Attacked with an axe … for Jesus

September 4, 2019 by Lindy Lowry in Uncategorized

Pastor Kuldeep didn’t see the man with the axe, but sensed his presence only milliseconds before the first blow. Instinctively, he raised his hands. The axe came down five more times.

What followed next was a blur of screams, bandages and hospital rooms—and prayers.

Growing up, Kuldeep would never have believed he would one day be attacked for his belief in Jesus and passion to share the gospel. In his home and village in northern India, the name of Jesus wasn’t spoken. In fact, his father was a village chief who led the tribal rituals. Kuldeep comes from an important Hindu family.

“During every festivity, we were always the first ones to perform the rituals,” Kuldeep remembers. “We sacrificed a lot of animals to the gods and goddeses to appease them. So we’d have a good harvest. We believed that without these rituals there would be no rain. Without rain, the fields stay dry and people die.” 

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Finding Jesus

For Kuldeep, the path to the life he now leads began when he became ill and began looking for healing.  “I tried everything to heal me,” he says, including performing Hindu rituals to the gods. But nothing worked.

In desperation and at the advice of someone to “pray to Jesus,” Kuldeep visited a nearby pastor who prayed for him.

“The moment he began to pray, I felt prickly all over my body. It wasn’t a nice feeling, and I left the church. I didn’t go again, but the pastor came to visit sometimes. Every time he prayed for me, I felt prickly and warned him not to come again.”

Still not healed, Kuldeep went to more temples to offer more gifts to the gods. He even went to those who performed black magic and participated in their rituals—all in the quest to be healed. But all the rituals and gifts were futile.

“The pain never left me,” Kuldeep says, adding that his illness forced him to leave his job as a mill worker. Instead, he worked as a rikshaw driver.

Every day on his way back to work, Kuldeep passed the pastor who had prayed for him. And every day, that pastor persisted.

“I refused. But because nothing had worked, I became very angry. I stopped believing in all gods,” Kuldeep shares.

Then one day, the pastor called him again. This time, Kuldeep listened. “I decided to give his God one more chance. The pastor told me to get rid of all my idols and come back to his church. I did what he asked. He anointed me with oil, prayed for me and I was finally healed. I felt very light. I wanted to read the Bible and to pray.”

The attack

Pastor Kuldeep points to the near-fatal axe wounds.

That day birthed a passion for God that would only grow in the years to come. Thirty years later, Kuldeep is now a pastor and an evangelist.

That day would also bring persecution: “You have converted,” Kuldeep’s community told him. “You are against our gods!”

The challenges continued. The day Kuldeep was attacked was not unlike any other day. He shares the details in his own words:

“That day seemed an ordinary day like all others. I came home and asked my wife to boil some milk. Then I went outside in the dark and stood on the veranda. I was a little sleepy, but I still wanted to take a few minutes to pray and praise God. So I closed my eyes. That’s when my nerves in my hands got damaged and several bones were broken. After I screamed, some villagers ran towards my house. They thought I had been bitten by a snake. That’s when the man left. But I had lost a lot of blood and was unconscious. After I was brought to the hospital, the doctors gave me 12 packs of blood. I barely survived.” 

While he was in the hospital, Kuldeep’s family called an Open Doors ministry partner who quickly came to offer both prayer and practical help.

“He was the only one who came and provided us with groceries, “Kuldeep says. “He also prayed with me. People didn’t think I would survive. But thanks to your support, I was able to go to a better hospital and I didn’t die. Instead I can continue to testify to what God did for me. Thanks to you, I’m still alive and able to continue with my ministry.”

Praying for Pastor Kuldeep and his church

As we listened to Pastor Kuldeep share his story, he asked us to pray for him, his family and his church: “Pray for protection while I’m being persecuted. Pray for my church also. Pray that people won’t only come [just] for healings and blessings, but also for salvation.”

‘This is what we live for’

Kuldeep’s passion for the gospel and determination to share it doesn’t mean life is easy (persecution in India has become so violent that Kuldeep’s face must be kept hidden for his and his family’s protection). The healing he received doesn’t mean that he, or his wife, feels safe. But it does mean that despite the risk of persecution, Kuldeep will continue following Jesus and His Great Commission command to “go” (Matthew 28). These 30-year-old roots run deep.

“I’m not safe. This man could attack me again any day. It’s all in God’s hands. My wife knows that. She still sends me to preach, however. This is what we live for.”

The India that Kuldeep ministers in today is not the same India he once knew. Persecution is rising in India, he says, out of fear. Hindus in India see Christianity as an American religion.

“Hindus believe that Americans come to India, offer money and convert people to Christianity. They think it’s a tactic to dominate the world. You see, people think that Christ is a religion; but He’s not a religion. He is the way to eternal life. I’ve been bought for life.”

The attack has changed Kuldeep’s faith—and the eternities of many others. “It has encouraged me to do more and more ministry.” In many ways, he is now doing for others the same thing that persistent pastor did for him 30 years ago.

“It’s the responsibility God has given me,” he says. “I’m ready to suffer. The Bible tells us to be prepared for suffering for His sake. People need Jesus.”

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