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ICC Note:

In the face of intense persecution, Pastor Amar Stephen is turning to God. As he was beaten, dragged to the police station, and mocked, Pastor Stephen was asking God to forgive the people assaulting him. Like many pastors in India, Pastor Stephen has found himself under greater threat from Hindu radicals. Attacks on Christians in India is at an all time high with Open Doors reporting that 410 attacks have already taken place in 2017. Pray that pastors across India continue to turn to God as persecution continues to escalate.

08/20/2017 India (Morning Star News) – As two Hindu extremists gripped his hands while others beat him last week in northern India, Pastor Amar Stephen was asking God to forgive them.

“Some attackers were holding both my hands so I couldn’t move, while others in the mob beat me,” he told Morning Star News. “At that time, I did not feel the pain of a single blow. I was praying to the Lord, ‘Lord please forgive them. Please begin your work in the hearts of these people.’”

The hard-line Hindu mob on Thursday (Aug. 10) had gone to his residence in Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh state, to warn him against returning to Mohanpur village in neighboring Uttarakhand state, where he had preached at a house church two days earlier, he said.

“You can do nothing to us – we will attack you again, if you don’t stop Christian activities in Mohanpur,” one told him.

At the Aug. 8 service in Mohanpur, in Roorkee District, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members had stormed into the worship service and beaten him with belts, shoes and sticks.

“They barged inside the house church and questioned, ‘What is your business here?’” he said. “I told them we were praying. They said, ‘You are not praying, you are converting people.’ I said, ‘No, no. We are not converting. We are praying to the Lord, we are worshiping Him. Is taking the name of the Lord itself conversion?’”

They seized Bibles and Christian literature and took hold of him, telling him to come with them to the police station. Although he consented, as they were about to leave the room they began beating him, he said.

The mob of about 150 people videotaped their assault as they beat him with belts and kicked him, he said.

“I was dragged to the police station held by the hands by the RSS activists,” he said. “They took out a procession to a distance of about half a kilometer with an intent to shame. They shouted, ‘Look, look here is the man who follows Jesus Christ. God who could not save Himself, how can He save the world? How can He save you?”’

They continued mocking him, spitting out derogatory, hateful words against Christianity and Christ, he said.

Police took a written statement from him and released him. After coming home from the police station that day beaten and bruised, Pastor Stephen went to his knees in prayer and began reading the Scriptures.

“The Lord spoke to me from Isaiah 64 in the verses 10, 11 and 12,” he said. “I am confident that the Lord will establish His church in that very place and among those very people.”

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