The day started unremarkably, but it quickly threatened to turn deadly. While Richard McDonald was away assisting a friend, his wife Kathy helped the radio announcer start the transmitter for a day of broadcasting over Radio Kahuzi in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Suddenly a truck pulled up, and out jumped 17 rebel soldiers with automatic weapons. It was 1998, and a war involving several nations and multiple rebel groups was wreaking havoc in the DRC. The soldiers commandeered the station and demanded that the broadcasts stop.
One particularly menacing soldier walked over to Kathy and asked, “Aren’t you afraid to die?” She had heard that rebels had pillaged the area and attacked women, but she knew she must not show fear. Speaking with more boldness than she felt she said, “Oh, no. God watches over me… If I live, I live with Jesus, and if I die, I die with Jesus.” Inexplicably, the soldiers soon packed up and left.
If you met Richard and Kathy McDonald, you would be struck by how gentle and unassuming they are. You would never know that, more than once, they were pinned down in their home as gunfire was exchanged around them by warring factions. No one would have blamed them had they left the DRC for good. But their passion for the lost has kept them there for decades, active in the ministry, despite the dangers.
The McDonalds have operated Radio Kahuzi since 1992. Using radio equipment designed at our center, the good news of Christ was first broadcast by FM to the provincial capital Bukavu, followed by a shortwave station sending the signal across the country and into parts of neighboring Uganda and Tanzania. Not only have Congolese responded to the gospel, but also Rwandans who came as refugees and even rebel soldiers who listened on fixed-tuned radios they had stolen.
SonSet Solutions is assisting the McDonalds again by helping them obtain new equipment that will significantly modernize their station. With these upgrades, the McDonalds hope that Radio Kahuzi will continue for many years to come, to be a voice of grace and reconciliation in a land that still struggles to find lasting peace.
Written by Marla Bender