Sharing the Gospel in a Hindu stronghold
The population of Nepal is overwhelmingly Hindu; in fact, for many years Nepal was the world’s only official Hindu kingdom. Hinduism is so strong in Nepal that during their monarchy years the king of Nepal was worshipped as the incarnation of a Hindu God. Most of the people of Nepal are deeply religious, especially the 86% who are followers of Hinduism. Evidence of their religious zeal can be seen in their homes and communities, and also in their daily activities. Despite their dedication to their numerous gods, many people of Nepal, like so many other places in the world, are failing to find hope and fulfillment in life. They remain spiritually hungry and the Nepali people are currently more open to the Gospel than they have ever been. Although Hinduism is recognized as the national religion of Nepal, the government does allow a certain amount of religious freedom; people are free to choose their religion but they are not allowed to attempt to convert anyone.
Thanks to the prayers and support of people like you, our plan to expand our radio ministry into Nepal became a reality in 2004. Since October, 2004, our studio in India has been busy producing and distributing a weekly Christian radio program in the Nepali language. This program is called Prasasta Jivan which is the equivalent of ‘Abundant Life’ in English. Prior to 2004 the only people we had the potential to reach in Nepal were those who speak any of the other languages we are currently broadcasting in throughout India and the surrounding region. The plains of India extend into Nepal, and there are several people groups indigenous to both India and Nepal. We broadcast our Indian language programming through short wave transmissions that cover not only India, but also reach into other countries in the surrounding region. This means that through our Indian language programs we already had the potential to reach several million people in Nepal, but that still left over 19 million Nepali speaking people who also needed to hear the Gospel.
Christians in Nepal are theoretically free to worship God, but are liable to arrest and persecution if they do anything that appears to be an effort to convince others to join the Church. Our Nepali language programs were initially aired from short wave towers outside the country, so they cannot be ‘arrested’ or ‘persecuted’ for preaching about Jesus Christ, and can freely enter into homes where a Christian evangelist would normally be unwelcome. Church leaders in Nepal are excited about these broadcasts and the potential they provide to be used as a means of reaching more people for Christ and building up the Church in Nepal.
An exciting development was the opportunity to begin airing The Tide® Nepali language radio programs on an FM station in Biratnagar to reach this urban center of Nepal. People who live in the cities tend to listen more to FM broadcasts than they do shortwave, so this development has increased the potential number of people The Tide can be reaching, and The Tide has a goal to expand to FM stations in other cities in Nepal. Our on-the-ground partners in Nepal report meeting Nepali people who were so excited about hearing the Gospel in their own language that they have recorded the FM programs on their cell phones so they can listen to them over and over!
In June of 2013, The Tide also added a second language to Nepal--the Tharu Language now airs once a week on an FM station. With less than 0.5% Tharu speakers professing Christianity and no major Christian broadcasting ministries producing programs in this language, the need is great!