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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”By ICC’s India Correspondent” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1589371843314{margin-bottom: 22px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”116387″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]05/13/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)On March 25, India, the world’s largest democracy, went into a national lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This sudden lockdown was announced by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, only hours before it started. This drastic action left millions across India cut off and facing a desperate situation.

Among those cut off were India’s rural evangelists, pastors, and church planters. Unable to gather their small Christian communities for worship, these Christian leaders and their families soon faced hunger.

We used to eat three meals in a day, but during the lockdown, we had to adjust to two meals,” Pastor Juwel Majhi said to International Christian Concern (ICC). “We started with a light breakfast in the morning and moderate meal of rice and dal in the evening. We even ate roots and fruits we collected from the forest so that we could save the rice and dal.

Pastor Majhi, a 47-year-old church planter, serves in a rural village in India’s Assam state. Like many rural Christian leaders, most of Pastor Majhi’s income, which supports his family of five, comes from the offerings collected by his small house church. When this is not enough, Pastor Majhi works as a day laborer at nearby tea gardens.

When the lockdown started, Pastor Majhi was cut off from both of these sources of income.

I was panicked when the lockdown was announced,” Pastor Majhi explained. “It was really painful telling my children we had to skip a meal, but there was no option left.

In response to testimonies like Pastor Majhi’s, ICC launched a campaign to serve persecuted Christians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with food aid. In India, Pastor Majhi was among the first beneficiaries ICC served.

The help from ICC was just unbelievable,” Pastor Majhi said after he received a month of food aid from ICC. “We are thanking God for this provision. We can switch back to a normal diet of three meals per day for the next month at least.

Across India, thousands of other rural evangelists, pastors, and church planters find themselves in the circumstances similar to Pastor Majhi. So far, ICC has already served over 300 families in India alone and will continue to do this critical work until the pandemic, and its effects, have passed.

Please consider giving to ICC’s COVID-19 Crisis Fund today![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1589371923727{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]