Digal is a dedicated husband, father and pastor in the North Indian state of Orissa. He recently left his home at 5:30 am to attend a dedication service for children in a nearby village and stayed there until late in the night. Digal began making his way back home when strangers attacked him from behind. They covered his head with a towel and began hitting him with heavy metal rods. Over and over again they beat him, until he was unconscious and almost unrecognizable.
|Pastor Digal – a miraculous escape from death|
According to a news release from Empart, a non-profit church planting organization, the attackers then threw Digal’s lifeless body onto the side of the road, presuming he was dead. They stole all the money he had in his pocket and replaced it with a small hand-written note. The letter serves as a death threat to Digal and a warning to other Christian pastors to stop their Gospel work and leave the region – or face similar consequences. “Whoever you may be, this is a very serious ultimatum for you,” it read.
Some of the local villagers later spotted Digal and realized that he was still breathing. They ran to inform his wife and some of the believers of the attack. Digal was then rushed to a medical centre, where he remains in a critical condition. He is unable to speak and is severely traumatized by the experience. Doctors are amazed that he could survive such a horrendous attack.
Empart Area Leader for the Orissa region, Pastor Sibarim, agrees, saying, “This is a real miracle. Only God can do such amazing things. Pastor Digal was saved in a miraculous way.”
Digal is working for Empart, whose goal is to plant 100,000 churches in unreached areas of Asia by 2030.
Empart Founder and International Director, Jossy Chacko, says that Empart workers in Orissa are still facing persecution for their faith since the anti-Christian riots in 2008.
“We should not forget the people of Orissa,”, he says. “As an international community of believers, we are all part of the same body and we have a responsibility to remember them in our prayers. Despite this recent persecution, our leaders are not stopping what God has called them to do.”
Jossy will be visiting Orissa on October 15, 2010, to meet with the leaders there and encourage them in their ministry. He invites anyone with a heart for mission to join him on a short term trip next year to “personally meet some of these heroes of the faith.” He says that “aside from financial and prayer support, a personal visit goes a long way towards encouraging pastors like Digal.”
The Empart release says that “Digal has been targeted for his courage and boldness in bringing revival to Orissa.” He has worked hard to see his church develop in size and in faith but this has brought about unwanted attention from radical anti-Christian groups. Digal and his family are struggling to cope with the physical and emotional scars from the attack. Although the other believers have organized some money to pay for his medical treatment, they do not have enough to pay for his ongoing recovery and medication. Digal’s wife and his three children are completely dependent on him, fearful of what the future may hold.
Digal and many others have suffered horrific violence and persecution for proclaiming the Gospel in Orissa. Please pray for Digal and his family as they recover from this violent attack. Pray also for wisdom and direction for the Empart leaders as they deal with the situation.
To make a donation towards Digal’s medical treatment, please go to the Empart website www.empart.org or http://empartusa.org in the USA and give to the “Help Digal” appeal. You can also register your interest in joining a team by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or Info@EmpartUSA.org.