12/26/2009: Despite Persecution – India

I was converted to the Seventh-day Adventist faith from a tribal people who are idol worshippers.  I am careful to always attend the Sabbath services.  One Sabbath day there was a heavy rain in our village.  The bus, which we usually take to go to church, did not come so we decided to walk to the services.  We did not care about the rain or the nine kilometers (six miles) that we had to walk from our village to get to the church. We started walking in the heavy rain and finally reached the church to worship with our brothers and sisters on the Sabbath day.

Our village tried to force me to worship the idols, but I stood firm and did not obey their order.  I lost all my basic privileges because I refused to do as they said. One time when I was getting ready to go to a mini town to do ministry a very drunken man came to me and told me to bow down at an idol’s feet.  I told him, “Sorry I can’t do that.”  He followed me to the bus stop and harassed me. Although there were many people standing around, no one would help me.  Finally the bus came and I was able to go to the town to do my ministry.

I lived alone in a house, which was very small and had only one room.  One night around seven o’clock, I went to a neighbor’s home for worship.  While I was gone, my elder brother decided that I should not be able to live there anymore, and he locked the house.  After worship, I went home, and was shocked to find my house locked.  I stayed outside in the dark alone for a long time until my mother took pity on me, and came and unlocked my house. Even though she showed me this kindness, she would not speak even a single word to me.  I went inside and thanked God.  At this time my wife was pregnant and she went to live in her own house.  I suffered much during that time because I do not know how to cook food. Even during that time God gave strength to my body, as well as to my heart.

Another time my youngest daughter, Lysia, was suffering from a high fever.  I was working in my neighbor’s field when suddenly a boy came running and told me that my daughter was seriously ill and everyone was calling for me to come home.  I ran as fast as I could, but to my surprise, when I got home my daughter was sitting up normally and no longer had a fever.  I asked my wife what had happened, and she said that our daughter suddenly lost consciousness and that there was no breath in her.  All the village people wanted to perform some superstitious rites, but my wife told them not to and then she knelt down and prayed a prayer of faith.  Our daughter suddenly rose up and from that moment no longer had any fever or other signs of illness.  As soon as I heard the story, I knelt down and thanked God with my whole heart.

As I mentioned before, because we converted to the Seventh-day Adventist faith, the village people will not do anything for us.  If there was a death in our family the village would not let us bury our dead in the burial ground as that would be against their rules and regulations.  Even if at midnight one of us became seriously ill, the villagers would not provide any vehicles to take us to medical care.  One time a group of people wrote a letter to the important leader of our village.  They wrote many bad words and ended the letter by signing my name.  They delivered the letter to the leader and when he read it, he became very angry.  He called all the villagers together for a meeting.  The villagers accused me of writing the letter.  I was shocked and angry.  I told them the truth, that I did not write any part of that letter. Some of them wanted to take me to the police because the letter had my name on it.  Finally, they gave me the letter and told me to read it. Slowly and peacefully I told them that my handwriting was different than what was in the letter, and it was not my signature, instead my name had been printed.  After this, my father came forward and supported me. My father was one of the elders of the village, and everyone respected him. He testified by the idol, that it was not my handwriting, and that I would not write that kind of letter. They let me go then and I really thanked God for all His blessings and guidance.

All the people in the village and even my own older brother have tried to chase me out of our village.  I own a small piece of property, and if my brother could get me to leave he could take my property.  He told all the village boys to chase me away.  We have had so many trials from the villagers.  They tried many times to make us leave the village, but we went to the police station and petitioned the police for help.  The policemen talked to the villagers very peacefully in our behalf.  Above all our heavenly Father helped us and was with us every day.

We continued to pray to God in our family worships and in our personal prayers, and now, by God’s grace, our church is doing well.  We are gathering in a small rented house every Sabbath, and I am doing my ministry without any support.  We do not have a church building yet.  We are getting along with our church offerings, but as our church members are poor we do not have many funds.  Our ministry works with the hill tribes.  We would like to expand our ministry, but we need help from our brothers and sisters.

By N.P. Laxmanan. India. E-mail: nplaxman@rediffmail.com