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

Harassed by “Hyenas”

“They’re like hyenas that won’t leave me alone, biting at my heels!” This was the desperate cry of a tormented woman in a settlement of the Gabbra people located along the Kenya/Ethiopia border. Her town’s name, Dukana, means “darkness” or “emptiness.” Thirty years ago there was only one known Christ follower. It was another 15 years before one more Gabbra openly declared their faith in Christ. Today, God’s Spirit is visibly working there. A ministry worker that SonSet Solutions supports through technology tools and services reports, “In the last two years people have responded like never before!”

Radio BHB Chalbi FM 91.1 is now on the air five hours per day. Previously, our partners were limited in their reach, focusing on “hut-to-hut” visitation. With upcoming enhancements to their equipment, they plan to increase their broadcast hours and significantly extend their coverage. Other technologies are also proving effective in delivering God’s word and for building relationships of trust. These include Wi-Fi “hotspots” loaded with Christian content for viewing or downloading with cell phones, and also reliable clean water sources.  Continue reading

A Blessing in Disguise

WIVV is on the air! After 11 months, the station is now broadcasting at full power. It has been a year since Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Caribbean islands and disabled “The Rock Radio Network” of three stations, a ministry of Calvary Evangelistic Mission (CEM) in Puerto Rico. WIVV AM-1370 on Vieques Island, the first full-time Christian radio station in the eastern Caribbean, was hit the hardest.

Among the casualties were both the broadcasting and microwave link towers. Sea swells caused a lake to form at the site making it impossible to begin work until it could be drained. It took nine months for electricity to be restored to the area. Continue reading

Reconciliation in the Midst of Civil War

When tribal divisions erupted into civil war in South Sudan, nearly a million South Sudanese from 41 tribes ran for their lives across the border into Northern Uganda. There they became refugees, many with little more than the clothes on their back. Fortunately, Uganda welcomed them in peace, creating camps for them to live in and attempting to meet their basic needs.

Radio Usalama FM was established in one of these camps. As the refugee numbers increased, the station increased its power and expanded its reach with the help of SonSet Solutions. With so little to call their own, refugees have been heard calling Radio Usalama FM “our station,” as its message of peace and reconciliation through the gospel is beginning to unite in Christ the many divergent people in the camps.

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A Summer to Remember

Ten of us from seven different colleges and diverse fields of study came to SonSet Solutions during the summer of 2018 to participate in their internship program. Whether engaged to be married, out of college looking toward the next steps in life, or finishing a degree, we all found ourselves discovering how our passions and hard-earned skills could be used for kingdom work.

At the beginning of the summer, the air was filled with awkward pauses and uncomfortable laughs. As the weeks progressed, we found ourselves growing closer as friends while simultaneously expanding our skills and maturing in our walk with God.

Comparing his internship with others he’s had, Michael, an electrical engineering student from California Baptist University remarked, “There have been times I’ve been working at other internships and… [what I was working on] was not integral to the product development. But here, they need to have this test setup. It is an important thing, and I’m glad that I can help.”

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Changing Lives Together

“There is no single technology or ministry that can meet every water need in Africa. We must work together,” said Dr. Spencer Bogle from The Water Project. Stephen Peacock from SonSet Solutions, Rich Arthur from Design Outreach, and a team of five mission groups gathered together to distribute 2,000 Gideon Bibles and install two new LifePumps™ at two Kenyan schools. The team’s first job was to replace an old Afridev pump with a LifePump next to an elementary school in the slum area of Kakamega. As the curious eyes of young onlookers watched, Rich and Stephen trained the Kenyan missionaries on the installation of LifePumps.

During the second pump’s installation, Stephen and Rich became overseers and watched the Kenyans work by themselves to get the second pump up and running. Everything was going smoothly until the pump hit an unexpected layer of silt. Unsure of what to do, Stephen and Rich were reliant on a South Sudanese team member, who had specialized in drilling wells as a private contractor. This African missionary gave instructions to the group and, within two days, the well was cleared and ready to serve the community. Stephen said, “Here was something that we were completely stuck on, but God provided a guy who was trained and knew exactly what to do.”

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Walking for Water

Nya, a young girl in Sudan, made the arduous trip every day to a dirty pond that was miles away from her home. The pond was her family’s only source of water until a man named Salva, a Sudanese native, built a well in the center of her village. The book, “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, tells how one well brought hope to this little girl’s future. Students at Houghton Academy in Houghton, New York, read about Nya’s situation and were greatly impacted by this true story.

“The walk came to mind in my middle school English class during a Human Dignity unit in which the students read fiction and non-fiction works in literature circles,” says Ann McNeil, the students’ English teacher, “‘A Long Walk to Water’ and information put out by World Vision inspired them to look for ways to help children get safe water and a chance at an education.” Each student built a support team of at least five sponsors and decided to “walk in the shoes” of children who live in the developing world. With a water jug in their hands, these seventh and eighth graders walked 3.7 miles. This number represents the average distance children in developing countries walk to retrieve water. “I learned how much children go through for water when we can get it in like 10 steps, while they go miles!” says Caitlin, one of the students who walked in the event.

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God’s Faithfulness Despite the Setbacks

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

Helping South African Missionaries Raise Awareness

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

Partnership Through the Decades

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