36 Years Ago
We began in Arabic. We then added Turkish, Farsi, Urdu, Uighur and more. At one point, we would have topped a half of a billion people who would have been able to hear the Gospel through our broadcasts. We were even broadcasting on a one quarter of a million-watt transmitter in Arabic for a while. It was quite a time. We were getting listeners in over 60 nations at that point. We never had enough money, but God was always faithful. Many lives have been and continue to be touched.
Then, about 15 years ago, we began to see that the effectiveness of this shortwave, International Broadcast was waning. I began to brood with the Lord for answers. Then in a missionary conference prayer meeting in New York I purposely put myself in the ‘hot seat’ up front for prayer. After prayer, I came away feeling that I’d been heard. As I sat down in the back of the sanctuary, a veteran missionary to Nepal (who is now with the Lord) stopped by to ‘read my mail’. He told me everything that I was thinking, where I was struggling, and that He heard and that He would act. That missionary had no reason to know any of that, except that it was from the Lord, and I knew it.
After that missionary walked away, as I sat in prayer, the Lord began a ‘download’ of vision and direction about what He wanted us to do. At the center of it was ‘Internet Radio’. I really hadn’t wanted to do Internet Radio up until that point. Though the whole thing had been of the Lord from the beginning, I was caught up in the glamor of International broadcast radio, transmitters, studios, satellite links, giant antennas, thousands of watts, and the warm glow of the giant transmitting tubes that propagated our signals to the far away and hidden places of the Muslim world.
We then began again in earnest. We had Internet radio stations constructed for us and rented them. We filled our broadcast day on each station with the thousands of hours of programming we’d recorded by then. We added music, Bible reading and other features that we were able to obtain from other ministries. Soon I began to realize that it would be expensive to rent those stations as the numbers and languages grew. So, we scrounged servers, hooked them up to the Internet and learned to build and host those stations ourselves. We needed websites to ‘carry’ the stations, so we built and hosted them. Finally, writing our own software for the websites. It continues to grow with more new functions. Soon, we’ll even be able to run schools of ministry over our websites.
We didn’t stop broadcasting on International stations immediately. That tapered down slowly. The last shortwave International Broadcast, which was in Arabic, aired on the last day of 2001. We’d climbed up and kicked away the ladder. It was all Internet radio from there. That now means that not only can we reach every computer in the world, but we can also now reach anyone who carries a smart phone, anywhere that a smart phone works. In any given month we now get listeners in about 170 nations. We’re not reaching them all . . . not yet. The potential is huge. We’ve barely begun. We’ve just scratched the surface. There remains so much to be done so that all that potential is realized, until they’re all being reached. However, they will be.
I was in my 30’s when all this began. I was young, full of energy and vision. I’ve never known how to give up. Stubborn, I guess. However, I’m not in my 30’s any longer. I’ll be 70 next year. How did that happen? It did, though. And the realization that my energy has been slipping recently has been evident. I’m starting to get old. What’s left to be accomplished will take the energy that comes from youth, fresh vision, direction and vitality. No, I’m not announcing my retirement. I have been aware for some time, though, that I should be preparing to pass the baton. I need to have a protégé on hand, someone that I can prepare, teach them what I know, the history, the vision, etc. Then, I can begin to hand over the reins, the responsibility, the vision. You’re out there. You may be reading this. You hear, sense the irresistible call of the field, sense that this is for you. Answer it.
On top of that is another realization that’s been dawning on me recently. It can be summed up in the statement, ‘some people are designed to build things while others are called to operate them’. I believe, having observed myself operate for many years, that I am the former. He called me to build the International Broadcast ministry. Then He enabled me to build a team, to build the Internet radio and blogging website ministry from the ground up. Experts in parts of the missions-tech world have expressed the hope that we would eventually take this system, this strategy beyond the Muslim world. God leads us into great things.
However, it awakens me to an even deeper fact that I now am looking for, not only my protégé, my successor, but someone who is destined to take this ministry to even greater heights of effectiveness. I’m looking for the person who is destined to operate what God has enabled me to build. Those heights I will not realize if I cling to it, hoping to be that man. So, I’m looking for you. Answer the call. Contact me. If you’re the one, you’re about to be launched into an endeavor that will make your head and mine spin.
Will I run away right away? No. I want to hang around and help with the transition. Pass on wisdom and experience. And, since I’m a builder, there’s still stuff around to be built. If I’m the kind of guy who can do it, I’d like to remain part of the ‘think tank’ for a while. I’d like to see it take off and do what I see is possible, to help see every man, woman and child in the Muslim world know that it was Jesus who’s been calling to them from their dreams. I still want to see it.
So, if you’re reading this and you’re not that person, you’re not off the hook yet. You must pray. It’s time for me to prepare to pass on the baton. I need to know who I’m passing it to and prepare them. It’s up to you to pray, please. Thank you.
Praying and full of great expectations, Mike.
Hi Mike, reading your account of how the Lord led you, I can say Amen,, the Lord i s good. We wee there in PNG with your when you first recieved that call and its a beautful thing to see how He has guided you. And where God guides he provides. Praise the Lord for what the Lord has done in you and through you. He has led us both, you to your ministy and Esmae and I also in various unexpected way, into pstoral ministry, prison chaplaincy and since retiremnt from chaplaincy in 2019, counselling. Like you , we still want to serve te Lord, but are conscious that we are slowing down. Still I would rather die with my boots on! But ay the Lord also guide someone else to continue on with the work you started.
May the Lord continue to bless you and Joyce and use you as long as any strength remains.
Yours in Christ
Mike my family and I served in YxxM Egypt for a number of years and I personally know a few people that may be interested in your vision.
Please email me, as it is more secure.