Family Radio first started broadcasting in 1959 over KEAR in San Francisco. Since then, we have added scores of additional radio stations and translators in the U.S. Nevertheless, our desire from the very beginning was to carry out the command to go into all the world with the gospel.
When an opportunity came up in 1973 to buy a shortwave station, therefore, we plunged right into it. Shortly thereafter, we began broadcasting the gospel from Okeechobee, Florida to many parts of the world. God later opened a door through which we were able to send the gospel via shortwave from Taiwan into mainland China, reaching India and Russia from the back side.
Shortwave is fine; it reaches virtually the whole world. But only a small number of people have access
to shortwave radios. In contrast, practically every home nowadays has an AM/FM radio. So, our concern is to be able to broadcast in those bands.
By the grace of God, in the past few years, we have been able to buy time in many local stations in Latin America, and we have also begun to broadcast in Russia and Eastern European countries.
Turkey. But since last summer there has been an explosion of opportunities. First, we began to broadcast in Turkey. Turkey is basically a Mohammedan country. Yet, we are broadcasting Christian programming from a FM station in Istanbul, which potentially reaches about 30 million people.
South Africa. Tight on the heels of that we were given the opportunity to purchase from BBC an AM station in Southern Africa, from which we now broadcast seven hours of Family Radio programming every evening with a 100-kilowatt signal. It reaches not only most of South Africa, but some of the other countries close by as well. Like instant pudding, both Turkey and South Africa happened suddenly.
China. Then, this January we began broadcasting 24-hours a day at 150 kilowatts into mainland China from an AM station that we have constructed in Taiwan. Because the signal is concentrated westward, its effective power is a few times that. (By the time you read this, and Lord willing, that station may be broadcasting at still higher power.)
This is an opportunity far beyond our imagination. Even with the present power, the signal goes hundreds of miles into mainland China at nighttime, virtually reaching the whole nation of one billion people. In the daytime, it travels up and down the coast and gives a very good signal into the heavily populated coastal areas ranging all the way from Hongkong to Shanghai.
Europe. In February, we began to broadcast via Eutelsat over Europe. Eutelsat is the equivalent of Sky Angel here in the U.S. The program is up on the satellite and anyone that has a little 18-inch dish can have that program come into their home with the same fidelity as if they were next door to a fine FM station.
For forty years we've had an eye on Europe. Could we ever broadcast there? Or could we find a radio station on which we could buy some time. But Europe has been closed to that. And now, suddenly, we are there
on Eutelsat, reaching potentially almost 100 million people with not only all of our domestic programming, but all of our foreign-language programming as well.
Mind-boggling. All this has been happening so quickly that even "mind-boggling" is too small a word to describe it. But with God, all things are possible.
By radio, we not only make the gospel available, but we follow it up day after day with hours of teaching. Here in the U.S., if people listen to a program like the Open Forum for a couple of years, they learn a whole lot about the Bible, because of its very intensive nature. Well, exactly the same kind of programming is being made available to the people in these other countries and so they, too, are being intensively schooled and discipled.
God's ministry. I truly believe with all my heart that Family Radio is God's ministry. He is the CEO, if you will. As His servants, we try to make it useful to the best of our ability. Hence, we are deeply concerned about the integrity of our programming, that it is as faithful as possible to the word of God; the integrity of the way we operate, that we always do it in a God-glorifying way; and the integrity about being available whenever opportunity comes along, that we will be able to get into it quickly.
The bottom line is that we are under the full blessing of God. And I'm utterly convinced that we can only be under the full blessing of God if we remain faithful to the word of God.
Partners. Of course all of this comes with cost. Our power bill in Taiwan alone, even at 150 kilowatts, is $12,000 a month. But cost is incidental when we consider the opportunity of reaching so many people.
And I am convinced that believers who are listeners of Family Radio and who really want to serve the Lord with their lives, as every true believer does, will see in this a grand opportunity to put their resources to work so that they can be a part of this ministry of sending the word of God to all nations. o
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