They came to Mohan’s home—kicking up dust and waving bamboo rods in anger. “You don’t worship the god of this village!” they yelled. Mohan watched them rip the tiles off his roof. Then they pulled the door off the hinges and came inside.
Mohan, a 21-year-old farmer, stood in a corner—along with his mother and two younger siblings, a brother and a sister. Their father passed away some years ago.
He didn’t know what to do, so he just kept praying. One of the men grabbed Mohan and told him he was a disgrace then hit him in the face.
A Different Faith
The leader of the Panchayat, a group of elders who dictate the rules of life and community in the village, had issued three warnings to Mohan’s family. The message was always the same: “Leave the church and this Jesus whom you follow.”
They never denied the name of Jesus.
And the day of reckoning was here.
“They destroyed our house just because we believe in Jesus Christ,” Mohan shares.
Eventually, Mohan’s uncle came to defend them and gave them enough time to leave their home and village before things got worse. But they lost their home. Their community. Their friends. Their farm. Their livelihood.
Before trusting Jesus, Mohan and his family followed the religion of the village—one that worships the stones. But when Mohan and his mother both got sick, the village religion didn’t provide the help or the hope they needed.
When Mohan was 20 years old, someone came to their village and told Mohan’s family about Jesus and invited them to a church outside their village.
Mohan and his mother both attended the church, and during the first service, the pastor prayed for them. It was an encounter with Jesus that would change the course of their lives. “My eyes were closed in prayer, and I saw a light coming towards me, and I felt that someone had opened my eyes,” Mohan shares.
Through that church service, Mohan says he and his mother were both healed—Mohan’s illness was now gone, along with his mother’s stomach issues—and on that day, Mohan and his mother accepted Jesus.
But soon after they began following Jesus, others in the village took notice. “When people saw me going to church, after one year I accepted Jesus Christ, people started opposing us,” Mohan says.
After the village leaders kicked them out of their home, the Panchayat also went to the police to report Mohan’s family. Instead of supporting Mohan’s family, pursuing justice and arresting their attackers—the police ordered Mohan and his mother not to return to the village.
With few options, Mohan’s family decided to build a small makeshift hut near their church for shelter. But since they lost their home and their farm, they had no way to make a living.
A New Hope
When Open Doors partners in the field heard Mohan’s story, they met with him and his family to pray and encourage them in their faith. Soon after, we provided Mohan with goats, a tarp, rice and help with financial support.
“You have paid the money for goats and supported us,” Mohan says, with a smile. “I will raise the goats, and when they bear more goats, I will sell them and earn money. If this organization had not helped us—we would have faced difficulties, and more problems would have increased.”
“After getting help from this organization I feel strong and have hope in the future,” he adds.
The struggles for Mohan’s family are not over, but his joy in Christ still overflows.
“The people who are against me I have forgiven them, and after forgiving them I feel peace in my heart,” he says. Mohan also rejoices in the fact that three other families from the village have come to know Jesus through his family’s testimony.
When asked if he would go through it all again—choosing Jesus—Mohan looks up and says, “Yes. It’s worth it to walk with Jesus.”
India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has been worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.
*Name changed for security
Source: Open Doors