By Alan Steele and Rajmund Dabrowski – Farmington, New Mexico … Adventist church member Kyle Boyd is sensing that God has given him a special opportunity to reach out to his fellow Navajo tribal members. “Our people are desperately searching for hope,” he says. Recently, he was able to realize his dream of sharing God’s message in a very special way.
About a year ago, he heard from members at his home church in La Vida Mission of an idea to establish a radio station to reach the Navajo Nation with God’s last-day message. He immediately volunteered and discovered that the Voice of Prophecy had produced programs in Navajo many years ago. That source, with updated scripts from long ago, forms the basis of his ministry. On August 2, his voice was heard for the first time around the huge reservation, the largest in North America, and his ministry was launched.
The original dream of Navajo church members was to acquire their own radio station. However, a plan to participate in a radio license auction scheduled earlier this year was foiled by the Federal Communication Commission when the Coronavirus epidemic hit America and the auction was postponed.
They saw the postponement, though, as a mere delay, and their strategy changed to the concept of a trial run on KTNN, the most powerful station on the reservation. Thanks to numerous private donations and a sizable contribution to the project from Adventist World Radio, the group had enough funds to buy airtime on “The Voice of the Navajo Nation.”
They had no expectations for receiving feedback from listeners after their first half-hour on the air, but four listeners called for the study course that was offered. That was three weeks ago. Three programs on, five more people asked for Bible studies.
Kyle Boyd is assisted by Michael Mace, a volunteer at La Vida Mission who was previously involved with setting up a studio. He is a nine-year French missionary veteran who has worked in Adventist broadcasting internationally. He came to La Vida Mission not knowing that he was to be involved in radio ministry. “I just applied and God’s will had to be done, right? So, now I know that there was a radio behind [God’s plan], but I didn’t know that before I came.” Michael set up the studio and serves as an engineer.
Pastor Steve Gillham, director of La Vida Mission, said, “You see we have been having this dream of winning the reservation for Christ. We just kept asking ourselves here on the front lines, “What can we do?” and we talked it up when we were around others.” They got Allen Steele’s ear, and “we talked to others involved, and in God’s providence, word came from AWR [there was] interest in a Navajo station,” he shared.
The rest is history. Programs are on the air and Bible studies are being requested. La Vida Mission has increased its outreach among the Navajos.
The early surprise response has energized the program producers in their new work of preparing radio programs and follow-up that the requests have generated. To prepare programs, three church conferences with territory in the Navajo Nation agreed to make programs possible by installing small production studios where tribal members can conveniently record their radio messages.
The Rocky Mountain Conference helped fund a studio at La Vida Mission in San Juan County, New Mexico. The Arizona Conference installed a studio at the Adventist Church in Window Rock, the national capital. The Texico Conference installed a studio at its Gallup Church in the western part of the state. Holbrook Indian School in eastern Arizona also has a studio and hopes to involve students in the programs. Thanks to a weekend of training by Allen Steele, a former AWR vice-president, a dozen volunteer program producers were ready to go into action.
Until the next opportunity arrives to acquire their own station, the trial run has convinced church members that radio ministry is the best way to reach out to the huge desert expanse of their territory that straddles three states: Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
–Allan Steele with Rajmund Dabrowski; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski and Alan Steele