It is two months since the first case of Corona Virus was reported in the country forcing the Government to enforce containment measures to avert the spread of the virus. One of those unprecedented moves was the ban on all public gatherings that included church services and for sure there has been no physical church fellowships for eight weeks now.
In keeping up with the command that in all situations we must keep our heads held high and be ready to share the Gospel as it written in 2nd Timothy 4:5. Has made Pastors to redefine how they can reach their congregations and thus giving birth to the strengthening or re-introduction of the online Church services.
Suddenly almost every Pastors knows something about Facebook Live, Zoom Conferencing, You Tube live, WhatsApp group video call, Google meet, Insta live etc. For urban areas with strong internet has been more advantageous as compared to Pastors serving in marginalized areas where access to the internet or internet enabled phones still remains a dream to majority of the congregations.
The desperation to keep in touch with the congregation has seen some Pastors break the rules and organize for secret church meetings thus finding themselves in quarantine centers or being penalized. On the other hand, some have resolved to just wait until the day the Virus will go away and the ban be uplifted. However, in Marsabit County the National Council of Churches (NCCK) -Marsabit Chapter and The Marsabit Pastors Fellowship held a crisis meeting and resolved that for their county they would use SIFA 101.1 FM to deliver their sermons & keep in touch with their congregation. Clearly understanding that radio has no borders.
After deliberations with the Station Manager, Mr. Michael Kwoba the Pastors came up with a schedule that involve five Live Radio Church Services on Sunday and daily morning devotions running from Monday to Saturday at 7:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. The Sunday services are done in 2 languages Swahili & Borana. The Pastors have full control of the schedule as the station team on the other hand offers technical support & guidance on effective broadcasting.
Manyatta Village in Marsabit & Bishop Quampicha in the Studio.
Just like the online Church broadcasts, this technique also has its own challenges like limited time and financial resources thus making it hard to conduct the Radio Church Service exactly similar to the Church Service, the congregation is also exposed to distraction and so getting their full attention is a task. Marsabit being a marginalized area there is a challenge with electricity especially now that we face the long rains and also not many homes have electricity thus making some to miss the Radio Church services. However, we are grateful that in the past Trans World Radio has distributed Dynamo and Solar Powered Tecsun Radios to some of her listeners in the county.
Despite the Challenges the Pastors are grateful to SIFA FM Marsabit and Trans World Radio Kenya in General for the opportunity to keep on sharing God’s message of Hope and keep in touch with their congregation in these tough times. The many messages from the listeners have been a great source of encouragement.
"It has been a great blessing to have Sifa FM Ministry in this County. Many in the villages and in the cities of Marsabit have been experienced spiritual growth" said Bishop Quampicha Daniel Wario of Anglican Church of Kenya Marsabit Diocese after a Radio Church Service.
The listeners have also been sending messages to express their gratitude as confirmed by Rev. Said Diba Lole of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and also the Chair of the NCCK- Marsabit. “Through the daily devotions we received many responses from the listeners and I was shocked when I went for a mission in a remote part in the neighboring Country of Ethiopia at a place where there is only one church and the listeners appreciated the work SIFA is doing especially by delivering sermons in Borana language. I don’t know what we can do for SIFA after this pandemic because our people are receiving the gospel even more than when they used to attend Church services. Added Pastor Lole.
Similar sentiments also shared by Pastor Elema who has also been receiving appreciations from listeners and she has been encouraged by their messages just as Pastor William Godana of the African Inland Church Marsabit.
On behalf of Trans World Radio Kenya and SIFA FM, we would like to say thank you for your continuous financial support and prayers. It is through you that we are able to reach the unreached with the Gospel. Media is indeed not cancelled that is why radio bringing the Church home, you can also be a missionary and support us to spread the Message of Hope with the unreached in Mandera, Lamu,Voi, Wajir, Lodwar Garissa, etc. By sending your donations via MPESA PAYBILL 826420 Account Number: Missions or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on donations and prayers.
Let’s continue to obey the directives from the Government and trust God for He will bring an end to this pandemic.
Service Schedule on Sifa FM Marsabit
By Geoffrey Otieno & Michael Kwoba