Independent church shut down in Karnataka; pastor says "His grace is sufficient for me" to continue the good work

Published 06 December 2019  |  
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Over 200 Hindu radicals attack an independent church in Bagalkot, Karnataka on November 3, leaving the church pastor with serious eye injuries.

Recalling the attack, Pastor Tukaram Chavan told International Christian Concern (ICC) that "An aggressive crowd of nearly 15 radicals climbed up the stairs to the second floor where more than 100 Christians were worshiping. They broke into the worship hall and without a word they started to beat everyone in the congregation."

The radicals then dragged pastor Chavan downstairs where a large crowd of over 200 were waiting for him. They beat him up brutally.

When the police arrived, they took the 32-year-old pastor and several others from the church into custody. The Christians were delayed basic medical treatments in the police station.

"All of the sudden, my life, family, and church were broken into pieces," pastor Chavan told ICC. "It was hard to take. I was not expecting that something of this sort would take place. However, I remember the commitment I made to God when I came to full-time ministry. I counted the costs of serving the Lord and know that He will lead me through these challenges."

Reflecting on his ministry, pastor Chavan said, "One of the reasons for me to commit to full-time ministry was the Lambadi people were among the most unreached. When I began my ministry, God started giving fruits to the ministry. Today, more than 25 families are part of the church I planted 10 years ago."

Though the pastor's ministry was successful, he faced many challenges over the years.

Firstly, the radicals banned him from entering the villages. But the Christians of those villages did not lose heart. Instead, they started to come out of the villages to attend Sunday worship in a different town. When banning the pastor did not work, the radicals forcibly conducted "reconversion" programs in the villages. They threatened faithful Christians with severe consequences if they did not convert back to the Hindu faith.

"There are times that I do get [discouraged] and disheartened," pastor Chavan told ICC. "For example, as things are now, I had to shift my house, close down the church, and shift the school for my children."

"However, I know that His grace is sufficient for me," pastor Chavan explained. "I have endured persecution ever since I came to ministry 10 years ago. The persecution has intensified, but I am doing my best with God's grace to pull everything together."

At present, pastor Chavan is trying to reopen his independent church in Bagalkot that was shut down after the attack on November 3.

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