One of the delightful people who I have met in my three weeks in Thailand is Georgina Stott (pictured here), an Australian who has been in Thailand since 1968. She came over in her early 20’s, fell in love with the place and the people, and stayed. While she has done a variety of things over the years, she is now the Director of FEBC Radio International in Thailand. At her invitation, I spent the afternoon at FEBC Headquarters in Bangkok and learned, from her, what FEBC Radio International is doing to reach the unreachable in Southeast Asia with a message of hope. After touring the station and meeting the staff, she and I sat together on this couch by the door and I listened as she told story after story of the amazing things this tiny nonprofit is doing in Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia.
In studios the size of walk-in closets in my home in Stephenville, Texas, FEBC FM 103.75 and FM 96.75 goes on the air at 6 AM each morning and broadcasts nonstop until 10 PM at night in Bangkok. Workers at nearby factories who listen as they work love the station so much that they even tell the staff when they are going on vacation and when they will return. FEBC also places daily half-hour programs on 40 radio stations throughout the country. FEBC Radio International broadcasts family oriented programming, Christian music (especially music and songs composed by local musicians), Christian news, and Bible teaching in Thai and Isaan (a dialect used in Northeast Thailand). Short Wave programs are also broadcast in 23 other languages, representing a variety of people groups in Southeast Asia. The staff at FEBC are multi-lingual and many represent the people groups that the radio station is trying to reach with its programming.
The station averages 2,000 letters per month from listeners. Each letter is read and answered individually, by hand, by a member of the staff, building relationships with individuals who may have no other contact with Christians. In many areas of Southeast Asia, believers are persecuted for their beliefs, so names and contact information are never shared. Depending upon the concern voiced by the person writing the letter, suitable materials are enclosed with the response, including a leaflet asking the listener whether they would like to study a free Bible Correspondence Course. Simple Biblical concepts are taught in six lessons with each course. More than 31,000 students have requested these materials over the past ten years and, of these, more than 92% indicate that they are not Christians. There are now students studying these materials in each of the 76 provinces in the country.
Georgina is often asked whether FEBC Radio International works with local churches. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Each time a listener contacts FEBC and indicates that they would like to attend worship at a church, FEBC staff contacts a local pastor or evangelist and requests their assistance in welcoming and helping the listener. While not all of these contacts result in individuals making a commitment to Jesus Christ, some do. At the present time, FEBC is referring approximately 95 listeners a month to local churches.
FEBC Radio International is supported by donations from listeners and interested individuals around the world. Georgina tells the story of one such person – a Chinese lady who listened to FEBC broadcasts during her lifetime and generously supported FEBC’s work. Since her death, her children have continued to support FEBC’s work with a monthly contribution in her memory. FEBC also receives donations of clothing and other items that FEBC staff works to distribute to listeners in need.
Other photos I took today include: