Radio Kahuzi Video

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Surprise in Rwanda

Dear Friends of BESI / Radio Kahuzi,

Just when we thought we had no alternative after we move from our current house and studio in March, the Lord supplied our need out of His Abundance.

Kathy and I were planning to sleep in the new studio at times when we could not make it across the border into Rwanda before it closed at 5:30 pm. There may be other times when there are  personnel, or equipment emergencies that would require us to stay in Bukavu at the station. 

But, to our surprise, the family decided to let us rent the first floor apartment right beside the studio at a low fixed rent. This comes at a great sacrifice to their income, but we praise the Lord for their love of our ministry. The apartment even has a bathroom. Not only will it save money, not having to build on the new rooms to our studio construction for shower and restroom, but it will save us valuable time constructing additions on two floors!! That was my nightmare....This is a real burden lifted!  

"...He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we could ask or think." 

As you can see from the photo, the studio is coming toward completion. The walls are done inside and out, waiting to be painted, but we STILL need to add the sound-proofing divider wall between the microphone, machines, transmitters, battery charger, and UPS power supply, etc.! The grounds are being prepared for the laying of a 1,000 meter electric supply line cable, grounding cables, meter, fuse box, switches, outlets and connections inside.

This week the local SNEL electric company is reinstalling a transformer to convert the 3000 Volts to 220 Volts for our avenue. Hopefully, they will help us lay our new underground cable this week. There is still so very much to do--so that we can move everything out of our home / studio for the past 18 years, and prepare it for new residents!

A Note from Kathy
The water company just dropped off the six meter heavy metal pipe at the studio / apartment where we will open the brick wall to add an entrance for a short driveway and parking area to house our two large trailer containers full of equipment, and a collection of 43 years of living in Africa. This offer of storage space from the family will save us storage fees in town, plus all our equipment will be safe and close at hand.

It's hard to believe that we're moving out of this home that we've lived in for the past 18 years, but we are and it's a big, big mountain to move.

We found an old trunk we packed away in 1979! Inside were curtains and those curtains look the same as the day we packed them. What a blessing! New curtains for our little apartment just up the street right beside the new studio!

We are getting the radio equipment ready for the big move to it's new home, but the new studio still needs painting and electric lines installed and new poles for the antennas and glass put in the windows, so there's lots to do yet.

I keep remembering the last time we moved into this house, the day that the war started here, and while the guns were going off, we were bringing our last load down to this house and we slept the night on the floor! I always thought our next move would be to Heaven, but here we are, moving again! At least there's no war going on! Always something to be thankful for!

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delighteth in his way."  Ps. 37:23.

On the Rwandan Side
We have had good meetings with the Immigration authorities, to see what is the best procedure for getting our visas and opening our new outreach. The normal two year visa seems to be the best method.

Lord willing, this will allow us to quickly receive the authorization to begin our new ministry including pastoral training, church planting and distance education, leading to our "Great Lakes Grace Radio and Christian Polytechnic Institute" ministry in Rwanda.

Broadcasting in Rwandaʼs "heart language" of Kinyarwandan and English will require equipping young Rwandans in technical radio, i.e. digital programming, journalism, antenna, recording, editing, sound and management skills, etc..

Classes will also be taught in English, along with elementary through high school distance education, through the Internet. This will all be under our (BESI) Believerʼs Express Service, Inc. umbrella. This is the basis of our statutes for authorization that Richard will submit to the Rwandan government. Pray for Richard as he writes the new statutes which will require much wisdom from the Lord.

Of course, none of this will happen without intercession and fervent prayer; and it will come to pass only in the Lordʼs timing and plan. We have learned from our experience with the D. R. Congo (Zaire) government to ask for a broad vision of future ministry, making sure you cover all possibilities, so we donʼt need to go back again, and again for permissions. The above outline of our vision for Rwanda will not be implemented over night, but through the Lordʼs provision and timing.

As we work together with the Lord, let us trust Him for the future ministry of BESI / Radio Kahuzi / Great Lakes Grace Radio / Christian Polytechnic Institute.

May He find us good stewards of our time and talents and not find us empty handed at His Appearing in the Heavens for us. "Must I go and empty handed, must I meet my Saviour so..." 

Let Us Keep Looking Up!

Visitors From the Past
Kathy and I are thankful that the Lord has raised up and returned to us a good friend and a dedicated former Bukavu missionary kid, Mark Neil, now a senior executive officer and lawyer of a large multinational corporation in Kigali to help us get started in Rwanda, along with an American lawyer at the U.S. Embassy.

Mark invited Kathy and me to his wife Amyʼs special Birthday / Valentineʼs Day get together with 25 guests from the U.S., Rwanda and DRC. All were involved in Christian ministry in the three countries, and were a real blessing and encouragement to us. 

Mark and Amy brought us gifts, including a MacBook Pro for the ministry and a popcorn popper with a yearʼs supply of popcorn. What a surprise blessing!

We had a nice surprise when we went to Cyangugu to stay the night at the Peace Guest House! When the staff found out that we're the directors of Radio Kahuzi, they got big smiles, and said they listen to us all the time, and that we're their favorite radio station from their neighboring country, which is Bukavu, DRC. That made us feel so good!

A Message From the President
We have heard the call to go into Rwanda while the door is still open. Won't you, prayerfully, go with us as the Holy Spirit leads. Please consider a gift, large or small, to help us reach our goal of $93,000 for Phase II: "The Little Brown House".

Or, possibly God has placed you in a position to provide a loan with interest to secure the ministry into the future. If God is calling you to make this possible, please give us a call to discuss such a commitment. (941) 746-1974.

May God bless you as you serve Him in His place of choosing.

Keep Looking Up!
Harold D. Smith, President

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Big Move ~ D.R. Congo and Rwanda

Dear Friends of BESI / Radio Kahuzi,

As we begin 2015 and our 23rd year of broadcasting the Gospel to the Great Lakes Region of Eastern Africa, we are trusting the Lord to allow us to establish our second radio station across the border in Rwanda.

The New Road Home

The Sign says, Caution: Gorilla Crossing
Currently, we already reach D.R. Congo, Rwanda and Burundi from Radio Kahuzi, which will continue to broadcast from the city of Bukavu in D. R. Congo. We have chosen the name of "Great Lakes Grace Radio" (GLGR) to better reflect our major area of coverage and, if the Lord wills, to establish a second station in Cyangugu, Rwanda. All of this will take time working with the government of Rwanda to submit our application for licensing. Please pray to that end.
Our new front porch view across Lake Kivu
A Look Back
Beginning in 2009 we knew we would need to start searching for a new housing alternative for the McDonalds and Radio Kahuzi as the unreasonable rent increases began. There were many starts and stops as Rich and Kathy were directed to different properties in Bukavu that were either too expensive or in unsafe locations, etc.

By faith, we added the category of "Building Fund Project" in 2009 - 2013.  Then on June 30, 2013, our BESI Board discussed the need for the McDonalds to begin looking in Rwanda where we could find less expensive properties. We renamed "Building Fund Project" to "Phase II" as we realized we would need to rent while raising funds for a purchase.

The mansion under our four shortwave masts
Then in December 2013 word came from Kathy telling us,"Today is another mile­stone in the life of Radio Kahuzi as we watch a group of construction workers coming to our very front yard. The lot beside our house and studio (which housed the 4 - 40 ft masts for our shortwave antenna) has been sold without notice!" The Lord was definitely, directing us toward a major move for the ministry after 17 years at this same location.

By then, our dear friend had offered a parcel of ground to build a new studio for Radio Kahuzi, thus separating the station from McDonald's housing, wherever that would be.

Rich and Kathy made several trips across the border to look at and compare properties. Finally, in 2014 the "Little White House" was located and arrangements made to look at it and talk to the owner.

Progress is not without disappointment
Richard shared, "On September 18 and 19 Kathy and I were at a real low, even to the point of turning down the offer to rent "The Little White House" as the terms had changed as his wife did not agree to sell, but to keep as an investment after days of negotiations, etc."

"Then the owner came to our gate with the rent contract for ten years--with no option to buy! More disappointment. We began discussing the contract. As it turned out, Kathy was able to put everything into perspective and our new landlord agreed to a number of modifications to the contract. It suddenly was very helpful and ideal for our needs."

On December 1st Rich and Kathy received the keys to "The Little Brown & Pink House" as the owner had repainted it inside and out and installed a new kitchen and bath!
The Little Brown House
Since we separated the two projects: Phase I: to date, gifts given total, $15,000.20.

Donations designated "Phase II" gifts total, $5,273.30. The Phase II funds along with General Funds of $6,726.70 were used to pay the first two years' rent in Rwanda for the Little Brown House. This will allow us time to save toward the purchase price of $91,238.23, or find a generous lender to finance the amount with interest. We need to make the purchase before December 2016.

Phase I construction of a new radio studio began in October 2013, and in December 2013 the first floor was completed with stairs to the second floor. On February 20, 2014 a load of bricks arrived to begin the second floor. In July 2014 the two-story 13 X 13 studio shell was completed in nine months.

Phase I Progress Slowed
By the middle of September 2014 Richard shared with Kathy that he could no longer see from his right eye and we began to raise funds for a trip home for emergency surgery. Their total expenses for their Oct - Nov medical trip were $9,277.48, which included: housing, surgery on both eyes, taxes on Frequent Flyer Sky Miles, personal items, dental for Rich and Kathy, which was covered by gifts from you totaling, $9,070.15.

Last week an architect approved two additions to Phase I construction of the radio studio: a bathroom upstairs in case Rich and Kathy need to sleep at the studio...when they cannot cross the border before it closes at 5:30 pm, and downstairs a separate small room needs to be added to house the electrical backup battery supply and transmitters due to the noise and fumes. Please pray that these additions can be added soon as the other work is completed inside the studio.

Our new watchman
Progress in 2015
Rich and Kathy made a visit to their new home. Richard reported, "On Jan 3, 2015, Kathy and I discussed our new residence with Immigration officials in Rwanda and celebrated with a cup of coffee, changed the lock on the gate at the new address at Avenue Kamebe / Karambo, Rusizi, District, Rwanda and hired and paid the watchman. (Photo)

"Lord willing, I will complete more formalities this week concerning our Rwanda residence papers, visas, and car registration, etc."

We thank you for your prayers and your gifts throughout 2014 that kept us moving ahead. We pray that you will consider partnering with us once again throughout this new year...until He returns.

Keep Looking Up!
Harold D. Smith, President

P.S. Listen to a great  interview of Rich and Kathy by Ron Cline, former president of HCJB.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Season of Joy

Celebrating 22 Years of Gospel Broadcasting on Dec. 24, 2014

Tell it Abroad...a Message of Hope to all People

Dear Friends of BESI / Radio Kahuzi,

The Christmas message that a very special child was born at the time of God the Father’s choosing and that for our redemption He allowed His only begotten Son to die at the appointed time...this message is the only reason for the existence of Radio Kahuzi.

This life-changing message is the reason the McDonalds have risk their lives living in and through all the horrendous events of the past 22 years. Most of us would have given up and fled in fear, but God has given them a vision of the millions of lost souls who need to hear God’s words of love and grace until it penetrates the heart. They have committed their lives to finish their course until His appointed time.

Once, again, the Lord has shown just how powerful this message of Christmas can be in the heart of a lost soul. A few months ago the President of a Kahuzi Radio Club wondered why the Lord allowed his family to be forced to move. Then their new neighbor, a little old man, heard their Galcom radio and came across the road to hear what they were listening to. He was trusting in the "old gods from days gone by."

After several daily “coffee times” with Claude, who was able to interpret the messages and explain the Gospel to him, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior! Through prayer and witness of the Holy Spirit, and reading the verses, he finally saw the light and gave his heart to the Lord, after all the years of darkness! 

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath not the son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." I John 5: 11 - 13.

Before he found Jesus, his hope was placed in the gods that lived in the trees, or fetishes of food left for them to eat, but he never saw anything happen. Before Claude led him to the Lord, he just couldn't believe that he didn't have to go to church to “get saved,” because anyway, he didn't have the right clothes.

Now, he doesn't want anyone to leave his house, after visiting him, before they have a word of prayer together. He doesn't have the strength to walk to church anymore, but he knows he is secure in Christ! This makes our efforts to share the Good News all worthwhile.

Our Phase I progress: It was in July, or earlier that Richard noticed the vision in his right eye fading. For a month or more, he did not tell Kathy that he could only see with one eye since he also knew there were no funds for a trip home and it was hard keeping up with the day-to-day budget and the construction of the new studio. Not until the word came from our home office on August 19 that a special gift had arrived to be used “wherever needed” did he go to Kathy and tell her of his urgent need to have an eye operation in the States.The special funds made it possible to keep all the work going while the McDonalds would be away on “medical leave,” and their Frequent Flyer Miles provided, almost free, round-trip tickets with Delta. Rejoice with us that Kathy & Richard are home in Bukavu with his new eyesight.

So, here we are in December. While they were in the States we were able to pay the blacksmith to manufacture the ironwork for the windows and doors and the masons have been working all week on the interior finishing, and electrical wiring is being installed, as we write.

We are praying to be on air at our new location by January 1, 2015!

Phase II: Praise Him! The search for a property in Rwanda is over and Rich and Kathy took possession of the keys on December 2. With your help we were able to pay the first two years' rent in advance, with an option to purchase anytime during those first two years

It was without a proper kitchen and bath; however, while Rich and Kathy were in the States the owner installed both...another Praise!

The owner also promised to help them bring their two trailer loads of household and equipment across the border when the time comes...another praise!

Phase III progress: On Dec. 3rd Richard crossed the border and registered as new residents of Rwanda, and obtained the forms and lists of documents needed to submit in Kigali for Rwandan recognition of our BESI statutes. He also obtained registration for their car. Lord willing, he will complete the governmental procedures to establish our Rwanda missionary radio ministry.

There are a lot more details and plans for expansion that we will share with you, but they will need to wait until the first steps are taken.

May God bless you for all you have done to make it possible for Kathy to enjoy her very first modern kitchen. What a wonderful Anniversary present (Dec. 16th) for Rich and Kathy to be able to breath in the “relative” safety of Rwanda and for Kathy to be able to bake cookies in a real oven. (She has been boiling drinking water outside on a charcoal fire for years.)

Thank you for partnering with Radio Kahuzi. With your support in 2015 we can continue to be an instrument of blessing to Congo and the African Great Lakes countries, planting and watering the seed of the Word. Rejoice with us this Christmas Season to know it is all bearing fruit to His Glory and Praise.

Keep Looking Up!
Harold D. Smith, President

Tuesday, December 16, 2014



Wishing you many more years together. We remember that day clearly those many years ago. We drove with the family from PA in a winter blizzard, sliding our way into Grand Rapids, MI. Carol Ann had to get out of the car and push us out of the snow and ice. She was all dressed up for the wedding and the wind was so fierce that her fine hairdo blew in every direction. I remember that I sang to the accompaniment of Vern Stromberg's piano and another professional on the violin. I think one of the songs was "There is No Greater Love." Your love for each other could be no greater!

Much love and more prayers, Barb and Smitty

Kathy and Rich McDonald celebrate 42 years of marriage on December 16.

Monday, December 15, 2014


 International Award for Excellence from Moody Broadcasting

Dr. Joseph Stowell, former President of Moody Bible Institute

Robert Neff and wife, Miriam and family
Mr. Neff was the Vice President of Moody Broadcasting at the time of the presentation of our award. The award also included a monetary gift to the ministry.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Keeping the Saints out of Heaven

             "Love Worth Finding" airing on Radio Kahuzi since 1994.                     
Do you know what the average prayer request is about? Physical healing. Pray for my aunt who is a Christian and she is about to die. Pray for my saved uncle who is having heart surgery. How many prayer meetings have you been to where people asked for prayer for their lost neighbor who is going to hell?

We are, more often than not, interested in keeping the saints out of heaven, than we are in keeping the lost out of hell. It is not a tragedy to die and go to heaven. It is a tragedy to die and go to hell. Friend, it's time we elevated our prayers outside of the physical realm of life into the spiritual realm.

Take a look at your prayer list today--where are the lost who need to be saved? What are you doing to help them find their way?

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 
                                                                                                    --Adrian Rogers, "First Light"

Barbara, Dr and Mrs. Adrian Rogers, and Harold Smith, President, BESI / Radio Kahuzi since 1986
  A year and eight months after this photo was taken on Feb 15, 2004 Dr. Rogers was with his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. As Adrian would say, "from my heart to yours" he is still speaking daily to our Radio Kahuzi listeners throughout Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and all of the African Great Lakes region.




                                      BY BRINGING THE GOSPEL TO RWANDA

(Did you know Rwanda's official language is English!) 

Greetings to our, dear, friends and Prayer Partners,

Kathy and I were temporarily relieved knowing that the Congo / Rwanda border closes at precisely 6:00 PM and we had arrived at about 5:20 PM with Mr. National, our faithful taxi-man, who rescued us at the Kigali International Airport after dark, when the hotel bus had left us stranded. Other taxis wanted $50 to take us to our hotel.

We called him, and he came and took us to our hotel for a lot less! Then he agreed to take us to the government bureaus Saturday, but all the ones we needed were closed until Monday, so we asked him to drive us to Bukavu six hours from Kigali, before we broke out in fever from our Yellow Fever shots, that were starting to affect us ...all we need is to be put in quarantine there, or between borders, since Ebola is all the rage these days!

No-man's land Congo / Rwanda
Thankfully, since there was no car there in Cyangugu, to receive us, Mr. National was willing to drive us with all of our baggage across the bridge separating Rwanda from the DRC, but when we got up the hill to the DRC crossing barrier, it was already padlocked shut as of 5:30!

Basadeke, our resourceful friend, told Kathy to stay in the car out of sight, as she seemed to be running a fever, while I ran to the Public Health and Hygiene metal quonset hut in "No-Man's-Land" just outside the access gate into the DRC to present our "Proof of Vaccination" booklets and submit to the laser temperature check. (Last month they arrested a man there for resisting after they pointed the laser thermometer at his head and he knocked it to the ground and broke it!)

The doctor had already left; and when he returned, I greeted him and introduced myself as
Director of Radio Kahuzi coming back to Bukavu with our International Vaccination booklets in order.  He was on his way home, and did not want to bother me with the formalities, as Immigration was closing!

I ran through the door at the side of the barrier and into the Immigration Office, presented our passports; but the officer said go outside the office and get the two forms to complete! They were not about Ebola, as I thought, but the details he needed to have about each emigrant. Finally they followed his order to stamp our passports for "Entry into the DRC," and I sighed a sigh of relief.

Outside in "No-Man's-Land" Kathy and Basadeke were able to hail a taxi from up the road inside the border crossing to come down just to the closed gate where they transferred all the baggage under the locked barrier and into the other taxi. I asked the immigration official if we needed to present our personal effects and baggage to a custom's officer, and he said "no" we don't need to bother you since it's just your personal effects.

So we were in the taxi and out of there as fast as the ancient vehicle could creep. When we got home everyone celebrated our return with flash lights as the block was pitch black, and the electricity had been off all day long! We even noticed up the block from our house,
the electricity cables were dangling into the ditch beside the road, and light poles in various angles with the ground, and half-a-pole ominously pointing horizontally at the entrance into MONUSCO (UN) HQ!

At 1:00 AM the current still has not been reestablished. Not such a tremendous reception after a month on Safari and six or seven hours on the road back home, but our bed feels good and reassuring even before  we get the dust covers off and clean sheets for the next steps of Faith and Adventure into the Greater Great Lakes of Africa.

Good Night!
Keep Looking UP! 
And Keep On Keeping ON!!

In His Love and Care, 
Richard & Kathy McDonald


PS:  We stopped by the new house in Cyangugu, Rwanda to see if it is getting ready for our December 1st entry. Praise the Lord, the owner has put in our new kitchen with window and suspended cabinets and sink, though it has only one basin, but he has truly out done our expectations with the bath tub and deluxe shower head fixtures, off the master bed- room, and the same flexible shower head in the bathroom beside the visitor's bedroom.

He put tile in all the rooms and around the house; plus all three annex rooms in a separate

building behind the house. He seems to have repainted inside and outside with enamel oil based paint, pink in some rooms and outside it is a light brown. I'm not sure why he changed from white to brown? If that's the final coat, we won't be able to call it "The Little White House."! We will have to get used to whatever he has planned and we can hardly wait to begin moving in!

Praise the LORD for His Faithfulness in sending us back with crystal clear eyesight restored, broken teeth repaired, protection from Yellow Fever, and Satan's wiles and schemes, sealed for our Eternal Destination in the Heavenliest Places with our Co-Worker and Co-Heritor --  Christ Jesus, Himself!