In Madhya Pradesh, in central India, almost 91 percent of the population is Hindu. As in many parts of the world where Christianity is a minority religion, persecution is severe.
These are our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, risking their lives for the sake of spreading the gospel. Until they reach the kingdom of heaven, which is theirs (Matthew 5:10), they need our prayers and support. Below is the story of one such believer, a pastor who has led many people to Christ.
The attack came out of nowhere. One minute, Vipur was walking home from a ministry meeting. The next, he was fighting for his life, unarmed, against a man wielding a machete.
The man, a Hindu extremist, hid behind a bush, waiting for his target – the 46-year-old house-church pastor from Madhya Pradesh.
Once, twice … five times the blade came down. The pastor was unable to fend off the brutal blows. Miraculously, Vipur managed to get away and limp home. His wife and friends rushed him to a local hospital, but everyone, including Vipur, feared the worst.
The clinic was not equipped to provide the help he needed, and he had lost so much blood. Death seemed imminent.
It was not the first time the church leader has feared for his life. Nor would it be the last.
“Wherever I go, persecution follows me”
For Vipur, his wife, and the couple’s three teens, persecution for their Christian faith is all too real in their home state, where 90.9 percent of the 75 million residents follow Hinduism, according to the 2011 Census. Hindu extremists regularly and brutally target Christians in the large central Indian state nicknamed the “Heart of India.”
Vipur has been beaten before.
“Wherever I go, persecution follows me,” he says.
But instead of giving up his ministry, leaving his village or hiding himself and his family in seclusion, Vipur chooses to press on despite growing persecution against Christians. He leads several house churches. Of the 60 members of Vipur’s house church movement, 40 were baptized. The others, he shares, are still “getting to know Jesus.”
The violence and threats against Vipur and his family have strengthened, not weakened, his passion to share the gospel.