On this day in 1952, Trans World Radio was founded by Dr. Paul E. Freed.

Dr. Freed, a graduate of New York University, had received his PhD in mass communication.  He took a job with Youth for Christ, but as he worked with them, he became uncomfortably aware that Spain was being largely ignored by evangelical missionaries.  At this time, Spain was under the tight control of the dictator Francisco Franco and he closed the borders of Spain to the missionaries.  But Freed had an idea.  He knew of something that couldn’t be kept out, that wasn’t bound by governmental regulations.  And he knew how to use it: the radio.

Dr. Freed discovered an open door to establish a missionary radio station in Tangier, Morocco. Spain, which is directly across the Strait of Gibraltar, would be able to pick up the broadcast.  So Freed and his father began the process of installing a radio station in Morocco that would house a 2,500 Watt transmitter.  In 1954, the first “Voice of Tangier” broadcast aired in English and Spanish.  Four years later, the station had grown to over 20 languages broadcasted in 40 countries.  The station was forced to move from Morocco to Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Today, Trans World Radio is broadcasted in more than 200 languages and in 160 countries.


Dictionary of African Christians

Trans World Radio

On this day in 1831, George Boardman, the man who did so much to reach the Karen people in the Burmese Jungles and mountains, dies.  He had just had his 30th birthday.

For three years, George and his wife, Sarah, had been making tours of several Karen villages.  When George and his Karen co-worker, Ko Tha Byu, first began to preach the gospel, they were suprised to find a people who were ready to receive the Gospel.  In fact, many aspects of their core beliefs, what they called their “Tradition of the Elders”, was in line with the Bible.  There was a belief in an unchangeable, eternal, all-powerful God, creator of heaven and earth, of man, and of woman formed from a rib taken from the man. They believed in humanity’s temptation by a devil, and its fall, and that some day a messiah would come to its rescue.

As George and Ko went from village to village, many would flock to hear the teaching of the Messiah who had died for them.  And many more believed.  George would baptize the believers and form them into a church.  After spending time with the new church, he would go on to the next village and repeat the process.  But the travel, climate, and disease took a toll on George’s health and he soon had to retire to the city to try to recover.

But the Karens would not forget about the one who brought them the news of hope.  They would beg George to come out tp the villages again to baptize the new believers, and George gave in.  To weak to walk, the Karen carried him out to the villages to be present at the Baptisms.  In a letter to his parents, his wife Sarah described the last scenes from the life of this great man:

On Wednesday evening, thirty-four persons were baptized. Mr. Boardman was carried to the waterside, though so weak that he could scarcely breathe without the continual use of the fan and the smelling-bottle. The joyful sight was almost too much for his feeble frame.

When we reached the chapel … all the disciples present, about fifty in number, gathered around him, and he addressed them for a few moments in language like the following: ‘I did hope to stay with you till after Lord’s-day, and administer to you once more the Lord’s-Supper. But God is calling me away from you. I am about to die, and shall soon be inconceivably happy in heaven. When I am gone, remember what I have taught you; and O, be careful to persevere unto the end, that when you die we may meet one another in the presence of God, never more to part. Listen to the word of the new teacher  andthe teacheress as you have done to mine. The teacheress will be very much distressed. Strive to lighten her burdens and comfort her by your good conduct. Do not neglect prayer. The eternal God, to whom you pray, is unchangeable. Earthly teachers sicken and die, but God remains for ever the same. Love Jesus Christ with all your hearts, and you will be for ever safe.’

Mr. Mason, who had just arrived to work with Boardman among the Karens, wrote this final eulogy of the man:

Thus did this indefatigable missionary die, as every missionary would wish to die, about his Master’s business, and surrounded by those in whose conversion from heathenism he had been instrumental.


Memoir of George Boardman

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