Malawi (MNN) — In less than a month, engineering retiree Jim Heck and a small team from HCJB Global set up a fully-operational TV station for the Africa Bible College (ABC) in Lilongwe, Malawi. Heck credits the project's completion to the Lord.
"If I ever wrote a book about this, I would call it 'How God Gave the African Bible College a Television Station and Let Me Go Along for the Ride,'" Heck said.
Working with Heck on the Malawi project were engineer Dwight Lind, TV pro Patrick McGuire, and broadcasting specialist Ken Van Prooyen. Equipment hassles and Africa's unique broadcasting standards pushed them all to work right up to the government's Aug. 16 on-air deadline. But as always, God provided.
"He totally brought it all together."
Heck and his team found strength to complete this demanding project in Isaiah 46:10.
"God is speaking in those verses, and He says, 'I will accomplish My will because I know the end from the beginning,'" paraphrased Heck. "That was a real encouragement to us as we ran into problems, but He also knows the end from the beginning of His purpose for the African Bible College's new television ministries."
With the station now up and running, communications students will start putting together broadcasts and Christian programming. Heck said that with no prior knowledge of editing footage or putting together a TV program, students are basically starting from scratch.
"It's a developing picture for them," explained Heck. "They have no experience, so they're on a learning curve.
"That will be the big challenge: learning how to use this tool and asking God to creatively guide them."
Pray for students undertaking this challenge. Pray that God is honored and His Gospel is furthered through their productions.
While Malawi is an English-speaking nation and a portion of TV programming can be made up of popular English shows and music videos, the government requires 60% of the station's programs to be "Made in Malawi." Heck says this is a great opportunity to reach communities for Christ as the station becomes another outlet for people to see and hear the story of Christ.
"Some of the programming that they've received is for children," Heck stated. "I think that it will be an excellent way to help children visualize the stories of the Bible."
In addition to Malawi, ABC operates campuses and accompanying broadcast facilities in Liberia and Uganda. In all three African nations, national staff, and HCJB Global engineers collaborated on setting up initial broadcast facilities.