The challenges resulting from the COVID-19 related shutdowns in the D. R. Congo have been many. Harvesters’ ministry partner there, the Union of Baptist Churches led by Bishop Athanase Habimana, has been engaged in food distribution as well as providing sanitation supplies and education. Purchasing airtime on radio stations was one method utilized to share instructions with residents on how to protect themselves from becoming infected with the Coronavirus.
In the midst of all this, the Voice of Comfort Radio station was established by the ministry and has quickly proved to be an effective tool for evangelism and discipleship. This is especially true in the current situation when no church services are allowed in the country. However, Bishop Habimana anticipates continued success for the station, even as the D.R. Congo relaxes the shutdown restrictions and returns to a more normal situation.
Voice of Comfort Radio began broadcasting on May 12th from a studio located at the ministry’s offices in the city of Goma, with the antenna installed on the top of the Hekima church located in the same compound. Since then, 34 people have accepted Christ and 78 have renewed their faith! Recently, eight of the new believers were baptized. Besides biblical preaching and teaching, programs specifically for parents, youth, children, and married couples are offered in French, Swahili, Lingala, and other local languages.
The FM station broadcasts 20 hours per day and is receiving calls from listeners throughout a large area covering several cities and rural areas. Even in small villages, there are typically a few radios available for residents to gather and listen as a group.
Recently, God used the station in a special way to serve a young boy, Byaombe Bahinyuze, who lives with his family in the remote village of Kinigi. A few weeks ago, this area experienced an attack by one of the rebel groups that all too frequently assaults the local population of the eastern D.R. Congo. In the confusion of fleeing, Byaombe became separated from his parents. Over the next few days, he continued to travel in hopes of somehow being reunited with his family who was likewise searching for him.
Byaombe ended up over 100 miles from his home in the city of Goma where he knew no one. God directed his path to Tumsifu Odette, a woman who attends the Hekima Church, which is part of Bishop Athanases’ ministry. The Voice of Comfort Radio began regularly sharing Byambe’s story in hopes that someone in his family would hear about where he now was. After a few days, Byaombe’s mother, who was in a small town 80 miles from Goma searching for her son, heard the broadcast and came to Goma to be reunited with Byaombe one month after their separation. Besides Byaombe, God has used Voice of Comfort radio to reunite another young boy who had become separated from his family.
These kinds of examples of how God uses many different means to accomplish great things truly stirs our hearts and affirms the impacts that supporting His work has on people. We at Harvesters want to once again say thanks to everyone who comes alongside us to fulfill our role in God’s work in Africa and Asia.
Looking ahead Bishop Athanase envisions growing the station’s impact by installing upgrades to enhance its coverage area and offer other services to the community. We anticipate great things from Voice of Comfort Radio. If you would like more information about this ministry and how to be part of this effort, then feel free to contact me at 252-230-9742, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.