Kirti’s Story: An Unshakeable Faith
In India, it’s said there are millions of gods; although, no one has an exact count. Worshipers often travel to ancient temples to make small sacrifices and mark themselves with a talika—a mixture of ash, clay, turmeric or sandalwood—across their foreheads as a religious ritual.
However, within the second most populous country in the world, many people are finding the one true God in the millions—and their lives are never the same. These new believers are not marked with a talika on the foreheads, but with the love of Christ on their hearts.
on the foreheads, but with the love of Christ on their hearts.
Kirti, a young mother in rural India, is one of the Hindu people who found the one, true God among the millions in her country. She turned from her Hindu gods to follow Jesus while attending a church service away from her village. As with many Christians in India, God miraculously healed Kirti from a debilitating disease at a worship service.
It wasn’t long before Kirti was called before the elders—along with the few other Christians in her community—to a special gathering. Everyone in the village was present.
“They called us to the meeting and told me to stand in the middle,” Kirti shares. “They told us to stop going to church or they would beat us.”
“We will not stop believing in Christ”
Some of the Christians agreed to stop worshiping out of fear, but Kirti’s family refused to deny Jesus. Frustrated with Kirti’s perseverance, the village elders told her to go home and come back the next day. In three consecutive meetings, the elders told Kirti to deny her new God and return to the Hindu faith…or else.
“But we said we will not stop believing in Christ,” Kirti says.
However, at a later meeting the villagers brought bamboo sticks and threatened violence. It was at this moment, out of fear, that Kirti and her husband said they would stop meeting.
But the faith in their hearts was too large to keep that promise. Soon, they started a secret gathering in their house on Sundays. The few Christians gathered to pray, sing—quietly—and soon a pastor from another village started to lead them.
Through their prayers, a young man was healed. But in a small village, it’s difficult to keep anything a secret for long. This healing received the attention of the elders and they brought the young man to a meeting for questioning—similar to the blind man who was healed by Jesus in John 9.
The elders didn’t like his answers, so they beat him and gathered a mob to confront the believers at Kirti’s house.
‘This is what you get for following Jesus’
“The mob came into my house. They searched for my Bible. They threatened to kill me if I continued to worship Jesus,” Kirti says.
Then the crowd dragged the Christians out of Kirti’s house and began beating them. “They were beating us with sticks, kicking and punching us mercilessly,” Kirti says.
The mob eventually found Kirti’s Bible, lit it on fire and burned it in front of her. Then they ransacked the house and stole all of her food—rice, wheat, vegetables as well as her chickens and goats.
All the while, Kirti kept praying, “Lord, save us if you want to save us!”
Eventually, the mob got tired and left. Then, the elders made an announcement through a loudspeaker telling everyone in the village to come for a feast. It was there that they cooked Kirti’s food and animals and shared it with all of the villagers. They literally ate her livelihood. “This is what you get for following Jesus,” they said.
All of the Christians were injured, but Kirti received the worst of it with a broken back—something that still hinders her today. They were all rushed to the hospital where Kirti stayed for over two weeks in recovery. It was at this moment that Open Doors heard about Kirti and the Christians in her village and, through partners, helped pay the medical bills and provided spiritual care and support for the small number of courageous Christians in her village.
Taken away at night
When Kirti and her husband returned to their home, everyone in the village stopped talking to them and refused to let them draw water from the village well.
“I used to draw water secretly at midnight,” Kirti says.
The believers in the village kept quiet for a while, but slowly a few Christians began stopping by Kirti’s home again for prayer. It was a dangerous act of defiance and when the elders heard that their beatings and public shaming didn’t stop the believers from following Jesus, they were infuriated.
Then, late at night, a group of men carrying ropes surrounded Kirti’s home. They knocked on the door, rushed in and grabbed Kirti’s husband by force. Kirti tried to stop them, “Where are you taking my husband!” she screamed, but the men ignored her cries, pushed her back in the house and locked her in her own home. Kirti yelled for help, but it would be hours before the other Christians in her village heard her and unlocked the door.
A remote burial
The men who took her husband tortured him in unthinkable ways for days. Kirti desperately tried to find him, going from village to village – and finally she found out where he was. She went to see him from a distance. She was sure he saw her, but he didn’t seem to recognize her.
Then he was taken away somewhere, where Kirti couldn’t see. Kirti was only a hundred meters away and heard his cries. He had been killed.
Kirti and a few other Christians were allowed to take his body. There were no arrests or prosecutions for her husband’s killers, and she didn’t receive sympathy from the non-Christians.
Once she returned home, the village leaders refused to allow her to bury her husband in the village cemetery. So Kirti took her husband’s body to a plot of land outside of the village and buried him there. A few other Christians joined her for a small ceremony.
The safe house
After this devastating event, Kirti left the village with her children for a safe house. During her time at the safe house, Open Doors partners helped Kirti and her children with food supplies, clothing, blankets, financial support and spiritual care. We still do. Her injuries prevent her from working and she continues to be in great danger. Thanks to our local church partners, Kirti now lives in a different house and is safer. We also still occasionally provide food packages.
“[You] helped me financially and because of your help, my kids are attending school,” Kirti shares.
Through incredible suffering and loss, Kirti’s faith is still unshakeable. “I have committed everything into the hands of Jesus,” Kirti says. “When I feel sad, I remember the Word of God. In all my trials, He helps me. I cannot read or write, but I memorize what the pastor teaches me. Because of attacks, many new Christians are leaving the faith, but I’m stable in my faith. Thanks to your care and love, I’m still alive and a follower of Jesus today.”
A victorious faith
But Kirti is not out of danger and her needs are still great, along with thousands of other Christians like Kirti—countless men, women, young adults and children—who have made the commitment to follow Jesus in a Hindu world.
As of today, Kirti has returned to her village to be a light for Christ once again.
Join with Kirti as she prays for the elders of her village, she says, “My village people want to chase me out. The people often threaten to kill me. [But] I pray for the salvation of my village and I believe that my village will receive that salvation.”
Pray that Kirti can continue to be light for the Gospel, and despite the difficulties she and her children can persevere.
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