When Vinita chose to follow Jesus, she knew it was a risk. Coming from a Hindu background in India, she anticipated resistance – but nothing as brutal as the attack she suffered.
Since coming to faith, Vinita* had tried to share the new peace she’d found with her community. Her husband and sister Isha* did decide to become Christians, but elsewhere she met with opposition and threats. “I tried to share the gospel to many, but they did not listen,” she says. “They spoke badly to me, saying, ‘You are worshipping a foreign God instead of our god and goddesses.’ I never gave up – my job was to share the Word of God.”
Hindu extremists have vowed to wipe out Christians and other non-Hindus in India, and Christians from Hindu backgrounds are particularly targeted. One day, Vinita and Isha found out just how violent their methods could be.
They were with a pastor and his wife when eight or nine local men burst into the house, calling “Where are the Christians? We don’t want Christians here!”
“They were armed with rods in their hands,” remembers Vinita. “For almost 30 minutes they were beating us. They were stamping on us and hitting us. We were falling down and they would pick us up again, and continue the attack. I felt that today we would not be spared.”
This horrific violence is symptomatic of the crisis facing Indian Christians across the country. They are attacked, abused, discriminated against, rejected – all because of their faith. Sometimes believers are even murdered.
Somehow, everyone survived the brutal attack – though they were badly hurt. “My head was seriously injured, and I have deep injuries near my hip and on my shoulders,” says Vinita. “My sister sustained serious head injuries.”
"When we were admitted to the hospital, we could not receive treatment.” Vinita
And things got worse still: “When we were admitted to the hospital, we could not receive treatment because there was pressure from the attackers,” says Vinita.
“This is very common in India,” shares Pastor Samuel*, a local Open Doors partner. “Most often the hospital denies medical help. And the police take a lot of time in registering their cases. These people suffer a lot.”
But God stepped in. Thanks to your support and prayers, a local Open Doors partner was able to take Vinita and the other victims to a different hospital and pay for their treatment. Without this intervention, they could have died. Open Doors partners are also able to offer legal support to the women, and provide new stock for Vinita’s shop, which was ransacked and vandalised in the attack.
Through it all, Vinita’s faith has remained strong: “I have never thought of leaving God, because God alone has safeguarded us and helped us. Remain in Christ Jesus who sustains us and He will bless you. Peace in Christ is found nowhere else.”
Amazingly, she has also forgiven her attackers. She remembers Jesus’ words on the cross: “When Jesus left this world, He said, ‘Father, these people do not know what they are doing. Forgive them.’ From this verse, I learn to forgive my enemies. And I pray that the attackers have a change of heart.”
Vinita is deeply grateful to God – and to Open Doors supporters like you, whom He used to bring them crucial medical care and comfort. “I am thankful to God for blessing us immensely,” says Vinita. “And to those people who have helped me, I would like to give thanks.”
"To those people who have helped me, I would like to give thanks.” Vinita
Open Doors partners are helping Vinita’s family, including with emergency Covid-19 aid as they lost their livelihoods in the pandemic – but they still face persecution from their community: “Even now they threaten us and say, ‘We will not let you stay here.’ They say they will drive us out and make us beg. Pray that the threats will stop, and that we will be strong in faith.”
It’s unthinkable that, in the world’s largest democracy, Hindu extremists have set out to destroy the church. Their violence against believers like Vinita hasn’t stopped during the pandemic – it’s only got worse. But when the pandemic stops, will the church in India have survived?
By giving, praying and acting, you can help ensure it does.
*Names changed for security reasons
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