Breaking the Chains of Opposition

OVERCOMING STRONG OPPOSITION IN THE LORD

Our frontline messengers across South Asia are always looking for ways to share the good news with those who have not heard. In that pursuit however, they encounter fierce opposition at times. But as Solomon wrote, there is “nothing new under the sun.” Consider the opposition Nehemiah encountered – including the daily taunting by the enemy – as he worked to rebuild the wall.

Pastor Ramesh has experienced similar struggles. Desiring to minister among the unreached Gond people groups, he moved to the heavily wooded region where they live. The people are deeply devoted to their own beliefs and idols, and are extremely superstitious. They are also bound by generations of occultic practices and rampant alcoholism.

Though it was difficult from the very beginning, Ramesh persisted, and in time a few became believers. Unfortunately, that made the opposition increase. The new believers’ families and the community aggressively resist them to force them to denounce Jesus and turn back.

As a result, Ramesh had difficulty gathering more than a few people at a time for prayer and Bible teaching and had to move to different homes for safety. Once, when pastor Ramesh was going to one such house church in a distant village with his two sons, more than 30 very intoxicated men surrounded pastor Ramesh and his boys. The men began to say vile and wicked things to them and the chaos drew more people. Thankfully, Pastor Ramesh and his children were able to slip from the midst of them to safety.

As word of Pastor Ramesh’s work in the community began to spread, more villagers turned on him. Some began spreading slander saying, “Do not join the Christians,” and “Christians don’t wear ornaments and don’t shave their head to respect the dead,” and “Christians will make you cow eaters,” and worse. The threats and rumors have caused more than 35 people to leave the fledgling fellowship who have not returned. Even though they saw the miracles that God did in their midst, they were not able to stand firm through persecution.

Ramesh was not deterred and eventually acquired a small piece of land on which he built a mud structure for himself and his family. Very soon, worship began to take place with a few people gathered at a time. Some who have become followers of Jesus gathered there for prayer, and some of the most faithful intercede day and night for their kin to be saved.

Since the atmosphere in the village is filled with violence and suspicion, Ramesh felt strongly that a safe structure was needed so the people could gather for worship. He reached out to us with this need and in a short time, God had used faithful partners like you to meet the need!

The growing number of new believers there feel tremendously blessed to be able to meet in a safe building now, no longer needing to go from village to village and meet in different homes. It has a become a testimony among people about the miracle of what God provided.

Though the atmosphere had become filled with hate against Christians, Ramesh shared, “The witchcraft workers and other occultists who despise us and threaten us to not continue in our faith are now quiet having seen the amazing provision of God. Thank you for helping create a place where many can meet, pray, train and worship without fear.”

Several hundred miles away lies Ambaji, named after the mother goddess, “Amba,” and revered as her place of residence. It is one of the chief pilgrimage sites in the entire state of Gujarat. Every full moon, thousands line up in the small town to climb the hill where the deity resides. Millions of dollars in currency, gold and silver is offered to this deity each year. It is also the town where the Lord sent our Pastor Vinod to share the gospel.

At first the people he ministered to were opposed to him. Their livelihood depended on the “Amba maata” – the mother goddess. But the people began to see the power of God at work as many who were sick and bound by Satan were set free.

Pastor Vinod purchased some land just a couple of miles from the famous temple to build a home and a place of worship. Vinod has faced oppression from tantrics and occultists who are eager to cast a spell on him, but he has no fear because he knows he is authorized by the Name that’s above all names. Though he receives frequent death threats from the zealots of Amba, Vinod is steadfast because of the faithful who testify of how the Lord healed and blessed them. He is convinced that in spite of opposition he will set up a worship place for Jesus in the same land where the demonic forces have prevailed for so long.

We praise and thank God for the work that has progressed there, breaking ground on the first church building in the region, thanks to faithful partners like you. It is amazing that even in a place where a deity supposedly dwells, where witchcraft and demonic powers abound, and where opposition to the gospel is intense—many people are coming to faith in Christ. Pastor Vinod shared, “Now we are looking at the completion of the place of worship despite all the threats and opposition and for that we are grateful. Please pray that the word of God will spread rapidly and more and more territory will be claimed for the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

My friend, if you feel hindered and chained by heavy opposition to something God has called you to do, take heart! He has overcome! He is the chain breaker and the way maker. Stay steadfast in your faith and pray for breakthrough. Thank you for standing with us and with our frontline messengers all over South Asia. God bless you!

GRACE KIDS: Sharing the hope of a better future

Every child deserves the chance to reach his or her God-given potential. Your prayers and generosity help impoverished children do so!

Rajan comes from a very poor family in a village in South Asia. Like most of the impoverished families we minister to in the region, they barely have enough to provide a roof over their heads and food. There’s nothing left for school supplies and education beyond the basics. Thanks to caring people like you, Rajan received a sponsorship through Alpha’s Grace Kids Believer’s Care program when he was in sixth-grade. That was three years ago, and today, with the Lord’s help, Rajan has blossomed to a great young man. He says, “At Grace Kids, I have learned about Christ, and how to develop regular prayer and Bible reading habits. I am so very grateful for the sponsorship that has allowed him to receive a good education so one day, I can help my family.” The yearly provision for his educational, economical and physical needs has given him the opportunity he needed to break the chains of his past and poverty, and to have hope for a better future.

Sakina began attending Grace Kids when she was just 5-years old. She comes from another small village in South Asia, of another faith. She didn’t know anything about Christ, or things like basic hygiene. Her Grace Kids sponsorship has helped her tremendously. The teachings she receives in Believers Care homes, CBC and VBS helped her to know Christ personally and she received Him as her personal Savior and Lord. She has also learned many other things, including about hygiene and how to take care of herself. She has also received financial assistance for her school and tuition. The quality education she received prepared her to complete her first year of college this year! She is doing very well in her studies and is so very thankful to the Lord and to Alpha Ministries for nourishing her spiritually and academically.

Suman is 15-years old and lives with her uncle in a rural area of North India. She had never heard anything about Christ until she was enrolled in Grace Kids Club when she was in seventh grade. She began to grow curious as she heard stories, and the various CBC & VBS programs helped realize how badly she needed Jesus in her life. Earlier this year, she made the decision to be water baptized. She credits the Lord with helping her every day in her academic studies and in her ability to study His Word and spend time in prayer. “I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the assistance I received from Alpha Ministries,” Suman shares.

Did You Know?
Nearly 40,000 children are abducted every year in India, of which 11,000 remain untraced according to a report by the national Human Rights commission of India. Only 10% of human trafficking in India is International, while almost 90% is interstate. NGO’s estimate that 12,000 to 50,000 women and children are trafficked annually for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

We are grateful for the ongoing prayers and support for this work that makes such victories possible for kids all across South Asia, India and Africa!

 

Bleeding and Left to Die

Have you ever wondered if God is even aware of your plight? Have you felt alone and unable to change your circumstances?

 

With the recent pandemic that has impacted nearly every soul on earth in one way or another, many have felt alone, broken, anxious and some have even contemplated suicide. My friend, I want to encourage you today that no matter how dark the present moment seems, you can call on the God who cares about you. That’s why I want to share Reshma’s story with you today, because I believe it will encourage you greatly.

 

Many of our Alpha frontline ministers serve among unreached people groups. Pastor Valvi is being used by God to establish churches in new areas where people have not heard the Good News before.

 

Though Valvi was born to a Hindu family, his grandfather had become a Christian. When Valvi was in the tenth grade at a boarding school for boys, he had to be sent home because he was very ill. During his time at home he began to read a Bible his grandfather had given him. When he read the words of James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord,” Valvi felt hope for the first time since becoming sick.  He asked his grandfather to invite the elders. They came and prayed for him and within two days he was completely well. He accepted Jesus as his Savior and began to follow Him.

 

After graduating, Valvi enrolled in Alpha Bible College training because he felt burdened for those who had not yet heard the gospel. He chose to serve in Nasvadi, an unreached area of Gujarat, India. Valvi shared the following testimony with us:

 

While serving in an unreached village, we came to a house where a woman named Reshma lay sick. We were told that, for many years, Reshma had suffered from a menstrual disorder that would cause her to bleed continuously, sometimes for days and weeks on end. The family members were poor and had tried everything they could to find treatment for her, but nothing helped. It came to the point where they had to choose between money for treatment that wasn’t working or food for the family—so Reshma was left to suffer.

 

When we saw Reshma, she was laying on a mat on the mud floor soaked in blood, so weak she was unable to move. She had been bleeding for fifteen days at that point. An unbearable stench covered the room. The family was waiting for her to die. We were broken-hearted to see her in that condition.

 

My wife, Martha, and I felt for Reshma, and began praying for her with a great burden in our hearts. We needed money to take her to the hospital, but where was I to get so much money? The only thing I could think of was to sell my old motorbike quickly and get the money to provide for her treatment and surgery. Having convinced the family of the same, I proceeded to do so. With great difficulty we managed to carry her to the hospital where she was treated. After several days she had regained her strength and we were able to bring her back home fully recovered!

 

Reshma’s family was overjoyed. Everyone wondered why we, who were total strangers, did so much to help this woman. Wherever we went in the village, news of what had been done for Reshma became an opportunity to glorify God. We were only doing what our master commanded us, to “Go and do thou likewise.” That is what Jesus commanded the Scribe to do at the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

 

Praise God that this act of kindness worked in the hearts of the poor villagers. First Reshma’s husband, then their four daughters and three sons all gave their lives to Christ. Other relatives started showing keen interest in knowing the Lord and began coming to the prayer meetings. We praise God for the miracle of salvation!

 

The village chief and other leaders visited Reshma at home to express their displeasure. They told her it was not right to let Christians enter any house in their village. Feeling the pressure of the village leaders, we continue to conduct prayer meetings at her home, but we avoid large gatherings and for now, have put on hold our wish to build a church at this village. Persecution and opposition follows proclamation but we trust God and continue. 

 

We praise God for servant’s hearts like that of Valvi and his family. God is using them to bring light into darkness, to share the Good News where many have never heard it before. If you are struggling today, or you know someone who is, stir up your faith. Know that God is near, and is faithful to answer when you call upon His Holy Name!

 

Thank you for making it possible for Alpha Ministries to continue training leaders like Valvi to go out and gather the Harvest. Our frontline ministers continue the works of Jesus just as He promised.

 

 

 

[Names have been changed for privacy and protection]