Zacharia lived comfortably as a government employee in Southern India. He was born into a Catholic family that ranked high in India's notorious caste system. But one day his comfortable life took a turn, some might say for the worse, when God told him to be a missionary in one of the most dangerous places to be a Christian in India.
God told Zacharia to minister to the people in Bihar, a place known for being violent against anything Christian. Bihar is so antagonistic toward Christianity, it is nicknamed "the graveyard of missionaries."
"That was really, really hard for me," Zacharia told Christian Aid. "I prayed for a few weeks, 'Lord, send someone to Bihar. But the Lord said, 'Not someone else—you must go.'"
Zacharia obeyed and nearly lost his life.
For most of his life, Zacharia enjoyed his Christian family's high status in the Indian caste system. But immediately became a target once he entered Bihar.
One day he knocked on someone's door to ask for a glass of water. The man who opened the door looked him over and asked what caste he was.
"I said, 'I'm a Christian'—and my goodness, by hearing 'Christian' he was so upset," Zachariah recalls. "'He said, 'If you speak more, I will kill you.'"
Despite the opposition he faced, Zacharia built a school and led 30 people to Christ in a span of two years. He continued to host Bible studies and prayer meetings when his life was threatened yet again.
"One night, six people came to the meeting, and while I was talking, one of the men took out his gun, and he wanted to shoot me—he was trying to pull the trigger, but it didn't work. The very next day, he had an accident, and the Lord allowed me to take him to the hospital." Zacharia said.
Now Zacharia's ministry has grown from Bible studies to include leadership training, literacy training, vocational training, free meals, clothing and medical aid.
Zacharia owes his survival to God and his wife, and he has big plans for the future.
"I thank the Lord for my wife, who never asked to move to a safer place," he said. "My life is still threatened almost every day. Whenever I go traveling, my wife takes three days fasting and keeps on praying for my protection. God is really making a difference in Bihar, I'm so excited about what the Lord is doing there."
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