Radio’s Reach in Liberia

The missionaries have been quite surprised at the number of regular visitors coming to the church as a result of the radio station. Some visitors only visit to see what the church is like after hearing the radio station. Others have stayed and continue to support the work. People have been calling the station’s “comment line” and also texting to say how much help the preaching has been to them. Some have professed to having been saved through the messages. The church has had to consider additional seating because they’ve continued to see an increase in numbers.

Joanne Greer recently got into a taxi, and, without her saying anything, the driver switched the radio to the Free Presbyterian station (92.5 FM). When Joanne asked the driver how he knew about the station, he said that he sees the banner outside the bookstore as he runs his taxi route. He named a few of the programs that he has listened to and said that he especially likes to hear the world news. Joanne discovered that he was a Roman Catholic trusting in his baptism to get him to heaven. He listened as she witnessed to him, and then he turned up in church the next Sunday!

Another listener came into the bookstore a few weeks ago when Joanne was working there. He is the pastor of a small independent church in the suburbs of Monrovia. He says he listens to the FP station constantly and encourages his congregation to do so also. The things he likes about 92.5 are that it is “very consistent, and conservative … and does not deviate from the Bible.” He said he was interested in learning more hymns to teach his people, so he and one of his elders attended the once per month hymn singing of the mission church.

Recently a USA supporter gave a large gift to allow the mission to purchase a second more powerful transmitter. The first transmitter is now acting as a backup unit. The supporter also gave funds to enable the station to go 24/7, which they’ve been doing since September 2018. They also purchased sound processing equipment and a console that will allow for call- in programs. With the new transmitter, the station reaches the city of Buchanan—a distance of 45 miles—the next largest city from Monrovia, the capital.

Mr. DiCanio continues to do most of the teaching and preaching while Moses Dahn, who is in more of an assistant role these days, continues to preach occasionally, and teaches the adult Sunday school weekly. He is going through the WCF with the help of books by Robert Shaw, A. A. Hodge, and G. I. Williamson. Pastor Dahn also spends all day Wednesday going systematically throughout several different communities with business cards containing the radio station logo. Pastor Dahn reported that 30% of those he speaks with already listen to the station.

With the new political administration coming to power, the missionaries were surprised to get a cease and desist notice for using 92.5FM. They were relieved, however, when they discovered it was a mix-up. The missionaries were unaware that they had received the official license for the use of 92.5 MHz. They thought they were still on test status. The Liberia Telecommunications Authority recently billed the mission for 2017, 2018, and 2019 and granted a license for that frequency after paying it. Thankfully the funds were there. They had just received a note to say that someone from Ulster had given funds for the station.

An U.K. mission team visited in late July and helped with both VBS and the yearly Liberian Independence Day celebration. Two from the team came early, one of whom is a first-year student in the Whitefield College in Northern Ireland, and another a teacher at Newtownabbey Christian school also in Northern Ireland.

At Mr. DiCanio’s suggestion, the mission board decided to find a temporary solution to the need for a second vehicle. They have purchased a Honda XR150L motorcycle. Although it can be a challenge during the rainy season, it is convenient because Mr. DiCanio no longer needs to face the challenge of road traffic since it is legal to pass by stopped traffic at a junction.

There is an element among the Liberian population that has become increasingly dissatisfied with the Liberian president and his administration. The exchange rate has been steadily rising—nearly one Liberian dollar per day against the United States dollar, and as a result the price of basic commodities has risen sharply. Numerous groups protested on June 7. Because of a fear of violence, and a return to civil war, senior members of the United Nations and the African Union came to town attempting to bring the parties together for talks. Our station completely avoids Liberian politics; however, in the providence of the Lord we happened to recently air a two-part series done by the Rev. John Wagner from our church in Columbia, South Carolina, where he deals with the subject of honoring the king from 1 Peter 2.

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By David DiCanio

Rev. David DiCanio is serving in Liberia, under the FPCNA Mission Board.