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Death doesn’t stop persecuted churches from multiplying in South Asia

Kahan walked many miles every day along the dirt paths between villages with the goal of having a gospel conversation. He mentored and discipled many in his village church to do the same before he died. IMB Photo

It’s the stuff inspirational movies are made of, but this is the real-life story of a man and his lasting influence in his South Asian village. Kahan went from practicing Hinduism to testifying for Jesus.

Then, this is where the plot thickens: he’s murdered.

Allegedly, the death was an attempt to keep Kahan quiet about Jesus’ saving grace, Christian worker Morgan Rawlings confirmed. The South Asian planned to share his testimony before the entire village.

Persecution of Christians in South Asia is nothing new. This region of the world has every one of its countries on the World Watch List’s “Top 50 persecuted countries.” What makes Kahan’s story so different is that from the very beginning, it was never about him. It was about inspiring an entire community of believers to faithfully follow Jesus one step at a time.

The first time Kahan stepped foot in a house church, his neighbors carried him inside. He hadn’t walked in four months. When he heard the Gospel, he knew it was true and gave his life to Jesus on the spot. Four members of the church prayed for Kahan and asked for his leg to be healed. The brand-new believer had heard of other people being healed, so he asked if it really worked.

The church leader shrugged and said, “We don’t know. It’s God’s work.” The believers understood that God is powerful and can certainly choose to heal.

This leader left for another meeting and called back to this house to see if someone took Kahan home. The believers casually said he walked home.

“What touched our hearts most was…the nonchalant way in telling how this man got up and walked 2.5 miles home [after not walking for four months],” Rawlings said. They live expecting to see mighty works done in Jesus’ name.

Kahan soon hit the dirt paths, going to all the homes in his village telling them about Jesus. In another village, he shared his testimony and helped show a movie about Jesus to 135 people, with 80 praying to receive Jesus. Kahan couldn’t hide his joy and excitement in talking about his Jesus with everyone he met. He started a church in his home and hosted discipleship trainings. He walked miles every week, sharing the Gospel, despite the heavy Hindu influence in the area.

While running an errand, Kahan was killed with a blow to the head. The suspect confessed to doing it because Kahan was “poisoning people’s minds and changing their religion.” The man was angry because Kahan wouldn’t stop sharing his testimony and people kept putting their faith in Jesus.

Kahan’s work didn’t stop at his death. He had passed his passion for sharing the Good News to other believers. Advised that they should stop until it was safer, one believer reminded others that they must bear their cross and “die to follow Jesus.”

“I will not stop telling people about Jesus,” the young woman said. “If the day comes that I do not come back home, … don’t worry about me. I will be with Jesus.”

Five groups now meet because of Kahan’s testimony and proclamation. He led more than 100 to a saving faith and spent his last hours training others to share their testimony. Kahan’s death did not crumble their faith, Rawlings said.

“It has made their backs straighten and the church is rising,” she said.

In fact, a new church started in the home of another who practiced black magic. Kahan led Shikhar’s wife to Christ before he died. She attended the church still meeting in his home – a journey that required wading through a deep body of water. She shared with and prayed for her husband every day until he finally agreed to attend with her. He suffered many sleepless nights from fever and dreams.

Shikhar heard the Gospel and prayed to receive Christ. Believers prayed for Shikhar to be healed of his sickness. He asked the same question as Kahan. “Will this work?” Shikhar received the same answer.

As the couple waded back across the waist-deep water to return home, Shikhar felt the fever leave. He turned to his wife and said they “no longer needed to wade across the water to Kahan’s home.” He was ready to start a church in their own home. They now host church services and outreach events.

“Shikhar is the same hot coal Kahan was,” Rawlings said. “He baptized three people just this week.”

Join the Rawlingses in praying that this village will burn brightly with the holy witness of God’s faithfulness to His persecuted church.

Some names may have been changed for security reasons.