Finding Salvation in the Midst of Persecution: Kamcha’s Testimony
By ICC’s India Correspondent
11/02/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “Until the night of January 8 this year, I was dead against the Christian faith and used to hate people who follow Christianity, including my husband,” Kamcha Miniaka, a 22-year-old tribal woman from India’s Odisha state recently told International Christian Concern (ICC). For the past 10 months, Kamcha, her husband, Nilli, and their 4-year-old daughter have been displaced from their home village of Getchela. All three were chased out of their home village because of their faith in Jesus.
In an interview with ICC, Kamcha explained the dramatic experience of how her life changed on the night of January 8, 2019.
“There were about 200 people in front of my house at around 8:00 in the night,” Kamcha recalled. “Almost the entire village. In the middle of so much of noise, I heard the strong voice of Mugri Mandinga, the village chief, saying, ‘Bring the axe, we will finish them today.’”
According to Kamcha, her husband Nilli and his friend Ramesh became Christians two years ago after witnessing a miraculous healing. Since his conversion, Nilli has faced intense pressure and harassment.
After several attempts by radical Hindu nationalists to persuade Nilli to return to Hinduism, the threats of violence started. Then, on January 8, the village chief along with other villagers attacked the families of both Nilli and Ramesh.
“What moved me was the conviction and the determination my husband had in that situation,” Kamcha told ICC. “He was ready to pay the cost, even if it is death.”
“I remember blackmailing my husband several times saying that I will divorce him if he continues as a Christian,” Kamcha recalled. “All of my relatives follow Hinduism, including my parents and aunts and uncles. But Nilli was always kind to me and used to share about Jesus, even when I was so stubborn in my attitude towards him.”
As the villagers surrounded Nilli and Ramesh, Kamcha recalled the internal conflict she felt. “I thought to myself that they were going to kill my husband,” Kamcha told ICC. “I was hoping that my husband would decide to leave the Christian faith and compromise with the villagers, because there was no other way for Nilli to survive.”
“To my surprise, he came very close to me, he told me that God will keep him safe and that I should not worry,” Kamcha continued. With these words, Nilli and Ramesh fled into the dark forest with the angry villagers close behind.
“The entire episode went on until midnight,” Kamcha said. “It was so scary to think what could happen to my husband in the forest that night. But his faith in Jesus was so strong. As I worried, I remembered his words, that God will keep him safe. These words not only brought me comfort, they infected me and I started to tell myself that there must be something significant about this Jesus.”
“My husband not only hoped for good things from Jesus, but was willing to face even death,” Kamcha recalled. “With what little I knew, I asked Jesus to make me his and prayed that God would keep my husband safe.”
Nilli and Ramesh spent whole night of January 8 hiding in the forest. Seeing her husband unharmed, Kamcha said, “I met my husband Nilli as a changed person. As my husband’s life was threatened from the other villagers, I told my him I will go with him no matter what comes against us.”
With that, Kamcha, her husband, and their daughter left Getchela, never to return. Having left her village, livelihood, and family, Kamcha said, “I am grateful that God has touched me and made me his child. I will live for Him.”
Kamcha and her family now live in a town called Laxmipur, located in the Khoraput district of Odisha. While they are now free to follow Jesus, the family continues to work hard to rebuild their livelihoods.
Across India, religious persecution continues to escalate. Displacement, physical abuse, and social boycotts are becoming common experiences for many Christian converts. However, along with those difficult circumstances, Kamcha explains that she has been able to find hope and salvation in the midst of persecution.