One Missionary’s Experience
For 18 days in October 2007, God used Gospel for Asia missionary Chandran Paranjoy to reach inmates in a jail in Chhattisgarh, India. On October 5, Chandran and another believer, Sunil, were arrested while Chandran conducted a prayer meeting. A group of anti-Christian extremists had falsely accused him of forcibly converting people to Christianity.
Following their release, Chandran shared with a GFA field correspondent how they had the opportunity to share Christ’s love with the other prisoners. Here is the story in his words.
I did have the chance to run away when the villagers came with the police to arrest us, but I stayed because they had already caught Sunil, and I thought the mob might harm him. So I just surrendered to them so I could go with Sunil. I knew that whatever happened, God would be with us.
A few days before I was arrested, I had a dream that I was put in jail and was preaching God’s Word. Since that dream, I had been preparing myself to be put in that situation. So I was not shocked when they came to arrest us. But when I was brought to the jail, I was surprised to see that 100 percent of the dream was happening just as I had seen it.
When we got there, I was introduced to the people who had become Christians in jail. I told them I was a missionary, and on Sunday I preached and shared my testimony with them.
The second Sunday we were there, the number of people that gathered increased to about 30; some of them were Christians and some of them were not. I taught them about salvation and life in Jesus. Thankfully, nobody stopped us from worshipping God in the jail. We even were able to worship with drums and other musical instruments.
Some of the Christian brothers were imprisoned for several years because they had committed murders and other crimes. However, they helped Sunil and me a lot and loved talking with us about the Bible.
They were very kind to us, sharing their clothes and food with us. They told us, “Don’t worry, you’ll only be with us a few days.” However, I did think that if I had to stay a long time, it would be nice in some ways because I would be able to thoroughly disciple them. As I saw the condition of the inmates, I had a strong desire to teach them more from the Word of God.
Because our court case was not very big, some of the prisoners were surprised that we stayed as long as we did. They would ask me, “Why are you still here in this prison?” But I wondered how the prisoners would grow in Christ if we were released. I thought, “I should be here a little longer so that I can encourage more brothers.”
I was able to be with 2,000 inmates for those two weeks. I had a chance to preach to them and talk and pray with them. It was very exciting. And the entire time we were there, nobody harmed us.
The inmates soaked up the messages from the Bible that I shared. Before I was released from jail, the prisoners said, “Please come back each week to preach and teach the Gospel to us. We will get permission from the jail authorities.” So now, I am still able to go to the jail and minister.
For the first two days we were in jail, I was sad because I had to leave my family and friends. But later, it was really neat because I was able to do so much ministry. And I felt the Lord’s peace that I would only be there as a guest, not long term.
My wife continually read the Bible while I was in jail, and the Lord comforted her. Also, many believers, pastors and missionaries visited her. Even our neighbors came and visited her. And she prayed a lot for my release during that time.
Sunil was very strong. He trusted the Lord through our entire time in jail. He was so excited that God helped him to share the Gospel even in jail. He gained a lot of strength from the prayer meetings we held there, too.
Now, the villagers who helped falsely accuse us are ashamed. They feel bad about the trouble they caused. While we were in prison, they even sent rice to Sunil’s home, but his wife gave it back to them.
Please pray that the ministry in the prison will continue to flourish. It is so encouraging to see how the Lord used our time there to open doors for us to share the love of Christ. Also, pray for the extremists, that their hearts will be softened and they will be open to the Gospel through our witness.
This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.