Author Archives: Ryan Seal

March 2020 Newsletter

Celebrating Christmas at the Festival of Lights.

Christmas was a little different this year. Ryan was on-call for the technical team over Christmas so, instead of taking a long vacation we took the weekends in December to go on small trips around the Johannesburg area and spend time together as a family. On Christmas day we swam with friends and had a braai. Just one of the perks of having Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere.

New Year’s was fun as we continued our tradition of having a board games party. We also had a huge scare in January. Ryan had a bad reaction to a new brand of deodorant that was complicated by a virus. This took two emergency room visits and eventually two weeks to clear up.

After a lot of prayer and discussion, we felt it is time for us to step down from the ministry from TWR and pursue serving God in other avenues. So, Ryan is preparing his projects to pass on to someone else. We know this is huge news and there are a lot of questions. Here are a few of the basics:

Why are you leaving TWR?
During making plans for furlough we realized our reason for returning was to stay in South Africa. The ministry of TWR was not on our hearts anymore, and we felt a clear leading from God that our time with TWR was done. The vision of TWR is still something we believe in, but God is clearly leading our hearts to something new.

What will you be doing next?
We love South Africa. Ryan is eligible for a critical skills visa so he is going to pursue working in Johannesburg doing Software Development. If Ryan is unable to acquire a job offer before the end of May then we will be returning to Colorado Springs to be closer to our families.

When should I stop sending money for you?
The end of June. Our last day is May 29th, but TWR pays missionaries an extra month of salary since we are required to give three months notice. This gives us a little bit of a cushion time to find work. Please consider taking your contributions and giving them to another missionary. We appreciate your giving for Kingdom work and hope you will keep sending that money to support God’s work. If you do not know who to support next, please pray and consider supporting Tyler and Amy Mullis. They are good friends of ours doing good work within TWR and your support would be greatly appreciated. If you have more questions, send us an email and we’d be happy to answer them.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

Ary ready for the first day of school.

In January Aryanna started going part time (three days a week) to preschool. She absolutely loves it! She is doing P.E., Music classes and Computer classes. We are also happy that she is able to get more social interaction with her peers.

Owen ready for an imaginary dive!

Owen is much more talkative now that Ary is in school and he can get a word in edgewise. We are starting to see his imagination and creativity. He is very active but he also loves reading books.

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December 2019 Newsletter

One of the things software developers do together is something called a “hack-a-thon.” Developers from different backgrounds come together and write software for a common purpose.  Recently a group called Indigitous has been putting together hack-a-thons for Christians.  This year Ryan got to participate in one that happened in Pretoria over a weekend.  He worked with two other developers to try and make a discipleship site more accessible to blind users.  It was a good time to meet other like minded developers and work on something a little different.

Looking back on this year, Elyse is sad that she was not able to work with TWR. There was just no need for her skills at this point. However, she has not been idle. The best thing that has happened these last few months is the progress of a student Elyse volunteers with every Thursday. Elyse listens to reading but with this student she does more. He is a student who speaks English as a second language so he struggles. In the last month, something has clicked. He has started reading better, focusing, and finishing his work. He is still far behind but his teacher said, “He always does better every week after you have spent time with him.” Elyse is so glad to be able to be there even if it was just to help one kid do better.

Rare family photo with everyone looking in the same direction.

We had Thanksgiving with our church on November 23rd. Everyone brought a meat dish, a side or a dessert. You know Elyse, she had to cook more. It was a wonderful time to remember what we are thankful for and celebrate with our South African Family.

We will be in South Africa for Christmas as well.  It’s Ryan’s turn to be on-call to solve any technical issues during the holiday season.  This means we won’t get to travel anywhere for the summer break. However, we will still be celebrating Christmas with Elyse’s friend who is a single mom and her family.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

Ary and Owen playing on a re-purposed tractor.

Ary has a vivid imagination and is forever playing make believe. She is becoming very artistic. She loves coloring, stickers, painting, and any opportunity to make something pretty. Ary is developing strong friendships with kids at church and school. She is always excited to read our Jesus stories and go to Sunday school.

Owen is a completely different child than last year. He speaks very well. He is happy. Right now his favorite thing to do is climb and jump, which makes mommy wonder if he will make it to his next birthday sometimes. He is still on a wheat free diet which can be challenging here in South Africa but we have adapted well to it.

Listener story

Every day I am blessed with everything I need, not always what I want, but God knows what is best for me. TWR broadcasts the most encouraging messages which I listen to as often as I am able to; messages based on God’s Word, the Bible. I glean nuggets of eternal truths, leading to a deeper knowledge and understanding which become wisdom and peace in my life. As I put into practice these lessons, others also learn who Jesus is. He is the Light of the world. We are created in His image and must shine for Him in our daily walk for others to follow.

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September 2019 Prayer Letter

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Playing in Marloth Park

From the end of May to the beginning of July, we seemed to be constantly moving. We spent three wonderful weeks with family in the States. We got spoiled with fun and food at both grandparents’ homes. We got to meet our niece for the first time. Some of the highlights were visiting the zoo, feeding sharks and stingrays, fishing on Papa’s boat, and playing at lots of playgrounds with cousins.

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Elyse feeding a kudu

When we got home we immediately started packing up our home. God provided a perfect new home for us. We now live in a townhouse with an amazing kitchen for Elyse and a public park right behind our house for the kids to explore and play.
We also had a chance to visit Marloth Park, right on the edge of the Crocodile River.  We spent a weekend away with some friends and had some zebras, warthogs, giraffes, baboons and even kudu come right up to our door.

Ryan published the first version of the new LinguaDMS uploading application just before our trip to the US.  It was great to have this finished so he could relax.  After getting back his focus has been on catching up with all the other projects fixing small bugs and updating documentation.  Currently most of his time is working on going back to the Producer’s Tool.  It’s been nearly two years since he’s made any changes and it needs a few long outstanding bugs fixed.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

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Showing off firework art

Ary and Owen are growing like weeds. They seem to have unlimited energy. They love slaying monsters with their stick swords, playing in the dirt, climbing and jumping off anything. We are so thankful they are in better health now that we have moved.

Ary and Owen love going to school once a week. They are so excited to see their teachers and friends. Elyse is teaching Ary to read. Ary is excited to read but not a big fan of the hard work. Owen speaks more articulately everyday though when they are playing, Ary tells Owen exactly what he should say.

Listener Story

Hi there TWR.  Thank you for your broadcast in times that can’t be easy. I’m in Zimbabwe and found an old SW / MW radio which I retrieved after many years because of the power shedding in a country torn by greed and corruption. We only have 5 hours of power some days, so finding you again has been such a blessing in the long dark hours of the night on 1170MW. I listen to the DStv Channel 855 (TWR Africa) when we do have power. Many thanks again and may u be blessed in your service.

– A Listener in Zimbabwe

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June 2019 Newsletter

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The Seder meal we took part in on Good Friday

By the time you receive this letter, we will be in the US visiting family.  In 2017, just after we left Colorado, Elyse’s brother had his first child.  We haven’t had the opportunity to meet our new niece and wanted to take some time this year to celebrate and see our families. With the coming three-week break, life and work have been winding down a bit.  Ryan has been making small bug fixes to both the TWR Africa mobile applications and the new uploading application for online content.  Things need to run smoothly in our absence so its been a time for focusing on sorting out bugs and making sure everything is able to be handled by others in TWR.  Please pray that we have a restful time and that TWR will not need to contact Ryan for any software related issues.

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Easter egg hunting with friends

We celebrated Easter with our pastor and his family.  Easter in South Africa has a different vibe to it.  Here Good Friday and the Monday after Easter are public holidays.  The months of April and May include at least three other public holidays therefore many families take Easter weekend for vacation time. Easter services are usually not well attended, but most churches have a service on Good Friday.  This year our church held a Seder meal service to help us reflect on the significance of the cross. The Seder is a very family oriented service so it engaged both the adults and the kids.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

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Ary and Owen proud of their ability to match shapes

It seems that most of the past two months Aryanna and Owen have been sick.  It’s been mostly colds with coughing and sniffling, but we had two visits to the emergency room because Ary was struggling to breathe.  With the changing of the seasons and winter coming, we’ve been struggling to keep the kids healthy.  Please keep our health in your prayers.

Other than that, it’s been business as usual.  Elyse continues to do homeschooling four days a week with the kids.  Ary always enjoys the activities Elyse comes up with and usually jumps with excitement when asked “Do you want to do school?”  Owen is a big boy now that he turned two in March. He keeps gaining new vocabulary and loves to emulate his big sister.

Listener Story

Thank you TWR for giving me an opportunity to know the love of God upon my life. Through your programmes I learnt that there is no need for me to condemn myself that I am a sinner. Jesus Christ died on the cross for me. I used to think that my sins are too much that I may not be forgiven. But one day as I was listening one of your programmes I had a courage to forge ahead with my spiritual life. The thoughts I was hearing whispered in my mind that I am a sinner, stopped thru the advice I got from here. Thank you TWR I am no longer a slave of sin anymore.

– A Listener in South Africa

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March 2019 Newsletter

Taking a break after playing at our favorite playground

At the end of February, Ryan released the first version of the new uploading app for our partners to post content on TWR’s platforms including the TWR360 app.  This is a huge milestone for a project that has been a long time coming.  After we work out the bugs with this release we will begin to add new features that will help us get programs to listeners faster.

Early in February Ryan released new versions of our Apple and Android TWR Africa apps.  The developer of the Android version wanted to focus on other things so Ryan was given responsibility of both versions of the app.  Listeners to our Johannesburg station enjoy the app as an alternative way to listen to TWR Africa and to catch up on last week’s programs they were unable to catch live.

A family walk

Late last year, our Swaziland transmitter was turned slightly so that our programs could reach more of Somalia. One of the programs was an audio version of The Jesus Film. We received 500 listener responses from Somalia saying how blessed they were by the broadcast. Praise God for his Word reaching their hearts.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

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Ary and Owen leaving for their first day of school

The week after Christmas we spent some time at Mculu and Gogo’s (Grandpa and Grandma in Siswati) farm in Swaziland. Ary and Owen had so much fun chasing chickens, feeding pigs, and playing with their “cousin” Nina. We went sightseeing too. Gogo took us to the first church started in Swaziland. It is still there and going strong. We climbed a mountain. It was quite steep and Ary climbed up and down all by herself.

Now that the new school year has started, Elyse volunteers once a week at the school our church runs. She listens to kids read. We are just starting with three letter words right now but by the end of the year, the kids will be reading simple stories. While Elyse volunteers, Ary and Owen go to school. They love school and their teachers.

Listener Story

By the same grace I am free from captives. Yes, I am free now. I was in strong devil’s bonds. I could mess around with other girlfriends leaving my wife at home. I could pretend to be righteous before my church. I was a secret sinner. Not everyone could recognise it. I don’t really know how to say it. I gradually begun to realise that God was condemning my pretence. TWR, by God’s grace, has totally contributed to the change of my life with one of its programs – ‘100% Worship”. I have a story on what happened that day. It was during the hour of 100% Worship. I was singing the songs played during the program. I later realised a flow of water fell from my eyes. My whole body became weak. Then I realised that I was among the fellowship members praying in my house. God touched my heart through those songs.”
A listener in Malawi

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December 2018 Newsletter

Merry Christmas from South Africa where we are dreaming of a white sand Christmas.

Ryan is preparing to publish a version of the project he has been working on all year. Though the project has taken significantly longer than expected, there is still a lot of excitement within TWR. LinguaDMS is over 10 years old now and really needs some updating. This project is one of the first steps to modernize and simplify LinguaDMS. Other than that Ryan has been maintaining our TWR Africa mobile app and helping manage files and data within LinguaDMS. The year is almost done, but there are a lot of little things to be done before we relax a little during our summer break. Please keep Ryan and his various projects in your prayers as we wrap up 2018.

Since Elyse finished her writing for Hope for our Children, she has not done any other writing. She spends all her time with Ary and Owen. God also brought a family into our lives that Elyse helps out a lot. This family is a single mom with five kids, one of whom was born in September. Elyse and the other Mom have become good friends. She also has a little girl about Ary’s age. She and Ary have become best buds.

Thanksgiving dinner with our South African church

We had a Thanksgiving meal with our church. Elyse gave out some recipes on some of the more traditional Thanksgiving dishes. The food was fantastic. The company of 50 other people coming together to give thanks, enjoy each other’s company, and eat a lot made it a perfect evening.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

Fun at the playground

Ary is becoming more independent and some times strong willed. Her favorite things to do right now are reading, playing at the playground around the block, and singing nonsense songs no one but she can understand. She has developed a love for The Chronicles of Narnia because we listen to it in the car. Puddleglum is her favorite. Owen still is not talking but he will do animal sounds and repeats things we say. He is a real boy who loves jumping, climbing, playing with cars, and getting dirty. His favorite books are the big Jesus books that Grandma and Grandpa gave him. Elyse has been doing a sort of homeschool with the kids as they are eager to learn. Ary wants to learn to read.

Listener Story

I listened to TWR’s programme, The Way of Righteousness, and heard the preacher say we should love our enemies. My heart was full of hatred. Thanks again for this program. My heart has changed and I ask God to give me the strength to forgive others as his son has forgiven me….

A listener in West Africa

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September 2018 Newsletter

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Laura and Lauren enjoying some eats before they went back home

Well, intern season is over and while Ryan might not have two heads mounted on the wall, TWR Women of Hope does have a new app.  Our interns, Laura and Lauren, worked hard and managed to build a working app in less than two months.  The app still needs to go though a few approval channels before being released to the public, but the major work is done.

Laura and Lauren both jumped into TWR with a huge learning curve before them.  They set out determined to build what they needed.  With a little help and mentoring, they both grew as developers and did an impressive amount of work.  Ryan enjoyed getting a rare opportunity to work with other software developers.  It was satisfying to mentor other young developers and pass what he has learned over the years.

Aryanna and Owen hanging out after church

We also enjoyed getting to know Laura and Lauren on a personal level, having them over for dinner.  Aryanna adored them both and called them “the one with the hat” and “the one with the hair”.  We’ll miss having them around and we hope they’ll be able to return one day.

Elyse finished writing scripts for “Hope for our Children” in August. It was a challenging work for her. She enjoyed the struggle and even was challenged by what she was teaching about money. The program is now being translated into Zulu and produced so it can begin airing by the end of the year.

Ary and Owen’s Corner

Aryanna on the swings with friends at her birthday party

Ary turned 3 in June. We had a birthday party with Ary’s three best friends at a local playground. The kids had lots of fun playing on the equipment and eating Ary’s special request: Toy Story ice cream cake.  Ary has started to develop into a little girl instead of a toddler. When Ary is awake, she is talking. She loves to play with her stuffed animals in the bath tub calling it Grandpa’s boat. She loves to read and will sometimes read to us. She can even pick out letters and numbers on pages and signs. Her favorite place to visit is the Botanical Gardens so she can feed ducks and play in the dirt and trees.

Owen is an energetic toddler. He can be entertained by cars whether big or small or in a book. He notices every airplane that comes near our home. Owen would rather be outside than anything else. He will throw or kick a ball with you for hours on end. He is still not talking but communicates very well with his hands.

Listener Story

I am a faithful listener of your programs. Your topics have given me spiritual growth in term of Bible reading and the courage to go through hardships. I am starting to see the difference between the person I was in 2017 and the person I am today. I believe that God is going through your programs to revolutionize my Christian life. Thank you so much.
-A listener in Cote d’Ivoire

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March 2018 Newsletter

Our first dinner in our new appartment.

We had an incredibly cold but wonderful Christmas with Ryan’s family. But at the beginning of January, we made the long journey back to South Africa. Now, after six months of being nomads, we are finally in our new home. We were very happy to move into our new apartment at the end of January. Our first day in our new home we had beds set up with clean sheets, that was it. All of our possessions were stored in a garage so every dish, blanket, curtain, and clothing had to be washed. Elyse had to wash down every surface of the apartment before we moved in. The first night in our apartment, the only clean space to eat in was our hallway. Slowly but surely the chaos died down. Things got put away and reorganized as we figured out where everything should go.  There are a lot of children in the complex and they love Ary and Owen. We go outside to play with them almost every day. Ryan struggled for weeks to get us an internet connection and a South African bank account.

Owen Enjoying himself at a braai

While this transition feels like it has been a lot of struggle getting back into life here, not everything has. We returned to our church. Ryan is playing drums and Elyse teaches Sunday School. Ary was excited to see all her friends again and Owen is beginning to make friends. We found a raspberry field where we enjoyed a fun filled morning of picking raspberries and eating them too.

Ryan jumped right back into work releasing a new versions of the Producer’s Tool and continuing work on the new web interface for uploading files to LinguaDMS. Elyse took some extra time to see the kids settle in more. We are currently looking for a nanny or a day care so Elyse can work part time writing part of a program, Hope for our Children. Most of Elyse’s episodes will center on how to use money wisely.

Pray for the Team in Swaziland

Our team in Swaziland needs your prayer. One of our fellow missionaries was robbed and then highjacked with her 1 year old son. They are both ok as their car broke down 1 km from their home. The robbers then ran away on foot. She was then able to get the car to a local butchery and call for help. Crime has been increasing near our Swaziland office. Please pray for our team’s safety.

Listener Story

“Thanks be to the Lord for the programme of Bible Bus. It’s not easy to explain what the reading of the word is doing in my life. The more I listen, the more I want to hear. I am really filled with joy and hope. May the Lord extend your territory and increase more languages to help our illiterate population of the world, especially [on South African farms]. I am really pleased and excited about TWR programmes. Be Blessed.”

– A listener in South Africa

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December 2017 Newsletter

We got to play at a pumpkin patch in October.

Where in the world is the Seal family? I feel like we need a map for all the places we have been in the last three months. I write to you from a chilly blustery day in Colorado. We traveled from North Carolina to New York and Pennsylvania where we spent time with Elyse’s family and friends. We were also able to visit with two of our supporting churches. Then, onward to Texas, where we had a family reunion with Ryan’s family and visited with other supporters. Elyse was able to go to a conference by an organization called Christian Women in Media Association. It was a great time networking and encouragement for her.

Finally to Colorado, where most of our supporters are. We visited as many people as we could contact and had many

Family Picture Time. DON’T SMILE.

fun reunions. We enjoyed speaking at three more of our supporting churches here in Colorado. We have also had good quality family bonding time between going to parks, carving pumpkins, watching football, trunk or treat, and having Thanksgiving together. Ryan went to a quick conference in North Carolina about cyber security at the end of October. Some special events that happened were a visit to Canada to visit some former TWR friends, going to a Broncos game for Ryan’s birthday, and a special Christmas light show at the botanical gardens.

We are headed to Nebraska in December to spend Christmas with Ryan’s family. Then, we head back to South Africa. It has been a long trip but we are enjoying the time we get to share with family and friends.

Still Some Work To Do

Ryan getting spoiled for his birthday at a Broncos game.

Ryan has continued to work on the project he started in North Carolina and a few minor bug fixes for the Producer’s Tool. Furlough has also been a good time for Ryan to improve his software development skills. The software industry moves quickly and being away from the pressures of work allowed him to catch up on some much needed research and development.

Listener Story

Hi there to all you wonderful people in Christ Jesus. I study with you every night [listening to “Thru the Bible” on 1170 Medium Wave]. There is some interference but I do manage. I learn a lot from your studies. You always comfort me as two of my children passed on. It hurts so much but God always sees me through each day. Thank you for this programme. God bless you.
~ A Listener in South Africa

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September 2017 Newsletter

Owen Enoch “discovering” his toes

Hello from the USA! We arrived in North Carolina on July 21st with quite a bump, literally and figuratively. While struggling with jetlag, Aryanna and Elyse became ill and both needed antibiotics. Owen struggled the most with the transition and still isn’t sleeping more that 3 or 4 hours at night. We spent a week at the TWR lodge while we had meetings with the HR department and prepared to come on furlough. Then we moved out and have been living with family.

Living overseas we rarely spend quality time with family. We enjoyed immensely the opportunity to stay with family during our time in North Carolina. Despite the travel challenges, furlough gives us opportunity for catching up on the last three years. We plan on making the most of our time with family and friends during this furlough.
Elyse has been helping the kids stay with their usual routines while they adjust to so many new things. Ryan has spent over an hour commuting to the Cary office each way leaving most of the burden of helping the kids adjust on her. On top of that, the details of furlough (contacting people, booking flights and rental cars, looking up VISA requirements) were handled by her. Where would we be without her!

Aryanna enjoying the slide at park near our “home” in North Carolina

Once we settled in, Ryan began working at the Cary office. One thing we need to refine in LinguaDMS (our media archive) is the process for uploading files. The Producer’s Tool Ryan wrote automates a few things that makes uploading and publishing files a little bit easier. Several partners in America, however, wanted a website to use instead of needing to install software on their machines. He spent August building a prototype for that website. Though not quite finished, there is still a lot of interest and it was good to build face-to-face connections with colleagues in the US. Ryan will continue part-time work on the project remotely during the rest of furlough.

 

Please Pray for Sierra Leone

They call it, ”the day the earth moved”. On August 14th, 2017 a devastating mudslide took the community in Freetown, Sierra Leone by surprise. Heavy rains and floods contributed to the disaster that took at least 500 lives. An additional 800 people are still missing as cleanup and searches continue. At least 3,000 people have been displaced and its estimated that around 9,000 people have been affected in some way by the mudslides. On top of all of this the standing pools of water and the bodies could encourage a cholera outbreak.


Sierra Leone went through a civil war from 1991 to 2002, then just 3 years ago the country fought the Ebola outbreak that ravaged many families. In light of the events that are troubling the country, Elyse and I would like to ask to you to lift up the people of Sierra Leone in your prayers. When you think to pray for us, also lift up Sierra Leone. Pray for the safety of the cleanup crews as they work in dangerous areas, and pray that a cholera outbreak would not happen. Pray for God’s hope to reach Sierra Leone and for Christians there to be beacons of hope for their communities.

Listener Story

“I want to express my thanks to you for your great efforts to feed your listeners with the word of God so many times. You give us the real food which has eternal value.”
~ A listener in Burundi

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