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by Julia Hall

 

“What greater privilege is there than to be able to share the Word of God with a dying world in need of Christ?” says South Africa native Gail Dippenaar, presenter of a program for TWR in southern Africa called Reach Out. And never has there been a better time to reach out to the lost than during COVID-19, when people are not only fearful of physical death but also unsure of their eternal destiny.  

When most of us are confined to our homes, wondering what will come next, it’s a comfort to listeners that someone like Gail is willing to reach out by radio. 

God used a crisis in her husband’s health to bring Gail to himself. “I started looking for a church,” she says, “thinking I might have to bury him. But what got buried were our old lives. We both gave our lives to Jesus on the same day in October 1979.”  

Gail loves researching God’s Word, studying theology and pastoral ministry. When she was asked to come into the TWR Africa office one day to read the news, that led to regular participation in a morning show called Mid-Morning Coffee Break, and she later assumed responsibility for the show and changed the name to Reach Out

The Monday-to-Friday program is a chat around the Word of God. There is Bible teaching as well as interviews with missionaries and authors to share what God is doing through other people. After one of the weekly book giveaways, a listener who received a book on marriage emailed to say he and his wife were so blessed by it that they were organizing a marriage seminar to share what they learned. On Fridays, Reach Out provides a relaxing format of listening to music and sharing verses of Scripture.  

In addition to their heightened anxiety because of COVID-19, TWR’s listeners reach out for encouragement in their other sources of turmoil and share their prayer needs with Gail. Here’s just a sampling of what TWR Africa listeners are going through: 

“Can you pray with me and my son? He will be getting out of jail soon, and someone promised to take him in as I’m in a squatter camp. He is the one who told me about Jesus Christ. He loves God with all his heart. I’m asking you to please pray for the pastor who promised to take him in to answer his phone. I hear that he helps a lot of ex-offenders. I ask you in Jesus’ name.”  

“Please pray for my friend. Her husband, 55 years old, committed suicide. He was a farmer and just could not continue. Please pray for her and the children.” 

“Please pray for me! I am blind and have had some resistance from people. They tell me that a blind person can't do a PR course. Is this true? I have stopped because of this discouraging news.” 

“Please pray for healing in my son’s body. He is very sick with fever and no medical help in prison. Please pray for his healing. He can't even eat! Please pray for his body, spirit and soul today. He asked for everyone's forgiveness. Thank you.” 

“I was just listening about marriage today; it is great. I am going through a divorce, and I appreciate what you shared. I look to the Lord Jesus, who gives me strength every day. After 23 years together, my wife just found another man and told me that I am nothing and I must just get out of her life. God has blessed me so much through TWR, and I am blessed to have people who care for me.”  

Gail adds, “I love God’s Word, and what excites me is that no matter how long you teach the Word, there is always something for everyone. It is alive! I am so privileged to be part of a ministry that desires to speak hope to the world. I am also grateful to the Lord and to all the people along the way who gave me this opportunity. I am blessed.” 

Reach Out is especially popular among listeners in southern Africa and airs not only on TWR’s own platforms but also on a few local FM stations. 

For Gail, the name Reach Out has meaning. She concludes, “First, God reached out to us through sending his Son. We reached out to Jesus and accepted his gift. Now, we can reach out to each other and share what we have freely received — the good news.”