Jean announces the good news on air
By Mercy Kambura | Cote dIvoire in West Africa
Jean Seri working.
Jean Seri tells his story with the help of writer Mercy Kambura.
I have always had a knack for music and electronics. In 1983, I returned to Côte d’Ivoire from Guinea, where I had been studying. I joined the UEESO-CI (Union des Eglises Evangéliques Service et Œuvre) in the commune of Adjamé in Côte d’Ivoire. I was the regional secretary of the UEESO youth of Abidjan. In the church, I was part of the team responsible for setting up the music group’s equipment and the control board. This job was very fulfilling for me.
When the mission, SIM, talked about the FM radio project, I was one of the first to sign up. I joined Fréquence Vie in 1994 as a control board trainee, and once I got a taste of the microphone and programme production, I was unstoppable.
Since 2018, I have served as director of SIM Côte d’Ivoire and president of the board of the Christian Radio Fréquence Vie.
I didn’t know just how much impact we were having on radio until Abidjan’s civil rebellion in 2002. One morning, I woke up and turned on my radio, eager to hear what was going on. I tried the major international stations such as the BBC, but none were broadcasting, not even the national radio.
I decided to start a broadcast on our radio and contacted some of our listeners who were frequent callers. There was lots of gunfire; we prayed for protection over the radio live broadcast. The Ivorian army heard us and came towards the station – our radio is near the army barracks. The military pushed back, and the rebels couldn’t take over Abidjan.
A few weeks later, one of the rebels called in on the radio and said, “It was because of you that we couldn’t take Abidjan. Next time, we’ll start with your radio.”
We replied, “We will pray for you, that you may not destroy that which you haven’t created.”
When COVID-19 struck in 2020, many churches closed. People couldn’t go to church. We took this opportunity to invite preachers on the radio every Sunday. We also encouraged people to phone in and share about their experiences and how they were coping. We were the only point of human contact for many during lockdown.
We were the only point of human contact for many during lockdown.
Radio is a tool that allows us to enter remote areas where evangelists cannot yet go. We are intimately involved in personal lives and we talk to thousands of people without meeting them.
I learned through COVID-19 that the enemy wants to prevent us from fulfilling the Great Commission, from announcing the Good News and making disciples. However, during confinement, radio and online programmes provided the opportunity for some people to discover God and others to deepen their relationship with God.
COVID-19 has had little negative effect on my ministry; on the contrary, it has helped strengthen communication through online interaction and has brought people closer to care better for one another.
Radio and mass media are phenomenal means to reach those who would otherwise not hear the gospel or meet a Christian. It also feeds Christians’ minds with “whatever is true, pure, admirable, and excellent” (Phillipians 4:8), in contrast to secular philosophies. I encourage Christians to be involved in media as a powerful means to convey God’s truth to transform hardened hearts. One must always be sure to remain humble before God and constantly pursue God’s glory.
My greatest satisfaction is knowing God has used someone as insignificant as me to win His creation, that people have been transformed by listening to God’s Word through the radio waves.
Many churches have started their own radio stations recently, which is terrific, as long as the message of the cross is preached. It’s good to be careful, though, that the radio message doesn’t become a promotion of the host or producer, usurping God’s place. Without God, nothing is possible. God must be given his rightful place.
• That God will bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• That we carry out our task with love, returning all the glory to Almighty God.
• That churches will invest in evangelical radio ministry in Côte d’Ivoire.
• That God will provide the financial and material means for Christian radio ministry to cover all Côte d’Ivoire through Radio Fréquence Vie.
This story first appeared in our partner publication AfriGO Magazine.