An Unearthly


Originally published November 2013

Roshan Kumar realized his only hope for escape was to run. Faced with threats from a local extremist group, he fled his home village with his wife. But Roshan found out he couldn't escape for long.

Originally published
November 2013

A Youth of Indiscretion

During his youth, Roshan believed in Jesus, but he never truly surrendered his life to the Lord. He went to Sunday school, was the president of his youth group and eventually became the Sunday school teacher and the church's secretary. Yet in Roshan's life, Jesus soon became just an afterthought.

The culture Roshan was raised in began to sway his life. Alcohol proved to be a powerful temptation, and the people he surrounded himself with only encouraged him to indulge in his newly acquired bad habits. Marriage to a woman named Lalasa didn't change his behavior much either. He still drank and still kept bad company.

Around this time, a hardline group in the area began coercing people to join their cause. Roshan knew it was only a matter of time until they came for him, so he fled with his wife to a village 150 miles away.

A New Life Emerges

Years passed, and Roshan and Lalasa had a son and daughter. Increasing family needs helped Roshan realize he needed to change. He had little idea that during this time, his younger brother, Aran, was praying fervently for him.

Aran, a Bible college student, often shared Christ's love with his older brother when he was home on school breaks. It was during one such visit that Roshan finally came to understand who Jesus is and sought Him for his future.

An Unearthly Courage

He enrolled in Bible college, and it was there that his life drastically changed. He was gripped with a passion to minister to people. He listened to challenging testimonies of other missionaries, and he, too, wanted to lay down his life to bring remote villages the same love and redemption he had experienced.

When he graduated, Roshan was sent to serve in a village where members of the same group he had once fled from now lived. Filled with courage and consumed with an overwhelming desire to help men, women and children understand the love of Christ, Roshan and his family packed up and moved once more.

This time, rather than fleeing the fire, he was going directly into it.

A Church Is Born

Pastor Roshan faced difficulties in his new home. The people mocked his message of hope and sometimes threatened him. There was even a conspiracy to drive him out of town, but Roshan would give his very life if it meant ministering in this village with the Good News. He devoted himself to prayer and fasting, and soon his dedication produced fruit.

In just more than a year, God provided Roshan with a body of believers and a mission station in a nearby village. With his ministry growing, construction on a new church building began. God was doing a mighty work through His servant.

An Unearthly Courage

A False Accusation Leads to Prison

Later that year, tensions rose in Roshan's village. The same group that had driven Roshan away many years ago had become very active in the area. Rumors and gossip spread among villagers. Distinguishing truth from fiction was almost impossible. One rumor claimed Roshan was an active member of the controversial group in the area.

Roshan was completely unaware of the accusation when officers summoned him to the police station while he was at the market. They immediately began questioning him about his affiliations and how he had acquired the money to construct a church. Before he could grasp what was happening, the police put him in a holding cell. Roshan hoped the misunderstanding would be cleared quickly.

A Wife's Lonely Crusade

Days in jail turned into weeks, which turned into months. His wife, Lalasa, and his congregation struggled with his absence. At the time of his arrest, the church building was approximately halfway complete, but without Roshan's direction, construction reached a standstill. Pastor Roshan's arrest didn't just stop a man, it stopped an entire church.

Even though Lalasa was heartbroken over her husband's arrest, she couldn't stand by idly. She decided she would lead the construction of the church and see it through to the end.

She had trouble finding helpers because most were worried the group would harass them or do something worse. But Lalasa remained determined, and with a handful of volunteers, she continued the construction in the cover of the night to hide from the church's enemies.

Finding Hope in the Darkness

An Unearthly Courage

Meanwhile, Pastor Roshan awaited his release. More than two years had passed since that day in the grocery store. Conditions in some jails are often highly unsanitary, and Roshan wasn't immune to the struggles—but he kept his eyes on Jesus. He drew courage by meditating on the Word of God, and he shared his love for Christ with the inmates around him.

He started a weekly prayer meeting, which, over time, grew to 65 regular attendees. In that dark and dreary place, where murderers and robbers mark their days, Pastor Roshan brought a light to pierce the shadows.

Whenever Lalasa and other pastors and leaders visited Roshan they never saw him with a sad face. Instead, he'd tell them of the lessons the Lord was teaching him and the ministry God had entrusted him with inside the jail. He didn't waste a moment in order to bring glory to the name of Jesus even behind bars. Finally, two and a half years after his initial arrest, Roshan became a free man.

In the aftermath of his release, Roshan and Lalasa haven't slowed down. They both realize at any moment, Roshan could be taken away again, whether to jail or to heaven. But they understand the cost of what they're doing and the sacrifice they have made.

The thought of fleeing doesn't enter their minds.

I can't even tell you how this story challenges me to hear how this precious brother and sister risked everything on behalf of their Lord. The danger to his very life did not stop him. The pain and the anguish of losing her husband did not stop her. I marvel when I meet these pastors and their wives, and I am so encouraged by their unity, their courage and their devotion. I hope you are equally inspired.
Brother K.P.

*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.

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