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Rick and Carol Hawkins have spent the last 23 years in the Netherlands serving with Trans World Radio. Rick has been doing IT/IS (computers), and Carol works in broadcast media services scheduling programs, keeping track of languages, sponsorships, air time, etc. They are returning to Canada in September and Rick is retiring in January 2017. Carol will be working with TWR Canada after their return.
We sat down with them while they were in Canada this spring and asked them about 23 years of ministry.
What has been the most rewarding part of your 23 years on the mission field?
Rick: For me, it's seeing TWR change with the times as far as the media is concerned. As people have stopped, in our region, listening to shortwave and move more towards AM and FM, the internet and satellite, TWR is moving to downloading content and continually learning. It's hard for me, because you have to be continually changing. That's been one of my challenges. It seems like we're always learning something else.
Carol: When we first went there were only five [international transmitting] stations. TWR is growing all the time and learning all the time. We have learned a lot about storytelling as opposed to linear book learners. In many cultures, people learn more through storytelling and memory so we don't air a program once. We air the same program three times in a week so they can memorize it and share the story. TWR is always adapting to new cultures and how people relate to the Gospel.
How has being involved in this ministry changed or challenged your faith?
Rick: Because I was never able to learn Dutch, my faith suffered because I couldn't get a handle on what exactly was being said at church. I couldn't get involved in Bible studies and other things for the same reason. My illness popped my faith back into place. I never worried about having operations or whatever. I felt totally at peace. My faith is stronger now.
Carol: I have a lot more self-confidence. That doesn't sound like faith, but it is because I've learned to trust God more and I'm not as afraid of making mistakes. I feel like I've grown up in my faith and it's gotten deeper over the years. I'm more accepting of other people, that people are in different stages of life and growth in the Lord. Grace. I'm crazy about grace. Realizing not just to be accepters of grace, but givers of grace too.
Please pray with us for the Hawkins' upcoming transition and move back to Canada, as well as funds to cover their moving costs. Pray for Rick's health to remain strong.