October 16, 2020
Pastor Baiju & fly
Are you a believer or a disciple of Christ? Sounds strange! Though we rejoice in being His beloved believers, could we really claim to be His precious disciples? Let’s take a deeper look at the Scripture, Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
What costs are you ready to pay to follow Jesus? Are you willing to lose your life to follow Jesus? Probably difficult questions to answer until we face extraordinary challenges, sufferings, trials, and may be persecution on account of our faith.
May be the narrative of Pastor Baiju Paswan from Bardaha, Madhubani district of Bihar allow us to examine what is to be a disciple of Christ.
When Persecution Relief reached out to Pastor Baiju, he had been talking so softly that he was hardly audible. When asked could he speak a little louder, he replied, “If I speak louder than this, they will come and beat me again. I’m surrounded with persecution from all directions.”
Pastor Baiju accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour in the year 2009. Out of these faith-lled 11 years, he served the Lord in Rajasthan until 2017, returning back to his native village in Bardaha in 2018. He knew very well that he wouldn’t be accepted in his village for his faith and he started facing the hatred since the day he came back to Bardaha.
From being accused of being a beef or pork eater to be called a witch and a sorcerer to receive heart- piercing abuses to threatens and warnings of being killed and being burned down, Pastor Baiju and his family suered it all. Despite all odds, his family continued worshiping and serving the Lord. Such is the faith of this family, that amidst the insults and hatred from fellow villagers, they chose to send their elder son to study God’s word and take full-time ministry.
During the lockdown phase, Pastor Baiju continued his ministry through phone, and when the villagers saw him praying over the phone, they accused him of illegitimate relationships. As if that didn’t satiate the hatred of the villagers, they beat up his 10-year old son brutally bruising and wounding his legs.
Pastor Baiju illustrates the blessed one described in Matthew 5:11, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” He and his family lived through all of these extreme suerings, yet they never recanted their faith.
Pastor Baiju also glories God in his suering. He says, “God is gracious, He provides all my needs through the petty work that me and my family does through the day for living. During the night time, we gather as a family and also connect with believers across 9 other villages tooer our praises to Him.” Isn’t that splendid, reminding us of Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Pastor Baiju had been wrongly condemned of false teachings. The villagers have made fake and
they manipulated audio recordings of him and his family. On Sep 26 , 2020, Pastor Baiju and his family, consisting of 3 boys, one daughter and his wife were handed over to the village Sarpanch committee to decide upon the punishment they need to bear. They pleaded and requested to present their side of the story, but no mercy was shown.
Decision was made that Pastor Baiju will have to pay Rs 5000 as penalty for not agreeing to forsake Christ, when he said he doesn’t have the money to pay then they said you will have to receive 50 hits by shoes infront of the Sarpanch committee. Later, he was forced to beat his own son – 10 hits by shoes. Once this ordeal was over, Pastor Baiju boldly proclaimed that whatever the villagers may do, Jesus Christ is not going to give up on him and will save him from all his aiction. Hearing this, the villagers and the Sarpanch were infuriated and they started beating him and his eldest son until they collapsed and fell on the ground. When is wife rushed to help, she was punched on her stomach.
Pastor Baiju’s wife had been through a recent surgery, and the blow had led to incessant vomiting and aversion to eating. She had to be hospitalised, where the doctors told that her surgical incisions were swollen. She is back to home now, trying to recover. Pastor Baiju and his family continues to receive threats of being burned down, accused of praising God and lifting their voices to say “Hallelujah”, and constantly being warned not to report anything to the police as they too wouldn’t be of any help. Persecution Relief is now actively supporting Pastor Baiju through prayers and other means of enabling him to freely profess his faith. We urge you to remember Pastor Baiju and his family in your valuable prayers.
Pray that the Lord’s strengthening presence is over Pastor Baiju and his family. Pray for the physical and emotional healing of Pastor Baiju and his household. Pray that they grow in their faith and become witnesses of the Living God amidst the villagers.
Pray that our merciful God radically shows up in the hearts and lives of these religious fanatics, forgiving them their sins and liberating them of the bondages of darkness. Pray that every soul living in the state of Bihar is reconciled with God’s love and forgiveness. We serve an awesome God, and we are assured that he listens to our prayers and would answer them all in the most unexpected ways. As you pray, meditate on God’s powerful promise written in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be
against us?” Since January 2016 to September 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2224 cases of Christian Persecution in India.
In 2019 alone, we recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017, and 330 in 2016. From January 2016 to June 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2067 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, ‘Countries of Particular Concern’(CPC) In its 2020 report. The US State Department ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.