|Pastors, like this one, often serve their congregations at great personal risks to themselves. They are subject to beatings, torture and imprisonment for sharing the Gospel.|
Eshwardutt had already overcome many social obstacles to preach the Good News. He was born into a poor Dalit family, and his parents had promised him for future service to the Hindu goddesses. But while he was still a young man, a Christian prayed for Eshwardutt’s mother to be healed from demon possession. When she was healed, Eshwardutt received Jesus as his Savior and dedicated his life to missionary service.
Pastor Eshwardutt had been working in the village in the southern Indian state of Karnataka for eight months when his flourishing ministry caught the eyes of a small group of Hindu militants. He had just returned home from conducting a worship service at the home of a believer named Ranjan when the militants came knocking at his door.
While the two men who forced their way into his home were interrogating him, three more men came in, began to physically assault him and tried to burn his books. Fortunately, one of the assailants was a police officer and made the other men stop hitting Eshwardutt.
Meanwhile, a similar scene was being played out nearby at Ranjan’s home.
Ranjan and his family had allowed Eshwardutt to conduct worship services in their home. Now, Ranjan stood defending his faith to the Hindu fanatics who had pushed their way inside his home, too.
But rather than cower in the corner, Ranjan boldly proclaimed his faith to the men. He told them about a time when he was diagnosed with cancer and how a Gospel for Asia missionary had prayed for him. After that prayer, Ranjan had been completely healed from the disease.
On this day he stood up to his accusers, saying they had absolutely no right to question the authenticity of his faith. The men continued to press Ranjan, and God gave him the grace to answer all of their questions. The extremists then left Ranjan’s house.
The fanatics convinced the police to arrest Eshwardutt and charge him with converting people to Christianity. Ranjan’s congregation and fellow missionaries tried unsuccessfully for two days to have their pastor freed. Then a Christian attorney heard about Eshwardutt’s plight and helped obtain his temporary release. About two weeks later, a group of 17 people from the village and the attorney visited the police station and demanded that the charges against the pastor be dropped. Once again, the attorney spoke on behalf of the Christians and asked the police to dismiss the charges. The police would not drop the charges, but agreed to settle the case if the pastor would pay a fine of 3,000 Rupees (about $68). The pastor and believers were only able to pay 1,000 Rupees (about $22.65). The police accepted the payment and closed the case.
Eshwardutt is again ministering to the people in this village, and by God’s grace neither the Hindu fanatics nor the local police have disrupted his work. The believers in this area ask for prayer that the Lord will continue to use their pastor to bring many more souls to His Kingdom.