India: Living as Christians
The three previous posts told about Ritesh, a father in India who came to Christ after months of seeking truth and peace. But in India, it’s not always easy to be a Christian. His family’s story continues below.
Kimaya, Ritesh’s oldest daughter, is known in her family as “the prayerful person.” But the whole family has a time of prayer together from 5 to 8 every morning. They pray, worship, and read their precious Bible before school.
At school, the children’s favorite subjects are languages and math. Ranbir likes to play volleyball, and the girls play a team tag game called kho kho, and another game like hopscotch.
But the children have to deal with more than games and classes at school. Students are expected to take part in Hindu rituals, and Ritesh’s children have refused to participate. Others at their school do not approve of their decision.
Their grandmother, who is not a Christian, tried to bribe them with money to stop going to church. “There is no Jesus,” she told them.
The family was kicked out of their house, and on two occasions, gangs of men dragged them to a Hindu temple and tried to convince them to deny Jesus. Gang members took Ritesh’s cell phone and called all his contacts, hoping they would tell the gang about any criminal activities Ritesh had committed. But everyone said, “He is doing good things.”
When villagers began to persecute the family for their new faith, Ritesh and his wife added another prayer time to their day at 11 p.m. after the children were in bed. Then they woke up at 5 to pray with the children. The family takes comfort in reading Psalm 91. (Read Psalm 91. Why do you think it comforts them?)
Once during a time of intense persecution, Ritesh prayed, “I am surrendering my life to You, Lord. If I die, I will die for You. If I live, I will live. It’s up to You.”
Ritesh told a VOM worker that he and his family have the following prayer requests.
“Our prayer is that we will grow more in the Lord and share Christ with other people so they will also come to know Christ. We want my whole family — brothers and sisters, siblings, and in-laws — to come to know Christ. We want all our family members to accept Christ and all the people of the village to know Christ.”
To Think About
*If someone persecuted you, what would you pray for them? What would you pray for yourself?
*For months, Ritesh searched for peace and truth. Read Matthew 7:7-9. What is God’s promise for those who search for Him?
(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, length, and age appropriateness.)