Meet Elahi Mondol. Elahi is 62 years old. He’s also a lay pastor and evangelist at Redeemer Church in Gobindopur Village in West Bangladesh where Islam is the dominant religion. And he is in jail because he left Islam to follow Jesus and leads a house church of people who have made that same brave decision. Because of that–and the persecution that often comes to Bangladeshi believers when they’re discovered– we can’t show you his face.
Pastor Elahi has been falsely accused of rape–a charge prompted by the local imam, Jamirul Islam, who is also believed to have bribed police–yet another persecution act in a string of violence the imam has committed against Elahi and his family.
A Warning to All Christians in the Village
For years, Islam has schemed against the pastor. Islam once destroyed the building where Pastor Elahi’s house church met. He has also attempted to stop members from gathering.
This latest ploy is Islam’s attempt to teach Elahi a lesson and to pass on a warning to other local believers: If you don’t return to your previous Muslim faith, you will also face similar consequences.
At the time of the adultery, Elahi was attending a pastoral training in the capital city of Dhaka. But that isn’t stopping local police and village leaders from asking for an exorbitant sum of money to settle the case–a sum too much for Elahi’s and family and church to pay. This is the kind of persecution Christian converts in places like Bangladesh and India often face. To compel them to return to Islam or Hinduism, Christian converts are often falsely accused of crimes and hurled into a legal abyss that brings shame and financial adversity.
Currently, Pastor Elahi is applying for bail and preparing for his upcoming trial. He and his family are depressed and frustrated. Please pray with us for him and our other brothers and sisters in Bangladesh, specifically in Gobindopur Village:
Father, we thank you for making us aware of Pastor Elahi and this injustice against him and his family. We pray for hope, comfort and provision for him and his family. We ask You to erase their anxiety and fear and strengthen them in their faith. And God, we pray boldly with believers in Elahi’s church and village, that they could stand strong in their faith in the pastor’s absence and in the face of persecution from village leaders and pressure from family and friends to renounce their faith and go back to lives of comfort. God, we pray that you would give them supernatural peace and strength as they live for You.