We serve Christians around the world whose brave faith in Jesus means they are, beaten, threatened, imprisoned, tortured, falsely accused, disowned and hated.

“THEY CANNOT SEPARATE US FROM JESUS”

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Pastor Laxman* won’t abandon the vision that God has given him. That’s not a commitment he makes lightly. His church in north India has been destroyed by extremists. He’s been imprisoned, beaten and falsely accused. But he is determined to serve God in his community. With your help, he can keep going.

“I was born and brought up in a strong Hindu family,” he says. Nothing challenged this faith until his wife, Latika*, got very ill. Doctors couldn’t help her, and the prayers of Hindu priests and occultists made no difference. Finally, reluctantly, he took his wife to a church. Latika was already a believer, but Laxman was very resistant. What happened at the church would forever change Laxman’s life.

Christians prayed over Latika – and she began healing! “When my wife received healing with just one prayer at the church, I understood that her God was a God who answered prayers,” Laxman says. “As I began to understand the power of this God, I was determined to spread His message of truth to as many people as possible.”

God’s vision

Laxman was keen to start a church. “God showed me a vision about a place – I had never seen that place before,” he says. As the couple prayed, it became clear this was where God wanted Laxman to build.

The church started out small – just three people. But Laxman knew he was telling people about an active, living God. Having witnessed a miracle in his own life, he started praying for miracles for others.

The Lord blessed this ministry. “I met a man who was suffering from epilepsy,” Laxman remembers. “He used to have attacks five times a day. I met and prayed with him – After a few months, he was completely healed.” The man decided to follow Jesus.

Church growth

Word spread about what God was doing in Pastor Laxman’s church. From a handful of believers, the church grew to hundreds. Across India, many churches are reporting the same extraordinary growth. But growth has a flipside: it catches the attention of extremists.

In the area where Laxman lives, Hindu extremists are trying to eradicate Christianity. People like Laxman and others in his congregation, who’ve chosen to leave Hinduism and follow Jesus, are particularly vulnerable to persecution. These extremists were angry – and had an underhand method of targeting Laxman.

“They made a police complaint against me, accusing me of luring people to Christianity using money,” he says. He was taken to the police station where the police threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop his ministry, but he defiantly told them he would build a church!

“They can break the church building and send us to jail and beat us up. But they cannot separate us from Jesus or stop us from following Jesus.”

PASTOR LAXMAN, INDIA

“Sign this paper”

When the police couldn’t find any evidence against Laxman, they decided to fabricate some. “The extremists called a believer from my church to the police station,” Laxman says. “He was threatened that his house would be destroyed unless he signed a blank piece of paper.”

He was terrified and agreed to sign. The persecutors now had all they needed to fake a confession. “The ‘confession’ said I had lured him to Christianity, promising him money,” Laxman says.

The next day, the police came to the church to seize Pastor Laxman. He remembers: “We were conducting a prayer meeting with 250 people when six or seven policemen came all of a sudden and arrested me. They started beating me.” Laxman was put in jail, where police continued to beat him brutally. While he was in prison, extremists destroyed his church building. “They attacked it the same day I was arrested,” he says.

God’s faithfulness

Laxman’s hope for his ministry was under threat. But God had given Laxman a vision for his church and wasn’t going to abandon him now. In his cell, Laxman heard the Lord speaking.

“I heard a sweet voice, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you,’” Laxman remembers. God used the words of Isaiah 41:10 to encourage and sustain Laxman. “I felt a rush of peace inside my heart, and I found strength to go through all the pain.”

After six days, Pastor Laxman was released. Most of his congregation had dispersed – fearful of what the police or extremists might do to them. When Open Doors local partners heard what had happened, they came immediately. It was vital to show Laxman he wasn’t alone and provide spiritual and physical support.

“I would like to thank God firstly, who sent strangers to help me in such a way – and these people who are helping us so much, I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

With your support and prayers, Open Doors partners can continue to sustain Pastor Laxman and his family with encouragement and have helped him set up a chicken farm, for ongoing income for him and his community. Laxman has hope that his church building will eventually be rebuilt. For now, he is still shepherding his congregation. “There are only 40 people now, who secretly gather for prayers,” he says. They meet in small groups, because the police continue to monitor Laxman and his church.

You can support Pastor Laxman’s vision

Laxman remains defiant and faithful. “They can break the church building and send us to jail and beat us up. But they cannot separate us from Jesus or stop us from following Jesus,” he says. “It is only in my God that you can find peace, joy and healing. The church is closed but my ministry continues. This is God’s work. No one can close it or shut it down. It is for the Kingdom of the Lord.”

Extremists are trying to destroy the church in India. You can join courageous Indian believers like Pastor Laxman in making sure they don’t succeed. Follow the links below to pray, give and even write to Pastor Laxman!

*Names changed for security reasons

PRAY NOW...
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Please join with the prayer that Pastor Laxman shared with Open Doors partners: “Thank You, Living Lord, we praise Your name and we pray for India. Lord, we pray for the church as we are in sad and persecuting times, and are not able to minister properly. Please change this situation so we may be free and pray openly, that there may be no problems and hurdles, and we may spread Your Word to all corners of India. Please bless us, Lord, and have mercy on us. Amen.”

DO SOMETHING…
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    WRITE TO PASTOR LAXMAN

    Pastor Laxman has been falsely imprisoned and see his church attacked. Could you send him a message of hope?

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“THEY CANNOT SEPARATE US FROM JESUS”
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