More Baptisms, the Fruit of Persecution

More Baptisms, the Fruit of Persecution

On behalf of the disciple-making movement in North India, Ethan* and Nicole* report:

“We’ve shared much with you about the persecution faced by the churches in India. Our last report was especially hard. It hurt to share the news about the woman’s martyrdom, and it probably hurt you to read it. 

“Recently. we heard from Sanjay* concerning the status of the work for January. More people received baptism in January, and more house churches were established than during the last six months of 2022. Six months’ fruit in just one month! How?!

“Here’s what Sanjay said:

“‘By God’s grace, we are experiencing intense persecution, but the work has increased! One thing we’ve seen is people more quickly want baptism and to be identified with Jesus. Before, we were often baptizing in larger groups [20, 30, even 50 people] in localized gatherings. With persecution, we need baptisms happening in every home, and [the people] want it quickly. They no longer wait until [another] community is ready to join them in a baptism event. Now they just get it done. They don’t need to wait for those larger baptism events, and they really can’t gather like that anymore [anyway]. It’s too visible.’

“In other words, in response to persecution, leaders are choosing to move ahead and quickly do what’s commanded (‘baptize them’ in Matt. 28:19). They feel the urgency of obedience. And the new disciples are feeling the same urgency.

“Early in the Gospels, we see this same urgency. Jesus gave responsibility and authority to His disciples (who knew very little) to baptize others. [Jesus] ‘was making and baptizing more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were)’ (John 4:1-2, bold mine).

“Our brothers and sisters in India don’t want you to elevate them or raise them up as heroes. They are normal people, with families, jobs, and the concerns and stresses of life. They are simply obedient to the commands of Jesus.

“Please celebrate with us what God is doing in India — what only He can do — and also pray for these brothers and sisters. It’s a daily battle there. I am not talking about a battle between religions. I am talking about the battle to obey Jesus, love Him, and persevere and love one’s enemy when faced with beating, arrest, even death. To live out Hebrews 10:36-39 requires God’s abundant grace, every day. What a relief, that what is impossible with us is possible with God.”


Ethan* and Nicole* receive almost daily messages from Sanjay* and John* about the persecution the disciples and house churches face. The hardest of these messages was that a lady was martyred. She and read more …

Preparing people for persecution starts before they become Jesus followers. This has to do with how we present the gospel. Some people share Christ this way: “Become a Christian. You will have joy and peace.  read more …

Where Two Kingdoms Collide

Where Two Kingdoms Collide

Persecution has been a common trial for many, if not most, of the movement churches in north India for the past ten years, but it has significantly increased these last three months. Ethan* and Nicole* receive almost daily messages from Sanjay* and John* about the persecution the disciples and house churches face. The hardest of these messages was that a lady was martyred. She and her husband (and their two young boys) were active disciple-makers. One day, while meeting with others for a prayer meeting in a home, a mob stormed the house and brutally beat all who were there. She was hospitalized for weeks due to her extensive injuries and passed away on January 11th. They believe this is the movement’s first female martyr.

Ethan and Nicole recently shared: “Jesus said the gates of hell wouldn’t be able to stand against God’s Kingdom. This is what we’re seeing.” As God’s children in India go to their neighbors, relatives, and even their enemies, the gates of hell are falling. Yes, the place where the two kingdoms collide is a battlefield, but we know that eventually, God’s Kingdom will prevail. God’s Kingdom will be established in every tribe, tongue, and every ethnic group on earth. Hallelujah! What a relief to know the outcome! In the interim, though, battles are fought. But, in the middle of what sometimes feels only like chaos and darkness, we receive voice messages like this one:

” ‘…It is true that we are very worried…’ But we all know it is very important to have all this [suffering]. It is necessary to fill up the work of the Lord. For the last few months, we have seen a lot of persecution. But [we’re] also seeing that the number of house churches is filling up every day because when the persecution is going on, many people who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ ask, “Why are these people being killed?” And when [the persecutors] tell those who do not know the Lord that these people are being persecuted because they believe in Jesus Christ, the ones who are [watching], who perhaps used to be neutral, begin to wonder at what they are seeing. They wonder that people can continue to love the Lord even after persecution, even after being badly beaten. They wonder why believing in Jesus should matter so much, and so they ask to know more. And so, in this way, the work is quickly being accomplished… And also, [in addition to this great fruit of growth, we must remember that] we are witnesses of these things. We who are strong should continue to help the weak in these days – during these events, as the Holy Scripture tells us.”

Ethan and Nicole continue, “Our friends in India have such amazing, enduring faith. They continue to press on. We recently received news of more than 500 baptisms! That’s only a sampling of all that God is doing.”  

“Please pray with us, as the early church did … now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness, while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness. (Acts 4:29-31).

“There’s no revenge thinking in Acts 4. No hatred toward the persecutors. Only a request for God to move, and that His children would respond with obedient boldness. Amen and amen.”


Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that life will get worse with all kinds of natural and human disasters. People will be handed over to be persecuted, …. read more

In the 2001 persecution, one group of believers received threats that they would be forced to reconvert to Hinduism read more

South Asia is the most populous affinity bloc with nearly two billion people. While a majority of these read more

The Police Chief Demanded a Song

The Police Chief Demanded a Song

A BEYOND team measuring the growth of a movement sat across from an Indian disciple-maker on a recent trip. “How many churches have you started?” they asked.

The unassuming man from the Bhojpuri network replied, “Only 75.”

“How many churches has your team started?”

“About 1500,” he answered, many of which had multiplied to four, five, or more generations.

In the course of their conversation, the man said he had been a “dangerous robber” before he began to follow Jesus. He and the translator both pantomimed shooting a gun when they described his past.

After he began to follow Jesus, he was pressured and threatened by his community to return to their religion. He finally told them that they really did not know what they were asking because if he returned to the old religion, he would once again become the dangerous man he had been. He reminded them of his former dangerous ways. They stopped pressuring him as much after that.

Recently, a police chief came with several policemen to arrest him for “converting” people, which is highly illegal. The actual phrase used was “for changing the mind of people.” He told the police chief that he was not converting people. He said, “I just sing songs about Jesus and tell stories about Jesus.”

The chief demanded a song, so the disciple-maker sang a simple song and played his small tambourine. Afterward, the police chief said, “I feel such peace when you sing! I see no problem with what you are doing. You may continue to sing your songs and tell your stories.”

Join us in praying that this man and his team will start many more generations of churches!

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