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CAMENA Newsletter - December 2022

CAMENA, Middle East

Dear TWR friends,  

In a recent trip to Central Asia, we celebrated the 10,000th subscriber of TWR’s YouTube channel in Kyrgyz! 

We had great fellowship with the ministry team and enjoyed a local dish called “plov”, with rice, vegetables and meat. 10,000 is an amazing number, knowing that the number of Kyrgyz’ Christians is estimated at five thousand and many people in Central Asia are afraid to subscribe to a Christian channel.  

God is working miraculously in the world today, drawing people to Himself.  

The CAMENA ministry teams wish you and your families a blessed celebration of the birth of Christ.  

Bernard Oosterhoff
International Director CAMENA 


Hope Overcomes Turmoil

Recent border disputes. Political unrest. Marital strife. Addiction. Economic troubles. These things can rob us of hope. But our dedicated teams who serve the countries in Central Asia are working diligently to create more relevant, thought-provoking, Bible-based content to serve as an encouragement to their own people, to deepen the faith of Christians, and to share the life-changing hope found in Christ to seekers.

Despite troublesome circumstances, God is keeping the doors open for the gospel. The Caravan of Life programs are broadcast on a several local stations. This umbrella term encompasses the different audience groups and life situations that TWR can speak hope into. Caravan of Life includes programs for addicts, new believers, women, families, youth, and Christian leaders.

An organization that works with the homeless and addicts requested the program series, Caravan of Hope, on SD cards for their patients and the people they are in contact with. This is a great developing partnership that also shows how relevant the topics and messages are.

While preparing The Value of Life programs, a TWR producer in Central Asia was able to understand the nature of forgiveness and patience on a deeper level.

A listener in Kyrgyzstan called to share her experience in trying to reconcile her marriage after listening to one of our Women of Hope programs.

TWR brings hope that can cross borders, from cities to the countryside, and from within a capital city to ex-pats living abroad. A man shared that he heard one of our programs over the radio in a supermarket in Bishkek. The people in diaspora not only find the encouragement through watching our Kyrgyz YouTube, but some of them believed in Christ and joined the Kyrgyz churches/groups abroad.

Listener Stories:

A listener in a remote village shared:

“I listen to your radio broadcasts all the time on the radio receiver via a recorded USB card. It has become more convenient for me because, before, I always waited until the evening when the broadcasts started, and sometimes, I couldn't be near the radio in time.”

A listener:

“I always look forward to when the programs start and I always listen to the programs with joy and great attention, getting spiritual food for myself. Jesus wants to bring us back to God. Thank you, Praise God.”

Believers in Uzbekistan shared:

“In our home church, almost all believers are Tajik. We are subscribed to your telegram channel and enjoy listening to your programs in our mother tongue. Your programs and Christian songs are a great encouragement to us. Thank you very much for your service.”

Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for successful work on the transmitter project in Central Asia. Pray that this pattern change will indeed reach our desired focus and that many will be blessed by the broadcasts.
  • Pray for border security and peace in Tajikistan.
  • Pray for the persecuted believers in Central Asia. The persecution and harassment of churches have increased. Praise God, despite all the difficulties, we are seeing an increase in people coming to Christ.

Talmatha Discipleship Initiative

Isolation is a reality for Christians and seekers in many parts of the Arab world. Who can they turn to with their questions? How can they grow more deeply in faith? Does anyone even care and take doubts and concerns seriously?

Talmatha’s is a discipleship program which goal is to reach out to the Arab people in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa, both Christians and non-Christians, with sound and profound biblical teaching that can lead non-believers to Christ, and help new believers grow in their knowledge of Christ and their journey of faith.

Through this program, TWR seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Reach and teach believers from a non-Christian background with the Word of God
  • Disciple “newborn” believers so they grow and mature as children of God and eventually self-sustain their growth
  • Provide a full manual of the material which complements the radio program and enables consistent discipleship.

The need for the Talmatha program was envisioned as a result of receiving many inquiries, requests, and questions from our “newborn” listeners throughout the years, telling us of their pressing need for a program that disciples and teaches them the Word of God. These listeners were deprived of going to church or having a Bible due to their countries' religious and political restrictions.

Believing in the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19 to “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and realizing the importance to fulfill our listeners’ needs, Talmatha was born with God’s glory and the people’s spiritual nourishment in mind.

Talmatha has been airing from two powerful medium wave (MW) transmitters that are strategically located in the area and are well received among the Arab people: in the direction of the Middle East and covering the region of North Africa.

The program is comprised of 390 episodes with each being 30 minutes long and being aired four days a week. It is important to note that Talmatha is accompanied by a full manual to enable consistent discipleship. The written material includes manuals for group leaders (three series of four books each) that are offered to small groups as well as for private study; these are also available on the internet. Within the first two weeks, forty-four people enrolled to start weekly discipleship lessons from the Talmatha program.

As for its Arabic website, www.talmatha.org, it will engage the users by seeking their feedback and their areas of interest – providing them with audio programs as well as scripts and ensuring that a bridge is built that helps both non-believers to find their way to Christ, and believers to grow in their faith. Also, the material is available in English on the following website: www.Dota.net.

Talmatha has been such a ray of light and hope for Christians and non-Christian seekers alike and it is the strong desire of the Arabic Ministry team to continue serving their people with the tools that God has provided them with.

Listener Stories:

“You came as an answer to my prayers! I’m a Christian from a non-Christian background, and I was praying for a long time to know how or find a way to be discipled remotely and study the Word of God through a trusted source! I’m thankful for your reaching out to me and initiating sending me the Talmatha lessons. Please do count me in! Bless your efforts in serving Jesus.”

“Receiving your email to offer me Talmatha lessons is a divine appointment because I know my faith is weak and the Talmatha program is powerful, although I’ve just listened to a few episodes! I’m excited to be enrolled in your Discipleship!”

“As if the Lord sent you to me at the right time, because I need to grow in my faith and the Word of God. I am in North Africa, and I have no one to rely on to disciple me. Bless you.”

“I have come to Jesus through you, and I believe it is time for me to get deeper into my relationship with the Lord through the Talmatha Lessons, I’m in! May you be blessed.”

“You need to know that we will be seven people ready to receive the lessons of Talmatha on weekly basis, and we will try to study them. If we have questions, we will be sending them to you directly! Thank you.”

Prayer Points:
  • Pray for the protection of new believers who are facing persecution.
  • Pray for those who are requesting the discipleship material and program from Talmatha, to grow in their life with Jesus, spread the gospel, and bring others to Christ through the Word of God.
  • Please pray for strength and wisdom for the Arabic Team as they cope with an overwhelming flow of communication. This is a good problem to have.
  • The Middle East continues to be one of the most unstable parts of the world. God has put us in the right place at the right time to minister to people who need to hear the message of hope. Pray that the people in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Sudan who are facing challenging times can find hope through the TWR Arabic programs. Pray that we can continue to speak hope to this broken world.
  • Pray for the ongoing challenges with social media as our channels are restricted now and then. Pray for wisdom to overcome these challenges and to discover new ways to distribute our content.

 

 

Reaching the Riffi of North Africa

The Riffi (Amazigh) people group speaks Tarifit and live in the northeastern area of Morocco, which is quite mountainous. Radio is still one of the best ways to reach these people with the Bible in their heart language. Geographically, it is impossible to reach out to the thousands of villages across North Africa. Through radio, we can reach across the Rif Mountains even to isolated villages that no missionary or Bible could reach before.

Leading North Africans to an encounter with Christ is something that TWR has been doing via radio since broadcasts began in the Arabic language in 1974. Our goal is to help the Riffi people realize that Jesus Christ is more than just a prophet – He is the Son of God and gave His life for our salvation.

The Amazigh are non-Arab ethnic groups who have lived in Africa since around 3000 B.C. There are many scattered tribes of Amazigh across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Smaller numbers of Amazigh can also be found in Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. They tend to live in desert regions like the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains. When the Arabs conquered North Africa in the seventh century AD, the Amazigh were forced to move to the mountains. Until recently, the Amazigh people had difficulties being officially recognized for their language.

The Northern Amazigh of Algeria and Morocco, known as the “Rif Berbers,” are numerous tribes of tough and hardened people eking out an existence on the harsh, uninviting slopes of the Rif Mountains. The land, located in the northwestern portion of Africa, is a combination of deserts, mountains, and rolling fields. It is bordered by two rivers and 145 miles of coastline. Their primary language is Tarifit, and the primary religion practiced by the Riffi is Sunni Islam.

The word “Rif” is an Arabic word meaning “the edge of cultivated area.” The Riffi people group in North Africa is an oral community, learning not by reading but through hearing. Few of these people have heard the gospel in a way that they can relate to and understand. Additionally, the few believers that do exist among the Riffi have limited access to resources that will encourage them in their faith because their unique communication methods differ from those in a literate society.

Our teams in North Africa are working toward restarting the program The Way of Righteousness for this people group. This program needs to be reproduced in the Tarifit language and we are prayerfully seeking a producer to help us create this program series for these oral communicators in the Rif Mountains.

The Way of Righteousness – many prophets, one plan

The Way of Righteousness program is opening the eyes of seekers to the Scriptures and is a major initiative in TWR's global strategy to reach more non-Christians with the hope of the gospel.

This radio program will be specifically adapted for Christians and seekers among the Amazigh in North Africa. Radio provides an amazing opportunity for telling the Good News to a people group who often feel isolated.

The Way of Righteousness series is a collection of 100 programs meant for adults from a non-Christian background and produced to help them realize that Jesus Christ is more than just a prophet; He is the Son of God and gave His life for our salvation. This program begins on a level that the people of the region can understand and accept, to show them that Jesus is the Son of God and the only way to God.

The Way of Righteousness follows a chronological Bible storytelling method, which is considered by many missionaries and church planters to be an effective method to reach people groups across regions like North Africa. These 15-minute lessons take the listener on a journey through the Scriptures to view God's unchangeable purpose for humanity. The program takes the form of a discussion and follows the method of teaching chronologically through the Bible starting with the prophets and major stories of the Old Testament. This approach focuses on the theme of redemption in the Scriptures pointing to the person and work of Jesus Christ-making the redemption story more understandable to the non-Christian listener.

The program uses illustrations to explain the gospel. The Amazigh don't have a complete Bible in their heart language. The Way of Righteousness is significant because it allows them to know God's Word. A big percentage of the Amazigh people will hear the gospel for the first time. Others will continue to grow in their faith.

The Way of Righteousness' friendly, non-confrontational manner gives practical, easy-to-understand answers to the seeker’s most common questions and has proven to be one of the most effective programs to reach the people who follow the local religion of North Africa, as evidenced by its warm reception from the audiences.

The program in the Tarifit language when ready for broadcast will be aired if a suitable slot can be found, for 15-minutes each week on Medium Wave. It will also be made available via websites and social media with audio and visual content.

Listener Stories:

Oral communication is a term that represents one of the major thrusts in missions today and reaching these societies with the gospel is vital. The oral culture of the Riffi as well as the severe restrictions and persecution of local Christians when living out their faith make it difficult to give written feedback to our broadcasts. But silence does not mean that no one is listening!

Prayer Points:
  • Pray for a producer to help launch The Way of Righteousness in the Tarifit language. We are looking for someone who is mature, gifted, and has the right motivation and willingness to do this kind of media work.
  • Pray for God to prepare the hearts of the Riffi of North Africa to be receptive to the gospel.
  • Pray for strength, patience, and overall resilience for our Kabyle follow-up workers as they work in very frustrating conditions due to frequent power outages and internet connectivity issues, often cutting short their conversations with listeners.
  • Increasing poverty and illness due to a worsening economic crisis in Algeria is making life very difficult for many of our Kabyle listeners. Pray for the Lord to mightily provide for His people amid these very challenging times.
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