tricycle business. A Muslim man asked him to take him to a remote area, and on the way he stabbed my son in the back, neck and shoulders. They found his body seven days later, floating in the river.”
James was in his second year at high school when he heard the news on the radio that the army had found his brother’s body. James was filled with anger. He wanted to join the military so that he could have a gun and take revenge on those who murdered his brother.
But instead of a rifle, God gave him a Bible.
James decided that rather than seek revenge, he would honour his brother by following the Lord and training at a seminary as his brother had desired to do.
At 12:30pm they finally transferred James to another hospital where he could be operated on by skilled surgeons. Except for a blood transfusion, it was another five hours before anything else could be done.
The surgery took four hours and James’ life hung in the balance. The bullets had penetrated his right lung, and one kidney and his appendix both had to be removed. His large and small intestines had also been struck by a bullet and required delicate surgery to repair the damage.
For nine days, James remained in intensive care before he was moved to a private room to recover for another 20 days. Meanwhile, the church was praying earnestly. God heard their prayers and spared James’ life.
At a three-day VOM seminar, Pastor James looked like a bright, energetic young man. Only when he revealed his scars did his remarkable recovery become evident. Yet neither the scars nor the experience can keep this young man from continuing to want to serve God all his life.
James, his father and youngest surviving brother are all pastors and continue to serve the Lord today.
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An Indian pastor and his pregnant wife were assaulted and their church set on fire on Sunday 17 April after they refused to praise a Hindu god.
Pastor Dinbanhu Sameli, 30, and his wife, Meena, 26, seven months pregnant, lead a church in the troubled Bastar district of the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Two young men approached the pastor outside his home next to his church at around 7pm, initially asking for prayer, claiming they were from a nearby Methodist church. But they later brought out a sword which they held to the pastor’s neck, and demanded the couple shout the phrase, “Jai Shri Ram” (Victory to the god Ram).
“Where is your Jesus?” the two men demanded; Sameli replied “We believe that He is with us.” When asked, “Why don’t you believe in Ram?” the husband and wife remained silent.
When the couple refused to praise Ram and also refused to stamp on a Bible, the two men took a litre of petrol and set fire to the church, including musical equipment.
Sameli said he “felt fear in his heart” with the sword on his shoulder, but “prayed that God would save him.”
As the church burned, the couple fled and filed a report with the police.
The incident took place in the remote village of Karanji, in the Tokapal area of the sprawling Bastar district, which has seen several recent incidents of anti-Christian violence at the hands of Hindu fundamentalists.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Thank the Lord that the couple are safe and, though they were understandably frightened, they remained faithful.
- Pray the police will bring the perpetrators to justice and do all they can to protect minorities in the future. Pray for the perpetrators; may they remember the witness of this couple and be moved by it.
- May the church continue to meet together and do so joyfully and without fear. May this incident encourage others to be courageous for the Gospel.
INDIA: Pastor and Family Hospitalised After Assault
INDIA: Persecution of Christians Continues
INDIA: Christian Publicly Humiliated
On 29 March Pastor Pedro Vazquez was abducted from his village in Chiapas, Mexico, by a violent group known as Chinchulines. Pastor Vazquez was held in a nearby village and his family members and church congregation were very concerned that he would be killed.
Pastor Vazquez works in an area where pastors and Christian workers have been threatened with death and evangelicals are often expelled from their communities, losing land, homes and crops.
Pastor Pedro Vazquez has since been released.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Praise God for the pastor’s release. Ask the Lord to help him and his family overcome their ordeal.
- Pray for this church as they continue to share God’s Word in an area that is hostile to the Gospel. Ask for the Lord’s protection to be upon them; pray for courage.
- Pray the witness of Pastor Vazquez may be used by the Lord to touch the hearts of this group and be the instrument the Lord uses to open them to the message of the Gospel.
MEXICO: Protestants Expelled, Homes Destroyed
MEXICO: Couple Threatened for Sharing the Gospel
MEXICO: Christian Families Left to Starve after Raid
American Pastor Saeed Abedini has been severely abused by Iranian intelligence officers during interrogation at the Rajaei Shar Prison in Karaj, Iran.
Saeed was also threatened with new charges that would extend his imprisonment beyond the eight years he currently faces.
The 26 September marked the third anniversary of his imprisonment in Iran.
During a family visitation last Wednesday, Saeed was able to relay to his family still in Iran some of the details of what he suffered the day before. Intelligence officers repeatedly used a taser stun gun on Saeed. They also threatened to add new criminal charges to his case, accusing him of political statements actions against the government of Iran.
“Pastor Saeed denied all of these allegations, and once again asserted that he is apolitical and that he has never threatened the security of, made any statements against, or taken any action against the Government of Iran,” said the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents the Abedini family.
As of the beginning of 2015, Saeed was one of more than 90 Christians who were either currently in prison or awaiting trial for charges related to their faith, according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Source: International Christian Concern
- Pray for healing of Saeed as he continues to face abuse and torture at the hands of Iranian authorities.
- Pray that the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard Saeed’s heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
- Pray for Saeed’s release from prison and the opportunity to be reunited with his family.
IRAN: Christian Released from Prison
IRAN: Religious Freedom in Decline
IRAN: Christian Prisoner Informed of Early Release Date