Biswas is a pastor from a local church in northern India. Recently, he was brutally beaten by a group of 10 Hindu extremists because he was leading many Hindu people to Christianity. They also made him pay a hefty fine as a punishment for “luring people to conversion using fraudulent means.”
Open Doors partners helped him pay the fine and visited him to encourage and pray for him. In this write-up, Biswas shares with an Open Doors partner about the persecution he suffered, and how thankful he is to Open Doors’ partners for the prayers and support.
Commitment to Christ—no matter the cost
As the two Open Doors partners, Manit and Saurabh, approach his house, Biswas folds his hands to greet them and leads them inside. As everybody enters the small living room, there seems to be an uneasy silence in the house. The recent incident that happened to Biswas has instilled fear in the hearts of family members.
Biswas’ wife, her head covered with a red scarf, brings in some tea; she smiles as she enters the room. Biswas sits on one of the chairs with the guests.
“I am so grateful that Open Doors, through its partners, is helping pastors like me. I can never thank you all enough,” Biswas shares.
“I had been so desperate as no one was helping me, and then God sent you.” His eyes show the depth of his gratefulness.
Biswas says the homes of non-Christian families surround his house, and that many families live in peace with him. There are however some families who oppose his work as a pastor.
Manit asks Biswas if he has been able to continue with his ministry. “Church services are going on, but I am more careful while doing house visits. I will always serve Christ no matter what it costs. Even if everyone opposes me I will stand for him,” Biswas says.
Persecution from Extremists
As Biswas hands over a cup of tea to Saurabh he opens up, “That day when the incident took place, someone came to my door and said some men from the temple are calling you. I went without really thinking much about it. What happened next was a shock to me.
“When I got there I saw ten men waiting for me. I knew that all of them were Hindu extremists from my city. They pointed a revolver at my head, and then, without any warning, they started kicking and punching me. They kept shouting abuse, blaming me for tricking people and luring them to change their religion to Christianity.”
He stops here and looks down as if he is trying to recollect something painful, “I suddenly heard one of them say loudly ‘We killed your mentor one year ago, now it’s your turn.’”
He has tears in his eyes as he goes on, “This reminded me quickly at that time about one of the senior pastors in my area who had been murdered one year ago by unknown assailants; he had been the one who had also led me to Christ. They were referring to him as my mentor. I knew now that these men were the ones who had killed him, and they were acknowledging it with boldness. I was shivering with fear.”
He continues, “And then I asked God, ‘Is it my turn after all because I am sharing your Gospel, will they kill me too?’
“In my mental and physical agony, I realized I could also pray for deliverance. I then prayed in my heart, ‘God who saved Daniel in the den of the lions, save me.’”
Biswas wipes away his tears, “It was a miracle. Just after I had said the prayer in my heart, one of the attackers told the others to stop and said let’s just make him pay a huge fine. The God who saved Daniel from the lion’s den saved me from being killed that day.”
Finally, they let Biswas go in exchange for a hefty fine worth eight months’ of his salary, which he was supposed to provide them the very next day. He arranged the money from a local money lender immediately on a very high interest rate as he had no savings. This incident put him and his family into a financial crisis.
Relief from Financial Hardship
Open Doors, through its partners, were told about the difficult financial situation Biswas was going through and helped him both financially—and to manage his family expenses.
“I am so grateful. I will never forget what Open Doors has done for me through its partners. Please convey my thankfulness to all those who have supported me.”
After spending some more time with the couple, Saurabh shares from Psalm 55:22. As both of them pray for Pastor Biswas and his wife, they kneel on the floor. There are some tears of gratefulness and some tears of pain.
When both partners leave, Biswas and his wife are smiling, their eyes, however, are still moist, but they do look brighter.
“Keep praying for us,” his wife shares. “We need more strength. We know we are being monitored and our lives are constantly under threat. But we want to continue with our ministry; however, we are worried about our children.”
Since the number of new believers in the church Biswas pastors continues to rise, many extremists have come to know who he is. Church leaders like Biswas are often targeted with physical violence by Hindu extremists. These leaders need special prayers for protection and also encouragement. Open Doors’ partners in India continue to provide presence ministry along with practical aid to such Christian leaders who are serving God in challenging circumstances.