|Joseph Kebbie (left) does staff training at Beyond FM in Nkwanta.|
(Sept. 28, 2012 - by Ralph Kurtenbach and Harold Goerzen) Try to harness what lies beyond and you set yourself up for frustration … or fulfillment.
For Sylvester Kwame Nkrumah and his wife, Naana, reaching beyond fulfilled their dreams when Beyond FM went on the air this summer in their town of Nkwanta, Ghana, a bumpy seven-hour drive northeast of Accra.
“As Bible translators, we have often wondered how to get God’s Word to those who cannot and will never learn to read and write,” explained Nkrumah, describing the station’s origins. “So we asked the question, ‘Beyond giving the written word, what next?’ Secondly, we know that it is only the Word of God that can take people beyond where they are.”
In this regard, Beyond FM has both practical and spiritual ramifications. Nkrumah describes the station as “going beyond giving just the written word and doing other things that will make the gospel more relevant to our people and taking them beyond where they are by giving them the right information so they can develop themselves spiritually, socially, economically and mentally.”
“It is a dream come true. Our desire to get the message out to our people through all means has come alive and we are grateful,” declared Nkrumah. The broadcasts cover about seven districts in the Volta region, each with a population of more than 100,000 people, and can also be heard in parts of neighboring Togo.
|Naana and Sylvester Nkrumah|
The dream was realized with the partnership of HCJB Global, an international mission issuing a daily challenge to “go beyond the call.” One of the mission’s engineers who helped install the station, Alex Walker, observed that “people in the city believe Sylvester should become the new mayor because of what they believe he has achieved in building the station. Sylvester, however, does not claim the glory but is just thankful to God that he had a part in this ministry.”
Sylvester and Naana have worked as Bible translators for 25 years, currently serving as consultants with the Ghana Institute of Linguistics Literacy and Bible Translation, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT).
In 2009 Nkrumah traveled to Bolgatanga in northern Ghana for work on a documentary for The Seed Company, a WBT subsidiary dedicated to speeding Bible translation projects. At a hotel he met Jeremy Maller, projects coordinator for the mission’s Sub-Saharan Africa Region. During that meeting Nkrumah realized the visitors had come to help install his friend’s radio equipment.
“My interest was aroused and we started talking,” Nkrumah explained. Beyond FM was built in Nkwanta on land without water, sewer, electricity or street access. In Ghana these developments can take time—a lot of time.
“I must say that acquiring the land for the project, getting materials for the construction, finding workers to do the construction and the entire process of getting the building ready was just a miracle,” recounted Nkrumah. “The Lord led us to the right people at every stage of the process.”
|Jeremy Maller helps bury cables for the antenna.|
After visits from Walker, Maller, Steve Iwan and Liberian radio trainer Joseph Kebbie, test broadcasts from the 2,000-watt transmitter began in April, and Beyond FM officially took to the airwaves on July 1, broadcasting daily from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. Programs air in four languages—Twi, Adele, Gikyode and Delo—according to Nkrumah, who is planning an official inauguration for April 2013.
“Training the staff is always a big part of any new radio station,” said Maller. “After the radio equipment was placed in the studios and the station was technically finished, training was done to help those working in the studios become familiar with the equipment and gain some confidence working behind a microphone.”
Nkrumah has been encouraged by the community’s response to the station. “We’ve received comments from Christians and non Christians alike,” he recounted. “The pastors say they had been yearning for a channel like this for a long time. It’s an opportunity for them to spread the good news to all. As for the non-Christians … they can hear what is happening in other parts of the country through the news that is broadcast. Chiefs of the area have also come over to express their gratitude for bringing such a thing to them.”
“The station is important because the people can now listen to God’s Word, have access to what happens around them in the country and become known by the world around them,” added Nkrumah, concluding that “this is how they put it, ‘We were in the darkness, but now we have seen the light.’”
Source: HCJB Global