Central African Republic (MNN) — A radio ministry started March 1 in Africa gives Christians more time with the people.
Integrated Community Development International has been working with HCJB Global to start the first privately owned short-wave radio station in Central African Republic. ICDI's Jim Hocking said, "When I started ICDI, I realized that if I was going to impact communities for the long-term and impact them as far as change and the way they did things, and how they cared for their children I was going to need to have more contact with them than a periodic trip."
The focus of the radio station will be on community development. Messages on how people can
care for themselves will be broadcast in four languages: Sango, French, Aka and Fufulde. "Its amazing but there are lots of passages of Scripture dealing on how you care for your body, for your family, healthcare issues, and we can relate that right to what people do in
their spiritual lives as well," said Hocking. These topics will include sanitation, healthcare issues, AIDS education and development of crops that will help raise the level of nutrition families have.
"We've found a number of ways to tie in, regularly, the Gospel to the development of the villages," Hocking said. The government is aware that the program is faith-based even though they are non-governmental and non-denominational. ICDI is partnering with the other Christian station to share programming.
They are already reaching 2/3 of the country, which could be close to three million people.
HCJB's technology center in Elkhart, Indiana has produced the very compact and portable TB 1000 short-wave transmitter that is being used in Central African Republic. "It can be used to basically deliver a signal to an entire country, a small country, or to a small region and, in fact, with Central African Republic our goal there was to cover most, if not all, of the country plus to send the signal over into neighboring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo," said Kurt Bender of HCJB Global.
They have assisted over 200 ministries in the 100 countries in getting their ministry up and running. They work alongside these ministries to get them set up with the technology that they need. Their new digital AM and short-wave systems are being used several places around the world.
"We really do want to see people reached with the message of the Gospel, people who don't have access to it now," said Bender. Local short wave has made that possible. "It enables local ministries such as ICDI and the African staff there to be able to reach into villages that, frankly, are so remote that it's very difficult to be able to even get to them by vehicle. So now we have the opportunities for the Gospel to get in there on a daily basis," he said.
In the future, a Muslim radio station will be coming to the area and will present competition for their broadcast.