God continues to move in India

UPDATE ON: INDIAN PASTOR AND CHURCH MEMBERS VICIOUSLY ATTACKED BY HINDU EXTREMISTS

By Pastor Paul

By God's grace, Mercy and I were discharged from hospital last Saturday after a severe viral fever. I personally thank you for your prayers.

Since being brutally attacked by Hindu militants several weeks ago in north India, believers in the area have been in fear for their lives. Pastor Kumar and three of our church members are still in hospital, but recovering from their injuries.

Last week, a number of them reported seeing an amazing vision in the sky. They are convinced it was an angel sent by the Lord Jesus to comfort and encourage them.

Since then, they have been feeling more secure and strong, and have become more bold in the precious faith.

Several Hindus witnessed the sight as well, and are now friendlier towards the Christians, offering help and support where before they treated them as enemies and ‘untouchables' [the lowest in the Indian caste system—Ed.]. Previously enraged whenever they saw believers gather, many have even joined them to worship secretly.

We join with the believers in praying for the conversion of the militants who attacked the church and the pastor. Please keep Pastor Kumar, the other three still in hospital and all the church members and those attending the services in your prayers. Once again, thank you for your prayers and kind support.

I need to praise and thank our Lord Jesus for choosing me from the Islamic faith and community to labour in His Vineyard. October 10th of this year marked 44 years of Christian life for me. On that day in 1975, at age 21, I embraced Christianity and was baptized.

Since then I have endured severe persecutions and seen death face-to-face several times. But our Lord has protected me in His mighty hands and made me a witness of Him.

I praise and thank Him for choosing me from the darkness of Islam. I praise and thank Him for His love, care and protection throughout my life. I praise and thank Him for His complete guidance by the Holy Spirit.

I would say as Samuel does: "Thus far the Lord has helped me” (1 Sam. 7:12).

Now I am waiting to meet Him in the clouds on that wonderful and great Day, and by His grace alone. That is my one and only desire. HIS KINGDOM COMES.

AMEN, EVEN SO, COME LORD JESUS. AMEN.

With prayers, love and Shalom, and in Jesus’ mighty name,
Pastor Paul, Bibles for Mideast

Indian pastor and church members viciously attacked by Hindu extremists now recovering, but need your help

Imagine this. You are a tender five years old, and out of the blue, your daddy disappears. You don’t know why or how, but suddenly he’s gone and all you now know and experience is your terrified mom.

She tries to explain to you he has been killed. You’re not too sure what that means, but from the way she’s acting, it must be horrible.

A day or so later, your mom grabs you and flees the only home you’ve known. Sometimes she carries you, sometimes you have to run alongside her, but all you know is something really scary is happening and you better keep running.

She seems to hear ‘bad guys’ behind you somewhere … she looks like it at least … and just tries to run faster.  She makes more turns and twists along the way, and your little legs are about ready to give out.

Finally, you get to the river—you’ve glimpsed it a few times before—and she stops by a house somebody is building there. It’s only partly ‘there’, and nobody is around, so she takes you inside.

Then she leaves. You watch her from an opening in the wall … probably where they will put glass for a window someday … and see her jump from the high bank into the river! Why didn’t she tell you she was going for a swim?

And that’s the last time you see her.

Such was how life began for young Kumar of northern India. He remembers little about life with his parents, except that they did often visit a Hindu temple and worship the many idols there.

The small boy wasn’t alone in the unfinished building long. A well-off fellow—perhaps the man having the place built—found him sobbing there shortly after his mother vanished, and took the youngster home with him.

Unfortunately, the rich man’s motives were hardly compassionate. He set his ‘new acquisition’ to work almost immediately, treating him as a household slave.

After several years of unimaginable hardship, little Kumar, now 8, fled the second home he’d ever known, again in fear.

Not too long afterwards (we’re not sure exactly how long) kindly Pastor Mohan of Bibles for Mideast found the youngster begging for food in the streets. He approached the dishevelled child and gently inquired about his past. The more he discovered, the more his heart went out to the unfortunate boy. He invited Kumar home with him, and since the little fellow seemed to understand this man was safe and good, he went along.

Soon, he became an integral part of the family; a young brother to Pastor Mohan’s other children. He went to school, studied well, and grew to have a strong faith in Jesus.

On graduating high school, he went off to Bible College and at 25, was ordained a pastor of the ALG (Assembly of Loving God, umbrella for Bibles for Mideast churches). He married a few years later.

Now with three young children of his own, Kumar’s main ministry has been among Hindus in northern India. Due to the increasing, and increasingly violent persecution of Christians by Hindu nationalists in India, his young church must of course meet secretly.

He had been warned many times to stop his work but continued tirelessly and with even increasing success. His church had grown to 40 faithful believers when last Sunday, just as their worship service drew to a close, angry militants stormed the believer’s home they met in.

The aftermath of an attack on a house church and its congregation in Kolahpur, Maharashtra

The aftermath of an attack on a house church and its congregation in Kolahpur, Maharashtra

They pummelled Pastor Kumar with iron pipes until he lay bloodied and unconscious.  They set on other church members as well, seriously injuring several.

Pastor Kumar and three other church members were finally was taken to hospital, all in critical condition. For 48 hours, the pastor remained in acute care and doctors had scant hope for his survival.

On hearing of the attack, Pastor Paul and Pastor Peter Haneef, along with several other Bibles for Mideast leaders, left immediately for the long train trip to northern India and held three days of prayer and fasting in the home of a church member. By the second day, Pastor Kumar opened his eyes and by the third, he could speak again. Doctors were able to pronounce him out of serious danger by then.

Pastor Paul made it back to his home by late this past Thursday, but Pastor Haneef will stay longer with the young church. Pastor Kumar and the three who were most severely injured with him remain in hospital.

Please pray for their complete healing, as well as for the pastor’s wife, children and other church members. Most live in grass-thatched huts with barely enough to survive, never mind having to face almost daily persecution.

Please also pray for the resources they will need to pay the hospital bills. If you feel led to help this valiant young pastor and his church do the work God has called them to do, please click here.
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A Christian advocacy group in India, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), India, have documented over 200 incidents of anti-Christian violence in just the first eight months of 2019. This averages to 27 incidents of violence per month. Many, many more of course go unreported.

Indian Christians hold placards protesting against attacks on churches in the Indian capital of New Delhi (AP photo)

Indian Christians hold placards protesting against attacks on churches in the Indian capital of New Delhi (AP photo)

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UPDATE:
God continues to move in India

Three new churches in North India!

About a year ago, a Bibles for Mideast pastor took a team of workers to visit a Hindu village chief and his wife in North India. Married as young teenagers, the couple had been trying to conceive for 30 years. They prayed according to Hindu beliefs, had visited Hindu temples from north to south and offered countless burnt offerings to idols … but still, no child.

The pastor shared the saving message of Jesus with them, and then offered to pray. While the chief refused, his desperate wife agreed and managed to convince her husband to receive prayer well.

North Indian Hindu woman

North Indian Hindu woman

When they’d finished, the pastor prophesied the couple would have a baby boy by the same time next year. He handed them a sample gospel and asked them to read it and pray to Jesus every day. 

The stubborn chief refused, but his wife knew this to be their last resort. She dutifully read and prayed every day, and within two months, discovered she was pregnant! It was an easy transition to believe in the reality and Truth of Jesus, and her husband became convinced as well.

After the birth of their son, the village chief contacted the pastor and requested he visit again and pray for them. The minister agreed, then boldly pressed for more. He told the chief he would come, but that he also wanted him to arrange a three-day retreat and request all villagers to attend. The chief agreed, and made the necessary arrangements.

Village evangelism

Village evangelism

So the team visited the village about two weeks ago for the retreat, holding gospel meetings as well. About 150 locals showed up, including family members of the village chief from other nearby communities and another village chief.

The meetings took on a festival atmosphere and Holy Spirit showed up gloriously. Each and every person accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour!  On the fourth day, all the new believers underwent baptism and … lo and behold: a new ALG church was born!

The leader from the neighboring community then asked the team to come visit his village as well.  So off the missionaries went. They held two days of gospel meetings and saw over 70 people accept Jesus as Lord. They too were baptized and yet another ALG church came into being.

Prayer in the street

Prayer in the street

By this time, some of the local Hindu population converged on the new believers, waving their saffron flags and chanting Hindu and anti-Christian slogans. But they proved no match for the new Christians, who joined forces and chased them away without incident.  

At the request of a former Muslim family in a region further afield, the team then journeyed to meet up with four Muslim families. They held several days of prayer and fasting with even many other local Muslims joining in. By fast’s end, seven families put their faith in Jesus, along with 13 other followers of Islam. All were soon baptized and a third new ALG church added to the Kingdom!

BAPTISMAL ceremony

BAPTISMAL ceremony

These new churches and believers urgently need prayer for our Lord's mighty protection. Anti-Christian movements flourish in the ‘new India’, and persecution is rife. Please also pray the Lord to open other villages in North India for evangelism and new churches.

Once again, thank you for your support of our ministry. We could not and cannot do it without the help of God’s people.

Destitute and unloved, 'untouchable' Dalit villagers being touched and saved by Jesus

Report: Bibles for Mideast and an underground ALG Church in Southeast Asia

Dalits—also known as ‘untouchables’—have traditionally been regarded as having such low status they don't even register on the caste system. Despite laws designed to protect them, they continue to face widespread discrimination and often shocking levels of abuse. Access to education, healthcare, justice and in some areas even safe drinking water remains restricted. They generally live in segregated neighborhoods or in satellite hamlets away from main population areas.

Chotti* and her husband  Minju* lived as Hindu Dalit in a village nestled within a jungle in Southeast Asia. Without education or access to much of what the world considers necessities, all in the village are illiterate, with simple survival their main goal. During the day, men head deeper into the jungle to hunt small prey; women venture out to collect forest foods and firewood. If they find honey or more food than needed for their families, they sell it to people living in nearby villages and towns. Some produce their own ‘moonshine’, and overconsumption often results in drunken brawls and fights. Women must obey the men in their lives or face brutal beatings. 

Sorcery regulates their belief system, and the chief sorcerer has the final word, even for matters of health and security. With training based on witchcraft rather than medicine, he serves as the community doctor and his wife. the village midwife, assists women with pregnancies and deliveries.

A remote jungle village in southeast asia

A remote jungle village in southeast asia

When Chotti gave birth to a girl, her husband’s family were furious. Girls surely bring a curse on the family—that is what the sorcerer had told them. So the family determined the baby must die.

Chotti cried and begged her husband to help save their child. Since she was their firstborn, and because his wife was so distraught, Minju finally, though reluctantly, agreed. He argued with his parents and the rest of his family until they decided to let the girl live. The youngster barely subsisted however, mostly unloved and uncared for by others. When a tiger attacked Minju one day as he was out in the forest, the sorcerer explained it happened because of his little girl. Minju believed him.

Around the time the toddler reached three, Chotti conceived again. By then, a Bibles for Mideast missionary couple had begun ministering in a nearby jungle village. Renting a shed not far from Minju and Chotti’s home, they went around to the villagers, inviting them to attend educational programs for both adults and children. They also of course shared the love of Jesus Christ wherever they went.

Life is hard in Dalit villages

Life is hard in Dalit villages

Few attended the classes, but the missionaries prayed faithfully for and with those who did, and invited them to share their needs. As the villagers saw more and more answers to the prayers, their interest grew and eventually belief in Jesus did as well. 

At first, Minju’s family were pleased with the missionaries’ activities and attended some of the class and prayer times. But when the sorcerer came to know about their involvement, he hurried to their house, scolded them, and gave them dire warnings to stay away from the Christians. If they persisted, he assured them huge troubles, including terrible deaths, would come to the family. So at his instruction, they built a hedge of thorn plants between their home and where the Christians were meeting. 

By now, though, Chotti had come to believe in Jesus. Whenever Minju and his parents went out to find food in the jungle, she would secretly attend meetings with the Christians.

When Chotti was five months along in her second pregnancy, the sorcerer and his wife declared this child also to be a girl. Further, they said, the coming girl would be the cause for the destruction of both the family and the whole jungle. They, along with Minju’s family, ordered her to abort the child immediately. But Chotti felt convinced that whether girl or boy, the baby is a gift of her Lord Jesus. So she refused to go along with their demands.

One night, the sorcerer, his wife and several others—in a plan arranged by Minju’s family—arrived at the house and ambushed Chotti.  She screamed and cried out the name of Jesus, but they refused to listen. As they forcibly attempted to abort the baby, Chotti began bleeding severely, then fell unconscious. When her breathing stopped, the sorcerer declared her dead. He instructed the men in the group to carry her body to a place in the jungle called ‘suicide point’ by the locals … a cliff deep in the jungle where desperate villagers would leap to their deaths. Even if they survived, no one would come looking for them out of fear of the numerous wild animals. As the men carried away Chotti’s limp body, her little three-year-old ran behind them, crying loudly for her mother. So when they reached the cliff, the men threw both of them over and into the deeper recesses of the jungle.

But the mighty and living Lord Jesus Christ scooped Chotti and her daughter up into his nail-pierced hands and rescued them. Chotti had not yet died, but was simply unconscious. She says that as she gazed into the face of her Savior she felt as a baby must, looking into its mother’s loving face. The Lord brought them to the doorstep of the missionaries’ home, near the house they had just left. She knew she was safe in His hands.

The missionary couple were praying in their room when they heard someone at their doorstep. They opened their window, surprised to see the pregnant woman and her three-year-old child. They rushed to the door and helped them inside. The young mother tried to explain what had happened.

All of them knew Chotti could not stay there. It wouldn’t be safe for her, her child, or for the missionaries. So the next day the couple brought them to an ALG church in another state.

A few months later, the Lord blessed Chotti with a baby boy, now three months old. She named him Yiesho Das (servant of Jesus), and gave her first child a new name, Mary. They are all happy in our Lord, and Chotti has learned to read the bible.

Minju and his parents believe Chotti and the girl died in the jungle, and were likely eaten by animals. While his parents want him to remarry, he does not want to. Chotti still loves him and asks that we pray for Minju and his salvation. She holds in her heart the idea of having a faithful Christian life with him and their doing joint ministry among their own people.

Please pray for Chotti, Minju, their family and all the ministers and ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

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names changed for security reasons

Hindu sorcerer turns to Christ and now lives for Him

Venkatesan, born into a Hindu Dalit (depressed or ‘untouchable’ class) family in India grew up worshiping idols and learning black magic from his sorcerer father. His mother, however, regularly attended Christian prayer meetings. She constantly prayed for her family, and attempted to teach them about the divine help and salvation possible in Jesus alone. But they would have nothing to do with her beliefs.

Venkatesan, disagreeable even as a young person, grew even more depraved as the years passed. He constantly squabbled with others, and hatred toward him increased.

One day when he was 32 and out on his bicycle, he attempted to cross a motorway. An oncoming truck rammed into him, dragging him a fair distance and continuing on without stopping. He lay near death by the side of the road for close to an hour, blood flowing continuously from his wounds.  No one would stop or help; all presumed him dead. When the police finally arrived and found faint signs of life, they had him transported to the hospital. He remained there in a coma for several days.

His mother stood by him with her prayers. Her church family, a Bibles for Mideast church, prayed and fasted for Venkatesan as well.

While all this was going on, Venkatesan had a vision of Christ coming down from heaven with thousands of angels and then felt him touch him with his nail-pierced hands.

"I love you my child,” he heard Jesus say. “You are always my child; I will never leave you alone and my love will never end. Be healed!"

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan receives Bibles for further distribution

Venkatesan opened his eyes. He saw his mother and the members of the prayer team kneeling beside his bed and praying, their eyes full of tears. He called out to his mother. In joyful surprise she praised the Lord! 

Medical staff, hearing the commotion, rushed in to his bedside and he lost no time in telling them exactly what he had just experienced. His doctors declared it a miracle, and he declared he would now live for Jesus Christ!

His and his mother’s prayers, and the witness of their lives for Christ, encouraged Venkatesan’s father to turn to Jesus before he died several years later. Now married and with a son, he remains faithful in service to the Lord through the ministries of Bibles for Mideast.

Please keep him, his family and the many others serving Jesus in restricted areas of the world in your prayers. We could not keep functioning without you!