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Pioneering Form of ‘Conversational’ Christian Broadcasting Makes an Impact in Eastern Europe

Secular music mix approach developed with Reach Beyond’s help to encourage listeners to ‘think for themselves’ spreads in parts of former Soviet Union
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 15, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — A pioneering form of evangelistic Christian radio is spreading across parts of Eastern Europe, asking questions instead of giving answers.
Photo: Reach Beyond trainer Dave Jolly at the Joy FM studios in Romania.
Mixing secular and Christian music with conversation-starting commentary about life, Joy FM is breaking new ground and winning an audience in Romania and neighboring Moldova.
A partnership between Colorado Springs, Colo.-headquartered media and medical ministry Reach Beyond and local Christian ministries in both countries, Joy FM broadcasts 24/7 on eight stations under the tagline, “Music. Life. Community.”
The target audience is the majority unchurched population in each country, both of which were long under communist rule.
“The people were told what to think for a long time, but now we are encouraging them to think for themselves, so we ask a lot of questions on air,” said Reach Beyond’s Dave Jolly who helped launch the project.
“We’re a very different kind of station because we are not telling people what to think or believe; we want to ask questions to bring people into conversation and hopefully point them to a relationship with Jesus.”
Joy FM first went on the air in Arad, in western Romania, in late 2014. The response was positive with the phone calls, emails and social media responses. Then operators of seven Christian radio stations in neighboring Moldova–which was part of Romania until 1991–learned about the project and wanted to be part of it.
Those stations dropped their former, more traditional format of Christian music in June, becoming part of the Joy FM partnership. Now they carry the programming from Arad, whose Romanian-speaking presenters can be understood by many Moldovans who speak Romanian.
The opportunity in each country is big. According to Operation World, evangelical Christians account for only about 5 percent of Romania’s almost 20 million population and just 4 percent of Moldova’s 4 million people.
The Moldova expansion has been welcomed as an early affirmation of the new broadcast approach with hopes that it might be extended to other parts of the region.
The Joy FM menu is mainly English and Romanian secular music plus some Christian songs in both English and Romanian. “It’s a good mix of carefully chosen secular music,” said Jolly. “We don’t want it to detract from the main purpose, so we screen it very carefully.
“You can always find ideas in secular songs that can jump-start conversations, whether they are about relationships, broken relationships or love,” he continued. “We take them and use them as jumping-off points for dialogue.”
A former station manager in the U.S., Jolly has served in various duties with Reach Beyond, the latest one based in Arad since 2014. Originally the station manager, he has since moved into a consultancy role after helping train national staff.
He asked Reach Beyond supporters to pray that financial support would be forthcoming to keep the Joy FM stations on air, and for the development of a network of supporters to help befriend listeners who seek more information about faith through the broadcasts and connect them with local churches.
“It’s very exciting to see how Joy FM is being received because of its completely unique approach,” Jolly said. “It is an affirmation of the vision that we have to see God use us to communicate His truth in a different way and a confirmation that asking questions and trying to build relationships is working and impacting people, probably more so than preaching in this particular region of the world.”
Reach Beyond (reachbeyond.org) is a media- and medical-based evangelical ministry with operations on five continents. It spreads the message of Jesus in places that are primarily unreached or unengaged in the gospel. Reach Beyond uses media, including radio broadcasts, webcasts, social media and the distribution of solar-powered radios. It also reaches out to the needy throughout its growing network of healthcare services.
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Reach Beyond’s ‘Bucket Brigade’ Campaign to Help 2,500 Break Ebola Infection Cycle in Sierra Leone

Families Isolated in Quarantine or High-risk Remote Areas Receive Life-saving Supplies through ‘Bucket Brigade’

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 5, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Reach Beyond’s “Bucket Brigade” campaign, which provides life-sustaining food and supplies to families in quarantine or isolated areas, is helping break the insidious cycle of Ebola infection in parts of Sierra Leone, where the disease still rages.

Photo: “Bucket Brigade” volunteers in Sierra Leone assemble food and valuable supplies that can sustain a family of five in isolation or quarantine during the Ebola epidemic, thereby reducing exposure and transmission of the virus.

The effort is coordinated with the Believers Broadcasting Network (BBN), a radio ministry launched by Ransford Wright in West Africa, to help break the transmission of the disease and provide for those who are in isolation by bringing supplies to 2,500 people by March 31.

There is still no cure for Ebola, so prevention and early care are key. Families and at-risk groups in quarantined areas have no access to food, clean water or disinfectants – all necessary to fighting the disease and preventing malnutrition.

“These simple items may be the difference between life and death for thousands of people in Sierra Leone,” said Wayne Pederson, president, Reach Beyond. “Every bucket delivered is given in Jesus’ name, sharing His love at a time when those in the most ravaged areas are desperate for physical help and spiritual hope.”

Pederson said every $100 gives a five-member family life-sustaining food and supplies to survive for up to four weeks in isolation. Every bucket provides physical help and spiritual hope to those in need. The buckets contain food, soap, gloves, bleach and other vital supplies.

The World Health Organization has reported there have been 22,000 cases and 8,800 Ebola deaths in West Africa. The virus has sickened more than 800 health workers and killed more than 400 – a massive total for a region that has few hospitals, doctors and nurses.

“The Bucket Brigade is one of the best ways to try to get out in front of the Ebola virus. The outbreak has been unprecedented, and containment is the best way to stop the spread of the disease – it is invaluable to help bring this to an end,” said Sheila Leech, vice president of global healthcare.

Donations can be sent through the Bucket Brigade website www.reachbeyond.org/ebola, by calling 1-800-873-4859 or by mailing Reach Beyond at 1065 Garden of the Gods Rd., Colorado Springs, CO 80907-3405.

As an additional gift, those who donate of $35 or more will receive a free “Make Ebola Kick the Bucket” T-shirt.

The campaign also helps people spread the word through a special toolkit that includes images, icons, posters, badges and more. Churches and other organizations can create Facebook pages, church bulletin announcements and other items by going to the website and clicking the “Download the Tools” button.

For 83 years the passion of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) (www.reachbeyond.org) has been to make disciples of Christ. Using mass media, healthcare and education and working with partners around the world, Reach Beyond has ministries in more than 100 countries. Together with partners, the gospel is aired in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of healthcare patients are meeting Jesus. Local believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers.

Reach Beyond, American Idol Finalist Phil Stacey Releases Powerful Song Encouraging Christians to Share Faith in Jesus

Proceeds on iTunes Go toward Funding Mission Work and Community Development around the World
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Jan. 28, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — American Idol finalist and Christian recording artist Phil Stacey recently teamed up with Reach Beyond (www.reachbeyond.org) to record a powerful and compelling song — “Reach Beyond” (www.reachbeyond.org/media/single) — that serves as an anthem to remind Christians that Jesus reached beyond the glory of heaven to save broken humanity.  The song also encourages believers in their efforts to tell others about Jesus.All royalty and sales proceeds from “Reach Beyond” will go toward the ministries of Reach Beyond, whose primary purpose is to reach the unreached with the love and message of the gospel. Ministries of Reach Beyond that will receive funding include radio and media programs worldwide that communicate the gospel, water wells in Ghana, community health clinics in Ecuador and Ebola prevention programs in Africa.

The song is currently available on iTunes (itunes.apple.com/us/album/reach-beyond-single/id944122831) and other digital music services, including Spotify, Amazon, Google and several more.

Stacey was a top five finalist on American Idol in season six and has recorded three top 40 Christian and country music hits. “Reach Beyond” was written by Ty Stakes, executive director of the Asia Pacific Region for Reach Beyond, and composed, arranged and produced by Dove Award winner Chris August (www.chrisaugustmusic.com). The song’s message encourages Christians to recognize the price Jesus paid and the responsibility believers have to model Jesus and “reach beyond” to others.

“I was thrilled when Reach Beyond approached me about recording this song,” said Stacey. “My heart has always been in tune with global missions, and I hope the personal and potent message of this song inspires people to tell others about Jesus — whether it’s in their immediate communities or in a country thousands of miles from home.”

The lyrics challenge listeners to move beyond their comfort zones, remembering what Jesus has done in their own lives to bring them to Him:

No turning back now, I offer my life.
Help me follow Your example and be a living sacrifice.
Use my voice, Lord, oh, use my hands, speak the truth,
Touch the hurting, let the broken understand…
That because of Your love, You would reach out to me.
No one You’ve created is beyond Your reach!

“I’ve been privileged to devote my life’s work to reaching the lost with the gospel,” said Stakes. “The lyrics to ‘Reach Beyond’ are a personal reflection of what I’ve experienced and the importance of never giving up in our efforts to reach the lost. My prayer is that the words will remind people that our work is not done once we become Christians. In fact, it’s only beginning.”

One listener on iTunes, who gave the song five stars — the highest rating — said, “Loved it! An anointed song of mercy and love!”

To download “Reach Beyond” on iTunes, visit itunes.apple.com/us/album/reach-beyond-single/id944122831.

Additional information about Reach Beyond and its efforts to plant radio stations around the world is available at www.reachbeyond.org.

For 83 years the passion of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) (www.reachbeyond.org) has been to make disciples of Christ. Using mass media, healthcare and education and working with partners around the world, Reach Beyond has ministries in more than 100 countries. The gospel is aired in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of healthcare patients are meeting Jesus. Local believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers.

SonSet Solutions to Become Independent, Nonprofit Ministry

Move Allows Organization to Cultivate New Ministry Opportunities While Still Serving Technology Needs of Reach Beyond
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Sept. 29, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — The board of trustees of Reach Beyond (www.reachbeyond.org) announced today that SonSet Solutions, its technology division based in Elkhart, Ind., will become a new independent nonprofit ministry effective Jan. 1, 2015. The move will allow SonSet Solutions to pursue new ministry opportunities while continuing to serve the technology needs of Reach Beyond.
Photo: Engineers at SonSet Solutions prepare a 100-kw shortwave transmitter for use at the Reach Beyond-Australia international broadcast facility in Kununurra, Australia.
For nearly 30 years, SonSet Solutions (formerly HCJB Global Technology Center) has been the technology division of Reach Beyond, providing radio technology, broadcast equipment and other engineering services to help spread the gospel to unreached people around the globe. Reach Beyond and SonSet Solutions believe the move will multiply the impact of both organizations.
“As technological developments continue to emerge at a mind-boggling rate and shape the world around us, it is more imperative than ever that Christ’s followers seize the capabilities available to us for communicating the message of new life in Jesus Christ,” said David Russell, executive director of SonSet Solutions. “The move by the board of trustees of Reach Beyond will help strengthen the church and engage more believers in God’s work.”
Established in 1986, SonSet Solutions also provides critical assistance to ministry partners who are communicating the gospel, often in difficult-to-reach locations. This includes expert advice and training for various communications technologies, the design and manufacture of quality equipment, such as transmitters, antennas, the SonSet® fixed-tuned solar-powered radio and water well development tools. It also includes troubleshooting help, repair and installation services, mentoring for technology students and research into emerging media technologies.
“The world we live in today is not the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago,” said Wayne Pederson, president and CEO of Reach Beyond. “Being flexible and innovative are key components to helping us reach those who have never heard the name of Christ. This move will help Reach Beyond and SonSet Solutions focus specifically on our unique missions. It will make us both stronger and more nimble as we tell the world about Christ.”
SonSet Solutions’ original mandate was to develop high-powered broadcast tools for the cooperative missions initiative “World By 2000.” In partnership with international ministry organizations like TWR, FEBC and SIM, the goal was to bring Christian radio programs to all the world’s major language groups. Other technical developments led to a highly effective ministry thrust known as “radio planting,” which is responsible today for more than 450 community Christian FM stations owned and operated by national partners.
The newly independent ministry currently works with more than 100 different ministries each year, enabling technology-dependent efforts and initiatives to grow and thrive.
“Our passion to see the name of Christ boldly proclaimed throughout the earth is what brings us together with many individuals and organizations,” Russell said. “Our love for technology and an ability to harness the tools it provides for the cause of Christ is what sets us apart.”
Additional information about SonSet Solutions and its new status is available at www.reachbeyond.org.
For 82 years the passion of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) (www.reachbeyond.org) has been to make disciples of Christ. Using mass media, healthcare and education, and working with partners around the world, Reach Beyond has ministries in more than 100 countries. The gospel is aired in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of healthcare patients are meeting Jesus. Local believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers.

100th Radio Station Goes On-Air in Largely Unreached Asia-Pacific Region

Thousands Come to Christ Each Year through Innovative Reach Beyond Radio Plant Ministry   
NASHVILLE, Feb. 24, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Reach Beyond (www.reachbeyond.org), formerly HCJB Global, announced today at the National Religious Broadcasters convention that it has planted its 100th radio station in the highly populated but largely unreached Asia Pacific region.
Photo: Missionary Lisa Balzer trains a pastor on the various aspects of producing a community radio broadcast at Reach Beyond’s 100th radio station in the highly populated but largely unreached Asia-Pacific region.
In the last 10 years, the mass media and healthcare ministry has launched radio stations across the region, including in Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and Cambodia; the 100th station is located in Thailand. The effort is part of the ministry’s renewed plans to reach the unreached with the gospel, and is part of its work to help provide medical care, church planting, discipleship, evangelism and community development to needy communities.
“While the Asia Pacific region is highly populated, with more than half the world’s population, the gospel has barely penetrated the area,” said Wayne Pederson, president and CEO of Reach Beyond. “We’ve made this part of the world a special focus for our renewed efforts to reach the unreached, and Christian radio is one of the most effective and economical ways to do that.”
Reach Beyond forms radio planting partnerships with local people, which empowers them to reach their communities through FM radios. The radio ministry provides the broadcast equipment, training and technical support, while the local partner owns and operates the radio station. Since the station is locally owned and operated, it is better equipped to understand the audience and determine the most effective approach to programming.
“Our radio partners conservatively estimate that more than 10,000 people come to Christ each year through the radio station plants,” said Ty Stakes, executive director of Reach Beyond-Asia Pacific. “This means more than 100,000 people have come to Christ in just the last decade. We have adopted aggressive plans to expedite the number of radio stations across the region, which will hopefully result in hundreds of thousands more coming to know Jesus.”
Reach Beyond partners already have a deep commitment and passion for outreach and a proven record in terms of ministry. Since FM radio is still the most important communication medium in this area, the radio stations serve as amplifiers for their message. Each station fits the broadcasts around its unique context, and many of the programs are pre-evangelistic, meaning the deeper presentation of the gospel often happens off-air.
A dressmaker in Thailand tuned into “Happy FM” one day and heard the announcer, who is also a pastor, talk about love. Encouraged by the topic, the dressmaker called the station and talked with the pastor on the air. The pastor then invited her to church, where she found the love of Christ and a body of believers. She now helps others find Christ’s love through radio.
In Thailand, only 0.5 percent of the population is Christian. Most people do not even know what a Christian is and have great reluctance to visit a church, even if it’s within walking distance of their home. The radio stations have allowed local Christians and churches to engage the population in ways they couldn’t without radio.
As part of its overall mission, Reach Beyond hopes to plant an additional 100 stations in the next five years, moving at double the pace of the previous decade. In addition, partners in Thailand aim to start 100 community stations in the country by 2020. Nepalese partners have a vision for an additional 25 to 30 stations, with Reach Beyond playing critical roles in both endeavors.
“The Asia Pacific region is home to nearly one billion unreached people and hundreds of unreached people groups,” Pederson said. “Our strategy puts us right in the midst of these communities and gives us the best opportunity yet to share the hope found in Jesus. The last 10 years have seen incredible progress; the next 10 years will put us even closer to reaching the unreached.”
More about Reach Beyond’s ministry, including Pederson’s new book, “Reach Beyond — Comfort, Compassion and the Cause of Christ,” can be found at www.reachbeyond.org.
For 81 years the passion of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) (www.reachbeyond.org) has been to make disciples of Christ. Using mass media, healthcare and education and working with partners around the world, Reach Beyond has ministries in more than 100 countries. The gospel is aired in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of healthcare patients are meeting Jesus. Local believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers.