Pastor Josemon and Pastor Johnson almost abandoned hope when their jeep was blocked by tractors and surrounded by 15 men in the middle of nowhere, almost 120 km away from their home in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.
Ps. Josemon, a missionary pastor, had driven with his friend Ps. Kevin from Mumbai with relief supplies, clothes, over 100 ration kits and fruits in his own jeep to the village of Gadsapur, Rajakhera, in Dholpur district, Rajasthan which lies on the border between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The unending downpour of rain had flooded the villages that were located on the Chambal river banks. The devastation it had caused left people wanting for food, clothes, and other essentials as well as medical supplies.Rajakhera and other nearby villages had not received any help thus so far. It was an area where despair was commonplace.
“It was like I had not seen people in so much need and God had answered my prayers by sending relief supplies through another pastor from Mumbai.” Ps. Josemon recounts.
Ps. Josemon stated these were some of the hardest places to navigate through and provide relief. He worked in Madhya Pradeshand these border areas of Rajasthan for years on relief projects. He also became friends with the Christian believers and opened a free tuition center there.
However, it was while he and his friend Ps.Johnson were busy in their work that a young man stood in the field videographing them and their vehicle. At one point, he recalls, he asked the young man why he was photographing them to which his reply in Hindi was ‘Process chal raha hai.’ Soon afterward, he learned from the villagers accompanying them for relief work that hebelonged to one of the religious fanaticgroups and had been opposing Christian believers in the villages.
Ps. Josemon realized then that his calling was to strengthen and revive the believersthat lived in the remotest, inaccessible areas and help their faith survive in the midst ofsuffering. But that question soon became personal.
After completing their relief work and with very little supplies left as also with the punctured tyre replaced, Ps. Josemon decided not to visit another village and drove back to Gwalior. He must have driven 3-4 km from Rajakhera town when, his vehicle was blocked by 2 tractors.
It was 8pm at night. Stuck on a narrow road, shrouded in darkness, fields on both sides, 15 men jumped off the tractors armed with sticks, weapons and stones. Another tractor blocked them from the rear to stop them from reversing their jeep. One of the men reached into the jeep, pulled out the supply bag and Ps. Johnson’s travel bag and threw it in the field.
The mob started pelting stones at them, broke the windshield, side view mirrors, the headlights, damaging the vehicle on all sideswith sticks and weapons. They tried to force both the pastors to come out of the jeep but they stayed put in the vehicle. The attack grew even more violent as one of the perpetrators punched Ps. Josemon on his face several times causing him to feel faint but as Ps. Josemon puts it ‘I somehow revived instantly and miraculously.’
At one point, both the pastors thought that was the end, as the mob group threatened to burn up the jeep. One aggressive extremist reached into the vehicle to pluck the key off from the ignition but could not find the keys. Ps. Josemon had in his presence of mind hidden the keys on the floor of the vehicle. Ps. Johnson also directed the man towards his friends saying they had taken the keysthus diverting their attention.
With death knocking on their vehicle doors and faith fighting within them, Ps. Josemon, saw the tractor before them clearing the waysuddenly. Out of nowhere, he saw an old man come out of the field and throw both their bags into the vehicle. Ps. Josemon seeing the gap, started his jeep and stepped on the accelerator and drove off speedily aheadthrough the gap. They finally reached Gwalior in one piece. They could not find a police station to stop and report the incident on the way.
Soon afterward, the pastors learned the believers in those villages they had travelled to also were beaten by these extremists. Shaken by the incident but giving glory toGod, both the pastors learned that faith can endure and thrive even in the midst of despair and struggle.
The key is to be able to persevere despite the suffering . Ps. Josemon spoke with the persecuted Christians in the villages and found kindred souls, who continued standing strong in their faith willing to endure the cost and suffering that comes from following Jesus.
Persecution Relief believes God will never stop doing good in the midst of evil and protects his children when they set out to do His will. Our job is to connect the dots so fellow Christians around the globe can walk hand in hand in faith while learning from each other’s personal encounters and experiences.We reach out to provide, equip and assist believers to learn to walk with God in tough places while continuing to follow Jesus joyfully, even in persecution.
Please pray for the people suffering and in need as the flood situation worsens in the villages on the river banks of Chambal in both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Please pray for the believers who are facing severe challenges both physically, emotionally and materially in these villages.
Please pray for Ps. Josemon who stoically continues collecting and supplying relief to people of these villages which are devastated by the floods.
Persecution Relief urges the Body of Christ to remember those who suffer for their faith across the globe, especially those in India. As the founder, Bro. Shibu Thomas states, “We are persecuted as the Body of Christ because when they are hurt we are hurt as we all are part of One body.” A deep lesson that is sometimes forgotten; we neglect to share in the persecution of our fellow brethren. We engage the Scripture not as just somebody who believes in certain truths but the whole truth– Jesus Christ.
It is time to grasp the power that we, the church, have because we are part of God’s family. We encourage you to open your heart, your mind, and your eyes to the realities of walking with Christ in tough places and sow into the lives of these persecuted brethren.
1 Peter 2:12 – “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
1 Peter 4:13-14 “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
Persecution Relief stands for truth and are just a call away for help. We encourage our persecuted brethren to unhesitatingly reach out for assistance 24*7. Our Toll Free Number : 1800-1234-461
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