“I work at a gym,” Zanele, a Thru The Bible (TTB) Zulu listener from Pietermaritzburg tells the group gathering for the Listeners’ Club launch. “It has become a norm for my workmates to understand that when my favourite programme begins to air at nine o’clock, I do not tolerate any noise nor disturbance,” She further tells with a light giggle.
Then Noluthabo spoke of how her mother’s love of the programme inspired her to listen to TTB. She discovered how programmes with wise words for life are of great benefit to the youth as they shape their lifestyle and better their character, the same way the TTB programme has done with her.
Also, in attendance as special guests from the United States of America were TWR's Thru The Bible International Liaison, Mr. Joe Fort, together with Mr. Harry Bettig who is expected to take over from Mr. Fort in a few months upon his retirement.
"What we witness being launched today,” says Fort, “Is similar to what we have in India, where Radio Home Groups meet regularly for a similar purpose to translate the teachings that they receive in Hindi to other minority languages in the country."
He further acknowledged that the growth of the ministry in this programme is a miracle in its own right. Despite all changes in time and environment, it has grown from a mere 40 languages aired at its inception to currently over 120!
Harry Bettig expressed how the concept works in South Asia, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh where more radio community groups exist.
"People have learned so much as a result of the existence of Radio Home Groups. They also encourage others to listen to TTB programmes more often." he added.
Tokens of appreciation were presented to veteran listeners of the radio programme, with some stretching up to more than a decade of listenership. Amongst the tokens presented were Bibles, commentaries and audio Bibles. These were all donations to TWR from the Durban Mission Press and the Durban Bible Society.
Special tokens were also presented to Reverend Ernest Mcambi who has worked with TWR and radio ministry for over two decades, influencing a large following of listeners in the province - some of which were in attendance of the event. The host radio station Umgungundlovu FM, also received a token of appreciation.
During the years of partnership between TWR and ERF, the truly remarkable journey of Reverend Stephen Boayke-Yiadom, former International Director for TWR Africa, unfolded.
Rev Boakye-Yiadom was born on 21 July 1943 in Kumasi, Ghana. After completing his schooling in Ghana, he found employment in a local bank, but then decided to leave his job to study abroad. While living in Germany, he was introduced to ERF Medien by Mrs Herta Wojahn. This friendly elderly lady often invited the young African man to lunch and they would listen to the broadcasts together. This turned out to change Stephen’s career path and life altogether.
Stephen proceeded to attend Chrischona Theological Seminary in Switzerland. On completion of his studies, he was ordained in the Methodist Church, and in September 1975 he joined ERF serving as an intern under the leadership of Rev Horst Marquardt, one of the founders of ERF and Director at the time.
Jürgen Werth, former Director of ERF, recalls: “Stephen was filled with God’s glowing love for Africa. And this love he discovered in Germany of all places… He had wanted to become a banker. However, through the broadcasting series “Many roads, one goal”, he received the calling for his life. He was to become a missionary. In Africa for Africa. He became one of the most influential missionaries in African history. A missionary with a true sense for missions. It is largely due to his credit that the Good News of Jesus is presently distributed across the continent in 80 languages and dialects, has taken root in countless hearts of people in huts and houses in more than 50 countries, giving hope, comfort, and eternal life.”
In 1976 the International Director of TWR called Rev Marquardt, asking whether they had someone available to help in Africa. God’s timing was perfect! Stephen went to Nairobi, Kenya, as an ERF missionary to establish a new office and production centre in the country. He started production of broadcasts in languages spoken in East Africa. Together with TWR he launched a programme called “Africa challenge”.
On August 6, 1977, Stephen married Grace from his home country, Ghana, and she returned to Kenya to serve with him. Within a few years, Stephen was appointed TWR General Secretary for Africa. His responsibilities were the overseeing of the Kenya ministry and promoting TWR to the church and mission leaders in Africa.
As one of TWR’s most long-standing partners, Evangeliums Rundfunk (ERF) Medien, a German Christian media broadcasting company, will celebrate their 60th anniversary in October 2019, many good memories and stories of the past six decades are brought to mind.
ERF Medien is a Christian media broadcasting company that offers programming aimed toward young and old alike; the healthy and sick; Christians and non-Christians; women and men. Founded in 1959 in Wetzlar, Germany, ERF was one of the first private broadcasters in Germany to spread the Gospel through the media - first by radio, and later on television and over the internet. (https://www.erf.de/erf-medien/unternehmen/english/32295?reset=1)
ERF and TWR
For TWR, the concept of the national partner came into being with the birth of Evangeliums-Rundfunk (ERF) of Germany. Hermann Schule, chairman of the German board of directors and coordinator of German programming in Tangier at the time, approached TWR in the 1960s for exclusive rights to the German-language programming in Monte Carlo. It was a difficult decision, but an attractive offer. It would make it easier for TWR to pursue other languages – those of Eastern Europe, for instance. Through the agreement, TWR handed over German-speaking outreach to the Germans themselves, and other broadcasters would be directed to ERF if they wished to continue broadcasting to German audiences.
No one really understood the significance of that first decision to allow the establishment of a totally independent, autonomous entity, but it started TWR on the path of national partnering relationships. In due course Evangeliums-Rundfunk, which is known today as ERF Medien, undertook the support of many worldwide projects. Throughout Europe today there are more than thirty national partner offices and studios broadcasting through TWR and on local stations. (Source: Great Things He Has Done – A Testimony of God’s Faithfulness Through 60 Years of TWR Media Ministry – 2014)
The calling of TWR (Trans World Radio) is “to reach the world for Christ by mass media so that lasting fruit is produced”. The station broadcasts TTB (Thru The Bible) in Afrikaans throughout South Africa on various radio stations. The Afrikaans TTB programme is titled “Die Bybel vir Vandag”. Now, TTB Afrikaans also reaches Namibia through the Namibian radio station, Channel 7.
The latter is a Christian radio station in Namibia that broadcasts in the English, Afrikaans, German and Oshiwambo languages. TTB Afrikaans was launched at Channel 7 in October 2018 with the aim of bringing the message of Hope, founded in Jesus Christ, to people who experience many challenges that fuel hopelessness.
“This programme enhances the spiritual content of our station and brings the message of Hope straight from the Bible. It is delivered in a simple but powerful manner,” says Stefan Saayman who is the Programme and General Manager of Channel 7.
Much of the world knows the acclaimed Thru the Bible program created by the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee as a half hour of rock-solid Bible teaching that airs over the radio. In the West African country of Ghana, however, the daily Thru the Bible broadcast has been transformed into a three-hour community event. And it’s a community event that takes place before most people even crawl out of bed – from 3 to 6 a.m.! This theological, social, and even fun and slightly competitive phenomenon is largely due to the efforts of Collins Boadi, a radio pastor at the Oyerapa FM station in Kumasi.
Boadi built the daily production around the Twi-language version of Dr. McGee’s comprehensive series of Bible studies. Over a 43-year partnership with the Thru the Bible ministry, TWR has translated, broadcast and distributed the popular program to local stations in more than 100 languages. The program is also widely and affectionately known as TTB. The radio pastor said he fell in love with the TWR ministry and became involved with airing Bible Mu Nante, which is Twi for Bible Walk, in 2014.
“One of the greatest influences in my life is the TTB program,” said Boadi, who has been involved in the radio industry for the past decade. In addition to the quality of TTB itself, Boadi’s passion directly accounts for the success of the broadcast in this part of Ghana. He doesn’t simply air TTB; he transformed his unique program that wraps around TTB into a Bibleschool series followed by a time of fellowship. The overall program is called Ehan Bi Apue, or The Light Has Shone.
The Oyerepa FM Facebook page streams the live program, including the subsequent Bible quiz and interactive session. The love for the program is evident in that thousands of Twi speakers in Kumasi are awake every day from 3 to 6 a.m., following the live streaming on Facebook. It has created an inspiring sense of
Photos contributed by TWR Africa community event Bible studybecomes community among the listeners, who phone in from all over the city and post their comments on Facebook and WhatsApp.
Boadi serves as head pastor of the Ghana branch of Kingdom Temple International in Kumasi. He is married to Gladis Boadi, and they have five children.
The 43-year-old evangelist said he accepted Christ at age 7 and has served the Lord Jesus ever since.
“I started to preach in schools at the age of 9 with a friend and brother, Godfred Adomako. When I was 15 years old, we started to preach at market centers. We continued preaching in schools and markets until I traveled outside Ghana at the age of 27. When I returned two years later, we continued.”