Forced to Build Their Church Five Times

Forced to Build Their Church Five Times

Photo by Gospel for Asia

Originally published June 2014

GFA-supported women missionaries Champa and Bakul had been accused of a man’s death, chased out of the village and warned to never come back. For all that, a small group of believers continued to grow every day, and now, a temporary structure, built by the growing flock’s own hands, stood as proof. The situation made some people angry enough to break bones and destroy the whole building.

Originally published June 2014

Missionaries Pray for Paralyzed Man

The village’s fellowship started in 2001 with one paralyzed man named Tariq. When Champa and Bakul first visited his house, Tariq could feel nothing in his legs. But after the two women prayed for healing, his cold legs became hot, and he was able to shake them.

The missionaries began to visit every week, sharing God’s love with Tariq and his family, praying for his full healing and teaching from the Bible. As they learned about Jesus Christ, the five members of the family, along with three of their neighbors, put their trust in Him. Shortly after, Tariq died.

The untimely death caused an uproar in the village. As the newest people in Tariq’s life, Champa, Bakul and their God were denounced as the tragedy’s cause. The missionaries were chased out of the village.

If Champa and Bakul came back, villagers warned them they would pay the consequences.

Forced to Build Their Church Five Times

When a missionary visits a family, the family can experience a deep peace through a missionary’s encouraging words and prayers.

Church Grows Despite Threats

With threats hanging over them, Champa and Bakul remained quiet for two weeks. But as the Lord placed courage in the believers’ hearts, the small fellowship began to meet again, and it started to grow. Ignoring the danger, new people joined the fellowship every day.

Soon, the congregation was too large to meet in a house, so the believers decided to raise money for a temporary church building. Although most of them earned meager wages as field laborers, they collected the equivalent of $400 (USD) in nearly a month.

The villagers were still angry and strongly warned the believers against constructing the church, but the believers were resolute. Two months after the house of worship was complete, the villagers followed through with their threats. They assaulted believers, destroyed the church building and began leveling false accusations against the Christians.

When a missionary visits a family, the family can experience a deep peace through a missionary’s encouraging words and prayers.

Forced to Build Their Church Five Times

A temporary church building might be all a congregation can afford. Even though believers have a place to meet, a structure like this one is more susceptible to damage from bad weather.

“Believers are visiting our houses and destroying the photos of our god and goddesses,” the group accused.

Soon, members of the community started believing it.

Despite the opposition, the believers continued to meet in houses and welcome new members. Eventually, however, they gave in to their neighbors’ demands that they leave, and they rented land outside the village.

Perhaps there, the believers thought, they could finally worship in peace.

Congregation Builds Outside Village

After collecting another $500 (USD), the believers built a simple structure on their rented piece of land, but their rejoicing was short-lived. In 2005, two years after their first building was destroyed, an elephant trampled their new one.

A temporary church building might be all a congregation can afford. Even though believers have a place to meet, a structure like this one is more susceptible to damage from bad weather.

Forced to Build Their Church Five Times

Some of the villagers laughed at the congregation’s predicament.

“These people are not doing good work,” they said. “Our god is not happy with them, and that is the reason this church building got destroyed by an elephant.”

Despite the accusations and mockery they faced, the believers quickly rebuilt the church and continued with worship services. The next year, GFA-supported pastor Ekanpreet was able to come shepherd the flock.

Over the next four years, the church grew. Even threats of banishment from the village didn’t stop new believers. But in 2010, a great storm ripped through the area, and once again, the believers’ church became a casualty.

For the fourth time in eight years, the congregation put itself to work, creating yet another place to worship their God. Like the other buildings, it would be flimsy and highly vulnerable to the elements, but the believers didn’t have any other options—unless someone offered them help.

Believers Sell Belongings for a Permanent Solution

With their temporary sanctuary in place, the believers decided it was time to find a permanent solution to their problems. They didn’t have much money after all the buildings they had constructed, so they sold their personal belongings. But even that wasn’t enough.

Fortunately, God had already provided for their need. When Pastor Ekanpreet requested help from his leaders, they sent the remaining funds for the land as well as funds for a big, beautiful church building.

Made from sturdy materials, it wouldn’t be vulnerable to the elements the way their short-term structures were, and it was large enough to fit every member. Ten years after Champa and Bakul first came to the village, the believers finally had a place to call home.

Forced to Build Their Church Five Times
Forced to Build Their Church Five Times

With help from supporters around the world, the congregation finally built a solid house of worship like this one, able to stand up to storms, elephants and even opposing neighbors.

Today, 60 believers worship together in the church, which is one of the biggest in the area. And though some might be tempted to take that for granted, Pastor Ekanpreet and the congregation know it was only granted by the grace of God.

As Christ’s love spreads across Asia, hundreds of congregations are praying for permanent places to meet and grow in. You can be part of seeing God answer their prayers.

With help from supporters around the world, the congregation finally built a solid house of worship like this one, able to stand up to storms, elephants and even opposing neighbors.

The average cost to build a church in Asia is $10,000–$40,000.


*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.