April

“Pillowcases…she brought pillowcases”?

From that moment on, I knew this would be an unusual trip to Uganda. Each one is unique and truly spiritual; every time we get ready, the Lord seems to place His thumbprint in clear sight-as if to seal the trip! This time, His thumbprint looked like pillowcases.

Marty had planned for weeks, saving and sending money to buy good used clothing, usually wrapped tightly in large bundles for Ugandan street merchants trying to make a living selling used clothes. Her plan was to distribute those clothes to refugees (mostly women and children since 80% of Adjumani refugees are women and children) but the population was dangerously high for such a small distribution of 600 people. Distribution must be planned.

Over Christmas, we sent money to help build 5 Baptist Churches inside the Pagirinya Settlement where 32,000 South Sudanese arrived Sept-Oct 2016. Each church roof costs $800; our friends provided for 5 such churches.
NB the good news travelled fast and now there are 4 more churches requesting roofing! But this time, clothing distribution would be done in the churches, through pillowcase distribution.

So for weeks, Marty made her quiet pillowcase appeal to friends (made me buy some also)…but there was still not enough.
Then Mary arrived!

She usually carries medical supplies for Ongutoi Health Centre. But THIS time she showed up with pillowcases! In our 10 years working at Ongutoi, no one has ever donated pillowcases-especially this many. And most unusual was she had not been aware of the pillowcase need…clearly the Lord sent her! At that moment the pillowcase drive was over; we were packing and praying…and anticipating!

BIG DAY –LITTLE TIME
Our team of 15 had been assigned to work in Ongutoi (next letter) but we could not visit Uganda without spending at least 1 day in Adjumani where we have been building relationships among the South Sudanese refugees. So Marty directed our bus the extra 5-hour drive north of Ongutoi where refugees continue to stream across the border at a rate of 4,000 every day! The day would hold enough activity for a few days.

FIRST SURPRISE
We had originally built a radio station on the secure compound of the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO) of Uganda. The small station was used to bring biblical support and encouragement to refugees (by us) but it was also used by the PMO to enable peaceful co-existence among the many tribes who had been in conflict only 8 km north, but now living beside each other in the most difficult of environments. The small radio-experiment was built for 35,000 refugees but the population flooded in so rapidly, within a year, we rebuilt the station when population reached 160,000 people. The PMO staff was so grateful, they constantly reminded us how this baby Usalama FM (Peace FM) station was an instrument of peace, between the South Sudanese refugees and the host Ugandan community of another 350,000.

But when the refugee population grew some more, reaching 320,000 last year, the PMO asked us to rebuild the station again! This time it would require $30,000 since we had to remove one tower-construct a more expensive, higher tower and triple our transmitter power. I have faith-but sometimes I feel like I am at the edge of my “faith-limit” and in desperate need of a recharge. I prayed but just a little tentatively…to my surprise (again) the Lord provided within 3 months.

BEAUTIFUL CHURCH
But it was Sunday, we could only reach the radio station
after we went to church! It was thrilling to walk across the swept field, to see a new church where we had first met a few people under a tree only 5 months earlier. It was beyond words to walk inside and find the church FULL!

Looking into the faces of hundreds of people who had only 5 months earlier, left their huts and homes, for their long foot journey into the Adjumani Refugee camp, I was humbled to share small encouragement with them, knowing we were rebuilding Usalama FM for them. But they too humbled themselves, coming to church in search of God who they now needed more than ever! I believe God will do a good thing among these precious people. Humility is always the best posture for blessings!

It was such a privilege to leave Marty’s pillowcases, Madi-language bibles and some impax solar powered radios for them, and on to the next church…

SCHOOL-ON SUNDAY?
Our Usalama FM manager Martin Okudi had shared with the primary school Head Master (HM) that our team would be in the Pagirinya Settlement with books and pencils for children (thanks to very generous Canadians). But the wrinkle was we only had one day-SUNDAY-when we could be here.

I knew the HM would put the word out to refugee students, but how many would actually come?

2400!

On our arrival, a sea of children and 36 overworked teachers trying to manage the class crowds met us. The smallest class held 150 students and the largest held 300 students. This felt like crowd control! My admiration for these teachers grew enormously.

Our team of Canadians and Ugandans gave books and pencils to every child, ensuring they would remain in school for at least the next term. Sadly, poverty is so high, children whose parents cannot afford the small scribblers and pencils, stay at home. If it’s a girl-child, she will be married off far too early.

Pencils and scribblers ensure education and personal security for vulnerable girls here!

We became instant heroes when we brought out 2 donated soccer balls (footballs)! In a school of 2400 children there was not one football, not one scribbler or one pencil. That changed on Sunday!

IMPACT THROUGH IMPAX
Our American friends provided special solar powered radio/bibles made by other good friends at Galcom. Distribution began here at the school, among 36 teachers who could and would enable 2400 students to hear the peace and reconciliation programming on our Usalama radio station (not to mention the biblical music and message we send out all day). It was exciting to provide these life-giving gifts!

HM HUMBLE REQUEST
We have a problem. There are 2400 students, taught by 36 teachers and there is no way to prepare lessons or tests according to our gov’t standards. Can you help with a computer, a printer, a few lights for night security and solar power to operate this small office we are building?” We can equip this school office for $2,100 USD. Please pray with us about this need!

LAST STOP-USALAMA FM
Intended to be the most routine part of our brief Adjumani visit, our visit to the PMO compound proved to be the most gripping.

30 children and a “mum” met us and they all had one thing in common-HIV/AIDS!

Each one was either HIV infected or orphaned by parents who had been, and now passed on, leaving them orphaned. But as we have seen before among refugees, compassion runs deep. The “mum” who is herself HIV positive, has chosen to spend her life caring for HIV orphans-to NOT focus on her own needs and instead, care for those who have no one to care.

Even more impacting was their ministry! All 30 (plus 32 others who could not be here) have decided to learn and perform the local cultural dances and with that as their platform, travel to refugee communities where they dance and testify about survival and safe lifestyle!

UNIQUE MINISTRY
This is amazing in a community where everyone is victim to something or someone…these children and their new “mum” have chosen to refuse the easier path of victimization; choosing instead to take control of their lives while encouraging others to do the same! Our experience in Ongutoi has taught us there is a dangerous transformation that sometimes takes place when people are gathered into secured environments like Internally Displaced people’s camps (IDP) as was done when the LRA attacked North Uganda. During those 20 years, HIV rates spiked as residents had clearly given up hope-forsaking safe lifestyle that resulted in dramatic increase of HIV. Our team was deeply humbled.

NOW WHAT?
Bouncing back across the bone-jarring road out of Adjumani, I wondered if our brief time there would have any impact…it would not take long to find out.

In broken English, Pastor Martin Inyani sent this email to me a few days later, describing how a precious refugee from South Sudan found Christ through our One Tribe broadcast on Usalama FM while listening to her new Impax radio.

Testimony of Elizabeth Koul about Radio
Koul Elizabeth she is Dinka live in Pagirinya Refugees settlement block F. She got the Radio (impax)
from one of the believers in First Baptist Church.
The Radio stayed with her for three days. I went to visit the believer who give this radio to her. She said, I got this woman her heart was broken, because she share with me that she feel to one another in love was not the way God need, when I listen the program of peace (
One Tribe) in this radio and the audio message in Dinka language about the Work of God at first l cry for two hours in side my house and I ask forgiveness from God and my brother and sister who are near me. we are one, and pastor Martin pray for me now am in Christ and my two boys.

This was a strong reminder to us how the Lord uses His “team” to reach people. One Tribe (Sister Effect in Texas) created the One Tribe program-we aired it on our station which is hosted by the PMO-it was heard through an Impax radio (made by Galcom) which had been donated by our friends at PSGL (California) and lent to the woman by a South Sudanese woman, and finally discipled by Pastor Martin. In all, the Lord used 8 people from various organizations to enable this woman-now a new creation in Christ-to find her way to Him!

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 1Cor 12:12,13 NASB

Only two days later, more emails from Pastor Martin:
Today in home fellowship 37 people received Jesus Christ as their personal savior 30 women and 7 men, tomorrow am starting baptism classes and tomorrow at 4:30 pm l will be in school ministry in Pagirinya secondary school sharing the word of God so stand with me in prayer.

And the next day this exciting follow up from his school visit:

Today in Pagirinya secondary school I meet 204 students and five teacher I share the word of God with them one teacher and 188 students give their life to Jesus and the administration of the school requires me to start small Bible studies groups with the new believer, and their biggest challenges is Bible.

Bibles-we need hundreds of Bibles ($10) to help new believers know and understand their Saviour.

Why not join us this month with help for Bibles-office support or church roofs?

Don

SPECIAL NOTE: If you would prefer to receive your charitable receipt by email, please contact us at admin@hagcm.org. Be sure to include your name & current mailing address for reference purposes.

February

1979
“Lord there HAS to be a better way. I just don’t have time to tell everyone”


I was a young police officer, assigned to foot patrol in a densely populated community of high need. It was home to child prostitutes, drug dealers and users, gang members and others who just would not fit with society’s acceptable norms, usually resulting in their arrest.

On one occasion I spoke with a known drug user and after fighting within myself, finally agreed with the Lord and shared with this young man, the simple fact that Jesus loved him. Suddenly, with tears in his eyes he stated his girlfriend had been saying the same thing to him…but he refused to hear any more.

One month later, this 19-year old was killed in a car crash. There would be no more opportunities for him to know Jesus! I wondered how many are on the edge of eternityevery day!

And so I walked my beat, waiting for those who the Lord would send. But on that clear spring day, the enormity of my task to make Him known to everyone was truly overwhelming and so I prayed…

CRAZY MAN
Two weeks later, 61 year old American author and evangelist George Otis Sr. came to Toronto, in search of an engineer. George had just arrived from Israel where he had taken another of his many tour groups but during his tour, the Lord interrupted his life with a challenge-that he must build a radio station in the middle of a war zone at that time-Free Lebanon!

George did in fact build the Voice of Hope with the help of Canadian engineer (and our good friend) Paul Hunter. The station was miraculously protected over and over again; the story detailed in George’s book Voice of Hope (now out of print). But during the successive attacks, our broadcasts continued to reach out to combatants and victims alike with the news that Jesus loves them—ALL of them! This radical tenacity earned for George the nickname “the crazy one”. In fact it was a term of endearment and everyone who met him, admired and respected him.

It was at one of his rallies at the original 100 Huntley St, Toronto location, that Marty and I committed ourselves to helping him reach the Middle East with Christian radio. George was not one for small talk and soon we were busy. Romanticizing about exciting “ministry” soon faded into hard work!

CHARACTER
Stepping on to a battlefield with nothing more then desire to share Jesus, we soon developed an awareness of two things. FIRST, some people don’t want to hear about Jesus! Less then 47 hours after we switched on the Voice of Hope, PLO shelling began, followed by threats, car bombs and road bombs.

BUT we also learned there are many others who DO want to hear. Every time shelling began, villagers would run to our broadcast building and touch it-as if it was impenetrable. Many would tune in during nighttime shelling of the villages from nearby PLO stronghold ancient Beaufort Castle.

One young mother had just given birth only to be told her baby had a badly formed heart and had only a short time to live-pediatric heart surgery was not an option in a war zone. Tenderly watching over her infant, waiting for the inevitable, she heard our Voice of Hope announcer declare “someone is being given a new heart-come to the radio, touch your radio and we will agree” and acting in faith, she did; suddenly her baby changed color from deathly blue to rosy complexion and began to cry softly! Physicians who had delivered the baby later confirmed the healing. We aired her testimony all across the Middle East from our South Lebanese studio. For years ,miraculous events like these became regular events there!

From 1979 to this present day, the Lord has led us into one conflict zone after another. Next was our Voice of Hope for the Americas-a shortwave radio station reaching Mexico and Central America where civil war raged across whole countries…then it was the South Pacific island of Palau where another Voice of Hope shortwave station reached into fractured nations like North and South Vietnam, North and South Korea, interior of China, Laos and so many more…so many family disagreements that ended in war…

LONG WALK
I well remember my visit with a Pentecostal pastor in Singapore who was elated to hear of my connection with Voice of Hope Palau. He shared how 14 young North Vietnamese had found Christ through our broadcasts and all wanted baptism. But such a decision could end their lives at that time, so they walked 8 hours into South Vietnam where they could be baptized at my friend’s Bible College.

CALLING CONTINUED
We expanded into FM radio station construction shortly after Africa opened up to Christian FM radio, and our first station was in Liberia where successive civil wars killed many and destroyed the future for others. Worse yet, combatants and victims continued to live side by side, struggling with memories…

Then the Lord drew us into Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Zambia, each time reminding us of our character and calling; to reach fractured communities where there are people who do NOT want to hear of Jesus and in those same communities there are people who DO wants to hear of Him! In each community, we built and now support Christian radio amidst tribes and families fighting each other.

Our first Ugandan station was Dunamis FM in Mukono, just 15 km outside of Kampala. Within 18 months of switching on, this exciting Ugandan voice drew many into the kingdom - 2,000 believers in the first 18 months! It was exhilarating to meet some of them!

PRESENT CHALLENGE
Most recently we felt called of God to build the Usalama FM radio station to reach the migrating refugee population from South Sudan into Northern Uganda’s Adjumani Refugee Camp. After their 2010 independence, the new Republic of South Sudan leadership became embroiled in a tribal disagreement that escalated to fighting and soon, all of South Sudan’s 60 tribes were in conflict.

We thought our small station could easily reach the 35,000 refugees; and it did. But just one year later, the camp population was 160,000 so we increased the station capability, never thinking it could grow beyond that. But it did; now we are reaching over 300,000 refugees…but they kept coming. And the request (as I shared in October) was for a dramatically expanded broadcast system that could reach 460,000 refugees and another 600,000 host community listeners.

As I wrote this letter, we were still $7,000 USD short of the $37,000 goal and preparing to make that need known…but nearing completion, I took one more call. This time, from a friend who simply asked for Adjumani update. Immediately he committed $5,000! Feeling very much like our experience in South Lebanon, we press on now in Adjumani, to make Him known to over 1 million people struggling with conflict! Just $2,000 to go-please pray with us for Adjumani Refugee Radio.

REMEMBER and REWARD
George used to stand before the many letters that flowed in from broadcasts, excitedly sharing some of the precious testimonies. By the grace of God this has continued, and so I share recent letters from our Worship FM Liberia network (Monrovia-Sinoe and Bomi County). One after another gripped my, sharing their lives are CHANGED when they met Jesus through broadcasts.

Pastor Randy (From the Valley program)
I was a sinner but Jesus saved me and I know for sure one day when I die I will be with Him in heaven. It was March 15th 2016 about 5pm on my way from work, my car ran into an articulator truck and miraculously I was saved. I was hospitalized for one month.

Before this accident had happened, I never really believed in God and Jesus Christ; was an alcoholic, misusing my monthly income on women and alcohol. In the hospital, there was a man who fell out of a tree and he had an analog radio, which was tuned to 101.7 every day.

One afternoon about 12pm, it was you preaching about being saved; how Jesus died for the world and wants everyone to go to Heaven, and that no matter your sin, Jesus was ever ready to save. All of a sudden that sunny afternoon, April 10th 2016, I asked Jesus to save me and come into my life, I did not know how to pray much but I remember praying with pool of tears pulling down my eyes and my hospital neighbor asked “why are you crying Marcus”? All I said was I want to be saved and stop this hopeless life I was living and he should pray along side with me, which he did.

From that day up to now as I write this testimony I am still saved, no more drinking alcohol, or wastefully spend my monthly income on women and alcohol. I am a regular monitor every day and night even at my work. I use my phone to tune into Worship 101.7. — Marcus from Sinoe County

Focus on the Family
I blessed God for my salvation on January 25th while tuning to your radio program Focus on the Family. I wept bitterly that day asking God to come and save me because I cuss my wife, children even my neighbors, was very quick to get angry. I refused to forgive people who did things to me even when they say sorry; but since that day, January 25th when I believed and put my faith in Jesus up to now, I cannot remember suing such profane words at anyone. I have forgiven all those who hurt or cuss me. OSCAR from Nimba County

ONE TRIBE
NB: Our good friends at Sister Effect in Houston have created an outstanding peace and reconciliation program called “One Tribe”. After strong positive impact in Adjumani, we began testing it in Liberia where civil war had left many in deep pain. This question came after one New Tribe broadcast:

I have a question; someone who killed my parents and raped me during our country’s bloody 14 years civil war is my immediate neighbor. How should I relate to him negatively or positively? Remember this fellow openly shot my parents in my presence and also raped me? F.B. from Monrovia, Liberia

REMEMBER AGAIN
As I read these heart rending testimonies, George came back to mind once again. Just after terrorists strapped bombs to their bodies and blew up our Voice of Hope studios, killing people and destroying the station, we discovered one terrorist had not died. He was taken to an Israeli prison as we struggled to get back on the air from a makeshift location.

But it was George’s response that most impacted all who knew of this tragedy. He chose to visit the terrorist in prison, openly forgiving him and giving a Bible to him.

As we peer into the future, we do so with remembrance of our calling, knowing it may be difficult and sometimes costly. But every soul is worth our effort.

JUST A PEEK
We are waiting on the Lord for a few things that could impact many-please pray even now for our next Youth RM station in Uganda (licensing) and our next youth license after that (to reach the heart of the Acholi community that birthed terrorist Joseph Kony).

A LITTLE MORE
Last month we started up our new www.bvbroadcasting.org listen only website and already people are tuning in. The majority listeners so far are from Arabic languages and of those, Saudi Arabia is prominent. We plan to expand our language outreach-please pray for this also.

AND…our new APP is coming into view, starting with the Android version (go to Google Play and download our APP BVBR). The iPhone version is just around the corner, Our first language will be for English listeners and you can now hear Joyful Skies from the Holy Land. More languages are coming.

Thank you for standing strong with us in these turbulent times.

Don







January

As we are busy planning next steps in our various ministry projects, we want to share with you the wonderful things accomplished this recent Christmas season Read More...

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