Christian radio station in Liberia burns to the ground

By November 10, 2011

Liberia (MNN) — One of Liberia's oldest radio stations has
been destroyed again.

The Monrovia-based Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) burnt
to the ground Tuesday night. Lee Sonius with HCJB
 says, "They
lost everything. I've already seen some pictures of the building, and the
destruction was quite widespread. They lost all of their equipment, programs, and

The fire started around 9 pm local time. As to its cause,
"The cause of the fire has not been completely determined yet, but it
doesn't look like it was due to an electrical problem." Several reports
coming out of Liberia have been hinting at arson connected to political

After speaking with the station manager, Sonius
explains, "The investigation is
leading more toward the possibility that it was arson, or that it was
intentionally set. Because the run-off election was yesterday, I asked him (the
station manager) if he thought it could have anything to do with the election,
and he said, 'Well, I can't rule that out.'"

The good news is that the transmitter was in a separate
building and is unharmed by the fire. Sonius adds that "they actually had a
small, emergency portable studio at the site of the transmitter. They are already back on the air in a
temporary way."

Sonius was ELWA's station manager in 1990 when civil war
first destroyed the facility. In 1996, radio
ELWA was silenced again during renewed fighting. The staff, with the help of SIM, regrouped
and rebuilt. Seven years later, HCJB came on board to help provide most of the resources for short-wave
broadcasts from a unique transmitter and antenna, which they developed and

The staff is shell-shocked, says Sonius. "I think the staff at this point must be thinking, 'Why is all of this happening?'" However, Sonius says they've come back from
total destruction before–a faith journey that encouraged growth. "We have
seen their resiliency in the past, and the ministry has been going on. So I
would be very, very surprised if the staff doesn't get behind rebuilding and
getting the Gospel back on the air." 

Their ministry journey together will continue, says Sonius. "HCJB definitely wants to help, and
that's why I called them this afternoon to just assure them of our intention to
help get them back on the air. Obviously, they'll need to rebuild, and they'll
need all the studio equipment."

The radio station daily broadcast eight hours of English programming
and one and a half hours of Liberian language programming. About three-quarters of the station's income
come from local listeners and churches. Both SIM and HCJB are raising funds to
help. Click here if you would like to help.

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