Combining Voice and Hands in the Congo

Ever since he was 7 years old, “Joey” had wanted to be a missionary doctor to Africa. God used the exciting tales of wild animals, close calls, changed lives, and other adventures in the jungle to capture this young boy’s heart. Joey never lost his desire to serve the Lord overseas, and after graduating from college, he went on to medical school, becoming a doctor with a degree in public health and tropical medicine. He married his college sweetheart who studied and became a registered nurse. Dr. Joe and Becky Harvey moved to the Republic of the Congo in 1996 to serve as medical missionaries. Civil war broke out in the country forcing them to go back to the U.S.

PioneerHosptialGroup2011The Harvey family, now with children, moved back to the Congo and continued seeking God’s will about starting a hospital. Dr. Joe knew the need was great. While working in a clinic in Impfondo, he and the staff saw 10,000 patients in its first two years of operation. Through many turbulent years and changes in the government, Dr. Joe was allowed to open a hospital at an abandoned communist youth camp. The camp was never opened, although all 27 structurally sound buildings were still standing behind a large fence. Money and medical equipment were donated by various U.S. churches and businesses to get them started. In 2006, Reach Beyond supplied short-term medical staff to help fill the gaps so Dr. Joe could attend a consortium in Ghana. Dr. Joe walked away from that summit with the dream of having a radio station as part of the hospital ministry.

After almost eight years of prayer and planning, an FM station was birthed on the grounds of the former communist youth camp in January of 2014. Dr. Joe and his staff have added one more tool for their physical and spiritual care of the thousands of patients who pass through their remote Congo hospital each year. In January, missionaries Ed Muehlfelt from SonSet Solutions in Elkhart, Ind., and Alex Walker from the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Office in Ghana, met Dr. Joe at the hospital. PioneerRadioBldgThey had brought with them a compact version of this radio station. Although the FM radio station is considered “temporary,” a larger version is being packed into a 40-foot shipping container destined for Impfondo Congo this spring. Missionary staff will travel back to the hospital and install a permanent station. Included in that shipping container are 160 SonSet® radios that were designed by staff at SonSet Solutions in Elkhart, Ind. The solar-powered sets are fixed tuned to the new station’s frequency and will be distributed to people in the area.

The station’s name is Radio Sango Kitoko (Beautiful News Radio). It is technically a community radio station and will be used to reach the surrounding villages with music, public service announcements, and inspirational messages in languages spoken locally.

By Jean Muehlfelt