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.
Hans tells about this period, “We have experienced a lot. Accidents and other strange things. But the Lord has taken care of everything. In small and big ways.”
When asked how he kept going, Hans becomes emotional. With a broken voice he answers, "When you work with equipment day in and day out, you sometimes lose sight of the spiritual aspect. Fatigue attacks you and you wonder what you are actually doing here: what's the point of it?”
He continues, “My solution was always to go outside. I look at the horizon and I knew the listeners were there. I couldn't see them, but I heard the stories and that gave me the strength to go on.”
Corrie adds, “Yes, we have experienced a lot. But I always remind Hans of the words of Samuel - that thus far the Lord has helped us. Ebenezer. *)''
*) 1 Samuel 7: 12
Salema, one of the technicians, shares about working with Hans van Kampen
“Hans was one of the best engineers and trainers in Eswatini. We still work with the Program Logic Control system designed by Hans. Voice of the Church engineers in Manzini (Eswatini national partner) came here to learn from Hans how to repair a broken FM transmitter. His English was not very good, but he could read the bible in SiSwatie, so we had a lot of respect for him! Hans is a unique man with unique gifts. I didn't always understand him very well, but he was a man of God and God was his guide - that was clear.”
“I am the result of Hans' education. Hans had the heart to teach people. He did not keep the knowledge to himself. When he knew how to solve something, he was prepared to teach it to everyone.”
TWR radio station in Eswatini reaches Somalia, Eritrea and Southern Sudan
Last year in Eswatini, we redesigned the switch and made some changes to the antennas, which provided new opportunities to reach very difficult areas like South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. Many of these areas are under heavy Islamic influence. During Christmas last year we received feedback from listeners in Somalia who are tuning into programs being broadcast in shortwave and mediumwave. In Africa people still listen to Shortwave radio. Especially in places where there is war and turmoil, people want to hear what is really happening. So, they try to listen to shortwave because they don’t only want to listen to the government stations’ propaganda.
We are always in need of your prayers! We are short of two engineers in Eswatini. Please ask the Christians in the Netherlands to pray for two new engineers to come to Eswatini.
Steve Stavropolous, Station Director of TWR Eswatini
TWR program producer in Eritrea lost his wife and family
Eritrea is a very closed country. Our program producers live outside the country. One of our producers was a journalist in Eritrea. When he found out that his friend was arrested, he decided to leave before he also got arrested. He lost his wife and family. When they wanted to come too and join him, their boat capsized and they all died. This is very difficult for him.
Now he produces programs for us in Nairobi. He sends the programs to Johannesburg and we broadcast them from Eswatini.