By Birgit Billau
TWR Special Contributor
Sometimes meaningful partnerships develop best over time. Paul D. Bramsen has known about TWR ever since his childhood. But it was only after he grew up, created a radio program called The Way of Righteousness and helped build ROCK International that these two Christian media ministries formed a partnership whose outreach to Muslims continues to expand worldwide.
The Way of Righteousness, now available through TWR in more than 40 languages, was originally developed by Bramsen as a series of 100 15-minute episodes for the Wolof people of Senegal, where he was serving as a missionary. Muslims make up about 95% of the population of this West African country, and Bramsen struggled for years to find a way to communicate the gospel so that it could overcome high cultural barriers and be relatable to the local people. It took seven years for the first local person to come to Christ through Bramsen´s ministry, and this new believer, Malick,* was to become instrumental in helping Bramsen write and record The Way of Righteousness in Wolof.
The Quran, the holy book of Islam, touches upon many figures and events in the Bible, including several prophets, but gives little detail. Muslims are often curious about these biblical characters, and The Way of Righteousness satisfies this curiosity while providing listeners with an opportunity to find out more about who Jesus really is, within their own cultural context. The program is based on a chronological Bible-teaching style, and Muslims are attracted by this as they are eager to learn more about the prophets presented in these stories.
Sharing the Word within a cultural context
Another resource created and produced by Bramsen and ROCK is an animated movie called King of Glory. The idea came while he was in Egypt teaching Arab believers how to present the gospel chronologically and noticed as he perused picture books for kids that Jesus was depicted as Western-looking and that crucial biblical concepts having resonance in Islamic culture were left out. This led to the creation of a picture book that was more contextualized for Arab culture and then the production of a movie.
Today, King of Glory joins The Way of Righteousness as video and audio resources on the TWR360 web portal. The Way of Righteousness is also broadcast over radio into many countries across Africa, the Middle East and Central, South and Southeast Asia.
“TWR is a huge answer to prayer for partnership, for getting the Word out to those who need to hear,” says Bramsen with great enthusiasm. “I think we can honestly say we´ve grown together in this partnership, in the sense that we´ve had a transparent, closely working-together type of relationship.”
“It has definitely been such a blessing to ROCK International to have a partnership with a well-established, long-term ministry like TWR. We are distribution-driven, not profit-driven. Our goal is to get the Word out the farthest and widest possible, by whatever means will best achieve that.”
Observing the impact on lives
Bramsen can relate many stories of how listeners and viewers in several parts of the world have been touched by the collaboration between ROCK and TWR. This is also linked to the fact that ROCK, established in 2006 with the initial inspiration of Bramsen´s youngest son, Nate, has two prongs to its ministry. The double acronym of the name conveys its twofold purpose: ROCK stands for both Resources of Crucial Knowledge, the multilingual media ministry, and for Relief Opportunity and Care for Kids, the outreach to meet the physical and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children.
Many are the stories of people who have been listening to the radio programs and want to know more.
Bramsen explains, “We have seen people come to Christ and added to the Church through radio ministry. We´ve seen entire families impacted. They will often have been listening for many years, and then faced the struggle of turning from the religion they were brought up in.”
This often leads to opposition and persecution.
“In our city, one young lady, a university student who had been listening to the broadcast for years, came into a clear understanding of the gospel as a result. She figured out where the local church was and came and told of her faith in Christ and how she believed what she had heard. When her family found out, they locked her up as a hostage for a lengthy period, also keeping her away from the university. But God´s faithfulness kept her strong.”
Indigenous believers reach out to others
Among the world’s least-reached regions by the gospel, Central Asia is experiencing exciting activity as ROCK and TWR touch lives via the Silk Road transmitter facility. “Many Muslim background believers are “super evangelistic,” Bramsen says, and risk their lives for the sake of the gospel.
During the pandemic, they have been loading The Way of Righteousness, King of Glory and other resources in the local languages onto small secure-digital cards and passing them on to others to watch and listen to on their mobile phones. The SD cards are even included when believers distribute food and other essential items to people in need due to COVID. Recently, 1,000 such cards were distributed.
Another clever distribution method used by these Christians, at great risk to their lives, is that they place the SD cards in matchboxes, add small stones for weight and then throw them across a narrow point in a river that forms the border of an even more restrictive country. When people on the other side – possibly farmers or shepherds – pick up the boxes, the Christians shout, “It’s a film, it’s a film!” urging the recipients to try it out on their cellphones.
“You can create good materials, but they are of little value until they are in the hands of people,” Bramsen points out. “TWR has extended our reach in the world. And I know TWR has been blessed as well by having access to ROCK’s content that is helping individuals, families, and communities around the globe come into a clear understanding of the only message the offers true hope.”
God has multiplied the outreach of ROCK and its partnership with TWR and, in answer to prayer, has been providing needed co-workers to handle the growing demands. The work is overwhelming at times, Bramsen admits, and he asks for prayer that the Lord will raise up the right person or persons from the next generation with the vision and skill sets to take on more of the leadership duties.
“In many parts of this ministry, the buck still stops here,” he says, “because I've just kind of been in it from the beginning, and there's still much that I have to handle. But I don't want it to be that way long term. We are excited to see how God will continue to provide in his time and his way. He knows our needs.”
* The full name is not revealed for security reasons.
Images: The artwork of biblical scenes is from ROCK's animated video, King of Glory.