“We are ready to die for Jesus.” These are words you may expect to hear from someone in the early Church. Between 64 A.D. and 313 A.D., historians estimate that over 400,000 Christ-followers were martyred at the hands of persecutors like Emperor Nero and Emperor Decius.
As Tertullian once penned, “…The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.”
However, the words at the top of the page aren’t the ancient “last thoughts” of a first-century martyr. They are part of a statement recently made by a persecuted Deaf believer in South Asia.
“If you want to kill, then kill us. We won’t fear, we are ready to die for Jesus,” Bhavya** told her persecutors.
Bhavya and her husband, Sahil**, learned the Truth of Christ from Lakshay**, a DOOR 2-by-2 leader. That knowledge, though life-changing, would come at a high cost.
I have decided to follow Jesus
The church Sahil and Bhavya had been attending for 8 years had “Christian” in the name, but not anywhere else. People came for the pretense of “going to church,” but God’s Truth wasn’t shared, and questionable activities were welcomed.
Though faithful attendants of this church, Sahil and Bhavya experienced no peace or change in their lives.
One day, after hearing about many Deaf people who were getting saved through Lakshay’s ministry, the couple decided to take a closer look. When Lakshay started teaching Bible classes using sign language Scripture resources developed by DOOR, Sahil and Bhavya’s eyes were opened.
For the first time, they learned about sin and punishment, and also the importance of salvation through Christ. They realized the church that they were attending was not a real church, and began fellowshipping instead with Lakshay.
Later, Sahil and Bhavya accepted Christ into their hearts, and were baptized in the name of Jesus. They were so happy about their life after meeting the one true God. They didn’t know their new faith would soon be put to the test.
No turning back
Bhavya and Sahil both came from high-class families, and were therefore well-to-do in society. When Sahil’s father discovered the couple watching a DOOR Chronological Bible Translation DVD, he became angry.
“Those who follow Jesus in our country are low-class,” he shouted at them. “We are rich and belong to a high social order; why, then, are you doing this?”
Sahil’s response only made his father angrier. Sahil said they knew Who they followed, and that they would no longer worship the gods their family was devoted to. Sahil’s father beat the couple, and told the entire family about their conversion.
When Sahil’s family and Bhavya’s family gathered to confront them, the threats quickly intensified. Family members threatened to kill the pair, to which Bhavya responded, “If you want to kill, then kill us. We won’t fear, we are ready to die for Jesus.”
Realizing the strength of Sahil and Bhavya’s newfound faith, the families pursued another option. They began seeking the person who told Sahil and Bhavya about Jesus, and found instead Hiran**, the Deaf brother of one of Lakshay’s co-workers.
Hiran stood firm in his faith when questioned by Sahil and Bhavya’s families. When Hiran’s family found out, they too joined the “hunt” – they weren’t aware Hiran was a Christ-follower.
Will you please join us in prayer for Sahil, Bhavya, Lakshay, and Hiran? The families recently found where Deaf believers gather to worship, and plans are underway to destroy this meeting place. The region where these Deaf believers live is notorious for honor killing – the murder of family members who “bring dishonor” upon the family through their actions.
- Please ask the Lord to protect Sahil, Bhavya, Lakshay, and Hiran.
- Pray for the protection of all Deaf believers in this part of South Asia.
- Pray the families will stop their “hunt” for the Christians and, instead, their hearts will be opened to the Truth of the Gospel.
- Praise God for the faithful perseverance and commitment of these persecuted believers.
** — names changed for security purposes