Lieberman to Saudi-owned paper: We will bomb Tehran if Iran attacks

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warns Iran not to test Israel amid mounting tensions • As U.S. President Donald Trump nears decision on Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s supreme leader calls on Muslim nations to unite against “bullying” by U.S. and other enemies.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a stern warning to Iran Thursday amid an onslaught of recent threats from Tehran.

In a rare interview with the the Saudi-owned online news portal, Elaph,  Lieberman said: “If Iran attacks Tel Aviv, Israel will attack Tehran,” adding that Israel will not hesitate to confront Iran in Syria if it tries to establish a permanent foothold in the country.

Israel will destroy every Iranian military site in Syria if it becomes a threat to us, regardless of the cost,” Lieberman said.

Earlier this month, a number of Iranian officers, including a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, were killed in a strike on a Syrian base. Foreign media attributed the attack to Israel, and Iranian officials have vowed to avenge this attack with a painful blow to Israel.

Meanwhile, two weeks before the May 12 deadline for the U.S.’s likely withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, Iran’s supreme leader called on Muslim nations to unite against the U.S., saying Tehran would never yield to its arch foe’s “bullying.”

“The Iranian nation has successfully resisted bullying attempts by America and other arrogant powers and we will continue to resist,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. “All Muslim nations should stand united against America and other enemies.”

Also Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron, on a state visit to the U.S., called on Washington not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal as Western envoys said Britain, France and Germany were nearing a package aiming to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to salvage the pact.

Trump has described the 2015 accord, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions, as the worst deal ever negotiated, and has threatened to “shred” it by reimposing U.S. sanctions next month unless its “terrible flaws” are fixed.

Brian Hook, the lead U.S. negotiator with the three European nations trying to keep Trump in the deal before his self-imposed May 12 deadline, told National Public Radio in Washington that “we’re not there yet, but we’ve made some progress.”

Capping a three-day visit to the U.S., France’s Macron told a joint meeting of Congress that the 2015 deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was not perfect but must remain in place until a replacement is forged.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said Wednesday that a newly proposed U.S.-European deal on Iran’s nuclear program might dissuade Trump from abandoning the current agreement between world powers and Tehran.

In a radio interview, Katz stopped short of saying whether Israel – which has called for the 2015 nuclear deal to be “fixed or nixed” – backed a separate arrangement put forward by Macron.

Iran’s president on Wednesday ruled out any changes or additions to the 2015 nuclear deal.

“I have spoken with Macron several times by phone, and one time in person at length,” President Hassan Rouhani said. “I have told him explicitly that we will not add anything to the deal or remove anything from it, even one sentence. The nuclear deal is the nuclear deal.”

Speaking at a conference in the northwestern city of Tabriz, Rouhani asserted that Macron has no right to amend an agreement that was signed by seven nations.

California pro-homosexual bill will ban the Bible

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It would be nice to think we could all get along, but the reality is we can’t. You and I might be prepared to let them live their lives as they choose, but they are not about to return the favor. The homosexual lobby will not rest until they have silenced the last voice of sexual normalcy and punished the last surviving Christian.

Their aim is the same as that of the Roman emperor Diocletian, who struck a medal that celebrated “The name of Christians being extinguished.” Not content with that, he erected a pillar in Spain to congratulate himself “for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ.”

Lest you think I exaggerate the contemporary dangers posed by the gay movement, I point you to California as Exhibit A. California has a Democratic supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, and all of its statewide offices are held by Democrats. In other words, there is literally nothing conservatives can do to stop the regressive agenda in the Golden State. California is a picture of what the left wants the entire United States of America to become. If they have their way, we all one day will look just like it.

California is showing us the end game of modern liberalism, and it’s not pretty. We as Christian conservatives believe that God has designed sex to be exclusively a matter between a husband and wife. We believe there are just two genders, or sexes, and that gender is assigned by God at the moment of conception. We believe that man is a free moral agent and that therefore sexual expression is a matter of choice. Our adversaries on the other side of the battle lines believe none of those things.

Bible CENSOREDThe California Assembly has passed a new bill, Assembly Bill 2943, which will ban the sale of the Bible. Yes, you read that exactly right. The sale of the Bible is about to be made illegal in the state of California. And the vote wasn’t even close – the bill passed 50-18. It heads to the Senate next, where it will certainly be approved, and then to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, where he is certain to sign it.

This bill would make it illegal to engage in “a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” that “advertise, offer to engage in, or do engage in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.”

These “change efforts” are then defined as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” (Emphasis added throughout.)

The Bible is a book, or a “good” to use the language of the bill, that clearly teaches that with God’s help homosexual behavior can be changed, and sexual energy can be re-oriented, or re-directed, toward biblically sanctioned relationships. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-13, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Muslim Fulani Herdsmen Mount another Slaughter of Christians in Benue State, Nigeria

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JOSNigeria (Morning Star News) – Still shocked over a deadly attack on a Catholic congregation on Tuesday (April 24), Christians in Nigeria’s Benue state yesterday suffered another onslaught by Muslim Fulani herdsmen that reportedly left at least 39 people dead.

More than 160 houses also were reported to have been set ablaze in heavily armed attacks that began late Tuesday night in the Guma area on predominantly Christian Tse-Umenge, Mbakpase and Tse-Ali villages. Dozens of Christians were wounded, and at this writing the total number of those killed was not confirmed.

The area is about 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the Gwer East area attacks that took place the day before.

A resident of Mbakpase, Alice Terwase, told Morning Star News that the herdsmen who invaded her community were dressed in military camouflage and armed with AK-47 weapons.

“The herdsmen destroyed more than 60 houses in our village, and three members of my community were also killed during the attack,” Terwase said by phone. “At Tse-Ali village, more than 70 houses were set ablaze and 21 Christians killed. All affected victims are members of NKST [Universal Reformed Christian Church, or Nongu u Kristu u i Ser u sha Tar] church, and the Roman Catholic Church in the affected communities.”

John Umenge, of Tse-Umenge village, told Morning Star News that more than 50 houses were burned down by the herdsmen in his community.

“More than 15 Christians were killed and 50 houses destroyed by the herdsmen,” Umenge said. “The attacks began around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night and lasted to the early hours of today [Wednesday].”

The attacks by the herdsmen have led to protests in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.

Pastors and church leaders could not be reached for comment as Benue state is engulfed in a state of emergency.

Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Wednesday (April 25) suspended session and invited President Muhammadu Buhari to explain why the attacks have persisted.

Akpen Leva, chairman of the Benue state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), last month said the herdsmen had destroyed 500 church buildings since 2011 with attacks that have displaced 170,000 people.

Assault on Displaced

Seven Christians among several hundred taking refuge in a church building were killed shortly after midnight last night by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, a local official said.

The attack on the displaced Christians took place at the African Church in Mbamondo village, in the Logo area of Benue state.

“The attack carried out by the herdsmen in the church premises of the African Church in Mbamondo took place at about 12:20 a.m.,” Richard Nyajo, council chairman of Logo Local Government Area told Morning Star News by phone. “Seven Christian villagers who were displaced in previous attacks and were taking refuge in the church premises were killed.”

The assailants set houses on fire and were armed with deadly weapons, he said. The wounded have been transferred to a hospital Makurdi.

Protests Planned

Christians in Nigeria plan a nationwide protest on Sunday (April 29) against attacks on Christian communities.

CAN leaders directed all churches in the country to hold peaceful protests following the attack on the Catholic church in Benue state that killed two priests and 17 parishioners. The protests also are planned to object to the continued captivity of the only Christian girl kidnapped by Boko Haram from Dapchi School, Leah Nathan Sharibu, and the remaining Christians girls abducted from a Chibok high school four years ago.

“CAN urges Christians in Nigeria to hold peaceful protests on the set aside date in the premises of their churches, asking the Federal government and the security agencies to stop the unending killings and bloodshed in the country,” the Rev. Supo Ayokunle, president of CAN, said in a statement. “Christians are to carry placards with inscriptions meant to address issues about sustained killings, attacks and destruction of their property in Nigeria.”

The government should be called upon to perform its constitutional responsibility of protecting citizens now, Ayokunle said.

“No excuse should be given for this wicked act again, and perpetrators must be brought to book now,” he said. “CAN seizes this medium to appeal to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to mount different effective plans aimed towards disarming herdsmen across the northern states and in communities where they have been wreaking havoc across the country in national interest.”

The failure of the government to stop the killings by herdsmen is the reason they have continued to kill, he said.

“The association also calls on the heads of the security agencies to wake up to their constitutional role of protecting lives and property across the federation while preventing Nigeria from descending into chaos and a lawless country,” he said. “CAN recalls with pains, disappointments, and worries how Nigerians in the North East, Middle Belt and southern parts of Nigeria become visibly endangered with sustained attacks from Boko Haram, herders and armed bandits.”

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

HALF OF AMERICANS MAY RETIRE BROKE

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If you’re falling behind on your retirement savings, you’re not alone. Roughly 61% of Americans have less than $100,000 in total savings, and around 42% of those people have saved $10,000 or less, according to a recent GoBankingRates survey.

The No. 1 reason people gave for not having much stashed away? That they don’t earn enough money to be able to save anything.

No matter how much money you make, it’s important to save for retirement unless you plan to work the rest of your life. The good news is that even small contributions to your retirement fund can add up over time, so even if you’re not loaded with cash, you can still beef up your nest egg by the time you retire.

Will the World End Today? How Satan Uses End-times Speculation

Satan boss. Devil businessman in white suit. Red demon with horns

“On April 23, the sun, moon, and Jupiter  alignned  in the constellation Virgo and was predicted to bring on the start of the biblical Rapture, according to the latest claims.” So the UK’s Daily Mail headlines, reporting that Planet X, sometimes called Nibiru, will bring about the end of the world.

We’ve been here before. There has been a constant surge in predictions of the end times.  The truth is clear in the word of God. No man knows! Jesus was blunt: “Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36). Our Lord could come back to our planet today. Or any of us could go to him. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Death could arrive at our door today.

We should prepare for eternity today

Salvation Plan

Salvation could be divided into two categories? The first would be with you accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour without following the plan that Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about. This first category takes the chance that even though Jesus Christ did not give me the new birth he has still saved you? This plan takes you to the Judgement of God to find out if your plan was enough. The second category assures you of your salvation as long as you continue with him. This is the one spoken by Jesus Christ in St. John  chapter 3 and fulfilled in Acts chapter 2. You need to read both of these chapters and understand that all of the early disciples were recipients of this salvation. So my question to you is: Do you want to be saved in the way Jesus spoke of or in the way the modern church tells you.

Let’s begin with a fact: this day could actually be the last day of our history.

We need not fear the fictitious Planet X. But we need to admit the reality that we are one day closer to eternity than ever before. And we have only today to be ready.

It is true that we are in the end times and the world is closer to Armageddon than ever before. It also might be possible that God has allowed us a reprieve.

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THE WINDS OF MEGIDDO by George C. Duke from Amazon.com or Uk

Christian Woman in Pakistan Dies after Being Set on Fire

Asma Yaqoob succumbed to her injuries on Sunday night (April 22) after attack last week. (Morning Star News).

LAHOREPakistan (Morning Star News) – A Christian woman in Pakistan died on Sunday night (April 22) after a Muslim in the Sialkot area set her on fire for refusing to convert to Islam and marry him, relatives said.

Muhammad Rizwan Gujjar poured kerosene on 25-year-old Asma Yaqoob and set her on fire on Wednesday (April 17), resulting in burns on 80 percent of her body, sources said.

She and her father, Yaqoob Masih, and her brother Maqsood were at the house where she worked as a domestic worker for Saeeduz Zaman in the Mohalla Pakpura area when the attack took place, according to a police report.

Masih, a resident of Mohalla Bogara near Hajipura, stated in the police First Information Report (FIR 171/18) that he and his son had gone to Zaman’s house at 11 p.m. to meet Asma and inquire after the health of Zaman’s ailing mother.

“We were sitting in a room when there was a knock on the front gate,” he said. “Asma went out to see who had come, when after some time we heard her screaming in pain. Zaman, Maqsood and I rushed outside to see what had happened and saw the accused Rizwan Gujjar fleeing from the scene while Asma was engulfed in flames.”

At Sialkot Civil Hospital, Asma Yaqoob told them that Gujjar had been pressuring her to marry him for some time, but that she had turned him down because she did not want to recant her Christian faith, Masih stated in the FIR.

Asma Yaqoob’s mother, Parveen Akhtar, told Morning Star News that her daughter had previously complained of Gujjar insisting that she convert to Islam and marry him, and that he issued the demand again at Zaman’s house.

“Asma told us that on the night of the attack, Gujjar had come to Zaman’s house and told her that she has no other choice but to renounce her faith and marry him in court the next morning,” Akhtar said. “My daughter refused, upon which he emptied a bottle of petrol on her body and set her alight.”

The family rushed her to Lahore, 154 kilometers away (95 miles), as there is no burn unit in Sialkot Civil Hospital.

Impoverished Christian women in Pakistan are commonly pressured to marry Muslims with promises of a better life. Asma Yaqoob was the sixth of 10 children born to low-income municipal workers who retired years ago, her mother said.

“My daughter is a staunch Protestant Christian and had been resisting Gujjar’s pressure for a long time,” she said. “She was not interested in him and had repeatedly complained about his misbehavior. When all efforts failed to convince Asma to cave in to his demand, Gujjar attempted to kill her.”

Police have arrested Gujjar, and he has confessed to killing the Christian woman, attorney Riaz Anjum of the Pakistan Center for Law and Justice (PCLJ) told Morning Star News, though published reports in Pakistan cited police saying Gujjar claimed she caught fire on accident.

Christian rights activist Napolean Qayyum, also of the PCLJ, said the local Christian community was proud that Asma Yaqoob had stood her ground and refused to succumb to pressure to renounce her faith.

“The brave girl belongs to a very poor family, yet she refused attempts to forcibly convert her to Islam,” he said. “It’s a good thing that the police not only arrested the accused but also managed to elicit a confession from him – in most cases we have seen, the police facilitate the accused when it comes to matters involving girls belonging to minority faiths.”

As an example, Qayyum said that a 13-year-old Christian girl (name withheld) was raped on April 11 by a local Muslim in the Sharaqpur area, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Lahore. Three young Muslim men stood guard while another identified only as Shehryar raped her, but the three alleged accomplices were not even named in the FIR, Qayyum said.

“The suspects belong to the powerful Arian community, and we believe that they are influencing the police to prevent their arrests, as none of them have been arrested till date,” he said.

The investigating officer in the case, Sub-Inspector Ijaz Khan, denied that police were showing any bias, telling Morning Star News that only Shehryar was named because he allegedly raped the girl.

“The other three men, according to the victim, did not rape her, so why name them?” he said, declining to comment on why the suspects could not be charged as facilitators, especially as the rape took place in a house belonging to one of them.

The girl’s mother, Razia (surname withheld) told Morning Star News that the accused were pressuring the family for an out-of-court “reconciliation” agreement.

“They are now pressing us to reconcile by offering us money, but we have resolved not to compromise over our daughter,” she said. “The Muslim boys have ruined the life of my daughter, and we will not rest till we get justice.”

Kidnapped Girl’s Church Calls on Buhari to Win Her Release from Boko Haram in Nigeria

Leah Nathan Sharibu. (Morning Star News via family)

JOSNigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremists in northeast Nigeria retained the only Christian among more than 100 kidnapped girls who were freed last week, prompting the head of her church denomination to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to obtain her release.

Boko Haram refused to release Leah Nathan Sharibu, 15, because she would not renounce her faith and convert to Islam, according to released Muslim girls. The Rev. Jeremiah Gado, president of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), said in a press statement on Friday (March 23) that her parents are members of the ECWA congregation in Dapchi, Yobe state, in northeast Nigeria.

“We call on the federal government and all its agencies to ensure the immediate release of Leah Sherubu, who is a member of ECWA, without any conditions,” Gado said. “We condemn in strong terms any attempt to forcefully convert anyone from one religion to another. As a church we continue to pray for her release and the release of all abducted Nigerians.”

Leah was among more than 100 girls kidnapped at a public high school, Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, by Boko Haram on Feb. 19. Five of the kidnapped girls died from the “stress and trauma” of being kidnapped, including one who was trampled to death, but the girls were not mistreated, one Muslim girl reportedly said. The other girls, numbering at least 101 according to government registers, were released on Wednesday (March 21).

Lado said the ECWA was moved by the courage of the teenager who declined to renounce her faith in the face of threats from the terrorists.

“The Evangelical Church Winning All salutes the courage, doggedness, and faith of Leah Sharubu,” he said. “She has not been released because she refused to denounce her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a Christian.”

Buhari had said earlier through a spokesman, Garba Shehu, that his administration would not cease efforts to get Leah released.

“His heart goes out to the isolated parents who must watch others rejoice while their own daughter is still away [in captivity],” Shehu said. “The lone Dapchi girl, Leah, will not be abandoned.”

Denying that any ransoms were paid or prisoners swapped, the administration has said friendly countries and international organizations helped negotiate the release of the girls.

Parents

Khadija Grema, one of the freed girls, reportedly said Leah was not released because she refused to recant her faith in Jesus Christ.

“They freed all of us except one girl, Leah whom they said would not go because she was a Christian,” Khadija said. “The people that took us away were all speaking Kanuri and Arabic. They didn’t tell us any meaningful reason why we were freed and returned. They just said we are Muslims, and they felt it was right for them to free us so that we will not suffer.”

Leah’s mother, Rebecca Nathan Sharibu, told Nigerian online news outlet Premium Times that her heart was broken when she searched through the released girls on Wednesday and could not find Leah. She reportedly collapsed and had to be taken to a hospital after learning her daughter had not been released.

“What her schoolmates that returned told me was that my daughter was told she must recite the Kalima Shahada [the Islamic profession of faith],” she told the Premium Times. “They said my daughter would only be brought back home the day she recites Kalima Shahada.”

Leah insisted that she did not know how to recite it, and that she was not brought up as a Muslim, the girls told her.

“She then pleaded with her friends that if they eventually made it home successfully, they should inform we, her parents, to continue to help her pray for God to protect her and bring her home safely as well; that whether she survived or not, she still needed prayers,” Sharibu said.

Leah’s father, Nathan Sharibu, told Nigerian radio station Raypower that he was told his daughter was not released because she refused to deny Jesus Christ and recant her Christian faith.

“I called the parents who are in Dapchi,” he told Raypower. “They said she was a Christian, that’s why they could not release her. They said she cannot be released until she becomes a Muslim. And my daughter said she would never be a Muslim.”

Sharibu called on the Nigerian government to ensure his daughter is released.

“The Nigeria government must do all within its powers to go and bring back my daughter, the same way they did to others,” he said.

Bukar Kachalla, father of one of the abducted schoolgirls and secretary of the parents group, told journalists in Dapchi that they were saddened when they learned Leah had not been released.

“We were told by the Boko Haram that she was not released because she refused to put on hijab,” he said.

The Rev. Yakubu Pam, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Nigeria Chapter, said Boko Haram’s demand that Leah convert vindicates Nigerian church leaders’ position that the terrorist group targets Christians.

“The federal government of Nigeria, which has been in touch with her captors, should hasten effort and ensure that Miss Leah Nathan Sharibu and other Chibok Christian girls are released,” Pam told Morning Star News.

About 100 of the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok, in Borno state, in 2014 are still missing.

Boko Haram, whose name is loosely translated as, “Western education is a sin,” has fought for nine years to impose sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing more than 2 million. Boko Haram militants reportedly warned parents of the returned Dapchi girls not to send their daughters back to school.

In 2015 the Nigerian military began taking back most of the territory Boko Haram had controlled, but many areas remain, and the terrorists are still mounting isolated attacks.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

Nigeria ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

Hard-line Hindu Confesses to Attempted Murder of Pastor in Southern India, Police Say

House church pastor Madira Koti Reddy was attacked with an axe. (Morning Star News)

HYDERABADIndia (Morning Star News) – A hard-line Hindu has confessed to attempting to murder a pastor in southern India as the Christian leader was praying at night, according to police.

Pastor Madira Koti Reddy, who leads a house church in Rentachintala village, Guntur District in Andhra Pradesh state, on March 29 had gone to his room to study the Bible and pray at about 10 p.m. after eating dinner with his family, his wife told Morning Star News. Madira Shanti said she was in the backyard with their daughter doing dishes at the time.

At about 10:30 p.m., the assailant stealthily entered the house and went to the 55-year-old pastor’s room, where he slashed his arms and head with an axe, she said.

“I heard my husband screaming and ran into the house,” Shanti told Morning Star News.

With just one light bulb on, she couldn’t see the attacker clearly, but she followed him and saw him standing outside the house with the axe, she said.

“He looked to his right and left and quickly ran away,” Shanti said.

Police Inspector Koteswara Rao was patrolling the area at around 11:30 p.m. when he got word about the attack from villagers and rushed to Pastor Koti Reddy’s house, where he found him bleeding profusely.

“I immediately took him to the government hospital nearby, but given the severity of his condition, shifted him to a private hospital in the neighboring town,” Rao told Morning Star News.

After questioning family members and neighbors, police took 11 suspects into custody, he said. Key eyewitnesses informed them that one suspect, Manne Shiva Narayana, also known as Shivayya, was seen walking outside the pastor’s house with an axe that night.

Pastor Madira Koti Reddy recovering in hospital. (Morning Star News)

Pastor Madira Koti Reddy recovering in hospital. (Morning Star News)

Officers searched his house, seized the axe and took him into custody, Rao said.

“He is a staunch devotee of Shiva,” one of the principle Hindu deities, the inspector said. “He confessed that he wanted to ‘finish’ the pastor that night. He said he was offended by the pastor’s routine of sharing the gospel in the village.”

Shiva Narayana has deep-seated hatred toward Christianity, Rao said. Though police found no affiliation with any Hindu extremist groups, Shiva Narayana confessed that it was ‘hate’ that drove him to attack the pastor, the police officer said.

Villagers who requested anonymity told Morning Star News that Shiva Narayana is a self-proclaimed Shaiva Sadhu, a Hindu “holy person” identified by orange dress like that of Hindu ascetics known as Aghori. They said he is 34 and single.

He frequently travels to the Mallikarjuna Jyothirlinga temple, dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva and wife Parvati, in Srisailam, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Rentachintala, villagers said.

“He is very well known in his circles there,” one said.

Pastor Koti Reddy’s son-in-law, John Paul, told Morning Star News that the pastor spoke a few times to the family about the Shaiva Sadhu getting the pastor into religious arguments on faith, and that he requested the family pray for him.

“He was in trouble a couple of times because of boldness in professing Christianity,” he said. “He was several times confronted by people who opposed him distributing gospel tracts, but he never stopped.”

The pastor’s wife said he would write biblical verses on the walls of people’s houses, and that if people objected, he would stop and go away. Inspector Rao said police went to all the places in the village the pastor would visit in a day, and “nobody expressed opposition to the biblical verses on their walls, since this area is mainly dominated by Hindus converted to Roman Catholicism.”

Rao said that, in the jail cell, Shiva Narayana immediately objected to the picture of a cross that an inmate had drawn long ago and asked officers to transfer him to another cell.

“We were able to observe in the Shaiva Sadhu high levels of intolerance,” Rao said. “He did not want to be even physically present in a room where a cross is drawn on the wall.”

Shiva Narayana was charged with attempted murder, punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine, with the possibility of imprisonment for life.

Loss of Blood

Pastor Koti Reddy was unconscious when he was brought to the hospital, Dr. Sudheer Bhargava Reddy told Morning Star News.

“If he had been brought in 30 minutes later, we would not have been able to save him,” he said.

At least twelve units of blood were intravenously transfused into Pastor Koti Reddy’s body, Bhargava Reddy told Morning Star News.

“The loss of blood was excessive,” he said. “We first attended to the cuts, and there was urgent need for blood transfusion. He is responding well to the treatment, and as the blood clots clear up, we are operating on him.”

Surgery on Friday (April 6) to repair the pastor’s right arm was successful, and the same operation, involving plates and screws, will take place this week on his left arm, Bhargava Reddy told Morning Star News.

“It would take at least 45 days for the patient to move his hand, and in order to be able to use his hand very well, he needs to rest for at least 75 days,” he said.

He said that a CAT scan shows no major damage to the pastor’s head, and that his frequent headaches can be minimized with medicines and rest.

Pastor Koti Reddy’s wife said God allowed him to live.

“God did not let the blows be very hard and heavy,” she said. “God lifted him up and held him in His hands safe. This attack is only to bring glory to God.”

The couple’s children were deeply disturbed to see their father’s condition at the hospital, Shanti said.

“I am trying to be strong for them,” she said.

The member of the Legislative Assembly from Guntur West, Phillip C. Tocher, visited the pastor and his family in the hospital on Tuesday (April 3). After doctors briefed him on the pastor’s condition, he told the family that the ruling Telugu Desam Party would pay all the expenses for treatment, they said.

Evil Spirits

Originally from Giddalur in Prakasam District, Pastor Koti Reddy moved to Rentachintala village 20 years ago with his wife and children, where he now leads a house church.

“My husband comes from a Hindu family whose house was less a home to live in than like a temple or a dwelling place for Hindu deities and devotees,” Shanti said. “Their family would host several pujas [prayer rituals] and yaagas [ritual offerings] every year, and he was totally involved in idol worship.”

When ill in his youth, he was subject to a shaman’s “tricks,” she said, but he was completely healed after receiving prayer at a Christian church service. Having been freed of evil spirits, she said, he devoted himself completely to Christ, and “it was then through a pastor my parents fixed my marriage with him.”

The couple moved from Krishna District to Rentachintala village after Pastor Koti Reddy told his wife that God was calling him to serve there, she said.

“He saw Rentachintala in a vision God gave him when he prayed about his calling,” she said. “The village was exactly how he described it to me.”

The pastor bicycled around the village sharing the gospel, she said.

“He distributes gospel tracts, and if people show interest, he would have deeper discussions with them, and pray with them even on the road,” Shanti said.

The pastor habitually began his days at 5 a.m. and would spend at least three hours in the morning on his knees worshipping the Lord, she said.

“In my 25 years of marriage, I had never seen him picking fights or arguing with anyone,” she said. “As our boys grew up, several times when they would get into fights with their friends, and their parents came to complain, he would accept that it was his sons who were wrong.”

The family requested prayer for healing for the pastor and strength for them.

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 11th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience the most persecution, up from 15th the previous year, and ahead of Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Egypt.