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Tibetan listeners embrace Christian radio

3/8/11 Tibet (MNN) ― In 1950, Chinese Communists moved into Tibet, beginning a long occupation. There are more than seven million Tibetans still under Communist rule.

The oppression drove Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to India in 1959, and more than 100,000 Tibetans joined him in exile. Many thousands remain in exile in India, Nepal, Bhutan and elsewhere.

Tensions have not lessened over time. Ethnic Chinese outnumber Tibetans 3 to 1 within Tibet itself. Recent protests in Lhasa reflect years of pent-up frustration and hopelessness under Chinese rule.

Getting the message of hope to this region remains a challenge with the resistance of the Chinese government and the suspicion of the Tibetans. However, because radio is the primary source of information and entertainment for people there, it can carry a message where no person could go.

For over two decades, Words of Hope has broadcast a message of hope to the Tibetan people. Nightly programs produced in conjunction with indigenous partner Gaweylon (Good News) avoid political issues, focusing instead on a variety of helpful topics which touch Tibetan hearts.

Each 30-minute program features multiple segments including Biblical teaching. The broadcasts generate more than 10,000 responses each year--many from Buddhist monasteries where thousands of monks hunger for a better understanding about God.

The Gaweylon team is gearing up for a major literature distribution starting Saturday. March 5 marks the start of the Tibetan New Year, where celebrations by thousands of Buddhists will continue for the next two weeks. 

Gaweylon Director Anil Alfred says during that time, "We plan to distribute a lot of literature and visit many people. Thank God for the many who are distributing our literature and CDs with us."

The doors are opening. Alfred goes on to say that "during the past four months, the team has visited many places, meeting people, distributing literature and CDs, and sharing about the radio program. Over 300 letters have been written to listeners all over, and more than 3500 letters were distributed by hand to Tibetans in South India. In response to these efforts, many are writing back, calling us on the phone, and asking for literature and CDs. We rejoice each time our phone line which is dedicated for listeners rings."

The impact? One listener writes, "I listen to your program regularly and like it very much. Your program benefits the whole community. You share the teachings of Jesus, and you do so much for the Tibetan people."

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