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India: 'We will continue to serve God' say martyred Pastor's family

26 July 2017

'We will continue to serve God'  say martyred Pastor's family

"Our family will continue to serve God." That's the defiant message from the family of Pastor Sultan Masih, who was recently shot dead in northwest India.

Pastor Sultan was killed outside his Temple of God Church in Ludhiana - the largest city in India's Punjab state. He had been pastor there for 20 years. Open Doors volunteers recently visited the grieving family to offer prayer and support.

Alisha Masih, 22, who is also training to be a pastor, said his father, Sultan, who was 47, had received anonymous threats via social media. Alisha claims that these threats said that if he continued to preach, he would be killed. He added that his father had recently asked a friend to pray for him in light of these threats.

Alisha also reported that following an anniversary celebration for his church in May - to which local churches had been invited - his father had been approached by a group of men who had asked him where he had found the money to pay for the function (about 800 had turned up), and whether he would give them something if they converted to Christianity.

He said that his father told them he would not give them anything and that those who had converted had done so only because they had come to believe in Jesus.

'Not afraid to die for Jesus'

Sultan Masih was taking a phone call when he was shot, standing outside the church.

"We don't know if the phone call was connected to his murder," Alisha said, "But the people who killed him were surely monitoring his activities because they waited for the time until he was alone."

As well as being the Pastor, Sultan Masih also ran a school for the poor from inside the church. He leaves a wife and four children - two of whom were adopted.

"Our father was a courageous man and he was never afraid to die for Jesus," Alisha said. "He has put the same zeal in us. Our family will continue to serve God."

Please pray:

  • For Sultan's wife Sarabjit, his sons Alisha and Hanok, his church and the children and staff at his school
  • That the police will uphold the rights of believers and that Sultan's killers would be brought to justice
  • For protection for Christians in India as they face increasing persecution.

STAND WITH YOUR CHURCH FAMILY IN INDIA

India is number 15 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List. Through local partners, Open Doors is supporting the church in India with emergency aid, advocacy support, holistic training, livelihood and community development, adult literacy programmes, and Bible distribution.

If you would like to support the work of Open Doors local partners in India, please give a gift. Every £21 could resource a Rapid Response team of volunteers for a month as they give food, medical care and legal assistance, as well as comfort and support, to persecuted believers.

Source: World Watch Monitor; Open Doors

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