Here’s Aman’s story. He’s an Open Doors local partner who’s been helping to provide our persecuted brothers and sisters with Covid-19 aid. As well as telling us what it has been like working with persecuted believers, including Usha whom you might remember from last year, Aman also shares his own story of coming to faith. All names have been changed for security reasons.
Usha (inside left) says, “Thank you, Jesus, for sending Your people to our aid.”
During the pandemic, many Christians have relied on our support. Soon after lockdown was imposed, we could see that poor people were on the verge of starvation.
You might remember Usha from last year. She lives in a slum and works as a daily labourer. Around 20 years ago, she gave birth to a son with physically disabled feet. At the time, she was experiencing financial difficulty and was unsure how she’d cope. After meeting a pastor, she went to church where her son was miraculously healed. Usha became a Christian and began inviting other villagers to church. Many gave their lives to Jesus, and Usha’s whole family are now Christians.
Even before the pandemic, Usha faced persecution. As a daily labourer, people would agree to pay her a certain amount of money, but on discovering her Christian faith they would underpay and threaten her for ‘abandoning’ her traditional faith.
And as often happened to believers in India, Usha was refused government aid during pandemic because of her faith. There was no such directive from the government, but it’s been practised by the local authorities. Usha was taunted, “Your God is not helping you, but if you renounce your faith then we will help you.”
After Usha called me for help, I visited her home and was deeply saddened that I have brothers and sisters who are living in such a state. The condition of her home and neighbourhood was not good, but Usha is very firm in her faith.
Seeing the situation of Usha and other Christian families, our team and volunteers collected 200 kg of rice and distributed it among nine families. We’ve been back a further six times to distribute food to these families.
Usha expressed her heartfelt gratitude towards us, saying, “Thank you, Jesus, for sending Your people to our aid.” We are planning to help Usha start a new business, if possible.
As for me, I haven’t always been a believer. I was born into a Hindu family. My family used to be involved in idol worship. Our entire village used to look up to our family as the mediators between the gods and goddesses and men.
After getting married, aged 21, I waited on our Hindu gods and goddesses to bless us with a child. We were childless for eight years. After my mother and grandmother died, my wife and I decided to leave my hometown to find work. I earned well but it went towards fertility treatment. There was an emptiness in my heart.
A few years later, a friend told us about Jesus’ love for us. I was unhappy that he had become a Christian. But he kept coming and sharing the gospel. Something inside me compelled me to listen, despite my mind saying “No”. Eventually, I visited church and discovered that Jesus died for us. “How can someone die for us?” I thought. “God can kill us, punish us. But He cannot die for us. In fact, we have to be the ones to offer sacrifices to them.” It forced me to read the Bible, and I accepted Christ as my Saviour.
Later, my wife conceived. We were blessed with a baby boy, but he died six days later. Family members blamed my new faith for his death. I was mocked and expelled from my house. But my faith in Christ was unshaken, as by then I had read the Bible twice. Amidst the trauma, God encouraged me through the book of Job. After some time, we were blessed with a baby girl.
Meanwhile, my father had stopped talking to me. But in answer to our prayers, he also became a Christian. He was expelled from the village because he had been a prominent Hindu. But he kept sharing his testimony, and slowly many villagers also became Christians and he was invited back home.
I used to organise health awareness programmes in local villages. One day, a complaint was made against me, saying that I am involved in conversion activities. Some days later, I was surrounded by thousands of people who wanted to kill me, and the police was called to arrest me.
"We want to thank all those who extended God’s love in form of financial support. This has saved the lives of believers" Aman
This happened many times. People used to beat me, but God always miraculously intervened through the village head, or an influential villager, who would stand by me.
A few years ago, despite threats, a church leader continued his ministry and was murdered. The extremists openly mocked him and his family while attacking him. Seeing his children and wife in such a painful situation, I connected with Open Doors local partners to provide the family with encouragement and prayer support.
The way your team responded to our call and stood with the persecuted church inspired me support them in their work.
We want to thank all those who extended God’s love in form of financial support. This has saved the lives of believers like Usha and strengthened their faith. All of us want to say a huge thanks. We are grateful to God that He let you open your hearts and aid us in helping the persecuted body of Christ.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.