Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28At India Connection we often receive requests from our pastors in the field asking for prayer, courage, and boldness. Openly living as a Christian in India is getting harder all the time. The Indian government becomes more and more hostile towards believers every year. India ranked 15th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List, which ranks how difficult or dangerous it is to be a Christian in each country.
The current government is led by Hindu nationalists that are increasingly radical. Persecution is increasing. Pastors are being beaten up. Churches are being burned. But no amount of persecution will stop Spirit-led Christians from carrying out their mission of bringing Jesus Christ to the nations.
In this issue we pass along two recent reports of the kind of hardships faced by our Pastors, not to draw out an emotional response of sorrow, but rather to encourage you to pray. Our Pastors rejoice in their tribulations, as we all should, for trials are often what move the Gospel forward.
India is primed for revival. In the last 8 years, God has been preparing us for this moment. The giant waves are about to rise, and the results that God brings are going to be recorded in the history of the church.
We must never fear men, but fear God
A recent report from one of our pastors:
When we came out of the house, we saw that the tires of our motorcycle had been punctured. Suddenly, a group of people armed with bamboo sticks and knives surrounded us. They verbally abused us and started beating all of us mercilessly. We fell down under the force of the beatings, but they continued. I was concerned about my brothers and kept getting up to see what was happening to them. Every time I got up, they beat me again. The Holy Spirit led me not to get up but to lie down as if I were dead.
One of them placed their leg on my head and said, “This man is dead.” Afraid they had killed me, they disappeared within a few minutes. Some of us were bleeding heavily. We rushed to the nearest town to the house of one of our pastors, where we received first aid. We decided not to complain to the Police as we were aware that the attackers work hand-in-glove with the authorities and so justice would not be done. We didn’t wish to aggravate the situation further as our churches in that area were being targeted, and any action on our part could have worsened the situation.
I was reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:29: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.” I felt a tremendous sense of confidence that God knew what was happening and that He was in control of the situation. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
Through this experience, I learned the importance of being committed to serve God, despite the circumstances. We must never fear men, but we must fear God. Matthew 10:28 says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
The Lord is our RockDeepa is a graduate of Koinonia College of Theology. She and her husband Pastor Puran K are ministering in Chattisgarh. They have planted two churches, which are operating out of rental facilities. They are also running a day school to teach poor children in the neighboring slums. At night they offer leadership programs to train local lay leaders.
Puran and Deepa are persecuted daily. They are threatened, their church leases are cancelled for no reason, yet they continue to labor faithfully in the field the Lord has placed them in. They are blooming, and as they preach the Gospel the Lord continues to bless them and their work. Their needs are great, persecution is severe but the fruit is precious, as souls are being added to the Kingdom.
A letter from Deepa:
This year and the past couple years have been season of severe opposition and persecution against our churches. We have been falsely accused of forcing religious conversion on people from other religions, and publishing literature that mocked other gods—which was far from the truth. There have been a series of coordinated attacks, particularly targeting by religious fundamentalists who were supported by certain elements in the administration. Other denominations and communities also came under attack.
The Lord protected us during those difficult times. The work of the Lord never ceased, and we continued to grow. As a result of the attacks, the Christian community at large—which had been divided along denominational lines—came together to support one another. Praise God!
What can we do?We as a church in North America have an opportunity to equip saints like Pastor Puran and Deepa who are serving our Lord faithfully across India. Pastor Puran and Deepa are reaching several of the more than 2,200 unreached groups in India with the Good News of the Gospel. Many people in their area are still living in the stone age, hunting with bows and poisonous arrows, worshipping evil spirits; there is a tremendous amount of superstition, and the people subject to many local spell casters who control their spiritual and physical lives.
India Connection is seeking individuals, Pastors, churches, and businesses to partner with us to equip the body of Christ in India. We cannot be short-sighted in our vision for reaching the 20/40 Window – those poor regions of Africa and Asia with the least access to the Christian message and Christian resources on the planet. Our goal is for Indian leaders to take ownership of their ministries and work to become self-supporting, as we help equip them to share the Good News to all the nation.
Would you consider praying, partnering, and coming on board with India Connection?
- We need sponsors to come alongside so pastors like Deepa and Puran can continue to preach the Gospel.
- We need ambassadors to spread the news about what the Lord is doing in India to churches in North America.
- We need individuals and businesses that will equip saints to be tentmakers at the Koinonia College of Practical Trades.
- We need teachers to equip Pastors at the Koinonia College of Theology.
At the Girls Home of Pune we have 35 girls who have been rescued from the streets of India.
They need help in learning English as a second language and they need help learning computers.
They need saints to just go and spend time with them, love them, and help them become the ladies that God has desired them to be.
Our Medical Clinic serves the slums with free medical care.
They need teams of specialists to do medical camps in dentistry, vision, cardiology.
The opportunity is great, the window is narrow. Is God asking you to be available? Are you willing to say, Send me? The response today is “Go!”, not “No!”
We at India Connection are grateful for your prayers, love, and financial support. We ask that you will consider interceding for us daily, for the staff on the ground in India and all the volunteers who sacrificially work together to make this possible. Your giving has enabled us to take the Gospel to the country of India. The time is NOW to invest in the Kingdom, so may we all walk steadfastly by faith and redeem the opportunity before us as the doors may be closing!
Love you and thank you for everything you do.
In His Service