Hope in Hostile Places
Hope in Hostile Places
Read TWR Canada President Dan Reese reflect on his time travelling and how he has seen God working mightily in the face of evil.
In January, TWR Canada President Dan Reese travelled to the Philippines and India with Jason Brown, our director of ministry initiatives and engagement. Dan journeyed on to see the ministry in action in West Africa. This week, Dan reflects on his experience.
The predawn song of the rooster and call to prayer from the minaret loudspeakers in the village woke me again. I am on the last leg of a tour around the world visiting our ministry partners in the Philippines, India, Côte d’Ivoire, and the location of our West African transmitter site. This final country is the birthplace of Voodoo, and I am keenly aware of the spiritual warfare that takes place here and throughout this world. Satan is seeking to build strongholds to subvert God’s redemptive plan in every corner of the globe. I am once again reminded of the need for each of us to put our trust in our creator and redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Despite being in places hostile to the gospel, my travels have given me great hope! I have witnessed the church in the Philippines use Discipleship Essentials with great results in their small group initiatives. Our partner, the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church of the Philippines (CAMACOP), has seen significant growth particularly in territories where Islam is entrenched. There are more than 8,700 small groups using DE to strengthen and grow the church across this nation. New churches have been formed and more than 7,000 people have been baptized since DE became part of the fabric of this denomination in 2018. One of the senior church leaders said, “It is my dream to see discipleship become the culture of our people. I praise the Lord that slowly but surely our people have embraced the discipleship program as their own.” It is a joy for TWR Canada to partner with like-minded people, those passionate about seeing the body of Christ strengthened and edified through intentional discipleship.
Following our time in the Philippines, Jason and I travelled on to India. For several years we have been supporting the efforts of TWR India as they build a radio home group ministry. There is much opposition to the gospel and Christians can be arrested for allegedly “outraging the religious feelings of any class.”1 However, the team continues to produce resources in many of the heart languages of India. The purpose of our time in India was to attend the celebration of reaching a milestone of producing biblical content in more than 150 Indian languages! Seeing 150 people visually representing their tribe and heart language assemble on the stage was emotional. Praise the Lord for what he is doing through this dedicated team in this part of the world!
My visit to Côte d’Ivoire was encouraging as well. In the town of Yamoussoukro, I heard stories from listeners of the local FM station. These listeners shared how they are growing in their faith as they hear the messages of hope and participate in small group gatherings at churches in the region. There are more than 40 indigenous groups within range of this station and there are plans to produce content in several heart languages. One children’s group leader shared how each week he has thirty children who spend three hours listening to the radio who are then discipled. One of the girls from his group shared that she wants to grow up to be like one of the characters in the drama series they listen to. The TWR Women of Hope ministry is thriving, and the women expressed gratitude for learning about practical hygiene topics and how to parent their children. Moreover, these women are grateful to hear the gospel and for the opportunity to grow in their faith. Seeing the role of radio, media players and church-based small groups gave me a fresh perspective on the impact of the ministry there.
The final place I am visiting is the location of our West Africa transmitting site, which is where I am writing from. TWR International has strategically placed two medium-wave transmitters on 127 hectares of land. It is currently the dry season, so the ground is parched and dusty. The team keeps the 100,000-watt and 150,000-watt transmitters broadcasting throughout Western Africa every night and into the early morning with content in more than 22 languages. It is not easy work. It requires dedication, ingenuity, persistence, and diplomacy when managing the relationships with the local towns and nomadic tribes who often damage vegetation as their cattle wander on the property. Growing cashews and providing rice and corn to the poor in the local villages is part of ministering not only over the airwaves but in practical ways in the surrounding communities.
I also had the privilege of participating in the dedication of a new training centre created to give the fully local staff new technical skills for maintaining the station and providing services to partner stations around Africa. Additionally, other local mission agencies took part in the dedication and have access to this facility for training their own staff, thereby strengthening the local church.
It has been a long journey with some sleepless nights, long days, meeting new people, and experiencing new food and cultures. I have seen a small picture of the vastness of what God is doing around the world, despite Satan’s attempts to lead people away from the truth. I am grateful for the opportunity to personally see the impact of the work that you, our donors and partners, enable us to carry out each day. Please know that your investment in TWR Canada is effective and bears fruit. Continue to join me in speaking hope to the world!
We encourage you to join us next week, to hear more from Jason Brown, director of ministry initiatives and engagement, about his experience in the Philippines!
1 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-59724425, for more information, please visit: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2022-09/karnataka-passes-anti-conversion-law-despite-opposition.html