Stories

  • A Designer’s Mind, A Servant’s Heart

    Herb Jacobson(April 29, 2015) Sixty-five years! That is how long Herb Jacobson was a missionary. He accepted his call to service in 1948 with radio station HCJB. That was back in the days when a gallon of gas was 16 cents, the average house price was $1,751 and Bell Laboratories demonstrated the first prototype transistor radio.

    Herb witnessed major advances in technology during his long tenure with the organization. His ingenuity not only kept pace but proved to be ahead of the curve. From the design of powerful, commercially competitive shortwave transmitters, radio antennas and hydroelectric facilities to software for digital radio transmission, Herb dedicated his life to missions and the broadcast of the gospel. Herb continued to work until six weeks before his passing on October 8, 2014. He was 89 years old.

    For more about Herb’s life and legacy, click here.

    SonSet Solutions is carrying Herb’s innovation into the future. Our team continues to work on innovative design including the software design for digital radio transmission, design for high-flow well water monitors, solar lamp poles, transmitter components for greater reliability on the field, and ongoing design of our fixed-tuned, solar-powered radios. All of this ingenuity is with the same goal in mind: To open doors to the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ through technology.

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  • Launch of 100th Community Radio Station

    Studio training AP region

    (March 19, 2015) There was no fanfare, no press conference, no invited guests, no ribbon-cutting, no decorations—just a pastor and a couple of trainers, engineers and technicians in a simple studio at a small church in northeastern Thailand.

    At the microphone, a nervous pastor prepared to go on-the-air for the first time on Wednesday, Feb. 26. On the other side of the studio wall were some 30 people taking a radio training course led by members of the Asia Pacific team from Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global). The students were later given SonSet® radios for distribution to people in local communities.

    Despite the station’s inauspicious beginning, it marked a key milestone for Reach Beyond in the Asia Pacific Region. It was the 100th radio station that the mission had planted in the region in the last 10 years. Of these, 38 were established in Thailand, 53 in Indonesia, seven in Nepal and one each in Cambodia and an undisclosed country.

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  • Reaching the Masses in South Sudan

    Every Village Sudan Listeners

    (March 11, 2015) “You are not going to see mass movements toward the gospel unless the masses have access to the gospel,” observes Andrew Brown of Every Village, an evangelical ministry in South Sudan. So how do you get the gospel to the masses in a country where the literacy rate is around 20% and even those who can read prefer to learn by oral means? The answer—radio!

    In this environment, “radio makes so much sense in getting the gospel out,” Brown explains. “The people of South Sudan pass down their history from one generation to another through stories. We use chronological Bible storying, preaching, and church music combined with health and community development training in our radio programs.”

    SonSet Solutions has helped provide equipment and technical support for three stations in strategic locations in South Sudan and a fourth is in process.   “Radio is the only media outlet the people have so it is tremendously popular,” Brown reports.

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  • Faith and Water Works

    water1(January 29, 2015) Clean, drinkable water in arid countries like Kenya is notoriously hard to find. Sixteen million people (more than one-third of the population) lack access to improved drinking water sources. Just to survive, some drink whatever they have access to—even pools of muddied rainwater. Not surprisingly, water-borne illnesses ensue.

    Water well pumps can, and do, make a difference; but without occasional maintenance—whether old or new—they slowly break down, and without any means of notifying those who can repair them. Distance, and sometimes unsafe terrain adds to this costly, frustrating challenge.

    Working alongside Design Outreach (DO) and local believers with a heart for ministry to their own people, SonSet Solutions is striving to honor God by addressing this situation. Not only by demonstrating love and concern through access to clean water, but helping to proclaim the Living Water, Jesus Christ, to those in these remote areas who have yet to hear about Him (Romans 10:14).

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  • First SonSet Solutions Missionary Appointee

    Cody Hall - Monitoring equip(January 7, 2015) The story is the same for many college graduates with degrees in mechanical engineering. They enjoyed taking things apart as little kids and figuring out how the devices worked. It was the same for Cody in his early learning years. He loved to tinker and build things as a little boy. Adding the love for math and science, it was an easy decision after high school to attend college and become a mechanical engineer.

    Cody Hall wanted to follow in his folks footsteps and work in missions. He grew up in a home in West Virginia that focused on God and helping others. It wasn’t until he was a Junior at Cedarville University that he realized that he could combine engineering and missionary work. The following year, he signed up for a 10-week summer internship with SonSet Solutions in Elkhart, Indiana.

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  • Radio Station in Guinea-Bissau Finally Ready

    Guinea_Bissau_Man1(August 20, 2013 – updated March 2015) Seventeen years had elapsed since Bynas, a local believer in the small West African country of Guinea-Bissau, captured the original vision to launch the country’s first full-time Christian radio station. Another evangelical station had been on the air only briefly.

    As the years mounted, so did the long list of delays-lack of funds and equipment, difficulty receiving a broadcasting license, technical problems and at least three coups since 1999, the most recent of which erupted in mid-2012. The delays caused Bynas and missionary engineers to wonder what God had in store for the station’s future, but they persevered. Today the station is in place in Gabu, a city in the eastern part of the country with about 200,000 people.

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  • Witch Doctor Encounters Jesus through SonSet Radio

    Witch DoctorWhen solar-powered radios leave the shipping dock in Elkhart, Indiana, the impact they have in other parts of the world may never be known in this lifetime. Not so with Mbutu. His story returns with great encouragement and determination to those who design and ship these little portable missionaries at SonSet Solutions.

    Mbutu’s story begins when he walked for two days to reach a remote radio station in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But his journey was worth every step. When he arrived at the station, he shared his amazing story.

    Mbutu was a village witchdoctor who practiced black arts. His life was devoted to casting spells, trying to control natural elements, and offering useless cures to those who were sick. But something happened to him that changed his life forever.

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  • Gifted Missionary Engineer Dies

    Herb Jacobson(Oct. 16, 2014 – by Harold Goerzen) If there’s one word that everyone agrees on when referring to soft-spoken missionary engineer Herb Jacobson, it’s “unique.”

    “Herb was one of a kind,” said Ron Cline, an ambassador and former president of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global). “Whether he was working on a complicated technical project, analyzing a decision made by the board, discussing a theological issue or decorating a cake, he was consistent. He planned everything out, even the words he would use, delivered precisely as planned, and then sat down and let whatever he did speak for itself. His insights and humility were astounding.”

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