NRB Strategic Partnership Prayer Newsletter
All the lonely people…
It was my fourth international trip in about five weeks. From Russia to Spain to Romania…and now Sweden. Over a 45-day period I was out of the country for almost 30 days. I was a bit weary, but God’s blessing was evident, and I was glad to be in Stockholm again.
HopeFM is bringing to Sweden what they deeply need. Hope. True Hope…not just a wished-for better life. Hope found only in Jesus. I remember Roger Arnfjell, HopeFM’s director, telling me on my first trip to Sweden of the high suicide rate for young adults in his country…among the highest in all Europe. His words: “They are lonely people. In their apartments by themselves, they have nothing to bring them hope.”
Those words have haunted me for months as I have thought of the potential of HopeFM providing uplifting music and words of true hope for these lonely people who are recognized as the most secular in all of Europe.
I arrived in Stockholm in the afternoon to a light snow. Though it was only about 3:30 PM the light was already fading. It would be dark by 4:00 PM in this part of Sweden, adding to the spiritual darkness gripping most of the Swedish people. After settling into my hotel room, I went to the restaurant for a sandwich. After ordering I began to listen to the music playing in the restaurant. Familiar music. The music, in English, appeared to be sung by a Swedish group. It was some of the original Beatles songs from the 60’s and 70’s.
I was mentally singing along with these well-known hits when the words of one refrain began to bore into my heart. The song was “Eleanor Rigby”, and the refrain repeats its phrase over and over. And that is what caught me. “All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all come from?”
All the lonely people…. I looked around at those sitting at nearby tables. I remembered those I had seen on the streets on my previous visit. Thought of Roger’s words about the loneliness of the people…the wasted lives…the lack of purpose…the lack of hope. And I thought of the overwhelming need for the Gospel to reach into the apartments, the cars, the offices...into the hearts of the people of Sweden.
HopeFM is at an exciting, yet critical time. They need to gain a stronger presence in Stockholm and across Sweden. Yet, since this country has not had a strong Christian station, many evangelical believers who could support it don’t know of the potential of Christian radio. HopeFM can be that tool used by God to bring the lasting hope found only in Jesus.
A frequency may soon be available that would allow HopeFM to expand from a limited schedule to a 24/7 ministry. But that is a big step, both in cost and in programming. They will need support, help, and prayer. I hope you will be part of that equation that allows HopeFM to impact a nation that is hopeless without Christ.
A little over a month ago we wrapped up what can only be described as an amazing week of media training for Christian broadcasters in Eastern Europe. Over 150 participants were there from seven countries, sharpening skills, learning new techniques, networking, fellowshipping, worshiping together for five days. God blessed in amazing ways.
Comments from the attendees tell the story.
“This was a wonderful initiative and I continually thank God for making this possible and such a wonderful event.”
“…please keep doing it again and pray for the development of media in Balkans.”
“I went back with a new enthusiasm for the work I am doing, encouraged to be part of (where) God is working around the world these days.”
“Keep doing it please.”
The US teaching team was outstanding. Not only did these leaders in Christian broadcasting bring their expertise to the conference, they brought their deep love for the Lord Jesus. Their spiritual heart was obvious to all, and their love for the Balkan media people helped to form deep bonds of love and ministry. My deep thanks to this outstanding team:
· Sharon Geiger, KCBI, Dallas
· Jon Hull, KSBJ, Houston
· Bill Blount, Blount Communications Group, New England
· Wayne Shepherd, Wayne Shepherd Communications, Chicago
· Todd Isberner, Share Media Services, Minneapolis
· Stan Jeter, CBN News, Virginia Beach
· Richard Klein, CBN News, Kiev, Ukraine
· Drew Dickens, Need Him Ministries, Dallas
And to those who provided financial and prayer support for the Balkans Media Training, those attending had this to say:
“God bless your sacrifice! God bless your confidence in Balkan Christian media! God bless your families, work and dreams!”
“Thank you for your generosity! May God greatly reward you and in Heaven meet those who, through your gift, could hear the clear message of the Gospel through our radio programs.”
Evaluations are being made, and the Balkans planning team will be discussing what might be done in the future. Pray that God will give clear direction on whether to hold another such seminar, and how to provide for the costs.
By the way, God was so gracious that when the final accounting of the conference was made and all the costs were listed, financial contributions and registration fees covered all our needs. Great thanks to all who gave to make it possible, and to the US teaching team from NRB for covering their own travel expenses. We could not have done this without you.
Having just come through the Thanksgiving season, I want to give thanks to each of you for your faithfulness in your prayers for these international media opportunities. God has been faithful to bless over these past two and a half years of the NRB Strategic Partnership work. I know it is by His grace…and because of your commitment to pray for these dedicated servants in various places around the world. I’m not sure any of us has a clear understand of how God is using these efforts to proclaim His Truth, but I do know He is blessing. Thank you!
There is a song I first heard sung by Damaris Carbaugh. This little-known Christmas song’s title carries a deep message. It’s called, “A Cradle in the Shadow of a Cross.” Many at this time of the year see the manger scene and enjoy the sweet picture of Mary and Joseph around that little crib holding the baby Jesus. But most don’t see the shadow of the cross that is in that scene. God sent His Son for more than a sweet little scene on a greeting card or in a school play. God’s Son came with the purpose of bridging the gap between sinful man and a Holy God. The cradle alone couldn’t do it. It took sacrifice. It took a cross. The Christ of the cradle is also Christ of Calvary’s cross. He is our hope.
May our Lord bless you throughout this holiday season and through the coming year. I pray that 2011 will be an outstanding year for the work of the Lord around the world. It is a joy to be His servant.
As I finish this newsletter we have received word that one of our strongest encouragers and advocates for this international work is now with the Lord Jesus. Joan Horner passed away Sunday, December 5. Joan, along with her husband Andy, started Premier Designs, Inc. 25 years ago as a way to support the Lord’s work around the world. They contributed to mission work for the spread of the Gospel in over 60 countries. NRB’s Partnership work was blessed to be included in their missions’ ministry heart.
This link will connect you with Premier Design’s page on Joan Horner’s homegoing:
When I think of Joan…and Andy…I think of what was said of Jesus. “He went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38) That was an understatement for our Lord’s life, and it would be an understatement for these two, also. Our love and prayers are with this sweet family.
In His service…for His glory,
Ronald L. Harris, DD