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08/25/2022 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Pastor Arya had lovingly served his community in India for more than 13 years. His ministry had reached many villages during that time, but now he focused on the Christian congregation in his modest, rural village.

He shepherded this small gathering of believers — his local church — and they faithfully supported his ministry with tithes and offerings. Their support provided the means for Pastor Arya to live and continue his ministry.

Distressingly, Pastor Arya’s rural village community was badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as the pandemic cut deep into the livelihoods of people worldwide, the pandemic also destroyed Pastor Arya’s ability to provide for himself and his family.

Disease prevention measures shut down churches in the country for many months, reducing the amount of support the pastor received to virtually nothing. The tithes and offerings provided by his congregation had served as the foundation upon which Pastor Arya could carry out his ministry, but with that foundation removed, he struggled to provide for his family.

Pastor Arya was deeply committed to his community and ministry, but he saw no way to go on. Assistance to his rural community, let alone his Christian congregation, was not a priority for the government of India’s Hindu-majority nation. In these discouraging circumstances, he lamented, “I am passionate about carrying on the ministry that I have been doing for the last 13 years; the present condition of my support will not allow me to carry on.”

In this dire situation, Pastor Arya came to International Christian Concern (ICC) with the idea of opening a grocery store to supply an alternative source of income for himself and his family. He said, “I would like to start a grocery store business to raise the finances to meet my family’s needs and also continue the ministry at the same time.”

The idea to open a grocery store was especially valuable because his broader community was, in fact, in need of such a business. But Pastor Arya was having trouble just putting food on the table—he certainly did not have the money to build a new business from scratch. Without financial resources to invest in his idea, it would remain just that…an idea.

ICC, however, listened to Pastor Arya. Our field team learned about his ministry and present need; a project was approved, which provided the inventory necessary for him to start his grocery store business.

After approving the project, ICC coordinated with a local partner to help the pastor purchase goods in bulk. He gathered the supplies and successfully opened retail operations out of a small shed. The unassuming venture was a lifeline for Pastor Arya and his family, and he began to earn a stable income. The money has not only been enough to meet his family’s personal needs but has also been enough to cover some of the expenses of his ministry.

Pastor Arya expressed, “Thank you, International Christian Concern, for the support; because of your support, we are able to establish the [grocery] shop in our village, and it has given us great hope for our family and ministry.”

Only through the support of generous donors was ICC able to help Pastor Arya and his family. If you have the desire to support ICC’s mission to aid those who are persecuted and in need, like Pastor Arya, please consider donating so that ICC can continue this impactful work.

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