Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Reporting from Africa

This is my third trip to Ghana, West Africa with Reach Beyond.  It's a country that was spared from Ebola last year.  It's also a country rich in Christian heritage.  It provides a safe place for our regional team to be based as they journey to do work in many countries that have little gospel influence or penetration in Sub Saharan Africa.

I'm here with three colleagues from Reach Beyond as we spend time with our missionaries and see first-hand what is taking place in the field.   We hope we're also being an encouragement to these faithful servants of Christ.

Today we drove two to locations and spent about 7 hours on the road, which is not unusual when you're trying to get around into remote places.  I'm about to retire for the night, but I wanted to give you a peek at what we have been up to the past couple days.

Yesterday, we walked down a 100-yard path to this watering hole,
where a village of about 200 people used to get their water.
  Kids and women would make  the walk to this place for
totally unhealthy, dirty water.


In 2014, Reach Beyond worked with the villagers to drill a well.
Now the village comes here for clean water.  It has transformed
the people, who have also embraced the Living Water.  The pump
was so easy to use, as I poured some water for our friend Ben.

Today, I met this morning show producer for a station we
helped buid in Assin Fosu, Ghana-- NKWA FM. It was about a 5-hour
drive from Accra, where we are staying.  The whole staff
made us smile with their contagious smiles.  They love the
Lord and sharing him with the city.

We went inside the studio and this announcer team interviewed
us.  We spoke in English and they translated into the local language.
SonSet Radios made it here.  We have delivered a
couple thousand or more to this station, so the
staff can give them away in the community.

And this is the view of the city from the transmitter
and tower site.
We visited a slave castle nearby that was built in the 1400s.
It was sobering to hear the story of how thousands and
thousands of men and women were brutally treated here
before being transported to America and other countries.
This is one of the rooms where they were jammed in.

Tomorrow night we fly home, but not before some more driving on some unusual roads.  We'll also visit a clinic and indigenous partner we've been involved with for several years.  I'll share those photos when I return.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Finishing the Task


I'd take credit for the headline of this post, but I stole it.  I had a good reason, though, because it's the focus of something I was involved in several days ago.

It was a gathering called Finishing the Task.

Finishing the Task is a movement led by Paul Eshelman, who
founded the Jesus Film.  He is pictured here.
For three days, 500 ministry and church representatives met in Orange County to focus on the solution to God's biggest challenge given to man.  That is, how can we take the Gospel to every people group on this planet?  

More specifically, how can bring the love of Jesus to the people groups that are still totally unengaged with the Gospel?  Not one Christian worker, not one believer, not one church... nothing.  As one person said, "These people groups haven't been reached because they are the hardest to get to."


Across the front of the auditorium a banner stretched from end to end.  On this banner, there were nearly 500 people groups listed, their language and where they were.

Rick Warren speaking to attendees.
I was there with five other Reach Beyond staff.  We were challenged by Rick Warren, Francis Chan and Paul Eshelman (Jesus Film Founder).  We interacted with others who were seeking God's will about being part of the solution.  We heard reports of how the church is growing in some of the most resistant countries in the world.

At the end, two of our missionaries sensed God nudging them to adopt more than 30 people groups in a country where Reach Beyond is currently doing work.  It's not something that we cannot accomplish alone. In fact, these missionaries will be approaching indigenous church planters in that country to ask them if they will partner with us and even spearhead this effort.  It will take many outside churches and ministries to be a catalyst for this effort.

I was energized and given a refocus on the calling God made on my life five years ago:  to take the Gospel to the unreached.  Those are places where less than 2% are evangelical Christian. 


It was also energizing to be in the room with hundreds of others of the same mind.  And I was honored to sit with those who are on the field giving their lives in other cultures.  All for the sake of the Gospel and to help fulfill the Great Commission.

As a result of Finishing the Task, nearly 250 unreached and unengaged people groups were adopted by churches and ministries in attendance.  This was nearly half of all the groups spread across the banner in front of the stage!

Find out more at www.finishingthetask.com

Friday, October 30, 2015

New station signs on in Nepal

Despite many obstacles, including an earthquake in April, an extreme fuel shortage and a problem even getting around the country, a brand new FM radio station went on the air in Nepal last week.  This is the 9th station we have planted with our indigenous partners there, and we are rejoicing.


Enjoy this video, produced by one of our installers.  I think you'll rejoice, too.  Our thanks to Way FM and its listeners for providing funding for this effort.

video


I remember each time I was involved in starting a radio station.  There are few thrills like the first moment a station goes on the air.  Please pray for our partner in Nepal as the outreach begins with Apostle FM.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Painful!

After the race with Reach Beyond President
Wayne Pederson, who is faster than me.

I ran a marathon on Saturday.  OK, it was only 5K, but for me it felt like a marathon.  The humidity was just short of stifling, the temperatures were in the 70s, and it was only 7 am.  On top of that, I was up until 1 am preparing a project.

And on top of that … yes another “on top of that” statement, the course was a quarter-mile more than 5K!  I know because I had my running app on during the race. 

Despite all these things, I ran my best race in years!  Maybe it was because this was sea level and I live at 6,800 feet elevation.  I was mighty proud of my 8:55 miles, over 30 seconds ahead of my normal pace.  I was a gazelle.

The race was on the final day of Momentum, a conference of several hundred Christian radio people who want to learn how to best reach their communities for Christ.

Representing Reach Beyond, we were there to build relationships with stations that want to help us send SonSet radios to Nepal, Indonesia and other countries where we've planted radio stations.  It turned out great, and there was increased interest this year on the part of stations who may want to partner with us.

Speaking of Nepal, be praying for the restoration of that country.  They are in monsoon season, but when that ends, Reach Beyond will be sending teams to help in the rebuilding of one village in particular that was ravaged by the quake.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

God's Great Provision

A 4:00 am start time was something I was not looking forward to.  But, I climbed out of bed a 2:45 am a couple weeks ago headed into the office, where we had a real radio station set up.  Yep, I was going to be on the air for three hours with Moody Radio Indiana.  They had two of their on air staff there with us.  It turned out to be a wonderful experience once I got my diet coke in my system.

I wasn't alone that morning.  Many of our Reach Beyond staff came in to answer phone calls.  Our office was the central call center taking pledges for two days.
Here's the scoop...

Our "One Month. One Nation." campaign ended earlier this week and wow, what amazing results.  Our hats off to Moody Radio, which jumped in and owned this project in a powerful way.  They had four of their stations centered on this effort to build three new stations in a specific unreached country in Asia.

For the month of July, they told their listeners about the project, and immediately listeners responded.  In fact, when we got to the final two days, we were about 40% to our overall goal of $200,000.  That was a critical point in our timeline, because the final two days were focused, all-day efforts to hit the goal.  We had hoped to be 30% of the way to the goal.  I knew God was up to something special.

So, did we hit $200,000?  No, we hit over $311,000!!!  Yes, that much was given for this project to bring the gospel to unreached people via radio.  What that generosity meant was that not only did we raise enough for three stations, but also enough to run them for the first year!  Praise be to God for his provision.

Let me close this post with a testimony from a listener who listens to the station we are expanding to three new cities.  As you read this, imagine what will happen in the coming months as new listeners find the station:


I live with my father and son. My father is 86 years old. My son is impaired. And I am blind. I have been losing my sight for 7 years. Our family income is only the sickness benefit we receive for our disabilities. Church people come to help us. Because of that, I became a Christian as a result of fellowship with Christian people. 

But when I started to listen to your radio program, I came to understand I was not really a Christian. After your broadcasts, I would call on God’s name and pray to Him for the first time. So I am very thankful for your encouraging radio program and for showing me how to pray to the real God.

On 8 September 2014, I visited your radio station to meet with members of the ministry team.
I asked if I could serve with them and join in their prayer ministry and they welcomed me in.

Now I am at home. I am alone or someone is with me. It is no problem to pray.  When I call the radio station, I share my life and find out what I should pray for. Always, someone from the radio is near me, as a friend, to help someone like myself who is blind.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

One Month. One Nation.


This week will culminate a month-long effort to plant three new radio stations in partnership with FEBC in one of the most unreached nations of the world.  The figures are somewhere between 1-3% evangelical Christian in this Asian country, but the stations we are involved in will help bring the Good News to hundreds of thousands more people there.

The project is called "One Month. One Nation," because, as a result of what is happening in this month alone, it could result in much of this unreached country being covered by Christian radio.  How?

Well, we are partnering with Moody Radio, whose staff has been sharing with listeners about this exciting project throughout July.  And they've been responding generously.  It all culminates this week.

On Thursday and Friday, several Moody stations will be dedicating the entire day to raise pledges to get these stations on the air.  In fact, Moody's Indiana stations will have a couple of their on-air people at our headquarters broadcasting live.  This means a 4:00 a.m. start time locally for them and our staff.

You can listen live to this event on Thursday and Friday all day at:

http://www.moodyradioindiana.fm/

I co-host a podcast with Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson, and the latest episode has all the details. Listen at:

www.reachbeyond.org/podcast

Thanks for your prayers.




Sunday, June 14, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

It's a nice headline, but I don't really ride horses.  However, I do like to run and I'm back at it after more than a month off.  I was forced into bike riding because of an injury, and I've enjoyed that new way of exercise.

Walking the Reach Beyond 5K with Biscuit was a step in the right direction at the Reach Beyond 5K several days ago. 


When Noonie and I were in California last month, I decided to take a nice run around the track I lapped hundreds of times when we lived in San Luis Obispo.  I felt a twinge in my heel on the first lap, and like most guys, I kept running.  The full three miles.  And I could hardly walk for the next several days. 

I had strained my achilles tendon where it meets the heel.  Ouch.  I mean really ouch!  I took five weeks off and tested it out on the treadmill the other day, and it felt great!  (That means I didn't feel anything).  So, I 'm back in the saddle again.  Wait, I'm out of the bike saddle and back in my running shoes.

The Lord has been teaching me about wisdom lately.  I guess He knows I need it after deciding to keep running the day I hurt myself.  Here is Proverbs 8:34-36 personalized:

"Blessed are those who listen to wisdom, watching daily at her gates, waiting at her doorposts.  For whoever finds wisdom finds life and obtains favor from You, Lord.  But those who fail to find her injure their own souls;  all who hate her love death."

I've been meditating on these verses for a few days, and looking for opportunities to exercise wisdom.  God's wisdom.

Had a great visit from Dennis and Linda Escalante a couple weeks ago.  Their daughter, Olivia, married our son, Tommy and we haven't seen each other in three or four years!  A fun reunion.