Guinea-Bissau is a small coastal country in West Africa with a population of approximately 1.8 million. The country’s population is divided between the continent and a group of islands. On the islands, few people have access to education, and health is precarious since the resources that go there are scarce. “The message of hope is further from these people, but we believe the preaching of the Gospel will reach every race, language, tribe, and nation with the help of the media,” say West Central Africa Division leaders.
With the arrival of the Novo Tempo Bissau radio station, this reality is set to change in the country, especially in the islands. With quality content in the area of physical, mental and spiritual health, Guineans are bound to enter a new era.
The first broadcast took place on January 19, 2018, with a song by Brazilian brothers Arrais and a sermon by renowned international speaker Alejandro Bullón, from the Betel Central Adventist Church. It included the special participation of West Central Africa Division (WAD) region communication director Irineo Koch and West of the Sahel Union Mission (WSUM) president Guy Roger. It was a moment of celebration for the Adventist Church in the area, after years of fasting and praying for that dream to come true.
A Long Road to Broadcasting
It was a dream that began in 1996 with Ricardo Orsucci, president of the Guinea-Bissau Mission at the time, who obtained funds for the recording of programs that were broadcast by the National Broadcasting Radio Station (government-owned) in the period of civil war. In 2001, Davi Tavares, a Brazilian missionary, obtained a license from the government, and the frequency 92.5 FM was granted to Novo Tempo Radio Station. He also acquired some equipment, but the transmitter was stolen, and the dream was once again postponed.
In 2013, current Guinea-Bissau Mission president Gaspar Gomes, together with Koch, tried again to launch the station. They went through many roadblocks as they sought resources and negotiated with the government but for God’s glory and honor, the dream became a reality, said Gaspar.
The Novo Tempo Bissau radio station, which is in an experimental phase, has enlisted the assistance of the Adventist World Radio (AWR). The world church arm of Adventist radio ministry granted funds for the purchase of the transmitter. Novo Tempo Brazil has also granted the new station the copyright and the use of their name and programs.
Leaders believe that the radio station, and a future Adventist TV channel, will provide better ways for preaching the gospel in that region of Africa. The new radio station is the first of its kind across the WSUM. At the same time, the WSUM continues to invest and support other countries, such as Cape Verde, which is very close to launching its radio station, and Senegal, which is launching its web radio.
The Guinea-Bissau radio station still has many challenges, the biggest of them being a regular provision of electrical power. Daily power cuts are common, and the cost of energy is very high because it comes from generators. So, in its experimental phase, the transmission schedule will be only three hours per day
The local administration has few resources for the station maintenance and infrastructure. They count on donations to install solar energy in the very near future. Funds are also needed for hiring employees and expanding the station all the way to Gabu city. It is something that will provide the station national reach.
The station is currently run by Brazilian volunteer Fabíola Ferreira Schliech, who dreamed of being a missionary since she was a child. “The voice of hope must reach where my feet cannot touch, as far as the ends of the earth,” she said. “God has His way for His message to reach places where men cannot go. Now a new time has begun in Guinea-Bissau.”