Think of the Feb. 1, 2020, official launch of TWR’s Oasis broadcasts as an answer to the prayers of a Yoruba-speaking man who lives in turbulent northern Nigeria.
A couple of years ago, the man emailed TWR after listening to the world-renowned Thru the Bible program: “I really appreciate your program, sir. The Lord will strengthen the ministry. Continue to pray for us in the north. We are facing terrible persecution here.”
TWR supporters and response ministries have been praying for people like this listener. And now expanded gospel programming that brings messages of encouragement, discipleship, reconciliation and hope is able to reach all of this country known as the “giant of Africa.”
“It is our strong belief that Oasis, a wellspring of living waters given freely to all who thirst, will be a place of restoration to the languishing souls of this great nation,” said Abdoulaye Sangho, TWR’s international director for West Africa. “Through its transmission of the pure Word of God, not only will millions have the opportunity to hear God speak in their own heart languages, but also the disillusioned pilgrim will find hope again.”
For many years TWR has broadcast into Nigeria, which is ideologically divided into a largely Muslim north and largely Christian south. The 150,000-watt Oasis transmitter newly installed at TWR’s West Africa Transmitting Station (WATS) covers the entire country and several surrounding areas with a strong, clear AM signal.
That’s especially important in the north, where abductions of schoolgirls and frequent deadly attacks by Boko Haram militants and nomadic herdsmen make international headlines. Tens of thousands have died, and hundreds of thousands have been chased away from their homes, leading a Nigerian human-rights lawyer to call his home country “the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian.”
WATS Station Director Garth Kennedy said a number of technical details still need to be worked out to bring Oasis equipment up to its optimum operational status. Kennedy, by the way, was working at WATS when the brand-new station had its inaugural broadcast on the very same date 12 years ago. Oasis took to the airwaves with a complete broadcast schedule, including some new programs, in six languages widely spoken across the country: Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, Hausa, Kanuri and African English.
In addition to longtime favorites like Thru the Bible, a diverse range of regional and international programs make up the schedule. TWR leaders have particularly high hopes for two programs, The Way of Righteousness and The Prophets, which effectively share the gospel with Muslim listeners by emphasizing biblical figures recognized in Christianity and Islam.
TWR announced that the $1.45 million required to make Oasis a reality had been raised through about 4,800 generous donations. Ministry leaders believe those supporters share their desire to elicit more responses like this one from a Christian listener in Nigeria. The Hausa speaker phoned in recent weeks to tell how a program broadcast during the Christmas season had a positive impact on neighbors who belong to another faith:
“The Story of Jesus has troubled the minds of my … neighbors, and they are always asking me questions. It has become a wonderful avenue for me to tell them more about Jesus Christ. Please pray for their salvation.”
An Update From Oasis
[February 3, 2020]
The Oasis era of broadcasting from TWR’s West African Transmitting Station is officially underway! Installed in 2018 and 2019, the 150,000-watt AM transmitter is beginning its first full week of broadcasting the gospel of Jesus Christ to Nigeria and surrounding areas. Gathering on launch day, Feb. 1, 2020, in front of the Oasis controls are, from left, Station Director Garth Kennedy, Chief Technician Rabiou Chabi Ota, technician Eric Ouikoun and TWR Internal Auditor Curt Detwiler. In the second photo are Ouikoun, Detwiler, Ota, Kennedy and his wife, Fiona, and Baptist missionary Colin Ovenell. Beautifully summarizing the important ministry of Oasis and the transmitting station, the French banner above them quotes the first part of Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”