Have you ever called tech support and unexpectedly talked to someone with an Indian accent? In the last couple of years, India has been emerging as a technology center. At VOM, we know that technologic growth isn’t the only story coming out of India today. There is also a strong nationalist/religious movement going on there as well. Supporters of this movement believe that to be Indian is also to be Hindu. Indian Christians, especially those who are willing to share their faith with others, are threatening to these groups because they don’t share their thinking.
Many of those tech support call centers are located in the bustling, modern city of Bangalore. Paul and Prasanna live and work on its outskirts, purposely choosing to live among the poor so they can reach out to them. Paul is a full-time evangelist, while Prasanna is studying toward her law degree. They have a small Bible study in their neighborhood.
One afternoon, the group read the words of Hebrews 10:32-34 together: “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”
They didn’t think much of it at the time, but carried on singing and praying together. Little did they know those words would soon become very real to them.
At 6 p.m., a mob of members of a Hindu nationalist group burst through their door and began to strike them. Paul was afraid his wife might be violated, so he grabbed her hand and held on as tightly as he could. He envisioned angels protecting them. He also said to his wife, “If we die, let us die in ministry.” Eventually, their attackers dragged them to the police station and accused them of forcibly converting Hindus.
(In the picture, Paul shows a VOM contact how he grasped Prasanna's hand during the attack.)
When it was all over and the couple returned home, they found that all their belongings were destroyed or stolen. Very frightened, they sought refuge in the homes of other believers, but no one was brave enough to take them in. When we heard about their story, we met with them and spent some time encouraging them.
After several months of struggling through what happened to them, they now view their ordeal as a victory. They have lived the words of Hebrews 10. Paul and Prasanna stood their ground in the face of suffering, humiliated and beaten. Prasanna now wants to use her law degree to help other Christians who are jailed or falsely accused of crimes. With help from VOM, they moved to another area of the city, which is also a tough place for evangelism. They are fully committed to sharing the good news of Christ. They realize the darkness of Hinduism can never overcome the bright, shining light that Jesus offers.