CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.—According to the Christian persecution watchdog group, Persecution.org, Nepal is home to one of the fastest growing Christian communities in the world. In fact, the organization reports, the latest figures suggest there are now approximately 13,000 churches in the former Hindu kingdom.
These growing Christian communities in Nepal, however, are not without grave challenges.
The Tide® (www.thetide.org) global radio ministry has broadcast Gospel programming in Nepal since 2004, first in the Nepali language, then offering programs in the Tharu language in 2013, which has allowed the ministry to reach millions more listeners.
“Nepal has historically been a Hindu stronghold, but in 2008, the nation drafted an interim constitution that gave Nepali citizens some religious freedom rights,” said The Tide Director Don Shenk. “This change also allowed more ministries like The Tide to make inroads in Nepal. But in 2015, a new constitution was adopted after government officials debated for several years. At that time, Nepal was officially established as a secular country, and its citizens were given religious liberties. But simultaneously, anti-conversion language was added to the constitution, making it punishable for Christians and other believers to share their faith with their family, friends, neighbors or co-workers.”
The apprehension of persecution not only silences Nepali Christians but also isolates them in fear. The Tide Gospel programming, however, gives hope in the midst of darkness and difficulty.
Sampat is a listener to The Tide ministry’s Tharu program and shares the benefits he and his family have experienced.
“I am a retired teacher and now involved in social work,” Sampat said. “I belong to a non-Christian family and I did not like to listen (to) good Christian programs. But one day, through one of my friend, I came to know about the radio program that is being broadcasted in Tharu language called ‘Anmol Zindagi.’ After hearing this program for a month, the Lord spoke to me through His Word, and I was immensely blessed and had a new experience. When I shared my experience with my family members, they also decided to listen to this program … and were blessed. This program helped us to gain good knowledge and also how each of us would become a good person, such as listening to the Word of God, studying the Bible and also walking in the fear of the Lord.”
The Tide ministry entered Nepal by producing and airing the weekly program called “Prasasta Jivan,” which means “Abundant Life.” Then about six years ago, The Tide ministry added programming in the Tharu language to help make disciples and plant churches among the Tharu people of Nepal. Most of this tribal people group practices an ethnic religion influenced by Hindusim, and less than 0.5% of Tharu people are Christian.
The Tide ministry currently offers audio programming in 25 heart languages spoken by millions of people in multiple regions of Albania, Bhutan, India, Kosovo, Nepal, Nigeria, Thailand and Zimbabwe, making it possible for multiple people groups to hear the Gospel in the languages they were born to speak.
For more information about The Tide broadcast projects, history, radio programs around the world, special yearlong campaigns, the weekly Global Update radio features or other news, visit its website at www.thetide.org or its Facebook page. Read more about The Tide ministry and Director Don Shenk here.
To schedule interviews with Don Shenk, director of The Tide global radio ministry, contact [email protected], Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or ext. 102.