India’s Christians Facing Increased Persecution FeaturedWritten by Michael Ireland
By Michael Ireland, Senior Reporter, ASSIST News Service
(ANS - CHAMBERSBURG, PA, Jan.20, 2015)—The second-most populous nation in the world, India is home to more than 1.2 billion people. And although Christians make up only about 2.5 percent of the population, they are increasingly under attack by Hindu extremists in this primarily Hindu country, according to one ministry working in the region.
A media ministry update states that for 69 years, The Tide radio programs have been changing lives by telling people about Jesus in the language they were born to speak. Founded in 1946 as the Gospel Tide Broadcasting Association, The Tide ministry has transitioned from a domestic radio program to a versatile multi-national outreach focusing on the least reached regions of the world. Through radio broadcasts in 23 heart languages, thousands of lost people are coming to know Christ. Driven by a sense of urgency to rescue the world from false teachings and pagan religious practices, The Tide board of directors has set an aggressive goal to introduce evangelistic radio programs in 15 additional languages by the year 2015. Currently, The Tide is just six languages away from reaching this goal.
The ministry update says The Tide outreach includes discipleship seminars, literature distribution, Bible correspondence courses and leadership training. This combination of ministry elements has proven to be extremely effective in changing lives and planting churches where believers are nurtured in their faith so that whole communities are drawn into the Kingdom of God.
Now, The Tide Global Radio Ministry is preparing to launch its eighth language program in the World's second-most populous country.
The Christian Post recently reported that churches have been set on fire, and that according to the Archbishop of New Delhi, "A clear pattern of orchestrated attacks is emerging as more and more churches are targeted, vandalized, and set on fire." Indeed, the nation ranks 21st on this year's World Watch List, an annual list released by Open Doors which tracks nations where Christians face the most persecution.
The media release says that since 1978, The Tide© (www.thetide.org ), a global radio ministry that shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ through heart-language radio programs, meaning programs produced on site, using indigenous speakers who tell people about Jesus in the language they were born to speak, has been ministering in India.
"In some areas where The Tide ministers, the literacy rate is very low," said The Tide Director Don Shenk. "This means that for many, the only way they will ever know about Jesus Christ is through hearing the Gospel message, and one critical way this is possible is through radio programs produced in the language they were born to speak. We have seen God move powerfully in India, and as The Tide prepares to move forward with adding our eighth language broadcast in that nation, we are so grateful that many more people will have the opportunity to hear what Jesus has done for them."
Currently, The Tide broadcasts in India in Kurukh, Santali, Odiya, Kui, Hindi (two programs), Ho and Bengali, and programming in the Telugu language is now in development. According to www.PeopleGroups.org , Telugu is the third most commonly spoken language in India, following Hindi and Bengali. While a few Telugu subgroups identify as Christian or Muslim, most Telugu are Hindus. The addition of Telugu language programming will bring the Gospel of Jesus to millions who may never have heard the message of hope before.
One listener to the Odiya language program, called "Shanti Data," meaning "Giver of Peace," said, "I am a regular listener to your 'Shanti Data' radio program. This program gives me peace and joy. As I listen to the program I learn more about Jesus Christ, his love and sacrifice."
And a listener to the "Aap Ke Liye" Hindi program, which means "For You," said, "Aap Ke Liye is such a good program that I cannot express it in words. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord and want to share His love with others."
"Throughout India, we hear testimonies of those whose lives have been changed because of the Gospel," Shenk continued. "We are passionate about bringing this Gospel message to even more precious people whom God loves and Christ died for."
The media update explains that in addition to producing heart-language radio programs, The Tide ministry in India includes discipleship activities, literature distribution, Bible correspondence courses, discipleship seminars and "Radios for India," a radio distribution project designed to provide radios to people in remote villages.
Entering its 69th year of ministry, The Tide shares the good news of Jesus Christ across three continents through producing radio programs in heart languages—meaning programs produced on site, using indigenous speakers who tell people about Jesus in the language they were born to speak. The Tide currently broadcasts in 23 heart languages, including eleven languages in Nigeria, two languages in Nepal, one language each in Zimbabwe, Bhutan and Albania, Kosovo and seven languages in India.
The mission of The Tide is to creatively share the good news of Jesus Christ worldwide through media and partnerships. The Tide is working diligently to expand its Christian broadcasts in more languages across the globe.
The Tide is now also inviting Christians to sign up for the "Have You Heard?" Campaign (www.thetide.org/challenge ). Millions of people live their lives every day without knowing about the hope and peace of Jesus Christ. "Have You Heard?" challenges individuals to ask just ten people throughout the course of the next year if they have heard what Jesus did for them. If someone responds, "No," then the door is opened to share God's plan of salvation. If the response is, "Yes, I know Jesus," then all can rejoice in meeting a fellow Christ follower, and The Tide invites those believers to join in its mission to be "creatively sharing the good news of Jesus Christ worldwide through media and partnerships."
Registration for the "Have You Heard?" Campaign can be found at http://thetide.org/challenge . The challenge is open to all believers, and The Tide encourages participation by families, churches, Bible study small groups, youth groups, women's and men's ministries, and other Christ-focused groups.
The Tide is committed to supporting and helping those who accept the "Have You Heard?" challenge. And anyone who signs up for the challenge will receive a "Have You Heard?" kit, which includes a pamphlet with suggestions on how to share their faith, brochures for distributing to others and a free "Have You Heard?" t-shirt, which is bound to be a conversation-starter with friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers.
The Tide Vision 2015 initiative builds on the momentum of more than six decades of radio ministry and strives to add several new languages to its efforts by the end of 2015. With almost a quarter of the world's population living within the current range of The Tide radio programming, and nearly 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, the opportunities are tremendous. Several new potential languages are also being considered for strategic growth, such as those spoken in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Albania.
In addition to producing programs in heart languages, The Tide gives radios to people in remote villages in Africa and Asia so they can listen to the programs. An alarmingly high number of people across the globe have never heard the message of God's saving love, due to lack of a simple $40 radio. At the same time, Christianity is growing worldwide, partly because of programs like The Tide. Thousands of generous people across the United States have enabled The Tide radio programs to thrive and expand into even more countries through the "Sponsor a Radio" program that helps further projects like The Tide Radios for Nigeria and Radios for India. Details on The Tide "Sponsor a Radio" program can be found at http://thetide.org/radios.
For more information about The Tide projects, Radios for India, Radios for Nigeria, the "Have You Heard?" Campaign, the weekly Global Update radio features and other news, visit www.thetide.org.