Written by: FEBA South Africa
Article source: JOY! Magazine

Most Influential Christian Radio. Best Talk Show. Best Broadcaster. In November 2023, FEBA Indonesia (also known as YASKI) celebrated their 54th anniversary and Radio Heartline’s 25th by winning several awards. It received Best Talk Show and Favourite Broadcaster at the KPID (Regional Indonesian Broadcasting Commission) Awards Night; was named one of the top five child-friendly stations, out of more than 120 other stations; and was chosen by PEWARNA (Association of Christian Journalists) as Most Influential Christian Radio.

FEBA Indonesia works relentlessly to spread the Good News across Indonesia. One of their listeners shares this testimony: “After receiving a shortwave radio from you, I began listening to your programme regularly. Your messages touched my heart and I decided to follow the Lord.”

“In the eyes of foreigners, Indonesian people are really kind and accept a lot of things,” says FEBA Indonesia’s director, Yoke Pribadi. “Most people here don’t know who their Saviour is. Through FEBA Indonesia, I believe God will use me to spread the Word and give me an opportunity to be involved in His work.”

Challenges lead to opportunities
Indonesia, known for its tropical beauty and friendly people, poses a great challenge for Christian evangelists in geographical, linguistic, and religious terms. It has 17 508 islands and is the world’s largest archipelago to form a single state. Its population of more than 277 million people is spread across 922 islands, with about half of them situated on Java, making it the most densely populated island on earth. Many places are located in forests and mountains, and are extremely difficult to reach. When it comes to language, Bahasa Indonesia is the official language and widely spoken. Indonesia is also the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation – approximately 87% of people follow Islam. Officially, the government upholds freedom of religion, but in reality, Indonesia is among the top 50 countries on Open Doors’ World Watch List of places where Christians suffer the most persecution. Nevertheless, FEBA Indonesia is undaunted in the face of these obstacles. “Everything has challenges,” says director Pribadi. “But the challenges are the things that make us grow up.” Indeed, many of the challenges have provided the team with opportunities to spread God’s Word.

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‘Remember the prisoners’
Indonesia’s location and geography make it a popular transit point for illicit drugs, even though the country has some of the strictest anti-drug laws in the world. Prison Insider reckons that approximately 70% of Indonesia’s prisoners are serving time for drug-related offenses. Prisons are notoriously crowded, and prisoners live in squalid conditions. FEBA reaches prisoners wherever radios are allowed. In Thailand, thousands of prisoners have even completed FEBA’s Bible Correspondence Course! This past Christmas, FEBA Indonesia made sure to reach out to prisoners – those who have become Christians and others – to comfort and encourage them at a time when they felt their separation from family most keenly. FEBA arranged for local churches in more than 500 locations to visit their nearest prison and conduct a Christmas service, to remind the inmates of God’s love and grace for them.

‘Carry each other’s burdens’
As in most countries, poverty is a problem in Indonesia. The fast-growing economy is leaving many behind. Enter the YASKI Foundation, FEBA Indonesia’s humanitarian team, who demonstrates God’s love to the poor, helpless, and the marginalised. The team runs a counselling helpline, both on the phone and WhatsApp, where listeners can send requests for prayer. When they learn of a listener who is limited in some way, the team travels to them and lends whatever aid they can – cleaning the house, buying groceries, even helping to pay tuition fees. They help victims of natural disasters, minister to refugees by providing food packages and radios, hold services for street children, and services in mental hospitals. Furthermore, YASKI supports hundreds of ministers in rural areas, where poverty is rife. They send money for food and look for ways to help the ministers farm – for example, by supplying live chickens – so that the ministers can become self-sufficient. In return, the ministers encourage their congregations to listen to FEBA Indonesia’s radio programmes. This is only one example of the way FEBA works to broaden its reach.

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M.O.R.E. is better
According to World Radio Map, Indonesia has more than 1900 radio stations nationwide. FEBA Indonesia runs seven of its own stations – Radio Heartline being the main one – but partners with about 125 other Christian radio stations as part of the Mission Outreach Radio Expansion (M.O.R.E.) project. “Our prayer is that we will be able to expand and share the Gospel nationwide, so we can reach more listeners, whilst still achieving cost and time savings as compared to developing our own new radio stations,” says a FEBA Indonesia team member.

‘Train a child in the way he should go’
Indonesia is experiencing an increase in digital media addiction, especially among children. Excessive screen time is also wreaking havoc with their attention spans, making it difficult for them to focus on traditional Sunday school-style lessons. FEBA has developed a programme to address this issue: Adventures in God’s Kingdom. The programme is presented in person, as well as through videos made available on YouTube, and teaches children to read the Bible in a systematic way, daily. Teachers also learn a method that helps children to focus and enjoy quiet time with God before a lesson. According to a teacher in Makassar, the children “become enthusiastic to meditate on God’s Word with the new method”. The Adventure in God’s Kingdom programme has grown from 40 videos circulating in fewer than ten schools in 2022, to 480 videos shared with children across 28 locations in 2023. The FEBA Indonesia team travels to these locations to meet the children and teach them about the importance of studying the Bible every day. In South Sulawesi, it has proven so popular that it will soon be incorporated in the school curriculum.

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Date published: 19/03/2024

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