|Climbing the 224-foot tower for Rádio Evangélica FM, the new Christian radio station in Gabu, Guinea-Bissau.|
As the years mounted, so did the long list of delays—lack of funds and equipment, difficulty receiving a broadcasting license, technical problems and at least three coups since 1999, the most recent of which erupted in mid-2012.
The delays caused Bynas and HCJB Global’s engineers to wonder what God had in store for the station’s future, but they persevered. Today the station is in place in Gabu, a city in the eastern part of the country with about 200,000 people. Test broadcasts have been successful, and regular programming is set to begin, pending one last delay—final government approval to begin broadcasting.
Helping bring Bynas’ dream to fruition was John Hiskey, the founder and president of Servants to Missions, a ministry with a heart to bring the gospel message to Guinea-Bissau. With a calling to reach the African people, Hiskey and his wife, Rachel, began traveling to the country in the early 1990s on short-term trips. In 2002 they became full-time missionaries and moved to Gabu.
|HCJB Global missionaries and local staff in the radio studio. Front to back: Alex Walker, Lai, Bynas, Jeremy Maller.|
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Few citizens complete sixth grade, and public schools are frequently closed due to the government’s inability to pay the teachers. The country’s official language is Portuguese but is only spoken by about 14 percent of the population—mostly the educated elite. The main trade language, spoken by about half the population, is Portuguese Creole.
|New studio building in Gabu.|
“We have encountered delays all along the way,” related Hiskey. “But it wasn’t until after the coup last year that we realized what God was doing. Had there not been delays, our radio station would have been destroyed during the coup along with all the other stations in the country.”
This March Ed Muehlfelt from the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind., traveled to Gabu to install a 224-foot radio tower, antenna and coaxial cable. “We ran into many problems along the way,” he said. “But I’ve found in previous station installations that the more powerful the gospel will be in an area, the more problems we face during construction.”
|Ed Muehlfelt does survey work at the station site.|
Although the first test broadcast was brief, it was heard by Fernando Gomes, a guard at the campus where the new station is located. Despite being a Muslim, 73 year-old Gomes was excited that Rádio Evangélica FM was finally a reality. “I am very happy with your work here,” he said in an interview. “Keep doing what you are doing. We cannot repay you … but God will.”
Four national churches will be responsible for the operation of the new station, and Bynas will be the station manager. “The broadcasts will cover about two-thirds of the nation,” explained Hiskey in a recent email. “The signal reaches the borders to the north, east and south and about two-thirds of the way across the nation to the west. It’s a real blessing.”
Before last year’s coup, the country was still recovering from a period of civil conflict and political unrest that took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
|Fernando listens to the station's first test broadcast.|
Before moving to Guinea-Bissau, Rachel served as a social worker and counselor in several places, including an American Indian reservation. This cross-cultural training gave her valuable experience as she now offers home skills classes with local women in Africa, leading to numerous opportunities to share the good news of salvation.
Source: HCJB Global
Our ministires in the Sub-Saharan Africa region include healthcare initiatives such as clean water projects, radio planting, and radio training.