“It’s A Privilege To Be Persecuted” – India
India is the 11th most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian. Bahia* is a 22-year-old Bible school student from India. Committed to following Jesus no matter the cost, Bahia is the future of the church in a country increasingly intolerant of Christians.
From Hinduism To Jesus
When Bahia became a Christian, her brother became incredibly sick. The doctors told her family there was nothing they could do, so Bahia’s mother asked her to pray. Bahia’s brother was healed and her mother came to faith.
Image: Bahia (pictured right)
Bahia and her mother were harassed and persecuted for leaving Hinduism to follow Jesus.
“We Are Going To Burn This Book”
“We were verbally abused, and the leaders of our village held a lot of meetings about us,” said Bahia. “But we didn’t see the violence coming. It was one week after we had returned to the village. It happened so suddenly.”
Bahia was dragged from her house as women and men beat her, shouting at her to leave the village. Someone grabbed the Bible she clung to.
“We are going to burn this book,” they said.
“Do what you want with me,” Bahia cried, “but don’t destroy the Bible.”
They dragged her away. She doesn’t know what happened to her Bible.
Image: Bahia reading the Word of God today.
While they dragged her through the village, a picture surfaced in her mind: an image of Jesus being pushed and kicked towards Calvary.
She lost consciousness and woke up in the forest with the other 19 Christians. One of them phoned the police. The officers arrived late at night and they brought the other villagers with them.
“The police simply told everyone we should live together in peace. Then they left. We returned to the village again.”
Suffering For Christ
Only a few days passed before the villagers became aggressive again. They called the Christians to another meeting.
“We refused to give up our faith, which made them very angry,” Bahia said. “They became aggressive because we were so persistent in following Jesus. They told us to leave the village, saying: ‘Christians belong to foreign countries.’”
This time the Christians left their village for several months. They found favour with a particular police officer. He forced the villagers to allow Bahia and other believers return home.
Image: Village life in India.
“Jesus Died For Everyone”
But Bahia didn’t return. She went to a Bible school instead.
“When they threw us out of the village, they threatened to abuse or kill me if I returned. The situation in the village still hasn’t been resolved.
“I want to spend more time learning about God, so that one day I can return with the gospel. That’s the promise I made to my mother. It’s my deep desire to share God’s word. I want to tell everyone that Jesus didn’t just die for foreigners. He died for everyone. That’s my message to the people in my village, to the people in India and to people outside of our country.”
Bahia’s Message For Us
Your support allowed our local partners to provide Bahia with the practical support she needed.
“That support was so meaningful,” Bahia said. “I had no money and no clothes. Then you came along.”
When asked if she had a message for our supporters this is what she said:
“Don’t be afraid when persecution comes to you. It’s part of Christian life. It’s a privilege to be persecuted. Don’t become sad or discouraged.”
“Please pray that God will help me live up to my vision: to share His word with unbelievers. Especially in my village, but also other places where God’s word is opposed. I also have a deep desire that my father and brother come to faith.”
Your prayer and support makes a difference for the local church in India. Find out how here.
*Name changed for security purposes