Written by Seth Dotson, Journalist Summer Intern
While any reader in 2020 is undoubtedly familiar with the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns from personal experience, each country has dealt with the virus in a different way, and how the virus has affected the people of any given country depends largely on what constitutes the standard way of life in that particular country.
In a majority of countries, efforts to halt the spreading of the virus placed a temporary hold on many day-to-day public activities in an effort to curb crowds and close proximity social interactions known to exacerbate the spread of viruses. Often falling among such activities is weekly church attendance.
According to the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census, Christians represent 85.5 percent of Kenya’s total population. Among these people, the census includes both Protestants and Catholics, with Protestants slightly outnumbering Catholics.
On a cultural standpoint alone, it should come as no surprise that the current pandemic situation has had a serious effect on the lives of Kenyan Christians, who have been forced to distance themselves from their fellow Christians during this time.
While, unlike many countries, Kenya has not enforced a total lockdown, many church leaders took the responsibility upon themselves early on to temporarily suspend church services to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and hasten the end of the pandemic. Eventually, by late April, the Kenyan government enforced the use of masks in public settings, and restrictions extended to all public social gatherings, thereby forbidding large church services. They also established a curfew that ran from 7 pm. until 5 am.
From a public health perspective, the tight restrictions appear to have paid off. As of June 12, there have been only 3,215 recorded cases across the country and less than 100 deaths total.
While that is good news for physical health and wellbeing, the lack of weekly church services can leave the people of Kenya feeling spiritually deprived.
TWR (Trans World Radio) offers an accessible alternative means of receiving weekly teaching and spiritual counsel during this difficult and often lonely time. While the central mission of TWR has been to reach unsaved people around the world with the Gospel, many of TWR’s radio programmes are aimed at believing Christians seeking to build further upon that foundation in their own lives.
One such programme is Dr. J Vernon McGhee’s Thru The Bible, which walks its listeners through the entire Bible in five years through 15-minute episodes airing each weekday.
TWR broadcasts from various transmitter sites in Africa including TWR Eswatini on short wave and medium wave (AM), and TWR West Africa on medium wave (AM). In addition, programmes are aired on several TWR partner FM radio networks, and satellite that offer direct-to-home services to various parts of the continent. This broad network covers most of the continent, broadcasting in more than 83 Africa languages, including many remote locations and underserved countries.
“I thank God for the Thru The Bible programme because these days even people who never go to church are listening to it, because they are worried about COVID-19,” says one listener from Angola. “Every evening people gather at my place to listen to the programme and the group is growing day-by-day. I think this is God's plan to teach people that He is the only one who governs the world!”
A listener from Malawi writes, “Thanks to TWR for the wonderful and encouraging message of hope, may God continue to bless and use you to encourage and give us hope through the Word of God. She continues, “Please pray for me and my family not to lose hope or give up on God in these challenging times, but to help our faith grow; to lean not on our own understanding but to trust Him with all of our hearts.”