Keeping This Place Humming

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! But if it is broke (I mean broken) call Rich West. Rich is Mr. Fix-it, Tim the Toolman, and Mr. Wizard all wrapped up into one. With a 23,000-foot facility on a five-acre lot, SonSet Solutions always has something that needs to be replaced, repaired, or renovated. And no matter how hard or complicated or dirty the task, Rich is ready, willing, and able to do it. He keeps this place humming so that the work of ministry can get done.

Rich first learned how to fix things from his father, a man who just naturally understood the mechanics of how things work and passed that knack down to his son. Rich refined that skill with a degree in electrical engineering and training in construction, heating and cooling, and radio tower rigging. He spent much of the past 45 years serving with TWR at radio broadcast sites in Swaziland, Guam, and Bonaire and has spent 13 of those years on loan to SonSet Solutions.

During his career, Rich has put up radio towers (one over 70 stories high), built broadcast studios and transmitter buildings, maintained and repaired huge shortwave transmitters and the generators that powered them, and sometimes when replacement parts weren’t available, created his own. He has likely never said one word of witness over the radio, but his work has enabled literally millions around the world to hear the gospel. Great will be his reward in heaven. Continue reading

Just Go and Be a Blessing

“If there’s anyone here that is going to Malawi, Africa, we need a radio transmitter hand-carried to that part of the world.” The challenge came from Mike Axman, a broadcast engineer serving with SonSet Solutions (then called the HCJB Global Technology Center). The African Bible College (ABC), which had already been broadcasting the gospel in Malawi for 15 years, needed a spare FM transmitter delivered to their campus. Mike used this opportunity to share the need during his presentation at a church missions conference. “Hey, I can do that!” Walt volunteered without hesitation. Walter Mutti was one of the New Tribes missionaries expelled by the government of Venezuela a number of years ago and was now living and ministering in New England. “I’ve carried radios overseas before!”

Generous friends responded and quickly provided the funds Walt needed to go. However, when he contacted SonSet Solutions, he found out the spare transmitter had already been shipped a week earlier. Unsure of what to do, he contacted his supporters. Each of them expressed the same words of encouragement, “Walter, just go and be a blessing.”

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“Our Lives are Already Changing”

As the Land Cruiser door made a long squeak, we all jumped out. I was amazed at what I saw and heard on this dry, hot day in a remote village in Kenya. After two long hours bouncing down pot-hole-laden dirt roads, across extremely rocky passes and dried up rivers, our team arrived at a new clean water pump installed by Pokot Outreach Ministries (POM). Our team consisted of me, my husband Cody, Jay from Harvesters International and several other Kenyans.

“Thank you! Our lives are already changing because of this!” As the cool, clear water poured from the spout of the newly-installed clean water pump, I heard the gratitude in the voices of the Pokot people. I couldn’t believe the distance they were coming just to get this water – walking nine miles, water barrels strapped to the backs of their donkeys, and repeating this time-consuming routine three times a week! Continue reading

A Hunger in South Sudan

After 55 years of guerrilla warfare, South Sudan is experiencing a desperate hunger for the word of God. Ninety-five percent of the rural South Sudanese are illiterate as warring factions have destroyed the educational system. Starvation and ravaged homes are the plight of people today in Southern Sudan with refugee camps among the largest in the world.

National pastors and Ugandan missionaries face execution by the opposition, yet are zealous and aggressive in sharing the gospel and love of Jesus. Whole villages are turning to Christ as the truth of the Bible is taught. The passion of these believing leaders is for Africans to reach Africa.

Radio broadcasting from the capital city of Juba is able to speed up the process as messages can reach an estimated 1.2 million villagers, refugees and prisoners at one time. Our partner Favour Africa Ministries International, having already established a radio station in Gulu, Uganda, prayed and worked for several years to see a radio ministry begin in Juba, South Sudan. They purchased the land, built the building, and obtained the necessary licenses. SonSet Solutions provided the equipment needed to establish the new station in Juba in addition to equipment for an existing station in Gulu which is already proclaiming a voice of healing, hope and salvation through an on-air Bible school, trauma counseling, health education, teaching, worship, family and children’s programs, news and more. Continue reading

God’s Train Gang Preacher – Part 2

(Read part 1) Because he grew up as a homeless boy on the streets, Pascal had a burning desire in his heart to reach other forgotten kids just like him. While in Bible school, he would preach in church and then get up at 2 a.m. and ride the inner city Metro trains of South Africa, and preach to the gangs and homeless kids that hitched rides on the train. Then he would get home by 5 a.m. to get ready for school the next day! Even though these trains were incredibly dangerous at that time of night, Pascal had grown up in that environment so he knew what to watch for and how to stay alive.

After Bible school, in 2010 Pascal and his new family moved back to his home country of Tanzania, and God led him to work with Youth for Christ (YFC). He worked with that mission organization for seven years and became the Tanzania country director for YFC. God did an incredible work through him. But being the country-wide director also meant most of his time was spent in meetings, traveling, and fundraising, and not much one-on-one interaction with young people, which is where Pascal longed to be. Continue reading

Sudden Silence

There’s a fire burning deep in the heart of the tropical Peruvian Amazon. What started this fire? God’s Word! The pastor and director of Radio Logos, Jairo Sangama, says, “The Achuar and Quechua believers are experiencing a revival these days!”

In the early spring of 2017, Radio Logos received 540 SonSet® radios that were distributed to many Achuar and Huampis tribes living in the jungle areas. The people were so happy to receive these radios and hear God’s Word in their own language, but a couple of months after these radios were distributed, there was sudden silence! Radio Logos had gone off the air and could no longer be heard.

Radio Logos contacted SonSet Solutions, their long-time ministry partner. With Ray Rising of Wycliffe Bible Translators serving as intermediary translator, missionary engineer Mike Axman spent several days troubleshooting from his office at SonSet Solutions with a Peruvian at the station in Peru.  Mike discovered that it was one of the four dipoles in the antenna array that had a problem. His help enabled Radio Logos to get back on the air and resume their broadcasts. A couple of months later there was silence again. Mike was contacted and helped them fix the problem with a burned connection in the transmitter’s power supply. Power was restored, and the gospel could once again be heard. We thank God that we have been able to partner with this station in so many ways, not only by providing SonSet radio receivers, but also technical support and equipment. Continue reading

God’s Train Gang Preacher – Part 1

Pascal never knew his real dad. And it haunted him. It pursued him. It shaped him.

Even when his mom remarried, Pascal was not accepted by his stepdad. His childhood memories were not fond ones filled with laughter, love and acceptance. They were years of shame, rejection and agonizing loneliness. The nagging questions of “Why did my dad leave? Why didn’t he love me? What is wrong with me?” haunted him continually. Eventually, the stress of it was more than he could bear.

At the age of 14, Pascal left home and walked away from it all. Pascal became homeless – nothing more than a nameless dirty face in the streets of the little island of Zanzibar where he grew up. His new life in this dark world was one filled with never-ending hunger, theft, loneliness, and crippling, debilitating fear. Continue reading

Lost, in Every Sense of the Word

Lost. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as unable to find one’s way, not knowing one’s whereabouts, or denoting something that has been taken away. Radio Joy, a ministry of Joy in the Harvest in Kigoma, Tanzania, is ministering to the lost in every sense of the word.

Unable to find one’s way: Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Those without Christ don’t know the way to salvation, don’t know the way to eternal life, and don’t know the way to living a life that honors God. Radio Joy is helping people find the way through daily Christian programing in English and Swahili to over two million potential listeners.

Not knowing one’s whereabouts: It is not unusual for children to get separated from their families as they shop in the bustling marketplace. When days pass, and distraught parents still don’t know their child’s whereabouts, they contact Radio Joy. By broadcasting an alert with a description of the child, Radio Joy has been instrumental in the recovery of 11 children so far. Continue reading

Lives Given 100%

An invitation from SonSet Solutions opened the door for Vince Wilson, a 20-year-old IT specialist and apps programmer to head to Burkina Faso, Africa, as a volunteer worker. SonSet Solutions’ team of five went to help our partner Radio Évangile Développement create a strategy for using mobile devices to increase the reach of their radio station network. Vince went to explore the potential for mobile ministry from a technical standpoint, but God had much more to teach him.

In a poor country even by West African standards, Vince saw station managers aware of their own personal financial constraints, but entirely given to the work God had called them to. Although they worked a full week, they were not able to receive a full-week’s pay. Most of the staff were not able to receive any kind of remuneration at all but worked as volunteers. Vince recalls, “At times, their eyes showed signs of pain and fear about the future, about being unable to meet the needs of their families, but they chose to put their trust in God. They were 100% given to Christ, and fulfilling His work, and trusting that God would work everything out.” Vince came away understanding that, although the world pushes the pursuit of financial security, and even calls it foolish for those who don’t, giving up everything for Christ is true wisdom. Vince was deeply impacted. “It was an amazing trip!” he said. Continue reading

Losing Life or Limb for Water?

We simply go to our sinks and turn on a faucet to get our daily supply of drinking water. But what if your daily trek to get this vital resource put you at risk of losing life or limb? This was the grim reality for the few hundred students at Lorubae Primary School in Kenya. Each day before school, the students would walk to a local river to fill a plastic jug with drinking water for the day. In one year two students were killed, two lost limbs, and four others were injured at the river by crocodiles.

In the fall of 2012, one of our partners, Zoe Waters, installed a clean water well and solar pump system for the school, making clean water safely accessible to the students and the surrounding community. One relieved student exclaimed, “At last we shall not be eaten by the crocodiles!” Continue reading