Like in the Book of Acts, the gospel is being preached, people are being healed, families are turning to Jesus -and persecution is intensifying in India.
This Is Rajesh’s Story
Rajesh* and his wife were Hindus from a village in rural India. When Rajesh became ill with a crippling stomach condition, he did what he would normally do. He prayed to many Hindu gods to try and receive healing. But healing didn’t come.
Encountering A God Of Love Through Healing
Rajesh became curious when he heard that his friend’s mother was healed at a local church. Desperate for healing, Rajesh thought maybe this ‘god’ could heal his stomach. He asked what he needed to do that this ‘god’ might heal him. To Rajesh’s surprise his friend answered, “You don’t have to do anything. Simply believe in Jesus.”
Rajesh went to the church where they anointed his stomach with oil, prayed and he was healed. This started his journey of faith, and after a few months of attending church he was baptised.
The day he was baptised, he and some other Christian friends from his village took a DVD of the Jesus film to share with their village. They gathered all the people together, but when the village leaders discovered what was happening they threatened them and forced them to stop.
In one day Rajesh went from baptism, to evangelism, to persecution.
Persecution And Pressure To Return
The village started noticing the difference in Rajesh’s life. When he and his wife didn’t take part in the Hindu festivals in their village, they were heavily persecuted. The couple were tied to a tree and beaten. They were forced to flee their home, prevented from building a new house, as well as constant threats on their life. Their whole community shamed them.
Entire Families Come To Faith Despite all the persecution, over the next two years Rajesh and his wife saw four other families come to Christ in their village. Along with healing, they saw these families encounter a God who really cared for them and wanted to know them.
Fearless Preaching–Surrounded By 2,000 Extremists
The village felt threatened as they saw other people starting to follow Jesus, so they devised a plan to destroy Rajesh, his wife, and the threat of Christianity to their village. They called in a notorious extremist group – the Maoists. They are a non-religious, violent communist group. They’re known for being extremely ruthless.
A mob of about 2,000 armed extremists entered into the village and forced Rajesh, his wife and other Christian women deep into the jungle. Stopping at a spot in thick forest, they were surrounded and interrogated for hours. The extremists demanded Rajesh explain why they had become Christians.
Rajesh rose up in the power of the Holy Spirit and fearlessly declared, “Before, we did not know what was truth. But now we know what is truth. And we know that is Jesus.”
The Maoists mocked, “Jesus? Who is that? He has no father. He is a god that has no father. Why are you worshiping a god like that?”
Rajesh replied, “You are saying Jesus is the illegal son of Mary? I will tell you who Jesus is.”
Miraculously, like Stephen in Acts 7, Rajesh boldly preached the gospel to them from creation to Christ. The group of extremists stood with their guns in a circle, surrounding Rajesh. The extremists shouted at him to stop and eventually forced him to be silent.
Rajesh told the leader, “We are not leaving Jesus. Whatever you want to do, you can kill us, but know that we will not leave Jesus.”
Confused and stunned by Rajesh’s courage, the extremists let them return home.
“We Can Serve God Anywhere”
Over the next three weeks, five more families came to faith in Jesus. The other villagers felt threatened by the growth of this foreign religion. They called another meeting, asking the new believers why they had become Christians.
The new believers said, “We were suffering from sickness, we went to the doctor, we couldn’t get better. We went to this couple and they prayed, and we found healing.”
They asked Rajesh, “Why did you make these people Christians?”
He answered, “If anyone comes to us, we don’t turn them away. So they want prayer? We pray for them. So what did we do wrong?”
“You are making all the problems! By tomorrow, you need to leave this village!” they shouted, and began to beat them with sticks.
Rajesh reassured his wife, “We can go. We can serve God anywhere.”
My People Must Hear About Jesus
Leaving everything behind they moved to a nearby village, and now rent a small house. Rajesh oversees five house churches and they work to support their two children.
His wife used to say “Maybe we’ll go home and keep our faith in our heart, but not preach. Preaching is the problem.”
Rajesh would reply “Don’t say that. God has called us, if we get anything we will serve God, if we don’t get anything also we will serve God. We have decided to work for the Lord, we will die also serving the Lord.”
Through local partners, Open Doors has been able to help them with food and medicine. We sponsored Rajesh in further study and gave them chickens and goats. Your support is helping Rajesh continue to reach his community for Christ.
*Name change for security purposes.