During the years of partnership between TWR and ERF, the truly remarkable journey of Reverend Stephen Boayke-Yiadom, former International Director for TWR Africa, unfolded.
Rev Boakye-Yiadom was born on 21 July 1943 in Kumasi, Ghana. After completing his schooling in Ghana, he found employment in a local bank, but then decided to leave his job to study abroad. While living in Germany, he was introduced to ERF Medien by Mrs Herta Wojahn. This friendly elderly lady often invited the young African man to lunch and they would listen to the broadcasts together. This turned out to change Stephen’s career path and life altogether.
Stephen proceeded to attend Chrischona Theological Seminary in Switzerland. On completion of his studies, he was ordained in the Methodist Church, and in September 1975 he joined ERF serving as an intern under the leadership of Rev Horst Marquardt, one of the founders of ERF and Director at the time.
Jürgen Werth, former Director of ERF, recalls: “Stephen was filled with God’s glowing love for Africa. And this love he discovered in Germany of all places… He had wanted to become a banker. However, through the broadcasting series “Many roads, one goal”, he received the calling for his life. He was to become a missionary. In Africa for Africa. He became one of the most influential missionaries in African history. A missionary with a true sense for missions. It is largely due to his credit that the Good News of Jesus is presently distributed across the continent in 80 languages and dialects, has taken root in countless hearts of people in huts and houses in more than 50 countries, giving hope, comfort, and eternal life.”
In 1976 the International Director of TWR called Rev Marquardt, asking whether they had someone available to help in Africa. God’s timing was perfect! Stephen went to Nairobi, Kenya, as an ERF missionary to establish a new office and production centre in the country. He started production of broadcasts in languages spoken in East Africa. Together with TWR he launched a programme called “Africa challenge”.
On August 6, 1977, Stephen married Grace from his home country, Ghana, and she returned to Kenya to serve with him. Within a few years, Stephen was appointed TWR General Secretary for Africa. His responsibilities were the overseeing of the Kenya ministry and promoting TWR to the church and mission leaders in Africa.
In 1992 Stephen was appointed Regional Director for TWR Africa and moved with Grace and their four children Herta, Hanna, Akwasi and Akosua to Johannesburg, South Africa where the Africa Regional Office was established. Stephen’s title was later changed to International Director for TWR-Africa, a position which he held within TWR until he passed away unexpectedly on 2 June 2007.
Reverend Stephen, as everyone fondly refers to him, is remembered for his well-known saying: “Africa needs Jesus!”
Jürgen concludes: “He repeated this sentence to many people. In Europe and in the United States of America he sought prayer partners and supporters for the radio mission in Africa. Africa needs Jesus. And Africa needs people like Stephen who remind us thereof.”