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!
OVERCOMING STRONG OPPOSITION IN THE LORD