Nearly 1,000 people rallied on August 25 to destroy the construction site of a church led by Gospel for Asia pastor Tanvir. They proceeded to beat the pastor and other believers as well.
The congregation in Asia had recently resumed construction on the church building after opposition halted their plans two years ago. Only the roof remained unfinished when slanderous rumors were spread around the village, accusing the Christians of culturally offensive actions.
That afternoon, people who had heard the rumors visited the site of the church building and asked the pastor and workers to stop construction.
“We don’t want this building in our colony,” they said.
Pastor Tanvir complied and stopped construction, but despite his efforts to avoid a clash, a group made an announcement to the village saying that everyone needed to gather together to protect their religion. Around 1,000 people responded and planned their attack on the church building.
The mob came to the site chanting slogans, and without any warning to the believers, they began climbing to the top of the church building. They lifted an iron grid off the roof that weighed more than one ton and threw it to the ground.
“I could see the power of Satan working through them when they were lifting the iron web because it was very heavy,” Pastor Tanvir said.
After the anti-Christians destroyed the building, they proceeded to seize and beat up Pastor Tanvir and other believers who were present, including Pastor Tanvir’s mother. By God’s grace, the believers escaped, but they did not return to their homes the entire night as a safety precaution.
Some believers are staying with Pastor Tanvir and his family should any of the group return to further harm the pastor. Pastor Tanvir’s son is suffering from a fever, but the situation is too dangerous for anyone to leave and get medicine.
When ministry leaders came to the village following the attack, local believers shared that the community has a history of violence against Christians. In fact, Pastor Tanvir is the fifth pastor to come to the village; the previous four left due to opposition.
The ministry leaders visited the police station about the matter but did not receive support from officials. Still, they have faith God will continue to work in this area.
“It is our desire that these who are persecuting will know the love of God for them,” said K.P. Yohannan, GFA Founder and International Director.
Please pray for:
- Protection, encouragement and steadfast faith for Pastor Tanvir, his family and all the local believers.
- Favor from local law officials in this matter.
- Changed hearts in the villagers who attacked the church.
- A fully constructed church building for Pastor Tanvir’s congregation.
- Healing for Pastor Tanvir’s son from his fever.