Within the space of two years Kusum* lost her husband and youngest son. As if that weren't enough, she was blamed for their deaths because of her Christian faith. Open Doors partners have stood with Kusum and her son, and a recent visit during lockdown revealed a welcome answer to prayer. The partners also visited other families in India gravely affected by the impact of Covid-19.
Open Doors supporters have stood with Kusum* in the wake of her husband and son's deaths, and the persecution she has experienced
Some situations can leave us feeling so helpless that all we can do is pray. A widow in India – who has suffered indescribable grief – did just that, and she is seeing God answer her prayers.
You might remember Kusum*. She became a Christian when she was a teenager. Her husband forbade her from attending church. Shortly after the birth of their second son, in 2014, Kusum’s husband died from a disease. Her husband’s relatives blamed her for his death, saying it was because she a Christian. Two years later, her youngest son died from an illness. Again, Kusum was blamed.
"God is changing his heart." Brother Arpan*
Her father-in-law came to her house with an axe. “I withdrew into a corner, expecting him to come in and kill me,” Kusum said. “All I could do was pray. Then he left. However, the whole village turned against me. I was forced to bury my son all by myself.” Villagers have come to her house and threatened her, and hindered her from getting jobs.
Kusum prayed that her father-in-law would stop opposing her. “And during all these days of lockdown, her father-in-law never once opposed her or troubled her,” Brother Arpan*, a local Open Doors partner, reports. “God is changing his heart.”
Open Doors partners have come alongside Kusum and her 14-year-old son. “Kusum is doing very good and she is very thankful to the Lord for all the provisions,” Arpan reports. “She told me that the shop we provided her with helps her to sustain her livelihood. All her needs are met by the shop; she is really thankful to everyone who helped her with it.”
India has now seen over 2 million people infected with Covid-19, with more than 44,000 deaths. Places are still under lockdown, leaving the displaced and daily wage labourers in particularly vulnerable positions. Arpan has been visiting such believers to provide food and prayer.
“We cannot help everybody, but those who are helped, they are so thankful,” he reports. “I saw people are so needy and desperate. Communities do not allow them to use water because of their faith; they don’t even have the minimal facilities for the poor sanctioned by the government. But still they continue with their faith. They pray to the Lord and God provides for them.”
He continues, “Many times, Christians go to other villages or towns in search of work since they are denied jobs where the live, leaving their families behind. Many times, they take their children along, thus affecting their education. There are several instances of children dropping out of school because their families had to leave the villages and towns because of opposition.”
It is little wonder the arrival of aid is greeted with tremendous joy. “They are so happy to know that there are people who care for them and they want to thank them,” Arpan shares.
Arpan visited one home where the four children (aged between eight and 16) have lost both parents in the last couple of years.
“We asked them if anybody was helping them or not. They told us, ‘Villagers persecuted and socially boycotted us when our parents were alive because of our faith.’ Many people were getting groceries (from the government) but these children were not getting any relief. When we went to them, they were very happy and were praising the Lord that God had helped them.’”
"Many people were getting groceries (from the government) but these children were not getting any relief." Brother Arpan*
At another village, a woman lives with her two children. The husband was denied a job in their village because of his faith so travelled to another village to find work. He found a daily wage labourer job but, due to lockdown, has been stuck there and unable to return home, nor even able to send money to support his family.
“When we reached them, they were so happy and were thanking the Lord,” Arpan relates. “They said, ‘The Lord helped us in this time, through you, when there was nobody to help us.’”
In another visit, local partners met an elderly lady and her granddaughter, both widows, who are outcasts in their village. They are socially boycotted and unable to receive any help. And with markets closed and no money or means to access food and essentials, they were in a desperate situation.
“Thank you so much,” they said. “Today, I will bathe properly after 10-12 days. I had no soap and was just using water to bathe with no soap or oil. We had nothing.”
In the past five months, Open Doors partners have provided aid for 76,000 individuals (some 14,750 families) who have been struggling during the Covid-19 lockdowns in India. Your prayers and support have helped them survive when they have been unable to work and often denied aid because of their faith. Thank you.
*Names changed for security reasons
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