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Trinity Broadcasting Network Impacting the Continent of Africa with Dynamic Christian Television
LOS ANGELES (July 17, 2013) — Can a television network impact an entire continent? Yes it can — and it has! Since launching its first network in Africa in the 1980s, Christian television pioneer Trinity Broadcasting Network has been hard at work, partnering with government and church leaders across the continent to establish strategically located Christian TV stations that are sending out the light of the Gospel 24 hours a day into every African nation.
“When we first launched TBN forty years ago with one tiny station in Southern California, we knew God's plan was to use television to reach the entire world with the message of His love,” said TBN founder Dr Paul Crouch. “And in Africa there were key leaders whom God miraculously connected us with to establish some of TBN's earliest international stations.”
One of those leaders was Lennox Sebe, the first president of South Africa's Ciskei homeland, who in 1981 extended an invitation for TBN to establish a station in his country. “President Sebe gave us the permit to build our first station in Ciskei,” recalled Dr. Crouch, “and with that a door was opened for the birth of TBN on Africa's southern tip.”
President Sebe went as far as to send his country's Ambassador at Large, Doe Stain, to the U.S., where he appeared on TBN's popular Praise the Lord program to read a proclamation from the president. “My government hereby authorizes Trinity Broadcasting Network to set up a television broadcasting station in the Republic of Ciskei,” read Mr. Stain from the official document. “It is our belief that … as people are uplifted by the educational and spiritual programs, the eyes of the blind will clearly be opened, resulting in a rich harvest of souls. May God continue to bless the great work you are doing to His glory. We are looking forward with joy to your arrival in our country, from where we believe the Lord is going to do a great thing in Africa.”
Indeed, great things were to come, as the launch of that first station opened the door to stations in the Transkei and Bophuthatswana homelands, and, ultimately, to the launch of TBN Africa in South Africa. In 1994 Dr. Crouch had the honor of meeting with South Africa's new president, Nelson Mandela, who assured Dr. Crouch that as South Africa transitioned to a new political era, TBN would continue to be free to broadcast the Gospel throughout southern Africa. “The role of the church cannot be underestimated,” Mr. Mandela told Dr. Crouch, adding that the Christian faith would play an important role in the future of his country.
Over the years, through the guidance of South African pastor and ministry leader Andre Roebert, TBN Africa has grown into the premier Christian network on the continent, offering viewers a 24-hour lineup of faith-and-family programming for every age group. In 2002, TBN Africa was joined by a second powerful South Africa-based network, CTV, which brings viewers throughout Sub-Sahara Africa a round-the-clock mix of wholesome programming, including all the best of TBN's most popular global networks — TBN Flagship, the Church Channel, the JCTV youth network, and TBN's Smile of a Child network for kids. “TBN's early investment in the nation of South Africa has paid rich spiritual dividends,” said Mr. Roebert. “Today, with the partnership of TBN we are reaching more people across Africa with life-changing Christian television than ever before.”
TBN's successful early expansion in southern Africa served to open doors throughout the continent. In 1997 TBN partnered with Christian leaders in Uganda for the launch of Lighthouse Television in the capital city of Kampala. TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch said that over the last decade and a half Lighthouse TV has helped bring hope and restoration to a people who suffered for years under oppression and poverty. “This powerful Gospel messenger has become a symbol of unity and a platform for healing in a country torn apart by war, violence, economic hardship, and the devastation of AIDS,” he said.
Said Lighthouse Television manager Gary Everett: “Throughout the years that we have been broadcasting TBN 24 hours a day seven days a week, churches in Uganda have grown tremendously, souls have been saved, and people have been discipled.” He added that “TBN has played a major role in stabilizing our country. Many Bible crusades and conferences featuring members of the TBN family of programmers have blessed this nation.”
In 1999 TBN helped to dedicate another important African network, Kenya's Family Television, which covers central and eastern Africa with 24-hour faith-and-family programming. “Kenya has a rich heritage of godly men and women who have carried the Gospel to every corner of the nation and beyond,” said Dr. Crouch. “And through the partnership of Family TV founder Leo Slingerland, TBN is helping to carry on that legacy through 24-hour Christian television that encourages and inspires viewers throughout east and central Africa.”
One of TBN's most fruitful recent expansions in Africa has come through Tanzania's Agape Television. Founded in 2001 by Vernon and Anny Fernandes, Agape TV broadcasts throughout Tanzania and East Africa on dozens of stations, featuring TBN's flagship network, along with the Church Channel, JCTV, and Smile of a Child. Vernon Fernandes said that the influence of TBN throughout his country has been felt in a variety of ways. While many individuals and families are coming to faith in Christ through TBN programming, he explained, others are impacted in more subtle ways. “Muslims come up to me on a regular basis and tell me they are learning English through watching one of our TBN channels, especially Smile of a Child,” he said.
TBN's Africa story would be incomplete without recalling that on July 9, 2011, TBN's Matthew Crouch joined former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse in South Sudan to witness the first Independence Day of this newly formed Christian nation. Less than a year later, Mr. Crouch returned to South Sudan with a network delegation, meeting with Vice President Riek Machar and assuring him of TBN's prayerful support and commitment to bring its life-changing programming to the people of South Sudan.
“The commitment South Sudan has to honoring God as a nation and people is nothing short of awe-inspiring,” said Matthew Crouch. “That same spirit of faith and reverence is one that we have witnessed among the people throughout Africa. We are so thankful that TBN has been able to play a part in this phenomenon, and we pray that these spiritual fires will continue to burn brightly until Christ returns.”
To find out more about the 24 (and growing) members of the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks, visit us online at www.tbn.org.
Colby May, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 972-313-9500
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