On Air: Luda Kinok
By Kelly Bevill
Five-year-old Luda Kinok sat on the floor playing with her
dolls. Across the room, her uncle adjusted the dial on the family’s only radio.
After delicately tuning the radio’s knob he landed on a station Kinok didn’t
“What language is that?” Kinok asked in Russian.
“It’s English,” her uncle replied. “But don’t tell anybody
I’m listening to it. It’s coming from America.”
As they listened, the announcer’s voice suddenly changed
from English to Russian …
For almost 50 years, Alaska-based Christian radio station
KICY has been broadcasting into Russia. Today, it is Kinok’s voice that can be
heard over KICY’s airwaves, carrying messages of Jesus’ love to her native
Kinok, 31, grew up in Sireniki, an Eskimo village of less
than 500 people separated from Alaska by the Bering Strait. Less than 20 years
ago the only access her people had to the gospel was through television and
radio programming. That radio broadcast was her first introduction to Christ.
Years later, as a teenager watching a Christian television broadcast, she
experienced life change.
“The host of the program was using Bible language like
‘redemption’ and ‘salvation,’ ” Kinok says. “Even though I had never heard
these words, I was able to understand the meaning of them.”
Soon after, she committed her life to Christ and prayed that
God would show her at least one person in the village who knew about Jesus.
The comic book
A few weeks later, one of her classmates brought a comic
book to school depicting the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Kinok asked her
classmate if she could borrow the book, but her classmate said Kinok would have
to ask her mom.
“I was afraid, but I had a hunger in my heart,” Kinok
She went to her classmate’s house and asked the mother if
she could borrow the book.
“I thought she was going to punch me. But instead she hugged
me real hard and started crying.”
Kinok finished her last year of high school, and during the
summer months she and her friend’s mother met every night to read and discuss
the comic book. Over time, others joined them and a burgeoning church found its
“After three months we had more than 100 people reading and studying
the comic book,” Kinok says.
A few months later, a missionary from a nearby town heard
about the meetings and sent a helper missionary to assist the group and give
Spread the gospel
Soon after, the 19-year-old Kinok ventured to a Chukchi
village with another missionary in an effort to evangelize the region. They
learned fast that none of the 200 people in the village had heard the gospel.
Because the USSR had recently collapsed, the people in the
village were desperate and violent. Bullet holes pockmarked the walls of some
houses. One night a group of drunken men came to Kinok’s house and entered it.
She began boldly preaching about love and forgiveness, and to the dismay of the
other men, one of the men fell on his knees in conviction.
The following Sunday the man started coming to the church
and told Kinok the boldness she had in her time of helplessness broke his anger
and lust. Every night after that — without Kinok knowing — the man
stood outside her house so no one would bother her. Eventually he would become
the pastor of the church in the village.
Kinok saw other breakthroughs that fortified her faith. The principal of the local high school
let her use a classroom for meetings even though he said he didn’t expect
anyone to show up. Thirty-two people attended the first meeting.
Kinok spent the next five years ministering in area
villages. She faced constant challenges, persecution and physical attacks,
never wavering in her calling to share Christ. But in 2006 a phone call would
point her in a new direction in fulfilling that mission.
A representative from KICY — founded in 1960 and
located in Nome, Alaska — called Kinok’s pastor seeking someone who would
volunteer as the Russian broadcaster for the station.
At first Kinok balked at the offer because she thought she
lacked the necessary skills. But later that year she moved to Alaska to begin
her broadcasting ministry. Today, she fills five hours of broadcasting on KICY
with news, weather and worship music in Russian. Between songs she preaches.
She also puts programs on the air that other radio stations and churches send
According to the KICY Web site, the station is the only
commercial radio station in the United States licensed by the FCC to broadcast
into another country in its language.
Kinok has received abundant feedback from her listeners. She
advertises her phone number on the air along with her pastor’s phone number so
that people in Alaska and Russia can call someone to talk about Jesus. Some of her
listeners are reindeer herders in remote camps who listen to her on single
channel radios that run on solar power.
“They send her letters and e-mails,” says Henry Reiber, a
missionary and pastor of River of Life Assembly of God in Nome where Kinok attends.
“Anytime any of them come through this area, they call Luda, and she just opens
her house to them.”
In a way, she does the same for all of her listeners.
Because of her airwaves ministry, the gospel is reaching people who might not
otherwise hear it — continuing a vital pathway of evangelism that once
touched her own 5-year-old heart.
KELLY BEVILL is an intern at the Pentecostal Evangel and a
senior at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo.
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