Persecution on the Rise
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35, 38-39
Our South Asian brothers and sisters in Christ have been facing increasing persecution in recent months. Radicals have taunted, mocked and physically beaten believers. They have destroyed church equipment and property – often without consequences from the local authorities. They have even held several “reconversion” events in an attempt to pressure Christians to give up their faith in Jesus with threats of becoming social outcasts and thus economic outcasts. Sadly, not all the believers have been able to stand firm under these heavy social and economic pressures. But there are some, like Hemanta, who have persevered.
Hemanta grew up in a Hindu family and became an influential religious leader as an adult. One day he was diagnosed with a serious ear infection. After seeing several doctors, they all concluded that there was nothing they could do to treat the infection. As a last resort, he went to the local church and started praying to Jesus. Miraculously, God healed him completely. After this experience, he gave up his former religion to serve the one true God.
After he gave his life over to the Lord, the other radicals in the village, former friends, began to mock him for his new faith. They also began to turn the community against Hemanta and his family. They even went so far as to kick them out of the village. But despite the difficult circumstances Hemanta faced, he remained faithful to the Lord. Since being kicked out of his village home, the Lord has mercifully provided him and his family with a new home, a new community and new friends.