Posted by: calloftheandes | January 6, 2012

Past, Present Staff Honored in Ecuador at Mission’s 80th Anniversary

Archive photo shows Enrique Romero


Three Ecuadorians and a Dominican were recognized for longtime ministry work in a Dec. 16 commemorative observance in Quito, Ecuador, to mark the 80th anniversary of HCJB Global.

One of those honored at a Sesión Solemne (Solemn Session) was Enrique Romero, who in 1941 began as a chauffeur at the pioneer missionary broadcaster, Radio Station HCJB, in Ecuador’s capital city. This was just 10 years after the ministry’s initial Christmas Day, 1931, broadcast in English and Spanish on a 200-watt transmitter in Quito.

Working with ministry co-founders, Clarence and Katherine Jones, Reuben and Grace Larson and others, Romero eventually assumed other responsibilities that included directing the Spanish Language Service.
Helped to the stage to be honored was an elderly Ecuadorian pastor, Isidoro Guerra, who was then honored with a plaque before the group of several dozen invited staff and guests assembled for the 90-minute event. In his 30 years with the mission, Guerra too had carried out various projects. Working from HCJB Global’s former international transmitter site in Pifo, Guerra began by distributing radios with a single frequency fixed tuned to Radio HCJB. He became a control room operator for Himnos de la Vida Cristiana (Hymns of the Christian Life), a popular program that continues to air today.

Isidoro Guerra

He also served as a pastor and counselor, contributing to the on-air teaching through the Bible Institute of the Air, later renamed Academia Cristiana del Aire or Christian Academy of the Air (ACA), an outreach now operated by the World Radio Network, a cooperating ministry of HCJB Global.

For their 41 years of service with the mission, an Atlanta couple, Pastor José “Chema” and his wife, Carmen, were recognized by Media Director Anabella Cabezas. The Reinosos first met decades ago while studying together in a program launched by the mission’s then-president, Abe Van Der Puy, to get Latin Americans into the mainstream of missionary life.

HCJB Global's Curt Cole honors Carmen and Pastor Jose Reinoso

By the early 1970s, the Reinosos were among eight Latin American couples and a single person working in the ministry and receiving financial support from North American churches. Carmen is Ecuadorian and Chema, who grew up in the Dominican Republic, spent most of his adult life in Ecuador.

Beginning work at the ACA, Carmen went on to pioneer radio programs for women and received international acclaim for her work. Even in retirement, the Reinosos continue to be active in Atlanta where Chema works with the ministry of Charles Stanley, voicing his sermons in Spanish for Ministerios En Contacto (In Touch Ministries).

Radio newsman Edwin Chamorro recounted Radio Station HCJB’s contributions to and celebrations of Ecuadorian culture during the celebration ceremony. Music was provided by the Coro Vozandes (Vozandes Choir), and a fast-paced video depicted the mission’s history.

Congratulatory remarks by Ecuadorian dignitaries celebrated the mission’s 80 years of impact on the nation and in individual lives.

The national director of Ecuador’s internal revenue service (SRI), Carlos Marx Carrasco, described the mission as safeguarding cultural traditions and “of high listenership of first-class cultural and musical programs such as classical music, and above all of interesting content for people of religious belief.”

In another comment, Ecuadorian Attorney General Galo Chiriboga deemed as “very important” the station’s role in the creation of media in Ecuador. “It has been one of the pioneer broadcasters on the international scene,” he said.

Reference to an earlier era of the station’s fixed-tuned radios surfaced again during comments from Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno. “When I was a child,” Moreno said via recorded audio, “this was the station that we listened to, having been given one of the radios with only HCJB’s frequency.”

Moreno continued, remembering that the mission began Ecuador’s first television channel. One program aired in his childhood was El Llanero Solitario (The Lone Ranger). Another televised series he referred to was a Spanish version of the American sitcom, Pete and Gladys, which was popular in the 1960s. “We all fondly remember HCJB … such a happy anniversary!” Moreno concluded.

Then in a congratulatory message, Congressman Paco Moncayo recalled that decades ago as a young lieutenant stationed on the Curaray River in Ecuador’s Amazon rain forest, “our only contact with the nation and with the world was HCJB. The same thing occurred in the 1995 conflict [with Peru] in the Cenepa River region.”

For his part, Dan Shedd, executive director of the Latin America Region, expressed deep appreciation to Ecuador for “having received us with open arms and for the excellent team of Ecuadorians serving with the same values and the same convictions so we can celebrate these 80 years of service to Ecuador and the world, always for the glory of God who is eternal.”

While the dignitaries focused primarily on the ministry’s media efforts, HCJB Global President Wayne Pederson also focused on healthcare work in Ecuador and beyond.

“These ‘voice and hands’ ministries that started high in the Andes mountains continue to bless people around the world, reaching people in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas,” he said. “About 400 radio stations [worldwide] have been started with national partners to help the people of their communities.”

HCJB Global also focuses on education and development, “training Latin Americans to take media and healthcare to places in deep need of good news,” Pederson added.

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