Fiji (MNN) — Rocked by damaging winds and rains in mid-December 2012, an HCJB Global partner's radio station is still off the air in Fiji and Samoa. The storm has put a muzzle on the Gospel in the Hindi language–the predominate language spoken there.
Three months ago, HCJB partner radio stations in Fiji and Samoa were devastated by Cyclone Evan, a storm that few people in the West ever heard about. Fiji, home to nearly 900,000 people, consists of more than 300 islands 1,300 miles northeast of New Zealand. The storm first appeared on Dec. 9 as a weak tropical depression about 400 miles from Fiji, but quickly gained strength. Within two days it packed enough punch to become a hurricane, and the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center named it Tropical Cyclone Evan.
President of HCJB Global Wayne Pederson says, "Thousands were left homeless there; they were without food, without power, without water. These were category four winds — 170 miles per hour."
The damage was widespread, too, affecting the partner station's work. "The storm destroyed the broadcast towers, computer programming equipment, and transmitters, resulting in more than $30,000 in damage. The station that reaches the large Hindu and Buddhist population is still off the air."
The programming of Radio Naya Jiwan (a Hindi station), covering the greater Suva area, has a stronger evangelistic focus as less that 2% of Fiji's Indian population is Christian. This station is the only source of Christian broadcasting most of the Indian immigrants can access.
HCJB Global is raising funds to put the station back on the air. "We want to come alongside of them and give them the finances to fix the transmitters, repair the towers, replace the computers that were destroyed and get this radio station on the air because right now this whole area is left without any other Christian witness," says Pederson.
"Especially during a time of devastation where people are turning to radio for help," continues Pederson, it's particularly vital "that we get this station back on the air. Our best estimate is that it will take about $30,000."
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