Gospel for Asia-supported missionary Murli Ghulam was released from prison, but he is restricted from traveling outside his own village. Additional details about Murli's ministry and the events leading to his release are also being reported.
Murli was arrested on July 2 as he was leading a prayer meeting in a believer's home and charged with bribing and forcing people to convert to Christianity. The charge was brought by anti-Christian extremists in his village.
Murli lives in an area with strict laws that make it difficult to share the love of Jesus with people from the area's traditional religions. These statutes, which are often used as a basis of arresting Christian pastors, are known as "freedom of religion laws" and outline what steps must be taken to change one's faith. In some places where there are "freedom of religion laws," individuals are legally obligated to submit paperwork to the government before they are allowed to publicly follow Christ.
As a result of Murli's ministry, dozens of people have embraced the love of Christ. When this happens, it generally stirs up the anger of the local followers of the traditional faiths, who often complain about the missionary's activities to the police. This appears to be what happened to Murli.
Changed Lives Show Christ's Power
After his release, Murli told a GFA correspondent about several dramatic answers to prayer that have occurred as part of his ministry, which may have brought the wrath of anti-Christian extremists down on him.
Sheenu Manim's Story
Sheenu Manim used to wander around her village asking every young man she met "Will you marry me?" Sheenu had a mental illness, and no one knew how to help her. In January 2010, some people from her village brought Sheenu to Murli and asked him to pray for her. He prayed for the healing power of Jesus Christ to fall on the 25-year-old's life, and God answered his prayer. From that day on, Sheenu was in her right mind and began proclaiming the love of Christ in her village and telling everyone about His healing in her life. A group of anti-Christian extremists asked her who prayed for her healing, and she gladly told them about Murli and gave them his phone number.
Panjit Lukkise's Story
Panjit Lukkise was the target of a witchdoctor's vengeful wrath. The witchdoctor summoned evil spirits to attack Panjit with the goal of ending his life. It seemed to be working; Panji's health started to fail. The 40-year-old man went from doctor to doctor, spending all of his family's money seeking a cure. He was incredibly weak and could barely keep any food down. His health continued to go downhill. But then the family heard about Murli and carried Panjit to the missionary's doorstep. Murli cried out to God on Panjit's behalf, and this suffering man experienced full healing. He ran back to his village and shared the wonders Christ had performed in his life. Because of Panjit's testimony, 80 people chose to follow Jesus in that one village.
Sunil Andamimad's Story
Sunil Andamimad had a painful ulcer in his stomach. The ulcer perforated his stomach, and he was hospitalized and in great pain. When the doctors failed to provide any relief, Sunil begged his family to get him out of the hospital and to someone who could really help him.
"Please take me to Pastor Murli; he can heal me!" Sunil pleaded.
When Murli heard Sunil's request, he prayed and Sunil got a little better. Then Murli asked his church members to pray and fast for seven days for Sunil. At the end of that week Sunil was healed.
Jagon and Mushi Gopal's Story
Jagon and Mushi Gopal were living a nightmare. They lived in an area that was prolific with idol and spirit worship. By actively participating in these practices, the couple opened themselves to the dangers, and soon, they were personally attacked by an evil spirit. This torment continued for 10 years. Murli heard about their condition and traveled 24 miles to the couple's home just to pray for them. At the name of Jesus, the evil spirit fled and their lives have changed dramatically. Both husband and wife chose to follow Christ, and a church was started in their home. The church is growing and adding many new members each week.
Fear And Anger Over New Faith
Several local anti-Christian extremist groups were horrified at the changes they were seeing in their villages as many people abandoned their traditional religions and chose to worship Christ. They filed a police complaint charging Murli forcing people to convert to Christianity.
Murli was arrested the day after the charges were filed against him. His accusers urged the police to deny bail for Murli and keep him in jail. But Murli did not worry about the pressure. "My Lord, whom I serve, will make a way for me to come out from jail," he said.
When they heard their pastor had been arrested, believers from several villages rushed to the jail and began telling the police their testimonies.
"Jesus has healed me."
"Jesus has blessed me."
"We ourselves willingly come to worship Him."
"Who said that Pastor Murli is changing our religion? No! He never forced me to change my religion. He just prayed and shared the Good News, which I never knew before."
They also threatened to stage a peaceful protest outside the jail until their pastor was released.
When the police heard the testimonies of these believers, they granted Murli bail, and he was released within the hour.
Murli is back teaching God's principles to an average crowd of 250 people on Sundays. Since they don't have a church building, Murli leads Sunday worship in his home.
Murli asks that you continue to pray for him, that God would protect him and his family from danger and opposition. Also pray for God's guidance and abundant grace on the pastor.
He also asks for prayer that those who brought the charges against him would embrace the love of Christ.
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