Story India | 14 May 2024



Show: false / Country: India / India
Pastor Laxman* won’t abandon the vision that God has given him. That’s not a commitment he makes lightly. His church in north India has been destroyed by extremists. He’s been imprisoned, beaten and falsely accused. But he is determined to serve God in his community. With your help, he can keep going.

Miraculous healing

It’s clear that God has a plan for Pastor Laxman and his church. The path has been hard, with much opposition – but it is also a path of miracles.


"I was determined to spread His message of truth to as many people as possible."


“I was born and brought up in a strong Hindu family,” he says. Nothing challenged this faith until his wife, Latika*, got very ill. Doctors couldn’t help her, and the prayers of Hindu priests and occultists made no difference. Finally, reluctantly, he took his wife to a church. Latika was already a believer, but Laxman was very resistant. What happened at the church would forever change Laxman’s life.

Christians prayed over Latika – and she began healing! “When my wife received healing with just one prayer at the church, I understood that her God was a God who answered prayers,” Laxman says. “As I began to understand the power of this God, I was determined to spread His message of truth to as many people as possible.”

God’s vision

Laxman was keen to start a church. “God showed me a vision about a place – I had never seen that place before,” he says. As the couple prayed, it became clear this was where God wanted Laxman to build.

The church started out small – just three people. But Laxman knew he was telling people about an active, living God. Having witnessed a miracle in his own life, he started praying for miracles for others.

The Lord blessed this ministry. “I met a man who was suffering from epilepsy,” Laxman remembers. “He used to have attacks five times a day. I met and prayed with him – After a few months, he was completely healed.” The man decided to follow Jesus.

This is just one of many miraculous healings Laxman saw – including his own unborn baby daughter, who was declared dead in Latika’s womb. “I did not lose heart and I continued to pray,” he says. “What I witnessed was another miracle: the doctors helped my wife deliver a live baby girl.”

Church growth

Word spread about what God was doing in Pastor Laxman’s church. From a handful of believers, the church grew to hundreds. Across India, many churches are reporting the same extraordinary growth. But growth has a flipside: it catches the attention of extremists.

In the area where Laxman lives, Hindu extremists are trying to eradicate Christianity. People like Laxman and others in his congregation, who’ve chosen to leave Hinduism and follow Jesus, are particularly vulnerable to persecution. These extremists were angry – and had an underhand method of targeting Laxman.


"They accused me of luring people to Christianity using money."


“They made a police complaint against me, accusing me of luring people to Christianity using money,” he says. “I was called to the police station, where I was told that – if I continued my ministry – I would be buried alive on my land.” Pastor Laxman remained defiant. He retorted, “I will build a church on this land.”

“Sign this paper”

Why were extremists able to make this complaint? Pastor Laxman’s state is one of 12 in India that have passed anti-conversion laws (see box). These are mostly in states where the BJP are in power, and Christians in India know the national elections could impact religious freedom more widely. On the face of it, these anti-conversion laws exist to prevent forced conversion. In reality, they’re often abused to falsely accuse religious minorities, disproportionately Christians.

“Hindu extremist groups misuse the law,” says Priya Sharma*, an Open Doors partner in India. “Anti-conversion laws already existed in several states before the BJP came into power in the national government, but since they formed their government, anti-conversion laws or bills have been imposed in five more states. There have even been several attempts to pass a national anti-conversion law.”

She adds, “In 2023, more than 2,300 pastors, leaders and believers were falsely accused, arrested and detained for forceful conversion.” Laxman was shortly to become one of them.
When the police couldn’t find any evidence against Laxman, they decided to fabricate some. “The extremists called a believer from my church to the police station,” Laxman says. “He was threatened that his house would be destroyed unless he signed a blank piece of paper.”

He was terrified and agreed to sign. The persecutors now had all they needed to fake a confession. “The ‘confession’ said I had lured him to Christianity, promising him money,” Laxman says.

The next day, the police came to the church to seize Pastor Laxman. He remembers: “We were conducting a prayer meeting with 250 people when six or seven policemen came all of a sudden and arrested me. They started beating me.” Laxman was put in jail, where police continued to beat him brutally. While he was in prison, extremists destroyed his church building. “They attacked it the same day I was arrested,” he says.

God’s faithfulness

Laxman’s hope for his ministry was under threat. But God had given Laxman a vision for his church and wasn’t going to abandon him now. In his cell, Laxman heard the Lord speaking.


"I heard a sweet voice, saying, 'Do not be afraid, for I am with you.'"


“I heard a sweet voice, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you,’” Laxman remembers. God used the words of Isaiah 41:10 to encourage and sustain Laxman. “I felt a rush of peace inside my heart, and I found strength to go through all the pain.”

After six days, Pastor Laxman was released. Most of his congregation had dispersed – fearful of what the police or extremists might do to them. When Open Doors local partners heard what had happened, they came immediately. It was vital to show Laxman he wasn’t alone.

The persecution also had a severe impact on his family’s income and ability to survive. “I was entirely dependent on tithes for my family and I faced a lot of problems with housing,” he says. “We were even struggling for food. Open Doors partners – whom I never knew before this incident – provided my family with groceries and helped us started a small farm. They helped us financially and strengthened us with prayer and the Word of God.”

Pastor Laxman's chicken farm

Thank you

He is so grateful: “We had been so mentally traumatised and their presence revived us. Had they not been there, we would have been completely shattered and would have suffered in so many different ways.

“I would like to thank God firstly, who sent strangers to help me in such a way – and these people who are helping us so much, I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

With your support and prayers, Open Doors partners can continue to sustain Pastor Laxman and his family with encouragement and have helped him set up a chicken farm, for ongoing income for him and his community. Laxman has hope that his church building will eventually be rebuilt. For now, he is still shepherding his congregation. “There are only 40 people now, who secretly gather for prayers,” he says. They meet in small groups, because the police continue to monitor Laxman and his church.

You can support Pastor Laxman’s vision

"This is God’s work. No one can close it or shut it down."


Laxman remains defiant and faithful. “They can break the church building and send us to jail and beat us up. But they cannot separate us from Jesus or stop us from following Jesus,” he says. “It is only in my God that you can find peace, joy and healing. The church is closed but my ministry continues. This is God’s work. No one can close it or shut it down. It is for the Kingdom of the Lord.”

Pastor Laxman is determined to persevere. He can do that with your support and your prayers. Across many parts of India, there are countless pastors like Laxman who also need your help – who are defying persecutors and faithfully praying. Will you stand with them today?

“If Open Doors supporters stopped caring, praying and giving, the situation would worsen in India,” says a local Open Doors partner. “Christians will continue to live in a miserable state, the perpetrators will continue to persecute and Christians could be wiped out completely.”

Extremists are trying to destroy the church in India. You can join courageous Indian believers like Pastor Laxman in making sure they don’t succeed.

*Name changed for security reasons

please pray

Please join with the prayer that Pastor Laxman shared with Open Doors partners: “Thank You, Living Lord, we praise Your name and we pray for India. Lord, we pray for the church as we are in sad and persecuting times, and are not able to minister properly. Please change this situation so we may be free and pray openly, that there may be no problems and hurdles, and we may spread Your Word to all corners of India. Please bless us, Lord, and have mercy on us. Amen.”

Will you be a vital part of India's extraordinary story?

Every PHP 2,000 can give emergency food packs to two persecuted Christians (living in India’s rural areas).

Every PHP 3,000 can sponsor 20 Christians in India to attend (and be equipped through) a persecution-preparedness training.

Every PHP 4,750 can support a Christian community with sustainable livelihood projects (sewing machines, poultry, etc.) to help with their needs.