Radicals burned down his church, but God did something powerful in the ashes

August 12, 2019 by Robert Kenna in Count it All Joy

Rohan was born in a Christian family, and his father was a priest. He grew up aware of the antagonism that Christians could face in India. But, when he was 18, God spoke to him through the words of Isaiah 43:1 – “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

“God invoked a thirst in me, through His word. On that day, I dedicated my life to ministry. I decided to go wherever leads me to do His work,” Rohan shares.

Some years later, Rohan started a church. It began with a children’s ministry and personal evangelism until, in 2008, there were enough believers in the area to form a congregation.

“It was the first church to be established among the non-believers,” says Rohan. “It slowly started to grow. Initially, there was no problem, but we faced opposition in 2012. People wanted it to stop.”

“We knew there would be opposition—an anti-Christian group was only three kilometers away. Hindu extremists used to stop meetings, and say that Christ is a foreign God who doesn’t belong in India.”

Pastor Rohan © Brittany Buongiorno

“It was all ashes”

But Rohan wasn’t prepared for what happened in 2018.

“We’d held a prayer meeting on the evening in question. At midnight, my neighbors called to tell me that the church was on fire. As I heard the news, a kind of chill ran through my body.”

“The church was only ten minutes away‑but by the time we got there, everything was burnt to ashes.”

The church had been deliberately burned down. Everything was destroyed. Even in that moment, Rohan had faith in his God. He refused to stop holding services. Since they no longer had a building, the congregation erected a tent and used that for worship.

“I never thought about giving up. I trusted that God would act. I wanted to see Him take me a step further in ministry.

“My fellow pastors encouraged me. They reminded me that God is faithful to the persecuted church.”

Hope for the Future

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Your support helped them rebuild

Rohan contacted Open Doors partners in the area and, thanks to your support and prayers, they were able to help with encouragement and financial assistance.

“The Open Doors partners visited, prayed with us and encouraged our congregation. They told us that God would do great things. And the financial help they gave us later meant that we could start rebuilding.”

“I am deeply grateful for the help I received, and for Open Doors and its supporters. I am continually praying for you all.”

Rohan has seen his church grow. Since the building was rebuilt, the congregation has doubled in size to 60 families. Thanks to your support, they can now continue to be the light of Christ in their community. Rohan is already keen to plant other churches in the area.

Pastor Rohan © Brittany Buongiorno

Pray for those who persecute you

By the grace of God, Rohan is even able to forgive the people who burned down his church.

“Yes, I have forgiven them. I have wholeheartedly forgiven them, and so have the other members of my church. As God has forgiven us, so we have forgiven our persecutors.”

“And we are praying for their salvation. We are continually praying for saving grace. It is my vision and desire that everybody should know Christ.”

Rohan’s courageous faith and humble forgiveness are inspiring. He knows that the church in India has a long way to go, but believes that God will provide. He knows how much Jesus loves the Indian people.

“As Christ cried over Jerusalem,” says Rohan, “in the same way, God’s heart longs for the people of India. Even amidst persecution, He is making His people stand strong.”

In partnership with local churches, Open Doors strengthens the Indian church by providing emergency aid, training, Bibles, advocacy support and legal seminars. Rohan’s church has been rebuilt, but he still faces danger—as do hundreds of other churches across India.

Please Pray

  • Thank God that Rohan’s church was rebuilt and the congregation has grown.
  • For protection for Rohan’s congregation, and all Indian Christians meeting together.
  • For salvation for those who persecute the Indian church, that they will turn to Jesus.

*Name changed for security reasons

 

Stand with Christians in India

Today, Christians in India are often shunned, unjustly arrested, attacked—even killed—because they choose to follow Jesus and not Hinduism or the local religion. Our Indian family needs the prayer and support of the global church more than ever. If God is laying it on your heart to support your persecuted brothers and sisters in India, we invite you to join us by giving today.

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