WHO WE ARE
Persecution Relief is an inter-denominational initiative. We work with ALL Christians, breaking barriers of denomination – whether Protestants, Catholic, Orthodox etc. We need to be united as the persecuted Church cannot afford to be isolated based on denominational differences. While some denominations have the resources and infra-structure, several independent and unregistered Churches, do not have networking capabilities or the support system to defend against such brutal persecution
Persecution Relief, while providing Comprehensive support [Prayerfully, Financially, Politically & Judicially] to the persecuted Church and the Christian Community in India, also serves as the link filling this crucial gap, highlighting, influencing and bringing awareness about persecution to the Church in India.
When the Lord speaks to you, you have to be obedient to His voice because you don’t have a choice. You can either obey Him immediately or He will make you obey, but that journey could be too painful. If you have a calling you must not resist or deny it!
My story begins in July 2015. The Holy Spirit spoke to me specifically to help the persecuted Church in India and my immediate response was “Lord I can’t !!”
When I understood the whole significance of what the Lord was telling me, I was terrified. “No Lord, I can’t do it “ was my counter, since I was not interested to engage in a ministry. I never had a burden for it; never had it crossed my mind in the past; In a nutshell, I never wanted to come out of my comfort zone, living on my terms, not willing to give up my life of ease and indulgence.
However, God was relentless. While I was restless and continued to battle God’s voice, He continued to meet with me, telling me that when He came to the earth, He offered up that which cost Him everything; that I would have to serve Him in that same spirit. Every service of mine must cost me something.
God filled me with His Holy Spirit and put a clear mandate in my heart – He wanted me to “come out, make people aware of His Persecuted Church in India, raise up Prayer Warriors and for me to provide comprehensive support through this organisation”. Step by step, He began unveiling His blue print to me, showing me the situation which the Church was going to face. It is from this fount, that rivers of living water began to flow.
The name “Persecution Relief” was the first choice ‘input from God’, and every single decision from that moment on, started to unfold, one after the other – without any real effort from my side. Just like when David got the blueprint for the Temple of God, all the material required for the building of the temple was found to be in excess, that he had to tell the people to stop bringing offerings – God continued to teach me that when He gives you a vision, He would provide everything required to accomplish this vision.
I made the website of Persecution Relief and like everybody else does, I put a ‘Donation Page’. One day, on my travels, I heard the Lord speak again, asking me to remove the ‘Donation Page’.
God said “Why do you have the ‘Donation Page”? It is I who gave you this project and it is mine to provide everything you need. Empty yourself first. It is very easy to do ministry with someone else’s hard-earned money.” I felt humbled by His chastisement but this incident propelled me to trust Him 100%.
As my journey began, I started talking to Senior Leaders, sharing my vision for the persecuted Church in India.
When I look back, Persecution Relief has had an incredible journey, providing relief to over 1000’s of individuals, organisations & persecuted Churches. I thank God for every brother and sister, Church and Organisation, who have sacrificially donated and supported Persecution Relief and the persecuted Church in our land. I praise God with all my heart for such people. We could not have achieved this without your help and support.
Since the launch of Persecution Relief, our footprint and reach throughout India has been growing across the 28 Sates of India. Our vision is to build a refuge center which would be a shelter for the persecuted church in India.
I give thanks to the Almighty, for giving me this great ministry. I praise God for every heart that has been touched, every life that has been transformed, every family and relationship that has been restored through Persecution Relief — all as a result of Christ’s amazing work on the cross and the courage and determination of the servants of God, to be the light and salt in this world.
There is much to be done; my role model is Jesus Christ and our accomplishments are defined by the cross – by service, humility and sacrificial love. We believe in the coming days many Persecutors will accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Savior and will carry the baton ahead.
Regardless of the cost, I want to be an example and inspire thousands across India to continue this legacy, to dedicate their lives in remembering and serving the persecuted Church.
God is at work through the various lives touched through Persecution Relief.
May the beauty of Jesus Christ shine brightly through them.
“To ensure freedom to worship Jesus Christ in India”
The Indian Constitution guarantees the right to Freedom of Religion which is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25-28 of the Constitution of India. Modern India came into existence in 1947 and the Indian constitution’s preamble was amended in 1976 to state that India is a secular state. Every citizen of India has a right to practice and promote their religion peacefully. Every citizen also has the freedom to change one’s religion or belief.
India is knitted together as a secular nation with so many religions and the constitution guarantees to every citizen, the liberty to choose, follow, propagate and practice the religion of their choice.
Recently, minority communities, especially Christians, have experienced numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment & violence across India, largely by Religious Fanatic groups.
The National & State governments also applied several laws to restrict religious conversion, foreign funding of NGOs, FCRA, Orphanages, Children’s home, Closure of Church’s in private properties, holding of public religious meetings etc.
Nine States –Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand & Uttar Pradesh have passed the “Anti Conversion Bill’ criminalizing religious conversion. This Bill infringes upon the individual’s right to convert, This Bill has amplified the cultural difference between the Christian and the Hindu communities.
The word intolerance is insufficient, looking at the threat it possesses as far as the current situation in India is concerned .
Persecution Relief highlight these issues to the Central & State Governments to ensure Freedom to worship Jesus Christ in India.
When incidences of religious intolerance occur in India, it is the responsibility and duty of the Indian government to curb & control these disputes and take strict actions against its perpetrators.
Persecution Relief has earned a reputation for providing trustworthy and reliable information. We speak up for millions of Christians who are denied their God-given right to choose his or her faith and to practice it in India; we believe that the freedom of choice is fundamental to the proper functioning of a democratic society.
“To provide comprehensive support to the persecuted Church in India, by linking it to the Free Church of the world”
Christians continue to face wave after wave of communal violence – forced closure of Churches by Government authorities; men, women and children beaten indiscriminately during Sunday Worship service; religious fundamentalist mobs walking into Churches with total impunity, desecrating and destroying the sanctity of the sanctuary, burning tearing, stamping and desecrating the Holy Bible, false cases, imprisonment and lawsuits of ungodly men, ex-communicated from villages, boycotted and chased out of their homes, forced to live in the forests- are some of the regular incidents faced by Christians in modern India.
However, a large percentage of the Christian Community are unaware that persecution is an actuality and prolific in India. Persecution Relief seeks to link this gap by bringing to the forefront, the reality and stories of the tortured and displaced Christians.
“Serving Persecuted – Loving Persecutors”
As Jesus’s followers, our primary focus is to embody the love of God with our fellow citizens. Although it’s true that Christians are burned, beaten, tortured, persecuted, denied promotions and side lined by the society at large, Jesus has taught us that, “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”.God is a peace-loving God and a peace-making God. God’s children should have the character of their Father. Christians are called to be a peculiar people, with the mind of Christ – a people of light, who respect, love and pray for their persecutors.
We must pray for the persecutors and love them openly. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” Eph. 6: 12.
Persecution Relief also encourages Churches to shed the “Enemy image” we have of those who Persecute us Political Leaders / Political Parties / Individuals / Terrorist Groups/ Fanatic Religious groups. We do not promote or encourage Church Leaders or Pastors in lodging an FIR against the Persecutors. Our model is Jesus Christ, who has commanded us to forgive our transgressors.
A team of Prayer Warriors regularly pray for them, so that many Saul’s may be transformed to Paul. We also educate the Church to forgive the Persecutors just as Jesus taught us.
If you’ve built castles in the air…. put foundations under them’. – Thoreau said
Persecution Relief will, for the first time, build a Refuge Center, “PARAN” which will be a sanctuary providing life-line to the persecuted Church in India. This shelter will address the desperate need of lodging, post-trauma care, spiritual renewal, re-commitment and restoration to the widows and children of martyrs and other groups of persecuted brethren, forsaken by the community.
The Holy Spirit birthed the concept of ‘PARAN’ ……… in the heart of Bro. Shibu Thomas.
Currently, there is no organization or initiative in India or abroad, that provides a place of refuge or sanctuary for the persecuted Church. ‘PARAN’ was envisioned…….and God willing, ‘PARAN’ will be established very soon. This will be a life-line for the persecuted Church in India, providing a place of refuge for our brethren facing subjugation, discrimination, culturally and religiously, economic deprivation, financial constraints, legally marginalized with little support from the government and non-government organizations.
This shelter will seek to address the need of desperate widows of martyrs and children of martyrs, forsaken by the community and the Church (in some instances), providing adequate post-trauma care and restoration.
So why the name ‘PARAN’ and what does ‘PARAN’ mean?
The word ‘PARAN’ has an interesting history and means “abounding in caverns”.
Like most of the metaphors applied to God in Scripture, the name and concept of ‘PARAN’ was coined as a tribute and homage to Our Jehovah God, who is figuratively the solid Rock, immovable, stead and unchanging. Jesus Christ is the ‘Rock of Ages’, who was ‘cleft’ or became a ‘PARAN’ for us – split apart, apart from the Father, in order to make a way, forcefully, through sin. He is the ‘cavern’ that is carved out from the parent rock. Jesus is our hiding place; He is the way. God splits the ‘Rock’ so that we can take refuge and hide in Him for our every need. When we abide in Him and cling to Him for our every need, no earthquake shock can move us from the eternal foundations.
‘PARAN’ will be a place of shelter and refuge, a foretaste of ‘Heaven’; of God’s redemption, God’s compassion, God’s protection, God’s provision and God’s peace
Our Vision and Aim:
- ‘PARAN’ will be India’s ‘Clarion’, to announce the ‘unseen and inconspicuous’ crisis of ‘widespread’ Christian persecution of the Church in India
- ‘PARAN’, scheduled to open very soon. God willing, will be a place of preparedness, of recommitment, dying to ‘self’ and ready to die for the cause of Christ
- ‘PARAN’ will endeavor to better equip servants of God, to be filled with double portion of the Holy Spirit and to accomplish greater exploits for the glory of Jesus Christ
- “PARAN’ will be a station – a gathering place; a ‘stopover’ for abandoned and broken men and women of God, seeking to be empowered, refreshed and equipped to walk ahead, in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit; sending them out into the world, with a new road map for life, to achieve the plan of God in their lives
- ‘PARAN’ will inject and infuse passion and enthusiasm into people, provoking and inspiring people to ‘no longer live for themselves but for HIM, who died and rose from the grave’
- ‘PARAN’ seeks to equip God’s people to do His work, to achieve the plan of God in their lives, to build up the Church – the body of Christ.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth. There is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4). He is our Father (Matthew 6:9) and reigns over the universe as the Lord Almighty (Revelation 4:2-11). He created all that exists as Father (Genesis 1:1), Son (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17), and Spirit (Gen. 1:2).
We believe that there is One God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19; John 10:30; Ephesians 4:4-6.
We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood on the cross, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1-4 and 1:29; Acts 1:11 and 2:22-24; Romans 8:34; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-4 and 4:15).
We believe the Holy Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God revealing the love of God to the world. (1 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; John 3:16).
We believe that all men, everywhere, are lost and face the judgment of God, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ results in regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, we believe that God will reward the righteous with eternal life in heaven, and that He will banish the unrighteous to everlasting punishment in hell. (Luke 24:46-47; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 3:23; 2 Cor. 5:10-11; Eph. 1:7 and 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7).
We believe that “Jesus suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried.” Jesus’ physical life and death (Luke 23:46) are documented by the Scriptures and by Roman and Jewish historians as well. He came to be “the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2), dying in our place (2 Cor. 5:21) to pay the penalty for our sins and purchase our salvation (Rom. 5:8-9).
We believe “that on the third day He rose again from the dead.” Jesus’ physical resurrection (Matt. 28:1-10) is the miracle which proves his divinity (1 Cor. 15:12-20). He rose again as he promised (Matt. 16:21), proving that God’s word is authoritative (Matt. 28:18), trustworthy (Matt. 5:18) and relevant today (2 Tim.3:16-17). His resurrection was the central affirmation of early Christian preaching (Acts 2:29-33; 17:31, 1Cor.15:1-8).
We believe that “Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.” Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:9) further proved His divinity. He is now “at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8:34).
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment. (1 Cor.15:51-57; Rev. 20:11-15).
We believe in the Holy Spirit, “The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:4, 9)”. He indwells every believer at salvation (Rom. 8:18; 1 Cor.3:16). His gifts for ministry (1 Cor.12:28-29; Rom. 12:6-8; Eph. 4:11-13) are still operative today. We are called to submit to his leadership and seek His power for service every day (Eph. 5:18).
We believe in Baptism in the Holy Spirit. We believe all Christians are entitled to and should seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues according to Acts 2:4. This experience gives a Christian power to witness by his/her life and words.
We believe in the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints. The Church was founded by Jesus (Matt. 16:18) and is His body for ministry today (1 Cor.12:27). All believers (1 Cor.12:13) from all time (Hebrews 12:1) are part of the universal Church.
We believe in the forgiveness of sins. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Salvation is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23). We must each receive this gift personally (John 3:3) by confessing our sins to God (Proverbs 28:13) with repentance (Acts 3:19; 2 Cor.7:10), asking Jesus to forgive them (Luke 11:4) and trusting in Him as our Lord and Master (Rom. 10:13).
We believe when we make this commitment to Jesus, He makes us a new creation (2 Cor.5:17) and holds us in His hand forever (John 10:28). As believers, we must continue to confess our sins to God and seek His forgiving grace (1 John 1:8-10). Since the results of sin are death (Rom. 6:23), those who refuse God’s offer of salvation in Christ are separated from Him forever in hell (John 3:18; Rev. 20:15).
We believe in the “resurrection of the body”, Jesus’ resurrection assures us of eternal life with Him (1 Cor.15:22). Believers never die (John 11:25-26). At the moment of physical death, we are instantly united with Jesus in Paradise (Luke 23:43).
We believe in the “Second coming of Christ”. We believe that the blessed hope of the Church is Christ’s return from heaven, to catch up the Christians who have died, together with those who are alive, to be with Him forever.
We believe in life everlasting. Christians will spend eternity with God in imperishable bodies (1 Cor.15:42-44, 53-55), worshiping Him forever (Rev. 5:13). Jesus came to give us abundant life now (John 10:10) and eternal life with Him in heaven (John 14:1-3). These statements constitute “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). They form the theological foundation for all that our ministry does, to extend God’s Kingdom around the world (Hab. 2:14).
We believe in the “End-time events”. We believe Christ will return with His saints to establish a 1,000-year reign of peace. After this will come the final judgment of the wicked, and then a new heaven and a new earth.
We believe in the “Church and its mission”. We believe the Church is the body of Christ with a divinely called ministry. Its purpose is to evangelize the world, worship God and encourage believers to grow in the likeness of Christ.