Pastor Wawa sat in the chair near the window enjoying the cool morning breeze before the hot Kenyan sun had a chance to push the temperature to a sweat-inducing level. In his mind he could see through the wall behind the reception desk to the row of studios he called 'home' one week out of every two months.
His thoughts drifted with contentment to the hours spent behind a microphone, his Bible, a script and a spirit-filled heart ready for recording new devotional thoughts for his people: the Juba Arabic speakers of southern Sudan.
The TWR Kenya Programme Manager interrupted the pastor's thoughts as he entered the reception area and warmly greeted the beloved and highly respected pastor. Pleasantries behind them, pastor Wawa came directly to the point of his visit - to build a case for restoring the radio programmes in Juba Arabic.
The pastor began by telling what the past two years were like without the TWR radio programmes. "After leaving Nairobi and relocating to Southern Sudan, the full impact has hit me and left me surprised. As you know, I have been serving in the extreme south of Sudan as Bishop. After two years of this ministry, nothing compares with what I did when preparing and presenting Juba Arabic radio programmes.
"I find that my real work begins after the church service. I get surrounded by people who want to know more about what they call 'my other' ministry - that is preaching on the radio."
Pastor Wawa continues his conversation by telling three great values to Christian radio for southern Sudan.
"The first value I have seen in my work for the Church is that I have found an already existing audience established through radio.
"The second great value I have observed is the use of the Juba Arabic language. Southern Sudan has so many dialects and languages. Juba Arabic allows me to reach all corners of southern Sudan.
"And the third value to Juba Arabic radio is the value it is to our undeveloped land of southern Sudan. The war that has raged since the 50s took our country back. Communication is poor. Literacy rates are very low. And we do not have the full scriptures in Juba Arabic. A Bible teacher like me has to translate directly from the English Bible. The best and most efficient way of availing scriptures to a majority of southern Sudanese today is through radio."
After twelve years of broadcasts, the TWR Juba Arabic radio programme from Africa ceased due to a loss of funding. Responses to the broadcasts were excellent!
A student wrote to TWR a few months ago to say, "I am a student who listens to TWR every evening. I like the Swahili and English programmes. I live in a hut with seven other boys. When listening to your programme only two of us are able to understand the broadcast in English and Swahili. I am writing to ask that you include a Juba Arabic programme. Juba Arabic is understood by all of us and you will be serving us all in this language."
Your gift of R50, R100, R200 or whatever God lays on your heart can help bring back the TWR Juba Arabic radio programmes to the people of southern Sudan.
Published: 24 February 2011