The Back to God Hour’s message goes out through radios, televisions, computers, and cell phones. On the other end of those devices are people whose lives are changed by what they hear. Here are a few of their stories.
Bangui: Taxicab Gospel
Eugene, a busy engineer traveling by taxicab to his next client in Bangui, Central African Republic, was ready to divorce his wife and leave his family. But a message he heard on the taxi’s tape player changed his life forever.
The preacher was Dr. Paul Mpindi, the Back to God Hour’s French-language minister, who concluded his message with this challenge: “These words are not just for information. You have to make a decision.”
Moved by the challenge, Eugene wrote down the phone number Mpindi gave and contacted the follow-up center in Bangui, where staff and volunteers offer materials, assistance, and prayer. Eugene gave his life to the Lord that day and enrolled in a Bible correspondence study.
Nearly 50 Christian taxi drivers have teamed up with the BTGH to play tapes of Mpindi’s sermons as they drive people to and from work. “We give the taxi drivers tapes and ask these volunteers to play them during rush hour traffic,” Mpindi said. The tapes are 15 minutes long, so most commuters can hear the messages from start to finish. The taxi drivers do nothing but drive, play the tapes—and pray. Eugene might never have turned on the radio to find a gospel message but, thanks to the taxicab ministry, he is now bringing many of his friends to Christ.
Nigeria: Prince Noah’s Village
The people of Prince Noah’s village in the South South region of Nigeria heard the BTGH’s English-language radio broadcasts. The messages piqued their interest, so they contacted the BTGH’s follow-up center in Jos to request the Today devotional book.
Prince Noah wrote to the Jos office: “I am grateful to God Almighty for changing my life to Christ.” He said that hundreds of others in area villages wanted to join the Christian Reformed Church in Nigeria (CRCN), including pastors and members of congregations with no denominational ties or clear theology. He reported that even though some of the people were Christians, “they have been without solid biblical foundation. There are many seekers to hear the Word of God.” After joining the CRCN, 14 students are receiving training in CRCN theological seminaries and four pastors have expressed a desire for a mentor. Village chiefs donated sizable parcels of land for churches and other ministry activities.
The BTGH and Christian Reformed World Missions staff are working in partnership with CRCN to provide study Bibles and offer training.
Puerto Rico: Hope for Maria
Abuse is called the “hidden sin” because few people want to deal with it publicly. That’s why Rev. Guillermo Serrano, the BTGH’s Spanish-language minister, decided to confront the issue in his weekly TV program, “La Vida Ahora” (“Life Today”).
Abused for years by her boyfriend, Maria felt life was difficult and hopeless. When she saw Serrano’s program, Maria felt hope for the first time. She contacted the follow-up center in Puerto Rico for help.
Tokyo: Facing Persecution
Japanese Christians face real persecution: loss of job, ostracism by friends, rejection by family members. It takes courage to be a Christian in Japan. The BTGH’s Japanese-language radio program and website are popular because people can access Bible teaching and Christian programming in privacy.
Some use Internet cafes to quietly contact the BTGH’s follow-up offices for advice and encouragement. In the past year, hits on the BTGH’s Japanese-language website have nearly tripled. In a recent month, 42,648 people visited the site. Fusako has been a BTGH listener for more than 15 years. She traveled a great distance to attend a meeting with other listeners at the Tokyo office. She lives in a city in the rural northeast area of Japan where there are few churches or believers because of the anti-Christian climate there. Sadly, her church was closed last year, not an uncommon occurrence in rural areas.
Rev. Masao Yamashita, Japanese-language ministry leader, wrote, “Please remember Fusako as well as others like her in your prayers.”
North America: Aiding Immigrants
Mr. and Mrs. Tang are Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong who were overwhelmed by the new culture, language, and way of life. Mrs. Tang found comfort one day when she turned on a local commercial station and discovered BTGH Chinese broadcasts like “Listen to My Heart.” “It seems that God is speaking to me through the programs,” she said.
Chinese-language producer Laisin Cheung says the program is designed for immigrants. “Being an immigrant myself I have faced a lot of struggles, so I want to share this experience with my listeners and tell them that they can also . . . overcome their struggles through faith in Christ.”
Through these radio programs, the Tangs have been able to receive the bilingual Chinese-English Today devotional, which provides daily encouragement. “Sometimes I read it over and over again, and I find it so enriching,” affirms Mrs. Tang.
More than 30,000 Chinese-English Today booklets are printed every other month in Hong Kong and Indonesia and distributed in North America and around the world.
God is blessing the worldwide media ministry of the Christian Reformed Church. Thanks to your prayers and support, people “from every tribe and tongue and nation” are coming to faith in Christ.