Sometimes, it is in the midst of persecution when Jesus reveals Himself as the Great Shepherd…protecting his sheep with His faithful hands. That is certainly true in this story. Through PROJECT INDIA we have planted 19 churches in the three months of December ’11 through February ’12, with well over 500 new souls brought to Christ and added to these fellowships. We knew it was only a matter of time before the enemy would show his colors and begin to bring persecution. Several events have taken place, but I want to share a special story which is still unfolding. (Names are changed for security reasons!)
In one of the villages Bro. Anand, our PROJECT INDIA church planter, led Mary to Christ. Her salvation, like many others in the villages we are reaching, is from a life of idolatry in the religious practice of Hinduism. However, Mary’s story goes beyond that…as her father is the Brahma Priest who leads worship in one of the local Hindu Temples. Therefore, her family is from the highest caste in Indian culture and has little to do with the lower castes.
After coming to Christ, Mary had become an embarrassment to the family by forsaking the religion of her ancestors. Her family beat her with sticks and rods for converting to Christianity and forsaking the family’s ancient religion. However, through God’s grace, Mary stood firm in her faith and refused to turn from Jesus. Though her injuries required medical attention, she never gave in to the continual threats and restrictions. Her father and family forbid her to attend the new Christian church and refused to allow her to receive a Bible. He stood firm in his resistance against Christianity and restrictions imposed upon his 24 year old daughter.
I asked many of my fellow believers and supporters to pray and intercede concerning this volatile situation, especially for Mary’s health and safety. After a couple of weeks, and seemingly unexpectedly, her father allowed her to come and participate with the Church in this previously unreached village. Mary was overjoyed and came to the services with much thankfulness and celebration.
Bro. Anand and the other believers were joyful also, but wondered what happened to change her father from the hardline stance he had taken for two weeks. Then her father contacted Bro. Anand and requested a meeting. Not knowing what the meeting was about, Anand arranged to meet with Mary’s father. As a Hindu Priest, he was steeped in the existential rituals of many gods/goddesses. However, Bro. Anand could never have known what was coming.
Mary’s father said that he had a dream after he had restricted Mary from attending the new church and beaten her for converting to Christianity. In the dream a man spoke to him and said forcefully, “Why are you holding back my daughter…LET HER GO!” The man in the dream repeated this several times and then Mary’s father woke up from his sleep and was shaking in fear. He immediately informed Mary that she could attend the Christian meetings and that he would no longer prevent her from doing so. He then told Bro. Anand, “I believe this was your Jesus which spoke to me. He is stronger than the gods I worship. I want to hear about Him and learn who He is.”
Plans are being made to play a DVD from our past November Church Planter’s Conference where we shared on The Cross of Jesus. Pray for Mary’s father that he would see the purpose and meaning of Christ crucified. As a Brahma Priest he is in the highest position of religious authority in this village, and his conversion would send shock waves throughout the village of 3,000.
Last Sunday, Mary’s mother attended Church with her and said she wants to continue to come and learn about this Jesus. The believers in this village are praying fervently for Mary and her family. Please continue to lift them up. After all, what has taken place is a result of all those who have prayed for Mary the past four weeks….and Jesus is protecting her and revealing the power of the Gospel to her father, mother and family. Keep praying!!!!
Satan is upset, but through the prayers of God’s children and the power of the Cross, the victory belongs to Christ.
“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it [the cross].” (Colossians 2:15, KJV)
***Update – Mary’s mother has surrendered to Christ as Lord and Savior!