INDONESIA - Through a cooperative effort involving HCJB World Radio, Indonesia partner discipleMakers (DM) and local believers, more than 350,000 people living on the remote Indonesian island of Sumba (between Java and Timor) have access to Christian broadcasts.
DM Weekarou went on the air last month with help from John and Esther Brewer of HCJB World Radio's Asia/Pacific regional office in Singapore and financial backing from three Christian businessmen in Java.
"This is a grassroots effort, and partnerships are vital," Esther says. "It's exciting to help plant our first station in Indonesia. Our goal is to use the broadcasts to evangelize the more heavily populated western part of the island."
HCJB World Radio's involvement in the project began in July 2003 when the Brewers met a man named Paulus from DM. "We met at a conference near Jakarta," John explains. "He was thrilled to contact us, declaring that it was a divine appointment and his only reason for being there. He already had the vision of using radio to supplement his existing ministry."
DM has a network of evangelist training schools that train and "plant" evangelists who then live in their assigned areas, supporting themselves and sharing the gospel. "This means there is 'built-in follow-up' for the radio broadcasts," John adds. "Our partner also has many Christian contacts in Indonesia."
DM students are learning how to run the Sumba station and future stations planned for Indonesia. "We're talking about beginners here with no background in radio," John says. "We are thankful that a trainer who serves with Back to the Bible in Jakarta has volunteered to help us. He is excellent! He recently conducted classes on how to write programs to reach our specific unevangelized audience."
Although Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country in the world, the Brewers don't expect any religious threats as Sumba is mainly animist. "The local government is supportive, and the new station is a local endeavor, so that should help with security. The mayor and other leaders in the community are excited about it."
However, the station faces many challenges in getting established on the island. For example, the building housing the station, originally planned as a hotel, has been the target of robbers in the past. "But we believe this is a theft issue, not a Muslim threat," John says.
DM, in partnership with HCJB World Radio, has a vision to establish five stations and three recording studios in the next two years, and a total of 25 stations within 10 years.
(Source: HCJB World Radio)