The believers endured a barrage of physical and mental persecution. They were cut off from the public well; they were arbitrarily slapped as people walked by; they were put in danger if they climbed a ladder for work, because villagers would pull the ladder from under them so they could fall.
The children experienced opposition also. Their teachers ignored them, or their neighbors would suddenly beat them until their ears bled.
“Those kinds of opposition kept happening,” Pastor Ekanpreet says, “but it did not discourage us. … We kept praying, fasting and asking for the Lord’s guidance.”
“Those kinds of opposition kept happening, but it did not discourage us. We kept praying, fasting and asking for the Lord’s guidance.”
There came a time when Pastor Ekanpreet and other ministry workers couldn’t enter the tea estate, knowing it would cost their brothers and sisters in the Lord a tremendous amount of opposition. But the believers remained firm in their faith.
“We will continue to gather,” they told him. “We will stay in one accord and bond, and we will continue to grow in the Lord.”
Tribulations of a Temporary Church
The believers proposed contributing some money to buy a piece of land to build another temporary place of worship outside the tea estate so they could gather with the missionaries. With their meager earnings, they leased a 30-feet-by-60-feet piece of land and constructed a tin-roofed shed. For three years they gathered there to worship the Lord.
During the rainy season, the believers stood in two to three feet of water during their Sunday worship. Sometimes they stood for two hours. Then there were times when strong winds would blow the tin sheets off the roof or wild elephants would trample over the shed.
“Although [the shed was] repeatedly destroyed and reconstructed, we used to take it lightly and just tell the believers, ‘OK, let the elephant destroy. We will again rebuild it,’” Ekanpreet recalls. “But inside we were really discouraged and sad. I could not show my displeasure and my sadness to the believers, otherwise they would be disturbed and discouraged. Though I showed that it was a light thing, I was bereaved, discouraged, and I was really sad for not having a better house and better place.”
Patience Bears Fruit
Eventually, they bought a larger piece of land, and even though the same troubles that plagued them at their former location followed them, the believers continued to trust the Lord and pray. Two years later, they finally had their very own permanent place of worship constructed of cement. It was a building no wild elephant could destroy, and a place where believers could meet and know they were safe. They were now free to worship the One who hears their cries.