"All hail the power of Jesus' name," sang the triumphant radio crew. It was on this day, June 4, 1948. The triumph was a triumph of God's grace and provision.
If such a story can be said to have a precise beginning, the story of the Far East Broadcasting company began in December, 1945. Three men, John C. Broger, Robert H. Bowman and William J. Roberts pooled their resources--a measly $1,000--to form a non-profit, international Christian broadcasting company. The men had known each other a long time and had often discussed and prayed about the possibilities.
World War II separated them. After the war, they got together again. Although John was just back from the Pacific and his wife did not want to see him go again, he felt that he had to as a soldier of Christ. He hoped to get permits to broadcast in China, but the Nationalist Chinese refused to make a decision. If Christians were allowed to broadcast, Communists could demand the same privilege. John decided to investigate the Philippines.
Two days after the Philippines obtained their independence, John arrived in the islands, seeking a radio station license. It was finally granted. With permission came an "impossible" April 14, 1948 deadline by which the station had to be on air to show "good faith." The problems were many. Because of the war, building materials were scarce. Frequent typhoons interrupted the work. Power lines lay in water, threatening the men with electrocution. Finances ran low. John was not able to get a final extension. He had to be on the air by 8 p.m. on June 4, 1948. Fighting traffic jams, he raced toward the transmitter and got there just before 6 p.m. All they could do was test the transmitter during its first broadcast. The team joined in singing "All hail the power of Jesus name" as the engineer flicked the switch. FEBC was on the air! They wept as they realized they had met the deadline. Two hours later, the transmitter broke down. But it could be fixed.
Knowing that airwaves can travel where people cannot, the station broadcast Christian messages and Bible studies. People who might otherwise never have heard the Gospel received its light.
The Chinese Communists had mass produced and distributed radios so that they could broadcast propaganda to their people. Thanks to this, hundreds of thousands of Chinese could hear the Christian broadcasts.
Later, the Communist government of China refused to abide by international broadcasting rules. A Filipino official noted that, "From now on it will be the dog with the biggest bark that will be heard in the international bands." The staff and friends of the Far East Broadcasting Company started to pray for transmitters with a bigger bark.
Some of the most powerful transmitters in the world were owned by the United States government. God demonstrated his power by making two available to the mission from the Office of War Information. Setting these up closer to the Chinese mainland, they were able to blanket the Far East with the message of Christ.
Thanks to God's work through the Far East Broadcasting Company, native speakers spread the gospel in many Asian languages. Close to two billion people hear the Word of God in their own tongue.
- "Far East Broadcasting Company. Historical Highlights 1945 - Present." http://www.febc.org/history2.html
- Ledyard, Gleason H. Sky Waves; the incredible Far East Broadcasting Company story. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968.
Last updated July, 2007