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Widow of Orissa: Christmas, power of forgiveness for killers of my husband

ICC Note: This story of a pastor who refused to renounce his faith or abandon his mother, told by his widow without bitterness, shows the victory of the gospel in the face of persecution.

by Nirmala Carvalho
12/19/08 Bangalore, India (AsiaNews) – “This Christmas, Samuel will celebrate with Jesus, whom he loved so much. This Christmas I only ask Jesus that my husband’s ministry – to spread the Gospel – will continue, that people will learn the Good News of our Savior, that people will learn to forgive and believe in His Name.” There is no hatred or desire for revenge in the words of Kadamphul Nayak, 47, whose husband was killed by Hindu fundamentalists in the early days of anti-Christian violence in Orissa. “For me, it was a privilege to be his wife,” the woman says, “and although we no longer have a home, the presence of Jesus in our hearts is a reason for comfort for us.”

“Around 8:00 a.m.,” the woman says, “an armed mob of 500 Hinduvta extremists came to Bakingia village: they stormed the church, desecrated the church, looted valuables and burned it down. I told my husband to flee into the forest, but he refused, as his aged mother Janamati Nayak (75 years) was staying with us.

“The extremists, who were also carrying inflammables like gasoline and kerosene, came to our house, shouting Hindu chants. They dragged my husband outside and thrashed him severely, some of the men placed a knife and this throat and demanded that Samuel renounce Christ, which he refused to do. This angered the extremists, who then poured kerosene on my mother in-law and set her aflame. As she was burning, they repeated their demand to renounce Christ. One of them had tied me up with a knife to my throat also, but Samuel refused to embrace Hinduism. The extremists began slashing him on his neck, back and heels, they also slashed me on my stomach reaching up to my back. For the third time, they asked him to denounce Jesus, and in spite of the heavy bleeding and being in great pain, in a gasping low tone he said: ‘For 25 years, I have been in the Gospel ministry, I have walked all over Orissa telling people that Jesus loves and Jesus saves, I will never abandon my Jesus’. This angered the extremists, who then slashed his throat, and shouted, ‘Now let us see how your Jesus will save you’.” … [Go To Full Story]