One of the things I enjoy the most about working for Release International is opportunities to tell you stories of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.
So much of what they share really fills my heart with wonder and inspires me to invite caring friends like you to join our workers and local partners in praying for and helping persecuted Christians anyway we can.
That is why today I want to share with you the story of Pastor Raj in India who is in hospital right now for trying to help people with Covid-19 in his locality.
He lives in a rural part of India where the second wave of the pandemic is causing havoc and claiming many lives. Rural areas have few medical facilities and people are worried about their loved ones who are suffering and sick.
That is why Pastor Raj decided to do something to help people in the neighbouring villages.
So, he arranged a small team of believers from his church, some Christian nurses and an ambulance and he set off to help people struggling with Covid-19 in the neighbouring villages.
But as he and his team were about to enter one of the villages an angry mob of locals stopped them. They obstructed the ambulance and told the Christian nurses not to come to the village.
Also, they attacked Pastor Raj. They broke one of his legs and wounded him. After this incident he was rushed to the nearest hospital.
The villagers falsely accused Pastor Raj and his team and said that they had come to forcibly convert people to Christianity. But this simply wasn’t true!
In India today believers like Pastor Raj are being persecuted by those who blindly believe the lies spread by fanatics. Pastor Raj and others like him want to help people who are suffering, not pressurise them to become followers of Jesus.
By God’s grace, Release International’s partner in India helped Pastor Raj’s family to leave the village and be rehoused in another town. And Pastor Raj is recovering in hospital.
Right now, Pastor Raj and others like him need our help to make it through these troubled times.
Unfortunately, Pastor Raj’s story of suffering and oppression for the sake of the gospel is not unique.
Many pastors and believers in India, Egypt, China, Central Asia, Kenya, Pakistan and elsewhere have shared with our partners stories of how they have been threatened or attacked because they led people to Jesus.
I have heard harrowing stories of how believers and pastors have been beaten up by fanatics.
I read reports of how Christians have had to flee their homes or go to bed hungry night after night because they have lost their jobs and livelihoods during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the good news is that our Release International partners are there for them in India and many other countries.
They provide pastoral care, safe houses, food, emergency aid, legal support, Bibles, Christian fellowship and training to encourage and support persecuted pastors and believers.
Pastors’ conference in India supported by Release International. This photo was taken in 2019.
£30 could give 15 persecuted Christians the precious gift of God’s Word to share with friends and family. Today the Bible is available in many local Indian languages and although older folks might not be able to read it, their children and grandchildren can read it to the whole family. So, by giving the gift of the Bible you are blessing not just one person but a whole family with God’s Word.
£50 could support six months of sponsorship for the children of rural pastors in Sri Lanka, giving them support in their education and support with the bullying that they face.
£100 could help cover the costs of legal aid for believers like Pastor Raj at a time when persecution is increasing worldwide.
£250 can provide pastoral care, training, and support for persecuted pastors through pastors’ conferences, visits, and other activities.
Thank you so much for your commitment to share God’s love with your persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
I am deeply grateful for your partnership in our Ministry,
CEO, Release International
* Names have been changed in order to protect the identity of the people we serve.
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Lord, we pray for all of our poor and marginalised brothers and sisters who are really struggling during these times of oppression because of their love for You and the additional restrictions placed on their lives due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
We especially remember their pastors who You have called to care for our persecuted brethren.
Father, these dear people suffer so much simply because they love You and now they face even more oppression due to coronavirus restrictions making them even more marginalised in the communities where they live.
Dear Lord, thank you that You continue to walk with them as they seek to survive with no work, no wages and no provisions; help us to help them with prayers and gifts of money which can be used to support them both spiritually and physically.
Father, thank you for their faith in You, bless them and help them to break out of this crushing cycle of oppression, poverty and violence against them.
In Your precious name we pray.
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