Saturday, February 02, 2008

India – 1 February 2008 – Believers in Bratpra

Again….the village name has been changed for security. I knew this was an issue here, but it became brutally real this evening. As God’s kingdom expands by love and brotherhood in this land, the enemy has counterattacked with hate and vengeance. If the agents of the enemy could connect this post with people here, there could be real suffering.

This evening, a church leader showed us the marks of the enemy on his body…and his badges of honor as he has suffered for Christ. He pulled up his pants leg to show the healed over knobby bone protrusion on his leg….a result of having been purposely run over by a car. There are also scars on his chest from the same incident. His perfectly formed teeth are replacements for those lost in the attack. It is a miracle that he survived.

He is not alone….he showed us newspaper clippings of some Christians who were beaten by extremists and forced to reconvert. But he persists, even as he knows his life is in danger from extremists in other religions who are jealous over the thousands who are coming to faith in Christ. The authorities have done ittle or nothing in these cases to bring the evil doers to justice.

We are meeting this evening in the home of Pastor Ragij (name changed) who lives in a concrete wall structure with his son, daughter in law and grandchildren. He speaks the majority local language, and is interpreted for us by Pastor Mothas (also changed) who we have known from earlier associations which will not be mentioned here. Pastor Mothas understands this language, Hindi, English and possibly others and has been a friend and support to Ragij and others like him in this northern region of India.

The work of Ragij has been rewarded by the Lord with success and favor. He is one of a number of leaders in this state, and today the number of believers stands at around 2.5 million. In his home tonight is meeting about 15 believers who have come here to pray and to meet us. There is 24 hour prayer going on in this house. Believers take two hour shifts, all day, every day.

Ragij is a district leader and there are 30-some villages around here and perhaps 10 pastoral leaders over which he watches and cares. There is also a Bible school here meeting in shifts. We meet them tomorrow. Bible school students are required to bring 12 converts to Christ in a week (and they do); these new believers become the nucleus of a new local church. When their training is complete after a year, there are already many people in the flock.

Ragij says the village churches do not usually meet in buildings, because they have only a few of them. Government permission is not given for church buildings to be constructed, so when they do make a building they do not start as a church. On Sunday they will meet outside his home in a tent. They want at least one of us to stay for the meetings and preach…but time presses with other commitments.

Some of the local churches are quite large; one numbers 900! Others may be 200 or 400 in total.

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