Then and Now (Ep. 24)

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What would it take to unlock faith for people in the social media age? Hear from long-time FEBC listeners from Russia and China who were enriched when they discovered new programs on their phones and computers…Until All Have Heard.


Podcast Transcript

[Ed]: We’ve heard testimonies, Wayne, from listeners in Ukraine who say “I’m not a Christian. I’m not even interested in the Bible, but I’ve come to love your radio broadcast because it’s in my language.” So, as we’re broadcasting in the Ukrainian language people who aren’t really even interested in Christianity are listening, but you know what’s going to happen? The Word of God is powerful. The gospel comes with great power if they continue listening regardless of their motive, they’re listening in the Ukrainian language. They will come to faith.

[Wayne]: Yes, indeed.

[Ed]: We’re developing these new social media platforms and advancing them. Some of them drop off and new ones emerge in a very short period of time. So, by having a staff in places like Ukraine and Moscow of young, gifted talent, they know what platform to be on. They know what programs their friends are listening to. I think about Facebook Live is a current technology and there, they’re saying, “No, no. That’s ancient technology. My grandma used Facebook Live.” Now, we’re on to something different. I can’t even keep up, but it’s okay because we continue to see the numbers. That’s one of the gifts about this social media. We don’t have to guess if people are listening. You can actually see real time how many followers you have, how many are responding, and how many hours of content have been listened to, downloaded, and streamed. We can even a test program by program. If you put a program on, that lots of people are engaged in and interested in, we’ll know that. Therefore, modify the things we talk about based on the kind of programs that attract more listeners and achieve our goal to proclaim the gospel.

[Wayne]:…Let’s listen to this story that comes out of Russia…

[Female]: “You gave me some of the fondest memories of my childhood. My dad worked at a shipyard and often on a Sunday, we would walk along the pier and he would tell me about the ships, and then would come home and listen to FEBC’s program. Later on though, my dad lost his faith, he lost someone he loved and felt led down by God. I think he was trying to convince himself that God did not exist, but as for me, I actually came to faith in Christ through your program when I listened to it as a teen. I’ve been praying for my dad all this time and I’ve been talking to him about you and your programs. One day, I was listening to your program and you were talking about crisis of faith. My dad sat down on the sofa and listened. I held my breath to keep from distracting him. Finally, he begun to smile. From that day on, he always sits next to me whenever I listen to FEBC. As I’m sure you can guess, I almost never turned off your channel now. Please pray for my dad to return to faith in God, and thank you for being there.”

[Ed]: Wayne, there is so much in that story that I’d love to talk about, so many great things, but you asked us to concentrate on the then and now. What I heard her say was as a child, she listened with her father to FEBC programs on Sunday. Some of the fondest memories of her childhood she said were walking with my dad and going home to listen to FEBC on a Sunday. She became a believer by listening to the broadcast, but unfortunately, her father slipped away from his faith. They would have been listening to shortwave radio in those days. Many, many years later she speaks about coming back, sitting on the sofa and listening to the channel with her father…I can really relate to her comment about I held my breath when the part about a crisis of faith was played on the radio. The radio can play such an important role in speaking to people who otherwise aren’t going to listen to the gospel of Christ. People who won’t grace the stairs of a church, they’re not interested, but yet somehow through relationship and through the radio, they hear the truth. I continue to pray for this family that that father would strengthen his faith and that they would increase their bond, and continue to listen to FEBC on whatever platform they can hear the good news. That’s not the only story though, we hear that similar to this with then and now. I don’t want you to think it’s just Russia, Ukraine, or a Soviet country. We’ve got another testimony that speaks similarly to the then and now from China…

[Male]: “I come from a well-educated family in Beijing and had no interest in religion and had rarely heard of Christianity. I always thought it was some Western ritual that nothing to do with me. I knew nothing about it nor realized that any Christian exists. One summer day when I was in first year junior high, I searched casually on my radio and I found FEBC as a station. I didn’t know why I was completely taken over by the broadcast. I copied down lyrics of the hymn and sung it repeatedly. After listening for a few days, the program host appealed the listener to kneel and make the decision for Christ, so I knelt. I couldn’t figure out the reason why I did that. After a while, I found a church and I got myself a Bible. I no longer tune into your radio stations. Over all these years, the Lord nurtured and taught me through other people. Recently, I discovered FEBC’s presence on WeChat. So, I subscribed and I got connected. Once again, I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to FEBC. You are greatly used by God. I hope you know that your efforts have brought forth a harvest and there is a small fruit right here.”

[Ed]: What a great testimony. I love the fact that when he was first listening to the shortwave radio, Wayne, living with a wealthy family in Beijing, he thought Christianity was a Western ritual he said and that there really weren’t any Christians. I’m so glad that the shortwave radio pointed him to a church, pointed him to study the Bible, and I could care less that he said I quit listening to your radio stations because now he was being fed through a body of believers in the church which is FEBC’s desire. Our goal is to point people to the church, to the local body of believers and to God’s Word however they get it…It’s no longer shortwave radio, now he is listening on WeChat. It’s not just a broadcast, it’s a conversation. With social media, the FEBC broadcasters have the ability to actually engage the listener in a dialogue. We ask them to respond, we put their voices on the WeChat. We post their comments and questions so that we can be close to the listener.

[Wayne]: I remember visiting a country in Southeast Asia with you one time. We went into a little office area where there were, I don’t know, half a dozen computers and teenagers, young 20-somethings at those computers doing amazing things. That’s the future of FEBC, isn’t it?

[Ed]: I remember that visit, Wayne, and I remember something I pointed to your attention that day. They weren’t even wearing shoes. So, these young people without any education, just train themselves in how to do these things particularly on the cellphone apps and social media. Some of them have become very gifted at computer work, software manipulation and the way they use this technology to broadcast, but it’s mostly things that they pick up. Now, at the end of the day, Wayne, we’re talking all about technology. Technology, technology, technology. Those of us in the broadcasting world have known for decades the real secret to broadcasting is that the content is king. Here at FEBC, I and many of the staff frequently refer to our little jingle that says, “Content is king when the King is the content.”


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