Saturday, April 11, we had the opportunity to witness the opening of four bungalows at the nearby Christian radio station. Laif FM began in 2003 in a small building on Kreer Heights in Wewak, just down the road from the SIL Regional Center. Up until now there has been little else there besides the station building, but these new bungalows will provide much needed space for a kitchen, office, station manager’s house, as well as a transit house for people passing through the area. They also now have solar power as well as a backup generator for when the electricity in town is not able to support the radio station.
The heart of Laif FM is to use radio to reach where pastors cannot go. Their target audience is the teens and young adults as they realize these are the future leaders of PNG. At this point, the radio station covers much of the East Sepik region and spills over into the edges of surrounding provinces. Their vision is that the radio will be broadcast throughout PNG by satellite. To reflect this vision, each of the bungalows received a name, one for the region that is currently receiving the broadcast and the other three representing regions to reach in the future. In 2011 United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) Australia began partnering with Laif FM to help with more of the technical and training aspects of helping the station to become more professional, as well as some of the funding.
The UCB PNG chairman Phil Dunk has stayed at the SIL Center Guest House several times as he has been working with Laif FM. During one of his stays, we were running an Oral Bible Storytelling course. He was very excited about getting recordings from the OBS stories that the participants have learned and airing them on the radio. The thought is to begin airing the stories in Tok Pisin first and then possibly down the road beginning to air them in some of the vernacular languages as well. We are excited about this possible partnership of finding new and different ways to get God’s Word to Papua New Guineans. Pray for time in our schedules to get these recordings in a format that will work well on the radio.