October 24, 2020
Luke 21:12-13 states “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony.”
As India faces a major spike in persecution cases, what Jesus foretold in Luke 21:12-13 stands fulfilled.
Recently there has been an incident of persecution reported in a village at Siddharthnagar district in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Pastor Kamal Kishore (identity protected), aliated with Assemblies of God Church [AG] , ministers in few villages of the District.
AG Superintendent informed Persecution Relief about the incident where AG church members were summoned by the local police ocials.
Persecution Relief spoke to, Pastor Kamal who detailed the narrative. He said, “I was praying in a village, when I received a call from the believers from a nearby village, around 15 kilometers away.”
Religious fanatics inuenced the local police to visit the believers and give them soft warnings to renounce Christ.
What Persecution Relief heard was heart wrenching. The policemen instigated by the fanatics said, “Do not follow Christ, and renounce your faith. Follow any other god or godmen, but not Jesus.”
We praise God for the bold faith instilled in the believers, who didn’t fear to ask why they were being asked to forsake Christ. They proclaimed that being a Christian, they follow the Word of God, which teaches good things such – do not steal, love and forgive others.
The policemen replied, “Forsake Christ because the Bible is written in English.” The believers were prompt to answer that they read a Bible in their own native language, and discarded the idea of a foreign God that the policemen were trying to weave.
Pastor Kamal also testied how beautifully God has worked in the life of the village Pradhan, Akash Kumar, who have surrendered his life to Christ.
Akash had lost his mental stability and was in a dismal state, when Pastor Kamal prayed and Jesus touched his life and healed him.
Later, God also gifted children to Akash Kumar, whose wife had been barren for a long time. Looking at the signs and wonders Jesus did in the life of Akash had prompted many to taste the love of Christ and be transformed as His children.
As many started surrendering their lives to Christ in the village, religious fanatics started getting troubled, and instigated the local police to act upon.
When soft verbal warnings couldn’t persuade the believers to renounce their faith, the policemen summoned Akash and seven other believers from the village to the nearby police station.
Since the Police Officer was not in the station, Akash and the other believers were sent o and asked to come back later in the evening.When they went
back later they were warned not to hold any prayer meetings.
Summoning of these believers raise concerns on the secularism of our country. Are we truly secular to follow our faith? Are we being the targets because we have decided to follow Jesus – the Living Fountain of Life? Or, are we being tortured because we are different? Amidst all these practical concerns, we rely fully on God’s justice and in His unending love.
Pray for God’s comfort and protection for the AG church believers in Siddharthnagar.
Pray that the believers are strengthened in their faith as the enemy brings accusation and torments.
Pray that the local police works justly and with fairness and allows the liberty to practice the Christian faith.
Pray for the safety of Pastor Kamal as he stands the chance of being attacked by the religious fanatics.
Pray that the religious fanatics encounter Jesus as they persecute His church, and receives a change in hearts as Saul did.
Pray that as other villagers witness the ordeal of these believers, they too get an opportunity to experience God’s love and faithfulness.
Pray that the perishing souls in the state of Uttar Pradesh is liberated from the dominion of darkness and embraces the true love of God.
Uttar Pradesh! One would expect it to be the most peaceful state in the country. After all, the ‘Holy State’ is being ruled and led by a monk. Based on his religious beliefs, the state should have set a high standard for the rest of the provinces in the country. Not just Christians, but people of all faiths are experiencing its predominant hostilities.
27 hate crimes were recorded in Uttar Pradesh in the 3rd quarter of 2020, bringing its year to date count to a mind-blowing 90 cases! These numbers make it the Most Dangerous State in India For Christians to live in and since 2017, no other state has taken this title. 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. Let’s raise our voices in prayers as we meditate on Psalms 23:1, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Let His grace be upon us.