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Caribbean Radio Lighthouse, Antigua
By Nathan Owens
Most storm preparation messages will advise one to have a battery operated radio on hand
in order to get information during and after a storm. The Caribbean Radio Lighthouse
(CRL) on Antigua is on the flip side of that message. With an AM radio broadcast that
covers over 20 populated Caribbean countries and a potential listening audience of over
two million people, it is our job to broadcast storm updates as well as the message of peace
only found through Jesus Christ.

The Lighthouse’s original studio building, over 40 years old and located on government
land, was eaten away by rust, termites, and rats and would not withstand a direct hurricane
hit. We started a construction project in the spring of 2016 to remodel one of our ministry
buildings to be the new location of CRL radio station facilities. We began hearing that a
hurricane may be headed our way as the project was nearing completion. Rather than
risk losing our radio equipment at the old location, we decided to go forward with the
move September 1–3, even though a few finishing touches were yet to be completed.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, arrived on September 6 and directly hit Barbuda, our
sister island, only 39 miles to the north. During the storm, Ken
and Nancy Kirkland and I stayed at the new facility, while my
wife, Renee, and her visiting parents stayed in the other ministry
house. Due to poor internet service during the storm, we were
unable to stream our radio signal or get storm updates via email
or online. Family in the States would call or text information to
us so we could provide listeners with storm updates.

Number 1, 2018

Our AM signal went off the air about halfway through the storm, but our FM signal that
reaches mainly Antigua stayed on. A listener reported that we were one of two FM radio
stations she could tune in during the storm. Once the storm settled, we drove to our AM
tower site, about three miles from the new studio, to find that our generator had been
damaged during a recent repair job, resulting in a significant oil leak. We refilled the oil,
restarted the generator to continue broadcasting, and called the repair company. As one
might imagine, they were quite busy and a part needed to be ordered from the States.

After any storm our electricity will be off for several days or even weeks, meaning we
depend on the generators to keep us on the air. Two days later on September 8, Hurricane
Jose, a Category 4 hurricane, seemed to be taking the same path as Hurricane Irma. The
1,600 residents of Barbuda were evacuated to Antigua, but the storm turned north and
had no effect on our islands.

We continued to unpack from the move, clean up from the storm, and monitor the AM
generator. When Hurricane Maria, another Category 5 storm, approached on September
18, the generator oil was leaking about 1.5 quarts per hour and needed to be refilled
every two hours. Since we would not be able to travel during the storm, I stayed in the
little generator building by the AM tower throughout the storm (and a few days after the
storm). Hurricane Maria directly hit Dominica, an island
100 miles south. We were able to stay on the air for the
entire storm on both our AM and FM signals and to give
storm updates.

The Lord clearly protected Antigua from any major
damage during both of these storms. We have received
many calls and words of thanks from listeners who not only
appreciated the storm updates but also the encouraging
music and messages we continue to air! We pray that those
throughout the islands who feel they have lost all hope will
be directed to our broadcasts and learn of the only One
who can give hope and peace.

After Hurricane Maria, we were contacted by Operation Renewed Hope, a medical
missions and disaster relief agency. They asked if we would be willing to gather food
supplies in Antigua and help arrange a charter flight to take them to Dominica. This
would cost less and be
quicker than sending
supplies from the States.

The Kirklands spent many
days purchasing and
hauling 2,800 pounds of
food and chartering two
flights to missionaries
in Dominica. We are
excited that God chose to
use us in this way! Please
continue to pray for the
recovering Caribbean
Islands, and pray that God
will continue to show us
how to serve Him in the
Caribbean. W
Number 1, 2018