Recent remarks by Indian political figures have underscored a growing Hindus-only attitude in India. And while the situation for Christians there may grow more difficult, it’s encouraging to know that God can and is working in the hearts of those who are active persecutors of Christians. And VOM workers in the region see the potential upcoming events not as something to be feared, but as motivation to reach more people with Christ’s love.
“Ranjay” was an area leader for the Shiv Sena, a radical political group in India which, like the Hindu nationalist RSS group, seeks to establish India as an entirely Hindu country in which no other religious or political organization is welcome. One of Ranjay’s roles was to inform on the Naxalites, a Maoist insurgent group operating in India. After providing information which led to the arrests of a large group of Naxalites, Ranjay learned that he had been given no credit and his reward money was stolen by the police officer he had helped.
Angered and frustrated that he had been cheated, he began doing some soul-searching. As an alcoholic and heavy drug user, nothing seemed to bring satisfaction. It was about this time that he was invited to a prayer meeting.
At the meeting, Ranjay assumed it was a Hindu prayer meeting because a woman in attendance was worshipping a picture of Jesus as though it was one of Hinduism’s 30 million gods. At the meeting, a pastor handed him a New Testament.
“I have read Hindu scriptures, and they left me empty. Why should I believe this book will be any different?” Ranjay asked the man, who told him that the Christian Scriptures contained living words that would change his life. Desperate, Ranjay took the New Testament, and began immediately reading when he got home.
When he read the Great Commission in Matthew 28, Ranjay was struck by Jesus’ claim to have “all authority in heaven and on earth.” He kept thumbing through pages, next landing on Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Within three weeks, Ranjay had committed his life to Christ and was completely drug free.
He immediately began talking about Christ with others. Now that he understood the true nature of Christ, he wanted to help correct the woman who had been worshipping Jesus’ image. He returned to the home where the prayer meeting had been held and shared the Gospel with the woman who had been worshipping the picture of Jesus. After sharing Christ’s true message with her, the woman was born again into new life in Christ.
Today, Pastor Ranjay maintains his passion to share the message with others and is known for his fearlessness. He has distributed more than 3,000 tracts and over 1,700 New Testaments in his area.Once one who sought out Christians to persecute them, now he must hide from those who want to persecute him. The recent election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP party has only intensified the risk of persecution for Christians, but especially for those who openly share the gospel.
The BJP party is the political party backed by the RSS movement. RSS members are some of the chief persecutors of Christians in India because of their commitment to pursuing a purely Hindu nation. Christians are often forced from their homes, jailed, beaten, or even killed by RSS members.
In spite of the prospect of greater difficulties for Christians in India, VOM workers there have shared that Indian Christians are not worried. As one VOM partner said, “God is in control, not Congress Party or BJP.”