Wayland senior takes radio skills to mission field

Cody Renshaw has known for some time that he wants to work in the radio broadcasting field. He's also wanted to include missions in some part of his life. But he never imagined he could pair the two.

Renshaw, a senior at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, spent two months this summer in Ndiaganiao, Senegal, located in West Africa, on a mission trip with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

While there, Renshaw was able to use his training in radio with a Christian program called "Bread of Life."

"The program was broadcast two times a day and translated Bible stories into Sereer (the language of the local people group)," Renshaw said. "I would help duplicate the tapes and get them to the stations for broadcasting."

Renshaw also was helpful in setting up equipment for various screenings of the Jesus video, an evangelical film on the life of Jesus Christ. He also worked with literacy teams that used Bible stories to work on literacy skills among the Sereer.

Though the nation is heavily Muslim and Catholic, Renshaw said sharing the good news of Christ was not difficult.

"They were really open to the Gospel there. They are expected to be the people group that will spread the Gospel to Africa over the next few years," he said. "They're not always as open with their decisions, but several people did accept Christ while we were there."

One of the summer's high points, he said, was being able to visit with students and teachers at a school for the blind in a nearby town. Renshaw is visually impaired himself and attended the Texas School for the Blind in Austin for several years.

A mass communications/marketing and management major at Wayland, Renshaw said he learned of the possibility of mission work in Senegal from fellow students Carrie Pearce and Bessie Ann Reed, both of whom had spent the summer of 2000 in Senegal. When he learned there might be a need for persons trained in radio work, he enlisted the aid of First Baptist Church Plainview's David Barfield to make contacts with the mission board.

"I thought it was an awesome opportunity. The Lord has really opened up doors for me in the field of radio broadcasting," said Renshaw, who has served as assistant station manager at Wayland's own radio station, KWLD-FM, for two and one-half years. He has worked for the station for four and one-half years total.

Renshaw said following graduation he is considering attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for graduate work or finding a job with a radio station on the mission field. If that means returning to Senegal, so be it.

"I'm open to wherever God wants me to go. People there are very family-oriented," he said. "To our eyes, they're in poverty. But they have so much because family plays a big role in their lives."