Don Shenk has recently returned from India, Nepal and Pakistan, where he met with radio partners, encouraged pastors and made new inroads.
In Nepal, The Tide ministry led a leadership conference for 75 to 80 pastors, and although the pastors were uplifted, energized and motivated by the event, challenges did exist.
“While in Nepal, we witnessed a lack of signage on many churches so as not to draw attention to the worship, preaching and Bible study happening among the congregations,” said The Tide Director Don Shenk. “While Nepal claims to have religious freedom in its Constitution, protections fall woefully short of where they should be. Additionally, an anti-conversion law that went into effect earlier this year makes it very difficult for believers in Jesus Christ to share their newfound faith—or even practice freely.”
Shenk added that one difficulty occurs when people respond positively to the radio broadcasts and eventually wish to be baptized, the person who is baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit risks being accused of conversion.
Despite these challenges, however, the response to the Gospel in Nepal has been positive, Shenk said. Christians are free to meet but not free to make any effort to convert others. For instance, Shenk preached in a church in Nepal to people who were already believers, rather than evangelize to nonbelievers. Additionally, police permission was necessary for the pastor leadership seminar, and the windows of the building where the conference was held were kept closed in the hot weather, lest others may complain about the music and worship.
Shenk also traveled to Pakistan on the recent trip and had the opportunity to spend a day with a Pakistani recording ministry. This group currently broadcasts Christian messages in two languages and has identified three more people groups to reach, two of which have no media ministry available to them. The Tide leadership is praying these opportunities will open doors for the ministry in Pakistan, in addition to the eight countries where the ministry already works.
“That’s where our focus is,” Shenk said, “to go where the need is great.”
Nepal is No. 25 on this year’s World Watch List for Christian persecution from Open Doors USA, and Pakistan is ranked at No. 5.