We spend the whole year declaring the Gospel message and God’s gift of salvation for all mankind, but there is something special about devoting a specific time every December to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the foundation, source and author of our salvation! As I write this greeting to wish you a wonderful and blessed Christmas celebration, I also want to thank you for all you have done to enable The Tide ministry to declare the hope of Christ to people living in spiritual darkness.
Just last month, Becky and I were in India visiting with the leaders and staff of the Good News Hour radio ministry. We were joined by some of our ministry partners from Zimbabwe and Thailand for a wonderful time of sharing and learning together. Our time there coincided with a Hindu religious festival during which idols were carried to the river and either set adrift on makeshift boats or simply thrown into the river.
Although I don’t know all the complexities of this ritual, it brought to mind the passages in Isaiah (Chapters 44-46) in which God speaks of the futility of worshipping mute, helpless idols that must be carried around, as opposed to a loving powerful God who carries us and provides for our needs. Thanks to the support you and many others give to The Tide ministry, there is a growing number of people in India, and other regions of the world, who are placing their trust in the one true, living God. It was a thrill to meet some of these believers while in India and to observe their great joy and enthusiasm as they worshipped God in song and dance, as in the photo at right.
The members from the Thailand team found their time in India to be very beneficial, as they learned ministry strategies that they can adapt and apply as they grow their outreach to the Isaan people of Thailand. Please pray with us that this fledgling partnership with The Tide ministry will take root and thrive, bringing many more people to faith and hope in Christ. There are some differences between India and Thailand, but there are also significant similarities, and unfortunately both countries are characterized by incredible numbers of unbelievers, as well as anti-Christian persecution at the family, social and government levels. Our Thai partners report that they were inspired by the testimonies they heard from believers in India who persevere despite opposition, and hope to produce similar fruit in the lives of Isaan villagers in Thailand.
The oppression faced by believers in India did not go unnoticed by our representative from Zimbabwe, who now has a greater appreciation for the freedom the people of Zimbabwe have to worship God without government interference. He returned to Zimbabwe further motivated to help his people find complete freedom in Christ from cultural and traditional religious practices like witchcraft and ancestral spirit worship. We are pleased that the construction of a new studio in Zimbabwe is well underway. Once complete, it will enable expanded outreach in Zimbabwe and the surrounding region with Gospel programming in the languages people were born to speak.
It was disappointing that those we had invited from Albania and Kosovo were unable to join us in India—one due to direct threats against him and his family because of his involvement in radio ministry, and the other because of a political roadblock in obtaining a visa to visit India. Earlier this year, the government in Albania tightened regulations on Christian broadcasting there and, consequently, we have been forced to reduce the number of times our Albanian language radio program is on the air. You may recall that last year at this time we were rejoicing because we had finally been able to air our programs on additional days, so this is a disappointing turn of events. Pray with us for our ministry partners in Albania as they work to get these restrictions removed so that Albanians can find the hope they so desperately need in the face of economic hardships and spiritual darkness.
The enemy is working hard to stop the advancement of God’s kingdom in the hearts of people around the world, but we will not be deterred, for we know that our mighty and awesome God has already guaranteed the victory through Christ Jesus. His love, compassion, grace, mercy and provisions are constant and never-changing. We remain fully committed to putting all our resources and energy into declaring His truth so that more people can come to know Jesus as their personal Savior and experience the new life that these listeners have found:
I have listened to the program ‘Sipas Fjales’ with Pastor H for over 2 years now. I can’t thank you enough for the transformation this program brought to my life. I have accepted Christ in my life and want to live like a new Creature in Christ. The program is helping me get rooted into the Word of God, and I’m amazed of the wealth of knowledge in the Bible. Blessings to all of you and thank you for everything you do.—Albanian listener
Thank you for the word. I started listening to your program some years ago and am glad that your program still exists. I once backslid on the things of the Lord, but I have repented again.—Zimbabwean listener
I am a regular listener to your ‘Shanti Data’ program. I have been blessed personally through the radio messages, and the love of God has changed my life completely. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.—Indian listener
Thank you for the support you have given to make these testimonies possible. This Christmas season, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, please consider an additional gift to ensure that we can continue broadcasting Gospel radio programs in multiple languages so that people can tune in and find hope and new life in Christ.
May you and your entire family have a very Merry Christmas!
In Christ’s love,
Don Shenk, Director