It was my first time back in Eastern Africa in ten years. So much had changed. There seemed to be less traffic, and in Nairobi there were new buildings going up everywhere. It seemed much more peaceful. It was cleaner, with not a lot of garbage on the side of the roads. As I experienced this, I realized that this part of Africa was making a lot of progress. It was heart warming for me because when we lived in Africa, we constantly prayed that this would happen. And, on the surface, it has happened.
I was in Africa to attend meetings with the funding partners for the ministry. We met to get updates on what is really happening in Africa. It is here that you hear the real situation. It is here where your heart leaps for joy one second, and, in the next second, your heart sinks because there is still so much to be done on this continent. In this blog, I will share things that brought both joy and also despair to my heart as I realized yet again that there is only one hope for Africa and that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s travel first to northern Kenya, to a refugee camp that existed before I came to Africa in 1996. It is possibly the largest camp in Africa; a rough estimate of the number of people in the camp is 840,000. To put that into perspective, we only have a handful of cities in Canada that are that large. Many of the people there were born in the camp. This means that they have no nation. They are not Kenyan, and they cannot claim their parent’s birth country. Their chance of leaving the camp is slim to nil, that is why I say that they are people with no hope. Today the camp continues to grow: Sudanese refugees are coming there by the thousands; Somalians are coming by the thousands. It is hard to imagine what it would be like to live out your entire life in a camp like this.
Why do I include this story in my blog? God opened a door to TWR, and TWR Kenya currently has nine FM stations in Kenya. Most are in Muslim dominant areas where most people would not even consider having a station, but God has a history of giving us the task of reaching out to the unreachable. We air our programs faithfully, and he does the rest. He penetrates people’s hearts. He has done that yet again.
We are so excited because TWR Kenya has been given another license; it’s a license to put a station right inside the refugee camp! We will have a captive audience as the people in the camp have nothing to do all day. And most importantly, in a camp where there is no hope, we will bring hope.
I had to share this with all of you. There is only one thing stopping the building of this station and that is the lack of financial resources to purchase the transmitter and the tower and to build the studio that will be needed to operate there. You may be asking yourself, “Will they listen?” I can tell you that in all other stations in Kenya we asked the same question, and, in every case, we have been overwhelmed by the response. One of their biggest challenges has been to get Bibles to listeners once they start listening. It will be the same in the camp.
The other area that touched and made me sad was the report on Nigeria. It is impossible to describe what is happening in northern Nigeria in a few words. This area is in a state of disarray. Being a Christian in here is risky, and it is not an understatement to say that it may cost you your life for professing your faith. Boko Haram has a stronghold on many areas of the north, and it rules with an iron hand and by literally inciting fear in those who don’t support their cause. In spite of this, people are still hungry to hear the Word of God.
While the situation is sad, let me tell you why I am encouraged. God has provided a way for TWR to increase its impact into northern Nigeria. While I was in Africa, we built and dedicated our first transmitter site in this part of Africa. We have now begun construction to put up the towers and install a second transmitter. With the technology we have today, we can put a super-powered signal into not just northern Nigeria but into the whole country. This transmitter will also allow us to put a strong signal into Niger and Cameroon as well as strengthen our signal to the west of the transmitter site. We are rejoicing because we have the power to fight back against the evil one who has a stronghold on this part of Africa. I never imagined back in 2004 when I made the initial phone call of inquiry about this site that it would have such an impact. Light broadcasting into darkness is the only way to describe our impact in West Africa.
I am sad that so much darkness remains in many parts of Africa, but I am rejoicing that God keeps opening doors so that where there was once darkness now there is light. I am also very encouraged that TWR Canada has already made a substantial financial commitment to make this project happen.
Pray with me that this project can be brought to completion in the next year. There isn’t a day to waste. The time is now to push back against Satan.
My next stop was Burundi, a country not many hear about; stay tuned as there will be a blog to follow!