Each year, Open Doors USA publishes its World Watch List to raise awareness of Christian persecution around the world and to encourage prayer and support for believers living in the 50 countries where persecution is most prevalent.
Many of our listeners inhabit regions where there are serious repercussions for turning to Christ, as 22 of The Tide heart language radio programs reach people living in four countries on this year’s list.
In Nigeria, Christians suffer from violence perpetrated by Islamic militant groups. Nepal was not even ranked in last year’s list, but now nearly all Christians there experience some form of persecution to the point that pastors and believers are hesitant to openly carry a Bible in public. Buddhism is seen as Bhutan’s heritage, and Christians there experience tremendous pressure to conform to local religious practices or lose social benefits such as government-provided education and health care.
It is disturbing to see India continue its trend of climbing higher on the list, and is now being classified as having “extreme persecution,” primarily because the government promotes Hinduism as the national identity of India and tolerates the activities of radical Hindu groups that use violence to eradicate other religions. This makes it very dangerous for our Indian partners who work to disciple the many listeners who, despite the risk, are responding to the Gospel message The Tide ministry airs there in eight languages.
The Good News Hour, our partner ministry in India, Bhutan and Nepal, has adapted by developing an expanding network of local pastors and trained village workers to follow up with listeners. To gain greater access into Hindu strongholds, Good News Hour has also significantly expanded the amount of compassion-type ministry activities and social work it offers, and now engages in adult literacy, child education, seed distribution, plantation and gardening, village cleaning and sanitation, medical camps and health awareness, hygiene and sports.
All this, provided in the name of Christ, reinforces and adds impact to the Gospel message people are hearing on the radio.
Jesus warned that it would not always be easy to follow Him, and that his disciples will face opposition, discrimination, arrest and other forms of oppression. Jesus also promised that the Holy Spirit will give strength to endure for those who remain faithful in all circumstances, and will enable us to shine for Him in dark situations.
Praise God for the commitment and tenacity of The Tide radio pastors and discipleship workers who faithfully persevere in sharing the Gospel. And please pray fervently for Christians and new believers in areas where violent opposition to their faith is often an everyday occurrence. Thank you for providing the prayer and financial support to strengthen and encourage them!