On June 3, 2019 Grenada Family Network radio reached the wonderful milestone of 10 years on the air.
Truly God has blessed GFN despite many challenges. We praise Him for His mercy, kindness, and patience!
A few days before our 10 Year Anniversary we also completed an exciting goal of broadcasting in northern Grenada and the smaller islands to the north. After over a year of difficulties and delays, we finally completed the electrical installation and turned on the transmitter on the 2,221 foot Kublal mountain (right side).
You may be wondering what took so long. Looking back, I wonder that myself sometimes, but in the midst of that spiritual battle we were compelled to wait on God to open the way before us. The details would take too long to relate, but here are just a few of the challenges we faced, and by God’s grace, conquered!
- Bad weather
- Mistakes by volunteers
- Transportation up steep mountain roads
- Lack of funds
- An unexpected trip to the US
- Changes in code requirements
- Difficulty in finding parts
- Cut and stolen electrical cable
- Equipment failures
In the end, God helped us overcome a long string of unusual problems, and Grenada Family Network is now sending light to more than 30,000 people who couldn’t receive our radio signal before.
A BIG thank you to brother Watson Benjamin, our electrician, and brother Deon Moses, who provided transportation, advice, and encouragement. Thank you to Southern Electrical for helping us with parts and extending credit so that we could finish the installation sooner. Last but not least, thank you to those who helped us with your prayers and financial support. Truly the work of the gospel is able to advance most efficiently when the entire body is working together in unity!
Practicing What We Preach
For many years we have been broadcasting messages on the radio regarding the need for country living. Our listeners have heard quotes such as this one:
Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of enemies. Letter 5, 1904
Since the early days of Grenada Family Network it has been the dream of the directors and volunteers to have property in the country. The plan was to have a ministry base which could support an agriculture program, as well as broadcasting, colporteur work and medical missionary work. Properties larger than a few acres which are suitable for residential use are scarce and very expensive. For years, the Bartels who founded GFN, looked for affordable land but the prices made the dream seem impossible. As the years have gone by, real estate prices have only continued to rise. For example, in 2019, prices for good land in the country (good building sites with paved road access) typically run at least $100,000 (USD) per acre.
Obviously, land in the country is a blessing which only God can provide!
Like much of southern Grenada, the neighborhood where we currently live is frequently not restful. Several times each day we are disturbed by pedestrians and cars going by 40 feet from our front door. The only road is often blocked by funeral services at the cemetery. On the weekends, we are blasted with loud Soca music (devilish noise) at the Cricket field just a few hundred feet down the road. One of our neighbors “hot rods” his modified car up and down the road at almost any hour of the day and night. Several neighbors have dogs which do what dogs do – bark anytime they want to. For many years we have been longing for peace.
A few months ago, with no forethought or effort on our part, God placed before us an opportunity to rent a 3 bedroom house on 23 acres of land bordering a small river, with a concrete driveway, many fruit trees, and a continuous flowing spring. The property is an old plantation and has areas which have already been cleared of large trees for farming. It only needs a few hours of brush cutting to begin agriculture production again.
Last but not least, the house has all the necessary services such as water, electricity, phone, DSL and (possibly) broad band internet. The nearest neighbors are hundreds of feet away in one direction and several miles away in the other. The climate is cooler and more breezy than our current location in the south, which is a huge bonus!
Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. Joshua 1:13
For a very good rental price (1/3 of what we currently pay) we have been blessed with land which would be completely unaffordable if priced at full market value, but it seems that God has been saving it for us. His provision is amazing, wonderful…. Words fail to describe what He has done and is willing to do for each one of us!
Of course with everything in this sinful world, there are problems along with the blessings. The property is a 35 minute drive over the mountains from our station. The design of the house is less than ideal with only one bathroom, no laundry room, mostly unfinished interior, and salvaged, antiquated plumbing and lighting fixtures. The concrete slab roof needs to be sealed to prevent moisture penetration. It has no appliances or furniture, etc. but it’s a start, and most importantly, God has directed to move forward on plans to develop it, and the landlord is being wonderfully helpful.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT
Despite the challenges ahead, God’s timing seems providential. Are you aware that the 2019 growing season in the US is a slow motion crisis? By some estimates, acres of crops planted in the US are at the lowest level since 1938. Farmers across the nation, and indeed the world, are struggling with flooding, cold and wet fields, severe hailstorms, drought, and heat waves – all leading to significantly lower yields.
Already food prices in Grenada are inching upward. Very soon, if present trends continue, getting enough food to eat on this small island will become a problem for many people. Grenada is heavily dependent on imported food and many people do not have land for growing food.
“Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure — pressed down, shaken together, and running over — will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 CSB
Since 2015 God has blessed our family with a rental house with several fruit trees and a small garden plot. Over the past few years we have had the privilege of giving away hundreds of pounds (not an exaggeration) of fruit. At various times of the year we have given away grocery bags of mangoes, avocados, lemons, bananas, breadfruit, passion fruit, papaya, egg plant, and cucumbers.
I don’t say that to boast, but merely to point out that God is faithful to His promises. He has said, “give and it shall be given unto you”. We have found that promise to be true even though it is not always easy or convenient to give. We have often wished we could give some of that abundant blessing to friends and family in the US, but unfortunately that’s almost impossible. Even so, each one of us must test God’s promises personally in order to enjoy His special blessing.
Some months back we had a close acquaintance tell us, “I can’t afford to pay tithe. If I do, there won’t be enough for my bills”, as though tithe paying is optional based on circumstances. My wife and I commented privately, saying, “He can’t afford not to pay tithe.” Sadly, we have discovered over the years, that this lack of faith and consecration among God’s people is not rare.
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8
One of the reasons we are so excited about moving to the country is that it will enable us to develop a garden to not only to provide a large portion of our own food needs, but also triple or quadruple our giving, and open doors to the gospel. Will you help us in that endeavor?
Liberality both in spiritual and in temporal things is taught in the lesson of seed sowing. The Lord says, “Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.” Isaiah 32:20. “This I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6. To sow beside all waters means a continual imparting of God’s gifts. It means giving wherever the cause of God or the needs of humanity demand our aid. This will not tend to poverty. “He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” The sower multiplies his seed by casting it away. So it is with those who are faithful in distributing God’s gifts. By imparting they increase their blessings. God has promised them a sufficiency that they may continue to give….
And more than this is wrapped up in the sowing and the reaping. As we distribute God’s temporal blessings, the evidence of our love and sympathy awakens in the receiver gratitude and thanksgiving to God. The soil of the heart is prepared to receive the seeds of spiritual truth. And He who ministers seed to the sower will cause the seed to germinate and bear fruit unto eternal life.
Christ’s Object Lessons, pp 85-86
The Plan – Go Forward!
God has shown us that we need to move. In fact, with expenses up this year we really have no choice. If we don’t make drastic cuts to our spending somewhere, we will be off the air within a few months. Moving will provide an immediate monthly savings of $450 in rent; $40 in electricity; $90 in drinking water (we’ve been told the spring water is safe); and eventually $300 in food costs.
In order to move we need to purchase mattresses, a refrigerator and a propane stove. (Update: As I finish this report, several generous donors have provided funds to buy a stove!) We are actively looking for used items but without much success. The roof needs sealant to stop moisture coming through the ceiling. The kitchen needs more storage space. The bedrooms need tile. We also need basic furniture such as a dining table set, beds, and a couch. The bathroom and shower need better fixtures, if not a complete remodel.
With the exception of mattresses, and refrigerator, all of these items will not prevent us from moving. My family is less than thrilled with the idea, but we will eat, sleep, and live on the floor if necessary.
“We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts.”
How can we ever obey God’s command if we aren’t willing to suffer any hardships? He has not promised us comfort in this world, only that He will be with us in every difficulty and changing scene of life.
Please pray for us as we move to a new location and into a new phase of ministry. Truly we live in exciting and challenging times! Jesus is coming soon, and our greatest desire is to reach others with the good news so they can be prepared to meet Him.
May we all be ready!
Steve, Samra, Anna, and Ethan Shedell
- Regular monthly gifts of $10, $20, $50 or more to keep GFN Radio on the air.
- Shipping of equipment from Tennessee to Grenada: $600
- Concrete roof sealer: $180
- Refrigerator: $1,300 (Local price).
- 3 basic memory foam mattresses: $750
- Walk behind tractor for agriculture program: $4,815 (Includes tiller and sweeper attachment to maintain more than ¼ mile of concrete roads.)
- New radio broadcast computer: $5,799. (Our current hardware is nearly 11 years old and could fail any day.)
- Prayers that the promise of Matthew 24:14 will soon be fulfilled.
How to help:
You can donate online: http://gospelministry.org/donations/
Or by phone at: 423-473-1841
Or you can send a tax deductible donation to:
Gospel Ministries International
PO Box 506
Collegedale, TN 37315
Kindly include a separate note that it is for Grenada Media Ministry.
Contact us directly:
Steve and Samra Shedell
PO Box 2747
St. Paul’s, St. George’s
Grenada, West Indies
1 (473) 435-4297