Chapter 2 - "For It Is God Who Works"

 

Chapter 2 - A Seed is Planted

        In the late '50s, there were few Christian radio stations in the world. Christian programming on radio was available on secular stations, but only large churches had the funds required to pay for a segment of time on these stations. Houston's Berachah Church had a vibrant and growing congregation which was very interested in having Christian programming on the radio. They began a radio ministry in Houston by investing their time and resources in two radio programs on Sunday evenings on station KTHT (790 AM). The first was an exposition from the Word of God by Berachah's Pastor, R.B. Thieme Jr., and the second was a 15-minute Christian music program produced by Marvin Franer.

        Marvin Franer was a very handsome man. His tall frame and stately walk commanded respect, but his gentle blue eyes radiated the love of God. Music was Mr. Franer's passion; although he owned and operated Franer Manufacturing Co., in his spare time he served the Lord in various singing groups and as the Music Director for Berachah Church.

        During his radio program, he sang favorite hymns of the faith while Perry Sue Hamilton accompanied him on the organ. He always introduced a hymn by sharing some interesting facts about the author or the circumstances surrounding the writing of the song. Special guests were invited to sing with him or play a favorite hymn on the organ. A quartet from Berachah Church, in which Marvin and his wife Lenora were a part, sometimes sang a few numbers. Marvin sang bass and Lenora sang alto.

        In his business, Marvin travelled extensively. He and Lenora had relatives living in the Chicago area so they often went to Chicago. Each time they did so, Marvin was impressed by Chicago's Christian station, WMBI. The uplifting Christian music and Bible programs on the Moody Bible Institute station contrasted sharply with the programming on secular stations.  Marvin often asked himself, "Why can't Houston have a Christian station?" If the believers committed to praying for a Christian radio station, he was sure the Lord would grant their request.

        During one of his radio programs, Marvin took a few minutes to share his burden with the listeners. As he shared the joy of having been in Chicago and the delightful experience of listening to WMBI, he challenged the Christian community to pray that God would open the doors to bring a Christian radio station to Houston. He didn't really elaborate; in fact, it was more like a passing comment, but Marvin's challenge did not fall on deaf ears. All around the city, believers began to pray. The Heavenly Father's all-powerful hand began moving people's hearts and orchestrating miraculous circumstances that would bring an answer to each of those prayers.

        When God's people begin to pray, days, weeks or years may pass with little or no visible evidence that God has heard or that He is working. That is why faith is so important in the Christian life. The Lord defines faith as "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1. Several years passed from the time Marvin issued his challenge for people to pray before the answer to those prayers became visible. God was working, but quietly. In fact, if those who prayed had depended on the circumstances to know whether God was listening and working, they would have been very discouraged, because after Marvin's challenge, rather than seeing doors open for Christian programs on radio, doors quickly began to close.

        In 1959, one year later, the climate among radio station owners turned against variety programming. Station owners in Houston believed that specialization of formats, such as total country music or total news, would draw a larger audience than a variety format which had a bit of everything, including a little "religion." Thus, each radio station began to program its specialty, and religious time was relegated to an hour or two on Sunday mornings.  

        KTHT awarded its Sunday religious time to another church so Mr. Franer began looking for an alternate station on which to put the programs. However, he found that no station would sell him time because, according to Pete Steigerwald, "nobody was interested in selling religious time at the price religious groups were willing or able to pay." The door appeared to be closed to further broadcasts, but the Lord tells us in His Word, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand...For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?" (Isaiah 14:24,27). The seed that the Lord had planted twelve months earlier had germinated and had already begun to grow. Most Christians were not aware of what God was doing, but had to continue praying in faith that God was indeed working, even though they could not see tangible evidence of that work.        

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Table of Contents

Foreword & Preface
1. From Houston to the World
2. A Seed is Planted
3. Getting Started
4. The Lord's Ways
5. God Reveals His Best
6. The Lord Provides Personnel
7. Remodeling
8. Financial Struggles
9 Ministering Servants
10. KHCB Goes to the Rodeo
11. Programming
12. Expanding
13. New Studio Building
14. The Tall Tower
15. Volunteers
16. Changed Lives
17. Trustees
18. AM Station Acquired
19. Hispanics Launch Friendship Radio
20. Chinese Language Programming
21. The Gospel in Vietnamese
22. Translator Takes KHCB-FM to Bryan
23. Reaching for the Stars
24. To the Ends of the Earth
25. And the Work Goes On