China: Waves of Hope
Story by Shelley Nolan Freesland, Adventist World Radio
Outside the windows of the small high-rise apartment, the predawn surroundings are pitch black. Miss Zhang* leans into her microphone and welcomes her online listeners to the live internet worship called Good Morning, China.
One by one, the names of group participants pop up on the chat screen. Some people are listening alone, while others gather in small groups: families at home, youth groups or clusters of people in a church. They tune in through their computers or mobile phones every weekday morning.
The program is highly interactive; some listeners queue up to read part of the featured Bible passage, while others submit questions to Pastor Jin* as he presents the spiritual talk of the day. They have prayer time together and sing-alongs.
By midmorning, staff post a complete transcript online. The audio recording is also repeated for listeners who can’t quite make the early morning live broadcast.
This scene is currently duplicated in several other cities in China, and it represents a huge breakthrough in church outreach. For years, shortwave radio programs for China were produced outside of the country.
“More recently, however, we have felt that producers who live in the same communities as their listeners would be able to relate even better to the daily issues and circumstances faced by listeners there,” says Adventist World Radio (AWR) Media Director John Chen*. So, local volunteers set up several mini-studios in anonymous apartments located in selected cities, and new producers, such as Zhang, began quietly sharing their faith through the internet.
Going on Faith
This broadcast ministry is largely driven by the keen dedication of young, single people. The average age of radio team members is 28, in a country where it’s a perceived liability to be still single past the age of 22. They are persevering despite considerable financial and personal sacrifice.
Zhang, for example, is highly trained as a Japanese translator and could easily land a well-paying corporate job. But like her team members, she is living on an income 30 to 40 percent lower than the local average. Even these funds are not guaranteed, as the young adults are actually working on a self-supporting basis. This includes paying the rent on the apartment where the studio is situated.
“It’s a struggle,” Zhang admits. “We feel guilty that we can’t do more for our parents, who are working hard on farms far away from the city. Also, the reality is that many of us would like to get married, but it’s not really [financially] possible at the moment. However, I choose to keep serving here. Radio is a good way to tell people about God.”
To check out AWR’ s online programs in more than 100 languages, visit awr.org/listen.