Posted by: calloftheandes | December 26, 2011

Sharing the Work, Sharing the Joy, Sharing the Mission at Radio Stations in Ecuador

story by R. Kurtenbach
photos by G. Bulmer and A. Saavedra

Pictured left to right at Misión Compartida: Marian Douce, Wayne and Norma Pederson, Tammy Kooistra, Marina Chico.

As Norma Pederson, the wife of HCJB Global’s president, pitched in to dismantle tents in Quito, Ecuador, it was apparent that she grasped just how much work goes into staging a successful radio sharathon.

Norma and her husband, Wayne Pederson, helped Radio Station HCJB in Quito and HCJB-2 (La Conexión) in Guayaquil with sharathons that concluded last weekend. Wayne told of being “totally impressed and pleased with the team here … and so honored to be part of what God is doing in Latin America.”

“It’s not just a fundraising event but a major community happening with a children’s tent, health screenings, games, a food tent and [promotional] gift items,” Pederson said of Misión Compartida, which means “shared mission.” At Radio Station HCJB in north Quito, a dozen or so tents dotted the parking lot and lawn. Live programming with talk and laughter, music in Quichua and Spanish and more emanated from the Larson Conference Center on the station’s campus.

Horst Rosiak (facing control room) introduces a Quichua women's choral group.

From a studio adjacent to the conference center earlier that day, Quichua language program hosts had invited listeners to the gala event. The Pedersons, who both grew up in rural Minnesota, were impressed by Ecuador’s Quichua people who donated items such as chickens, goats and guinea pigs. At an open bazaar in conjunction with Misión Compartida, these animals were sold along with other in-kind donations.

The Dec. 9-11 event in Quito saw station staff hosting more than 6,000 visitors as the mission celebrated the 80th anniversary of its founding in 1931. “Sometimes 40 or 50 people would arrive at once,” said Anabella Cabezas, director of media for the Latin America Region. To hear listeners tell of the stations’ impact in their lives brought joy to members of the staff.

Offering something for everybody, the event drew folks from around Ecuador even as others tuned in via radio or the Internet. “The on-air event included live music with hundreds gathered in Larson Center, noisily praising God,” Wayne Pederson said.”The on-air hosts were energetic, professional and passionate.”

Many Ecuadorians stopped by to give what they could, even as on-air personalities announced the climb toward the stated fundraising goal of US$280,000. Others arrived to pray for the stations with members of local churches who staffed a prayer room. In a large room nearby, visitors quietly shared either joys or pains of their lives, and then staff members prayed with them. Some 72 people at the event in Quito gave their lives to Jesus Christ.

Others crowded into the conference center to join an ever-changing group that made up the live studio audience throughout the three-day event. On the second day, Geoff Kooistra, Media Services Director for HCJB-AM and HCJB-FM in Quito reported a “steady stream of calls” from listeners to make pledges. On the same day in Guayaquil, partner station HCJB-2 was finishing up its own sharathon event.

From the Guayaquil station, Radio Training Director Allen Graham posted to Facebook, “Thank you, Jesus! Guayaquil just completed 100 percent of our goal for Misión Compartida! We are now in a special campaign to raise the funds to replace the tower for our main frequency.” A year ago La Conexión surpassed its fundraising goal, and listeners also pledged some $4,000 for a different broadcast tower.

On Sunday evening when a local musician, Vico Rodríguez, led the Quito crowd in singing a Spanish version of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” large video screens in Larson Center displayed a total of $263,000—gifts and pledges to help meet the operating budget of the Quito stations. “This was 90 percent of our goal,” Cabezas said. “Usually [each] year, we get 120 percent of what was pledged.”

Cabezas said afterward that she sees the fundraising successes in Ecuador as indicative of a maturing church. “One thing that God is doing in our midst is that my people (Ecuadorians) are learning to give because the time of receiving has passed.”

The first Misión Compartida was held in January 2000, a radical departure from the mission’s funding procedures in previous decades. Historically, the stations’ costs had been covered by the mission. Reflecting upon strategic changes in the funding streams, Pederson said, “People said it couldn’t be done—that Latinos would never donate to support their station. This year HCJB-AM, HCJB-FM and HCJB-2 raised a total of $400,000 for the ministry!”


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