My Sweet UPS Driver

God sometimes blesses in unexpected ways. Karen and her husband, Jeff, were excited to be able to hand-carry suitcases full of equipment from SonSet Solutions to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This was a critical shipment for upgrading Radio Kahuzi’s studio equipment from analog to digital. Radio Kahuzi is a Christian radio station that has been broadcasting the gospel from Bukavu since 1992. The station ministers to a potential listening audience of three million people.

Karen knew that the packages from SonSet Solutions were due to arrive on a particular day, but she could not seem to log on to the UPS site to leave her signature. She had many errands to run to get ready for the big trip but knew her boys would be home to accept the packages. Continue reading

Caring for a Community

Fighting  a pandemic is daunting for any community. But, what if you must hike to a well multiple times a day just to meet your family’s basic needs? How much of that water are you going to want to use for frequent hand washing? How likely are you to spend money on soap when you barely have enough for food? Social distancing? Is that even possible in crowded markets where daily trips are necessary due to lack of refrigeration? Hand sanitizer? Disinfectant? What are those and where do you get them? You can understand the challenges in preventing the spread of disease in developing countries.

It is not possible for most schools to go online. The majority of students do not have power or internet in their homes. With churches closed, online services are not an option and many are unable to read the Bible for themselves. Continue reading

Water Security in the Rift Valley

The Rift Valley of western Kenya is a sight you wish everybody could see (although the one-hour bone-shaking ride into the southern end of the valley is something you would not wish on your worst enemy). Out of the valley rises 1,500-foot mountains, like ancient sentinels keeping guard over an ancient people, the Pokot.

A million Pokot live in this valley, with villages spreading out for 100 miles. With sufficient water, this fertile valley thrives, and without, people suffer. These nomadic people seek water, and when a water source is reliable and local, a village springs up. But, the vast distances mean that large shared solar-powered water systems are not logistically practical or economically feasible.

A hand pump per village is the only answer. But which pump? And how do you know if it is working? The installation of SonSetLink™ remote monitors became a part of answering that second question. Continue reading

A Storm of a Different Kind

Puerto Rico has been battered by its share of “storms” over the past two and a half years.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in September of 2017. One of the casualties was The Rock Radio Network, a gospel voice to the outlying islands of the Caribbean with a potential listening audience of 700,000. All three of their stations sustained significant damage, but WIVV was hardest hit. Because access to the island was limited after the storms, it took 11 long months for WIVV to get back on the air. SonSet Solutions assisted with funding for equipment and technical support during various stages of recovery.

On Thursday, January 7, 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the southwest part of the island. Since that time, tremors registering a magnitude of 3.0 and up continue to rattle the island on a daily basis. The base of one of the station’s towers is no longer level, but the Rock Radio broadcasts continue. The government asked pastors and counselors to minister to the thousands who are still living in tents, sleeping in cars and open fields. Radios were distributed to deliver these messages of help and hope. Continue reading

Finding Hope in Times of Despair

In recent weeks and months, many around the world have been stricken with fear – fear that has driven some to despair, searching for hope. Pierre, the leader of Radio Évangile Développement (R.E.D.) in the city of Bobo, Burkina Faso, was struck by how hope found its way into the most despairing hearts. He shared, “Since I was young, I wanted to serve God. In 1998 I had a dream and saw a microphone with lights and didn’t understand what it was. But as I grew older, I saw it as a sign of God’s will for me to be here.” After Pierre finished studying at the university, he went to R.E.D.’s radio station in Bobo.

Pierre continued, “It is almost 10 years that I am working here, and I have been touched by two stories.” A pastor was preaching on the radio when, Continue reading

Reaching Difficult Places

Did you know that in Sub-Saharan Africa there are 653 unreached people groups with a population of 887 million? These are cultures and places where Christ is largely unknown and are typically less than 2% evangelical. Many of these people are illiterate and oral learners. Despite the arrival of the Internet, radio is still the most used source of information and a vital tool for proclaiming the gospel to these unreached.

Two such people groups, the Fulani and Kotokoli, are located in the countries of Togo, Ghana and Burkina Faso in West Africa. Today they are receiving the good news of Jesus through a new community FM station in the Dapaong region of northern Togo. This station, run by an African missionary couple went on the air in August with the help of Reach Beyond and SonSet Solutions. Continue reading

Unified for a Purpose

I don’t have to describe the current political climate here in the U.S. to highlight how divisive we are. I had a different experience last year where many gathered for the sixth annual Africa by Radio (AbR) continental convention in Nairobi, Kenya.

 “AbR” Media is a body of Christian broadcasters unified by an agreed strategy supporting God’s plan for Africa. They are committed to seeing that every man, woman, and child in Africa is provided the opportunity to turn on a radio and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way and language that they can understand so they can become a responsible member of His Church. It was amazing to see the attendees worshipping together despite the varied cultural, national, political, and tribal backgrounds.

Continue reading

Have you Seen My Camel?

They call it the ‘Call-in Camel Show.’ If someone loses a camel, they can call in to the radio station and report it, and if somebody else sees it, they can call in and report where it was last seen. This program was an instant hit! Africa Inland Mission missionary and SonSet Solutions’ partner Eddie Andersen said, “We got from 10 calls a day to over 1,000!” People began listening and calling in from villages that he had never heard of.

Eddie moved to northern Kenya with his family to reach the Gabbra people with the gospel, but they quickly realized the difficulty of their calling because of the vastness of the land where they lived. “And then God gave us the vision for radio. And by God’s grace, I mean, it’s a miracle how we got it, but we were able to set up a radio station with our studio in Dukana, where we had just moved, and our radio tower, our booster, at the top of the Hurri Hills at 5,000 feet.”

From the top of this mountain range they had a listening reach of over 70,000 square kilometers! At the beginning, few people called in. “But then our radio staff said we need to do something that’s more culturally relevant. Can we do a livestock show?” Eddie replied, “Let’s go for it!” And the Call-in Camel Show was born.  He continued, “But, you know, with those calls we had a chance now with people listening to share the gospel over the airwaves. Now we had almost 100% listenership in our tribe. Everybody wanted to hear about the camels. And so, we’d tell them about the camels, and then put on the Scripture, and share songs.”

We praise God that the partnership between SonSet Solutions and Eddie Andersen enabled a radio show about lost camels to creatively reach the Gabbra people with His love!

Written by Jeff Benedict and Ruth Weber

Phone Charger Sparks Ministry

We were encouraged to read the following from one of our partners on Facebook:

Visited our Solar Project with one of the Woman’s Groups. They are currently using solar power to charge cell phones in a very, very remote area. So proud of these ladies. The project is up, running and making a profit in its first month! They have an awesome vision to use the profit to serve the needy in their community. We are praying with them as they look for ways [to] grow their business and serve others! They even charged one of our cell phones!

Led by a pastor’s wife, this women’s group in a very remote area of Malawi is using a solar cell phone charging station to raise money to assist the people of their community. Each month, the ladies meet together to decide how to best distribute the profits. In this way, they are able to help support their pastor and to provide sustenance for needy village families and assist with medical expenses. Continue reading

Becoming a Fool for Jesus

Joseph was born into a very religious family in the country of Burkina Faso. His parents first belonged to the Muslim faith and later became Catholics. As a result, Joseph remembers practicing many religious rituals. “They gave me bells to wear on my wrists to be strong for the fight. With bells I could beat 50 people around me.”  

Joseph studied his Bible and learned many verses. He often visited an evangelical church and talked to a pastor who would pray for his sick grandmother.

One day, a friend from college invited him to an evangelistic campaign. It was there that he felt the call of God on his life. The pastor proclaimed, “God is calling you!” Joseph said, “I stood up, and the pastor prayed for me.” Continue reading