One of the most exciting recent developments in Trinity Broadcasting Network’s advance worldwide is the expanding partnership with Estonia’s Life TV. Many years ago Trinity Broadcasting Network founders Paul Crouch and Jan Crouch visited St. Petersburg, Russia in an effort to get a TBN station on the air in that communist-controlled country. Their visits with city officials were successful and by the early 1990s TBN had a small station in Russia broadcasting Christian television. Today TBN’s Russia affiliate broadcasts several stations to tens of millions of Russian speaking viewers throughout Eastern Europe and the rest of the world.
During the time TBN Russia was growing, another quiet expansion was happening in nearby Estonia, where a young Christian by the name of Valeri Rukovichkin had a vision to see Christian television being broadcast throughout his nation and Eastern Europe. In 1995 Valeri launched Life TV in his small apartment in Estonia, as he moved forward with the vision God had given him to start a TV station that would “open the eyes” of his fellow Estonians. “I was not a television man,” Valeri once told Matthew Crouch and the late Dr. Paul Crouch. “I had no experience with TV programs or production.”
In fact, all Valeri started with was a handful of Christian TV programs recorded on VHS cassettes and a calling from the Lord. But God uses willing hearts. There was one particular pastor who encouraged him in his calling, telling him, “Go where God is calling you. Go and do it.” So Valeri took his few VHS tapes and knocked on the door of a small cable station that had about 3,000 subscribers, asking if they would air his programs. To his amazement, the cable TV station agreed, and one by one Valeri’s programs were aired to Estonian households.
Valeri’s new broadcast ministry grew steadily as he sent letters to different ministries, asking for programs, and bought Christian tapes from everywhere he traveled. Within several months Valeri’s house was filled with VHS cassettes, and as his inspirational collection grew, he handed them off to the cable station, which aired them to a spiritually hungry viewer audience
One of the ministries with which Valeri was in contact was TBN, which began sending him copies of programs that had been dubbed into Russian for broadcast on the station in St. Petersburg, Russia. By 1997, Life TV started broadcasting on the largest cable network in Estonia, and that same year a divinely orchestrated meeting with Paul Crouch led to the addition of some much needed broadcast equipment to help the fledgling TV ministry expand.
Not long before his passing Paul Crouch reminisced about TBN’s partnership with Life TV. “It was God who sovereignly raised up Valeri,” said Paul. “God just did so many, many things. We were just kind of there at the right time, in the right place. When I stand back and look at the scope of what God has done, I see so clearly how Jan and I didn’t do this. Nobody is smart enough to have done what God has done. This is God’s miracle. We’re living in the middle of a miracle right now.”
Over the years Life TV continued to expand, and eventually began producing its own programs, as well as dubbing TBN programs into the Estonian and Russian languages. As the affiliate station grew, TBN continued to assist with equipment — providing satellite receivers, which enabled Valeri to send Life TV to every cable system in Estonia, as well as editing equipment and other resources that made it possible for Life TV’s staff to do their own productions and improve the quality of their broadcasts.
In 2013, Life TV officially became a member of the Trinity Broadcasting Family of Networks, and began reaching beyond Estonia when TBN planted a new seed into their ministry by purchasing satellite time for them on the Hotbird 13B satellite.
Today Life TV Estonia broadcasts programs in the Russian, Estonian, and English languages, reaching a potential audience of 120 million people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Baltic States, Russia, the Caucasian nations, Kazakhstan, Asia, Israel, and North Africa via satellite on Hot Bird 13B, cable networks, IPTV networks, and online internet TV.
Watch this inspirational TBN video clip as Matthew Crouch talks about Life TV Estonia and what TBN’s friends and partners are doing to help this powerful network take life-changing programming to countless millions of people.