OVERSEAS RADIO WORK
Our readers are no doubt aware of the fact that the Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches in 1960 approved of a proposal of the Mission Committee to begin broadcasting on foreign stations. The two stations that were approved were Trans World Radio in Monte Carlo, Monaco and Radio Hoyer in the Dutch West Indies. Our congregations have been taking collections for these broadcasts over the last two years and have been supporting with their gifts especially Trans World Radio since Radio Hoyer gives us time free of charge.
Little has been published in our papers or in our Acts of Synod concerning the results of this broadcasting so that, while our people support it, they are not aware of the response that has been received and the work that has been done since Synod approved of this work. It is therefore the purpose of this article to acquaint our people with what has developed since as well as the letters that have been received.
Since Trans World Radio only recently began broadcasting from Monte Carlo (our broadcast is a charter program) it stands to reason that it took a while before the program became generally known in the lands to which it was beamed. A listening audience had to be built up. It is only therefore within the last eight or nine months that the mail has been coming in regularly. But the volume and variety of the mail is quite astonishing. It is especially interesting that the mail comes from so many different countries. Counting the mail to date the following is a list of countries with the number of letters received from each:
New Zealand 2
There are several other points of interest concerning this correspondence: 1) It stands to reason that the biggest share of the mail would come from England since the broadcast is beamed there. That the program is received by so many other countries is quite surprising. 2) There are several letters besides those listed above from which it is impossible to determine their origin. We do not know what country they came from. 3) From the West Indies, the Virgin Islands and British Guiana have come seven letters in response to our program beamed over Radio Hoyer. 4) Since some of the letters received from Australia and New Zealand have requested pamphlets we do not know whether this response is prompted by our broadcast over Trans World Radio which, we are told, does reach to Australia over the North Pole, or whether our pamphlets have found, their way to these countries to acquaint these people with our churches.
It is, of course, impossible to quote all the letters which were received. Nevertheless it is of interest to our people to have some idea of what these people are writing. A sample of the letters has been picked almost at random and are quoted here.
“Your messages on The Inspiration of the Scriptures were very excellent ones. Our German Department desires to obtain in printed form the messages No. 964-968 with the above title by Rev. Hoeksema.
“Would you be so kind as to send the printed messages in English to the following address:
Mr. Hoarst Marquardt
Evangelisms Rundfunk, e.V.
“May the Lord continue to bless in your ministry. We do remember your labor for Him at the Throne of Grace and do covet your prayers.”
From Curacao, West Indies:
“A few weeks ago I happened to listen to your broadcast here at Curacao (Radio Hoyer).
“Since that time I like to listen to it before going to my own church, because I hear the same sounds in it as I was accustomed to when I still lived in Holland, more than in the Church I go to here. I think it is a real Reformed sound.
“I don’t know whether there are many people who listen to it, but I am glad it is possible, to hear it. In this way we are doing the same work, because I am a teacher at one of our Protestant schools here, that were founded in 1950. Now we have about 1500 pupils and 40 teachers most of them coming from Holland.
“Our pupils come from various groups of the population—Antillians, Sumiams, Dutch, English, etc. I think you know our kind of Christian Schools from the Dutch immigrants in your own neighborhoods.
“I hope that you’ll continue your broadcasting and that God will bless your work.”
From Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland:
“I listened to your broadcast this morning from ‘Tram World Radio’ on the ‘Sufferings of our Lord,’ and I would like to have a copy of the sermon. I would also like to have the sermons on the Book of Revelation—’The Four Horsemen,’ etc., if they are available, and I would be pleased if you will put me on your regular mailing list.”
From Belfast, Northern Ireland:
“I enjoyed very much your broadcast on Sunday morning last from Trans World Radio. Would like very much to receive your book ‘Organically Inspired.’
“Your talk on this subject was a revelation to me, and I fear many Christians have an erroneous idea as to how the Scriptures came into being.
“Wishing you God’s richest blessing and assuring you of my continued prayers,
“Yours in Calvary love,”
It is presently impossible to determine where the following letter came from, although the heading seems to indicate some place in the Middle East. It is nevertheless interesting enough to quote:
“Dear Brethren in the Lord,
“Every Sunday we listen with great joy to your transmissions through Trans World Radio, Monte Carlo. We hear it clearly and we have great blessing through this broadcasting. Really it is great privilege to listen it! Thank you so much!
“We shall be also very grateful if you can send us the copies of the sermons which are so Blessful.
“May the Lord bless richly your so important work for His glory.
“With sincere Christian greetings.”
From Winkleigh, Devon, England:
“I would very much like to be placed upon your permanent mailing list. Having heard your wonderful sermons coming over the radio I am delighted to hear the prophetic implications.
“If it is possible could you kindly send me the sermon on ‘The Lamb’ which was broadcast last week.
“I trust that the Lord may bless your efforts for Him and through your labors others may abundantly be blessed and many brought to a knowledge of His salvation.
“I have written to the station concerned to say how much I enjoy these religious broadcasts and implore them to give ample time for the Word of God to be proclaimed.”
From Hilltop Way, Salisbury, England:
“Dear Friends, “Thank you very much indeed for the second lot of sermons received yesterday.
“The day that I discovered your broadcast on Trans World Radio was indeed a thrilling one. It was truly grand to find a programme witnessing to the great and blessed truth of the Absolute Sovereignty of our Lord. Especially as almost every other broadcast beamed to this country has an Arminian emphasis.
“I was extremely interested in the catalogue of books and magazines sent with the sermons, particularly those magazines published for the Sunday School, as I have long felt the need for such. There is nothing of this nature, as far as I know, available in this country. Although there are some good guide books, none have a Reformed Doctrine emphasis.
“I should very much like a sample copy of all your magazines and Sunday School pamphlets, and should be extremely grateful if you would send them.
“If it is not possible to send them all, may I have a copy of the Teacher’s Guide, please?
“As I have no doubt that I shall want to subscribe to at least one of your magazines, perhaps you will advise me if you have an agency in this country to which payment can be made.
“Once again, thank you for the sermons. May the Lord richly bless your ministry.”
For a long time already the Radio Committee and the Mission Committee have felt the need for more careful and consistent follow-up work on the correspondence received from our radio listeners. At present plans are being worked out so that this can be done immediately upon receipt of the letters that require responses. The nature of follow-up work will, for the present, consist in answering letters that request specific information concerning our churches or concerning our confession of the truth. This follow-up work will not only be applied to the response from foreign broadcasts, but also to the response received to our program beamed from stations in the states. The mail will also be carefully filed and checked according to areas so that if a number of responses are received from one area which are interesting and show an interest in the truth, our missionary can be sent into that area to investigate.
Already the fruit of this has been a recent trip of Rev. Lubbers to Houston, Texas, where a number of families showed considerable interest in our confession of the truth. Perhaps a report of his trip will appear in some future article in The Standard Bearer.
There is one other interesting side-light which, while the outcome is yet uncertain, is of sufficient importance to speak of in this article. Some time ago a minister residing at present in London, England came into contact with our churches through Trans World Radio. He wrote our Mission Committee for some information about our churches as to confessional bases particularly. He spoke of the fact that he labored in the past on the island of Jamaica and was still responsible in some measure for about fourteen churches there. These churches are at present being cared for by local ministers although neither the churches nor the ministers seem to be affiliated with any denomination. After some exchange of correspondence, this minister in London asked our Mission Committee to assume responsibility for the churches in Jamaica and make the area a mission field of our own. He wants us to send someone down there as quickly as possible to labor there in cooperation with the men who are at present busy in these churches. The Mission Committee decided to write some of these ministers on the island to inquire of them concerning the state of affairs and to investigate more fully what work has to be done there and, what is the need of the churches there. All the answers have not yet come in. In the mean time the Mission Committee is being urged to take over this work with the least possible delay since, we are informed, the Free Methodist Church is also interested in taking over these churches, although the men who are responsible for the field in Jamaica do not seem to want this.
It seems as if these churches are about fourteen in number and average about thirty-five souls each. What will come of this all remains to be seen, but it is a good illustration of the contacts which are being made through our Radio Program.
It is of the utmost concern that there is such a remarkable response to the truth which God has given us not only in our own country, but also across the seas. It is the hope of our Radio Committee and our Mission Committee that these brief glimpses into the work will encourage our people to support these endeavors. And it is no doubt the hope and prayer of all our people that the Lord will use our efforts to witness to His truth to gather His Church and to bring back His people to the knowledge of the truth.