Greetings from the Holy Land! I am writing this from my motel room in Haifa, Israel. I, along with several staff from Back to the Bible Canada, have been invited by the Israeli tourism ministry to spend a week here, filming and preparing for the Israel Experience tour this fall. Prior to our arrival, the team and I spent a few days in Toronto, where I was interviewed on two prominent radio stations in southern Ontario where BTTBC airs. It was also a perfect opportunity to consolidate our relationships with these partners as the ministry seeks to expand in this region.
Let me share with you a few thoughts from our time in Toronto. First, I am encouraged that BTTBC reaches a listening audience far larger than I had anticipated. In this area, there is a potential reach of around eight million! What this means for us is that we have a definite listening audience of over 100,000 on both radio stations. Pretty astounding! Truly, the ministry is growing and the potential to reach Canada with the gospel has never been greater.
This brings me to a reflection on the amazing opportunities we have to do God’s work as we get in touch with various parts of the country. I am filled with both thankfulness for our land but also an aching sense of how many people are in desperate need to hear the good news. As Christians, we are often encouraged to both give and pray for missions in foreign lands. To do this is right and good, but we must not neglect to do the same within our own nation. During an interview on one of the stations, I was gratified to hear so many listeners who called in with excitement about the program. I was also happy to hear how many non-Christians also listen. On WDCX radio (based in Buffalo, New York), I also heard from many Canadians who make up roughly 70 percent of that station’s audience. But what overwhelmed me was how many of these people had accents from places all over the globe. The world truly has come to Canadian shores, and many who come have a natural curiosity and openness to the gospel. To that effect, Christian radio provides for a first encounter with the gospel! So let’s continue to affirm our unwavering commitment to evangelism! Which brings me back to the present…
As we arrived in Israel this afternoon, the scene shifted dramatically. Israel is truly a land that many Christians long to visit. We briefly stopped in Caesarea, the city that Herod the Great built, with its splendid theatre, hippodrome and extensive aqueduct. Even though the port that once allowed ships right up to Herod’s palace now is in ruins, the remnants of a splendid city are everywhere present. Many are not aware that liberal scholars doubted that Pontius Pilate existed, until an inscription to him was found on a stone in Caesarea. This, once again, confirms the trustworthiness of Scripture.
The good news we share is true news. It happened in a real place, in real history. Stay tuned as I continue to share our experiences in the Promised Land.