Maruc* is a church leader in India and one of our partners involved in teaching Indian Christians how to deal with persecution. He lives in a context where many in authority hold extreme views and want the country to be exclusively Hindu.
Because of his Christian faith and his role as a church leader, Maruc has often been threatened by Hindu extremists. “Someone may walk up to me in a fit of anger and say: ‘Okay, so these are your kids? I will kidnap them!’ or ‘I will get someone to shoot you dead! If that doesn’t work, I will come myself.’ Everything that you take for granted is now under threat.”
On one occasion, he was told that a group of 300 people would come along to disrupt his Sunday service.
“We prayed through the night. But five minutes before nine o’clock, I see a cop driving his jeep and then he brings a truckload of police personnel with him. They come and sit in a shop just bang opposite the church. They order a cup of tea, get a newspaper and they sit there. And within five minutes, I have to start my worship service, so I go, always wondering what’s happening. And through the window, I couldn’t even focus on my preaching or the worship service.
“When the service was over and nothing untoward happened, I rushed to see what the situation was. And when I went to see, when the service was over, they all got into their vehicles and went off. And I am convinced that God Himself – because we have not done anything from our human perspective – but I believe God Himself has ordered a whole bunch load of policemen to come and protect us on that morning.”
According to Maruc, Hindus are indoctrinated against Christians and are therefore unwilling to accept help from them: “In 2018 we had floods in Kerala state, South India. A Christian man took his boat and reached a remote house, which was completely inundated. The people were sitting on the roof and they needed someone to help them.
“They asked the boatman, ‘Are you a Christian?’ And when he said ‘yes’, they refused to get into the boat. It defies all logic, but that’s how things have grown. This is what is happening in our country.”
Attacks on Christians in India are increasing.
STRENGTH TO PLAY OUR PART
Despite the pressure, Maruc believes that God will strengthen the church in India to stand and to continue to shine.
“It’s not easy. There are so many people whose lives have been damaged and disrupted permanently because of what they are facing: false allegations, humiliation, physical abuse. And they are ostracised from their own villages and their towns. But I heard some of them who are so discouraged, and they are in prison – they found a ministry there!
“I believe as a follower of Christ that God is faithful. He said: ‘I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.’ So if He is the builder of the church here, then He will take care of us. He will give us two things. One, He will make a way of escape for us out of any situation, any persecution. Or He will give us strength to face it and go through what we need to go through and play our part in the history of Christianity.”
Maruc has a challenge for us to pray for those in authority and even for those who persecute India’s Christians.
“Paul writes: ‘Pray for the leaders and kings and those in authority, so that you will be able to live a peaceful and godly life.’ We want to live a peaceful life, we want to live a godly life in the same country in which we were born. I think it is a good thing for us to pray in those terms. And more importantly, I would pray for the salvation of people… All that needs to happen is that we want India to bow down to the name of Jesus. That’s our desire. That’s why we want to pray. We are interested in the salvation of the very people who are turning against the Christians.”
Source: Open Doors