On 1 February 2018, TWR West Africa Transmitter Station (WATS) celebrates ten years of reaching across barriers of darkness, fear and hopelessness in the West African region by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing hope and providing spiritual guidance to the people in this region.To date, through its relevant, culturally sensitive programs, the transmitter continues to bring hope to the seeker, encouragement to the new believer, and training for the seasoned Christian.
With the guidance of God and through answered prayers of TWR staff and supporters, the station is now being heard by over 190 million people and the transmitter covers a large portion of West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger and Togo). Throughout the years, it has drawn an ever-growing audience.
Beside the English broadcasts, the station airs its programmes in indigenous languages like Hausa, Igbo, Twi, Yoruba, Fongbe, Jula, Bambara, Kanuri, Lukpa to name but a few.
At its humble beginnings, the transmitter was built with hand-made cement block bricks by Garth Kennedy and a team of local labourers. Garth, a quantity surveyor by profession initially started working at TWR planning the re-design and expansion of the studio/office building for TWR in Abidjan to replace the studio/office in the home of Abdoulaye and Elizabeth El hadj of Timbuktu. The Kennedy family were the first TWR missionaries to serve at the West Africa Transmitter Station. To see the medium wave transmitter turned on, and hear those first few words being broadcast into an area with more than 190 million people, was something very special to Garth and the team.
A listener of The Word Today programme in Dioula language says she and her husband were going through difficult times following a conflict between villagers. “Listening to you, the messages encourage us to persevere in prayer,” she says. Another listener from Abengorou enjoys a TWR WATS programme in the Baoule language. He says he has repudiated his wife for two years. “I got sick and in my sick bed, I started listening to TWR programmes and I understood that Jesus can heal. I received my healing and have decided to follow God and bring my wife home,” he says.
Anticipating the future of Christian broadcasting, Garth says ten years on they are still working toward the same goal, to provide listeners with an opportunity to hear the Gospel and to provide Christian teachings. The most popular programmes are Thru The Bible (TTB), The Word Today and Women of Hope.
Even in the most remote and dangerous of locations, TWR WATS quickly and effectively reaches a potential audience of billions. For many, this is their first and only exposure to the hope found in Jesus. For others who don’t own a Bible, it’s the only way to grow in their faith. While developing new technology, the transmitter is able to share Christ with its listeners – through radio for those in hard to reach areas, and with the development of new technologies such as mobile devices and other new media outlets for the younger and new generations.