With an Easter twist, TWR and Cru are renewing a collaboration that takes The Story of Jesus audio drama to many unreached people groups in their own languages.
“Usually we do radio around Christmas,” said Tom Terry, head of global broadcast strategy for Cru’s Jesus Film Project. “However, Easter has proven to be the greatest time for us to feature the JESUS film on television around the world. So, this year we thought we’d see if we could get some good traction with radio for Easter. … We wanted to concentrate on a small number of countries that Jesus Film Project is putting an emphasis on because they are among the least-reached countries in the world.”
The Story of Jesus is an adapted audio version of the world-renowned JESUS film and has been broadcast during three Christmas seasons over the global TWR (Trans World Radio) radio network. The drama, which is also available in multiple languages on the TWR360 website, has been well-received with audiences in many parts of the world.
One Nigerian listener responded after the Christmas 2019 airing, “The Story of Jesus has troubled the minds of my Muslim neighbors, and they are always asking me questions about it. It has become a wonderful avenue for me to tell them more about Jesus Christ. Please pray for their salvation.”
Brandon Neal, the TWR Media Services manager who works with Terry to coordinate the collaboration, said the response from Nigeria and many others were especially encouraging to him.
“One year, we got just thousands of responses to the program,” Neal said. “And that was just one airing of it. So, this time, having a few different airings in these different languages, I'm excited to see what kind of response we’ll get. What I'm hoping to accomplish is for as many people as possible to hear it, to hear the story of Jesus and understand it well enough that they can make a choice of whether they're ready to follow Christ.”
The program will air over AM, FM and shortwave in 21 languages, most of them centered in Asia, though Iran’s Farsi and Russian will also be included. In addition to major languages like Mandarin, Hindi and Japanese, lesser-known ones like Uyghur, Lhasa Tibetan and Kazakh are among that number.
TWR national partners in the areas where the 90-minute audio drama is broadcast will tailor the individual broadcasts to local needs and styles – for example, breaking them into shorter segments, adding introductory comments and telling listeners how they can get in touch.
“I’ve seen over the decades how much impact radio has on people around the world,” Terry said. “… Radio still reaches an area where TV may not touch, and that makes radio valuable and critical to reaching the world for Christ. I want the JESUS audio drama to be a part of it.”
Jesus Film Project is a ministry of Cru, the name for the ministry Campus Crusade for Christ International in the United States. TWR proclaims the gospel on multiple media platforms to 190 countries and in over 275 languages.