|Keith Clukey from the HCJB Global Ministry Service Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., gives a SonSet® radio to a woman in Sierra Leone.|
• Alpha is a security guard and housekeeper at a guesthouse in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where an HCJB Global team stayed during an outreach earlier this year to help radio partner Believers Broadcasting Network (BBN) open a counseling center. He was thrilled to receive one of the dozen radios that Keith Clukey carried on the trip to hand out to local residents.
Clukey, who serves in information services at the HCJB Global Ministry Service Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., said the radios were fixed-tuned to the partner station operated by BBN. Alpha loves to listen to the programs aired by the Christian station, and he especially likes the live call-in show that airs daily from midnight to 5 a.m. during which people ask for advice and counseling. Caller response was so high that BBN decided to open the center for in-person counseling.
“It was a good experience for me to see one of our partners firsthand and to know they really are ministering to the needs of the people,” Clukey said.
|A young listener in Ghana is thrilled with her new SonSet® radio.|
• Yonel was just 12 years old when he got up early one morning to lead his family’s livestock down a mountain path to their pasture. But life would change forever when Haiti’s devastating earthquake struck. Huge boulders rolled down the mountainside and shattered Yonel’s right arm and leg.
Yonel’s family found him severely injured and rushed him to the Baptist Haiti Mission Hospital where the medical staff, including visiting HCJB Global Hands doctors, were providing medical relief in the country. A Billy Graham Evangelistic Association chaplain then prayed with Yonel at his bedside, and before he left the hospital, the boy put his faith in Jesus. The doctors gave him a solar-powered fixed-tuned radio so he could listen to Radio Lumière (Radio Light) and grow in his faith.
• A witchdoctor in the Democratic Republic of Congo walked for two days from his village to reach Radio Kahuzi, a partner station in Bukavu. He wanted to thank the station’s staff for the handy radio that a missionary had given to him months earlier. Through listening to the broadcasts, he understood the gospel and gave his life to Jesus. Now he travels to numerous villages, encouraging other shamans to give up their evil ways and come to Christ. In this area of the country, many former witchdoctors have become village pastors!
|Villagers in Papua New Guinea are fascinated with the handy radios.|
In each of these cases, local residents received solar-powered, fixed-tuned SonSet® radios—pocket-sized radio receivers designed by engineers at the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind. They are digitally tuned to pick up only signals from HCJB Global’s partner radio stations.
Since 2001 the mission has distributed over 45,000 radios (including thousands of Go-Ye radios from Galcom, mainly before the SonSet® radios were developed) to listeners in 32 countries. The demand for the radios keeps increasing as requests are in hand for 16,400 sets for Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Ghana, Haiti, Panama and Peru—and this doesn’t count a potential order of up to 50,000 sets for Papua New Guinea.
Lee Sonius, director of the Sub-Saharan Africa Region, agrees, saying the radios provide a “great way to listen to Christian radio without having to buy batteries. We have ample sunshine here in Africa, so charging the device with the solar panel is no problem. People love it, and it’s in great demand. Recently we provided 1,000 radios to Word FM in Bolgatanga, Ghana, and now they’re asking for 1,000 more!”
|An Indonesian man listens to a Christian radio program from a local partner station.|
The name SonSet® is based on the verse, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36, NIV).
“The beauty of this radio is that it’s tuned to the local Christian radio station so the broadcasts can enter people’s homes 24 hours a day,” recounted Michael Springer, HCJB Global’s marketing director. “A missionary can’t do this. If you receive one of these radios, you will hear about Jesus. On a normal radio you can tune to anything you want.”
He added that this radio is “tangible and real,” helping people relate to the outreach. “When I talk about radio in general, that’s more intangible. But the SonSet® radio is very tangible. It goes directly into people’s homes and reaches their hearts.” For thousands who cannot read, the radio has become a key source of biblical truth, especially in countries where illiteracy is high.
|A village chief in Ghana with her SonSet radio.|
Jon Fugler, HCJB Global’s newly appointed vice president of advancement, said donors have quickly latched on to the concept. “When I began showing people the radios, they were fascinated, regardless of age—U.S. radio station managers included,” he said. “I realized this was something they could really support as I began getting more involved in it and began hearing the stories of changed lives, church plantings, salvations and transformations.”
“The SonSet® radio is a powerful tool to reach out to new listeners, allowing listener groups to form to build listenership for partner FM stations,” added Ty Stakes, director of the Asia Pacific Region. “The bottom line to all of these approaches (and many more) is to allow more folks to know about and fall in love with the Savior, Jesus.”
Meanwhile, the “Turn the Radios On” campaign to distribute the radios will be retooled to further increase its evangelistic impact worldwide. Read the latest news at www.hcjb.org/sonset.
Kevin Mayer, product and support manager for the broadcast services department in Elkhart, said a new version of the SonSet® radio is being developed with the capability of picking up not only FM stations, but also AM and shortwave signals.
“We’re in the process of making a prototype, and hopefully it will be in production by end of the year,” he explained. As in previous models, the set’s lanyard doubles as an antenna. “And the radios will still contain a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery that can play programs for up to 15 hours on a single charge.”
Most importantly, the radios will continue to make their mark on world missions, making Christ known to those who otherwise might never hear the gospel message.
“The SonSet® radios have been instrumental in helping build an audience with our new radio station partners,” concluded Curt Cole, HCJB Global’s senior vice president for global ministries. These radios will continue to be distributed in communities in countries around the world, empowering local believers in their efforts to reach their neighbors for Christ.
Ways to get more involved with SonSet® radios: