Romans 10:14 addresses three obstacles that keep people from coming to Christ. 1) They cannot call on someone they do not believe in. 2) They cannot believe on someone they have not heard about. 3) They cannot hear if no one tells them in whom they should believe. Just like in the first century, millions do not call, do not believe, and have not been clearly told. This is why, for six decades, Spanish World Ministries has persevered in seeking to present Christ and his message in ways that will get into the ears and hearts of as many people as possible in Latin America.
According to a survey done last year In Uruguay, nearly 40% of the population said that they had no religious affiliation. In addition, another 8.8% classified themselves as atheists. Despite the traditional influence of the Catholic Church, a large percentage of the Uruguayan society is atheist or agnostic. Of the almost three and one half million inhabitants, about 8% profess belief in Christ. This means that over 3 million do not believe. Radio is still a powerful instrument to preach the message to thousands in this country. For some 17 years, our missionary, Eduardo Peirano has taken the challenge to visit radio stations to promote our programs. Even with a population generally with little interest in spiritual matters, 20 of the 37 stations that air our programs, are secular. The task has not been easy. Many other station owners have rejected the programs. But thanks to Eduardo’s perseverance, our Gospel programs are heard 625 times every week in different places in Uruguay. Please pray for Eduardo’s efforts in visiting radio stations. That many would be sensitive to open their radio frequencies and their hearts to the Savior’s message.
While Uruguay is the most secularist society in Latin America, Guatemala is regarded as one of the countries with the highest number of Protestants. It is reported that some 40% of its population claims to be evangelical. But in many cases the Gospel message has not truly affected the lives of those who claimed it, and it has ceased to be a true priority for many churches. This is true particularly among the mega-churches that promote “another gospel”. The prosperity gospel based on faulty theology has gained a great deal of popularity and its adherents are usually included in an inflated percentage of evangelical Christianity. The more conservative churches have lowered their standard regarding their responsibility to disciple the believers. Thus, some fall prey to a distorted version of Christianity. The lack of biblical and theological training among many pastors results in poor discipleship, which in turn fails to change lives and does not produce a zeal for the proclamation of the true Gospel. Our programs seek to fill the void and to present the true Gospel. Our missionary Karel Golcher invests many hours traveling throughout Guatemala, searching for stations willing to air the programs. The task is not easy, since the owners of radio stations, especially among the indigenous groups, descendants of the Mayans, do not readily accept someone who is an outsider to their culture. Another obstacle is caused by the constant political demonstrations that block the access to many important cities and highways. There have been times when Karel has planned to visit churches and ends up stuck in traffic jams for 3 or 4 hours. The importance of distributing the messages to as many radio outlets as possible demands patience and dedication. These things bring results. In 2015, our programs were transmitted on 85 radio stations in Guatemala. As of the end of October, our database contained 204 stations, with more than 4,800 weekly broadcasts! Our desire is that the message of salvation would reach, both, those who have not heard and those whose trust has been placed in a false gospel. Pray that the Lord will bless Karel’s efforts so that, despite the obstacles, the message might continue to go forth in Guatemala.
In Latin America much of the jail population finds itself under the powerful control of gangs and members of drug organizations. This makes it difficult and dangerous for believers to have access to preach the gospel in such places. Yet, the need for someone to preach, so that the inmates might hear the gospel, remains. In Peru, the jail in the town of Trujillo has a population of almost 5,000 inmates. Radio Integridad, a local radio station that broadcasts our programs, is heard inside this prison. A few years ago, Alejandro was given a long prison sentence for drug trafficking. While there, he heard our programs, and although being a member of a drug cartel made it dangerous, he realized his need of Christ and trusted Him. Eventually, and still in prison, he began to lead a Bible study. His conduct changed for the better, and his sentence was reduced. Upon his release from jail, the cartel tried to kill him. But God spared his life, and now he is an active member in his local church. His wife and his children also came to Christ. Currently, the Gospel is broadcasted in Peru 2,300 times every week through more than 240 radio stations. Our missionaries, Luis Bailly and Valentin Quispe are continually seeking more stations to introduce our programs. Pray that the Gospel will impact lives in difficult to reach places, such as jails and poor and dangerous neighborhoods. May there be more people like Alejandro, hearing and deciding to turn their lives to Christ.
Cornelius Rivera and Rene Hurtado, our radio producers, play an essential role in this ministry. They prepare the expository teaching of the Scriptures with the goal of explaining to the listener, in an appropriate and relevant way, their sinful condition and the importance of recognizing Christ as their only savior. Whereas, it is true, that each country in Latin America has its own cultural and social identity, every person in the Spanish-speaking countries (as well as in the whole world) has “sinned and falls short of the glory of God.” Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit would touch hearts as the Scriptures are preached through each broadcast and the Gospel is presented as the only solution to the listener’s need. Please, remember to pray for our producers and for those who hear as well.