Missionary Rocket Science

In a land where only about 10% of the people have electrical power in their houses, you might wonder what good such technology as electronics, satellites, radio, and cell phones might be. Actually, such technology is very useful, indeed. Technology is no substitute for living and proclaiming the Word of God. It can, however, make it easier to reach people with the Word of God and make the logistics of getting the Word of God to new people groups much easier.

We rely heavily on communication satellites. All of our telephone calls from Ukarumpa to anywhere farther than Kainantu are carried by satellite, no matter which way we make them. The Papua New Guinea Christian Broadcasting Network (also known as Wantok Radio Light) uses a satellite channel to distribute its programming to FM radio stations scattered all over the country. Our Internet connection is via satellite. In a country consisting of about 600 islands, including the very large and mountainous island of New Guinea, satellite links are the most practical way to communicate in many cases. Running cables all over the place is way too expensive, and far to vulnerable to damage by vandals, earthquakes, and other problems. We also make heavy use of HF and UHF radio links.

A few weeks ago, the local Wantok Radio Light station in Kainantu stopped working. Its receiver (shown in the picture) apparently suffered damage to its RF front end in a lightning storm. The station manager sent a replacement up via an SIL flight, and I put the new one in place. Many people were happy to be able to hear their favorite Christian programming, again.

Although few people have electrical power in their houses in Papua New Guinea, there are many battery-operated radios listening in. We have distributed about 700 fix-tuned, solar powered radios to people in Wantok Radio Light’s service area, so far.

Yes, the Good News of Jesus Christ is simple enough for a child to believe. Rocket science can help deliver that good news.