Suffering for Jesus’ sake
As the pressure on Christians continues to rise in India, the overall number of people accepting Jesus has risen, too. As a local Open Doors partner in India, I regularly come across Christians who suffer for Christ.
I work to strengthen their faith. But there are countless times when these persecuted Christians, who I work for, in turn challenge my own faith, and help me to learn more about the kingdom of God and its worth.
Pastor Neelesh is one of these Christians. He lost his son, his fields, his job, his house—but held on to his faith, and continues to do so. He continues working as a pastor, although he knows that his neighbors—and his entire, primarily Buddhist community—oppose him and conspire against him and his family.
But Neelesh is not a superhero—his faith is not the product of some special power only he has access to. The pain in his story is unthinkable, but Neelesh is not the hero of that story. God is.
Read more about what God is doing in India today as they count it all joy.
He tells me about the day his son died. “This was 10 years ago,” Neelesh remembers. “My son, who was 7 years old at the time, had been beaten badly by the Buddhist boys in his boarding school who opposed Christianity. When I came to know about this, I hurried to the boarding school and drove him to the hospital. He died on the way.
“He died in my arms. I could do nothing.”
As he speaks, his words cut through my heart. A 7-year-old child being beaten to death—what a tragedy! How could his parents bear it? I have two children myself. The thought of anything happening to my children is frightening. The thought of watching my son die in my arms because of my faith is … unimaginable.
Neelesh calls this period the most challenging time in his life. “I was perplexed,” he remembers. His eyes are filled with tears, his hands clasped together with the painful memory that time. “I couldn’t see God’s purpose in all this. Why should He let my innocent 7-year-old die, when once the same God raised me out of my death bed?”