He sat down to write the letter, not knowing
if his government would ever let it leave the country. He addressed it to the Voice
of Hope, the name of the broadcast Adventist World Radio transmits into his
country. His words were simple and direct:
"I'm a faithful listener to the Voice
of Hope. Every night, about 50 people in my village get together to listen
to your radio program. Because we live in the remote mountainous area and are
isolated from the outside, we have very few resources to advance our Bible
knowledge. Your radio programs provide an in-depth explanation of the Word. The
question marks in our minds are erased one by one. We see the mighty power of
God through you."
Despite the variety of communication methods available throughout the world
today, there are still places that are almost impossible for the Adventist Church to reach--places where
missionaries may not enter and pastors are unable to establish churches.
Radio, however, can carry the gospel message. That is the mission of
Adventist World Radio: to broadcast the Adventist hope
in Christ to the hardest-to-reach people groups of the world in their own
AWR has served as the mission radio arm of the church
since its first broadcast in 1971. Since then, the ministry has grown to more
than 60 languages, which reach 70 percent of the world through shortwave radio,
AM and FM stations, and satellite. In addition, programs available on the
Internet are able to be heard anywhere in the world.
A Unique Ministry
Several aspects of AWR's ministry make it unique.
1. Programs created by local people--The majority of programs that AWR
broadcasts are produced in studios operated by union conferences. The producers
are native speakers of the local languages, who understand their target
audiences and cultural idioms.
2. Partnership with other church
exists to serve the various organizations of the church in their soul-winning
outreach. AWR makes it possible for church entities
to enter new areas and reach wider audiences. Listeners respond to the local
studios, which are linked to Bible schools. Where possible,
local churches follow up with visitation.
3. Use of shortwave radio--Shortwave is the most widely heard broadcast vehicle
in the world. Unlike AM or FM radio waves, the signals can travel for thousands
of miles, enabling AWR to reach into countries that
are closed to religious broadcasts in local media. More than 2.5 billion people
tune in to shortwave radio on a regular basis.
4. Priority on the 10/40 window--Of the 6.2 billion people in the world, 4.2 billion
live in the 10/40 window. This area is also the place where there are the
fewest Christians, and it is our greatest mission challenge
today. AWR places a priority on broadcasting to
people groups that are difficult to reach in other ways.
5. Programming for a non-Christian
audience--For many listeners, an AWR program is the first time they have heard about God's
love. Producers use many approaches to create programs that meet listeners'
needs, from health discussions and family life features to Bible studies and
locally recorded music. This listener in the Middle East
"I am a 15-year-old girl. I bought a
Bible, and I started to browse through it to understand Christianity. When I
discovered your station, I felt very happy because it answered most of my
questions and has become a guide for me. I hope that you will continue guiding
Growth and Change
Eighteen new languages have been added to the
broadcast schedule. Ten new languages are scheduled to begin airing in 2005.
In the five years since the 2000 General Conference session, AWR has met challenges and celebrated progress.
In 2001 an initial disappointment changed to renewed
faith in God's leading. AWR had planned to build a
shortwave radio "superstation" in Italy to cover
a significant portion of the 10/40 window. The project had received generous
church and member support and reached the ground-breaking stage, when local
residents suddenly voted to restrict the height of the antennas, rendering the
future facility insufficient for shortwave broadcasting. As AWR
began to regroup from this discouraging turn of events, an unexpected
opportunity arose to lease airtime on government-owned transmitters in the United Arab Emirates.
This move proved highly beneficial, as the UAE
transmitters provided superior coverage and did not require the expense of
maintaining a private station.
The role of the operations center at AWR's facility in England was greatly expanded in
2002 to provide satellite feeds not only to the European region, but also to
the Asian and African regions.
The African region staff moved from Nairobi,
Kenya, to new offices in Johannesburg, South Africa. In the Asia/Pacific
region, the office was relocated from Seoul, South Korea, to Singapore to provide a more central
location in relation to local studios.
In 2003 AWR traded a
transmitter to Radio Netherlands
in exchange for airtime at their station on the Caribbean island of Bonaire.
This enables AWR to broadcast Spanish programming
AWR operations in the Americas region were reorganized in 2004 and
merged with the Adventist Media Center
AWR's highly popular live call-in program Open
Clinic was moved from Costa Rica
to an AWR studio in Puerto Rico.
The English Language Service in the United Kingdom,
in operation since 1994, was transformed from a centralized model to a regional
one at the end of 2004. The production of English language programs will be
continued in Africa and Asia by local
producers to better meet local needs.
In early 2005 AWR
celebrated the completion of a four-year modernization project at its shortwave
station on the Pacific island
of Guam. The upgrades
include five new transmitters and corresponding control system, an erosion
control project, building renovations, and a large new generator. These
improvements are helping to ensure that the station can provide the most
reliable broadcast service possible.
Plans for Progress
Adventist World Radio is poised
and ready to advance its outreach more widely to the people groups that are its
One of AWR's goals
during the next five years is to increase the attractiveness and effectiveness
of the programs made for special groups. This is called contextualization, and AWR plans to help producers prepare programs that are
appropriate for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, animists, atheists/secularists, and
those who hold other widespread ideologies.
AWR also wants to encourage greater integration of its
radio ministry with other ministries of the church. This involves adequate
follow-up of listeners, more resources in local languages, and better
coordination with Global Mission Pioneers and other workers.
The age of missions is not past, and the work
that AWR does is still essential.
For more information, please contact:
Adventist World Radio
12501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring, Maryland 20904 U.S.A.
Toll-free in North America: 1-800-337-4297