Imagine this. You are a tender five years old, and out of the blue, your daddy disappears. You donâ€™t know why or how, but suddenly heâ€™s gone and all you now know and experience is your terrified mom.
She tries to explain to you he has been killed. Youâ€™re not too sure what that means, but from the way sheâ€™s acting, it must be horrible.
A day or so later, your mom grabs you and flees the only home youâ€™ve known. Sometimes she carries you, sometimes you have to run alongside her, but all you know is something really scary is happening and you better keep running.
She seems to hear â€˜bad guysâ€™ behind you somewhere â€¦ she looks like it at least â€¦ and just tries to run faster. She makes more turns and twists along the way, and your little legs are about ready to give out.
Finally, you get to the riverâ€”youâ€™ve glimpsed it a few times beforeâ€”and she stops by a house somebody is building there. Itâ€™s only partly â€˜thereâ€™, and nobody is around, so she takes you inside.
Then she leaves. You watch her from an opening in the wall â€¦ probably where they will put glass for a window someday â€¦ and see her jump from the high bank into the river! Why didnâ€™t she tell you she was going for a swim?
And thatâ€™s the last time you see her.
The small boy wasnâ€™t alone in the unfinished building long. A well-off fellowâ€”perhaps the man having the place builtâ€”found him sobbing there shortly after his mother vanished, and took the youngster home with him.
After several years of unimaginable hardship, little Kumar, now 8, fled the second home heâ€™d ever known, again in fear.
Not too long afterwards (weâ€™re not sure exactly how long) kindly Pastor Mohan of Bibles for Mideast found the youngster begging for food in the streets. He approached the dishevelled child and gently inquired about his past. The more he discovered, the more his heart went out to the unfortunate boy. He invited Kumar home with him, and since the little fellow seemed to understand this man was safe and good, he went along.
Now with three young children of his own, Kumarâ€™s main ministry has been among Hindus in northern India. Due to the increasing, and increasingly violent persecution of Christians by Hindu nationalists in India, his young church must of course meet secretly.
He had been warned many times to stop his work but continued tirelessly and with even increasing success. His church had grown to 40 faithful believers when last Sunday, just as their worship service drew to a close, angry militants stormed the believerâ€™s home they met in.
They pummelled Pastor Kumar with iron pipes until he lay bloodied and unconscious. They set on other church members as well, seriously injuring several.
On hearing of the attack, Pastor Paul and Pastor Peter Haneef, along with several other Bibles for Mideast leaders, left immediately for the long train trip to northern India and held three days of prayer and fasting in the home of a church member. By the second day, Pastor Kumar opened his eyes and by the third, he could speak again. Doctors were able to pronounce him out of serious danger by then.
Pastor Paul made it back to his home by late this past Thursday, but Pastor Haneef will stay longer with the young church. Pastor Kumar and the three who were most severely injured with him remain in hospital.
Please pray for their complete healing, as well as for the pastorâ€™s wife, children and other church members. Most live in grass-thatched huts with barely enough to survive, never mind having to face almost daily persecution.
India is ranked 10thÂ on persecution watchdog, Open Doorsâ€™ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has been worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.