The Gospel continued its advance through India during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown, which prevented people of Hindu backgrounds from meeting in person to learn more about Christianity, as The Tide® ministry faithfully broadcast its radio program and answered requests for mailed literature.
For 37 years we have spread the gospel in India through its radio program, “The Good News Hour.” Before the pandemic-induced lockdown, The Tide also shared the message of Jesus Christ at in-person meetings, such as the Seeker’s Meetings held in the Indian state of Odisha.
“Seeker’s Meetings provide the opportunity for people to dialogue about what they are hearing through The Tide radio programs,” said Don Shenk. “Teams of trained village workers and pastors present Bible lessons about the nature of God and various aspects of the Christian faith and include a session for questions and answers in each period. These mini-conferences play a vital role in helping transition curious listeners into committed believers.
The typical attendees of these meetings come from Hindu backgrounds and have little knowledge of the Christian faith. At the meeting, they learn about Jesus and what it means to live a life for him. Within five meetings from January to March, fifty-two people attended, and seven people accepted Christ as their Savior.
In addition to Seeker’s Meetings, we also provide adult literacy training, village cleanings, and health awareness programs. By meeting these needs, The Tide workers form relationships and tangibly show the love of Christ to the people in Odisha.
Then COVID-19 struck.
On March 24, to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, India locked down until the end of May, with some places still locked down at the end of June. Citizens were unable to leave their homes except to meet essential needs, which halted our meetings or trainings. But even though they could no longer meet in person, we continued to share the message of hope in Jesus Christ.
“Restrictions due to the COVID crisis seriously hampered our face-to-face discipleship activities in India, but we praise God that the production and airing of our Gospel radio programs in eight languages continues uninterrupted, and our boots on the ground at our south Asia headquarters in Odisha were able to provide listener care through phone calls, written correspondence, and literature mailing,” Shenk said. “We pray our full scope of community outreach activities can resume as there are still many who need that personal touch to lead them into a relationship with Jesus.”