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By BosNewsLife Asia Service

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TWR transmitters as seen here in this file photo have suffered damage.



HAGATNA, GUAM (BosNewsLife)-- Global Christian broadcaster Trans World Radio was struggling Friday, September 20, to keep its programs to North Korea, China and other Asian nations on the air following an earthquake, heavy rains and storms around its transmitters on the Pacific island of Guam, an official said.

"In addition to a minor earthquake last night, the island has experienced heavy rains and high winds, resulting in flooding and massive damage," said TWR President Lauren Libby.

"Power lines have been down since early yesterday morning, forcing KTWR" the name for TWR-Asia, "to operate solely on its back-up generators until this morning," he told BosNewsLife in a statement.

TWR broadcasts has been crucial for Christians facing persecution in countries such as North Korea and China as well as other believers and those wanting to know about the Christian faith across the region, TWR officials have said.

FUTURE UNCERTAIN

It remained unclear whether these programs would be able to continue Friday, September 20.

"Since last night, our Guam team has been contending with minor flooding in one of our electrical transformer rooms," explained Libby. "They are also conducting root cause analysis to fix a condensation-related electrical issue in Transmitter #2 that developed during last night’s broadcast to Australia," he said.

Additionally, there has been "antenna damage from the high winds. One of the reflector screens has been impacted and a guy wire has failed on one of the antennas."

Libby warned that the "winds are too high to send a rigger up to the top of the tower to run a new guy wire down. This is a very serious situation. If the convection of the winds continues through the weekend, the damage could become even more extensive."

He said he had urged supporters to "join us in praying for God to protect the TWR Guam team and facilities, and that our broadcasts into Asia would be able to continue without interruption."

MOUNTAINSIDE BROADCASTS

From a mountainside overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the island of Guam, TWR's four 100,000 kilowatt transmitters have served listeners for more than 30 years with programs in various languages, including those of China, South Asia, South-east Asia, Indo-China, and Russia.

Two of the aging transmitters were recently replaced with refurbished 250,000 kilowatt ones "that are capable of taking" the network "into a digital broadcast future," TWR said.

Earlier this year, TWR also launched new programs aimed at North Korea to bring "a message of peace and hope" to "counter the swirling rumors of war" in the troubled region, the broadcaster said.

The programs came on top of programs it already airs to North Korea, where at least some 100,000 Christians are believed to be detained in prison camps for refusing to follow the cult of the country's founder Kim Il-Sung.

Christians outside the camps gather in underground churches, listening secretly to TWR, the broadcaster and other sources said.

PROGRAMS ENCOURAGE

"When we listen to your program every night, we are encouraged and find life worth living,"TWR quoted a listener as saying in a message smuggled out of the Stalinist-run nation.

"If not for the Word of God, and your love and devotion in the midst of our sufferings, our lives would be dark and hopeless,” the Christian reportedly said.

Another listener reportedly said: "TWR’s Korean broadcasts help me keep the faith and understand God’s Word more and more. I never forget you and your team in my prayers, as you are serving God by broadcasting His Word to us, day and night. … Please do not stop these programs, for they give us the Hope of God."

Of the 24 million people in the country today, only about 1.7 percent are Christian according to some church group estimates, though the real figure may be higher.

(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is 'Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals' since 2004).

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