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Africa Needs Jesus

A mother in Africa listens to Christian radio with her family thanks to a generous gift; a Muslim holy man listens privately as the Gospel permeates his head and heart; and a pastor deepens his understanding of God’s Word. What do these stories have in common? Each one was affected by Christian radio through TWR.

Right now, Prophecy in the News and SWRC have a unique opportunity to impact Africa with the Good News of Jesus like never before. Not long after going on the air in April 1933, SWRC got involved in Christian missions and Gospel outreach. Ninety-one years later, SWRC and Prophecy in the News are teaming up with TWR for a missions campaign called “Africa Needs Jesus” as a highlight of SWRC’s 91st anniversary celebration during April 2024.

TWR also marks a major milestone in 2024 as it celebrates 70 years in Christian radio ministry. Using some of the most powerful radio towers in the world, they broadcast the Good News of Jesus as far and wide as possible. I had the blessing of discussing the Africa Needs Jesus campaign with John Summerville, TWR Director of Radio Partnerships, for a short series of SWRC’s Watchman on the Wall broadcasts.

When I asked John to provide some more information about TWR, he replied: “Like SWRC, TWR has a commitment to telling people about Jesus Christ. We do it with radio stations and digital all around the world, but we do it on steroids. I love saying it that way because when people hear how big TWR is, their eyes grow wide. We are doing ministry now in 200 languages around the world. We receive letters, emails, text messages and WhatsApp messages from more than 190 countries every year. God is at work through this ministry and, like SWRC, TWR has a rich heritage of being able to bring the Gospel to people who would not be able to hear God’s Word any other way.”

How Does TWR Bring the Gospel to People in Africa?

TWR has a network of national partners in more than a dozen African countries. These national partners work with local churches and pastors to identify people in their communities who need a radio. They will host a radio event in the local community and distribute them to those in need.

The radios that TWR distributes are ruggedly constructed and can tune in AM, FM and shortwave radio signals. The best part of all is that these radios require no electricity or batteries to operate. Power is delivered to the radio unit by a small hand crank on its side. While the radios can also be powered by batteries and electricity, these can be expensive and difficult to acquire in certain parts of Africa where TWR ministers.

In some parts of Malawi, for example, electricity is bought in advance, almost like a parking meter in the U.S. How willing would you be to put extra money toward electricity just so you could listen to the radio? In regions where a radio like this would cost the average person about a quarter of a month’s salary, other priorities take precedence.

For each $50 gift, TWR can purchase a radio and cover all the costs of shipping, importing, and distributing it through their national partners in Africa. This trusted ministry and well-organized process ensures the radios get into the hands of those who need them.

An African Mother Receives a Treasure

John Summerville had the opportunity to travel to the African country of Malawi, one of the poorest nations in the world with a GDP per capita of $1,710 annually. While distributing radios there, an unexpected blessing occurred.

John said, “One of the stories I love telling is when my staff and I were in Malawi with TWR Malawi. Our TWR Director is named Victor. We had just finished giving out radios to a whole bunch of people in this small little village. We were driving back to TWR Malawi offices in Lilongwe and Victor was driving this old, rickety white van with TWR splashed on the side of it. He yells over the back of his shoulder to us in the back and says, ‘Hey, let’s stop at a random house and give away a radio.’

“Now, Josh, I don’t know about you, but I’m a little skeptical about just stopping at any random house. That’s not something I do when I’m in the United States. I don’t stop at random houses. So, I voiced my skepticism and Victor assured me, ‘Oh, no, no, no, it will be fine. Don’t worry, we’ll have a good time here.’

“So, he finds this cluster of houses – now you need to recognize that all the houses are made of homemade bricks and thatched roofs – and in the one he picked out for us to stop at, three small children are playing in the dirt in the front yard. There’s a line of laundry hanging up, drying out front, and as we approach, there’s a mom who comes out and Victor says, ‘Hi! We’re from TWR.’

“Her eyes light up and she says, ‘Oh, TWR!’

“And Victor says, ‘Do you have a radio?’

“She said, ‘No, we don’t have a radio.’

“Victor then asked, ‘Would your husband allow us to give you a radio?’

“She said, ‘Oh, he’d be delighted for you to give us a radio!’

“She was just beside herself and the kids gathered around as Victor handed her the radio. But again, my skepticism kicked in and I said, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute if she doesn’t have a radio, how does she know about TWR?’

“So, I asked Victor to ask her the question because she speaks a different language called Chichewa. I don’t speak Chichewa, so Victor asked her the question. Again, she lights up. She says, ‘Oh, every day when we go out to farm in our fields, our neighbor brings her radio and we listen together. Now with this radio, I’ll be able to listen with my family.’

“And that’s why I love thinking about how these radios impact more than one person. It’s not just a person that you’re impacting when you give a radio. Sometimes you’re impacting an entire village of people, maybe generations down the road.”

Muslim Leaders Listen to Christian Radio

TWR radio programs are not only reaching Christians in Africa who need to be discipled, but they are also reaching Muslims who are being impacted by the Gospel message.

John Summerville shares this testimony TWR received: “I faithfully listen to TWR and I hardly miss a broadcast. Although I’m a highly esteemed Islamic holy man in the region, I enjoy listening to Christian programs. I long to understand the Gospel better, especially what the Bible teaches when Jesus says, ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged.’ I want to know what it means. We Muslims are very quick to judge others, to condemn them. Your teachings a quite the opposite. You always talk of love of neighbors, forgiveness, peace, and reconciliation with each other. You’re helping me to understand better why Christians are more tolerant than others.”

John continued, “Josh, there’s no better way to reach people who would never darken the door of a church but would be willing to listen, to turn on a radio, and hear God’s Word and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.”

Preacher Receives Greater Insight into God’s Word

Seminary is a distant dream for some African preachers due to impoverished conditions and lack of access. While strides are being made with the launch of new seminaries and pastor training institutes, Christian radio can uniquely help to fill the void.

John Summerville shared a story, “This gentleman says, ‘Tears filled my eyes, ran down my cheeks when I understood how many things I never knew in the Bible, even though I’m a preacher. TWR is like a big light illuminating my life and revealing undiscovered treasures.’”

What Can We Do?

As Christians, our response must begin with prayer. Would you join us in praying that God would bring each radio to those who need to hear the Gospel and to those who need to grow in the Lord? Would you prayerfully consider what you might be able to give to help get God’s Word to Africa? Only eternity will tell how our prayers will be answered and how our treasures laid up in heaven will impact eternity.

A mission trip to Africa would at least cost $3,000 and would last perhaps a couple of weeks. However, a radio can be enjoyed for hours each day and will last a long time. You might never travel to Africa, but your gift could make an eternal difference for people there.

God’s prophetic clock is ticking. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity and get God’s message out as far and as wide as we can while we can. As John Summerville likes to say, “Africa needs Jesus. Africa needs you.”

If God impresses your heart to give, you can give online at or by calling 1-888-777-1875 today.

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Josh Davis

SWRC Staff Evangelist Josh Davis accepted Jesus Christ as Savior at a young age and grew up in a preacher’s home. While preparing for a career in pharmacy, God redirected Josh’s heart, mind, and future to prepare for ministry. He earned a Master of Divinity from Southern Evangelical Seminary near Charlotte, NC. He has served his home church in pastoral ministry since 2007. God has blessed Josh with a lovely wife and two wonderful kids.

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