By Mark Ellis
Despite his offerings at the Hindu temple, Gajjal Paul could find no peace. After his boss introduced him to the Good News about Jesus, he renounced his idols and began to follow Christ. But his evangelical zeal met a terrible test when assailants ambushed him.
“I was an active idol worshiper ” says Gajjal Nilandhri Paul, 38. “I would regularly go to Hanuman temple and Shiva temple and offer my hair as an offering and pay homage.”
Despite his many sacrifices, he couldn’t overcome feelings of emptiness within. “I had no joy or peace in my family or in my heart,” he recalls.
In his work as a clinic assistant at a nursing home, one of the doctors began to share with him about Jesus. “Dr. Vedamani told me the Good News of Jesus Christ, that He came to the world, shed His blood, was buried and rose again on the third day.”
Paul learned that if he put his trust in Jesus, his sins would be forgiven. No longer would he have to offer sacrifices at the temple. Jesus became God’s perfect sacrifice on the cross when he died, once and for all.
“I believed in his truth and asked Jesus Christ into my heart. I confessed my sins and repented,” he says. It was a powerful moment of surrender and rebirth, memorialized by his baptism shortly thereafter.
As Paul grew in his faith, he answered a call to become a pastor. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, his boldness and evangelical zeal touched many around him. “As a full-time minister, the truths I believed I taught to everyone alike.”
But he also began to provoke opposition. “He is converting our people,” some complained. “He is turning Hindus into Christians,” others charged.
In response to his evangelism, Pastor Paul had encountered threats and beatings. Then some with a spirit of Antichrist began to conspire against him. “They plotted in their heart to harm me,” he recalls. Previously the extremists had only wanted to halt his activities; this time they intended to kill him.
On July 1st, Paul was driving home on a borrowed motor scooter, when two men suddenly attacked him. “Their faces were covered with handkerchiefs,” he recalls. After they knocked Paul off the scooter, they began to beat him viciously. When several people came to his aide, his assailants fled. Near death, he was rushed to the hospital where doctors treated him for severe head wounds and internal injuries.
Since the attack, Pastor Paul returned with his family to his hometown. Paul is the only follower of Christ among his relatives. Due to the potential for opposition in his village, he sent his children to live in a children’s home for their safety and protection.
As he slowly recovers, Pastor Paul maintains his commitment to continue in full-time ministry. In spite of the danger, he has never wavered from his calling. Just two days after the attack, he declared from his hospital bed, “Even if I die, I will die for the Lord. It is my responsibility to preach the Gospel, and I will continue doing it.”