"Season of Light In India"
The day of Christmas is usually celebrated without thought of being harmed or attacked. Our world has changed in how it thinks about Christianity and Christians. Christians who do not compromise or accept appeasement in their faith of Christ can expect to see increased criticism and hate for their stance. Behind the bias of Christianity is the spread of one world religion that encourages political pressure with violence in demonstration of its intolerance through its connections with other religions that do not accept their own thought and practice.
In India's history, the practice of worshipping many gods has been practiced for centuries. With more Muslim control through government and wavering Hindu power, the pressure for Muslim control is applied to all factions to have dominant hold. The mob have applied pressure to Christians in India by contempt, threatening, forced conversion, kidnapping, physical violence and murder. Christians should be prepared to face opposition like never before. We must know what we believe.
The origin of Christianity in India began in Jerusalem by Jesus Christ. From Jerusalem, Thomas, the apostle left the middle east to India to spread the gospel. Christianity did not come from the west as some believe in India.
This story is dedicated to the Christians persecuted for the cause of Christ. To those martyred because they would not give up their Lord, Savior, and King, Jesus Christ. They have sealed their testimony for Christ with their own blood as it is written in the Bible.
(to return to Season of Light in India after viewing video's click the backward arrow)Thomas, The Apostle The Sufferings of Christ Christian Martyrdom
Season Of Light In India
2 December 2011 8:15 a.m.
An Officer of Religion, Pate Darjan was heading to the bAshA or house of Anut Tekkah, 45 year old pastor of the Baptist Church for ten years in Lohardaga, Jharkhard District, West Bengal, India. He studied at Mission India Seminary, Nagpur. He had built a church beside his bAshA that is a simple structure made of flax, hemp, and clay to form blocks for walls with niches to display decorative touches. The roof is of local dry, vegetation. It had been finished by white wash to the exterior.
Anut was in prayer or one of his "talks" with the Lord as he thought outloud to himself, "Tests can be good. The tests set assurance in the heart." He was reading about God not only promises to help us in our trials, He also promises us trials. He warned us that we would have strife within our families because of Him (Matthew 10:34-36), that we would have trials (John 16:33) and that we would be persecuted (John 15:20). Anut was considering he had not really experienced trials here in this village. He kept thinking of Christ suffering when in the flesh that He said believers would too. At this moment, that seemed far away. He had heard of a nearby town that had problems with Muslims attacking Christians. He thought of the Muslims in his town that he had known for ten years. He could not see his neighbors who were of other religions giving him trouble. He felt safe. He was halted in his conversation as a motorbike drove closer to his door. He listened. The engine was switched off just outside.
Anut got up and walked to the door of the bAshA to greet the visitor. He recognized the young man he had gotten to know as one of the District Religion Officers. The officer postured with a quick namaste or slight bow with prayer hand position under the chin before he addressed Anut.
The conversation was nervously conducted by the officer as he placed his hands on a satchel strapped over his shoulder to rest on the opposite hip. He reached in to remove the paperwork to hand to Anut.
“Good morning, Reverend Tekkah, I have to hand you this complaint about your church. This is your copy,” Pate spoke formally.Reverend Anut had not reached for the complaint copy but had automatically reached for his wallet.
"But we have made permits and have kept all official paperwork up to date." Reverend Anut Tekkah responded.
He removed his papers he kept at all times that stated he could legally conduct church services within this district under its regulations.
"Yes, well, I have received a complaint, and you must respond to it by written statement and appearance in the District Office within 10 days please. I have been informed to tell you that you may stay in your home that is a part of the church building for now." said Religious Authority Officer, Pate Danjan.
"You are causing much problem for all of us with your church activities. Why do you not understand the people of this region do not want you here? The neighbors say, you sing too loud, make too much noise!"
Reverend Anut Tekkah replied, "The authorities can not make me close this church! That would required a letter from Tambora district to legally force this church to halt its ministries."
"Here, I must give you a copy of the complaint of the Jharkhand District from the meeting of the Muslim party and authorities. So you know now.” Pate Danjan took a deep breath, “Things could get bad for you Anut!" He looked at Anut for a response and seeing none, shook his head as he turned and mumbled to himself. He straddled his motorbike and turned the ignition on. "At least I warned him," he thought.
Reverend Tekkah stood in the road to watch the officer. His thoughts pondered the thought, “is it a crime to be an Indian that is a Christian?” His heart sank as a deep sense of anxiety began to fill him.
"So it begins." He closed his eyes. "I was fooling myself to think I would not be touched by hate too." "Jesus," Anut spoke softly, "did you feel like I do now?" He thought how the world tried to push Jesus out, but the world didn't! "But the world didn't push you out. You were in control of the situation. You did what You came to do. You changed everything." Anut closed his eyes. "Lord, You said, 'not my will but yours," he paused, 'be done.'" Anut stopped for a second and bowed his head. "Where are you taking me? Not where I want to go but where you need me to go?" He stood in silence for a moment then raised his head. 'Okay then,' Anut thought, 'How I need your strength.'
He needed to meet with the other men of the Baptist Church. He thanked God one of the men had the foresight to think of a meeting place in case of trouble. He would notify his friend, Hulo Batai, to implement the meeting.
So he called his son, "Ahja! Quick, come here, my son!" The 10 year old boy with the lanky, small frame had overheard the whole discussion between his baba and the officer. Ahja lazily scratched his head as he rounded the door with a questioning look. He did not really understand the conversation but thought his baba would not like him eavesdropping. He would be punished maybe?
"Ahja," his father said in a calm whisper, "go to Hulo Batai's, tell him we must meet tomorrow at 3 p.m." He waited for the information to soak in.
"Ahja, be very careful."
Anut considered the police station nearby Hulo's. He thought of other pastors who had been given the same warnings as he and problems they experienced as being followed and then their friends, family or acquaintances being harrassed."Do not let the officers see you or follow you. They know your my son and may be suspicious if they see you so soon after receiving the papers about the church. So what will you do if someone stops you?" his father quizzed him. Ahja remembered the planned excuse he and his baba would use in case of being stopped. The Tulsi ointment, a medicinal plant with antibacterial ingredients that help alleviate numerous women complaints that is mixed or crushed in honey or lemon juice.
"I am going to get some Tulsi ointment for my mother!" Ahja practiced.
“What is wrong with your mother?” Anut asked.
“She is not feeling well. My baba said Tulsi is good for her complaints!” Ahja could not resist a smile. “Isn't that what all women say baba?"
“Never mind,“ Anut smiled and said, “Just do not be silly with the officer. He will be very serious with you! No playing when an adult talks to you!” he corrected Ahja.
Ahja understood and his smile faded. “Okay, I will." After Ahja thought for a moment he added, "Why does everyone get angry with us because we are christians baba?” he asked.
“They do not understand that the God we serve loves them too. Someday perhaps they will. So you go now!” Anut put his hand on Ahja's back and moved him forward.
"I will!" the boy nodded. He ran into the green undergrowth of a back field he had made a trail through that bypassed most of the town in this small village. Anut watched as his son disappeared into the lush, green overgrowth.
Ahja wondered, 'why?' He overheard the Religious Officers words but the real meaning seemed to be far away. 'Just why?' remained. Why other people did not like Christians meeting and talking about Jesus. Why did his baba want him to not be seen? What ever the reason it would not be good to be stopped by authorities. They asked too many questions.
Ahja moved with stealth through the foliage on back trails along the village. The chickens in back of old Rashja's bAshA cackled and flapped their wings in many directions to avoid the flying boys legs. The dusty ground whipped upward from his worn sandals and his heart pounded from the excitement of this 'mission'. He raised his arms to swat at the wash hanging on the Lei Pone's line to leave the linens to flap after him.
Lei Pone was an old widow of ancient, Hindu belief. Her weather beaten face told of her 77 years of life. You could hear her talking whether anyone heard her or not. Many thought her 'mad' and left her alone in her rantings. She was in a sqatting position as she sang "Bhagavad Gita" in front of her bAshA cutting up vegetables with a long knife. Her shrill, warbling voice rising and falling as she sang;
There in front of him was the authorities office. He watched as Hrishikesh Apun, Head Officer of Indian Administrative Service in Lohardaga, Jharkhand District, West Bengal strolled over the wooden porch of the station. He stepped off and headed in the direction of a market vendor selling mangos. He had a cell phone to his right ear as he began the inquiry and bargain banter with the woman sitting on the ground as she swatted flies over her produce. Ahja watched this interaction with the phone as curious. As he watched him his thoughts turned to a wealthy vendor named "Dawhali' who has a cell phone but yells at it a lot.He peered from behind a propped board against the building to see a few people walk by and the faint sounds of the market criers just beyond the police station.
'Ah, not far now.' Ahja considered. He simply waited as the officer moved on further. He caught a chamelon's movement in his peripheral sight. The lizard scurried between a split opening of boards that Ahja followed to a large opening of stacks either side. The market areas left over building material for makeshift bins or shelves to set up fruits and vegetables to sell is what his eyes scanned. He hurried past these barriers to cross more than half the distance past the station. He stopped once more to take a chance to peek around the piled boards then dashed across the street. His ears perked up to hear anyone calling after him. He moved with two quick steps to enter the back of the market.This market day was of light traffic with a few villagers strolling to their favorite vendors. One or two were bargaining for the best price. A few rickshaws were pulling fruit and vegetables. Wheeled carts with an ox lumbered slowly to their destinations over potholed roads filled with muddy water. There were butchers who had long, flatbed miniature cab volvo's in the special areas where the more modern coolers, weights, and scales. The market & produce workers here tried to make everything look so clean and white. The butchers white aprons were stained with blood and water of the meat they cut up. They would place the meat in the coolers and a sliding door kept the flies off the meat. Ahja slowed to make note of the pigs head that Hindu's could not stand see slaughtered in one of the coolers. Ahja watched as a fly was taking residence in one of the nostrils of a pig. A woman had learned a new trade that Ahja caught sight of. He went to her area but placed himself behind her where she busied herself making the new kind of lunch that sold fairly well called Curry Pizza. He breathed in the curry as his mouth watered. Someday he would taste this “pizza” to see how good it was. His young legs dodged between arguing, bargaining traders, and street market buyers waving their arms to offer a deal. Everyone was too busy to notice a adventurous 10 year old. One buyer yelled, "No!" "No!" "Boto, two stalls down, he offered much less!" "I will give you 50 Paisa!" The hawker cried out, "50 Paisa! 75 Paisa, no less!" A woman squatted on the ground by her vegetables and fruits the local plantation owners allow their workers to sell. She waved a bamboo fan over the produce as she watched for any "interested" buyers to lure by starting up conversation to come over to her lot. Ahja arrived at his special “trail” in the back of the market. He stopped to look back for a second. Everyone was busy with their businesses and no police in sight. He turned to move on down the trail. Ahja rested against the edge of Hulo Batai's bAshA as he took a deep breath. He moved to the door and knocked softly. He waited a moment then walked in. He removed his sandals then proceeded into the area Ema was sitting. Hulo's wife, Ema Batai, dressed in a green and red sari looked up from her work to study his expression with a questioning look. She was 40 years old of slight build, a quiet woman who came to Christ five years. He presented himself with a *namaste. She gave a slight bow to him. "Ahja? What is it?" Ema studied him. Ahja spoke hurriedly in excitement, "Authorities came..our bAshA..message for Mr. Batai!" Ema, Batai's wife, quizzed Ahja, "Did anyone see you?" "No! no, madam!" Ahja was recovering his breath. Ema rose up from her mat, "Come! Come!" she ushered the boy into see her husband. "Hulo?" she called with no immediate answer, "Hulo!" She half whispered, "Pastor's son has come!" "Ahja?" "What is it?" Hulo Batai said, with concern etched on his face. He was 42 years old and medium build. He worked on a plantation picking vegetables or fruit and loading crates on flat bed trucks to send to market. He was about to leave for work when Ahja arrived. "The authorities came to our bAshA! Baba said to give you a message to meet where you planned at 3 p.m. "Yes, Ahja, I know of it. What happened?" Hulo asked, with a questioning face. "The authorities said my father is warned about church being noisy and bothering people." Ahja relayed information as he knew it. "I see," Hulo thought, "tell your father, I will be there at 3 p.m. I know where. Tell him 3 p.m. is okay! I will pass it on to the other men of the church." Ahja shook his head. "Oh! I have to have some Tulsi ointment!" Ahja alerted. "Yes, good! You remembered! Here take this..say you had to get some healing medicine for...." "Woman's complaints!" Ahja finished the sentence seriously. "Look outside," Hulo said as Ahja slipped on his sandals. "Ema, take a look out the front window." Ema went to the front windows to gently move the curtain to look out. She saw a man with produce balanced on back of the bicycle going past the bAshA. An old woman sitting on a cast off wooden box with her back to the Batai bAshA smoking *Beedi while she worked on trimming a sugar cane stalk. "It is clear!" Ema said. "Now go!" Hulo Batai whispered. Ahja ran deftly as he heard his heart pounding in his small frame. Ema looked at her husband in fear. "O Hulo, what is going to happen?" "We knew this day would come, Ema, God will show us the way," He answered her fearful look by putting his arms around her. "God is with us, He has not left us." After a moment in thought Hulo spoke, "We will find out more soon, it may be nothing." Tears formed in Ema's eyes as she whispered, "I'm afraid." She turned to look in her husbands eyes. "What if we are tortured like in the newspapers? If what we read one day is our story too?" "It is time to talk to the Lord about this," Hulo spoke in thought. "Let's pray, Ema." *BAshA-house *Bhagavad Gita- Hindu god worship. 700 verses in Sanskrit poetic style with influence of Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga.
3 December 2011
The Mango Grove 2:55 p.m.
The west end of the village was planted with Mango trees for 100 acres outstretched between to low, lying hills. The Mango can bloom three times a year. The blooms of flowers hanging in bunches on one branch of a Mango tree were heavy in October and now the trees were being covered with green fruit in December. An old shed was leaning to one side against an old Mango tree that slowly had stretched its branches thru the walls that became the support to hold it up. Old cargo boxes were strewn in front of it for the workers to rest upon during breaks.
The day was nearing 3 p.m. as Pastor Anut Tekkah walked through the field as he looked around to see if anyone had arrived yet. He came to one of the upright boxes and sat down. He breathed in the smell of resinous, sweet mango. The insects made their constant humming sounds and he heard the call of a Indian Ringneck birds hidden among the greeny, leafy trees.
Oojam, 29, and Phoolendu, 27, came together from the right of the orchard toward the shed as Anut watched them draw near. Bhanu and Hulo were in deep conversation as they walked up from the east of the orchard. They all worked the plantation in different fields before dawn till the close of their day around 2:30 p.m. They met each other with a namaste and waited till all found a place to sit.
"Brothers," Anut Tekkah with his warm smile, "I am glad you could come. Let's have a moment of prayer." They bowed their heads."Father, you bless us with your presence here for where two or more are together, there you are also. Please Lord, you are welcome to sit with us a while. Be a part of our meeting and guide us in what we shall do. Prepare us for what lies ahead. We depend on you to help us through each day of our lives. We ask you in Jesus Name," and all said, "amen." Anut paused to gather his thoughts to put into words.
"Brothers, I have gotten a letter from the Office of Religion with a complaint about our church. The complaint comes from the Muslims and Hindus. It states our church is not wanted, we are making too much noise in service but we know there is more than this. As Christians we do not give monetary support to the Muslim and Hindu state programs. The Dalits have come to Christ also in many areas which upsets the caste system in India. [Dalits are the untouchables in India's society]. I have read and seen what has become of Christians in Orissa and Khandhamal. Many churches burned to the ground, christians beaten and killed."
Oojam and Phoolendu looked down at the ground and Hulo sadly nodded 'yes' as Bhanu noted their response in silence and looked back as Anut explained.
"Every single Christian school, college, and the orphanages have been attacked," Anut ended with a deep sigh, "to rid the state of all Christians. More than 4000 Christian homes, 400 churches have been destroyed. The other religions blame Christians that we are trying to convert Hindus and Muslims. The mob that threaten the Christians tell them that they either reject Christianity or they would burn their homes and drive them out of their villages." Anuts eyes were downcase. "Another situation is the Dalits are converting to Christianity because they find they become free from oppression of their own society."
Anut awaited their response as he looked around them to see if anyone was coming.
"Dear God!" Bhanu said under his breath. "Are we next?"
"Possibly." Hulo answered.
"What will we do?" Oojam asked.
"We can alert each other once one of us knows a group is going to attack or is attacking." Hulo suggested.
"If someone threatens or comes to warn one of us, you must reach another to pass the information along so everyone can be alerted." Bhanu announced.
"Are we going to be attacked?" Oojam wondered out loud.
"I don't know," Anut answered, "But I'm not ruling out the possibility it could happen. When and where? I don't know."
"The important thing is to be aware of the situation and be ready at all times. Be in prayer for each other, as the Lord calls us to be His servants. If they did not spare Him, we won't be spared also." Hulo spoke softly.
"We can not be sure the authorities can help us or are willing to help us. In Orissa they did not." as Oojam remembered what he had read in the newspaper.
"So, now..," Anut finished, "As I sent Ahja to you when I learned of the complaint and alerted you to meet, so we can reach each other when we know of something, yes?"
"Yes!" all said together.
"Now, let's pray with each other and go about our day. Hulo, will you lead prayer?" Anut asked.
Hulo bowed his head and the others followed. "Lord, may we bring you glory. Only you know where our steps will take us and only you can give us strength from day to day. Give us your holy boldness in the face of danger and make our hearts ready. We pray for those who have suffered before us and who are still suffering. Those forced out of their homes, churches, burned out, beaten, killed, tortured, because they believe in you. Give me their strength. There is no where to go but to you. There is no hope but in you. There is no other way but the way of the cross." Hulo ended here. He asked, "Please, continue prayer with me." This meant for the group to pick up the prayer.
Oojam prayed, "All I have is yours. If I lose everything I still have you. I give you my life. No matter what happens you are still here in my heart."Bhanu prayed, "Everything I am is because of you. Teach me to rise to a higher level and love those who hate me." Anut continued, "May I love. May I love even if I am hated. Help me to forgive those who hate me." Whispers of the men sounded in the soft breeze of the mango grove, "I forgive." "I will love those who hate me." "Amen." The rose up and gave each other a hug and a smile. Slowly, they walked away to the edge of the road and headed off individually in different directions. 10 December 2011, morning
Another WarningThe morning found the Muslim group, the Islam Defense Party at the door of the police station contesting the church presence to protest the visible Baptist Church in their district again and the services conducted by Reverend Anut Tekkah. Muslims demanded that the authorities close this church permanently. The group stated that no one wants this church in this area and the church should have to pay a fee for being in this vicinity even if the Church has a permit and is registered with Religious Authority Office. The Muslim extremists of the IDP, about 70 representatives, demanded a halt to all Christian ministries. The Muslims are not the only religion in the area that was gaining momentum in their voiced opinions of the Christians. The monies to support the region in specific religion faction is less if other religions do not support the state religion.
The Hindu faction was beginning to stir in their contempt for Christianity guided by the Muslims. There are presently some Hindu groups that had supported the Christians with government programs yet this was slowly eroding as political power of the Muslims resulted in withdrawal of assistance.
18 December 2011, morning
Frala Is Attacked
Bishee Chatterjee, a Muslim, who had stood observing, now, moved forward to confront Frala. "If I find you are converting muslims I will kill you. If you blasphemy Allah's name I will find out and I will come and cut your heart out!"Moat walked up to her, "Tell this man of yours to close this church because if you do not we will burn it down." He yanked her head back by grabbing her hair. "Do you hear us?"
"Yea-, yes." Frala answered with a shaking voice.
"Good!" Hirsha then spit on her.
Hirsha placed his knife on her and slashed her skin on her right arm in a 30 degree angle as if 'flaying'. "This is so you remember us." Frala screamed in pain. She reached out with her left hand to where she was cut.
Bishee pulled back his arm and swung toward her face with an open hand. Frala cried out again.
Lieo kicked her again in the right leg. "Maybe you will see us on Christmas."
They left her on the ground terrified and shaking. Her head felt like it would burst and her neck felt like a sharp lightening bolt went through it. She gave up her strength and fell to the ground in tears.
Frala FoundPart Two Frala lay in shock in the dirt. Her head swimming with flies beginning to gather in the heat landing on the blood on her right leg. Two 12 year old boys on bicycles were riding down the trail. In gasps the older boy, Omer, with his eyes wide called out to his friend, "Leath!" "Ah! Who is it?" wide eyed Leath questioned as he slammed on his brakes of his bicycle. "It is Ahja's mom!" Omer yelled as he jumped off his bicycle to bend down for a closer look at Frala. "Madam Tekkah!" "Are you okay?"
Frala brushed her hair back and tried to look at the boys. She groaned softly."Leath! Go to a bAshA! Get help! I will stay!" Omer commanded. Leath jumped back on his bicycle and pushed forward to pedal as fast down the trail. Omer looked up and down the road. The road was isolated with no one coming or going either way. He looked back at Frala feeling helpless. Leath rode up into the property of Teal Jhonta, 60 year old Hindu. Leath jumped off his bicycle and running up the steps he pounded on the door but did not receive an answer. He turned around to look for an adult. He saw no one but heard a noise in the back of the bAshA and ran to the sound. He yelled, "Help!" a pause then, "help!"
Teal was humming while cooking on a fire with a iron pot hanging on a tripod. He sat stirring his rice, vegetables, as he slowly added curry and spices with a bamboo stick. Hearing a child yell for help he stopped and got up. He walked around the corner of the bAshA to see Leath running with all his 12 year old might."Whoa now!" "What is the matter?" Teal said as he saw the anguish in the boy's face as he approached. "A woman is lying in the road! She's hurt!" Leath yelled. "Show me, boy!" Jhonta turned to call out to his wife, "Imay!" "Imay!" As a Hindu, he would not touch the woman. He needed his wife to come. "Teal, what do you want? I am working!" Imay, 58 years old, housewife, Hindu, was wiping her hands on a cloth as she pushed her strands of loose hair back, frowning. "There is a woman hurt! I need you to come and help!" Teal informed. "Where is she?" Imay asked as she stepped outside to meet them. "Where boy?" Teal asked. "She is laying on the road! Just down the road!" Leath pointed and his heart pounding. "Show us where!" Imay ordered as she waved him forward. They followed Leath back down the road. Frala made an attempt to sit up. Omer not knowing how to help was relieved to see adults coming. Teal and Imay looked into the face of Frala. "Frala!" "Frala!" "Who did this to you?!" Imay squatted to see Frala closer. "We have to get you to the bAshA. Come boys, help me get Frala to her feet!" As Imay and the boys assisted Frala to stand and walk back to the Jhonta's bAshA, Teal called the two boys to him. "You two go! Get the authorities! Tell them to come to my bAshA immediately!" The boys jumped on their bicycles and sped away. Hours passed. Frala was comforted and cared for by Imay and some more women that came over to the Jhonta's bAshA. The message of Frala's incident came to Anut Tekkah in a pomegranate field. The message hit his heart with fear. He headed out of the field to the main dirt road leading across the village. Two miles to cross seemed an eternity to reach Frala. "God of all, help me!" Anut's mind kept repeating, "Frala?!" Anut turned into a cornfield to cut time. His sandals munched down the leaves and ground as he moved as quickly as he could. His mind was recycling these thoughts and the what if's. What if she is has been beaten up, what if they left her for dead, what if she has been killed, what if..?" Anut stopped where he was. "Give me peace..be..cause..I can..not allow..evil!" He said. breathed in slower as he halted to lean on his knees. He coughed. He waited. "Please help me to act as you would Lord." He walked near a large agricultural ditch. He could hear his mind racing. It was if hundreds of thoughts were coming at him from all directions.
'Calm, I must be calm. Oh Lord, slow me down.' His mind repeated.He rose up and looked to his left. He found a narrow channel with a board across it. He moved quickly over it. He came to Jhonta's bAshA to the back door. He knocked lightly then entered. He shifted out of his sandals as his eyes found Frala sitting in a chair among many surrounding her. He tried to read her face. In doing this he was reassured she was alright. There were four neighbor women clasping their hands together with worry in their eyes. Their gaze tracked Anut's entry to his movement toward her. They parted as he came near to her but remained silent. They expected Anut to be very angry, cursing, and even threatening.
"Frala!" Anut spoke quietly as he put his arm around her and a hand over hers. "Can you tell me about this?"As she described the incident, Anut was thinking of what he had heard in other districts. He realized she could not go out alone any further to do neighbor visits. "The authorities have not come Anut. We did send for them." Teal interjected behind Anut. "What will you do? You won't let these men get away with hurting Frala will you?" one of the women spoke with anger. "Let us be still for a moment." Anut looked into the eyes of his wife. "Frala, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," Frala began to cry for the first time, "I speak to her pain, to give her suffering to you Lord, to use it for your purposes, to give our lives to you, as we move ahead to serve you, to understand your suffering and to share in it. That hate turn to love of God, that pain turn to triumph in your work, to those who turn against us that their hearts open to you Lord, to the saving knowledge of you, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us rise in your life and continue." He paused. "We gladly share your burden. Amen." Frala offered a whispered, "Amen." The women and men standing in the bAshA of Teal Jhonta's were silent during the prayer, listening and surprised of the response of Anut. Anut helped his wife stand. "We will go home now," Anut said quietly and assisted Frala to stand. They slipped into their sandals and walked out the door. The onlookers who still remained spoke among themselves, "Why do they continue to believe this God who allows this to happen to a woman!" one of the women said. "Anut is a strong man, perhaps stronger than us all, " Teal said, "he believes in his heart and says what he believes. Who can say that tomorrow that being a Hindu will be wrong and I will find my wife in the road beaten?" Teal looked at his wife Imay. "The Muslim's are growing in our country and they are violent toward any other belief." He spread out his hands and let them fall to his side. Teal turned around and went back to his rice and vegetables to ponder what had just happened and how it could effect him. The daylight was dimming on the onlookers and the standbyers slowly dispersed. They walked to their bAshAs shaking their heads and wondering at the words they heard from the pastor of the Baptist Church.
December 19, 2011, the next morning
The Authorities Side
Anut Tekkah walked to the authorities office the next morning. He was seen by Hrishikesh Apun, Head Officer of IAS.
"Namaste!" Officer Hrishikesh Apun acknowledged Anut Tekkah.
"Namaste." Anut returned the welcome. Mr. Apun raised an arm to offer a chair. Anut sat down.
"So, I understand your wife, Madam Tekkah, was assaulted?" Officer Apun opened the discussion.
"Yes," Anut answered. "I would like it to be documented please."
"Reverend Tekkah," Officer Apun folded his arms over his papers and looked into Anut's eyes. "I am very sorry that this has happened. Truly, very much. But I must tell you with all honesty that I would not be surprised if this or something else happened." He quickly put his hand up in case Anut tried to respond. "I have been keeping updated on the situations in Orissa, Bangladesh, and many other states. I have to tell you, it is getting serious. Please Reverend Tekkah, consider the course your taking. Is this Christianity worth being beaten up for. Attacked for or even worse? Come now. What is wrong with being Hindi or Muslim, hmm? What does this religion of Christianity have to be here? It will only cause problems. It will be better for everyone to be done with it. I say this as a fellow villager. I don't want trouble here for anyone. I know you do not cause problems intentionally but please, isn't time to rethink this religion? There is still time to compromise with the Muslims and Hindu before it is too late."There was silence for a moment between the two. The ceiling fan was whirling and the sounds outside the office of people passing by, with yelling in the nearby market. Men working just outside with crates they were discarding to set up their market lot.
"I see," Anut pondered. "If I quit my church then the whole problem will end." He was quiet again.
Officer Apun waited while Reverend Tekkah came to his senses. He placed his hand under his chin.
"Well Sir, I have decided..to follow Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I would not turn away from Him now or ever. I do want to thank you for giving me the opportunity of sharing this with you. There is no other way but Christ's way, no other door, no other path. You see, it is not easy to follow Christ."Anut looked at the office newspaper laying at Officer Apun's left elbow.
"You have read what has happened to Christians in other districts and states. I can not stop people hating me but I can stop hating people by loving them. My life is meant to be more. Do you understand? Love conquers all even if it does not seem to with the eyes we see with, yet it is there, overcoming the darkness of our souls. We all have souls Officer Apun. Christ puts light in us so it can be seen by everyone. Many will not understand but those that do will come. Then that light will shine for all to see! That is where I want to be. Forever in the Light of Christ."
Officer Apun sighed exasperated. "Okay, Reverend Tekkah! I see!" He stood from his chair to move to Anut's side with a blank form. "Here! Please write out the incident and leave it with Officer Danjan."
Officer Apun walked out of his office to leave Anut alone.
Anut completed the incident report as Frala described it to him. It was clear Officer Apun did not have a pro-Christian position. He realized he was in a precarious position. A very dangerous one. He filled out the complaint form and handed it to Officer Pate Danjan. Anut bowed slightly to the officers before he stepped off the porch. Pate Danjan returned to bow but Officer Apun did not.
"He is way over his head in trouble. I fear for him but what can I do?" Officer Pate turned around in his office seat and returned to his writing of reports.
Officer Apun re-entered his office. He walked over to the window to watch Anut disappear among the market crowd, "He will end up like the others if he is not wise."Christian Woman of India Attacked
End of Part Two
Season Of Light In India
19 December 2011, evening
Bada Din Preparation
This evening was planned to prepare the church for Christmas season. The members were expected to arrive to complete the scenary. The children would be pasting rings and painting Christmas scenes while the adults held a short Bible study.
The church members began to arrive at 5:30 p.m. with Bhanu and Niral Yuyutsu both 28 years old with their 3 year old daughter, Hita.
Niral spoke namaste to Anut and turned to seek Frala. She was sitting in a comfortable chair. Niral gently touched her arm. "Frala! Oh Frala! I don't know if I should touch you. Are you in pain?"
Bhanu carried Hita and shook Anut's hand. He put Hita down. She walked slowly looking around then headed to her mother's side.Monea Saxena, Yogini Banerjee, and Roshini Verma were widows who kept busy with the church and helping others. They hailed Anut as they walked up to the church and gave him a hearty namaste. Their arms loaded with materials for scenery and projects to keep little hands busy.
Oojam and Varsha Ishwar enterd with their two young daughters, Pooja, 6, and Rujuta, 8. Rujuta automatically took charge of Pooja by grasping her hand.
"Come Pooja! Let's go over here!" The children's toys and crafts box was set out.
Oojam and Varsha greeted Anut with smiles. "I love Bada Din! We can't wait for the Christmas sing!"
"Is Frala here?" Varsha asked. Anut pointed to where she sat.
"She is mending, a little sore." Anut answered.
Varsha walked toward where Frala was.
Hulo and Ema were joining Veer and Sagunda with their sons, Utpal, 10, and Waman, 4. Anut waited at the door of the church for them.
"Hello!" Veer called out.
"Namaste!" Hulo echoed after Veer.
Anut shook hands with the men and bowed his head to the women and raised her arm to invite them in. In their arms were a curry appetizer with crackers Ema had made.An area in front of the church was on different levels using three tables, one under the other. The Christmas scene was made of mud shaped like a cave with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in a used food crib Pooja, 6, and Rujuta, 8, "donated" from their nanny goat for tonight, as their parents, Oojam and Varsha Ishwar, whose smiles showed their delight that the two girls believed that their female goat wanted to share with Jesus. The girls said that their goat, Lebie, who they knew loved Jesus like they did, wanted to give something for the decorations, especially when the goat was asked if the crib could be used tonight, and they told how the goat made an enthusiastic reply of "yananana!"
Sagunda Chidambar, 24, brought a tiny square of an old sari she hemmed that was just perfect for swaddling an infant Jesus in the manger. The forms of the manger scene were old and a little paint applied here and there renewed the features, though maybe an awkward smile of brown skinned Joseph. The three kings heads were made of paper mache, with royal robes made of white linen colored purple and gold curtesy of magic markers one of the missionaries had sent. The kings crowns were made of paper and tree branches for staffs. The sheep in the manger scene were of cotton adhered to paper mache and cows made with white cloth that the children put all effort to spot with brown The cow was more a big dog but still the effect came through. All around the scene, cotton was sprinkled for snow and a brown skinned angel that looked upward with an open mouth singing silently, one hand missing, a wing that every now and then sagged. In setting the atmosphere for the evening before the meeting, the only lights used would be candle service lighting with enclosed-in-glass candles to set the scene. Oojam Ishwar's cousin from the Gumla District in Senha sent the blown glass candle settings and he presented them as his offering to the Lord for His Christmas service. These special candles would be used in the candle light service Christmas Day evening. The large long burning servant candles were placed in the churches inside wall niches, the clay lamps were placed on the rooftops, outside wall niches, and around the front door of the church. A large, dancing star would be in front of the church.
The women had collected many natural additions to the scene. The Christmas tree was created from mango and banana leaves, two garlands of colored palm fronds held by jute rope. Green silk would be lined with colored stones. The bows were dyed orange with touches of gold paint along the decorations. Little dolls, toys, plastic fruit, and streamers were used as ornaments. Poinsettia flowers placed around the church completed the setting. All was ready for 'Bada Din' or the big day.
There was another purpose today to gather at the church and that was to hear about Frala's incident. The Tulsi ointment that Ahja had received as an "excuse" a few days ago became as a true need. But she had another purpose this evening. The women moved near to hear of her trial."I don't want to tell of what happened. I was beaten. I want to tell you what we need to know as Christians. My husband will explain. That is where are strength lies." Frala gave a smile but Monea moved closer to Frala and put her arm around her.
The men sat down with the women and Anut began his teaching. Ephesians Chapter 6. "We must prepare in the spirit for physical attacks. As it is written, "to put on the armor of God." He paused a moment for the others to come in the circle and find a seat. He began. "Let us put on the whole armor of God. For we do not war against flesh and blood," Anut paused. "Oh no! We war against rulers, authorities, powers of the dark world, spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms!" he hesitated and added, "When your pushing out the prince of this world it is not easy! Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Anut stopped and looked at Frala. "Frala?"
"Each one of us may be called upon to stand up," Frala looked in each woman's face, "who knows how soon another of us, woman, child, or man will be called to stand? Through us, other's may come to Jesus," tears came to her eyes, "By His Spirit, Jesus will turn our sorrow and pain and use it to his purposes and His Light will shine here where we are. It is the reason why we are here. To help others to find their way. We may find ourselves alone without authorities protection. Please realize this. We must depend solely on our Savior. If we fall, He will raise us up. When we are weak, we can rest on His Shoulder. Pray with me now as I ask the Lord to walk with us, even through each beat of pain, each gash of skin that blood flows out, each cruel word to scorn, and with every fall to the ground, we share in your walk to the cross. Lambs in the tigers den, and the unholy tiger is hungry. The tie that binds us is love forever in the Spirit of the Living God."
Anut looked at Frala. "My goodness, Frala! Where did all that gusto come from!" Everyone laughed. Frala clapped her hands to both sides of her face as she flushed with a big grin.
22 December 2011, Saturday evening
The church meeting was opened at 6 pm on Saturday evening for a special gathering to introduce two young men to be baptized tonight. Hulo and Ema Batai, Veer and Sagunda Chidambar with their two boys, Utpal, 11, and Waman, 4. Oojam and Varsha Ishwar brought their two girls, Pooja, 6, and Rujuta, 8, with them. Phoolendu and Pavana Prabir introduced their lively boys, Janardan, 10, and Waman, 4, to the two young men. Bhanu and Niral Yuyutsu piggybacked 3 year old Hita to the event. Yogini Banerjee, Roshini Verma and Monea Saxena had worked on the shirts and pants the men would don tonight during baptism.The two young men, Abhinav Lokprakash, 19, and Uday Mithil, 18, were cousins. They had heard about Jesus from a minister north of Lohardaga and accepted Christ. They were sent to Pastor Anut's to be baptized as it may be dangerous to do so from the village they come from as it may seem they were being 'converted' by the Christians. If asked they would say they have come to witness to the Baptist Church tonight about Christ. Anut introduced Abhinav and Uday to the church, "Everyone! Tonight we have two witnesses of Christ who have come to speak to us of His great love! I would like to introduce Abhinav Lokprakash and Uday Mithil!" The members clapped their hands and namaste. The young men beamed during introductions now it was time to go and prepare by changing their clothes for the baptism. Anut did not have a formal baptismal but he had found an old tub that he cleaned up and lined the tub with a waterproof tarp. The congregation was happy tonight and it was apparent in their voices.
After the song and a moment of praise Anut spoke. "Look what God has done for us! He has brought joy in the midst of sorrow! Two young men have turned to Christ and we are privileged to be witnesses to this great event! God has turned evil into good! He knows what we need and brings us good news!"
Abhinav and Uday came in with their baptismal clothes on. These were called Kurta's, long shirts with coconut shells as buttons which are traditional wear in India and Churidar pants with drawstrings. The congregation stood around the men. The men touched the two young brothers and the women circled the men. Some of the older children stood by their fathers or mothers, lifted their hands up, and all agreed in prayer, offering their lives, their hearts, and their souls, to the Living God.
Abhinav Lokprakash and Uday Mithil walked out to a enclosed side building of the church, each took their turn, stepping in the tub, tarp-lined baptismal. Anut laid his hand on ones head, first Abhinav sat in the tub, Anut kneeled down and Abhinav was buried alive, and rose to new life with Christ. Anut repeated the profession of faith;
"Do you believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, was born of a virgin, was sacrificed and died for your sins, that He was buried and resurrected by God on the third day, and that you identify yourself with Christ by following Him in baptism, and receive the Holy Spirit?" Abhinav replied, "I do." Anut lowered his head, Abhinav pinched his nose, and his body was immersed, and Anut raised his head up. The praise went up, and Abhinav's hands were raised to heaven, praising God.
Next, Uday stepped into the water, sat down, and Anut repeated the words, Uday replied, "I do." And Uday was baptised. The group went inside to the main church to fellowship and to meet the two young men after they dried off and changed back in their own clothes.
The women had grouped together with supplies to plan one meal for all with a rice, coconut curry with vegetables on banana leaves, and Masala Tea with Cardamom.
Their evening was undisturbed in continued praise and song. The believer's praised God before the service and afterward, thanking God for His protection and blessing this special event. This day, God's angels were guarding the doors, as two more souls had been written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and the angels were rejoicing in heaven for the victory!Christian Persecution India: Pastor Charged with "Forced Conversion" in India
End of Part Three
Season Of Light In India
23 December 2011
Sunday morning. Reverend Anut got up early to read the Bible and pray quietly just as the sun was rising in the church. Tears came to his eyes, thanking God for bringing his family and himself this far. He had received terrible news about Pastor Isak Raj, in a Garhwa District, who had been pulled out of his home, dragged through the streets of the village, and beaten severely. He did not share this information with his wife. Anut prayed, "I will not lose heart, I settle this now in my heart, Lord, all is light affliction, that lasts only a moment, but its purpose and its results goes beyond what my mind can understand, and its meaning for Christ is of great worth and for His glory. O Lord, may I be worthy!" He bent down on one knee, and leaned on a chair. "This Christmas Lord, cause others to hear, and come to your saving grace, these are the Christmas presents I desire. You have made me rich, so I could share this faith with others, so they may be rich. Thank you, Lord Jesus, praise your holy name. Amen." Anut continued to kneel, placing his elbow on the chair, chin in hands, he kept praising God quietly.
Frala entered the large gathering room of the church, hearing her husband talking to the Lord. "How is the Lord today, Anut?" She had almost recovered from the wounds and the diagonal cuts made on her right arm. The areas were healing well thanks to the Tulsi Ointment.
Anut smiled, "The Lord says today, we are blessed, and He will share his wealth of His Presence with us, Frala." Frala smiled back.He walked up and hugged his wife gently because of a little soreness she still experienced where she was kicked. Frala was dressed in bright colors for the occasion. Ahja entered with extra Bibles as he laid them in chairs for Christmas Day, "planting a seed of a new believer yet to come." Ahja looked at the Christmas scene set up in front, "Baba, the angels wing has sagged down again." He reported. "I have some glue in my room! I'll get it!" He ran off with importance, to return busily attending the repair of the angel's wing with a popsicle stick he found. This morning the congregation planned to set out into the village to share their faith. The church door was opened by Anut, he looked out as he opened the door, "Welcome, Holy Spirit, come in and walk with us today as we go out to share the gospel to win souls with your help. He turned to walk down the aisle, and stopped, and turned back as he saw members walking up the street. "Let our words reach deaf ears and open the doors of hardened hearts. Thank you, Lord." Seeing a family coming to the door, Frala walked toward the entrance beside her husband to greet them warmly. Phoolendu Prabir, 28, his wife, Pavana, 27, and their two boys Janardan, 10, and Kaushal, 6 were the first to arrive. The two boys full of energy, sensing excitement in the air of this special day, rang their small bells in their hands to be used with the Christmas walk and sing. "Well, Janardan and Kaushal, come in. I see you are ready to make music for the Lord today!" Frala smiled, "Ahja's working on the manger scene up front," she pointed to Ahja. With a shy smile at the adults they turned to see their friend Ahja and moved quickly to the front to see what he was doing. "Anut," Phoolendu shook his hand and looked quickly to Frala. Pavana said hello to Anut and exchanged hellos to Frala with a tender hug. Pavana spoke softly to Frala. "I don't know if I could be as strong as you, Frala. Your strength through this has been much for me to think on." "Pavana, do you know what I have learned about this pain? I am walking in the footpaths of Jesus. It may not be easy, but when I accepted the Lord, I knew it would not be easy, what is easy in this life that is worth living for?" Pavana seemed to see Frala in a different light. Later that evening Pavan would recall a piece of scripture, "then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." At the door Bhanu Yuyutsu, 28, and his wife, Niral, 28, arrived next carrying their daughter, Hita. Hita, age three, shyly smiled and hid her face in her mother's long, black hair as Frala spoke to her. Bhanu showed his flute he would play for the Christmas singing. Following behind them, were three widows; Monea Saxena, 55, Yogini Banerjee, 55, and Roshini Verma, 53. They were three widows who faithfully attended church, prepared many a meal for a hungry person, and came to anyone's bAshA to pray and serve.
"Good day, Anut," they chimed, and moved to Frala, "Frala, better today, yes? God is doing some powerful work here in this village and He is using you to perform wonders!" Monea announced as she hugged Frala."When people see you today they will think of our Lord and what He has done for you Frala!" Roshini was next. "God is with you, Frala, cherished daughter of the Most High God!" Yogini, who loved to quote extravagantly, hailed Frala. "You make me blush," Frala said, "how can I not feel good today!" They laughed together.
Oojam and Varsha Ishwar entered with their daughters Pooja, 6, and Rujuta, 8. Oojam shook Anut's hands and nodded to Frala. Varsha slightly bowed to Anut and hugged Frala. Varsha came to stand by Frala, "You look beautiful today!"
"Oh thank you and so do you! Everyone looks radiant this evening!" Frala exclaimed. "I'm as excited as the kids!" Frala and Varsha giggled together.Hulo and Ema Batai entered, shook hands with Anut. Hulo greeted Frala and Ema embraced Frala. Abhinav Lokprakash and Uday Mithil rode up on their bicycles and entered with broad smiles as they presented their drums they would play along the sing and walk through the village. Each member had dressed in festive colors for this day as is the Christmas tradition in India.
Waman Chidambar marched in with a big grin looking up at Anut and Frala."Well, now, Mr. Waman is here!" Anut said, "and how is boss man today?" "Na..must..day! Na..must..day!" Waman jumped up and down in place. Frala laughed. Waman knew he had an audience. He pranced around as his parents entered and stood near him.
"He is excited!" Veer announced.
"Waman!" Sagunda called to him and he reached for his mother's hands still prancing.
"Mary kweesmus!" Waman announced. "Jesus!"
Waman's antics caught the attention of Hita who was sucking her thumb watching with interest. Pooja and Rujuta noticed Waman's prancing and singing and came closer to watch too. They soon found their way to the instruments the older children were bringing out.
Utpal moved around his parents and his little brother to see where Ahja and Janardan were. He spoke a quick, "namaste!" to the adults. He shook hands with Anut and a nod to Frala. Frala followed his eyes to what took his interest, "Yes! Ahja and Janardan are over there!" that allowed a quick exit for the energetic Utpal. He headed to the manager scene. Ahja brought out a box of musical instruments to play, a tambourine, bells, little drums (chandes), and sticks to hit together. His father's miniature sitar was sitting on a chair in front."I think we are all here. Come and let us hold hands and pray." Anut encouraged everyone with a waving gesture and clapped his hands together. The members completed greeting each other and formed a circle to hold hands. "My goodness, everyone looks splendid this evening! Such bright light to a dark world! We most certainly will gain many who are lost with such beauty!"
Many grins and smiles was returned in response, and so Anut began with prayer with the signal of a pause and bowing his head.
"O Father, we welcome this day, another day of your mercy, and a special day we celebrate your birth. Welcome Lord! Join us! bless us with the touch of your presence. We leave behind our sorrows and pain, to share in the song of angels, to come and see you with great expectation as the shepherds did to find you in the manger like the angels said, and bow before you in humbleness of heart like the wise men that had long awaited for the sign, and left everything behind to follow your star that lead them to Bethlehem, and laid before you great wealth. We offer you our hearts, souls, minds, to lay at your feet. You came to us as a newborn baby, helpless, but always secure in the protection of the Lord. We are growing children that follow you, helpless without you, but always under the secure protection, and guidance of You. We commit our lives, all we have, to follow you, and we thank you for honoring us with your presence tonight, we in turn honor and worship you. Place your loving arms around us, protect us, and let your name be spoken into the hearts of those who hear in us the Holy Spirit singing to them today. In Jesus Name we pray," he paused, "Amen!"
All echoed with smiles and soft laughter.They picked up their Christmas carols, some with deep breaths, they opened the door, and walked down the street, and began to sing about the Lord Jesus Christ. Hita was prancing near her mother, Niral, who picked up the tambourine. Anut strummed his miniature sitar. Abhinav Lokprakash and Uday Mithil softly played their drums. Janardan, Ahja, Kaushal rang their bells while giggling. Bhanu Yuyutsu played his flute as the group sang traditional Christmas songs, "Jingle Bells", "Away In The Manger", "What Child Is This?", "Angels We Have Heard On High," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". Christmas Street Singing
At a circle in the middle of the market street, they gathered together to support Anut, Hulo, and Oojam speak about the Christmas story of Christ, provide a time for prayer, and make a "altar call" in the midst of people who were Hindu, Sikhism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, and a few into "black magic". Oojam Ishwar gave a word of testimony of how he found Christ and what a difference He made in his life. Uday stood on a high step and looked among the young men his age and told them how Jesus touched his heart, forgave his sins, and now has a heart of love for all and a desire that many come to the saving knowledge of Christ. Then on they would go, walking down the road, singing. Many would join them in singing, whether Hindu or other faiths. This is not unusual for traditionally Hindus and other faiths did celebrate with the Christians. Time has changed this as thinking has been shifted by propaganda. Not far from the group was standing the leader of the IDF party, listening to the "big noise" and "big disruption" these Christians were making in his village. The small group made their way through the village of 200 without being molested this morning with many following them joining in the singing.End of Part Four
Season Of Light In India
The Way of The Cross
Christmas Day, December 25, 1 a.m.
Anut was dreaming. He heard the word 'fire'. He dreamed about a flame of fire spreading in India, "and of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire?" Anut was awakening to the sound of his name being called. "Anut! Anut!"Somewhere he heard a man yelling, "Fire!" "Fire!" Anut awoke with a startled jerk. Crackling, popping, something falling brought his alertness to sharp focus. He looked out his window to adjust his vision to view the church on fire! His first word was, "Frala!" "What?" Frala half asleep in a groggy voice answered. "The church is on fire!" Anut announced loudly. "Ahja!" She yelled. She ran to his mat behind a screened off area of the room. "Ahja!" She reached out to touch her son's shoulder. "Ahja!" Reassured he was there, a fear gripped her to think those that beat her could be back. "Mama! What's wrong!" He heard his mother's anguished voice. "The church is on fire!" Frala spoke into the night as to convince herself of what was happening. Anut ran outside but the blaze had overtaken the small church made of wood, mud, and thatched roof. The Christmas dressings and the big star on front of the church was burning before his eyes. Rezin Rama, 72, a Hindu neighbor came to Anut's side. "Anut!" "Your family..is okay?" Anut's voice resounded in his chest, "yes." "Anut, I could of told you that this would happen. Many don't want you to have a church here. You are a stubborn man. Now look, you have nothing for all your trouble. You should leave this trouble alone. You could get badly hurt. I tell you as a friend, you must forget this God of yours, he brings to you only trouble, what kind of God is that to follow?" Rezin shook his head. "I don't understand you." Something stirred inside Anut as he spoke not to Rezin, "My God does not depend on wood bAshAs, thatched roofs and tin stars, He is here with me. Here!" Anut touched his heart. "He is not a God that does not feel how I feel right now. He gives me strength, hope, and purpose even more than before. He will make a way for us you will see!" Anut did an about face to Rezin," and I believe because I am praying for you, Rezin, that you will see!" Rezin backed up from Anut. "No!" Rezin said his eyes widening, "I don't want a God like this!" He pointed to the burning church. "I will not listen or be a part of your curse!" Rezin walked away, glancing back, and shaking his head. From the edges of darkness, Anut could see others standing to observe the fire but not coming closer. Frala hurried to his side with Ahja whose mouth was opened, "Baba! What happened?!" Ahja walked to his father's side and Anut put his arm around his son as they stood to watch the flames eat the last bit of flesh off the church. A man was walking up behind out of the darkness, he called out to Anut, "Anut!" "Are you alright?" It was Hulo Batai. "I could smell the smoke from my bAshA!" Anut could only look at Hulo. "You should not be alone! You and your family, come to my bAshA tonight! Don't linger here!" Hulo urged Anut. Oojam Ishwar came running out of the dark street toward the group. "O no!" He stopped to put his hands on his knees to catch his breath. "Anut! Everyone okay?" Anut turned to Oojam, Hulo, Frala, and Ahja, "I think we need to stop to thank God for our safety and ask for his protection." The men placed their hands on Anut's shoulders. Ahja followed their example by placing his hands on his father's left arm. Anut held Frala's hands and looked in her eyes. "Lord, you have brought me a dream, a fire over India, to bring glory to your Name, Jesus Christ, my Lord. We are ready to receive this gift though it is no light thing but the cost is nothing to the greater glory of more souls saved." He felt his wife's hands squeeze his. "The words that repeatedly come to mind, Lord, is, you are worthy to be praised, your worthy of all honor, we stand in your presence, we are not alone. Angels are here, with every step we take, I believe we are about to walk where angels walk and see the Lord move through this village, through every village, into the cities, into our country, the fire of purging has begun bringing to the soil wealth to raise a harvest that bows their heads and bends their knees to You, Lord. We need and thank you for your arm of protection around us. We praise You, Lord, we continously praise You. You are here, right now, in the middle of us all, with our praise we thank you, Jesus, Amen." The group replied, "Amen." "Everyone keep praising the Lord. This night may not be over so quickly for us," Hulo informed as he looked in the darkness where he saw movement but unsure of who. Frala opened her mouth to ask a question but there was a sound coming out of the darkness toward the group. At first a yelling sound was heard. Angry words in the darkness began to move into the light of the fire embers and black soot rising from the church. The voices were coming their way. "Kill the Christians! Come all! Kill the evil from our village!" A man's voice urged the mob to follow him. There was commotion that reached out to the small band of believer's as they could hear the stirred up crowd. The antagonistic group consisted of Hindu's, Muslims, and Mantrik cult who had arrived to engage on an attack of a Christian Church on Christmas Day just as the Muslims had attacked the Orissa Christians. As the crowd of ten men emerged from the shadows into the fire's light, Frala pulled Ahja closer in her arms. Anut, Hulo, and Oojam knew most of these men that now stood before them and a few unknown that spurred the mob on as they began to slowly encircle them. Pate Danjan arrived on his motorbike and ran up to the front of the crowd to head them off, "Stop! What do you think you are doing?"
"These Christians are forcing people to convert!" one angry right-wing Hindu extremist member, Sahoj Yamya stated. "We do not want any more Christians in this village. No more converts! We want you out of this village tonight and never come back!""They have their papers from the Religion Authorities Office," Danjan reported, "authorizing that they can practice their religion..." "This day your evil cult will not breed a root in this village! We are here to be sure of it!" Eklavya Parag, a Hindu extremist stated with force, "and if you are here to protect them Danjan, then you are to blame also in that you allow them to be here!" Hrishikesh Apun, Officer of the Jhardkharn District, arrived on his motorbike and jumped off. He headed for the front of the crowd. "Stop!" If you harm these people you will be punished according to the law and Human Rights violations of these people!" "They parade in the streets and you let them. Singing and speaking about their Christian God!" Ashraf Bashira spit on the ground. He held a bamboo cane rod and shook it at Pate Danjan. "Lord, I see your cross," Oojam turned to Anut as he heard him speak this under his breath. "Hallelujah, Lord, I praise You," Oojam Ishwar said knowing something was about to take place that would change his life in this village from this day forward. There was no turning back. "We are going through with victory in You, Lord," Hula Batai answered. "Jesus, I believe," Ahja whispered, as he listened to his mother's prayer. "I am not alone, Lord, You are with me, You are here, Jesus, Jesus," Frala spoke quietly with her eyes closed. The crowds noise level increased as their confidence rose to achieve their objective to force the Christians out of their town this night. They carried torches overhead. "You are obstructing justice!" Hrishikesh Apun yelled. "You are leaving this village tonight! Now!" a Muslim, named Ashraf Bashira who ignored the authorities by yelling over his voiced command and waved a bamboo cane. He aimed at Hulo Batai. "We do not heed authorities warnings! We do not give papers of consent any thought! We do not want to hear anymore words, songs, or practicing enchantments from you spoken over our children!" Krishna Rhjanoni, a Muslim yelled. He had a makeshift whip in gesture to strike. The crowd pushed forward over the District Authorities as they stretched out their hands to grab at each one of the group standing in the middle of crowd. Hindu Mob Attacks Christians, Police Back Mob End of Part Five
The MobPart Six Oojam Ishwar, Hulo Batai, Anut, Frala, and Ahja Tekkah were surrounded by 10 men they thought at one time they knew. The mob rushed forward to grab at the christians to pull them apart. Among the crowd Frala's scream emerged. Whatever body part or clothing they grabbed they pulled, ripped, and jerked at the believers. Ahja was half carried by a Muslim spitting out, "you demon possessed child! I will force this evil out of you!." He swung Ahja around and threw him to the ground. Hulo felt a blow to his back first which threw him forward against a Hindu, who shoved, then beat him with his fist. "Get him off me...this mongrel dog!" Someone identified Anut as the ringleader of the Christian cult. "He is the one they follow! Get him!" Anut was struck on his right arm and punched with a fist in his kidney which dropped him to his knees. He knew he had to get up or they would beat him to death. He heard a small voice within his soul whispered the words, "move forward!" There was an opening in the crowd and he took a few steps. He was struck with a hard object. He heard a voice inside him say, "keep going!" He took another step and another. His clothes were being torn off him as he felt something sharp slice his right shoulder, "Ahhh!" he cried out. He reached up to where he felt the fire in his shoulder. He bent forward to move his legs a few steps more. "Hey! Drive these dogs out of town!" a member of the mob yelled. "Get out!" He waved a bamboo cane in triumph. The chant began to grow among the mob as they yelled, "get out! get out! get out!" Oojam was hit on the back of the head as he fell forward. He landed on a pile of dirt and sand that covered his face and he could not see. He wiped the debris from his face as he saw a man move forward to strike him. "Praise You, Jesus!" "How dare you call me by that name! I will beat you to death! Did you hear what he said to me!" Sahoj Yamya, Eklavya Parag, and Vishwa Dalj, Hindus, surrounded and began to pummel Oojam with their fists and took turns kicking him. Rajan Abhay ordered two others,"Get him up!"
Sahoj and Eklavya grabbed Oojam and forced him to stand. Rajan swung at him but instead of landing a hard blow on Oojam he hit Sahoj who cried out in pain!
Oojam began to run forward toward Hulo and Anut. Rajan looked once at Sahoj and ran after Oojam. Rajan jabbed with his fist into the right kidney.
"Ah yaah!" Oojam cried out as he fell to the ground.
The Muslims had the believers trapped in the middle. Bishe Chatterjee, Lieo Bose and Ashraf Bashira pushed and shoved at the Christians so they would fall before them. Drishna Rhjanoni, Raashid Qadim, and Saad Pervaiz took up the next blows once the Christians fell by hitting them with bamboo cane poles and one man had a long, thin board like cutting from a tree. Each took turns swinging at the victims knees, legs, heads and backs.
The believer's were herded in the direction of the worn path that lead to the end of the village. At 1 a.m. the loud sounds of yelling with the torches lit made a eerie scene reflected over the jungle growth and villagers who stood in the shadows to watch.Ten year old Ahja was hit on the left side of his face with a rock from the burned church. Its force caused him to see lights flashing before his eyes as he shook his head. He saw shadowy figures on either side of him but who were these people? Their faces were gone. What took their place was grotesque features that looked like someone he knew but they had changed into gnarling creatures. The sounds were distance to him and unfamiliar to his ears. He touched the left side of his face and felt dirt, fragments of charcoal and warm blood oozing from a gash. He was with many people yet he was somewhere else safe inside. His mind only knew one word to say, "Jesus." Frala was grabbed by her hair as she was pulled backward to the ground by a member of the Hindutva forces. Vishwa Dalj yanked at her Sari, "you should be sold to slavery! You defile creation!" Another yanked at her choli, "unwind this chaos and destruction she has caused married to this God!" She somehow rolled over away from their reach. She stood up and grasped her lehenga that was ripped. She saw her husband and ran in his direction. Pate Danjan and Hrishikesh Apun were all but forgotten as the mob moved through the middle of the small village with the Christians.
"Wait Pate!" Hrishikesh commanded. "These Christians bring it on themselves and this may end the matter. Leave them. Their blood is out of our hands else the mob may turn on us to beat or kill us. I say, let them have them." He put his hand on Pate's shoulder.Pate stood still and looked after the mob and the simple, kind people he had known for years. How could their simple life in a small village have changed so much? He let his shoulders sag as he resigned himself to give them over to fate and shook his head sadly. Dogs barked and sleeping chickens cackled on being awakened. The animals were running in every direction. Night sounds of insects, the nesting birds, and comforting jungle quiet were replaced by anger and violent voices. The people of the small village awoke as they peered out from their bAshAs to witness the beatings of people they knew, grew up with and lived by all their lives. The mob took every opportunity to punch, cane, or swing with a wooden slat at the bloodied believers. A Muslim participant named Tahawwur Aasif cried out, "believer's live here! Get them out! Burn them out!" The mob was ignited with fervor. Saad Pervaiz, Raashid Qadim, Krishna Rhjanoni, and Lieo Bose beat on the door and smashed it in. They rushed in the bAshA. The sound of yelling and breaking was heard. Saad Pervaiz and Lieo Bose had grabbed Veer Chidambar and Raashid and Krishna Rhjanoni grabbed Pavana Chidambar. The couple were forcibly removed and thrown on the dirt road. Their faces were of shock and surprise. Saad and Lieo went back in and dragged 11 year old Utpal out with 4 year old Waman half carried to be thrown to their parents feet. Utpal came up fast to a stand and Waman was crying.
"Are you Christians?" Bishee Chatterjee, a Muslim, asked.
When no fast answer was made, Sahoj Yamya, a Hindu, hit Veer with a bamboo cane on his chest with a thud.
"Ahh!" Veer responded. "Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ!"
Sagunda reached for Waman but one of the Hindus grabbed her hair to yank her backward. "You! You are a Christian?" Rajan Abhay asked through his teeth.
"Aah yi!" Sagunda cried out. "Yes! I am a Christian!" She reached for the fist that held her hair. Rajan Abhay pushed her away.
Rajan raised his bamboo pole over his head and came down on Sagunda's right shoulder with a whack.
"Ahhh!" Sagunda screamed.
Lieo, Sahoj, and Eklavya began punching Sagunda together.
Tahawwur Aasif swung at Veer and hit him in his left knee as hard as he could. "Ahhh!" "I yi!" Veer cried out.
Vishwa slapped Utpal as he stood up. He fell again.
Anut thought as he watched, 'if we stay here they will beat us to death.' He looked over at his wife, Frala. "We have to move!"
Anut ran through an opening of the men and Frala followed.
Utpal kicked at one of the assailants behind the knee. His assailants knee gave way and he fell to the ground. The man pushed him away with a hard shove. Utpal landed in Hulo's arms. Hulo whispered to Utpal, "run!"."You are christians?! You are being thrown out of our village. We want no more of your magic or your God. You will not force your religion to anyone else!" yelled Eklavya Parag, Hindu. A finger-wagging, elder Hindu spoke in Veer's face, "This day you end your lies and you take your God with you when you go!" The family was shoved within the group aready standing in the dirt road. "Get out of our village!" Sahoj Yamya, a Hindu commanded. The Muslims had lined up in two rows to beat the Christians between them. "Where is your God? Why doesn't He come and save you? Huh! They have no god!" Ashraf Bashira mocked. "We should behead all of you!" Raashid Qadim threatened. "There is no where to hide we won't find you! Saad Pervaiz warned. "Here for my god, Praise Allah! Allah Akbar!" Tahawwur Aasif, "I spit on your God!" He spit on Ahja then placed his sandal on Ahja's forehead and shoved him backward. The chant picked up among the Muslims, "Allah Akbar! There is no other god!" Krishna Rhjanoni was next, "I see you again, I will drag you in the jungle and shoot you in the head personally!" "You pigs!" Rajan Abhay struck Hulo in the left arm with a cane pole, "You monkeys!" He hit Frala in the lower back, "You dogs!" He swung and caught Oojam in the left hand.
Tahawwur saw that Waman was being left behind he moved behind the four year old and hit him in the back with a cane rod. It found its mark with a 'whack'. Waman screamed but wasn't moving. So the man hit him again, 'whack' then used the cane rod end to push him along.Christian Pastor in India Beaten In His BAshA!
Send the WarningVarsha's rickshaw In the shadows behind a wall, Ema Batai peered through a hole. She feared for her life. She felt helpless to stop the insanity she was witnessing. She saw her husband among the group persecuted. She cried, "God why? Why?" She ran to Oojam's shack to alert Varsha Ishwar who was awake awaiting her husband's return. Once Ema told her what was happening, Varsha looked in the distance with a lost look on her face. "Varsha? Varsha!" Ema called to her. "This isn't happening!" Varsha shook her head in unbelief. "Yes it is! I have saw them being dragged and hit!" Ema pulled at Varsha to standing. "Come on!" "What do we do?" Varsha looking helpless. "We have to go tell the others!" Ema hurriedly said. "Hurry Varsha!" Ema pulling her to the childrens mats where they lay asleep. "They could come to your bAshA! Come, let's get the children!" Ema picked up Pooja, 6, and instructed Varsha to get Rujuta, 8. Varsha followed Ema to the rickshaw. The women planned what they would do as Varsha jumped on the seat. "Go to Roshini's and Monea's! Bring them to Yogini's, do you hear me!?" Ema moved Varsha to the seat of the rickshaw. "Yes," Varsha put her feet on the pedals as Ema gave her a push down the well worn, dirt path. "Remember Varsha! Bring them to Yogini's!" "Okay!" Varsha voice sounded far away. Ema ran to the back of the bAshA to a narrow path packed down in a mound. A gulley was on one side draining crop downflow into a creek. She was almost parallel to the mob pushing at the Christians. Her heart was racing in her chest. "Jesus! Help Hulo! Don't let them be allowed to kill anyone!" was her plea. One more crop acre to cross through and about a hundred feet would bring her to Yogini's bAshA that was made secluded by a mesh of wild vines and trees. Her bAshA was not on the road where the mob was.
When they arrived at Bhanu's he used the code knock. No answer. He knocked again. No answer. He went to the front of the bAshA. Seeing no one, he looked through the thin, screened window."Bhanu? Bhanu?" whispered Phoolendu urgently. "Who is it?" Bhanu asked. "What are you doing there?" "Shhh! Bhanu, we have trouble brother! Open the door! It is Phoolendu! Pastor Anut, his family, Oojam, and Hulo are in trouble!" whispered Phoolendu. Bhanu peeked out the door and blinked his eyes a couple of times, "Phoo, who is in trouble?" He rubbed his eyes. "Sorry! Stayed up late with Hita." "Bhanu! The Muslims and the Hindus have attacked Pastor Anut and his family. Hulo. Oojam. Veer. Sagunda and the children!" "What! O my God! No!" Bhanu was jolted awake with the news. "Come in, quick!" "My family and I are going to follow the pastor and the others to the end of town to see if we can help. It is not safe to remain in your bAshA. We must go help them!" Bhanu turned around and ran into where his wife was sleeping beside their daughter, Hita. "Niral! Niral! Wake up! We got to leave now! The Muslims and the Hindus are attacking the Christians! Niral!" Niral awoke with a start. She looked around her quickly. Her eyes darted to Hita. Niral got up with Bhanu grabbing a thin coverlet to place Hita in. The little girl didn't awaken as she was wrapped up and laid in a sling to be carried on her father's back. The group headed along a ditch with a well worn path beside it. It lead toward the bridge at the far end of town. They followed the sounds through the dark. The torch lights ahead marked their location. Christian Persecution In India
End of Part Seven
Season Of Light In India
Ema came to the bAshA in the darkened eastside of the village to Yogini's where the only lights was candle light placed by Yogini for Christmas, set in niches on a mud wall. Ema made her way to her front door to code knock. Yogini, a light sleeper, came to the door.
"Ema! Is something wrong? Come in!""Yogini!" Ema urgently spoke, "Pastor Anut, Frala, Ahja..." Ema took a breath, "and others are being forced out of town right now!" "Where are they? Oh God!" Yogini looked outside first then turned around, "what do we need to do?" she thought out loud. Ema continued, "Varsha, her girls, and I are going to the end of town to see if we can help the others."
"O my, yes, I see," Yogini replied. "I am sorry, please forgive me, but yes, yes, I will gather some things, and come, help me, Ema!" Ema and Yogini packed cloth for bandages and ointment.
Varsha headed to Roshini and Monea's in her rickshaw with her two children still sleeping in the back. This could be dangerous, she thought, what excuse could I give without my husband and traveling in the middle of the night! She prayed, "Lord, let no eyes see me and my children as I travel, help me get to Roshini and Monea's without being seen." Then as she continued to think on this, she added, "Like Mary traveling with her baby, Jesus, to keep Him safe from those who were searching for Him to take His life."
Varsha heard a sound and quit pedaling. She listened. It was Albigib Dutta, 66, he was starting a fire under a pot in the front of his bAshA. As usual he was a night owl and was rendering fat of pigs for lard. He was beating a stick against an old cauldron on the fire boiling. He sat on an old, rickety chair that creaked as he rocked. He was smoking beedi that popped and sparked as it burned with each inhalation.
She moved on by walking and pushing her rickshaw. She looked into the rickshaw at her daughters. Sound asleep. "Lord, let no eyes or ears see or hear me. Praise You, Father."
Albigib stood up and stretched. Varsha didn't move. He went around his cauldron and stepped into his bAshA. Varsha moved quickly past. "Thank You, Father."
She arrived at Roshini and Monea's bAshA. Two widows that met years ago and decided not to live alone but work for the Lord togther. Varsha moved quickly to the door to rap gently the code knock.
"Roshini! Roshini! It's Varsha! Are you awake?" Varsha called out.
"Varsha!" Roshini rose up on her elbow from her floor mat.
"O Roshini!" Varsha spoke hurriedly as she moved to Roshini's sleep mat, "The Muslims and Hindus are beating pastor and his family and my husband is one of them!"
"What!?" Roshini rose up and pulled back her long, black hair streaked with white hair. She looked at Varsha whose eyes were wide in fear. "Where's the girls?!"
"They are in the rickshaw!" Varsha began to cry, "I come for you...and Monea to warn you!"
"Monea! Monea!" Roshini got up slowly and made sure of her balance then walked over to where Monea slept.
Monea half asleep spoke in a garbled, "What? What's a matter?"
"Monea! Pastor and his family and others are being beaten right now and driven out of the village!" Roshini emphasized in a hurried announcement.
Monea grunted as her arthritic limbs popped and complained with each movement.
"Where are they?" Monea moved to the door to look out in the darkness and listened.
"They're going to need help!" Roshini ignored Monea and was thinking about what was happening to their friends. "Here take this!"
She pushed a bag at Varsha. Roshini thought to pick up two kerosene torches. Monea turned to see Roshini grabbing spare cloth and mimicked Roshini's words.
"They'll be hurt." She went to her extra cloth basket to get long, winding cloths in thought of possible need and shoved them into the bag Varsha held.
"Varsha, which way are they headed?" Monea asked.
"That way! Toward the bridge." Varsha instructed by pointing.
"It will be a long night." Monea thought outloud. "My Savior, be with us."
"I think it may be safer for us to take that old way to the edge of town so we don't meet with trouble." Roshini suggested.
"We have to go to Yogini's first! Ema went to her bAshA to warn her. They will wait for us to come by and join them."
"Ah!" "Okay!" Roshini considered, "come on Monea, ready?"
"Okay!" Monea carried two more kerosene torches out.
They moved quickly beside Varsha's rickshaw as they quietly moved through town on a old, trail road. The older women hid themselves in their veils. Varsha heard them as they prayed along the way. Her thoughts wondered where her husband was right now. Was he okay? She felt a 'push' every now and then when the trail rose up by Roshini and Monea from behind. They traveled slowly and cautiously.
Varsha, Roshini, and Monea came to Yogini's without problem along the way. Ema and Yogini were waiting to join them. As they met, the women moved quietly toward the end of the village taking the trail the older women well knew and most did not use anymore.
As they neared the bridge the sounds of shouting were getting louder. The old trail they took ended in a field grown high with corn. The women crept painstakingly close to the bank of the river 200 feet from the bridge. They decided to leave the rickshaw behind at this point with Varsha, in case, her daughters woke up. The older women moved closer as they overheard the mob behind the corn crop making soft whishing sounds in the breeze. The Muslim and Hindu mob had turned back to town to abandon the wounded by the bridge. Their torches becoming fainter with each receding step. Slowly the night sounds and soft wind covered the wounded as they heard their cries and groans. Among them was four year old Waman's heart wrenching cry of pain.Kandhamal Persecution
End of Part Eight
Season Of Light In India
The Muslim and Hindu mob finally reached the end of town marked by a small river and a wooden bridge that crossed it. Its waters were muddied by a current constantly churning silt from the irrigation of crops and fertilize."We are going to torch your bAshA, so don't expect a home to return to. You go out to the world and find your "church", no more here, you understand!" the finger-wagging, elder Hindu stated. "We tolerate you no more christians! Take your God and go. Move out now! Go to your promised land!" Eklavya Parag, a Muslim extremist exclaimed. "Like the Jews in Israel, you will be exterminated too! Get out of our land! You are not longer a part of us!" One by one, the group turned to head back in town, disappearing into the night with their oil-lighted torches held overhead. "We know where the others of your believer's are and we will drag them out too!" Ashraf Bashira boastfully announced. The seven Muslim members turned to leave, feeling justice to their god had been served. Anut fell to the ground, in agony and grunting. He tried to gently reach over with his right hand to touch his left chest area. His face swelling, bloodied, and bruises began to appear. His shirt and Kolhapuri's were gone, his pants barely clinging in tatters, the objective of the mob was to shame him by making him naked. Oojam leaned over the bridge railing, groaning, his hand going to his knee, he grimaced as he slowly edged down to the ground. His head was reeling, lightheaded, almost faint from the blows he received. Frala had crossed the bridge, bending down to lie on the ground, worn out from the incident, with Ahja calling, "Mama," then a weaker, "Mama!" She reached out her hand to her son. He winced in pain just to kneel near her, "alright son?" her voice barely audible. He nodded with tears in his eyes, wiping them away with the back of his hand, he laid down in the dirt road near his mother, his face blackened by charcoal, and bloodied. They looked into each other's tear stained eyes for comfort. Veer was bent down from the waist, supporting his weight with both hands on each knee. He was breathing heavily, and swerving side to side. His son, Utpal, 11 years old, watched his father, not knowing what to do. He was rubbing his face, that hurt each time he touched his cheek because of a fist blow and bamboo cane strikes to his head, back, legs, and arms. His eyes wide with fear and shock. He tried hard to fight back as he was beaten. Sagunda had Waman who was crying loudly. His back bleeding from a bamboo cane strikes that made a gash on the back of his head. Sagunda put her son on the ground, fell to her knees, her son reached back for her but she couldn't hold him any longer, he still reached out to put his arms around her neck to hang on, crying. She lay on her side on the dirt road, panting, and moaning, she could not raise her arms to hold him any longer. Utpal moved to Waman, "Shhsh! WaWa! Shhsh!" Waman wouldn't be consoled. He wailed. Utpal let him go and closed his eyes. His father, Veer, grimaced as he set down on the ground and touched Sagunda. Then touched Utpal and then Waman. Waman looked at his father. His eyes telling his father of his shock and horror as his voice told of his pain. Hulo had a knife slash across the bridge of his nose that extended under both eyes, as well as his shoulder. The kidney punch caused him pain that "catched" everytime he tried to change position. Ema watched the last member of the mob leave. She motioned for the women to move forward slowly. What they witnessed after the beating made them recoil for a moment. Monea turned on a kerosene torch to see the path, Yogini, and Roshni followed suit with their torches. The beaten were bloody from head to foot. Blood still flowed out of their wounds. The cane whips had torn flesh and caused raised, reddened, swollen stripes. The swollen, bruised faces, and knife slashes caused a distortion of their faces and bodies. They watched as Anut fell on the ground at the edge of the bridge. Christians Killed In India
The WoundedEma tried to be cautious and hurry to Hulo's side. One more quick glance to be sure the assailants were gone. She rushed to his side of her husband. 'How could anyone ever hurt her loving Hulo!' She thought.
She prayed, "O Lord, no more, please, no more!" She was afraid if she touched him she would cause pain."Hulo? Hulo! It's me!" "Ahh, Ema," Hulo said weakly, as he lay on the ground on his side. "my back, yi!" he cried out when he turned his body. "Oojam!" Monea cried. "Varsha is here. She is off the road with your girls. We will help you get off the road. Can you walk?" "Yes!" Oojam forced the words out with an exhaled breath. Roshini rushed to Hulo with her lantern light. She noticed his slashed face. She took water from the river and washed his wounds gently with a torn cloth bandage, as he tried not to cry out but made under his breath sounds of pain. "Eee! Oh yi! umm!" Yogini looked at Sagunda, "Sagi! Are you okay?" "Yes!" she said in a hushed voice, "get Wa!" and grunted as she tried to rest on her elbow and look in Waman's direction. "I'll tend to him, rest, rest," Yogini spoke kindly. Waman was looking around at the new arrivals to eye them suspiciously. Would they hurt him too? His four year old face was covered with blood and tears as he recognized Yogini. His words were in outstretched arms and his voice with cries of pain. "Here little man, Mother Yogini's here, ah now, we gonna be okay, shsh, shsh, Wa, come now, let's clean your face a little, yes now," she soaked a bandage with water and began gently dabbing at Waman's face, and trying to look at the back of his head. His hair was matted with blood. Her wise eyes began to tear. She stopped them. "No tears Yogini! Too much to do! Be strong!" she kept talking to herself. Waman grasped her sari and held on in a fist. Monea moved to Anut's side to look at his injuries and wounds. Anut had overheard Monea telling Oojam about moving off the road. He spoke in an aching pained sound, "Monea's right, we got to get to off the road, out of sight." Roshini answered, "your right, they could come back or others might return!" She looked around and down the dirt road, no one seen, but still. Roshini reached out to Utpal and tenderly touched him. "Utpal," Roshini looked into his eyes, "are you okay?"
"Umm!" Utpal moaned. His face was swollen. He had multiple cuts and abrasions over his arms and legs.
Roshini looked his face and head over. "What hurts?"
"Here!" Utpal reached with his right arm to his upper back. "Here!"
"Can you stand?" Roshini asked. "Let me help you. We have got to get all of you off the road."Anut went to his son, "Ahja, son, we are still in danger, you must go with the others into the field, help me with mama." Ahja grimaced as he raised up, every part of his body was in pain. "Mama come on," Ahja half whispered in agony. "Frala, come, we must move off the road!" Anut bent over her slightly from the waist to look in her face. "Mama." Ahja came closer to his mother's body. "Frala!" Anut called out worriedly. She opened her eyes and turned to look in silence in answer. Slowly, as she placed her hands on the ground and supported herself on her knees, she cried out in pain, "ah!" then continued rising, Ahja came close, "Mama, hold on to me." Anut was on the opposite side, grunting, as they moved together off the bridge into the field, following Yogini carried Waman. Sagunda stopped and leaned on the bridge. She tried to reach her husbands arm. "Veer." she said weakly. Veer had recovered from his heavy breathing. He heard Sagunda, "let's go, I'm okay!" He held onto the bridge railing to maintain his balance, stopped, limped the next step, halted and used the railing like a crutch.
Catching Up To The OthersPhoolendu Prabir, Pavana, Janardan and Kaushal kept in the shadows but closely followed behind the mob. While crouching behind barrels, Phoolendu saw Bhanu carrying Hita, with Niral on the other side of the center of the village crossing a dead end road. "Pavie, there's Bhanu and his family. We will wait and cross the road to follow them into the fields?" Phoolendu whispered. Pavana gripped her husband upper arm in fear. Phoolendu put his hand over hers. The mob was waking the town as they forced the Christians along the road. Some stood and stared or went to join their neighbor standing to watch the spectacle. Villagers carried on animated conversations with a display of arm motions that ran its course through the sideline spectators. Some ran up to the edge of the crowd to ask what was going on. The onlookers shook their heads, or expressed concern but did not try to stop the humiliation or beatings of their fellow villagers they had known since childhood. Slowly the mob moved on with their victims in the center ring. The mob yelled threats with body blows that hit flesh with thuds and whacks. The cries of pain followed. The villagers either tagged along behind the mob or returned to their shacks in fear not understanding why this was happening. One of the mob was picking up stones along the roadside. He hurried to catch up as the steady pace toward the bridge at the end of town continued like a parade. The crowds noise wasted away as the darkness they left behind them returned upon the awakened villagers. Phoolendu saw the moment as an opportunity. He instructed his family to follow him, walk calmly across the road toward the dead end road. They stepped around the barrels into the dim lighting of lanterns without being hailed or asked questions of. Phoolendu turned to motion his wife and kids into the cotton field where he saw Bhanu a few minutes earlier enter. As they walked in, he looked around cautiously to see if any one was paying attention to their movement. He followed behind them. Phoolendu picked up the pace. "Let's try to catch up to Bhanu!" They walked quietly through one field into a mango grove. Phoolendu would stop to listen, no rustling of the crop or voices. Hearing nothing he continued. The mob was just ahead and parallel to their path. Phoolendu stopped. "Wait here! I will go ahead and see if Bhanu is just ahead!" Pavana nodded in the darkness with eyes wide. "Ja? Kausie?" Pavana whispered. "Mom, where are we going?" Kaushal asked. "I don't know son! The people we go to church with are in trouble tonight. We are going to help them if we can." "Baba said we are going to the bridge," Janardan informed. "I have to go!" Kaushal announced.
Pavana directed, "Go Ja! Go with him, so you won't get lost, be quiet, okay?""Come on Kausie! Hurry!" Ja took control over his younger brother. "Give me your hand!" "I gotta go!" Kaushal repeated. "Sssshhh! You don't want those men to come and beat you do you?" warned Janardan. "No," Kausie said innocently. Pavana still crouched down wandering what was going to happen. Not just to her family but every believer in Jesus Christ. Their lives were not going to be the same. She heard rustling along the path her husband disappeared down. She kept quiet and strained to hear familiar voices. "Pavie!" Phoolendu whispered. "Phoolen!" Pavana she spoke softly. "Where's Ja! Kausie!" Phoolendu called. "They have gone to relieve themselves." Pavana answered. "We have Bhanu and his family in the next field so we will go and meet them?" There was assurance in Phoolendu's voice. "Baba!" "Baba!" Kaushal called in a soft whisper. "Hush, stupid boy, you want those men to come and get you?" Janardan threatened his younger brother. "Here boys, hush, come here, yes, right here, I see you, follow my voice and keep silent." Phoolendu instructed. The boys voices then shapes came into view under moon light as as Phoolendu reached out. They grasped their fathers hand. "Come, hurry now! Pavie, let's go now, quickly!" as he looked back in the direction they came from. "Careful crossing the path into the next field?" They passed without notice to the next field with Bhanu and his family waiting. The mob continued to force the christians forward to their destination as the hidden members of the christian group huddled in the cotton field watching those they loved being unmercifully tortured. INDIA: Orissa Christians told to Convert of DIE!
"O Phoolen, this is very bad for all of this," Bhanu stated."I can't believe this is happening!" Niral said with tears. "Niral, I can barely see you," Pavana reached out until she found the cloth of Niral's sari. They hugged each other both discovered the other trembling. "Where's Hita?" Pavana asked. "She is on Bhanu's back asleep. She is feeling better. I gave her some gripe water. I just pray she remains asleep." The boys had their hands on their Baba's shoulder while he was crouched down talking to Bhanu. "O God, what was that!" Bhanu commented. They heard a man yell among their group controlled by the mob.
Phoolendu was searching the mob to see who cried out, "I think it was Oojam!""O God, have mercy on those beaten, Lord, just like you suffered at the hands of those who did not understand your love and hated you without a reason..." Phoolendu halted in his prayer. His heart a response, 'They have suffered along a narrow road. Bearing much torture and pain. Many will come to the cross because of what they have endured this night.' Niral prayed, "This night their lives and ours will never be the same! Let those that are beating your people turn from their evil. Let them come to repentence for their actions, turn this evil into your glorious good, lead more people into your salvation, Father, in Jesus Name we pray, Amen!"
Phoolendu echoed a soft, "Amen."The small group moved forward as they came to the bridge. They watched behind the cotton rows praying for each member as one by one they watched them fall to the ground. They were left to their wounds as the mob turned toward town. One completed his torment by telling the tortured group that their homes were to be burned and they need not plan to return to the village. The torches flickered light against the trees and crops with ghostly shadowed figures as they headed back to fulfill their threats. Phoolendu and Bhanu decided to leave the women and children in the field and go to the wounded then they saw from the opposite side of the road near the bridge was movement. "Bhanu, wait, do you see someone moving out there, see, across the road, near the field?" Phoolendu reached out and grasped Bhanu's arm. "Yes!" Bhanu tried to squint his eyes to see. Janardan was peeking over the crop field leaves and he whispered in excitement, "Baba! It's Yogini, Monea..." "Yes? Where do you see?" Bhanu asked. "I see them! It's Roshini, Monea, and Yogini!" Janardan repeated in a excited whisper. Bhanu looked back at the women, "wait here till we know it is safe?" Bhanu ordered. The women crouched together in the cotton field with Kaushal clasping his hands to his mother right arm.
Bhanu, Phoolendu, and Janardan moved forward carefully until they arrived at the ditch that separated the road and crop. They look down the road where the mob was returning to the village with their lights swallowed up by the jungle growth as they moved on. The men jumped the ditch to the road and moved toward the bridge.
They saw forms of women in sari's moving among the wounded. "Monea?" Phoolendu called out, "Is it you?"
"Yes! Yes! Come, it is safe," Yogini's voice reassured them. "It is us, Monea and Roshini and me! Who is with you?"
"Bhanu, Niral, Pavana, the kids."
"Thank you, Lord!" Yogini prayed. "I'm so glad to see you." The injured were groaning as they moved. Bhanu and Phoolendu saw them heading off the road with the women."Anut!" Bhanu called out softly. "Oojam? Is it you?" Phoolendu's voice reached out to his friend. Ahja heard their calls. "Baba! Look!" He raised his arm toward the approaching men. Anut heard familiar voices. He peered in the darkness toward their sounds. "Anut, I am so sorry my brother, I am so sorry!" Bhanu came to Anut's side.
Phoolendu kneeled beside Oojam. "How can I help you?""Let me have your arm, Bhanu!" Anut's voice was barely audible. Bhanu gave his arm to lean on as Anut limped down the narrow path behind the crop. Janardan took in what he saw before him stunned. The people he knew were bloody and beaten. Their faces haggard and in pain. He smelled blood and saw their clothes tattered. His eyes went from one to another taking in the sight in silence. "Ja!" Phoolendu ordered his son, "go get Mama to come!" "Okay!" Janardan ran back down the road. Frala's steps were weaving. Ahja noticed and called out to his mother, "Mama!" he put his hand in her hand in an effort to help her. Frala seemed to not notice but followed. Her face streaked with tears and dirt, grimaced and moaned with movement. She tried to wrap herself in her tattered sari. Hulo got up as he limped. He reached out to Phoolendu to help bear weight with Anut leaning on Phoolendu's other side.
End of Part Eleven
Season Of Light In India
26 December 2010, morning
Time To Return
The morning dawn arose in beautiful assorted colors of pink, red, yellow, and orange hues decorating a blue sky. Oojam was the first to awaken. He turned his head to feel a shooting pain through his neck like electricity that made him cry out. He laid his head back down on the ground. He prayed as it seemed in and out of consciousness. He became aware he was praying.
He heard himself say, "God, I am still here. What's going to happen?" He closed his eyes again. Time had passed. He woke up to see the blue sky and corn moving in the morning breeze. He smelled blood and tasted it. He heard his friends groaning. Movement of someone as they went to someone asking if they wanted a drink of water. He raised his forearm and looked at it. Others were stirring. His mind told him he had to get up. He raised up and dizzyiness made his head whirl. He looked at the bodies lying beside him. Am I alive?
Yogini awakened. Her arthritis upon lying on the cold ground was causing stiffness. She mumbled, "I yi yi, oh!" Her comment stirred Roshini from slumber. Her eyes opened and groggly lifted her weight to pitch a elbow to look around the scraggy group. "Yogini, how is it with you?"
"Ah, not as bad as these are." Yogini looked at the beaten. "Time to go back?"
"Yes." Roshini replied somberly. "I guess it is time." She took a deep breath. "Lord, make us ready."
Yogini looked over at Monea and reached out to lay a hand on her back, "Monnie, Monnie, got to get to the clinic." No answer. "Monea!"
"O, I hear, I'm just thinking." Monea was deep in thought. "What happens when we get to the village?"
No one answered.
With a lot of grunts, and "Oh, oh, ehh's" getting their old joints to flex and move they proceeded to gently wake the wounded as they checked on them. Slowly the group was stirring amidst the corn rows. The morning birds were chirping and the insects were singing in the trees and plants. A soft breeze was blowing.
Anut, Frala, and Ahja were lying side by side. Yogini came over to him to place her hand on his arm, "Anut?"
The two girls in the rickshaw awakened and looked around, "Mama! What happened to the people!"
Varsha explained to her daughters, "the people are hurt and we are helping them."
"We have to go back." Anut said quietly. He bent over at the waist and his hands on the rickshaw wheel for balance and the other hand to the right knee. He cried out with "ahyee ah!"
Bhanu listened quietly with his head down for a moment beside Anut. "Anut, what will happen? Will they attack again?"
"I don't know. Let's try to get help at the clinic." Anut thought.
"Let me get Hita and I will help you." Niral had just changed her diaper, so Bhanu lifted her up on his back and secured her with a sling.
Hulo tried to rise up slowly with a cry, "Yi!" "Mmm" "oh!".
Bhanu looked at Anut and nodded. Anut stepped. Then another. He side-stepped and Bhanu reached out to hold on to him till he gained his balance.
"No, I'm alright...go to the clinic." Anut's voice trailed off as he leaned on the end of the rickshaw to catch a breath.
"Anut..hold on to me, brother." Bhanu looked around at the others, "time to go" he spoke softly.
Phoolendu walked to Oojam. "Come. Take my hand. I will get you back." Oojam looked up at Phoolendu to nod his head in a 'yes'.
He rose off the ground pushing with his arms to stand as his knees was still hurting to bend. His pants were torn to reveal a swollen knee. He stood up as dizzyness hit him. Phoolendu reached out to steady him.
"Lean on me Oojam." Phoolendu spoke softly.
Yogini looked over to Sagunda. "Sagi, I'll take Waman, okay?"
Sagunda could only stare back at her for a moment. She replied with a far away voice, "okay."
One by one they rose up with assistance of another. They moved out of the field onto the dirt road. Oojam found each step when bearing weight caused pain. Frala walked with her eyes down to the ground with Ahja at her side. They walked in silence. Varsha's daughters, Pooja and Rujuta were watching with eyes wide. She put her daughters inside the rickshaw and walked it out of the field's furrowed areas until she reached the dirt road. Phoolendu instructed Janardan to help Varsha move the rickshaw.
"Slow pushes, not hard son. So the injured can keep up!"
Waman's bleeding from the head and back had slowed to an ooze. He occasionally touched his head and whined. Yogini came to his side and kneeled down. "Now Waman, I'm going to carry you."
Waman reached out his arm toward his mother as she lay on the ground. "Waman, listen to old Yogini. Mama's not feeling good. Mama's coming with us." Yogini was fashioning a cloth sash to wrap Waman to carry him on her back.
"Come Waman," Yogini ordered.
"Go Wawa," Sagunda spoke in whisper as she waved at him to go. With a whimper Waman allowed himself to be put on Yogini's back. He put his thumb in his mouth and leaned on her back for comfort.
Niral and Monea came to Sagunda where she lay.
"Sagi?" Niral reached to touch her but did not as she feared she may hurt her.
Monea spoke, "Sagi? Let's get you up. Can you move?"
With a grimace on her face Sagunda pushed against the ground to raise up. Swollen and reddened areas on her arms and legs told them of her pain. She winced and cried out, "ahyi! Oh! Oh! mmm!"
"Come on, that's good." Monea encouraged.
"Lean on us, okay?" Niral instructed.
"Where's Veer?" Sagunda softly spoke as she looked around.Veer was unable to walk with the pain he felt in his knee.
"I can make a stick like old Adu has to walk with!" Janardan suggested. He found a fallen limb and broke off the small brances. Veer leaned on the side of the rickshaw and the branch Janardan brought him. Anut was on the opposite side of the rickshaw to steady his gait due to his back pain. With their little pushes, Varsha was able to walk forward with the rickshaw.Indian Christians Under Attack
End of Part Twelve
Season Of Light In India
Time To Go
26 December 2010 morning
The market place was busy with morning hollering across the narrow street. Old, whitewashed buildings lined either side the market as a backdrop. The date palms with extended branches provided a shade and the leaves trembled in the morning breeze overhead. The small market buzzed with activity of people. The rickshaws, pushcarts and bicyclers were loaded with bulk produce as they moved among the crowd.
A Hindu elder of the village, Jobi, was sitting on a tree stump 50 feet away from the market. He liked his perch as he had a good view of the activity of the market place. At age 79, one did not have much to do anymore but he and his friends close to his age had managed to meet here every morning to talk, complain, spit betel juice, argue politics, and discuss how it use to be for hours during the business hours of the market. He sighted his old friend, Dhawi, aged 88, coming closer as he leaned on a cane pole his son had shaved down and covered with cloth to fit his arthritic hand. He nodded at Jobi but his eyes looked beyond him to a group of men, women, and children coming his way. He pointed an arthritic, index finger at them. Jobi turned to see what caught Dhawi's attention and his expression changed. As Dhawi came to his preferred sitting place, Jobi, leaned over to tell of terrible rumors spoken of last night he had overheard.
The first market lot was assigned to Abiljad, a Muslim Indian and known hard bargariner who hawked his fruits loudly. He was arguing prices with a prospective buyer as his eyes saw a group that entered the market. His buyer noticed his attention had changed and turned to see what he was looking at. The market sounds slowly became silent as the beaten and tattered Christians walked forward.
The rickshaw entered the market area first. Varsha stopped and looked Anut's way as if to question, 'should they go on?'
"Stay in the rickshaw!" She commanded her daughters, Pooja, and Rujuta, looked at her as their mother's voice was different than they had heard her speak before. They sat down and held to the side of the rickshaw. The children were quiet. Their eyes watching the adults for clues of what was going to happen.
Anut looked at Varsha, "We go on." Varsha continued. There was silence. The faces of the people held blank stares as if mesmerized. Some had already heard about "what happened" and a few knew well as they were apart of the mob that attacked the Christians.
Frala had glanced up to see where they were then cast her eyes down and her lips moving in prayer. Her tattered clothing was wrapped around her as best she could. As the beaten up christians approached the market, they cast down their eyes submissively. The people who were talking lively became quiet as they backed away from their bloodied neighbors. This was the only road directly to the clinic. They had just 100 feet to cover.One Muslim man, Mustef Sharwa was standing behind his produce motioned for his son to come near and whispered in his ear. In response to his fathers words, the boy quickly ran the opposite direction on an errand. One Hindu man who respected Anut stood aside to allow him to pass and said, "Anut!" as the man looked up and down Anut to see his clothes had been ripped, and torn and blood dried on Anut. He backed off more seeing the blood as Hindu's do not touch blood which defiles them. "Tawal" Anut spoke in whisper..
Tawal's eyes looked at him, "I'm so sorry..."
"It is because of Jesus..." Anut's strength was ebbing. Anut's voice trailed off with tears in his eyes. Tawal cast his eyes downward. Anut wanted to witness to him but could barely take a deep breath.Bhanu had watched Anut and knew what was in his heart. The opportunity to tell someone about Christ. It could be their last chance.
"I believe my friend wants to say this to all of you, "If I could shed my blood for you so you could understand how much Christ loves you I will do it. Our Lord Jesus Christ shed His Holy Blood for our sins." Bhanu turned his head so others could hear him in the market, "It is by His Blood covering that we are forgiven of our sins. No other sacrifice needs be done. Christ paid it all. He took the keys of death, hell, and the grave. He set those held in bondage free. He was resurrected from the dead. He is our Savior. There is no greater love than to die for your friends so they can live."He noticed his knees knocking as he watched the silent crowds eyes on him. He swallowed hard then continued. The tension in his throat seemed to choke him. "Christ message is this; love those who hate you, who persecute you, who accuse you wrongfully, for great is your reward in heaven! If I love only those who love me what reward is that? But to love those who do not love me! I overcome the world! Love conquers all! I can have the world and every power, wealth, riches it possesses but if I do not love, I am nothing. Do you see these people beaten and bloodied? We forgive those who have done this because they do not know what they are doing! Are our homes burned? We forgive those who have burned our homes? It is the power of Christ that lives in us! I give you peace. Not the peace of this world. I give the peace beyond all understanding! That is the peace of Christ who loves you and has died for you so you can have real peace. Now please, friends, let us pass in peace so we can take our friends to the clinic." The group moved on to the reach the clinic unmolested.
Pate Danjan meet them at the clinic as they arrived. As they neared, he slightly bowed but he had a difficult time looking into their eyes. "I'm sorry...I'm so sorry, Anut. I have told the doctor about what happened last night. He has come early. We were waiting for you."The group slowly entered quietly in the clinic.
"I have to tell you that the IDF Party warned the Medical Doctor that helping them could threaten them too. The MD convinced the authorities that to provide care of the wounded then move them to the relief camp by authorities could help both parties involved without further incident. The Muslims agreed to leave the Christians alone if this was done.
As the Muslims and Hindus had threatened, they burned Hulo Batai and Oojam Ishwar bAshA's. After the visit to the clinic the medical doctor and the police contacted a relief camp in the eastern Orissa state to accept the Christians as dissidents. The Christians were transported as soon as possible to prevent any further attacks with all they could carry to the government run relief camp.Anti-Conversion Laws
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