“We Are Thirsty…”

“We hide for 15 minutes each day so we can listen to your broadcast,” e-mailed a listener from the central African nation of Chad. “We are thirsty for the Word of God.”

This young man lives in the eastern region of Chad, an area that’s largely hostile to Christianity. There is no church in the area. His main link to the gospel is through The Back to God Hour (BTGH).

“E-mail is a blessing,” the man continued, “because I can contact you and no one knows.”

Rev. Paul Mpindi, the BTGH’s French-language leader, notes that it is not just the land in this part of Africa that is dry and parched. “This is also the state of their hearts. They are dry. They need the gospel to quench their souls.”

Mpindi is grateful that he can respond immediately to contacts such as this. Through the tools of electronic media, he brings spiritual encouragement to people in isolated areas.

People Are Responding

Each month the French-language follow-up offices receive about 10,000 responses from listeners in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and North America—everywhere the BTGH broadcasts touch lives. That number has doubled from last year and continues to climb.

“We’ve had 7,000 people walk into the Kinshasa, Congo, office in one month asking for prayer or the next lesson in the Bible correspondence course,” Mpindi reports. “We have good problems. The responses are growing in such a way that it is putting pressure on our staff members.”

Last year, Mpindi organized a pastors’ conference in Central Africa. One thousand people came, arriving by bus, by bike, or on foot. Many of the pastors and church leaders are new Christians themselves. When they learned about the training conference, they came from up to 600 miles (1,000 km) away to hear Mpindi teach.

Pastor Luther was one who attended the conference. “I am a pastor. I have a church, but I never was able to go to seminary,” he told Mpindi. “I listen to your messages and take notes. That is how I can preach a sermon on Sunday.”

Saving Lives

“Our ministry is about touching lives and saving souls,” Mpindi emphasizes. And, by God’s grace, that is happening.

Thousands are signing up for Bible correspondence courses, many of them young people. “They are getting AIDS and dying,” relates Mpindi. “If we can reach them, change their lifestyles, we can literally save their lives.”

Two years ago “Leon” discovered that his wife was infected with HIV. She died a few months later, leaving Leon to care for their two young children.

When he learned that he also was infected with HIV, Leon contemplated suicide. But something happened to change his life. Leon was listening to the radio when he came across Perspectives Réformées, the BTGH’s French-language broadcast.

“I felt that you were talking directly to me,” Leon told Mpindi. “I couldn’t understand how you knew I was contemplating suicide.”

The message brought hope, and Leon gave his life to Christ. He has become a faithful listener, growing in his faith. “I never again thought about suicide,” he testifies. “And for two years I have remained HIV symptom-free.”

Quenching thirsty souls in Chad. Discipling listeners in Kinshasa. Bringing hope. This is what the Christian Reformed Church is doing through the worldwide media ministry of The Back to God Hour.

BTGH Ministry Partners

Media ministries reach into even the remote areas of the world where the cultural and political climate is antagonistic to the proclamation of God’s Word.

But we don’t work alone. Partnerships with other agencies and ministries enable The Back to God Hour to be more effective in its outreach and follow up. Some of our ministry partners include the following organizations:

  • CRWM in Nigeria, Russia, Japan, and Central America
  • CRWRC/Partners, Inc. in Central Africa
  • CRHM in Canada and the United States
  • MERF (Middle East Reformed Fellowship) in the Middle East
  • The Presbyterian Church of Brazil
  • Indonesian Christian Church
  • Reformed Church of Japan
  • Chinese Alliance Church
  • Words of Hope (RCA)
  • Feba Radio
  • Crossroad Bible Institute Bible study correspondence courses

— Nancy Vander Meer

THE BACK TO GOD HOUR AT A GLANCE

The Back to God Hour (BTGH) is the Christian Reformed Church’s electronic media ministry.

From China to Africa, from North America to Brazil, through the BTGH your church broadcasts the love of Christ in nine major languages around the world.

Technology enables the gospel to reach every continent, including places where missionaries would not be allowed. Follow-up staff and volunteers in 40 cities around the world respond to listeners who contact us through Internet, phone, or mail.

Our international staff is eager to answer questions and help people take the next step in their walk with Christ.

  • The Back to God Hour reaches people for Christ in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
  • Each of our nine language ministries has an effective Internet ministry.
  • We broadcast on 790 national and international radio stations and two major shortwave radio outlets.
  • Seven of our international teams have produced dynamic children’s programming, including TV, radio, and Internet.
  • Our TV programs air on nearly 300 stations worldwide.
  • We have received responses from people in more than 170 countries.
  • Well over 9,000 students are enrolled in Bible Study Correspondence materials in five different languages.
  • We publish and distribute more than 540,000 bimonthly devotional booklets in seven languages for people around the world.

About the Author

Nancy Vander Meer is a staff writer with Back to God Ministries International in Grand Rapids, Mich.
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