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Serving With Joy for 45 Years

By Bulelwa Mokori
Africa, Eswatini, South Africa, S&E Africa, W&C Africa
1 December 2022

Steven and Lorraine standing outside near a river.

After 45 years of service, Steve and Lorraine Stavropoulos are scaling down and relocating from Eswatini to a small cottage in Pretoria, South Africa. The couple will continue to work remotely from there on TWR projects and on the ground from time to time when and where needed. “We will see how the Lord unfolds the plan,” Steve says.

Bulelwa Mokori, TWR journalist, met with them to get a glimpse of their long journey of service with TWR across the past four and a half decades.

Old photograph of Steve, Loraine and Paul FreedIt was during a church sermon on a Sunday evening that Steve Stavropoulos felt challenged by God to use his career to reach the people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Steve tried one or two Christian missions but did not get any satisfaction. “I prayed asking the Lord about it. After qualifying as an electrical engineer, I started working in Johannesburg,” says Steve in the interview.

Through word of mouth at his church, Steve heard from one of the congregants that TWR needed an Electrical Engineer to work in Eswatini. “I had an opportunity to visit TWR offices and after several interviews and a meeting with Dr Paul Freed, the founder, I felt that it was what God had called me to do. I started learning about the transmitters and helping TWR,” Steve recalls.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

Old photograph of Steve working with radio monitoring equipmentWhile working at TWR, Steve attended Rosebank Bible College, where he met Lorraine. She recalls, “I grew up in Durban and attended the Bulwer Road Baptist Church, where I learnt about mission work. When I was very small, my aunt used to say she would pray that I become a missionary. I got saved later in my teens and worked for the YWCA, which sent me to Rosebank Bible College. That is where I met Steve in 1978. I did not have a Bible, so Steve gave me a lift to go buy one. He told me that he worked for TWR.” In January 1979, Steve and Lorraine got married.

There was an indication from TWR to send the couple to serve the Lord in Sri Lanka, but God instead directed them to Eswatini, where Steve worked shifts for a number of years, became operations manager and later chief engineer for 18 years. Lorraine cared for their three children and later became TWR DX secretary, first for Swaziland (now called Eswatini) and later for Africa. She is still sending out QSL cards to DXers (hobbyists who try to pick up radio stations that normally would not be audible at very long distances.) DXers collect verifications — known as QSLs — as mementos of their discoveries on the dial and also to demonstrate how many stations they have been able to pick up. Lorraine uses the cards she sends them as a platform to minister to DXers, many of whom are not Christians, printing Scripture on the cards and praying for their salvation.

In May 2014 the Stavropouloses moved on to serve at the West Africa Transmitting Station (WATS), where Steve served as engineer for four years. Lorraine enjoyed being a mission hostess and started auditioning and editing TWR English radio programmes.

From WATS they moved to South Africa for a short stay, after which they were called back to Eswatini at the end of September 2018, where Steve took up the position of station director.

MINISTRY HIGHLIGHTS

During their many years of service, ministry highlights were plentiful. They shared some:

photo of Lorraine at a desk with text reading: Lorraine with listener lettersOne of their mission highlights was when a team of students from Cape Town was tasked to build a new antenna for Angola. Steve recalls, “By that time, the transmitter wasn’t connected yet. It was on a New Year’s Day, and my family helped me to connect the transmitter. It was fun but risky as my son, Duane, had to hold the bucket of the tractor together with Lorraine lifting me up to connect the wires. It was fulfilling to hear that the people of Angola could listen to their programmes. The signal was clear, and it was exciting as well as emotional that a good job was accomplished, reaching out to the people of Angola. The listeners shared how God helped them to get salvation. It was indeed rewarding.” 

Lorraine shares that in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 25 churches were established through listening to TWR programmes.


“These people were illiterate and could not write letters, but we were delighted to hear [later] that about 4,000 believers in the gospel were attained through the TWR broadcasts.”

Another highlight was the broadcast from Eswatini to India. Within two weeks 400 letters were received.

“It was exciting to open all those letters from India.”

They have so many stories, but one more they shared was as follows:

“In 1994 we took a road trip to Malawi as a family. At the border gates, an officer looked tired. When we told him we work for TWR, his whole face changed. He said he listened to TWR progammes from Eswatini. It was exciting to meet people listening to TWR programmes.”


Please pray for Steve and Lorraine as they slow down somewhat, but not totally, in their golden years.


Images Courtesy of Steve and Lorraine Stavropoulos
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