As our engineers regularly do, Tim Zook diligently prepared for his survey trip overseas. However, while Tim was gearing up to go to the Central African Republic (CAR), unrest was stirring within the country. Due to violence, a strike overwhelmed the airline in the capital city which caused a delay in the trip. Despite this setback, God was ensuring his safety. A week later, the violence subsided and he was able to arrive in the country safely.
Tim immediately began working at the radio station, Water for Good. Earlier in the year, a power surge hit the station’s daytime and nighttime transmitters. He was able to successfully fix the daytime transmitter, but encountered more significant problems with the nighttime transmitter – he would have to bring it back to the states for further repairs. Despite this setback, he was able to test other equipment, train the staff, and survey the station for a future work trip. Continue reading
Shaking with fear, the young girl stood on the street corner. “What are you afraid of?” a compassionate woman asked. The answer came, “It’s my first night.”
This is a conversation Pholile Maneli had with a young girl in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Pholile and her husband Nkosinathi are missionaries who run a media ministry called Optasia Productions through YWAM in Port Elizabeth.
After witnessing the atrocities of human trafficking and meeting many of the young girls involved, they decided to produce a full-length film in order to bring awareness to the subject. While in the U.S. raising funds for this film, they were surprised by the lack of knowledge prevalent among the churches and people they visited. Many were aware that human trafficking exists overseas but didn’t realize the epidemic was also occurring in their own backyards here in the U.S. Continue reading
In 1977, two men arrived in Quito, Ecuador, with a calling to serve the Lord through technology. Their subsequent partnership and friendship has spanned four decades, two continents, and countless technological changes. Yet their goal remains unchanged.
Dan Anderson came as a full-time missionary while Jim Childs came as a summer missionary and later as a college co-op student. He worked with Dan to automate the delivery of audio to shortwave transmitters. Typical radio stations sent one program to a single transmitter, whereas the HCJB system had to handle six programs at a time to any one of a dozen shortwave transmitters. Their efforts enabled the accurate and timely proclamation of Jesus Christ in ten or more languages around the globe. Continue reading
David Russell, the president and CEO of SonSet Solutions, was inducted this April into the Academy of Engineering and Engineering Technology at LeTourneau University. This induction serves “…to recognize outstanding alumni who bring honor to the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology as engineering practitioners, researchers, missionaries, educators, and leaders,” reports the university’s Dean of Engineering, Dr. Steven K. Starrett.
In 1986, Russell worked with Intelsat, a commercial satellite communications company, where he helped develop, build, test and launch what was the largest satellite at that time. As time elapsed, Russell and his wife felt that God was calling them into missions. However, having a love for engineering and technology, Russell found himself struggling with God. Continue reading
I was sitting in Starbucks, feeling stressed out. I had just completed a week of mentoring spring break students, and now I was scrambling to prepare a Sunday school lesson for the young adults class at my church. Honestly, my mind was not in a good place, and my sin nature was getting the best of me.
Suddenly a high school guy pulls up a chair at my table and says, “Hey man, you mind if I sit here?” A little stunned I said, “Yeah, no problem.” Before I could register what was happening, I was in a conversation with Randy, a high school freshman with aspirations to be a rapper one day.
Could anything good come of this? All Nichodemus wanted was revenge for this horrific act of violence.
This Pokot man shared his incredible story with SonSet Solutions missionaries Cody and Emily Hall during a pastor’s conference in Kenya. Thrilled to receive the audio Bibles they brought in the language of his people, Nichodemus explained the transformation that happened in his own heart as a result of God’s word.
Nichodemus Namecha and a group of 10 men were raiders in South Sudan and traveled to villages killing people and stealing their possessions and livestock. One day, his own nephew, whom he was raising, was killed by an enemy tribe and brutally slaughtered. Angered by this torturous execution, he began searching for his gun, intending to find the murderers and kill them.
Radio Usalama FM was established to bring hope, peace, and reconciliation through the gospel to hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing tribal wars in South Sudan and seeking refuge in neighboring Uganda at the Adjumani refugee camp. As the refugee crisis deepened and the camp expanded, SonSet Solutions helped provide equipment and technical support to extend the station’s coverage. SonSet Solution’s President David Russell and coworker Jack Kinney visited the refugee camp last month.
During their visit, David and Jack recognized that the signal of Radio Usalama, a ministry of High Adventure Gospel Communication Ministries (HAGCM), was greatly diminished. At the station, they quickly diagnosed the problem — a faulty connection between the transmitter and the antenna. This reduced the signal to a fraction of its original strength, resulting in a poor signal close to the station and likely no signal in outlying areas.
Fixing it required specialized tools, but they had none. The cable needed a new connector. They didn’t have that either. They needed a sharp knife to cut the cable, but the best knife available was a dull dagger. A fix seemed impossible, but God was working out his sovereign plan. Years before, Jack had worked at a company where he was taught how to connect cables just like this one without specialized tools. Because of that training, he was able with God’s help to figure out how it could be done with no real tools at all. With much prayer and by fashioning what was available into makeshift implements (like sharpening the dagger on a rock), Jack and David repaired and reconnected the line. The result was immediate and dramatic. A powerful signal was restored. Continue reading
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-square-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
“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.”
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