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Not for Profit: WIVH Missionaries

July 15, 2007–For 14 years, missionaries on St. Croix have been serving locals with commercial-free Christian radio, 24 hours a day.
Burl and Shirley Updyke began broadcasting on radio station 90.1 WIVH, the West Indies Voice of Hope, on July 18, 1993.
After Hurricane Hugo, Burl Updyke a TV and radio engineer felt there was a need for a Christian radio station in the Virgin Islands. The Updykes came to the territory with years of radio experience as directors of the Gospel Media Institute in Hunlock Creek, Pa. They bought and rebuilt a hurricane damaged home in Union-Mount Washington to house missionaries and the radio station. Everything began to fall into place as they set up a 20-foot satellite dish, and installed computer programs that Burl Updyke designed.
Jake and Marge Coy, current missionaries at WIVH, began serving in September 2002. After 9/11, the Coys began to re-evaluate their lives. They heard about the mission opportunity in the V.I. on Updykes’ WRGN station, the sister station to WIVH. Financially, the Coys were able to become missionaries, as Jake Coy had retired from the Air Force and the U.S. Post Office. The program mandates that missionaries sign up for a two-year tour, but they must declare their intentions a year ahead. Jake Coy said, "We were just getting started so we decided to extend our stay to three years. After two years it still wasn't time to leave." After five years on St. Croix they will be leaving in October and are to be replaced by Steve and Jean Schultz.
The station is affiliated with the Moody Broadcast network in Chicago, transmitting programs such as ‘Turning Point’ with David Jeremiah, ‘Truth for Life’ with Alistair Begg and ‘Music Thru the Night’ with the soothing voice of Mike Kellogg. Children's programs such as ‘Adventures in Odyssey’ and ‘Storybook Room’ are broadcast daily and on Saturdays. Jake Coy prerecords local public service announcements and 20 local pastors come to the station and record three batches at a time of scripture readings. Some of those pastors reading scripture are: Rod Koopmans from St. Croix Reformed Church; Gary Moore, from St. Croix Christian; Reginald Perry, from Victorious Believers; and Harriet Jarvis Thomas from Tabernacle of Praise Harvest Ministries.
The station is commercial free — totally listener supported with 60 percent of the funding from local churches and listeners and the remaining 40 percent support from the state. In May, the station holds an annual two-day Shar-A-Thon. The event serves as an open house where visitors are welcome to participate and share testimonies as to how the station is affecting their lives. Marge Coy said, "This is a fun event with food and games." The fund-raising goal set for the station this year was $24,000. That goal was surpassed with $26,000 raised.
In November 2006, the Coys started "Showtime" a movie night held the first Saturday of the month showing movies with a message for families. The venue, with free entry, drinks and popcorn, has been so successful they have had to move from the station to the Youth With a Mission house, in Estate Diamond, to accommodate more people.
Another mandate set for the missionaries is their need to get out, mix and mingle; therefore, they can't join just one church. They need to have a good rapport with different pastors and attend churches on a rotating basis. Jake Coy said, "This is one of the best mandates they have given us." Friends of WIVH, consisting of 15 members, were set up as a support system for the missionaries. "They give us feedback and words of encouragement," said Jake Coy.
Marge Coy is in charge of WIVH Correspondence School, offering free instruction in a variety of Bible courses designed for all ages. Source of Light Ministries International supplies the courses.
Small group tours of the station are offered to Christian Schools and churches. Jake Coy said, "The children love to come to the station and record Christian songs and then hear themselves singing."
About their upcoming departure Marge Coy said, "We really love the people and the island. This has been a wonderful opportunity that we are very thankful for." Jake Coy also said, "I can't stand the thought of returning to cold weather at our home in Eastern Pennsylvania." He went on to say, "We wouldn't mind coming back for long periods of time to relieve the next missionary couple."

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