Rebuilding ELWA Radio
by Christina Holder, Liberia
3 September 2008
Moses Nyantee knows the power of radio.
During Liberia's brutal civil war, he walked an hour from his home to a neighboring village to hear the latest news on the war.
Nyantee had only the clothes he was wearing and little food to eat. The rebels had taken everything. He lived under the constant threat of violence.
"There was always gunfire all around the place," he said. "It was like the sound of music to us."
Holding on to Hope
But Nyantee, director of the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) radio, held onto a hope that does not fail. He relied on God and trusted that he would restore all that the war had destroyed.
That hope is what brought Nyantee back to ELWA radio even after rebels twice looted and burned the station to ashes.
After the station was destroyed the second time, SIM--a partner with ELWA radio--wasn't sure it would come back to Liberia.
"It was discouraging to put a lot of money in a project only to know everything was destroyed for a second time," Nyantee said.
The radio employees struggled with what they should do. They wanted to rebuild, but they lacked the resources. Some of them thought about changing their careers.
Thankfully, SIM came back to reinstate its partnership with ELWA radio. And today, five years after the end of the war, ELWA radio is poising itself to reach as many people as possible with the truth of Jesus Christ.
Right now, its transmitter is reaching about two-thirds of Liberia's nearly 3.2 million people and even goes as far as neighboring countries Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. In addition, ELWA broadcasts in seven different tribal languages five days a week--a service that benefits many people who cannot read.
But ELWA radio needs help to reach many more people with the message of Jesus Christ.
"In these post-war years, people are still the same," Nyantee said. "People still need the Lord. They need to hear the words of God to transform their lives ... We have a lot of radio stations around, but what do they offer?"
The challenges are great. Fourteen years of civil war setback ELWA radio in many ways. The station does not have the technology or the training it needs to move forward. Its building isn't large enough to accommodate its growing Liberian staff. It is unable to meet the needs of a younger generation.
ELWA radio dreams of building a new station and adding a television component to its programming to reach young Liberians.
Nyantee knows the power of radio in people's lives. He and other staff hope to touch hearts shattered by war and point broken people to the only One who can heal them.
"They need to hear something that will give them hope and comfort," Nyantee said. "We still believe that we have a major role to play."
Do you have radio and administrative skills? You can be help ELWA radio continue to rebuild and find its place in Liberia of today. Find out how God could use you