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Global Snapshots of Reach Beyond's Ministries - Dec 2021

January 13, 2022

Global Snapshots of Reach Beyond's Ministries - Dec 2021

January 13, 2022

A typical village in western BurmaASIA PACIFIC

Reach Beyond Australia recently sponsored a trip for some local Burmese partners to visit a small village in West Myanmar. While the community was a bit cautious when they first arrived, the villagers quickly realized that the men had come in peace and hurried to see what was inside the boxes they were carrying—100 radios!

Everyone seemed eager to have one, and before long, every family in that remote rural village was presented with their very own radio to take home. 

Our partners then showed the villagers how to tune in to programs in their own language. They also taught them how to access many hours of content that is stored on memory cards in each radio.

When the team demonstrated the radio, it began playing a sermon in Rohingya—the very language spoken by that community. “We could see excitement in people’s eyes as they listened to a message in their own dialect,” expressed one team member. Another said, “What we are doing here is planting a seed in very fertile soil.”

The Rohingya are one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in the world. They have been under severe duress for years. Their main religion is Islam, but many live in a Buddhist country that they are trying to call their own. They feel rejected on many fronts. They are an unreached people group who desperately need to hear the Good News.

Over the past two years, Reach Beyond has been telling Rohingya speaking audiences in Myanmar that they are known and loved by God. With the help of like-minded partners, we have been able to develop our own content which is voiced by a Rohingya national. This ensures that the message is clear and that it sounds inviting and natural to our audience. Seven days a week, Rohingya language radio programs are broadcast to the region from Reach Beyond Australia’s transmitter site in Kununurra.

Now 100 families in this remote rural village in Western Myanmar are able to hear the Gospel and messages of hope in their heart language. We are excited to see what God is going to do in this community.

EUROPE/EURASIA

Online streaming, podcasts, social media and mobile apps are some of the ways that Reach Beyond is doing local radio in countries where traditional radio is impossible.

For producers of Christian content in one highly restrictive country, meeting listeners is a serious challenge. The risk of arrest and fear of persecution limit many listener interactions until trust can be firmly established.

Vlad* is one of our producers who recently met with some trusted listeners as well as leaders of home groups/churches. He shared, “Some of them are living in remote villages. They were so glad to be able to meet with us face to face. In this part of the world, people are very hospitable and personal meetings really build trust. We were able to establish some great relationships with very faithful people living in extremely hard conditions.” Vlad* was also able to give them some technical training in dealing with communications and security. “And now they will be able to help promote our projects among local people.”

*Name changed for security reasons

Share English LogoSHARE ENGLISH

Jeff* and Janice* are church planters who are using Share English materials to build relationships with English learners in southern Europe. They had started an online English club during the pandemic with about 20 students, plus several volunteer helpers from the USA. But Jeff* and Janice* really want to connect with people in their community. “We did a very intense promotion through handbills/flyers, Facebook, and encouraging existing students to invite friends, etc. I would say that most have signed up because they saw one of our flyers posted somewhere in the neighborhood.”

Now that COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed, Jeff* and Janice* are able to begin meeting in person. “We had our first in-person class last night, with 20 students! It went great. Six language helpers. We were so busy and having fun that we forgot to take any pictures. We meet in a local restaurant that has a large back room, which on Tuesday nights is always empty. Having all the students there helps give them some extra income. We have another in-person class on Thursday mornings and about 10 students have signed up for this one. Both are at the same place where we hold our Sunday morning gatherings.”

The ultimate goal is to build relationships with these English learners and start spiritual conversations that will help them discover Jesus’ love for them. And that’s exactly what is happening! “It's going to be an exciting semester for sure. We have one student from last semester who is also coming with us on Sunday mornings! We believe he is getting close to a decision!”

Fire destroyed the studio mixer console at Radio Station Gaaki in Ghana.SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

The first sign of trouble was smoke coming out of the air conditioner. But that smoke soon turned into an intense fire that completely engulfed Radio Gaakii—a station Reach Beyond helped partner ministry Theovision launch in 2011. Daylight revealed that the entire station had been destroyed. Fortunately, in this case, no one was injured, but the loss was certainly felt by members of the community. One person expressed, “It is not Radio Gaakii that burnt, it is rather the heart of the Konkomba people.”

Fire has damaged or destroyed more than a dozen like-minded or partner Christian radio stations around the world. Tragically, fire has also taken the lives of several staff who were attempting to rescue equipment from the flames.

Radio stations in Sub-Saharan Africa are particularly susceptible to fires. Power surges, dust, heat, equipment failures, faulty wiring, and accidental sparks from welding can start fires. Once acoustic foam tiles begin to burn, a small fire can quickly spiral out of control.

Reach Beyond trainer Joseph Kebbie recently began production of a fire prevention and safety video with the help of Reach Beyond missionary Brendon, who is a trained firefighter. The video answers typical questions about smoke detectors, extinguishers, and what to do if a fire starts. The video was shot at a firefighter training center in Colorado, which allowed Joseph to demonstrate how to correctly use a fire extinguisher to put out an actual fire.

Joseph and Brendon hope that this practical training will help stations reduce the loss of property. And more importantly, by training our partners and helping them to develop an escape plan, they hope to eliminate any more loss of life. Reach Beyond radio trainer Joseph Kebbie demonstrates how to use a fire extinguisher.Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Director Alex Walker says, “These days we work hard to protect the equipment and the staff inside radio stations from all kinds of threats. It can be a huge blow to a ministry when fires occur, and insuring equipment is often not a realistic option in sub-Saharan Africa, so we trust that this training resource, made with sub-Saharan Africa with Sub-Saharan Africa in mind, will help to avoid stories like this happening again.”

Reach Beyond is one of several organizations that are helping Theovision get Radio Gaakii back on the air. We will be installing the electrical protection system and providing a solar-based power supply. Solar panels will provide the station with inexpensive reliable power, and more importantly, help eliminate future damage and fire caused by power surges.

Radio Gaakii is one of three radio stations that Reach Beyond has helped Theovision start in Ghana. This station is strategically located in a predominately Muslim area of northern Ghana, and offers 24hour/day Gospel-based programming (in several languages) to an audience of over one million people.