“I was extremely disheartened because of the opposition from my friends and relations. Many times I even considered returning to my old faith.”
Deepa, pictured below, is a Christian from a Hindu background in India. Her family were forced to leave their home and their village because of their faith in Jesus. But the persecution didn’t end once they left.
“The people in our old village falsely testified to the police that my husband was a member of the Naxalites (a militant communist group), so he was locked up in prison. This is a serious offence and I doubted I would ever see him free again. But I learned from the book of Matthew that if I prayed unceasingly God could release my husband from prison. So I continued praying.”
Deepa’s husband was eventually released after nine months. Witnessing an answer to her fervent prayers, Deepa’s faith was made stronger, but her husband had lost his faith after nine months of imprisonment. “My husband had no interest in God after his release, though he was the one who had introduced me to Christ. But I am still praying and I am confident he will regain his faith.”
Your prayers and gifts have enabled Deepa to attend a tailoring centre, where she has learned to make clothes, which helps her to support her family.
“I can stitch clothes now; I have stitched outfits for myself and I have also started stitching for customers. Our teacher taught us very well. I was continuously praying to God for wisdom. I know my prayers were answered as I was able to learn very quickly. I am so glad now because I can stitch professionally.”
Most persecuted Christians in India are from rural backgrounds with limited sources of income, and they may be denied employment because of their faith; providing training to help believers to support themselves makes a real difference
As well as practical skills, the tailoring centre also provides a supportive community for Christian women who are experiencing persecution. “This is more than a tailoring centre,” shares another student named Neeta, pictured below; she is also a believer from a Hindu background. “Every day we begin our morning with singing and then hear from the Word of God. We also share our prayer concerns and then pray for each other. The time spent here refreshes us and gives us strength to move ahead in our spiritual lives despite the difficulties we face.”
When Neeta came to faith she also faced severe persecution from her family members. She says, “My husband’s family members are also Hindu, so I faced persecution there. I often felt very lonely, but when I would pray and cry before the Lord I was encouraged. When I would sit to pray I used to hear God’s voice comforting me, saying, ‘Why are you sad? I am with you.’ Then I would be comforted.”
She continues, “Tailoring is a very good option to earn a living, especially for the ladies from villages. Many times I wanted to learn, but whenever I inquired at some training centre, the fee was too high and I couldn’t afford it. When I heard that this centre teaches for free, I was eager to find out if I could be given a chance to attend. I came here and enrolled myself. I thought I would just learn how to sew, I had no idea that I would also be spiritually nurtured.”
Shikha, pictured below, a teacher at the centre, says, “I feels so proud to see all of them stitching clothes by themselves. Moreover, when I see them spiritually stronger and motivated because of the fellowship we have here I am encouraged and challenged to serve God with more passion.”
India is number 15 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List. Through local partners, Open Doors is supporting the church in India with emergency aid, advocacy support, holistic training, livelihood and community development, adult literacy programmes, and Bible distribution.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.