Adventist Television Channel
to Reach Millions

Hope Channel India, on air since May, is culmination of prayer and vision

BY ADDISON HUDGINS, Adventist Review intern
ears of prayer, planning, and preparation have culminated in a new television outreach available in India. After being “in the works” for six years, Hope Channel India was successfully launched on May 1, 2011.

The venture has a five-year license 
to downlink its satellite signal across India, a nation of 1.2 billion people and only 1.5 million Seventh-day Adventists, or one Adventist per 800, almost three times the 1:276 ratio of Adventist members to the U.S. population of 313 million.

Swamidass Johnson, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor and city evangelist in Chennai, had the vision to start a Christian television outlet in his country. Working with Ron Watts, then president of the Southern Asia Division, the two met with Hope Channel president Brad Thorp in October 2005.

The process began with very little except Johnson’s dream—he had no equipment, no studio building, no land, and, frankly, no money: “It all started with faith,” Johnson said.

READY FOR ACTION: Video crew for Hope Channel India, a Seventh-day Adventist television ministry, at studios in Chennai  [PHOTO: SUD]
earing the hurdle for getting a basic license—something Johnson said happened when God led him to a contact in Delhi who offered to help, the miracles kept happening.

Flying back to Chennai from Delhi, he encountered a passenger who recognized Johnson from his Saving Hands TV program, aired locally in Chennai. The two began to converse, and the man, a Hindu, said he viewed Johnson’s program every Saturday morning. As they reached the end of their journey that day, the man asked Johnson to pray for him and then placed a $100 bill in his hand to be used for his ministry.

In January 2007 Mark Finley, then a general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, visited the proposed studio site. Finley prayed over the area, and before leaving, his wife, Ernestine, presented a donation toward beginning construction. The project, Johnson said, continued to grow.

After two years, on February 24, 2009, an empty building was inaugurated—still with no equipment and no employees. Nine months later, on November 11, the government granted the downlink license.

“We believed the Lord . . . would [accomplish this] in His own way,” Johnson said. In December 2009 Hope Channel’s North America unit broadcast an appeal to raise funds to buy bricks for the building. The money collected from that call, made by Hope Channel executive Kandus Thorp, was enough to soundproof the studio.

February 2010 saw an appeal go out for skilled volunteers to work in the studio. Adventists from Brazil, Australia, Romania, the Philippines, and the United States paid their own way to India and went to work making the dream a reality.

The money to buy equipment for the studio came in August 2010, and the production of programs began. For about four months, the international team trained the area workers, until the Hope Channel India staff was ready to finish recording 1,500 programs in a variety of Indian languages.

Those working with Hope Channel India praise God and express great 
gratitude toward the generosity of the world church. “I feel . . . humble before the Lord for His marvelous guidance,” Johnson said.

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