As the civil war continues
in Ivory Coast, CBN WorldReach has launched an unprecedented evangelistic
media campaign to reach the nation.
It all started a little more than a year ago when the First Lady of
Ivory Coast visited The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in Virginia
Beach, Virginia on a special mission. Mrs. Somone Gbagbo, the wife of
Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, wanted CBN to provide Christian
TV programs for her country. In return she would guarantee that the
programs would air on national television. To respond to the immediate
need, episodes of The 700 Club were regularly dubbed into French and
shipped for broadcast. The goal, however, was to have an African program
that would be tailored for the region with French African hosts. Within
a few months, Raymond Kauffee from Cameroon and Macy Domingo from Ivory
Coast began hosting Le Club 700 that now airs in French speaking countries
throughout the region.
With strong support from pastors of various denominations in Ivory
Coast, CBN began to make preparation for an evangelistic media campaign
that would take place during the Christmas holidays. What no one expected
though, was that the country would erupt into civil war. Fortunately,
so far, French troops have managed to keep rebels from entering the
capital of Abijan. CBN WorldReach Director Peter Darg writes from the
capital; "Daytime in Abidjan seems fairly normal, apart from open
bed pickup trucks with cannons mounted on the back driven around town
by soldiers who look desperately anxious to shoot at something. French
paratroopers are also cruising around in APC's, but nobody seems to
know what they are doing or where they are going. With a complete curfew
from sun down to sun up, everybody is trying to race around to get to
work, school or shopping and mostly creating massive traffic tie ups.
After dark, everyone is at home watching TV, so the blitz (media campaign)timing
is perfect in this regard (imagine what the USA TV networks would give
to force everyone in the country to be in their homes every night watching
the TV or face being shot)".
The Ivory Coast media campaign began December 22 and aired in prime
time on national TV channel RTI through December 29. In addition to
drama, animation and documentary programs, CBN has produced a one-hour
special hosted by Kauffee and Domingo that aired on Christmas Day. CBN
is also providing a series of 20 half-hour radio programs for the FM
station in Abijan, Radio Frequence Vie. These radio programs are based
on Pat Robertson's best selling book and TV series Answers. The same
package of programs will also be shown in Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali
and Senegal. Volunteers will man phones and handle mail response for
what is expected to be a massive regional response to the programming.
How important is the timing of this outreach? TV Host Macy Domingo
explains: "Now we have a Christian President and the First Lady
has even testified about her faith on TV. This has changed the mentality
of people because they used to think Christianity was just for poor
people. But now they see it's even for high profile people." Macy
went on to say that this new openness has created an opportunity for
the Gospel, especially now as they are looking for answers and hoping
for peace. At the same time, as Christians boldly take this opportunity,
they are also aware that there could be a strong backlash from the large
CBN WorldReach was launched in the fall of 1995, a mission to spread
the Gospel throughout the world by means of mass media and primarily
CBN WorldReach currently creates programming that airs in 180 countries
and is viewed throughout the year by approximately 160 million people.
The goal of CBN WorldReach is to see 500 million new believers enter
into God's Kingdom.
CBN WorldReach has offices in seven French speaking African nations.
According to audience surveys, CBN's weekly programs on the national
channels are among the most popular programs in these countries.