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India: “Squeeze Persecution”

Anisha was a teenager when an elderly man in her village gave her a Christian pamphlet. The pamphlet told how God sent Jesus to save the world from sin. Anisha trusted in Christ as her Savior.

But her parents and three siblings still did not know Jesus. It took Anisha four years to lead them to Christ.

Then the “squeeze persecution” started.

“Squeeze persecution is designed to cripple and eliminate believers from a community rather than cause them physical pain,” said a VOM worker. Squeeze persecution bothers Christians repeatedly to keep them from their Christian activities or to drive them out of the area.

Squeeze persecutors:
• Interrupt church services and prayer meetings.
• File fake complaints about Christians with the police.
• Refuse to allow Christian children to go to school.
• Do not allow store owners to sell anything to Christians.
• Keep Christians from using the public water supply or utilities.
• Refuse to hire Christians for jobs.

Christians may be unable to get water or buy food, get a job, or go to school. But often they can’t afford to leave their land and start over somewhere else.

“We still want to serve the Lord,” Anisha said after her family suffered from squeeze persecution. “Our heart is that all of the [Hindu neighbors] would be saved.”

Anisha remembers Matthew 5:11, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” She said that the persecution has actually been a blessing to her family. “My faith has grown,” she said.

The Voice of the Martyrs helps families like Anisha’s. Pray their faith will remain strong and that their daily needs will be met.

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.)


“I Was a Beast”

A girl in India

The Voice of the Martyrs USA is part of a worldwide family of missions that were started through the influence of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. SDOK is VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands. Stef is SDOK’s children’s publication and website.

The following story comes from Stef magazine.

Hi, my name is Azra. I live in India and come from a normal family. At least I thought I came from a normal family. One day I discovered scary things. I will try to tell my story.

Religion
First, I have to explain that the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism, started in India. That’s why all the people in India are Hindu. To be honest, ALMOST all the people.

We were Hindu ourselves. I remember that my dad was always complaining about people who are not Hindu. In our neighborhood, there were people who called themselves Christians. I had no idea what kind of people they were. But my father did.

“They are bad,” he said. “The reason why there are so many sick people these days is because of the Christians. Yuk. I hate them,” he often said.

Attack!
At first my dad only complained about the Christians. But it gradually got worse. He started calling them names and wished all kinds of bad things for them. One day, he was in one of those moods again.

Then I heard shouting outside. It was a large group of young men and they had all kinds of weapons with them — knives, sticks, and even guns. I was scared. The men ran into our house and shouted at my father, “Will you join us? We are going to attack a Christian village. We will teach them a lesson!”

Right away, my dad joined their group.

Blood
It was already evening when my father returned. It was dark, but I’m sure of what I saw. He had blood on his pants and his shirt. In the following days, I thought my dad was different; he was much quieter.

Sick
I think it was about a week later when my mom and sister got very sick. My father made sacrifices to the gods, but nothing helped. After a few days, my father grew desperate.

“It’s my fault,” he said. “We are cursed. I have beaten innocent Christians and burned their houses and destroyed their churches. I acted like a beast.”

Help
After that, my father put his sandals on and said, “I’m going to get help. I have heard that Christians pray when you are sick. I’m going to them and ask for forgiveness.”

The Pastor
That same evening, a pastor came to our house. He read beautiful things from a big Book and then got down on his knees. We also knelt down.

The pastor prayed for us, and my big strong father prayed, too. He promised he would never persecute Christians again. When I opened my eyes, for the first time I saw a dad who had joy on his face.

Peace
The next day, Dad said he had had a special dream. In the dream, he saw all the Christians he had persecuted standing in a circle in our room. They prayed for us to have healing and peace. It was so special!

My mom and sister were healed the next day, and on Sunday we went to church. Not long after, our whole family was baptized.

So that was my story, and I’m very glad that we have learned a lot about the Lord Jesus.

Good bye.

Prayer and Thanks
*The people in Azra’s village think it’s strange that her family are Christians and do not want anything to do with them. Pray that the villagers also get to know Jesus.

*Thank God for Christians who forgive their persecutors. And thank God that Azra’s father no longer persecutes Christians, but that he and his family became followers of Jesus.

(Source: SDOK. Translated and edited. To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed.)


India: Pratik’s Family

Parents and Teachers: The September 2017 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features stories about courageous Christians in India. You can share the adapted stories from this site about the featured Christians with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.

Note: To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.

Akuti and Alisha do not have an easy life. They live in a village in India surrounded by 400 Hindu families. The girls and their parents, Pratik and Dharmi, are Christians. (Read about Hindu beliefs here.)

A group of Hindu leaders delivered a warning to all the villagers. The document included the following rules.

• No one can talk to Pratik’s family.
• Shops must not sell anything to members of the family.
• Anyone who disobeys the rules must pay a fine.

In addition, Akuti and Alisha are no longer allowed to attend school in the village. When the family walks outside their house, villagers curse and spit on them. Some villagers set up a Hindu idol on the family’s property and began worshipping it.

The family does not own a car. Akuti and Alisha’s mom now has to walk 10 miles to get groceries. The family recently found a church about 15 miles away. They walk to the church and back twice a week to worship and fellowship with other believers.

The Voice of the Martyrs is encouraging the family and helping pay for the girls to attend a school in another village. Please pray for the family as they continue to face serious persecution.

What the Family Says
Dharmi said:
“God has strengthened us to face all of this. If nobody is there, God is there with us.”
“We know they [their persecutors] are perishing without Christ, so we are praying … that they should be saved,”

Pratik said:
“When they are perishing without knowing Christ, we are feeling bad,”

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.)

What do you say when you hear about someone being mistreated or when you are mistreated?