When Guy is Away

What happens back home when I am away? My first hope is that all of you are praying for Chris, and if you are local friends, helping her out!  My other hope when traveling in the spring is that the snow falls and then melts to get it out of the way before I come back. After over 15 years living in the tropics I say, “I am so done with snow!” The ICC trip in April kept to these “rules” with several snow events. Chris was not impressed.

Where is James when you need him to shovel? In Georgia or Tennessee. Much too far to call home for a little work.

Also, when “dad” is gone there is a lot of moping around by certain parties, no one to rough house with:

Of course when dad gets back those same parties take a while to forgive for the long absence.

Going on the trip is the easy part. With all the focused, intense work there isn’t much time or energy left to miss anything at the end of the day and the jet lag induced “fall asleep at 8pm whether you like it or not” state helps too. For Chris at home it’s very different. The routine of life makes the time pass slowly and the trip seem extra long. She is the one who really makes the sacrifice.

I have two sayings about marriage, “it’s best to marry a saint”, and “it’s better to be lucky than smart.” We didn’t get married almost 34 years ago because we wanted to spend time apart. For ordinary purposes the travel schedule would be too much, but for a season, for the Lord Jesus, its a sacrifice we can make.

And it’s very nice to be back home.

Tribal Folks Come to Jesus

Your prayer and financial support make you a significant partner in the ministry as FEBC broadcasts a number of languages into remote tribal areas using large transmitters and even larger antennas located in Iba and Bocuae, Philippines.  Most of the programming broadcast is recorded secretly inside our creative access and closed countries by local pastors and programmers then sent to the Philippines by internet.

The pastors and programmers visit the remote areas where our listeners live, often traveling for days from village to village spreading the good news of the Gospel.  On a recent visit the staff reported 2 new tribal language listeners received Jesus

“Yesterday. A new language listeners come to a small church in mountain. They want to see the radio programmer. Some of them requested to receive the Lord. The programmer said to me. There are many people listening a good news on radio. so he bought some radios to give.”

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Bible Study with an FEBC Programmer – somewhere out in the mountains of SE Asia

In this particular language and place our broadcaster’s life is in danger because he shares the Gospel in his own heart language to his own tribe.  Pray for the safety of all our programmers and pastors working in dangerous areas and pray that FEBC will continue to see the harvest of fruit for the kingdom of God everywhere that listeners can hear our programming.

According to my records we are currently providing content to listeners in 109 languages reaching people in 49 different countries using AM, FM, Short Wave, audio on demand, mp3 player boxes, live streaming and via many social media channels all in order to communicate the Good News among the nations by media, to inspire people to follow Jesus Christ.

Mobile Apps Support Ethnic Languages

Your support of “Radio” ministry in the modern day is something much broader than AM, FM and ShortWave broadcasts.  To quote a now somewhat dated commercial, “this isn’t your parent’s radio.”  At FEBC most of our languages have a broadcast, a web stream, audio on demand download and increasingly an App for smartphone that lets listeners find the content they want and form relationships with our country/language ministries via social media.   A good example of an on line web presence that will ask if you want to get the App for your phone is our new Cantonese local web radio offered by FEBC Hong Kong: SooRadio.net.

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As of today, FEBC has more than 38 languages with streaming or audio on demand web services and at least 20 languages where the ministry has deployed a smart phone App.  I use the word at least because this area of ministry development is happening so quickly and in so many countries that my information is always behind the times.

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And it isn’t just the big languages with a web presence.  With the ability to use templates provided by major app platforms even our tribal languages can mange to have Apps and a web presence.  You know kids these days always have a smart phone in their hand and they can watch or listen to any content they want.  We all work to promote professional content development by our fields and language teams so that they can compete with secular media for the clicks, likes and downloads that measure ministry effectiveness today.

FEBC is still committed to AM, FM and ShortWave radio too.  Each of these different media channels is effective in its own right and when targeted to appropriate language and cultural groups.  Even in the late 70’s, FEBC was focused on Short Wave radio as the only channel that was available in most of the areas where we work.  Now the first step in planting a new radio/web/social media ministry is to do an on the ground survey to find out what where the target population goes in terms of media channels for their news, information and entertainment. Using that information we can target a mix of effective channels to use in reaching that group for the gospel.  The goal is to be fruitful and efficient in ministry as we seek to reach people from every tribe and tongue and nation.  Thank you for supporting Chris and I, and FEBC International, as we pursue that goal.

West Family News

There are times when God intervenes in our lives in interesting ways.  Chris and I went to help work the FEBC Booth at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville recently and in the process God spoke to James, and James wasn’t even along!  Chris and I shared a row of seats in the plane with a nice young man (says grandpa!) who was returning to Chattanooga from a short ski vacation.  After talking with him for a while he reminded us of some things we really already knew.  The Denver area and the SE USA have very different situations in terms of  the job availability, housing and the cost of living.  We had some other conversations with Uber drivers and other local folks in Nashville and when we arrived home, we suggested to James that he might re-orient his job search to the SE.

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James really filled up the VW Beetle

James and his girlfriend, Rebecca, both decided that trying to move South would be a good idea.  James sent out his resume for a job in Chattanooga and heard back in one hour that the company wanted to interview him!  So it was time to pack up his belongings into our VW bug and head out cross country.  He got the job and is currently working laying IT cables in a variety of projects and locations in NW Georgia, Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky.  He travels during the week and is staying with Georgia friends on the weekends.  Please pray that he can find housing in Chattanooga soon and that he will continue to do well in his job.   Rebecca is moving to Atlanta mid-May and will be living with her folks in Marietta and continuing to work at Music In Arts store.  They are both looking forward to exploring the beautiful area of Tennessee and North Georgia.

Lauren’s temporary job with the State of Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance will be ending in July.  She has gained some valuable skills in contract management and facilitating meetings.  It is time to move to a permanent position – prayers appreciated as we support her in this next transition.

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Lauren is becoming a baker due to “Great British Baking Show”

Chris has been working less at the math learning center, which is a praise!  After running the center for four months when the last center director resigned because of family reasons, the center was sold and the new owner/manager is in place.  Another transition, but one that is far less stressful!  Chris has been able to attend BSF more faithfully and spend time catching up with friends in addition to helping James with his big adventure.

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EMDC Conference Update

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The EMDC Conference is a private event, so pictures and names are limited.  This year over 700 people attended from 63 countries.  Many of the countries represented would include closed and creative access countries.  The conference is held in alternate years either in Netherlands or in Chiangmai Thailand.  Ahead of the actual EMDC is a Pre-EMDC training event.

Pre-EMDC is a Training Opportunity

The Content, Audience Relations, and Research (CAR) Team of the IST uses this event as a focal point for getting FEBC’s content creators together when the venue is Chaingmai. It is much cheaper for our teams to come to Thailand than to go to Western Europe.  The CAR Team encourages our national staff to attend the pre-EMDC Training which included 19 training tracks this year.   Some of the many tracks offered were:

  • Video Production/Radio Production for Beginners
  • Creating Bible Comics for your Culture
  • Advanced Audio/Radio Production
  • Hands-On Orality Training with ‘Simply The Story’
  • Scripture Engagement: New Insights in Missiology
  • Social Media and Digital Engagement: Discipleship and Development
  • And many more

Working with our field leaders, the CAR Team helps the staff select training tracks that align with their field’s needs and their roles within FEBC.  Our many field staff don’t get together regularly, so these opportunities are priceless in providing the kind of interactions that lead to innovation and creativity, both of which are needed to conceive, write and produce the kind of content that will draw an audience and lead them to Jesus.

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The FEBC Contingent at our “FEBC Day” at EMDC

FEBC Field staff from Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and India sent staff.  The IST was represented by Bob, Jeff and Guy.  Bob heads the CAR Team, Jeff is our newest CAR Team member and Guy was there to lend gravitas 🙂 ; Guy was also there for several other meetings with different mission organizations that were scheduled during Pre-EMDC training.

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The four main goals of the EMDC are:

  1. To provide a meeting place where those engaged in minority language work (whether in-country or displaced) can interact with communication and media specialists to develop media strategies, explore the use of ethno-arts, and assess and prioritize media products.
  2. To network existing regional media organizations with minority language teams for present or future partnerships on actual, doable projects.
  3. To help those with some material to be able to record, edit, mix, and finish their project in hands-on workshops (or at a minimum connect with those who will see them through to the end).
  4. To provide a venue where minority language workers can express their media-related needs, learn from one another in areas of methodology and strategy, and explore ways in which they might share resources.

What takes place?
In addition to plenary sessions, workshops, and training, language-specific, country-specific, or ethnic group-specific working groups will be meeting. Specific ethnic groups will discuss language programs and language planning.

EMDC is a multi-agency consultation that meets alternately in Asia and Europe. Minority language workers in the greater Eurasia region meet with media specialists (radio, TV, Internet, mobile, social media), IT Technicians, recording specialists, graphic artists, digital publishers, and specialists in Orality and Ethno-Arts.

Guy’s Impressions

It was  joy to be together, first, with so many of our creative and motivated content creation staff.  I am humbled by how the Lord has blessed Chris and I through our obedience to his call to FEBC with opportunities to have so many friends from many countries who are passionate about Jesus.  I love to give of my life in whatever way necessary to see them grow in their capacity to minister.

I came away from the EMDC Conference proper with some strong impressions:

  1. FEBC should do more of the “lifting” to assist with this conference since it is very valuable to us and we bring a large contingent.
  2. More of our fields and especially our minority language folks would be encouraged and their skills strengthened if they attended.  I will be making a push to have these folks invited to attend in two years and possibly have a Transnational Ethnic Minority Language meeting of FEBC during the next conference in Chiangmai.
  3. We have ministry partners who would benefit from attending.  I will add them to the “secret” mailing list so they will be informed.
  4. I appreciate Bob’s passion for coming along side our content teams and encouraging them to experiment and grow in their ability to be effective ministers to their audiences.

Amateur Radio in Cambodia

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The FEBC International Engineering Service Team (EST) held the first ever ARRL license testing session at National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia (NPIC) near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With four EST members accredited as extra class Volunteer Examiners, we just need to coordinate our travel in order to have the required 3 VEs for an official session. It may seem strange to test for USA licenses in Phnom Penh, but there is a good reason. The infrastructure for getting a local license was lost through the bad times of the Khmer Rouge, but the reciprocity agreement between Cambodia and the US is still in effect. That means that if we train up local Khmer folks so that they can pass the US licensing exam, they can then use their new US license to get a Cambodian license. We have two new Technition licenses and an extra class license awarded as a result of the session.

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NPIC Amateur Radio Club during 2017 World Wide DX Contest

Amateur Radio at NPIC

NPIC renovated their Electronics and Computer Engineering programs some years ago with help from some folks in Korea who we have not been able to identify. We do know that these Koreans were amateur radio operators because they left behind a very complete set of ham radio equipment and antennas. This great shack was sitting idle for some years until the EST, through our locally resident engineer, Mike Adams, made contact with the school and built a relationship with the professors. NPIC thought it might help interest students in radio careers if an amateur radio club could be started and the shack brought back into operation.Some of the professors with the EST in the radio “shack”

The Test Takers and Volunteer Examiners after the Test

 

Mike Adams (KH0AS) and Guy West (N0MMA), using the reciprocal license agreement received Cambodian licenses XU7AJA and XU7AKA and began the process of checking out the equipment and antennas at NPIC with the help of EST team members David Creel (AH0AM) and Owen Gabbie (ZL1OG). The first year provided opportunities via radio sport competitions to get the professors excited about radio through opportunities to work many countries during international competitive events like the World Wide DX Contest, held each year in November. In the process the NPIC Amateur Radio Club was born. Since anyone can be behind the mic as long as a properly licensed control operator is present, lots of professors and students got to spend time on the radios

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ARRL VE Test Session – Listening to the Instructions

What is our motivation?

Why work to bring Amateur Radio back in Cambodia? We have several reasons. First of all, these Khmer folks are great people who are fighting their way back after almost unimaginable destruction of their society. Capacity of local people as engineers and radio technitions and of the institutes of higher learning to train such people was part of what was destroyed. As people who follow Jesus our hearts are broken over what was done and we want to do our part to encourage our Khmer Brothers as they advance their country. Beyond that we know that amateur radio exists to encourage friendship between nations, encourages development of radio technology and provides communications assistance in disaster. Each of these results is good for Cambodia. Finally, we hope by doing our part that one day our local radio stations will be able to hire local people who have been locally trained as engineers and technitions to support the Family FM network and Voice of Love Cambodia NGO.

Ministry Updates – IC Convention

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Just returning from the FEBC International’s International Committee Conference (ICC) and the buzz is that it was one of the best ever.  I think that is because of your prayer support.  Whenever people from so many countries get together, it is prayer support, that makes sure relationships stay positive and ensures that real communication takes place among the participants.

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Each year all of the Field Directors and Chairperson’s of the board gather as the official governing body of FEBC International Association.  There are meetings where these representatives take up the business of FEBC, vote to elect new Association officers, review and vote on any proposed changes to the membership and have plenty of fellowship.  Sharing stories of challenges, best practices and wisdom that comes from experience is a very important part of the gathering.

Accomplishments of Note

Your prayers had an impact on this year’s annual FEBC IC Conference.  All the participants agreed that it was incredibly productive and that our field directors and board chairmen did a lot of relationship building.  Key accomplishments to celebrate at the ICC were:

  • FEBC welcomed Kyrgyzstan as a new member field of FEBC Internatinal
  • FEBC welcomed new associate field Ukraine
  • To provide better accountability and to protect the name of FEBC, the IC delegated more authority to the Executive Committee to enforce the charter standards of FEBC International
  • Announced initial funding for and creation of a new International Growth Fund, administered by the Executive Committee to promote strategic efforts to expand the ministry of FEBC

International Service Team – FEBC International

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News

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International Service Team – All Dressed Up – Pray for these folks!

Left to right: Guy, Brigit, Mike, Jeff, Vicki, Owen, David, Barb, Vaughan, Bob, Jonathan

The International Service team attends the ICC each year.  The team’s admin group, Barb, Vicki, Brigit and Vaughan  along with  International Service Coordinator Guy support the operation of the convention.  The other team members attend because its very cost effective to be present when all of your “clients” are in the same place at the same time. Everyone was able to get together at the ICC this year except Eila, who stayed home to take care of her husband as he recovers from a difficult illness.

Thanks to all for your prayer support.