In the isolated countryside of Bolivia, Bruce and Janice Johnson were laying the footings for a new radio studio. A man approached them, said he’d been curious, and had to come investigate. He told them his daughter listens to a radio station in San Borja (Bruce and Janice’s first station).
“She listens to it all day and night, even when other languages are spoken, because she knows they are talking about God. You see, she was born blind and that radio station is her world!”
Bruce and Janice serve with Ethnos 360. They have worked in Bolivia for over twenty years setting up radio stations and producing programs in six different languages. Bolivia is a country in west-central South America and runs from the peaks of the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin in the east. About three dozen people groups account for sixty percent of the population. Continue reading
“Africa in miniature.” This is a common designation for one country in West Africa. Cameroon includes all the major climates and vegetation found on the continent: beaches, deserts, mountains, savannas and rainforests. About the size of California, this geographically and culturally diverse nation encompasses 250 different language groups.
It is difficult bringing biblical truth to a nation where diverse religious beliefs exist when navigation from one region to another is arduous and language barriers exist within its borders.
These challenges didn’t hinder Dr. Donald and Betty Hocking who began the Cameroon Biblical Seminary in the 1980s. Today, Grace Bible Mission has become the mission board of the Cameroon Biblical Seminary, Grace Bible Churches of Cameroon (a fellowship of 80 churches), and a Christian medical clinic. Continue reading
Buhati walked into the pastor’s office at Radio Alpha Omega FM with tears streaming down her cheeks. Life had become unbearable for this young, unmarried, pregnant girl. Pastor Mabutwa, who runs the station in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), listened as she shared her story.
While in high school, she became pregnant and was beaten severely by her family until she and her boyfriend, Justin, ran away. Feeling a nagging sense of hopelessness, she decided to end her life. That evening she turned on her radio and tuned in to a message of hope. Buhati knew she had to find where the radio station was located. It was there that Pastor Mabutwa was able to lead her to Jesus.
But Buhati’s struggles were not over. Justin, who had since married her, refused to allow her to attend church. The radio program was her only source of spiritual nourishment. One day, she was escorted to the pastor’s office by her husband. He thanked them for their programs but said he didn’t want his wife in church. If she tried to go to church, he would beat her.
Providentially, Radio Alpha Omega FM held weekly meetings at the station for listeners to come together. Justin and his wife attended; however, Justin made it clear that, although they could attend the radio meetings, they could not go to church. Their presence at these meetings continued until, finally, Justin surrendered his life to Christ. Now he and Buhati are evangelists together, proclaiming Jesus to others. Continue reading
Nathan Steele says he has radio broadcasting in his genes. His father was a pioneer, putting the first FM stereo radio station on the air in Los Angeles in 1959. Nathan’s parents loved the Lord, and, in 1966 when Nathan was a teenager, they left their home in California to become missionaries with HCJB, a radio broadcasting mission in Ecuador.
School work didn’t excite Nathan at Alliance Academy in Ecuador. What excited him was radio. He worked in studios during high school and college, dropping out of college to become a disc jockey for a rock ‘n’ roll station. Although Nathan shared his father’s passion for radio, he did not share his parent’s passion for the things of God. “Somehow I turned my back on all of that stuff and walked away for about 20 years.”
In 1996, God got a hold of Nathan’s heart after visiting his sister’s church in Japan, where she had become a missionary herself. Continue reading
The Cotahuasi Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world and has some of the most rugged country on earth. At its deepest point, the canyon cuts roughly 11,560 feet into the earth which is over twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. Peaks as high as 20,000 feet above sea level create a dramatic contrast. Amazingly, there are over 40 villages scattered throughout the canyon, some accessible only by hiking or horseback. “How are we to share the gospel with them? How are we to encourage those who are responding?”
These were questions posed by Brad and Gina Shaw, missionaries with SIM as they sought to minister to the Quechua people of Cotahuasi Canyon in southern Peru.
Finding solutions to hard questions is what SonSet Solutions is all about. With equipment and technical support from our center, Sendas Cristianas started broadcasting the good news of Jesus Christ to the canyon’s remote Quechua communities in 2008. Distributions of SonSet® radios ensured that previously unreached villagers had access to the life-changing messages. Continue reading
Sometimes we face enormous obstacles, even when we’re confident we are following God’s leading. This was the experience of Nigerian businessman Benny King as he endeavored to establish a Christian radio station in the metropolitan city of Asaba, Nigeria.
Finding a source of power to run the station that was affordable, reliable, and legal required multiple starts, stops, and U-turns. Obtaining paper work, approvals, signatures, and funding took months longer than hoped. And most disappointing of all, Benny found out that the station had been mistakenly assigned the wrong frequency after he had already printed it on their new letterhead and paid for professionally produced station identification spots. But with a deep conviction that God was going to use Christian radio to make an impact in this community, Benny pressed on. Continue reading
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
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
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
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