Gospel in the airwaves in Timor-Leste

Gospel in the airwaves in Timor-Leste

MAF flew a team to Lospalos to install a new Christian radio service that will help to reach 30,000 people with the Gospel.

‘This morning we’re very excited,' we’re going to be switching on a new Christian radio service at a remote location up at the far eastern part of East Timor, at Lospalos.’ said UCB’s Ian Worby, pointing to it on the map.

Story and images, Ian Worby

‘We’re going to be flying out of Dili and touching down at a dirt strip just north of the town,’ he continued, tracing the route on the map, ‘and hopefully, in about four or five hours’ time, Radio Voz 89.5 will be broadcasting its message- making East Timor a better place!’

The middle of two medevacs

The day had begun later than planned for the team of three, including Ian, UCB’s Projects Manager Grant Kennedy and Pastor Elienae Moura, after a last-minute request for a medevac flight from Oeccusi delayed them by a few hours.

Now they watched as the young boy with complex fractures to his leg and arm was carried to the waiting ambulance that would transport him and his mother to hospital.

A second medevac call had come in, this time for Lospalos where the radio team were headed. So they quickly loaded their equipment and jumped on board with the nurse who would accompany the patient on the return flight to Dili.

An overview

As the plane took off and climbed in the sky the passengers admired the changing scenery. Flying overhead, they recognised Manatitu and Bacau - two towns where they installed radios on last year’s trip.

A short while later, the town of Lospalos came into sight. A single dusty road lined with houses drew a line across the hilly terrain. The dirt airstrip outside of town was harder to distinguish but Pilot Timon Kundig had no trouble locating it as he brought the plane into land.

'We arrive to see an elderly man with TB put on the MAF flight back to Dili,' Ian explained, describing the transfer from ambulance to plane that took place while they unloaded their equipment into the waiting vehicle.

‘We’ve got all our gear, and here’s our transport out to the church so we can get the radio station on. I had better get a wriggle on because we have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time!’

‘Huge thanks to the Crew at MAF Dili for safe trips and looking after our needs as a Christian media ministry ... we couldn't have done these installations without you!’

Aerial challenge

With less than 3 hours to do the new radio station installation they waved goodbye to the MAF flight then drove 20 km into Lospalos. A length of galvanized pipe that would serve as the radio mast was purchased at the local hardware store on the way.

At the church, Pastor Elienae climbed a ladder to the veranda roof to fix the brackets that would support the six-metre mast. Inside Grant had climbed another ladder and was fixing brackets for the transmitter and radio automation system to the inside wall.  ‘With the right equipment and know-how it doesn’t take long to get the receiver up and running,’ Ian encourages. 

‘The guys are working hard so that we meet the deadline well before sunset,’ he explains, exclaiming ‘Up she goes!’ as the mast was swung into position and secured in place. At ground level, a large metal rod was hammered in to earth the antenna and give vital protection from lightning strikes. 

The receiver is finally installed and switched on to exclamations of,'Thank you Jesus, it works!’

‘The Gospel will go out from this church in Los Palos and reach 30,000 or more in the district where there was no Christian radio before - so it’s very exciting!’ Ian explains, as everyone tunes in.

'Thank you Jesus, it works!'

Tuning in to hope

‘The pastor is very happy to hear Christian radio for first time in Lospalos.’ The team keep listening all the way back to airstrip in the truck. ‘There’s a good clear signal!’ Ian remarks. 

Local crowd appears from nowhere to watch the MAF plane land and taxi to where the passengers are waiting. Kids enjoy sitting in the plane while the pilot completes his final checks. Pastor Elienae takes the opportunity to tell the locals that they can now tune in and listen to Radio Voz in Lospalos 89.5 FM.  

The team look for the church from the air as they head home. They can’t resist seeing if they can tune in to Radio Voz from the air as farms and rice paddies, and a lake with cattle and water buffalo, all pass beneath them.

Flying over the mountains, they take note of some well positioned radio towers the on the mountains. They scout out locations where a radio service can be installed in the future.

Coming into land, they are greeted by the familiar landmark of Christo Rei, a huge statue of Jesus that can clearly be seen for miles around, as they approach Dili from the east. Thanks to their work today, many more will be able to hear the words of Jesus.

‘Huge thanks to the Crew at MAF Dili for safe trips and looking after our needs as a Christian media ministry ... we couldn't have done these installations without you!’

‘With the right equipment and know-how it doesn’t take long to get the receiver up and running!’