With a population of 81 million people, Turkey is predominantly Muslim—99.8% in fact. Less than 0.2% is considered evangelical Christian. In theory, Turkey recognizes the civil, political, and cultural rights of non-Muslim minorities; however, evangelical believers are still subject to political and social pressures from the local populous which have escalated into violent acts. Despite its tiny minority, the church continues to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter the cost. Our partner, Radio Shema, is at the forefront of this movement.
Founded in 2001, Radio Shema is one of two Christian radio stations in the country. Radio Shema is located in Ankara, the country’s capital, and broadcasts to an estimated nine million people in the greater Ankara metropolitan region and surrounding cities. “We know that our station is making an impact in the lives of people here as many have written in asking questions about God, Christianity, the Church, our programming, music artists, and other such topics.”
Not everyone is pleased. One resident writes, “You are trying to convert people. You cannot do that in this country. I am going to complain to the appropriate authorities and begin legal proceedings.” Despite threats, Radio Shema has been a strong voice in the region, broadcasting God’s truth for the past 15 years.
Radio Shema’s vision goes beyond Ankara. It is their desire to broadcast FM signals nationwide via affiliates around the country. Part of this vision was realized when Ted, a broadcast engineer, and Mike, an apprentice and recent graduate from Cedarville University, traveled to Turkey to provide the technical assistance Radio Shema needed to broadcast a strong signal to the city of Samsun located farther north along the coast of the Black Sea. This station allows Radio Shema to reach another five million people. A spokesman shares, “We believe that the existence of this radio will be a great blessing to the Black Sea region of Turkey. As it is, the Black Sea region is one of the major areas of Turkey that has heard the gospel of Jesus the least… This area is very dark spiritually and this has already caused some harassment against this ministry effort.”
Internet streaming allows Radio Shema to reach millions more Turkish-speakers all around the world. One listener writes, “I came to Christ by listening to Radio Shema on the internet while in the Philippines. I moved to Ankara, Turkey, with my Turkish husband and now my daughter has been listening to Radio Shema and has come to believe in Jesus too.”
Radio Shema asks for your prayers for their team, the equipment, and for the church in Turkey. We at SonSet Solutions ask for your prayers as well, for wisdom and effectiveness in helping partners like Radio Shema. This is a big part of what we are about, providing the technical assistance needed so that our partners can effectively broadcast the gospel in regions of the world where Christians are not welcome.
By Erica Simone