Indonesia - New Hope - Sahabat FM
Indonesia is an archipelago with 13,000 islands split into 33 provinces. It is home to 290 million people and some 5 million live in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province located in the eastern part of the lesser Sunda Islands. It is on the outskirts of Kupang, the province’s capital city, that Radio Sahabat is located and daily broadcasts the message of hope across West Timor and the surrounding islands.
Even though Christians make up 34% of the population in NTT, the churches and their members are not prepared for the increase in Islam which is taking place in the province.
Christianity came to this archipelago at the same time as Islam was beginning to spread in the early 16th century. During the Dutch rule, churches were founded and supported by the colonial government and especially state churches enjoyed privileged support from the Christian government. In some ways, this encouraged the churches to focus on the present and not look to the future. When Indonesia became independent, the church was left vulnerable and not ready to adapt to a pluralistic nation. Pluralism has since crept inside the church, allowing Satan to destroy from within.
Many Muslims within the country would like to implement Sharia law, which would make Christian Radio nearly impossible, yet we are thankful that currently we are able to continue to broadcast and spread the message of Hope.
All of Sahabat’s programs are recorded and carefully monitored by the BALMON institution, to ensure that we follow proper procedure and do not go against the Country's principles. Clearly careful construction of the programs and scripts is highly important. We are blessed with a very capable station manager and program manager who work continuously to follow the government’s guidelines and yet implement God’s word throughout all programs.
Sahabat FM aims to be a community radio program in an effort to ‘reach the unreached’. We talk about health and nutrition, culture, family relationships, healthy marriages, child discipline, news and agriculture. A highlight of the week is our live ‘What does the Bible Say’ program. Several Pastors host this program and take turns discussing a specific topic. The public can then respond by phone or SMS. Judging by the public’s response it is clear that the church has been muddied with pluralistic thinking and bringing people back to the Bible has cleared many a troubled mind.
‘Share and Care’ is one of Sahabat’s most listened to programs. This live program is aired daily from 10 pm till 11pm. During this hour, the public is welcome to pour out their hearts, joys and griefs alike. It is obvious that all of us need a listening ear from time to time. Sadly, so many do not have family or friends to whom they can pour out their hearts and most also do not know the way to our Heavenly Father. To host this program the announcer has to be a good listener, full of wisdom, and firmly grounded in God’s Word. We are thankful that many of our Theological college graduates are able to take on this program. In between the various programs, contemporary as well as Christian music is played, with short daily bible reflections between songs. Because of this broad range of topics, discussing all aspects of life, Sahabat FM is well received in the community.
Besides the Theological College graduates, our staff also includes previously orphaned and abandoned children that have stayed at the New Hope Orphanage. Some of these children study at our senior trade high school which equips students with special skills in broadcasting, reporting and computer technology. During their study the students receive plenty of opportunity to put theory into practice at Sahabat FM but also at other radio stations.
Radio is a powerful way to reach people in the most remote areas of the world with the Gospel. But what happens when these people don’t have a radio to listen to, and don’t have a power supply to use? By distributing solar powered radios to remotely located people, we empower them to hear the Gospel message every day. One radio often becomes a gathering point for an entire village!
The work is rewarding and we are thrilled to witness the impact Sahabat has upon the community around us.
Your financial support enables Sahabat to continue spreading God’s word through broadcasting, training students and supplying solar powered radios for those who do not have the means to listen to radio. It is hard work that requires God’s grace and prayer is a huge encouragement and most appreciated.