One of the key assets placed into the hands of TWR is our broadcast platforms. With these platforms like radio, satellite and digital online outlets we are able to provide a comprehensive reach to even the hard-to-reach areas of the African continent.
Over the last twenty years, the media landscape in South Africa as a comparatively affluent country in Africa has experienced tremendous growth in the diversity and number of mass media distribution platforms. Listeners in urban areas now have a wealth of choices: medium wave and FM radio are popular with our South African listeners as well as online and satellite-delivered services such as our DSTV audio channel. People are still accessing powerful Gospel programs on TWR but in South Africa, mostly using platforms other than shortwave.
“I have learned new skills and communication techniques that will assist me with helping women who are vulnerable or victims of abuse and violence. I feeeceived is a powerful tool for me and I truly believe it will assist women with permanent recovery and help them know that Jesus loves them. It gave me a broad education that sharing Bible verses is the best resource available to assist other women that I interact with. The training was a great way to refresh my perspective,” says Fikile Ngcobo of KZN, a leader for an Evangelism Team of the Apostolic Faith Mission Church, “and ‘re-charge my battery’ to continue to bring hope and comfort to victims of violence.”
Also excited about the Magdalena training is TWR Women of Hope Regional Coordinator – East & Southern Africa, Philile Bhengu. “I can see that the Lord is exposing me with so much information that I can use to help women who are in need. There are so many people out there who are willing to serve the Lord but they do not know how or where to start. It was a privilege for me to be part of the Magdalena training because I can now train women so that they can train others or be active instruments in their communities to reach other women for Jesus,” she says.
TWR Women of Hope is a ministry of Trans World Radio (TWR) seeking to bring hope in Jesus to women around the world and across generations. In 2007 TWR Women of Hope was invited by Campus Crusade for Christ to turn the film “Magdalena: Released from Shame”, produced by The Jesus Film Project, into an audio drama series. The latter opened a new way for prospective audiences to experience Mary Magdalene's story and learn how Jesus values women.
Magdalena is the brainchild of Willie and Marie Erasmus. According to Willie, God inspired him to start this project after his trip to Afghanistan in 2002 where he saw widows abused by authorities and had compassion for those women. “While taking part in a humanitarian relief project I was shocked by the way the women were treated. The women were mostly uneducated, were not allowed to go to school, were not allowed to talk to strangers, and had to be covered from head to toe with no part of the body visible! – How are we going to tell them about Jesus?” The Jesus Film Project saw the need for a movie for women and “Magdalena: Released from Shame” was born.
‘Magdalena’, the compelling film portraying Jesus' compassion for women, has been met with incredible response around the world. “Magdalena” is inspiring women everywhere to realise and reclaim the purpose they were always intended for...to know Jesus, and with loving hearts and a gentle touch make Him known to others.
This movie includes a 90 minute version of ‘Magdalena’, as well as the original 82-minute director's cut. A series of short clips (2-5 minutes) with thought-provoking questions helps viewers to delve deeper into God’s Word to discover hope for their lives.
Gottfried Schiele and Eberhard Haberkorn took a trip to Namibia on what they dubbed the “Bell’s Tour” in July 2019, as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of Evangeliums Rundfunk (ERF) Medien, TWR’s German partner.
Eberhard Haberkorn, TWR German Ministry Coordinator for Southern Africa, takes us through the journey…and says…
(Photos by Gottfried Schiele)
“Embarking on what would be a very long trip, I travelled north from KwaZulu Natal (KZN) to our TWR offices in Croydon. Gottfried Schiele and I had to do some creative packing to get three big protective cases for the handbells, a folding table, speakers and another two cases with sound equipment, our luggage and promotional material, into our VW Polo. And we succeeded!
After two days on the road, our first bell’s concert was held on the farm Dabis, close to the town Helmeringhausen in the southern part of Namibia. We were received with great enthusiasm by our hosts, the owners of the guest farm.
We were surprised that over 40 people attended with keen interest. Some even travelled over 150 km to be there! After the concert, Gottfried invited the audience to ring the bells themselves and ask questions.
The next day a group of about 20 German tourists visited the farm. After a sunset tour of a small part of the farm, we staged an impromptu concert which was a great experience for the visitors, having never seen nor heard of handbells.
The next two days we travelled towards Walvisbay and Swakopmund.
The concert on Saturday evening in the Swakopmund Stadtmission (city mission) was also well attended by friends of ERF and others. On Sunday morning we participated at the church Service at the Lutheran Church. Gottfried accompanied the hymns with his bells and played a few pieces afterwards. I shared about the Oasis Project with the congregation.On Tuesday we headed north to Otjiwarongo, where we had some time to recuperate. (Photos by Gottfried Schiele)
The next morning we held a concert at the German school, which was well received by pupils as well as teachers. The same evening, a concert was held at the Otjiwarongo Retirement Village.
Our next trip was to Tsumeb for an evening concert in the Church Hall; also well visited and appreciated.
The next morning, we travelled 60 km to Grootfontein to treat the scholars of the German School in town. Afterwards, Gottfried taught four music students the “ins and outs” of the handbells, which they clearly enjoyed!
Retired missionary couple from the Netherlands: “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
“How can I do more for the Lord?” The question came out somewhat clumsy, but the young man was serious. For a long time, he has had the desire to do more for God. It is 1970 and Hans van Kampen attends the 5-year anniversary celebration of Trans World Radio Netherlands. He asks this important question to Corrie ten Boom, speaker at the 5-year anniversary of Trans World Radio Netherlands.
Corrie ten Boom proposes to Hans to pray; the young man and the older woman bow their heads together before God's throne. At the end of the prayer, Corrie ten Boom says to Hans, “Stay in the vine, as Jesus said, then the fruit will come naturally.”
After the prayer, Hans comes in late for the meal and the only chair left is next to a different Corrie, who would end up being his future wife. They marry two years later in May of 1972.
A few years later, Hans was at a prayer meeting where he prayed for the technical personnel needs at the TWR broadcasting station in Swaziland. “Why don't you go yourself?” Hans is shocked and looks around. The voice came out of nowhere. It is not the first time that Hans has heard God's voice. Hans immediately realizes that going to the mission field is going to be extremely difficult. At TWR you must raise your own financial support and the Dutch are not familiar with this model of ministry.
Hans and his wife Corrie talk about it together and Corrie says, “If the Lord calls you, then we go.” Hans shares about the opportunity with a trusted Christian brother. He asks him questions like “What is it like when the Lord calls you?” Hans made a list of reasons why they should not go, and the list gets shorter and shorter until only the question of finances remain.
After four years of waiting, Hans said to his wife, “The Lord has probably found someone else.” But then a brother from the church called and announced: “Hans, your support is almost there”. It turns out that the church heard of Hans' opportunity and they have visited churches with a slideshow about TWR Swaziland and the ministry of Hans and Corrie. The brother continued, ‘We have been working for three months and half of the funds have arrived. It’s time to prepare!”
In 1981, Hans and Corrie left the Netherlands with three small children for Swaziland (now called Eswatini). God answered Hans' prayer with Corrie ten Boom after 11 years of waiting and watching.
In Eswatini, Hans has been working for more than 30 years as an electrotechnical engineer in the distribution of the Gospel by radio throughout Africa.
“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.