When the African country of Namibia locked down in the spring of 2020, the government announced a ban on travel, public meetings, and even alcohol. People had no choice but to stay home.
As people had time to reflect on their situation, many started asking, “Is this the end of the world?” Many wanted to turn to their local church for answers, but with churches locked down, that just wasn’t possible.
During this time, AWR’s four FM stations became lifelines in many communities, and that has continued throughout the year. “Praise God, our radio producers have been able to continue working, as the government considers them essential workers. They’ve even taken it to another level by setting up an online church that worships every Sabbath via Zoom!” said AWR General Vice President Ray Allen.
Thousands have called the stations requesting prayer and Bible studies and even wanting to learn how to escape the dangers of COVID-19. Government and law enforcement officials now partner with the stations to share health tips with their communities—providing a health lifeline in addition to a spiritual one.
Ever since AWR’s FM network in Namibia went live in December 2017, its growth has exploded, and it has even become very popular with young people. Given that the median age in this country is just 21, reaching this age group is critical.
We could share so many stories of what has happened over the past 10 months, but one, in particular, stands out.
33 New Believers on One Farm, and Counting!
On yet another COVID-19 lockdown day in the city of Rundu in Northeastern Namibia, Station Manager Joachim Kateve opened the phone lines and heard the voice of Benhard, a young man who requested Bible studies.
The young man said he lived on a farm on the border with Angola. He said with excitement, “I love what I’m hearing on the radio and want more! It gives me hope—real hope!”
When he received the Bible study guide, he couldn’t keep it to himself. He invited his friends to join him in listening to AWR in the Rumanyo language, and they soon joined him in taking Bible studies.
A short while later, Joachim followed up with Benhard, only to discover that more than 20 people were studying the Bible and listening to AWR with him on the farm!
By the time Joachim was able to make a socially distant personal visit to the farm after the country partially reopened, he found that 33 young people had completed the entire set of Bible study guides, and they had started listening to AWR with their parents as well! They told him, “We are eager to get baptized! Please tell us how we can prepare.”
The group also made a special request to someday visit the local radio station and their closest Adventist church. One of them explained, “We have never been to an Adventist church before because we came from a Catholic background.”
As soon as the lockdown is officially lifted in Namibia, the North Namibia Conference will conduct 33 baptisms—and perhaps many more by that point— which will form the basis for a new church in the Rundu district.
Please continue to pray for the work in Africa and our local producers as broadcasts across the continent are resulting in stories just like this one!