Listeners in North Africa and the Middle East are hungry for the message of God’s love that HCJB Global broadcasts on satellite and shortwave radio across the region, as these extracts from their letters show. We spoke to the executive director of HCJB Global’s North Africa/Middle East Region to find out how our broadcasts are meeting this need ...
How many people are listening to the broadcasts?
As you can see from the chart we now have more than 1 million households listening to our broadcasts. These statistics show a significant increase, especially among those who tune in to the North Africa Satellite Service. In Morocco, for example, there were six times as many listeners on satellite in 2007 as there were in 2004!
How have changes in programming affected listenership?
The style of programming has changed in recent years to meet the needs of the listeners. Before 2004 we had mainly half-hour Bible-teaching and preaching programmes. Now we share the Gospel in 30-second to five-minute spots. The dramatic increase in listeners proves the success of this change of focus.
How do people in the 16-25 age group prefer to listen?
Young people prefer to listen online. They are asking the hard questions: “Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life?” Listeners, especially those in universities and high schools, are taught to ask questions. They’re questioning Islam because they see Muslims fighting each other and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.
What are some examples of effective Arabic programming?
Through our programmes we offer a Christian perspective on life. For example, we have a coffee shop programme with a popular drama format where the owner/waiter is a Christian having a conversation about day-to-day issues with a guest.
A different programme is called Happy Marriage and in partnership with another organisation, we offer online counselling for listeners. Drama is also used in Church in My Home, which explains how to start a home Bible study group or house church. We announce a telephone number and people respond via mobile phone to protect their identities.
Who produces the programmes?
Most of the programmes are produced by people living within North Africa. They know their audience very well and they know how to address issues and evangelise in the best way. Outsiders really don’t understand what the local people are facing.
In which languages do programmes go out?
As well as programmes in Arabic, we also broadcast in 23 other languages across the region. For example, the majority of the Berbers speak very little Arabic and most can’t read or write. They are very excited that they can hear programmes in their language, addressing their unique needs. Our signal is the only one that reaches this people group with Christian programming and shortwave can reach the most remote areas.
How efficient is radio in spreading the Gospel?
Radio is an extremely efficient way to reach large areas with the Gospel. Our current Arabic broadcasts reach more than 20 countries via satellite and shortwave, and via the internet we can reach the world!
How can people get involved in this ministry?
Reaching this region for Christ is definitely a spiritual battle. Programmers and listeners can face significant persecution for following Christ. Your prayers and gifts can have a real impact on the lives of believers and non-believers in the region.
It costs just £1 to reach one household in the Arab World for one year with quality Christian programming. HCJB Global’s OneHousehold project offers families in the UK the opportunity to reach new households with Jesus’ message of hope by giving a small amount each month. You can make a significant difference with just £1!
To find out more about the OneHousehold project, go to www.onehousehold.org.uk or phone 01274 721810.
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