Not all attacks on Christians in India occur during worship services. Sometimes radical Hindus target a single, influential member of a local church.
Vijay, an elder of a church in Madhya Pradesh state, left Hinduism to follow Christ after being healed of tuberculosis, from which he had suffered for two years. After trying Hindu rituals and numerous hospital visits, Vijay finally received healing from his illness after placing his faith in Christ.
Having led his wife and 24 other relatives to the Lord, Vijay sought to share the gospel with local villagers.
He cultivated friendships with many in his village and eventually led more than 30 Hindu families to Christ.
In 2015, Vijay became an elder in his house church. He assisted the pastor with his ministry, hosted a weekly prayer gathering at his house and continued sharing the gospel with locals.
Then, one day he learned that some villagers were upset about his prayer gatherings and evangelism. They publicly chastised him for “spoiling” their Hindu religion by “forcing” Hindus to become Christians. And Vijay soon heard that some men were planning to chase him from the village and kill him.
One afternoon in April 2020, while his wife and children were away, Vijay lay down to take a nap after a long morning of tending to his cattle. After dozing off for a short period of time, he awoke to find his home engulfed in flames. A mob of Hindu extremists had set his house on fire and left the scene.
The fire destroyed Vijay’s house and killed several buffalo, goats and cows that his family depended on for their livelihood, but he managed to escape. Police eventually arrested a few men for starting the fire, and some pastors, neighbours and friends helped Vijay repair his house. VOM purchased two buffalo and a goat for Vijay’s family.
Vijay said he has forgiven his persecutors and is praying for their salvation. He asks for prayer that he will be able to reach Hindus with the gospel in surrounding villages. Reflecting on the incident, Vijay quoted Job 1:21 — “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Though Vijay’s face and hands were scarred by the flames, he remains joyful. He said even if his life is threatened again, it won’t affect his faith in Christ.
“If I am alive or dead,” he said, “it will
be for Jesus only.”