A Gift in the Midst of Turmoil: ICC Builds Two Houses for Castaway Christians in India
By Danielle Frempong
06/06/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – When facing opposition to our faith, our natural inclination is to question the existence and goodness of Christ. However, there are those rare individuals who are able to stand for Christ, no matter the circumstance. In April 2019, International Christian Concern (ICC) had the opportunity to serve two of these rare individuals in India.
Singina Himrika and Dhanpati Minyaka, two Indian Christians living in the Koraput District of India’s Odisha State, were faced with the greatest challenge to their faith. They risked losing all they had – their family, friends, source of income, and home the moment they chose Christianity over Hinduism.
Singina Himrika is 35-years old, married, and has two children. He converted to Christianity with his brother, Appanna, and they both became regularly attendees of a nearby church. When the rest of their village discovered the brothers’ conversion, they became full of rage. The villages feared that their traditional gods would become dissatisfied because of the presence of converts in their village.
In response, the villagers consistently harassed the brothers, insisting that they convert back to Hinduism. After refusing to re-convert, Singina and his brother were finally driven out of their homes and into destitution in a nearby village. The brothers and their families were forced to survive on little, with no access to even basic amenities.
Conditions became so dire that Appanna eventually gave in, refused Christ, and returned to his home village. Singina, however, remained strong in his faith even though he and his family was starving and deeply isolated.
Dhanpati experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ in September 2017 and vowed to live for Christ. Because of their conversion, he and his wife were beaten and scolded by family members. Three months after their conversion, Dhanpati and his wife lost their infant child within a month of the birth. Villagers fervently believed that this was punishment from their traditional gods.
“The villagers and my family would accept me back in the village anytime, if I would only deny Christ. I would not do this even until my last breath.”
In January 2018, Dhanpati’s family members drove him and his wife out of the village and repossessed his house and farmland – his only source of income. Fortunately, Dhanpati found refuge in a nearby church building for a couple of months in a neighboring village. While staying in the church, local believers helped build a temporary shed in a forest where Dhanpati lived with his wife and four children.
When asked about his predicament, Dhanpati explained, “The villagers and my family would accept me back in the village anytime, if I would only deny Christ. I would not do this even until my last breath.”
ICC learned about Singina and Dhanpati in November 2018. Using funds from the Community Rebuild Fund, ICC was able to provide both Christian families with the building materials they needed to construct new homes in villages that are more friendly toward Christians.
Local Christians and members of their churches, who are skilled masons (a common job in the region), pitched in by constructing the two homes for free. Dhanpati’s church community was very thankful to ICC for the support. Dhanpati’s pastor said, “The house of Dhanpati has become a witness of God’s love in the village.”
Singina expressed his sincerest gratitude to ICC. He and his family never imagined owning a home of their own because, as a laborer, he earns a salary that is barely enough for food. To him, his home is a great testament of God’s faithfulness and care.
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