This was the first of two mountain passes our team had to traverse in their Honda CRV in order to get to Toktogul in time to install our satellite dish and transmitter. As you can see from the photo, the conditions were not ideal, and only a couple days after our team safely made it through, the weather forecast called for more snow.
After safely making it over the more than 10,000-foot mountain pass, the FEBC team descended to low hills covered in fresh snow. In mountainous Kyrgyzstan, it’s not unusual for snows to start even earlier than October and last well into the Spring. In fact, as our team was installing our Issyk-Kul station last year, it started to snow—in June!
A sign seen on the 6-hour drive from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to Toktogul that displays one of the iconic symbols of the country: an eagle in the foreground, with the sun setting in the background behind snow-capped mountains. A fitting sign for the snowy mountains it stands in front of.
The road up to the mountain where our new transmitter was to be installed is full of ruts and deep trenches, formed by the snows that melt and carve their way through the dirt road. Shortly after this photo was taken the team got stuck in a trench and spent 30 minutes freeing themselves.
After getting unstuck, our team was able to make it to the top of the mountain where several other radio towers stood, broadcasting TV and radio programs below.
The small gray building on the left side of the photo is where our transmitter is housed, which is needed to broadcast the signal to Toktogul. Inside is a heater which keeps the equipment from freezing in the sub-zero winter temperatures.
Rudi and Janysh look at the antenna that is installed and assess how to install our satellite dish to begin receiving the signal from Bishkek. It’s determined that another pipe will need to be welded on to give more stability during the frequent storms.
Rudi points out the towns and cities that will be within reach of our transmitter as the sun fades across the stunning mountain landscape.
Brett Junvik, FEBC’s videographer on the trip, spent the morning walking around the station and praying. “I looked down at the city below. I thought about the people sleeping in their homes. Suddenly, a sense of immense joy filled my heart. Yesterday, there was no Gospel, no church, and no believers here. But once we flipped the switch, people could hear the Good News and discover salvation through Jesus Christ for the first time!”
In the valley below is the small city of Karakol, where the team will travel to in part 3 and meet with local believers. The town of Karakol has no churches that we know of, and FEBC’s radio station will be the first Christian station on the air.
The new radio frequency is one of just six in the entire region, and FEBC’s signal is the strongest and clearest of all of them.