India (MNN) — Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan met
last week to lay the groundwork of upcoming peace talks.
The countries remain concerned about the threat of
terrorism but are committed to hammering things out during the next round of foreign minister
Ministers are slated to meet later this month in New Delhi–the first
formal talks between them since the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India's financial
Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir. The history of the region was bathed in the
blood spilled in three wars fought since 1947, when the territory gained
independence from Britain. Lee DeYoung with Words of Hope says, "Security personnel there can be seen
patrolling vulnerable areas. People are fearful for their lives." The atmosphere always has a tension to it,
for good reason. DeYoung goes on to say,
"In the last year, there has been a considerable uptick in violence, in
terrorism; much of the area has been under curfew. It's been difficult to
conduct daily life."
For example, DeYoung explains, "Many Kashmiris have lost
their jobs because tourism has been deeply depressed due to the threat of
Yet the tone set by the Foreign Secretaries bodes well for
what may be accomplished later this month. "There is
a hope that dialogue might be possible," DeYoung says, warning that there's a
lot of work to be done. "One of the
issues of contention, however, is the continuing alleged infiltration of weapons
across the border from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir into India-controlled
Weary from years of terrorist bombings and killings, many
Kashmiri Muslims are more open than ever to Christ's Gospel of peace. Words of Hope transmits from a site in Dhabayya,
United Arab Emirates. "We're hoping that the Gospel broadcasts certainly are
reaching a people who are hungry for good news, for peace. We're thankful that
it's possible to broadcast Christian programs to Kashmir."
It can be dangerous to openly express anything contrary to
the militant hard line, therefore the number of Christians in this region is
noted at significantly less than one half of one percent.
The 15-minute program, "Ray of Hope," is aired four
days a week and includes music, a health segment, and a Bible-based message.
Personal contacts have been made with listeners. The few seekers who respond to
the program need support and encouragement to stand for their faith in their
own community. Pray for continued growth and for God's Spirit to move in the hearts and minds of those who listen.