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HCJB World Radio Helps Vision Africa Radio Open Station in Nigeria

January 7, 2005

HCJB World Radio Helps Vision Africa Radio Open Station in Nigeria

January 7, 2005

January 7, 2005

Nigeria's first educational radio station dedicated to moral programming went on the air at noon local time Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2004, as the sounds of "Amazing Grace" became available to more than 250,000 area residents. The first broadcasts culminated more than six years of prayer and planning, and the work of several partners.

"By the end of the first hour on the air the news had spread, and radios in every store and house were blaring Christian songs through the streets of Umuahia," said Tim McDermott, general manager of KSBJ in Houston, who traveled to Umuahia to help launch the station. "We are ecstatic! The staff is so excited and the sound quality is excellent."

Called "The Real Love Station, Sharing God's Love," the 24-hour, 2,000-watt FM station was installed by engineers from the HCJB World Radio Engineering Center in Elkhart, Ind. It broadcasts at 104.1 MHz.

Bob Howard, chairman of Vision Africa Ministries which operates the station, pointed to the help of HCJB World Radio missionaries such as Sub-Saharan Africa Director Lee Sonius, Ken and Sharon Cummings, Dave Pasechnik, Marty Jones, Larry Burk, Ed Muehlfelt and Mattias Barthel.

"They traveled to Nigeria numerous times and are to be commended for their patience and perseverance," Howard said. "While God has the plan, HCJB World Radio is faithful to it. Remember the mustard seed, and please pray that this one station is the beginning of a tree that will cover all of Africa!"

A volunteer team led by Mark Stephens of Baltimore, Md., also worked with local volunteers to assist in the construction of the building. In addition, Mark Foster led a volunteer team from Oklahoma City, Okla.

Sonius said the station is strategically located in Nigeria's oil-rich delta region. "I'm thrilled with the potential ministry the station can have," he said. "We need to pray now that this 'infant' station will soon grow and mature into a strong healthy 'man,' spreading the good news of the gospel in that area of Nigeria."

The station was the vision of Dr. Sunday Onuoha, a native Nigerian who graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and went on to become a prominent evangelist in his home country. Through his many crusades, his ministry has been instrumental in starting 106 churches, many of which are within hearing range of the new station.

"I first got the idea of this type of radio for Nigeria about eight or nine years ago," Onuoha said. "I saw radio as a chance to reach out to more and more people. I was at a missions conference in Marietta, Ga., sharing my vision, and I was told to get in contact with the engineering center in Elkhart, so I called."

In one of the many miracles in the process, the government of Nigeria's Abia state paid to erect a 4,000-square-foot building for the station. "This building was the promise made by Abia Gov. Dr. Orji Uzo Kalu in order to encourage Vision Africa to commence its pilot station in that region," Onuoha said.

Onuoha, who serves in the Nigerian cabinet as a special assistant to the president on privatization, said his many contacts with high officials were "invaluable in working through the requirements for broadcasting and will help in fulfilling subsequent requirements by the Nigerian government."

While much of the station's programming is not overtly Christian, Onuoha emphasizes that it's all presented from a Christian worldview. Some programs, for example, educate people about the facts of HIV/AIDS, debunking misconceptions about the disease while promoting abstinence from sex outside of marriage.

Onuoha adds that up to 100 volunteers are involved at the new station, doing everything from producing programs to following up listeners. "We are ultimately going to reach about 20 million Nigerians through this radio station," he said. "We intend for it to bring communities together and build mutual understanding among people." (HCJB World Radio)