Nearly every day someone drops by the Radio Lilanguka station to say hello or see how it is operated. Sometimes they also come with a request: Can you air that programme again?
One man, who is not a Jesus follower, said he listened to the station’s programmes and was particularly interested in the Bible lessons. He had heard the broadcaster say that Jesus would separate the sheep from the goats and was confused about what that meant –– could the teaching be re-aired? The station was happy to do so, both re-airing the recording and putting it on his phone while encouraging him to keep listening.
Broadcasting seven days a week from 05:00-22:00, Radio Lilanguka aims to “participate in the development of the region in all possible aspects,” said OMer Kondwani, the station manager.
“During all those hours that we are on the air, we make sure that we are filling those moments with content which is helpful and content that can build the people,” he explained.
To accomplish this, the station offers a variety of programmes. A ‘grandmotherly’ woman tells a Bible story and urges kids to memorise Scripture during the children’s hour. The local police raise awareness of relevant issues and make announcements once a week. Parts of Foundations For Farming (a faith-based programme that teaches farmers methods to restore nutrients to the soil) are taught. From news to dramas to educational teachings to music—there is something for everyone in the family.
Radios are common in Malawi, often solar-powered or built into phones. “In Malawi—and especially Mangochi District—the education level is low. It's not a reading culture but an oral society,” said Paul, the project manager of the station. “Therefore, radio is the main tool to have access to information.” Radio Lilanguka broadcasts 70 per cent of their programmes in the language of the least-reached people group they are reaching out to with the dream that they all may hear the Word of God in their heart language.
From dream to reality
Radio Lilanguka almost did not air. For over ten years, missionaries from multiple organisations, including OM, struggled to obtain the proper licences and permits to start the station. When the paperwork finally came through in 2017, nearly all the visionaries had left. But that did not stop those who remained from making the dream into a reality.
The station converted three dairy containers into an on-air studio, editing studio and technical room, walls of cement blocks soundproofing them. In 2018, Radio Lilanguka officially aired and has been sharing the love of Christ with the surrounding area ever since, spreading the good news to those who have never heard it.