Salvation FM Radio Station

By Lexson Small John

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Lexson Small John

First Published: January 29, 2020

Salvation FM Radio is the only Seventh-day Adventist church radio station currently operating in South Sudan. It was initiated by retired pastor Fulgensio Okayo in 2006 when he was the ministerial secretary for South Sudan Field and district pastor for Juba Central church.1 He started the project by hanging a horned microphone on the tree and conducted early morning preaching called “Wata ashoba” in Arabic meaning “it’s dawn.” Many people opposed it as a disturbance, but some appreciated it as a morning blessing.

The same year he requested the government authorities in Juba to allow the Seventh-day Adventist church to operate an FM radio station in Juba. The authorities responded positively and granted at least four frequencies to operate in South Sudan.2 He proposed that the station be called Effulgence meaning “shining brighter,” but most church members did not support the name.3

In 2008, the name Salvation FM Radio was coined, and an eight-man committee to oversee the radio station was formed under the chairmanship of Pastor Clement Arkangelo Mawa. In the same year, the first contributions began trickling in, and a formal and regular fundraising kicked off in Juba Central church. After Clement went to work in the Middle East Union, Oburu Gerald Francis, who was the deputy chairperson, replaced him in January 2010 and served as such until his death on August 19, 2010.4 The primary objective for the station is evangelism, health promotion, family life enrichment, youth programs, peace-building, and development messages.5

On April 8, 2009, the South Sudan Executive Committee voted to request Juba Central church to submit the Salvation FM Radio constitution to the Middle East Union for study.6 On September 8-9, 2019, the South Sudan Field executive committee voted to accept the radio station as a local church initiative and gave it the full right to raise money for its establishment.7 In the same year, there was intensive communication with the South Sudan Field for possible partnership and support with and from AWR or Hope Channel for the radio project. The first procurement process of radio equipment was in October 13, 2009, which sought to buy a transmitter with capacity of 10-kilometer radius broadcast. Wednesday, August 11, 2010, the radio consignment arrived in Juba.8

Through fundraising by the church members, the radio station was established with a 30-meter mast and a small transmitter which was capable of broadcasting the coverage of an eight kilometers radius. Even though it did not go far, those who accessed it appreciated it very much. To improve the radio operation, the management established a program review committee to make sure that radio programs were in place and effective. The committee of five was chaired by James Yangi. This committee worked hard to maintain the radio station and improved its function.9

In 2012, the AWR personnel visited South Sudan and discovered the radio station. They provided equipment to boost the coverage. A 50-meter tower was built and 1,000 watts transmitter acquired, which covered the entire city of Juba and the surrounding towns. Soon after this, the responsibility of running the station was taken from the Juba Central local church and assumed by the Greater Equatoria Field, which also assumed its ownership and placed William Aruna Okumu as the radio station manager.10 In December 2013, the Greater Equatoria Field voted to record Salvation FM Radio as one of the assets in its books.11 The field also voted to regularize Aruna Okumu as a radio producer effective January 1, 2014.12

Salvation FM Radio is now running constructive and comprehensive daily programs which include, but are not limited to programs like “Wake up Fresh with Jesus,” “Dunia alela,” “Hope Sabbath school,” children and youth programs, family life lectures, “Women of Faith,” health talks, and testimonies of faith. It also offers messages of hope, love, peace, and reconciliation which programs have made many people love the station.13

According to the 2008 fifth Sudan census, the population of the city of Juba is about 372,413 people14 of whom the majority are regular listeners to Salvation FM. The radio station now runs in two languages, English and Arabic, which are the main instructive languages of South Sudan, but soon it will include other local languages such as Dinka, Nuer, Shiluk, Bari, Zande, and Moru.

Through the Salvation FM Radio ministry, a significant number of people have been baptized, and many are currently attending Bible studies with station-affiliated instructors.

Sources

“5th South Sudan Census 2008: Total Population Figures by County.” Ocha. Accessed July 30, 2019. https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/28443.

Greater Equatoria Field Administrative Committee Minutes, December 3, 2013. File GEF-ADCOM 23. Greater Equatoria Field Records, Juba, South Sudan.

Oliver, Ansel and Steven Bina. “Adventist Radio Station coming to South Sudan.” Adventist News Network, August 14, 2012. Accessed July 28, 2019. https://am.adventist.org/radio-station-coming-to-sudan.

Oliver, Ansel. “Newest Country, Radio Ministry coming soon.” Adventist News Network, August 14, 2012. Juba, South Sudan. Accessed July 28, 2019. https://news.adventist.org/en/allnews/news/go/2012-08-14/in-newest-country-radio-ministry-coming-soon/.

South Sudan Field Executive Committee Minutes, April 8, 2009, Minute Record file SSF-EXCOM 31, Juba, South Sudan.

Notes

  1. James Yangi, interview by author, Juba, South Sudan, June 15, 2019.

  2. Ansel Oliver, “In Newest Country, Radio Ministry Coming Soon,” Adventist News Network, August 14, 2012, accessed July 28, 2019, https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2012-08-14/in-newest-country-radio-ministry-coming-soon/.

  3. James Yangi, interview by author, Juba, South Sudan, June 15, 2019

  4. Ansel Oliver and Steven Bina, “Adventist Radio Station Coming to South Sudan,” Adventist News Network, August 14, 2012, accessed July 28, 2019, https://am.adventist.org/radio-station-coming-to-sudan.

  5. Ibid.

  6. South Sudan Field Executive Committee, April 8, 2009, 31. South Sudan Field Minute Record File, Juba, South Sudan.

  7. Ibid.

  8. James Yangi, interview by author, Juba, South Sudan, June 15, 2019.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Ibid.

  11. Greater Equatoria Field Administrative Committee, December 3, 2013, File GEF-ADCOM 23, Greater Equatoria Field Records, Juba, South Sudan.

  12. Ibid.

  13. Aruna Okumu, Salvation FM Radio Manager, 2014- date.

  14. “5th South Sudan Census 2008: Total Population Figures by County,” Ocha, accessed July 30, 2019, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/28443.

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John, Lexson Small. "Salvation FM Radio Station." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 20, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BFIF.

John, Lexson Small. "Salvation FM Radio Station." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 20, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BFIF.

John, Lexson Small (2020, January 29). Salvation FM Radio Station. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 20, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BFIF.