NRB Strategic Partnerships Prayer Newsletter
International Perspective: Faith Under Fire
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
I Peter 1:7 (NLT)
I have read this passage in I Peter before. You probably have, too. But, to be honest, the word “trials” hasn’t really hit home. As a Christian young person I probably thought it meant I would be rather unpopular, as high schoolers count popularity. As adults, we look at trials as cars breaking down, the money running out before the month runs out, or a sickness. Or we might think of the historical times…the Bible times…when people were really persecuted for standing up for Christ in their culture. Like Peter. Crucified upside down, some say.
I’m rethinking my idea of trials. I just returned from a conference put on by SAT-7, where I visited with Christian broadcasters whose focus is the Middle East. They were from countries that are constantly in the news, many as part of the Arab Spring. As I listened to these servants I heard the stories of real trials. Death of family members. Disappearance of cohorts. Threats. Fire-bombings. A far cry from what I experience as a trial.
One man, who was one of my communication student 25 years ago, said that because of the nature of his Christian media work in some of these countries, “When I put my key in the ignition of my car, I would often wonder what was going to happen next.” Sobering, to say the least.
While at the conference I happened to be reading David Platt’s book, Radical. In it he recounts his visit to house churches in Asia, and the trials these faithful ones face. As one young person, who was preparing to take the Gospel into areas where there are no churches, said, “I have told my family that I will likely never come back home. I am going to hard places to make the Gospel known, and it is possible that I will lose my life in the process.”
I believe there is no less a call on our lives. You. Me. Us North American Christians who have it so easy. One speaker at the SAT-7 conference challenged us by saying that we easily put down the “prosperity gospel,” yet we now embrace a “comfort gospel” in our spiritual lives. Our lifestyles certainly show that. From our homes to our cars to our levels of entertainment…and sometimes even our churches…we put our comfort on the front burner.
Hopefully, you haven’t turned me off. I’m not going to sell my cars and start living in a tent. However, I am going to examine my focus. I am going to reorient my perspective on things we call trials. And I am going to look at my own spiritual journey to see if I live up to the standard God has set…what He expects from a follower of His Son.
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”
I Peter 1:18-19 (NLT) Bold added
Let me tell you what else I am going to do. I’m going to pray for those who are facing real trials. Real persecution. Real peril for their faith. And I will not water down their real persecution by lumping it in the same category as my mere inconveniences. I will try to shift my understanding, and pray that when real trials do come, my faith will be counted as strong.
By the way, I’m on a journey. I’m not there. Yet. But, by God's grace...
Ministry Updates and Prayer Needs
After a couple of years of waiting, Radio Emanuel in Korçë, Albania, has its new antenna. With lots of prayer, and with engineering help from Galcom, International, Radio Emanuel is now covering more of southern Albania and is reaching into Macedonia and Greece with its strong Christian programming. We praise God for His provision for this expansion of the ministry.
Last year when I visited Tani and Efti Baraku and Radio Emanuel, I quickly saw the need for the ministry to relocate. While they are doing quality work in their small, cramped space, they have no room for growth. With the greater reach of the signal, Radio Emanuel needs to produce more programming for the Macedonian and Greek audience. The ministry does not have office space, and they have to use the studios as an office on many occasions.
Please pray for God to provide the resources for a relocation, and for the right place to be found. Pray for effective ministry to continue, encouraging the followers of Christ and reaching the many Muslims who live in the area. Most statistics say that 70% of Albanians are Muslim.
Albania is also the home to Radio 7, in the capital city of Tirana. It will celebrate 10 years of broadcast ministry this year. We praise God for Enkelejda Kumaraku and her dedicated team of Christian broadcasters. As they continue to impact their broadcast area with outstanding and creative Christian programming, they are also beginning to explore the possibilities of Christian television in Albania. They would take the same solid, conservative, evangelical presentation of the Gospel in their approach to TV programming. While this is still in early stages of exploration, the need is great. In a land of mostly first-generation Christians, solid theological teaching needs to abound. Pray that the ministry will receive God’s direction, wisdom, and support for this step.
Radio 7 Kosovo is still in its early days of ministry. Established and run by Radio 7 Albania, this station in the capital city of Pristina, is already an encouragement to the small group of Christ-followers in this almost totally Muslim country. There remain some challenges to Radio 7 Kosovo being fully functional.
Some of the paperwork that will allow over-the-air broadcasting has yet to be signed. Uncertainties in Kosovo’s last parliamentary elections have kept the right committees from being assigned, so the paperwork is hung up. Pray for its release soon, so the ministry can be heard throughout the capital and beyond. Pray for protection of the staff and their broadcast facilities. And pray for Muslims to hear God’s Truth and follow Christ.
With added assistance from Premier Radio of London, HopeFM is continuing to build its opportunity to touch lives for Christ. The challenges of the past have been great, as Sweden is one of the most secular countries in Europe. Churches have been slow to give strong financial support to the broadcast ministry.
Pray for HopeFM, its small staff, its board, and for Peter Kerridge of Premier Radio as they seek the right path with programming, station location and frequency, and funding strategy. And as you pray, give thanks for U.S. partners who have spent many thousands of dollars to help HopeFM get a foothold for the broadcast of the Gospel in Sweden.
ELION Media Ministry is launching several projects in the next weeks and months. These include “Who We Are,” a documentary about Evangelical Christianity in Serbia, and testimonies of Serbians who have accepted Christ as Lord, under the title “The Power to Change.” In addition, ELION wants to start some daily devotions and a series called “From the Bible” for use on the Internet.
ELION is also involved in projects with national and international impact. They are helping to organize meetings for a major media campaign in the neighboring country of Montenegro. ELION Media is also the main coordinator of an event with Nik Vijucic, Life Without Limbs (http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/), who inspires people around the world with his positive spirit and Christian heart in spite of his disabilities.
Pray for Sasko and Ira Bogeski as they continue this journey of faith for the Lord, for themselves and for ELION Media Ministry.
Radio Mosoj Chaski won the NRB International Radio Ministry Award. This is a high honor for those who faithfully and effectively serve the Lord using radio to proclaim His Truth. Pray for their director Victor Compos as he leads his broadcast team in the development of new programming for this station. You may remember that Radio Mosoj Chaski, located in Cochabamba, Bolivia, programs totally in the Quechua Indian language. It uses shortwave to get its signal into the Andes Mountains. Surveys have shown that Mosoj Chaski may have as many as one million regular listeners!
Alfa Omega Television continues to grow, and continues to have great vision to use the tool of television to impact all of Romania and the surrounding Balkan countries. To that end they have built a multi-story Communications Center and are continuing to build out the space for this strong ministry. Large TV studios allow them to do a variety of timely programs that apply God’s Word to the daily lives of those in this region.
Because of the proximity of the countries surrounding Romania, Alfa Omega is working to add additional channels for other languages. It will then truly be a regional ministry, impacting not only Romanians inside and outside the country, but many other people groups as well. Pray for Tudor and Merila Petan as they lead this ministry and as they seek the funding to continue its growth and impact for Christ.
Radio Voice of the Gospel, based in Bucharest, Romania, consists of nine radio stations across the country. This established ministry is an effective and respected voice for Christ and the Gospel throughout Romania. In past visits we have been received by some of the highest officials in the Romanian government, their FCC, and others who regulate broadcasting in Romania. It speaks well of the ministry that they have the recognition and respect of leadership in the country, and it shows the potential for influence of this ministry.
Pray for Lucian Despa as he leads Radio Voice of the Gospel. Pray for the opportunity to expand their hours on some of their stations that they now have to share with commercial stations. And pray for their staff as they continue the good work that God has blessed for decades.
Radio Gospel continues to look for opportunities to acquire a frequency for Paris for their Christian radio ministry. In the meantime they are upgrading and expanding their programming skills while they use the Internet for their radio programming. This past month Radio Gospel had the opportunity to broadcast live during the Gospel 'N Rueil Festival, in Rueil-Malmaison, on the outskirts of Paris. These broadcasts also serve to give visibility and credibility to Radio Gospel as they seek a frequency through the very difficult French governmental process. Pray for Paul Harrigan and those who work with him as they look for new opportunities to impact France for Christ.
While SAT-7 is not a ministry that I work with directly, I have recently seen first-hand how the Lord is using them to take the Gospel of Christ to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). With four television channels delivered by satellite (SAT-7 Arabic, SAT-7 PARS, SAT-7 Kids, and SAT-7 TURK), they are blanketing this critical region with creative and meaningful programming.
Because of security concerns, we will not mention names of individuals or countries where SAT-7 has studios, but know that many put their own lives at risk in order to present the Gospel message and, as they say, “Make God’s Love Visible.” Pray for their safety, their support, and the many people throughout the MENA region who need Jesus.
International Media Training
With the leadership of Moody Broadcasting, the Balkans Media Training will be held again this year in Eastern Europe. Our thanks to Bruce Everhart of Moody for heading up their team to work with the Balkans leadership in designing this year’s training seminars.
This will give us the opportunity to concentrate on launching media training in India. The NRB received gifts and pledges of over $14,000 to help train Christian broadcasters in India to be more effective in reaching the 1.2 billion people of this vast country. It will likely include broadcasters from some of the other Asian countries in the region. Pray for Ashvin Dhyriam as he coordinates the planning in India. Our hope is to hold a week of training in a key city, probably Delhi, in the fall.
Along with this ongoing international work, we have started our work in the area of membership. There are many ministries and broadcast related organizations that are great candidates for NRB. We believe that they…and NRB…can benefit from their membership.
What a joy it is to give visibility to ministries around our globe who are proclaiming God’s Truth. I count it a high privilege to assist, encourage, and enhance Christian broadcasters in their work around the world. My deep thanks to those who give to support this global ministry effort. Pray for God to place on the hearts of even more individuals and ministries to support this through NRB. Contact me if you have any questions or would like to assist the work financially.
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors….the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”
Ronald L. Harris, DD
Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships
National Religious Broadcasters
703-330-7000 (NRB HQ)
NRB / 9510 Technology Drive / Manassas, VA / 20110