As I write this letter to you, I feel a bit like FOX News conveying BREAKING NEWS!
Of course, the reason we have any news to convey is because God is working all around us. He is giving us His favor and is arranging new opportunities for us to present and defend the gospel. You have also played an important part in making it possible for us to take advantage of the new opportunities God is opening to us around the world.
So what is happening? On January 22, God led me to consider the possibility of reaching out to the Russian people. As you know, they are going through tough economic times. The Russian ruble dropped 46% in value just last year. Things are also becoming more difficult for the evangelical Church in Russia. The government is cracking down on Christians in many places—sometimes even bulldozing their churches.
A year ago we met folks working with Russian satellite TV. At that time, we were swamped with other things and weren’t able to do much about it. But because of God’s blessing on the ministry, and because of your generous gifts during November and December, we have been able to consider new opportunities. God led me to contact CNL, Russia’s largest Christian television network.
I asked them to tell me how many people they reached, along with what time slots were available. I told them if we worked together, we wanted to invest wisely and would only purchase a prime time spot on Sunday nights.
They informed me that more than 155 million people speak Russian in 115 countries. CNL broadcasts on 4 worldwide satellites that cover all of Russia, all of Europe, the Middle East, the top half of Africa, all of Canada, and all of America. And of course, they broadcast in the Russian language.
We will provide them our television programs, and they will do the translation and provide professional speakers in Moscow to do the voiceovers. Once we sign the contract, we can begin broadcasting worldwide on this Russian network in 30 days. But I need your help to do this.
In addition, we began talking about people in the Ukraine. This area has been a political hot spot in recent news. I was recently told that over 2,000 people have been killed in the Ukraine—many of them Christians who stayed behind in Eastern Ukraine to help people with food and supplies. Many people in this country are struggling and need hope.
God has given us the message of eternal life and the forgiveness of sins through the Lord Jesus to share with them. Now we have a way to share it. Through television, I want to soon offer the good news of Christ to the 45 million people who live in this important nation. This means we would be taking on another language and another network. But don’t you think we should help these dear people at this time? If you will help me, we will start on this network right away.
Here is some more breaking news: For about 6 months we have been employing Spanish speakers to translate and record voiceovers for our TV programs. We have been building up enough programs so that when we start on Spanish television stations and networks we will have a head start. Did you know that there are 470 million people who speak Spanish worldwide? It is also the official language of 20 nations.
This month, we are going to meet with Spanish broadcasters from across Latin America in Nashville at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. I believe many TV stations and networks in Spanish speaking countries are open to airing our programs if we have them translated and made available weekly.
In addition to television, think of all the Spanish speaking radio stations there are in the world. We already have over 300 Ankerberg Minute radio programs in Spanish and numerous half hour radio episodes. Some of our study guides have already been published in Spanish in addition to our 20 Spanish books.
I think this same scenario will also be true if we open the door to Portuguese speaking stations in Brazil. What I am afraid of is getting swamped with paying for the airtime and translation necessary to fund all of these additional stations and networks. We will really need additional funds for this outreach.
At the same time, your gifts have allowed us to get into areas of the world I never dreamed possible. You have made it possible for us to broadcast in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Romanian stations each week to an audience of more than 4 billion people around the world. Our television broadcasts now reach two-thirds of the world’s population.
But we continue to pray about new networks in other languages as well, such as Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Arabic. These languages, along with those already mentioned above, would allow us to broadcast in 12 major languages. I tell you all of this to say, the time is urgent. I only have so many years to minister on television. What God is doing is miraculous. You are an important partner. As God enables you to help us, we will invest in reaching more people. Please pray about this.
This month on The John Ankerberg Show
Did you know that as many as 3 out of 4 American young people who were raised in church are now leaving when entering adulthood? One of the reasons students experience a crisis of faith during the college years is because they face highly trained professors who often try to persuade them of alternative views regarding God, Jesus, the Bible, and the history of Christianity. What can be done to address this crisis?
To provide a solution, I’ve invited renowned New Testament scholar Dr. Darrell Bock to the program. He holds a PhD in New Testament from Aberdeen University, Scotland, and is considered one of the world’s top historical Jesus scholars. He is also a leading authority on the Gospel of Luke and Acts.
So You Don’t Fall Away from Your Faith
I have entitled our two series with Dr. Bock, “So You Don’t Fall Away from Your Faith” and “Questions the World Will Ask about Your Faith.”
Through these programs, you will learn the challenges Christian students are facing at universities today and the information that supports our Christian beliefs. I also hope that the evidence will strengthen your own faith.
Coming Soon on The John Ankerberg Show
I have invited retired three-star General William G. Boykin, former commander of Delta Force, who later became Commanding General of all U.S. Army Special Forces around the world, to be our guest on our program. He has served at the Central Intelligence Agency in clandestine missions, and for four years he served as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense. Our topic, how big of a threat does Radical Islam pose to America and Europe in the next five years? What do Christians need to know?
With General Boykin, I have invited Kamal Saleem, who grew up in the world of terrorism, was recruited by the Muslim Brotherhood, worked with Yasser Arafat and the PLO, worked with Fatah, and trained international terrorists in Libya. He also fought with the mujahedeen in Afghanistan. Later the Muslim Brotherhood sent him to the United States to recruit for terrorist organizations, but some dramatic events brought him to faith in Christ and changed his life.
Third, this series will include Dr. Emir Caner, a man who grew up in a Sunni Muslim family, became a Christian, went on to earn his PhD, and is now the president of Truett-McConnell College. He is the author of numerous books on Christianity and Islam, including our co-authored books in the Truth about Islam series.
Sharing the Gospel Around the World Together
As we enter the 35th year of The John Ankerberg Show, we are more committed than ever to presenting the gospel to every person possible and defending the faith that we believe. I have learned to depend on you. Thank you for all of your trust.
What God is bringing to our ministry is amazing. My prayer is that God will use all of our efforts to bring many folks to faith in Christ and encourage and strengthen Christians in their walk with the Lord.
Your prayers and generosity have helped make our ministry possible!
For the sake of the Gospel,
Dr. John Ankerberg