David M. Kealy
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 1 Timothy 1:12
Second in a series by Harold Goerzen
In a Winter article of the Alumni CONNECTION of Reach Beyond where the Kealys served for 25 years the Kealys were highlighted by veteran writer Harold Goerzen.
We share the second of this three part series not for glory because that all goes to God. We are humbled by the recognition; yet we continue to go where God leads.
You know this if you follow our ministry.
“We likened the development of Christian radio programming and listener follow-up to church planting,” David explained. “One similarity is targeting a needy area and conducting audience research to help meet real and felt needs of the listening audience. One difference is the absence of a single denomination inspiring the effort. Christian radio had been done historically as a single mission or ministry endeavor. We began changing that perception—we believe in partnership.”
The Kealys soon discovered that partnership was a foreign concept to believers in the Soviet Union who had been oppressed under communism for 73 years. “They said, ‘Tell us how to do it (be the czar and tell us exactly what to do and you have total ownership because that is what we understand and know) or give us the money and get out of our way,’” David related.
Overcoming numerous challenges, David came alongside local believers, training them to produce radio programs and later helping them obtain government permits for FM radio stations in countries that had never allowed private radio stations or Christian broadcasts.
One of his many memorable experiences was a providential meeting with South African Pastor John Thomas when they crossed paths in an elevator in Florida. David and Pastor Thomas were both attending a Missions Conference at a local church during the time when David was helping the mission prepare for the move to Colorado Springs, Colo.
Thomas was facing a tight deadline after unexpectedly receiving a license to put South Africa’s first Christian radio station on the air, but he knew nothing about radio.
David responded, “We can help you - it's what we do!” With technical help from SonSet Solutions and training in radio program production, the station was on the air within 30 days. CCFM became one of the city’s most-listened-to stations, and the ministry has started a network of radio stations across countries in Africa called Radio Africa Network (RAN). Thomas has also served on Reach Beyond’s board of trustees for many years.
In May 1994 the Reach Beyond board of trustees approved Euro-Asia as a region for extended ministry across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). David was named director, initiating the mission’s regionalization efforts.
In the next four years, David and Sharon had the opportunity to develop dozens of ministry partnerships in the region.
In 1999 David developed a tool to bring interested people from the same country or area together to encourage cooperation in the development of local radio stations. “We had the opportunity to conduct the first radio forums as we visited Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Albania and Macedonia along with Bob and Miriam Neff,” David noted.
City by City
Later that year David shared his vision of reaching the world’s major cities with Christian radio. The City by City initiative was launched and he was asked to develop the project.
“Through this initiative we planned to proactively go to the cities where we felt God wanted us to go. This meant we needed to seek His face, His will and His direction, going to the cities where He wanted us,” David declared. At part of the City by City project, David visited government officials in New Delhi, India, in 2001. “They were very open to discussion and assistance as they considered privatization of radio in India,” David said.
Check in next month for the final part three of this series.
David M. Kealy
1 Timothy 1:12 is a life verse that led to our creating Reaching People far from God