By Jon Hill
Five hundred solar- and battery-operated portable radios distributed across Benin sparked several conversations and a surprising partnership in the months of May and June. The distribution was made possible with the help of U.S. Christian radio stations and their listeners who generously gave to on-air 'Africa Needs Jesus' campaigns.
TWR national partner Media Evangélique du Bénin (MEB) worked with pastors, station managers and other local leaders to identify people to receive the radios. A wide range of believers and nonbelievers in several cities received radios, including listener groups of TWR programming, members of Women of Hope prayer groups, military service members, pastors who partner with MEB and even people from other religiious groups.
Many of the recipients voiced heartwarming gratitude for the radios provided. A faithful listener in the city of Cotonou said his old radio wasn’t working and he was contemplating having to buy a new one when MEB contacted him. “God knows our needs,” he said.
A 14-year-old said he was blessed to be able to listen to Thru the Bible (TTB) in his native language on his own radio. Women of Hope prayer group members in Abomey broke into song and dance when they received radios.
The most exciting news comes through a new partnership with the local station director in a strongly animistic region. He hadn’t been interested in cooperating with TWR but was pleased when MEB offered radios to some of his listeners. “I didn’t know TWR was such a serious partner,” he said and immediately drafted a contract to put TTB on the air in the Fongbe language.
TWR’s John Summerville said, “Our 'Africa Needs Jesus' campaigns are named after a favorite saying of one of TWR’s beloved African leaders who has gone on to be with the Lord. These uplifting stories from Benin and other countries demonstrate tangible and positive impact our missions-minded partnering stations and their listeners in the U.S. are having in the lives of believers and nonbelievers all across Africa.”