Persevering in Pakistan

Now in our second year of gospel media ministry in Pakistan, we are seeing a gradual increase in the number of responses from listeners to our Pashto and Saraiki radio programs.  However, our boots on the ground in Pakistan feel that the number of people responding is relatively low compared to the potential listening audience. Our follow-up team reported receiving 15 letters and short messages from Pashto listeners in the last 3 months. During that same time period, 26 people responded to the Saraiki program.  The production and follow-up teams recently met to assess the program format and outreach strategies. They identified some valid reasons why more listeners may not be responding. The majority of our target audience in Pakistan lives in poorly developed villages in remote areas. A high percentage of them are illiterate and either cannot write or are not accustomed to writing letters. In addition, there is no readily available channel for written correspondence as many would have to travel a far distance to the post office and may find the cost of postage very expensive.  These factors are compounded by the fact that these people groups, especially the Pashtuns, are tightly bound to their religion by cultural tradition and pressure from their leaders, which makes them extremely closed to outside influence and very hesitant to respond. For the gospel to make inroads into their lives and communities will take time and perseverance. Our ministry team in Pakistan has resolved to continue sowing the seed, trusting that it will eventually bear much fruit. After their review and evaluation, they decided to make some adjustments to the program content to ensure that the gospel message is being shared very clearly in a way that is easy to understand. The team also decided to promote and upload the program through their WhatsApp group for distribution to listeners who have access to the internet, and will encourage listeners to respond through this popular messaging app.