Reena*, a 19 year old from India, knew that deciding to become a Christian meant she would be persecuted for her faith. But she never thought she would be drugged and kidnapped.
Reena had a lonely childhood. She was a Christian, and everyone else was Hindu. “Nobody wanted to play with me… After school I just came home and entertained myself.”
Her family were not allowed to use the local well to collect water because of their faith. “My parents had to walk a few kilometers to get water from the river.”
“My parents explained that persecution will come when you are a Christian. And I was not jealous of the Hindus, because Jesus gave me joy inside.”
Reena had to leave school and get a job when her family was no longer able to pay for her education. She started working in a school, but her employer stopped paying her. A few days after quitting, another school offered her a job. The headmaster invited her to come to a teachers meeting. “The headmaster offered me some Indian sweets, which I ate. I don’t remember anything after that.”
The sweets had been drugged.
Reena didn’t know where she was, but managed to make a phone call to her parents telling them she was being held in a terrible place. They told the police, who didn’t act for three days. Finally the headmaster was arrested. But it wasn’t long before he was released without any formal charges.
Reena eventually woke up on a train. She was in a city 14 hours away from her small village and used the last few coins she had in her pockets to call a friend.
“I was so confused. I don’t remember but apparently I asked them not to call my parents. After a couple of days, I took the train back home.”
We don’t know exactly what happened during the kidnapping (when asked, Reena did not want to share the details because they were too traumatic). As soon as her parents saw Reena’s physical state, they rushed her to hospital.
As the shock wore off the doctors worked on her physical recovery. Her spirit crushed, she didn’t see a reason to live anymore.
“I prayed: God I know you. Yet, this still happened to me. Why? I felt broken in this way.”
During a church service Reena had an encounter with a comforting, loving God. He’d spoken to her through two scriptures:
“Make me to know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation, for you I wait all day long.”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
“I realised that if I opened the door of my heart, Jesus would come in and dine with me.”
“I realised that if I opened the door of my heart, Jesus would come in and dine with me.” Reena said. “So I surrendered to Him. I came to know that it was Satan who wanted to destroy my life, but God loves me.”
“When I came home, I was overjoyed and shared it with my ‘friends’. Which friends? My Hindu friends, of course. I wanted them to come to a similar church service and also experience God’s healing power in their lives.”
Open Doors local partners have remained in constant contact with Reena and her family. Through our local partners, we were able to pay for Reena’s medical bills and encourage her in her faith.
“I want to thank all those who supported me through prayers, financial help and standing with me in all my struggles and whatever I went through. It is because of all your help that I am a recovered person today.”
But Reena isn’t completely out of trouble yet. The headmaster who drugged her is still free.
“The headmaster said that he is in trouble because of her”, her brother told Open Doors partners. “He wants revenge and may hurt her again.”
Please pray for Reena and her family as they struggle to come to terms with what happened. Violence against Christians in India is on the rise as Hindu nationalists gain more power and influence. Christian women are especially vulnerable to attack and exploitation.
*Name changed for security purposes.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.