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Appointed for a Time Such as This

February 4, 2020

Appointed for a Time Such as This

February 4, 2020

Meet Roger Basick, VP of International Ministries

As a student at Moody Bible Institute, Roger Basick volunteered with a Saturday night youth outreach radio program called Alive! with Ron Hutchcraft. This first taste of radio ministry would teach him valuable lessons to help in his future ministry career, but Roger almost gave up on the whole experience.

“I felt like I was the least equipped, least talented person on the team, and I didn’t know if I was being any benefit to anybody,” he recalls. “So, I went to the director and asked if I was being more of a burden. If I was dead weight, he should just cut me.”

Thankfully, the director didn’t cut him. He asked Roger if he really wanted to improve, and he gave him a few pointers. But he also invited him to hear about the impact the ministry was making. He shared letters that came in from all over the country, written by kids who were tuning into the program each week.

One letter was from a young Native American girl. She shared that she was invited to a church located off her reservation by some friends and was able to hear about and accept Jesus. When she told her parents, they were outraged They forbade her from leaving the reservation or associating with her friends. They said it was a “white man’s religion” and she would never have anything to do with it. She felt so alone and so cut off from everything she was excited about. She wrote that now her only youth group is what meets on the radio each Saturday night.

“I was just amazed reading her words,” Roger said. “I thought, if there is anything I can do, even behind the scenes, to minister to one person, it is all worth it. So that’s how my radio ministry began, keeping in mind that one person, whoever they might be.”
Today, as the new Vice President of International Ministries at Reach Beyond, Roger is still doing whatever tasks God puts before him in order to reach people.

Roger, Cary and their two childrenRoger steps into this new role during a season of change for the 88-year old ministry. Reach Beyond has been adjusting to changes in international jurisdictional law, IRS tax requirements, missionary retirement, dynamics with churches and supporters, and changing needs among unreached people groups.

These challenges aren’t specific to just Reach Beyond. Charities, especially religious organizations, in the U.S. and abroad are being scrutinized now more than ever. Roger says, “We have the opportunity now to step back, evaluate everything and be best prepared for storms and scrutiny that may come our way in future years so that we can position ourselves to be around another 80 years, if the Lord tarries.”

It turns out, stepping into important roles during a season of change isn’t new for Roger.
After college, Roger was newly married and working as a locksmith, when God pulled him back to radio. He went to work for Moody Radio, and saw Chicago as his mission field. But that all changed when Roger and his wife, Carey, took a trip to Ireland for their 5-year wedding anniversary.

“I grew up believing that Ireland was a wonderful Christian nation. I thought there would be churches and Christian radio stations everywhere. But, when got there, I was shocked. Christian radio was illegal, we couldn’t find an evangelical church or believers. My heart was just broken for Ireland, and I’m not even Irish,” Roger remembers. “When we left, Carey asked if I would ever want to go back, and I said yes, but I could never go as a tourist again. I would want to go to equip and encourage.”

Back at home in Illinois, the Basicks started researching opportunities to serve in Ireland, but it wasn’t encouraging. “We heard about missionaries who went and came back burned out from difficult conditions,” said Roger. “I asked God to release me from this burden.”

But God didn’t release him. Seven years later, a door opened when Roger was introduced to Stephen Cardy. Stephen and a team of Christians in Ireland had been trying to get a Christian radio license for 13 years. They went and applied every year, and every year they were denied. Roger was inspired by their perseverance. When he met with them, it seemed there was actually a good chance the government was going to grant the license that year, but they really needed help.

“They said, we have the people, the studio location picked out, we have finances, all sorts of help, but we don’t have anyone to train us. They had a partnership with Reach Beyond (HCJB at the time), but they didn’t have anyone to send,” Roger said. Familiar with HCJB, Roger contacted them and asked if he could go.

“I got signed up. It looked ready, but at the last minute, the government gave the license to someone else. It was so disheartening. People had sold property, given up their
jobs, done all sorts of things to make this happen, and it didn’t work.”

But, in the process, Roger discovered there was another small community Christian station in Ireland who had been given a license. They weren’t on the air yet, but HCJB had a relationship with them. The government had given the station an ultimatum to get on the air immediately or lose the license, so HCJB sent Roger on a 3-month trip to get the station up and running.

Eventually, God opened the door for the Basicks to serve full-time. Focus on the Family Ireland (now, led by Stephen Cardy) had started broadcasting radio in Ireland, and they asked Roger to move there full time to help develop Irish content for the Irish audience. It was a time of change and challenge for the ministry, dealing with loss of revenue that stemmed from structural changes, political backlash and a banking issue.

“Interesting enough, the Lord has used me in situations where people are lamenting the good ole days, and I didn’t experience the good ole days,” Roger said. “So I am able to be a bit more objective and look at how we can streamline, and say, what can we do with what we have now?”

After years of fruitful ministry in Ireland, the Basicks felt the Lord calling them back to the U.S., where Roger stepped into another role leading a ministry during a challenging time.

Reach Beyond had inherited the English Conversation Project (ECP) ministry, that uses English as a Second (or Other) Language in unreached parts of the world to open the door to conversations about faith. There are more than 1 billion people in the world who want to learn English, and want to practice speaking with native speakers. ECP provides online curriculum and conversation clubs to answer a need and create a natural opportunity for discussing faith.

Reach Beyond had been one of three primary funding sources for ECP, but after two of the funding partners had to withdraw, Reach Beyond took the program under its ministries.Roger voicing a English script When Roger left Ireland, Reach Beyond asked him to serve as the new director for ECP.

“When I came to ECP, they had lost two major funding partners and everyone was in survival mode. So, we asked, what can we do now, what can we do different,” Roger recalls. “Survival mode is necessary sometimes, to step back, mourn what we don’t have but focus on what we do. We can ask, what does the Lord have for us now?”

Roger led ECP for three and a half years, expanding the ministry to include 90 clubs, 40,000+ YouTube subscribers, and well over 1 million visitors to the website and other social media channels. People in unreached places are learning English, coming to faith in Christ, and going on to lead other clubs in areas of the world where we would not be able to send a missionary.

Now as the Vice President of International Ministries at Reach Beyond, Roger has another opportunity to help an organization step back, celebrate and evaluate the past successes, but look at where we want to focus moving ahead.

“I’m excited,” he says. “We have a rich legacy to draw on. We have unity, and we have new opportunities that didn’t exist before. Circumstances have forced us to step back and re-evaluate a lot of what we were doing, not because any of it was bad but because it is a new day. How do we best make use of the time, talents and treasures God has given us for this time?”