In the midst of pressure from the authorities and Hindu extremists, Indian Sudeep found the courage to defend himself and his faith. This was made possible by training to prepare for persecution. Sudeep became a Christian after seeing the power of God in his wife’s healing and he does not want to give up God’s love.
Sudeep was born into a poor family in a remote village in central India. After the death of his father, the teenager Sudeep had to start working as a cobbler so that the family would not starve. He later married, became the father of two childre, and life seemed to be settled until his wife began to suffer from chronic joint pain.
As their pain worsened, they sought help from doctors, holy men and even local sorcerers. “Once, when we went to see a witch, he asked me for a large amount of money. I couldn’t afford it. Back then, I barely earned 1,500 rupees (about 18 euros) a month. I was so disappointed with the empty promises that I decided not to seek treatment anymore,” says Sudeep.
When the missionary told Sudeep about the healing power of Jesus, Sudeep laughed at him. Sudeep did not believe that Jesus, who could not save himself from death on the cross, could help his wife.
Jesus healed and saved
Sudeep’s sister had converted to Christianity and wanted her family to know about Jesus. He took Sudeep’s wife to church events for prayer. After a few visits, the woman’s pain disappeared during prayer.
Parishioners also invited Sudeep to the church. Coming to the event, the pastor talked about repentance. “He said that if someone feels guilty for his wrong actions, now would be the right time to repent. I closed my eyes and when the prayer began, I felt something strange. I started crying and shaking. After the prayer, I saw my wife standing smiling, completely healed and renewed. Then I decided to give my life to the Lord and serve Him,” describes Sudeep.
Sudeep completed a year long Bible course and started preaching the gospel. After two years, he began to experience persecution. At first, some government officials showed up at local events to keep an eye on him. At one point, however, 50 police cars, as well as media and representatives of known extremist groups, were outside during the service.
The Christians were arrested and when Sudeep failed to release them, he announced that he would have to be arrested along with the others. They were released after 12 hours. After that Sudeep was harassed. The police locked him several times in a windowless, hot and smelly shed. He was pressured to renounce his faith and to give up preaching.
A few years later, Sudeep got the opportunity to participate in Open Doors training, which prepares Christians to face persecution. He was encouraged to hear how persecution and trials are part of faith. “I also learned that I have rights as an Indian citizen and that I did nothing wrong in expressing my faith,” he says.
Even as Sudeep grew stronger, the persecution took harsher forms. One day, the police and Hindu extremists barged into his home and chased him to a nearby temple. “The whole village was there. They tried to force me to worship idols. They threatened to tear my body in half if I didn’t give up the foreign faith,” he describes.
At that moment God reminded Sudeep of everything he had learned in the course. Sudeep spoke boldly about his civil rights and that he had not committed a crime. The police representatives were amazed by his courage and called on the perpetrators to stop their activities. Sudeep is grateful for the support he has received from Open Doors partners as it has helped him face threats and harassment.
All I need is God’s love and I won’t give it up for anything else.
God provided help
Open Doors partners have also helped Sudeep in solving financial problems caused by the corona pandemic. The parishioners could not support him because many of them were unemployed due to the pandemic. Open Doors partners helped Sudeep start a small business: he goes around selling ready-made clothes on his bicycle.
“There was so much fear in my life, but the Lord was with me and gave me the strength I needed. The teachings of Open Doors partners have given me this strength», he describes. “All I need is God’s love and I won’t give it up for anything else.”
Sudeep has stood firm and has continued to stand up for himself and the Christians in his community. Please pray for Sudeep as local people continue to threaten him for his ministry.
Source: Faith in the miracle of healing and from stress to self-defense | Open Doors Finland