Dear AWR Friend,
I was sitting on a riverbank enjoying a snack with a missionary friend, Robert, from the beautiful Mauritius island nation. We were in the Ituri Forest in central Congo, about 65 miles from the nearest semblance of civilization—a village where we had built a rudimentary airstrip.
This was 35 years ago, and we were completely isolated. The only communication that reached us from the outside world was a government radio broadcast by shortwave and medium wave radio.
We had been visiting remote villages to teach them about Jesus, using one of the few things we had available back then: picture rolls. And how people enjoyed them! They’d never seen anything like it.
Now, on our way back to the village where the plane would pick us up, we’d stopped to eat a snack we’d brought with us. There was no telling when the plane would return. Sometimes we’d wait two, three or even more days, as we had no way of communicating.
As we ate and talked, I noticed a large nest of yellow jackets with a hole in it. Suddenly, I was stung by a yellow jacket, then another and another and another! I ran in one direction and Robert ran in the other, all the while crying out for help from the few African friends who had accompanied us. But I heard them yell back as they hid in the forest, “You NO come here!”
I finally realized they had run into the jungle to hide from the wasps, which I had no idea you could do. I immediately did the same and found I’d been stung 33 times. Robert had 20 stings.
That night, we were extremely sick. It felt like our skin was on fire, but thankfully, after a few more uncomfortable days, we recovered.
God protected us in incredible ways during those years of service, and the rewards were enormous. I still remember one 86-year-old man who said to us during this particular trip, “I have never heard this story you are telling us about Jesus. Can you send us a teacher?”
At the time, I had no solution and thought, “How would it even be possible to reach such a remote place?” And for many years, it wasn’t.
But now, Adventist World Radio is in the Congo thanks to your support and prayers. As I write this letter, we have seven new active stations across the country and two more are going up right now!
Let me share just a brief report and a thrilling story of what has been happening this past year. Last year was not a shutdown for AWR, as God provided us with even more opportunities. As I often say to Kathy, what a time to be alive!
THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (DRC)
Just like in most countries this past year, public gatherings were restricted in the DRC, which included evangelistic meetings. In the capital city of Kinshasa, households were allowed a maximum of seven visitors at one time.
The West Congo Union Mission decided to use Adventist World Radio to invite listeners to join households nearest to them for radio Bible studies. They used AWR360° broadcasts as platforms for home evangelism. At the end of each broadcast, the home group leaders would discuss the topic presented with their guests.
During the first part of the year, all the radio broadcasts were aired with a very weak temporary transmitter, and it wasn’t long before it failed. AWR replaced it so the broadcasts could continue during a time when many listeners were desperately looking for hope.
When the radio series was over, hundreds of people were baptized throughout Kinshasa! Now a new and fully-equipped FM station is currently under construction.
It’s normally difficult to find reputable radio tower construction companies in the DRC, but another miracle occurred as God helped us find a tower construction specialist who is now a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church!
From this past October through December, the Northern Ghana Union Mission aired an evangelistic series on 12 FM stations in the 12 conferences of the union, covering all of Northern Ghana. The broadcasts were also relayed in hundreds of local markets through gigantic loudspeaker systems.
The series was so popular that even the mayor of one of the cities was a faithful listener. And every program featured a “question of the week,” which became an event in many households. The first few people to call in to the station and respond correctly were given a prize delivered personally to each winner. You can imagine how thrilled they were to connect with someone from the program they loved so much.
By the end of the series, more than 2,000 people had been baptized. Now the union plans to hold AWR evangelistic meetings every quarter!
RWANDA – AWR STATION OF RECONCILIATION
Our AWR FM station in Kigali, Rwanda, is unlike any other. The people of Rwanda have adopted it as the central point of reconciliation for the whole country—even today, 27 years after the genocide!
Listeners call the station every Tuesday to confess and ask for forgiveness from those who may have lost family members due to their actions. As a result, our station has become a symbol of hope.
During this past year, we have been steadily working on erecting three new FM towers to cover all of Rwanda, which is known for being the country of a thousand hills. In fact, it’s so hilly that they say it’s hard to find a place flat enough to play a soccer game. This makes it difficult for radio waves to cover the whole country with a strong signal, but the three new towers will do just that. Two towers were completed in 2020, and we’ll begin construction on the third in February.
There are seven AWR FM stations in Uganda—four existing stations, and three on the verge of completion.
During the first wave of the pandemic from April to June of last year, more than 5,000 people were baptized as a result of AWR’s FM radio broadcasts in Uganda.
We have just received a report that more than 70 churches have been established in Madagascar as a direct result of AWR’s radio broadcasts by shortwave and FM stations!
There are 24 AWR stations operating throughout the country, covering Madagascar with the gospel message. What we hear over and over again is that people find our stations “by accident” as they’re searching for other stations. The truth impacts them and they become loyal listeners, and after following our broadcasts for a time, they’re connected with a Seventh-day Adventist Church. We know this is God’s Spirit at work!
Let me share with you just one of the thrilling stories we received.
THE WITCH DAHALO (COW THIEF)
Alfred was a feared cow thief in a dangerous part of Madagascar called the Red Zone. Known as a Dahalo, a cow thief must also be a witch, and Alfred was a powerful one. Witchcraft is supposed to protect cow thieves from anything metal, including guns and knives, and allows them to kill their enemies.
Alfred had a neighbor named Michel, a Seventh-day Adventist and a faithful Adventist World Radio listener. Alfred hated Michel’s religion, and one day about three years ago, he decided to kill Michel and his family with witchcraft. He had killed many people like this before, and saw no problem in doing it again. But to his great surprise, nothing happened!
Every day, he watched Michel and his family go about their business as usual. None of them died—they didn’t even get sick! This greatly disturbed him. He thought, “Why can’t I kill them when I’ve killed so many?”
His frustration grew, and he decided he needed to know more about Michel’s religion. He began to listen carefully whenever Michel talked about the Bible.
Michel was well-aware that Alfred had tried to kill him and his family, but that didn’t change his attitude toward him. He continued loving and respecting him. This attitude touched Alfred’s heart, so he began coming over to Michel’s house every day to listen to AWR with Michel and his family! Then, before he realized what was happening, Alfred was attending a Bible study class.
Despite his interest, he did his best to avoid meeting the Adventist pastor, but he did decide to begin keeping the Sabbath. When AWR shared several Godpods in his village, Alfred managed to get one and listened to it constantly. There was one question that kept nagging at him, and he was searching for the answer: “Why is my power so weak against Michel’s God?”
Slowly, the truth began to dawn on him: he had been wrong his whole life, both in his beliefs, and in his actions. When he finally understood, he felt so ashamed!
Then the South West Malagasy Conference organized an AWR Godpod listening group—and not only was Alfred among them, but he was the first one to arrive on opening night! As God’s Spirit worked on his heart, Alfred put away all practices of witchcraft, and when the time came to respond to the call to give his heart and his life to Jesus, he responded without hesitation.
Alfred was baptized at the end of 2020 and is now the oldest and most faithful member of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Ankilivalokely, Madagascar. His family followed him, and all are now Seventh-day Adventists!
Now his friends are asking, “Who is this God who convinced this great man to become a faithful Adventist Christian?”
In the meantime, the gospel continues to spread in the Red Zone, and the small group of Adventists in Alfred’s village is working to build a church.
Yes, the pandemic is raging, but God’s Spirit continues to move forward. A long time has passed since my days as a missionary in the Congo. Back then, I never dreamed I would be directly involved in blanketing that vast African country with God’s last-day message through Adventist World Radio—and not only in the Congo, but across all of Africa!
What seemed impossible is a reality today, and I know that as we join together, God will continue to work miracle after miracle until the whole world is lighted with the knowledge of His truth.
Thank you for being a part of this great calling, and for partnering with Adventist World Radio in the mission to reach every nation, tribe, tongue and people. More than 1,000 radio stations are beaming God’s truth around the world, and this is only possible through your love and support of this ministry.
AWR360° Broadcast to Baptism goes wherever air goes through radio waves, the internet, cell phone evangelism, podcasts and Godpods. Just to give you a small taste: We are now broadcasting 24/7 across the two largest French-speaking cities in the world: Kinshasa and Paris. We will soon be reaching all of Nairobi’s 10 million people 24/7. In the UK, we are broadcasting nonstop in London and in Birmingham. And from Guam alone, we reach one-third of the world with our hope-filled programs!
Your prayers and support are making a real difference. Jesus is coming soon, and there is no greater joy than sharing this wonderful news!
Friend, God’s Spirit is moving forward at lightning speed around the world. Like Alfred the witch and cow thief, people everywhere are listening to God’s Spirit and responding to His call. Thank you for your partnership, which allows AWR to beam God’s truth around the world.
One day soon, Jesus will rescue us from this “old ball of mud,” and what a day that will be!