Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas in the darkness

Kathy Remembers Kathy w parents
It's almost Christmas, once again! When we all love  to remember... and I remember Mama and Papa,  Millie and Fred Bahler and those precious times of  family and friends, and the good food and all the  church celebrations: Celebrating the Coming of our  Lord Jesus Christ as a Baby--to be the Savior of  mankind!

As a missionary kid, being raised in the Belgian  Congo (Zaire), Democratic Republic of the Congo, the precious memories  flood back--of life with the lions, monkeys, elephants, water buffalo, and  antelope, especially at Christmas time! 

Rich presenting a goat as "Bride Price"  to elders
45 Years Together...
Our most Memorable Christmas Season was December 16, 1972, when we were married by Pastor and Missionary Wayne Schoonover in Pastor Vern Schutz's Berean Church in Grand Rapids, Mi., and coming to the Congo together. My plan was to return from college as a single missionary, but the Lord had another plan.

Richard and I THANK the LORD for ALL of YOU who became members of our extended  family at that time."Working Together with Christ."

 Later, you shared in our Rejoicing when we arrived in Bukavu for Christmas  Dinner with our parents, the Bahlers, on December 25,1975 to begin our  ministry with them!

We praise our Savior! We had no idea  then the unique open door He would give  us to share His Story through Radio  Kahuzi carrying on my parent's  legacy....Thank you mom and dad for  setting the foundation for an amazing  ministry of reaching precious souls for  Christ.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Rich and Kathy Celebrate their 45th Wedding Anniversary Dec 16!

Wish we could be there to  help you celebrate your 45th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow! We'll be there in spirit. Do you remember presenting a goat to Kathy's church elders? You must have had some culture shock, Rich. Hope you can take time to go to the Orchid to celebrate!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pygmie Groups Listens to Radio Kahuzi


Praise the Lord! Because, All the Victories are in Christ Alone! 

So many times we wonder why things don't move ahead as fast as we would like, but in the end the Lord tells us to "Be still, and know that I am God!" And in His timing, He shows us what His Will is--in our lives and the life of Radio Kahuzi!

Just the other day, when we were feeling kind-a frustrated because of how slow things were happening, we received a story from one of our journalists of how the Pygmies really appreciate what Radio Kahuzi has done for them! 

One of our friends went out to visit them in their village, and was asking some of the men about their traditions of not going to the hospital, when their wives give birth, and when they get sick; and their answers were quite amazing. They use their own plants from the forest, to treat their maladies, and they really work! They eat mostly forest plants so they don't have any extra fat on their bodies. They are very lean and strong! They use their traditional bows and arrows, so no one messes with them!

Visitors froma radio club deep in the jungle
Pygmie listeners 
visited our studio.
When our friend started asking them all these questions, they started getting nervous, but then he showed them his Radio Kahuzi identity card, and they got "all smiles" and said they loved the radio programs -- as that was the only radio they listened to! So, everything was OK! Praise the Lord for Radio Kahuzi and the Word of God!

Thank you each one, for all your prayers and support all these years! It's always amazing to us even now, to hear of what impact the radio ministry has on folks and what the Word of God does to change lives; it's such a miracle - supernatural Work of the Holy Spirit, every day during these past twenty-five years of broadcasting the Gospel! (December 24, 2017)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Happy Warrior Home in Glory!

Harold Smith & Jim Lawhon enjoying a happy time at NRB 2010

To Dad's friends and fellow servants in the Lord.  

This is daughter Linda informing you that  God's servant Jim is 
now in heaven celebrating with his heavenly Father.  

He went peacefully last night with family by his side.  He gave a 
brave amd valiant effort the last few weeks as he worked to 
regain his strength following surgery and complications to 

God saw him through several victories along the way.  
Praise God. 

A friend of mine commented that he is probably checking 
to see if God's communication towers are working.  
Communication and keeping a promise he made to God 
were his life.  

He loved all of you. Thank you for being part of his life 
and serving the Lord. Praise be to our Lord!

Linda (Lawhon) Ross

Dear Linda, Dennis and the Lawhon Family,

It is sad for us, but joyful for Jim to be home with the Lord! 
Our love, prayers and gratitude to all the Lawhon Family 
for sharing your amazing father with us.

His love for Radio Kahuzi goes back to Kathy's father, 
Fred Bahler's last years in the States when we first learned 
about Jim's contacts with Fred. I believe he even went to 
visit Fred in Milwaukee and began his love affair with 
Rich and Kathy and Radio Kahuzi.

He was a constant encouragement to us in the home 
office with his regular phone calls: "just checking up 
on progress." His calls were always followed with a "gift" 
to move us ahead, which were so very timely. 

He was, also, right in the forefront of pushing for help 
from the engineering side of things. In those early days 
when we felt so alone and no one would listen to our 
pleas for was Jim who interceded for us 
and made the cogs and wheels turn in our direction. 
Without Jim's love, prayers, investment and intervention, 
most likely, we would not have gotten far. 

Thank you, Jim and for allowing the Holy Spirit to work 
through you. You made the Mountains Move and we will 
be thinking of you as we celebrate 25 Years of broadcasting 
the Gospel in Congo on December 24, 2017! 

Jim was with us at NRB 2010 to see Rich and Kathy 
awarded the "International Impact Award." How proud 
he was to see this happen.

Inline image 3

We Will ...Keep Looking Up! 
Harold and Barbara Smith & BESI / Radio Kahuzi Board of Directors

Inline image 2
                 Ron & Barbara Cline, Kathy & Richard McDonald 
                            Barbara & Harold Smith NRB 2010
                           (Jim was there enjoying the victory!)

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Remember, when you "take the knee" it is simply practice for a future event in your life:

"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." Romans 14: 11

"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phillippians 2: 10, 11.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Is Missionary Life Dangerous?

Wed., July 26...Another Happy Birthday in Congo, Kathy!
What an amazing life for one little girl!

Kathy's early years in the Belgian Congo

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride on a lions back, to hang on to that fur and fly across the fields with the wind flying in ones face! That would be really so much fun! Can't say that I ever got close to that experience, but...

As elephant go, we had plenty in the land where I spent some of my childhood days, Kayembe was the place, in the Democratic Republic of Congo--just the Belgian Congo when I was growing up. (Also known as Zaire)

My father, Fred Bahler, not stopped by polio at age two, was our pilot. Fred flew his Cessna across the jungles and mountains wearing a brace and using crutches throughout his lifetime.

We still need more brave men and women like my dad and mom to help us extend the outreach!
There were many evenings when Daddy would take us for a ride out on the plains just so we could watch the elephants peacefully standing off in the near distance, waving those huge ears back and forth, listening and watching us as we watched them with awe and amazement! I always wondered what it would be like to get near them!

Then, one day, some of the men from the village came running up to our house, with the dreaded news that one of the older elephants had gone crazy, and was in their village attacking their houses and anyone that came in his path. The men wanted my Dad to bring his elephant gun, and shoot that elephant before he wrecked the whole village. But, how does one go about shooting a crazed elephant.

I'll never forget that day, as my daddy climbed into the pickup truck along with the village men, and headed out to stop the elephant stampede. As they arrived at the village, the elephant saw them and started charging, so as the elephant got closer and closer, my Dad said he just had to take aim and shoot and fortunately brought the bull elephant down and stopped the stampede. One had to be calm and steady with that shot, and the Lord gave Daddy that gift!
Fred Bahler at age 29
Fred Bahler at age 29 fresh on the field.

That day I got to see an elephant first hand, even climbed up on top of the huge mountain in my bare feet and to feel those needles on my feet, not fun, but that's what their fur is like. Ouch!! Won't ever forget that!

So, instead of riding on a lion's back with all that fuzzy fur, I got to stand on an elephant and feel an elephant's bristly needle fur. Someday, in heaven maybe we'll see and touch all the creatures that God has made for us to enjoy, only without all the "ouches" that come with them here on earth, won't that be something.

That was another day to Praise our Lord for bringing us through safely!!

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." Psalms 56: 3, 4.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


On July 4, 1991 our license was signed into law by 
President Mobutu! 

As we revisit July 4,1991 each year, Kathy and I are very thankful to have lived several zenith events where we have experienced the Holy Spirit's intervention. Despite our frequent incapacity and simplicity as we live through this Age of Grace, we realize we are nearing the end times and the end of the Holy Spirit's working alongside believers in the Body of Christ. 

In our legal application to the government, we named our station "Cherith Radio" memorializing our difficult experience, which seemed to parallel the Prophet Elijah's tutoring by the Holy Spirit at Cherith Brook near the Jordan River. Later, Fred Bahler, Kathy's father named it Radio Kahuzi after Mount Kahuzi--Parc National de Kahuzi-Biega, the highest peak and home of the silverback gorilla near Bukavu. 

Kathy and I, along with Fred, had begun our "Tent Making Ministry" (self support) with the Lord's direction which took us through the Cherith Brook experience bringing into our lives a professional couple, Wim and Lita, of Coka Cola Company, with facilities in Bukavu. We were personally invited to minister to them. They were of two different world religions, and considered us as "Holy People." However, the Lord used them to minister to us physically with food and fellowship as we shared the Gospel and Christ's presence and testimony. They also listened and were ministered to by our radio broadcasts, which had just begun. 

We chose our logo for BESI, representing the "Widow of Zarephath" and her son written about in I Kings 17: 1- 12. She is represented in our logo carrying a bundle of sticks and the embers of fire on her head with which to prepare their last meal. Having only enough flour for one cake and a little oil she shared and ministered to Elijah the Tishbite during his time of discouragement and famine. The story teaches us is to keep our eyes, our heart, and, our mind on Jesus Christ, so that the Holy Spirit can walk and work effectively beside us!

Though we had requested and developed the dossier for a broadcast license over five years of working through each layer of the government's administration, Kathy and I had no earthly reason to hope and no real idea what the Holy Spirit was preparing for the DRC, (formerly, Zaire) until the 4th of July, 1991, when we saw the American Ambassador and the Cultural Affairs Officer on National Television, presenting a golden American Eagle to President Mobutu as they said good-bye and left the country. 

Our Permit, signed that day, ended the state monopoly on television and radio! We believe the Lord led President Mobutu to end the Party State and change the Constitution, opening the Nation to the first multi-party elections and to Freedom of the Press, with BESI's permission as a private national broadcaster in Shortwave and FM. Over the twenty-six years since we received the first license, more than a thousand radios and TV stations have flourished in the DRC, and the Lord has created wonderful stories of conversion and reconciliation of warring groups through our broadcasts and listener responses. Many times militant, and warring factions took the time to listen to the News and programming of Radio Kahuzi. 

 Mai-Mai Commanders who came 
to faith in Christ while resting in the 
hills above Bukavu preparing to 
overrun the City and Radio Kahuzi.
One such testimony is of the conversion of two commandos on Christmas Day in 2000, after a third of Bukavu had fallen into their control. After hearing the Word of God (in their own heart language) over Radio Kahuzi they repented, laid down their weapons of war, and returned home to Fizi Territory five hundred miles to the South. There they constructed a church to the Praise of the Lord Jesus Christ. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10: 17. 

Through these years of war and conflict, it has always been a moment-by-moment test between the flesh and the spirit-–to be absorbed by the problems weighing heavily all around–carnal, or, by walking in, or by, the Spirit. Keep Looking Up to the Lord, living above it, so to speak, as the Holy Spirit continues doing what He will always do, if we let Him and have confidence in Him--and not to be distracted in ourselves, or our circumstances.  

This labor of love is possible only because of you, our Partners and Prayer Warriors and BESI Representatives of Radio Kahuzi helping to keep our feeble hands raised in prayer for Him to accomplish His directive will in our lives and ministry.

We always appreciate and need your prayer, as today, again, the reports are that several military groups have control of different cities, or territories in opposition to one, or another armed group, or political power.  

The huge Banros Canadian Gold Mines closed two days ago, and will be evacuated to Bukavu tomorrow, as the national army has fled before the feared Mai-Mai at Saramabila, near Kayembe, in the Plains of Maniema Province where Kathy grew up. To read more...

A special friend of our ministry would surely be dead if he and his family had not fled and been evacuated a few days ago! The Lord cares and encourages us to always place our confidence in Him–despite the poor circumstances around us!   

Keep Walking by the Spirit! And, Keep Looking Up!

In His Love and Care,
Richard and Kathy McDonald

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Jesus Story Reaches Into the Jungle...


Kathy and I are thankful for your commitment to the ongoing outreach of Radio Kahuzi and the Lord's work in Central Africa. He will certainly multiply our partnership to His Glory!
Radio Kahuzi Staff on Safari in Manama Jungle Basin
"And the LORD said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges,
and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Luke 14: 23.

This week a friend from Manama Province (in the Congo Jungle Basin) came with a report. He saw young listeners attaching their Galcom solar radios onto their bicycle with the antenna looped across their handle bars to form a perfect signal receptor. As they travel around the villages they are sharing Radio Kahuzi's music and programs wherever they go! This is very encouraging!

To give you some perspective, D R Congo is as large as the United States east of the Mississippi! There is a thousand miles of jungle between Bukavu on the Eastern border with Rwanda and Kinshasa, the Capital of DRC on the west. No wonder the eastern half is so difficult to govern so far away.

The Congo Basin region composes the majority of the world's second largest jungle after the Amazon. Because of its size, boat and aircraft are the only way to easily get around when you consider how many sink or crash! Most of the region's inhabitants still live in small villages in the jungle, mountains, or savanna, although millions have as "Internally Displaced Persons" to cities like Kisangani, Kindu, Bunia, and Mbandaka and more than 800,000 to Bukavu alone.

We are receiving 5 over 5 (perfect) signal reports from all directions...distant cities like Kindu to the West, as well as from a friend in Bujumbura, Burundi, right below Rwanda. And yes, we broadcast every day...rain or shine...except during a bad thunder and lightening storm. D. R. Congo has more lightening strikes in a year than any other  country in the world!

Without your prayers and support none of this outreach would be possible.

Thank you.

We had a wonderful blessing, sharing with our neighbor and her daughter who was visiting here from Europe. I have been sharing our Savour's Resurrection Gospel with the Mother, now in her 90s, over these past twenty years.

Recently, the family had their Catholic priest come to deliver her last rites, as they were sure she would die of pneumonia. However, we visited and prayed with them for her recovery, and she did recover. Even before this event her daughter wanted us to counsel her mother and her brother; which we did.

Soon, the daughter had to go back to Europe, and she and her mother asked us to lead them in the sinner's prayer, which the daughter repeated in understandable French and they both prayed to confess Christ as Lord and Savior! Praise the Lord, after all these years of witness God's Word has not retuned void!

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isaiah 55: 11.

Thank you for praying for Susan. She is the Congolese Christian who built our new studio on her property.

We shared with you several years ago that her German husband was murdered by a militia group wanting to take control of his plantation outside of Bukavu to establish a camp from which to launch attacks. Recently, they caught another of the assassins. He was the one who took her husband from his truck after the ambush at the bridge leading to his plantation. The group mortally beat him with clubs and machetes.

Susan's life has been under threat since that time attempting to bring the assassins to justice over the past two years. The emotional struggle has been taking its toll, but today she came to share with us that she has been reading a booklet that stated many of the things that we were also sharing with her regarding her need to allow the Holy Spirit control of her response to all this mess, and to stop trying to win the fight in the flesh. So that is a real answer to prayer for us, as she verbalized most of the message from the book. We pray she will continue on in the same direction. We also shared a note and Scripture we received from Barbara last night to encourage us, that paralleled the same theme.

Praise the LORD for another spiritual victory!

Keep Looking Up!
We are looking for His Soon Appearing!
Kathy and Richard

Friday, March 17, 2017

The President's Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Harold (Smitty)! Who would have guessed as a senior in high school you would serve at BESI's President for 31 years! Or, that you would be married a year later to Mickey (1959) and remain married for the next 58 years (June 21st)! — Curwensville Area Junior/Senior High School.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

My High Speed Bike Crash!

Dear Friends of BESI / Radio Kahuzi,

February is a refreshing month of Friendship and reflection on our travels and plans.
Faith and Ward McDonald
Faith and Ward McDonald
February brought the birth of my mother, Faith, my father, John Ward, Kathy's
Kathy_ Millie_ Fred Bahler
Kathy, Millie,Fred Bahler
faithful father, Fred Bahler, and my true childhood friend, Bob Robeson. We recently found out our Great Grand Niece, Lanie Faith (9) shares a birthday on Feb 22, with her Great Grandfather, John Ward. 

As Kathy, my wonderful wife and Best Friend, and I reflect on the years, it was comforting when the Lord gave us Fred and Millie Bahler to get us started as junior missionaries in 1975. 
Fred with trumpet
Here in Africa, Fred would play beautiful Christian music to end the day, and watch the sun go down -- Looking for the SON to Appear...One Day SOON!

(Editor's note: Kathy's father, Fred, served in Congo for over 35 years. He went home to be with his Lord and Savior in Dec. 1995 in the States. Kathy and Rich received notification months later in 1996. They were pinned down to the floor during the first invasion from Rwanda in 1996.) 

The Lord has been "growing us up" in the Congo, where He has blessed our missionary ministries these past 42 years, with many of you coming along side to make it happen! Thank you, and Praise the Lord for His Faithfulness day by day!  

When I was in ninth grade, Bob challenged me to a 64 mile bike hike from our home town, Grampian, (named after the Grampian Hills of Scotland) and DuBois, Pennsylvania. Just before a long vertical descent and climb on the concrete highway, the Lord got my attention with two huge road signs put up by the Assembly of God Church. One asked, "Where will you Spend Eternity?" and "Are you ready to meet your Maker?" He is asking you those same questions today. Won't you answer Him with, "Yes, Lord, I hear you." "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2: 8-9."
When I lived through the high speed accident at the bottom of the descent and completed the 64 miles with only slight bruises, those questions haunted me for years, until my second year at Penn State University, when Pastor Henry Kulp at the Altoona Bible Church led me in prayer to receive Jesus Christ as  my Savior and Lord of my life. I was a former Christian Scientist. 

The Lord will reward many, many of our friends who He used to confront us with the Gospel like the Ken Krater family and Mrs. Sally Leach, our "Good News Club," Child Evangelism teacher. 

They taught us some of the ways the Lord is asking us to "lay up real lasting Treasures in Heaven" invest time, energy, and finances in Eternity!

Welcome Visitors

Amy and Mark Neil and daughter Lindsey came to visit and celebrate Amy's Valentine's Birthday with us! 

We praise the Lord for this timely intervention on their part as Faithful Representatives of BESI and Radio Kahuzi. As an international lawyer and former missionary kid who grew up in Bukavu serving with his parents, Mark is committed to helping us with our outreach in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region of Africa, helping us get our governmental recognition, etc..! 

They have also offered us their home in Kigali, Rwanda any time we need to visit the capital. 

Two of our friends and partners and their Technical Team at SonSet Solutions have masterfully designed two shortwave antennas for two new sites for our long distance broadcasting from the city of Bukavu. The Lord is good, in that our outreach coverage area actually doubled into Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania. Pray for our new shortwave antenna installation and even greater outreach into many countries nearby. 

Kathy and I are encouraged by those who are sharing our CC newsletter to invite friends to become aware of BESI's growing Christian Broadcast outreach and to pray and give to help us increase our 24 years of outreach in the D R Congo and beyond. Our 25th anniversary is coming up on December 24th. Today, March 11, we celebrate 31 years of ministry under (BESI) Believer's Express Service, Inc. Where have the years gone?

Your love and partnership in the Gospel parallels that of Jonathan and David, and for the Body of Christ, your love and Sharing today parallels that of the Holy Spirit, who is the secret of the Lord's success. 

He is doing a great work, despite our weaknesses, and He invites each one of us to be Co-Partners with Him in His ministry around the world - truly a desktop satellite ministry from your own home, there where you are, you could be the key person the Lord is inviting to participate in what He is doing during this Day of Salvation. 

Some people Go, others, Pray, and others Give, some do all three; He will reward every aspect of your part of His ministry. We need volunteers to help us continue to respond to the Lord's leading. We want His directive will for our lives and ministry, not just His permissive will; and most of that difference depends on those who come along side our outreach ministries here in Central Africa.  

Kathy and I Thank You for remembering us, just as the Lord remembered Noah in the Ark. That is what made the difference for Noah, as it does for us.

Keep Looking Up!
Richard and Kathy McDonald