Heroic Kashmiri testimonies of keeping the faith – 3

Thank God for His Mercies & Love – Justice Saldanha getting better

Stop Press: The Lord has heard our continous prayers for the speedy recovery of Justice Michael Saldanha from the major surgery, he underwent. Visitors are as yet Not Allowed and he is advised much rest. He is healing slowly but steadily. Today, his wife, Marie and BG Koshy informs that he was started orally on clear liquid diet and it will be some time, before he is completely well. Do keep the prayers going – It is the only reason, we have Justice Saldanha still with us. May God bless The CSF intercessors and prayer warriors.

Who is responsible for –
Kashmiri Christians Reverting to Islam?
The Suffering Kashmiri Christian Families?
Clergy & Christians Existing as Fugitives & Refugees?

The CSFIn the earlier part of this series, I quoted from the Bible, in what was known as the ‘Acts of the Holy Spirit’, how the early Christians lived in love and fellowship. In Acts 4:36, we saw how “Joseph, a Levite born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means One who Encourages) sold a field he owned, brought the money, and turned it over to the apostles”. Again in Acts 4:46, we saw how – “Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved“.
 
Our lesser fortunate fellow sisters and brothers in Christ, beckon us to help them do just that. Won’t it be great to have an exclusively Kashmiri Christian fellowship or church – praising and thanking God in their own indigenous way?!. 

Help care for and build the persecuted body of Christ in Kashmir, as the disciples contributed to meet the needs of the early local Corinthian, Galatian, Ephesian, Philipian, Colossian, Thessalonian and other churches. And we are sure, if we are faithful to respond to His call, we will not only be a blessing to children of the same Father, but will also reap a great harvest, added to our own account in heaven.
 
All that the 50 Kashmiri Christian families are asking for is to “Shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, care for the orphans, love thy neighbour, especially those of our own faith”… Is it too much for us to give them – a church, houses, education, employment, etc.? To give two more examples of how, those who helped others were blessed by God and great was their reward:

In Joppa there was a woman named Tabitha, who was a believer. She spent all her time doing good and helping the poor. At that time she got sick and died. Her body was washed and laid in a room upstairs. Joppa was not very far from Lydda, and when the believers in Joppa heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him with the message – Please hurry and come to us. So Peter got ready and went with them. When he arrived, he was taken to the room upstairs, where all the widows crowded around him, crying and showing him all the shirts and coats that Tabitha had made while she was alive. Peter put them all out of the room, and knelt down and prayed; then he turned to the body and said, Tabitha, get up ! She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
– Acts 9:36-40
 
There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman army regiment called The Italian Regiment. He was a religious man; he and his whole family worshiped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God. It was about three o’clock one afternoon when he had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God come in and say to him, Cornelius !. He stared at the angel in fear and said, What is it, sir? The angel answered, God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you.
– Acts 10:1-4

The CSFWe close this series of persecuted Kashmiri Christian families with just two more testimonies, as the torture – physical and mental – is similar and Churches, Christians and NGOs interested in providing assistance can get in touch with us at csfpost@gmail.com for more details. Also we could go on, as reports of more families reach us and we cannot do much other than channel any assistance, we receive.

What is even more shocking is the plight of the families of CNI clergymen, like Rev. CM Khanna, Rev. Gayur Masih, Fr. Jim Borst, a Dutch Catholic priest and dozens of lay missionaries – Catholic and Christian, whose lives are also in danger. Why should they not be allowed to return to Kashmir and profess and propagate their faith? This is evidence that there is no religious liberty in Kashmir.
 
Here are persecution stories of the victims – in the words of the head of the family…
 
Kashmiri Christian Family # 5
 
Me and my wife, come from a Muslim background and converted  to Christianity almost ten years back. We are convinced that Jesus is our Lord and Master and our faith is a personal choice, which fulfills us and the Word helps us grow spiritually. Ever since we converted, we have had to face persecution, as news spread like wild fire throughout the city, with announcements in mosques. In order that I do not put my family into trouble and also to save my life, I had no option but to leave my village and move to another area. We thought that the Indian army being there would help, but it was only a little respite. The local fundamentalists created a lot of hurdles and attacked us many times.
 
Often our luggage and belongings were either burnt or thrown out on the streets. I even had to go to jail, under framed up charges, but I willingly suffered the ordeal, knowing it was because I would not deny Christ, that I was being persecuted. It also gave me an opportunity to witness Christ to the non-Christians and pray for the persecutors, which silently moved many of them. The current round of persecution is torture because there is no way we can run away from it, as it involves all concerned – the community, authorities and religious – all at the same time. There is no escape and no one to help.
 
Inspite of running away, we receive threats on the phone. Our relatives and friends are targetted, being told to get us to revert to Islam or face the consequences. We are now worse than refugees, because even in refugee camps you get some food and shelter. Here we are at the mercy of those who will help us. We can’t see many around, because even the Church and Christians are afraid. We understand, it will affect their other interests, like schools and institutions. We are prepared to take up a job, but we need a house first. We have exhausted all our savings, living as good as on the streets, over the last few months.
 
These days, we spend our time, praying and waiting on the Lord, since we do not want to move away from where the LORD has planted us. We believe we are called to bear fruit here in J & K, being answerable to the God for doing so. The Spirit is willing and the flesh has taken a beating, but we have faith that there will be a resurrection of Christianity, as the faithful servants of the Lord obey His Word…. There are many times that we get suicidal, especially when our frightening and bleak future comes up before us. Please convey to some of our better-off Christian brothers and sisters to empathise with us and do something to help us.
 
Kashmiri Christian Family # 6
 
The CSFI am young and came to know Jesus when I was a college student, through friends and decided to follow Him, but my family would not allow me to convert. Finally, since I was insistent and said I would leave the house, my family chased me away, disowning me. Persecution came from many fronts thereafter, including threats and attacks to kill me. My education got disrupted as I had to run away to a distant place and live as an underground Christian for quite some time. My Lord knows how I survived, because HE managed me to do it. I discontinued college, as I did not have money to live and was on my own, doing odd jobs. But all this suffering did not weaken my faith in Jesus, rather it strengthened my and my faith only grew stronger. So I was able to bear all that came along.
 
I lived in a very simple way, telling many people the Good News, especially since there are very few Christians who are Kashmiris here, though the harvest is plentiful. Over the years, playing hide and seek with the fanatics, I managed to collect some money to put up a small shop and earn some money. However, all my hope was shattered as persecution increased and I was accused of putting up the shop only as a front for my conversion activities. The fundamentalists alleged that I was getting Christian funds to convert Muslims, with inducement.
 
The scenario was unbearable after the video of Rev. Khanna baptising neo-converts raised a furore, as my shop was targetted, which was my only source of livlihood. I was to get married and my fiancée, is also a Christian convert, but there was no way this could now happen. Rather, we both had to flee Kashmir and even thought of committing suicide. But then the Lord showed us the state of other Kashmiri sisters and brothers, whose state was worse than ours. And we became even more determined not to give up, but to stay and fight the good fight of faith.
 
Presently, we are dazed and don’t know where or how the Lord will lead us. The persecution by the Maulvis (clerics) and the extents they go with our family and friends is unbelievable. There is no one to hear our cries for help. But we know God is watching and our faith will be rewarded, at least in heaven – where sooner or later, we will be. We ask you to get people to help us after praying about our desperate situation….

persecuted christians in kashmir

Calling for Your Faith in Action – Your feedback & response to this challenge

The Church, Christians and Christian NGOs are known to respond sympathetically to needs of non-Christians, in case of natural or man-made calamities, like floods, famines, droughts, earthquakes… Can we each adopt a Kashmiri Christian family? And help the Lord grow a vibrant Kashmiri Christian vineyard there, which will bear great fruit.
Please pray about it. Faith without works is dead.
 

Your brother in Christ – Joseph Dias

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