With a population of 1.4 billion, India has been called the largest internet market in the world and the second-largest smartphone market. Wouldn’t it be great if every time they picked up their phones, they heard the gospel?
Since 1977, TWR India has sought to “speak life, peace, love and hope to the nation” and to that end TWR India reached a milestone late last year speaking in 150 languages.
In April 1978 TWR India began broadcasting in Delhi with five languages on a 400,000-watt AM station. The programmes were recorded in the first TWR audio studio built in Delhi. Back then, listener responses came in as handwritten letters, amazingly in the first three weeks listeners sent in 75,000 letters.
TWR has been blessed with missionaries who contribute to the work in India. In fact, the longest-serving TWR missionary, Bill Mial has travelled to India 47 times.
“As I think back on TWR India, from its very inception, I worked with a group of people who had the word ‘YES’ written across their faces,” Mial said. “It was a can-do spirit, and because of that, God has used them to do wonderful things in a relatively short period of time. One hundred and fifty languages in 50 years is a great achievement. Praise the Lord.”
Mial shared in his book “Great Things He Has Done” that the literacy rate in India at the time was less than 50%. The following letter was written by one man hired by 50 illiterate men in his village. They signed this letter with their thumbprints stating:
“We are very happy; what other preacher could we expect to come to us, sit with us every day and take us through the whole Bible like this, verse by verse? How can we repay you for the wonderful ministry you do for us? We go to church once in a while, but what is there for us? We cannot read; we are labourers. You really help us.”
Great Things He Has Done
Seven years after the programming began, God miraculously provided TWR India with headquarter space in Delhi through a generous gift. The same year TWR’s audience-relations division was established, handling interaction with listeners and analysing the resulting data. Now, TWR India has more than 200 workers and over 50 churches and organisations partnering to impact millions of lives.
Today, just 44 years after that first production, TWR India celebrates 150 languages of broadcasting. Shortwave broadcasts and media players used in the Radio Homes Project are making it possible to reach India and the consistent growth of this project has led to this milestone.
In 2005, TWR India began to go beyond radio by joining the internet, making its programming available to the online world. This led to radio home groups similar to home churches or church small groups in the western world, with gatherings centred around the radio broadcasts. TWR supported these groups by making Bible quizzes available to encourage the studying of God’s Word. God even led TWR India to produce a TV programme. TWR India’s willingness to navigate uncharted waters it what has marked the growth of this ministry.
God has revealed each next step to grow the TWR India audience through outlets including radio, television, YouTube, social media, web apps, WhatsApp, media players and print. We rejoice in the reach of radio and modern technology.
The celebration of crossing the 150-language threshold took place in January 2023. The 150th language was Nagamese, which is spoken in north-eastern India.
Nikita Paul, TWR India’s marketing and communications director, shared about the ministry’s celebration:
“From the 24th to the 26th of January, we brought together close to 1,200 people who had all, in some capacity, contributed to TWR India reaching this significant milestone. This included international partners; local partners and key church leaders who have ensured that our efforts in production reach the masses; local donors and those who’ve partnered in prayer.”
“We came together to recall the goodness of God and celebrate His faithfulness in making this possible. We praise God for the thousands of souls that have come to the knowledge of Him through this ministry.”
Paul shares the ministry’s goals:
“TWR India envisions developing an actively engaged audience that will continue to use our resources to develop in their own spiritual lives [and in] their communities … working with the local church to disciple believers by providing sound teaching in their heart languages.”
“One of the greatest blessings for us through this time has been the chance to witness the Lord’s faithfulness in transforming lives in this nation. Even as [the] pandemic hit, debilitating much of our ministry, the Lord sustained us and used the work that was done even more powerfully at a time when churches were forced shut. There really isn’t a greater reward than to hear the many stories of those without hope … [having their lives] restored from the brink of death or depravity.”
God is faithful and has made a way through many who serve and dedicate their lives to this ministry. We rejoice with TWR India as they thank the Lord for His provision and moving in the lives of the people of India. It has changed lives, continuing to motivate the work.
Here is an example of a changed life, from a listener’s response:
“Before … I was in pain, sorrow and I was literally fed up [with] my life … I started listening [to] the Thru the Bible Marathi programme on TWR India. Slowly, I came to know that the root cause for my problems is my sin and I must repent for it. Through the programme I came to know that Jesus loves me. He is the one who gives salvation. To give me life, He was crucified on the cross and died. But [He rose] on the third day. … [The] Lord has given me joy in my life. I give all glory to God alone.”