A Dying Wish Leads to Hundreds Coming to Christ

by John De Cleene, Converge Missionary
The New J

Lingling knew more than those who loved her that she was soon to see Jesus face to face. As we visited her in the hospital, she challenged us to accept the TV show her husband’s family offered us. “Right now you influence a few hundred people. On TV you could challenge thousands.” We had been teaching home Bible studies where dozens had accepted Christ. She saw a bigger opportunity that we were hesitant to take.

She died the next day.

We accepted her challenge and began a home bible study–on live TV. One of the toughest days was 12 hours after 9/11, one of the biggest audiences we had. Many wanted to know how God could “let this happen.”

After more than three years, a fire destroyed the station, and the Sarraga family asked us to start the first (only) Christian radio station in our city of nearly 1 million people.  With the approval of the Philippine Field missionaries, the encouragement of the Converge National Office (then Ron Larson) and incredible sacrificial giving from our supporters, “The New J” (DXJL, 103.3 FM) began. 

During the first few months of testing we immediately began receiving hundreds of texts:  “This is an answer to prayers of over 30 years!” Then:  “You call this Christian music?”

The Philippine government had recently released statistics showing that 50% of the population was 15 years old and younger.  That clinched our desire to play upbeat music.  This would be a first for the Philippines as a whole and, more so for the City of Cagayan de Oro, the fourth largest, and the fastest growing-city in the nation.

Young people were enthusiastic and immediately started visiting the station. As church planters, we didn’t want people leaning on radio for spiritual growth, and sent them to churches near their homes. Eventually Charlie Uba, the station manager, began Bible studies at the station as a bridge for new believers to find a church home.

In God’s perfect plan the station we rented was located in the middle of the downtown area, and the tower on the roof of the then-tallest building in the city.  We started at 100 watts, basically a college station, but the signal could reach 400,000. Thanks to generous supporters, and the technical assistance of Alan Kilgore (WRVM), we eventually reached 2,500 watts and now could reach over 1 million people.

Dozens and then hundreds of people began making professions of faith.  Local pastors texted that more young people were attending church “because The New J told them to!” Previously, some pastors forbid their young people to listen. “The New J” and Christian Rock/Rap meant “new Jesus” to them. We assured them we believed Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!

The New J is completely locally supported. The only Christian station in the Philippines totally supported by the local business community. Now The New J has been turned over to FEBC (Far East Broadcasting Company), which has been leading people to Christ all over the world for nearly 70 years. Learn more here or, search The New J on Facebook and watch the live stream.

It’s the task of missionaries to work themselves out of a job. Mission accomplished. John and his wife, Lori, are currently awaiting their next field assignment. 

    Point - Summer 2018

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