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.

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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

Nutritious Weed Feeds Hospital Patients

If it weren’t bad enough being hospitalized, having to go without food would be detrimental during a patient’s recovery process. Like many hospitals in Africa, Pioneer Christian Hospital in the Republic of Congo had no way to feed its patients. Family members were responsible to make sure their loved one was fed during their hospital stay, but not all patients had someone who could take on this responsibility. In an area with thousands of refugees and people afflicted with leprosy and HIV/AIDS, many patients are on their own.

Candice Scatliff, a nutritionist from SonSet Solutions, and others were burdened by this plight. In 2017, as a temporary solution, Candice worked with donors to provide North-American-derived dehydrated food bags to feed the hospital’s patients. This was monumental, as it was the first time the hospital fed its patients in its ten years of operation. Continue reading

Where in the World is Burundi?

That was my first thought when a colleague approached me about helping a radio ministry in the country of Burundi.

The radio ministry is called Radio Voix d’Espoir (Radio Voice of Hope) and is located on the campus of Hope Africa University in Bujumbura, Burundi. Located in Central Africa, Burundi is surrounded by Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, covering an area about the size of Hawaii.

My task was to install new computer systems, do some training and evaluate their current studio and equipment needs.

Located on the third floor of the academic building, Radio Voix d’Espoir provides Christian programming 18 hours a day to their listeners. Continue reading

22-year-old Introvert Helps Reach Multitudes

Sometimes we think, “I have so little to offer that I don’t see how I could ever be used by the Lord.” Such was the case for Mike Axman, a 22-year-old high-school dropout and introvert, with a radio hobby who had just found Christ. Mike felt a strong calling for evangelism . . . but how could he do that?

While at a loss for a plan, the Lord showed him missionary radio. “That’s it! I can get the Good News to the world by joining a missionary radio ministry!” The Lord provided him with further education. Afterwards, he had a role in the operation and installation of high-power radio stations in the orient.

Later, mission agency HCJB World Radio invited Mike to work with a team in Elkhart, Indiana, to develop a 500-kW shortwave radio transmitter capable of overpowering Russian jamming efforts. He later worked with the development of nine 100-kW shortwave transmitters which were deployed internationally.

Christians in former communist nations wanted to start their own FM radio stations but shipping was not reliable. Continue reading

Equipped for Ministry

 “I don’t really like retirement parties, because I don’t want this to be about me. My desire is to bring glory to God,” expressed John Wineman at a recent retirement party. Bringing glory to God is what he has done in his 12 years of faithful service with SonSet Solutions.

John and his wife, Carol Ann, were saved at age 30, and it was always their desire to serve God. They considered ministering in India, but their pastor cautioned against it. It would take years to learn the language and a lifetime to learn the culture. “Look for a position that will leverage the skills you have,” he advised.

John’s expertise was in problem solving, team coordination, mentoring, and teaching, skills he gained through his work with two technical powerhouses: Continue reading