New Delhi, India., Dec. 19 - As the Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party, scored a major victory in last month's Assembly elections, Christian missionaries feared that religious persecution against them would be stepped up. It promised "hard times" for the Christian community as in three Indian states, parties favoring Hinduism came into power.
However, Audio Scripture Ministries' Tom Dudenhoffer says the current spiritual hunger counters the threat of persecution. Responses to their Scripture Listening Program in India are growing much faster than anticipated. "The opportunities that were presented have almost overwhelmed our missionaries and staff in India, where they report that in one area, where they were going to make a distribution of some 400 scripture listening kits, over 700 people registered at that single location alone."
A second distribution of over 500 Scripture Players is under way. Response in areas typically hostile to Christianity are also making contact requesting audio Scripture distributions. This is in spite of the real danger people often find themselves just from listening to the Scriptures.
Dudenhoffer urges believers to pray for continued open doors in India. "It seems to be an unusual openness to the Gospel even at the same time there's an increase in persecution, especially from the Hindu culture that finds this growing interest in Christianity a threat to their own political stability."
Reports from the field include requests from those recently saved as a result of listening to the Scripture recordings. Some of the most moving include requests that they would be willing to go public with their faith in Christ.
Even more exciting, an ASM team in India is in the final stages of testing a 3x cassette player to be used exclusively for Audio Scripture tapes with special formatting. The simple process reduces the playback speed by a factor of 3. That means each cassette can be loaded with 3 times the amount of recorded Scripture, reducing the cost and quantity of tapes used in a New Testament recording.
This equipment was designed by the Indian ministry team. The equipment is made on site, according to the specifications of the ministry team in India. The new players are scheduled to go into use as early as January, 2004.