NRB Strategic Partnership
June 2010 Prayer Newsletter
The meeting location was in a small, out of the way town in Austria, five stops up the train line from the Vienna airport. They came by air, train, and car. Seven people, with passports from Balkan countries whose names elicit images, emotions, memories of war and conflict. Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Albania. And one from the US.
Sitting around the table were individuals that in another realm might have been enemies. Certainly their countries and cultures would have led them that direction. But something changed for these seven that redirected their hearts and lives. Upon meeting in Petronell, Austria, instead of mistrust and animosity, there were embraces, warm greetings, and gentle humor. The difference? Christ.
These Evangelical Christian leaders have several things in common that set them apart from many in their respective countries. First, the commitment of their lives to Jesus Christ. Each has asked Christ to be the Lord of their life, with a willingness to serve Him. Second, these individuals lead media ministries in their countries, using the powerful tools of radio and TV to tell the story of hope in Christ to otherwise hopeless people. And third, these have come together with a single heart to be more effective in telling the Gospel story in their countries to their cultures.
The team consists of Lucian Despa, head of Radio Voice of the Gospel in Romania; Tudor Petan and his wife Mirela, who lead Alfa Omega TV, also in Romania; Dr. Stoyko Petkof, who is a professor of communication at the New Bulgaria University in Sofia, and heads up the Christian TV ministry Studio 865; Enkelejda Kumaraku, founder and leader of Radio 7/Media 7 in Tirana, Albania; and Sasko Bogeski, who along with his wife Ira, have established ELION Media in Belgrade, Serbia. I have had the privilege of knowing these leaders for several years, and count it an honor to help them have greater impact for Christ in the Balkans.
L-R: Tudor and Mirela Petan, Lucian Despa, Ron Harris, Stoyko Petkov, Enkelejda Kumaraku, Sasko Bogeski.
This group came up with almost twenty topics for media training workshops at a special gathering November 2-6, 2010, in Romania. The training faculty will be drawn primarily from NRB media professionals, who will cover their own expenses to share wisdom and insight for some 100-120 Christian communicators in four days of workshops and plenary meetings. The training areas cover a wide variety of topics from video editing, radio news gathering and writing, promotion, budgeting and funding, and new technologies, to the basics of communication principles.
It was a joy to see these individuals pair off on their own to discuss specific ways they can help each other. Some with more experience spent time with those with less years in media ministry, sharing insight and encouragement. You could see new bonds being formed and old relationships being enhanced. God was present and at work in our meeting.
Now, we will be seeking the very best faculty we can find among NRB members. No doubt there are also those in Europe, part of the Fellowship of European Broadcasters, who have expertise to share. We want to provide a faculty who not only have the technical knowledge of the media world, but who have a deep love for the Lord and who can lead from that kind of spiritual foundation. Your prayers for this important work will be greatly appreciated.
Lucian Despa, Radio Voice of the Gospel, Romania – This ministry has 9 stations across Romania. There is an opportunity to purchase another group of stations or individual stations out of the group. Though the cost for all stations in the group is significant, it is less than the cost of a single station most anywhere in the US. Pray for wisdom and resources to grow this radio ministry in Romania.
Tudor Petan, Alfa Omega TV, Romania – While there are several key projects before Alfa Omega, Tudor feels the most critical step before him now is the completion of their Media Center to house the broadcast ministry. They have been working on the center for several years, and need to complete it and outfit it with appropriate broadcast equipment. Alfa Omega reaches all of Romania and into several surrounding countries via satellite and cable TV. The Media Center is needed to grow the ministry for a major Balkan impact.
Enkelejda Kumaraku, Radio 7/Media 7, Albania – The needs in Albania are great, and another station for Radio 7 would be a blessing. But Enkelejda has been working in the country of Kosovo, almost totally Muslim, but almost totally Albanian-speaking, to secure a license for programming. In some ways she is like David up against Goliath, but feels strongly that they can be a witness for Christ in this troubled area. As Enkelejda told the group, she has seen the hand of God at work more dramatically in the past two months than she has seen in the past five years. Over 800 have come to Christ through efforts and extensions of Radio 7/Media 7.
Stoyko Petkov, Studio 865, Bulgaria – This Christian ministry has been producing television programs for several years, placing them on secular TV stations and cable channels. Now they have secured a IPTV channel on the Internet that covers all of Bulgaria. They are beginning to produce and acquire more programs so they can have a 24/7 presence of Christian material on this channel. As they do, they look to also acquire a cable channel to further the reach and impact of this Christ-centered programming.
Sasko Bogeski, ELION Media, Serbia – As this ministry grows, Sasko recognizes the need for additional staff to help in the production of programs and DVD’s of Christian material to distribute through evangelical churches. Some have expressed interest in joining and helping the ministry. However, financial support is challenging as this ministry is in its opening phases of work. Pray for the right people to join with Sasko and his wife Ira, and for the funds needed for all the individuals who will give their time and expertise to God through ELION Media.
Other needs from our global partners:
Paul Harrigan, Radio Gospel, France – For over a year this ministry has been working to acquire an FM frequency for Paris. As late as April there were indications that they might get the new frequency, but one of the authorizing groups has turned down the request for a temporary license to operate a broadcast station. Pray for Paul and the ministry as they regroup and see what God would have them do. They have a passion to share Christ in a very apathetic country.
And…contact me if you have questions about NRB’s international partnership work.
Ronald L. Harris, DD
Dr. Ron Harris