10/17/2016 Washington, D.C.
(International Christian Concern
) – As the number of violent attacks against Christians in India has escalated, International Christian Concern (ICC) continues to deliver medical assistance to those physically injured by Hindu extremists. This assistance not only provides physical healing, but also spiritual encouragement to help Christians endure such trials.
The increase in violence against Christians coincided with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) rise to power in India’s federal government in 2014. By 2015, Christians had experienced the worst year for religious freedom in India’s independent history. Unfortunately, 2016 may exceed 2015. To date, ICC has already documented 157 attacks.
Pastor Peter, a 70-year old Church of Christ pastor from northern Telangana, endured one of these attacks on November 15, 2015. He was brutally beaten by members of the RSS and Bajrangdal for allegedly conducting forced conversions.
“I was badly beaten up by a mob of 20 young people in the village where I went to conduct a worship service,” recalled Pastor Peter. “From there, they took me to a deserted place and beat me almost to death. While I was unconscious, they broke my two-wheeler [motor bike], and I thought my life was finished. When I regained consciousness, I found myself laying on the ground in the dark.”
“Although there were few minor visible bruises and wounds on my body, it was the internal injuries that were most severe. I could not even crawl to my two-wheeler and I almost gave up on my life as I did not find any hope,” Pastor Peter explained.
Miraculously, an unknown Good Samaritan stopped and took Pastor Peter to the hospital. Despite surviving the attack, Pastor Peter has “been struggling with pain all over [his] body, but did not have money to do a proper checkup.”
ICC immediately worked with local partners to fund all of Pastor Peter’s medical bills. For Pastor Peter, “ICC’s assistance towards the medical checkup and treatment is life-saving.”
Thanks to ICC’s help, Pastor Peter has continued his ministry, despite his several medical restrictions. However, he does not let his restrictions discourage him. He said, “I praise God for ICC and for their financial assistance for my medical checkup. The Bible says ‘Let the weak say I am strong and let the poor say I am rich’ and this verse has been my testimony. The way ICC embraced me has brought encouragement to my heart and soul and I feel more courage knowing there are believers who are concerned about God’s work and His people.”
Pastor Peter now visits and encourages other pastors, like Pastor Kumar, who have experienced similar situations. Pastor Kumar shared, “Though the attack on me and my church members was terrifying, it introduced me to so many good people, including ICC.”
“I was really touched at the wonderful ministry of ICC to the suffering Church,“ Pastor Kumar said. “I am particularly thankful for the assistance I received towards the medical treatment on my lower back. Thank you for relieving me of my heavy burden of paying for the treatment and medication.”
Persecution is a daily reality for India’s Christians. Like Pastor Peter, there are many pastors targeted by Hindu radical groups and who do not have the funds to pay the necessary medical expenses. Without organizations like ICC, these pastors are left with the unbearable burden of trying to pay for their medical expenses and daily needs, leaving them in a very vulnerable situation. Please pray for continued strength and healing for Christians suffering from increased persecution in India.