Christians in India are suffering through serious illness, beatings, and murder throughout COVID-19. The Coronavirus has been affecting many believers located in India especially because Hindu is their official religion. Christians in India are enduring deadly violence and threats from their elders. Causing possible expulsion or even death, many believers in India live in serious concern.
According to OpenDoors, Kirti, a young mother in rural India, is one of the Hindu people who found the one, true God among the millions in her country. She turned from her Hindu gods to follow Jesus while attending a church service away from her village. As with many Christians in India, God miraculously healed Kirti from a debilitating disease at a worship service.
As some of the Christians agreed to stop worshiping out of fear, Kirti's family refused to deny Jesus. Because of her bold faith in Jesus, Kirti's village elders continued to beat her and her husband for not listening to them. Frustrated with Kirti's attitude of not denying her new God and returning to the Hindu faith, the elders continue to threaten her and her family.
According to Open Doors, the few Christians gathered to pray and sing quietly as soon a pastor from another village came to lead them.
Knowing there will be consequences, the faith in their hearts was too large, so they eventually started a secret gathering in their house on Sundays.
"But in a small village, it's difficult to keep anything a secret for long. This healing received the attention of the elders, and they brought the young man to a meeting for questioning-similar to the blind man who was healed by Jesus in John 9."
Few days later, the mob came into Kiri's home and searched for her bible as they threatened to kill her if she continued to worship Jesus. The crowd dragged the Christians out of Kirti's house and began beating them violently.
"They were beating us with sticks, kicking and punching us mercilessly," Kirti explained.
The mob eventually found Kirti's Bible, lit it on fire and burned it in front of her. Then they ransacked the house and stole all of her food, rice, wheat, and vegetables, as well as her chickens and goats.
All the while, Kirti kept praying, "Lord, save us if you want to save us!"
The elders later made an announcement through a loudspeaker telling everyone in the village to come for a feast. It was there they cooked Kirti's food and animals and shared it with all the villagers.
They literally ate her livelihood...
"This is what you get for following Jesus," they exclaimed.
While most Christians were injured, Kirti received the worst of it with a broken back, something that still hinders her today. They were all rushed to the hospital where Kirti stayed for over two weeks in recovery.
It was at this moment that Open Doors heard about Kirti and the Christians in her village...
Through partners, Open Doors was able to help them pay the medical bills and provided spiritual care and support for the small number of courageous Christians in her village.
When Kirti and her husband returned to their home, everyone in the village stopped talking to them and refused to let them draw water from the village well.
Accordingly, the believers in the village kept quiet for a while, but slowly a few Christians began stopping by Kirti's home again for prayer. It was a dangerous act of defiance and when the elders heard their beatings and public shaming didn't stop the believers from following Jesus, they were infuriated.
One late night, a group of men carrying ropes surrounded Kirti's home. They knocked on the door, rushed in and grabbed Kirti's husband by force. Kirti tried to stop them.
"Where are you taking my husband?" she screamed
The men ignored her cries, pushed her back in the house and locked her in her own home. The men who took her husband tortured him in unthinkable ways for days. Kirti tried to find him, and when she finally did, he didn't recognize her. He was taken away and murdered. Kirti was only a short distance away and heard his cries. Then the men allowed Kirti and a few other Christians to take him.
However, there were no arrests or prosecutions for her husband's killers.
Once she returned home, the village leaders refused to allow her to bury her husband in the village cemetery. So Kirti took her husband's body to a plot of land outside of the village and buried him there. A few other Christians joined her for a small ceremony.
Throughout the devastating moment, Kirti continued to stay bold and have strong faith in God knowing God will be present. With full tears in her eyes, she requests for prayer, help, and support for her family and the other believers who currently live in India.
As she moved to a safer house, Open Door's partners helped Kirti and her children with food supplies, clothing, blankets, financial support and spiritual care. Her injuries prevent her from working, and she continues to be in great danger.
"[You] helped me financially and because of your help, my kids are attending school," Kirti shares.
Through incredible suffering and loss, Kirti's faith is still unshakeable.
"I have committed everything into the hands of Jesus,"
"When I feel sad, I remember the Word of God. In all my trials, He helps me. I cannot read or write, but I memorize what the pastor teaches me. Because of attacks, many new Christians are leaving the faith, but I'm stable in my faith. Thanks to your care and love, I'm still alive and a follower of Jesus today."
Despite the risk, Kirti has returned to her village to be a light for Christ once again.
Please continue praying for Kirti and other Christians in India who are attacked for following Jesus.