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News / Thoughts

India: “Through persecution, God is making the church grow…”

March 16, 2020

Rajesh has an amazing job. He works on the front line, visiting and supporting Christians in India who are facing pressure, violence and intimidation because of their faith in Jesus. He became a Christian at a youth event when he was 16. A pastor prayed for him and he felt God’s presence: “I can’t explain it — it was so powerful, and I started crying. I committed my life to Him”.

That was the start of his journey with God, but it took a few years for Rajesh to find his calling.

Encountering persecution…

Image: Motorbikes like those that chased Rajesh

He’d been asked to visit a pastor in a remote village who had been beaten up because of he was teaching about Jesus. When Rajesh arrived to meet the pastor, one thing stood out – the pastor was smiling. “That pastor was badly beaten, but he was not in pain,” Rajesh says. “That was amazing for me to see. That was my first encounter with someone who was directly persecuted.”

But when Rajesh left the pastor’s home, it was clear that something wasn’t right. All the people in the village were looking at Rajesh and the people with him, as if they did something wrong. Then the pastor said, “Please leave now. As quick as you can!”

They got in the car, pulled out and drove away, but they found the road was blocked by 20 young men on motorbikes. Rajesh’s driver somehow manoeuvred around the bikes, but the young men chased them.

“They wanted to stop us and beat us,” Rajesh says, “and they chased us for around 10 kilometers. And the entire time our prayer was, ‘Lord, please be with us.’”

By God’s grace, Rajesh and the others escaped. And when he arrived home, Rajesh had a special message for his wife: “This is the ministry the Lord has called us to.”

Since that day, Rajesh has made it his mission to strengthen the persecuted church in India.

God is making the church grow…

Image: An Indian Bible

Over the years, Rajesh has met with families who’ve lost loved ones, pastors who’ve been beaten or had their churches burned down, families who’ve been kicked out of their villages and many others who’ve been falsely accused or imprisoned because of their faith in Jesus. Through all these people he knows that “the Christian life is a life of risk.” But amazingly he sees a blessing in the opposition the church in India faces:

“Every persecution is a lesson to strengthen the church. Persecution is not something new to Christians in India — they are facing it and they are growing through it. Through the persecution, God is making the church grow.”

Thanks to your prayers and support, Open Doors local partners like Rajesh are able to provide help to believers who are facing extreme persecution – from emergency supplies and medical care to safe houses, advocacy support and help to start small businesses.

Pray now…

  • Thank God for Rajesh and the Christians he works with. Pray for continued courage, boldness and passion.
  • For small house churches across India that are facing opposition and violence because they continue to meet and worship Jesus. Pray they would be protected.
  • For a change in attitude across India, so Christianity is not opposed or seen as a bad western influence.

Free prayer map and stickers…

Want to learn more about, and get inspired by, the brave faith of Christians living in some of the places most opposed to following Jesus? Get our awesome new 2020 World Watch List prayer map and stickers – it’s free. Plus we have a new session outline for youth leaders which includes a massive A1 map too. Get them for free at the link below:

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.