A Voice that War Could Not Silence

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. Continue reading

Five Years Later

It must have felt like only minutes since she laid her weary head to rest after another long, exhausting day. It was still dark, and Vickness, grandmother of six, arose to tackle her morning chores. If she was able to get everything done in time, the children would make it to school today. Or would they?

Outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid were regular, unwelcome visitors to her community, claiming the lives of the weakest. For Vickness and other villagers in Zolomondo, Malawi, each day was a matter of survival, making it difficult to plan for the future. It was an arduous effort just to feed their families each day.

This was the grim reality five years ago. Today, Vickness tells a different story. “Now, … development has resurfaced in villages. Children can go to school. Kids eat every morning.”

Mud structures with thatched roofs have been replaced by homes and schools built of brick. Flourishing gardens dot the landscape. Villagers have started their own businesses.

What made such a remarkable difference in so short a time? Clean water. Continue reading

Long Term Investments – More Than You Think

What began as a three-month internship for one college graduate turned into three years of volunteering at SonSet Solutions, lifelong friendships, and, more recently, a renewed relationship with SonSet Solutions.

Clint Herron had just graduated from Taylor University in 2003 with a degree in computer engineering. He came to SonSet Solutions to work on a radio automation project for his summer internship but wanted to keep working on the project beyond the three-month time period. He worked part-time locally and continued to volunteer with us.

In 2004, Clint and his college sweetheart were married. Jennifer joined the team and did anything from drywall mudding to serving as the president’s executive assistant for a year.

“I came expecting to have a lot more to offer,” Clint says. “I was surprised by how much more I received than what I contributed to the work. The fellowship and example of mature Christians were invaluable for me as a young man. I got to see what it looks like for an engineer to be a man of God.” The project was eventually discontinued, and Clint felt that he needed to gain professional experience elsewhere. Continue reading

Reaching the Navajo Nation

When Tim and Renee Zook arrived in Window Rock, Arizona, last November, they were eager to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Western Indian Ministries (WIM), which operates three radio stations covering the entire Navajo Nation, was facing a daunting list of problems they were not entirely equipped to solve on their own.

Tim, a technician with SonSet Solutions, shared his expertise with Wayne Blankenship, the ministry’s radio assistant. Side by side, Tim and Wayne successfully fixed a transmitter (allowing it to operate at full power), repaired a broken console, sorted out a tangle of electrical wiring, and installed an amplifier to increase their broadcasting range.

Since its founding in 1906, WIM strives to provide hope and transformation to the Navajo people. The organization started with a church plant and now includes a growing number of ministries and missionaries serving the remote region. Continue reading

Restored for a Purpose

A bus was traversing the streets of Port Moresby, taking passengers to their destinations just like it did every day in the bustling capital city of Papua New Guinea (PNG).  But on this day, someone jumped on the bus and shouted, “Wantok Radio Light is on the air!” And the whole bus cheered!

In 2002, SonSet Solutions provided radio equipment and technical support for the installation of Wantok Radio Light’s (WRL) first radio station. We helped again in 2005, when the installation of a shortwave station made nationwide Christian radio a reality. In the intervening years, we have assisted WRL with equipment for 31 FM repeater stations located throughout PNG, enabling the ministry to expand its reach and deepen its impact for Christ. Continue reading

Out of Our Hands

“It’s working, but we wish it didn’t have to.” That’s not something you hear every day. But, in the case of a power protection device, it’s only needed when something else goes wrong.  Power fluctuations, common in the developing world, can damage sensitive equipment. A power protection device senses these power surges and can safeguard radio transmitters, computers and the like before damage occurs. Ideally, a protection device, custom-made for Radio Morava by SonSet Solutions engineers, should only rarely have to take action

Established in 2015, Radio Morava has been broadcasting with great passion the good news of Christ to rural Honduras. Frequent power surges have plagued the station from the beginning. This is where SonSet Solutions stepped in. Continue reading

Choosing the Difficult Path

If given the opportunity to escape an impoverished homeland and live comfortably in an affluent country, what choice would you make?

Etienne was born in Burkina Faso, a poor land-locked country in West Africa where daily existence was hard. Faithfully practicing his family’s religion, Etienne prayed five times a day, but a unique opportunity transformed his life. Unlike his siblings, Etienne was able to go to school where a friend introduced him to Jesus Christ. He went on to France to study evangelism and to Denmark for Bible school.

“Use me as you want,” he told God one day. He sensed God telling him, “Go back to your country. Go back to your friends and share what you have received.”

“That was the turning point,” Etienne stated as he shared with our staff about this difficult decision. Life was hard in Burkina Faso and the opportunity had been given to him to live a better life in France. “I couldn’t resist the call of God.” Etienne decided to return to his homeland. Continue reading

A World Cup Win for Liberian Youth

Joseph Kebbie was just 12 years old when the civil war broke out in Liberia in 1989. Being forced to become a child soldier was a constant fear and avoiding that fate a constant challenge.

God used the childhood experiences of war to develop in Joseph a passion for the young people of Liberia. Seventy percent of the population is under the age of 37. With the help of SonSet Solutions and other ministry partners, Joseph has established Vox TransMedia, a radio and media ministry designed to bring the message of hope and reconciliation through the gospel to the former child soldiers and victims of war who are now young adults.

Recently, Joseph reported on a successful, youth evangelistic event:

This year Vox TransMedia strategically engaged the Liberian youth through our Sports Outreach program during the [soccer] World Cup by providing a temporary theater that hosted up to a hundred youth or more per match. The service was rendered at no cost to the viewers, thanks to the support of friends like you. Continue reading

Witch Doctor to Preacher

Unable to keep others from attending, he decided to have a look for himself. Little did he know his life would forever be changed by what he would hear. Benedict was a practicing animist witch doctor in Tanzania. A team from Unreached Peoples Mission (UPM) had come to his village to share the good news of Christ. Benedict was strongly against this but couldn’t resist the urge to see what it was all about. That night the gospel was clearly presented, and he couldn’t deny the conviction he felt in his heart. He immediately went home and destroyed his idols and tools for witchcraft.

Wanting to learn more about God and tell others what he had experienced, Benedict attended the UPM missionary training center in Itigi, Tanzania, where he received theological, vocational and academic training. He is now the pastor of a growing church in the same village where he first practiced as a witch doctor! Continue reading