Posted by: calloftheandes | February 3, 2012

Services on Saturday to Celebrate Hermano Pablo’s Life and Ministry

Story by R. Kurtenbach and H. Goerzen
Photos complements of Hermano Pablo Ministries

Memorial services set for Saturday, February 4 in Santa Ana, CA will commemorate the life and ministry of the man affectionately known as “Hermano Pablo” whose brief messages offered radio listeners throughout Latin America and elsewhere a “message to the conscience” each day for decades.

Paul and Linda Finkenbinder

With family members and friends present at an Irvine, California hospital Paul Edwin Finkenbinder (Hermano Pablo) died in the early hours of Friday, January 27 at the age of 90. Just two days earlier on January 25 while celebrating 70 years of marriage to Linda Finkenbinder, he had laughed and joked with those attending. Later that evening however, Finkenbinder was stricken with a severe headache and was hospitalized until his death. In his final years of life he had been battling leukemia.

An English-language memorial service for Hermano Pablo is to begin on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time at Templo Calvario Church in Santa Ana, CA with a Spanish-language service at 2:00 p.m. the same day. The English memorial service is scheduled to be streamed live from Hermano Pablo’s website ( The service will be recorded for later viewing on the same site.

Born to missionary parents in Santurce, Puerto Rico on September 24, 1921 he initially rejected the idea of following his parents’ footsteps into a missions career. “I said ‘Lord forget it; I don’t want to be a missionary; I’ll do anything you want me to do in the States but nothing abroad,’” recalled Finkenbinder in a 1980 interview in Ecuador with Ben Cummings, then vice-president of HCJB Global. “But you know of the Lord’s beautiful insistence, which really saved my life because giving in to God is really finding yourself.”

By 1943, Finkenbinder and Linda were in El Salvador, where he traveled throughout that Central American country – at times riding a mule — preaching the gospel and encouraging Christian workers. His first radio program, Iglesia del Aire, (Church of the Air) aired in 1955. Then not long afterwards, he added prime-time televised Bible dramas.

In a separate interview in Ecuador, Finkenbinder told HCJB Global’s Brian Seeley that these dramas aired in prime time viewing hours. Believed to be the first regularly-scheduled Christian television broadcasts outside of the United States, they led Hermano Pablo to minister specifically to the men of Latin American cultures.

“From that I began to deal with men on a more individual and specific basis, one-to-one basis, and maybe one-to-10 basis, little group gatherings,” he told Seeley, adding that the ministry later grew to include banquets, lunches and prayer breakfasts.

HCJB Global’s Ron Cline recalled that at one such businessmen’s luncheon in Quito, Ecuador “about 200 men came and when Hermano Pablo walked in, you would have thought a celebrity had entered. They stood, applauded and then fought to greet him.They all knew who he was because of radio and had come to hear him in person.”

Production of Un Mensaje a la Conciencia began in 1964 in the Finkenbinders' garage.

In 1980 Finkenbinder made renewed overtures toward televising the radio programs that had become very popular with listeners to religious and secular stations alike. Nearly two decades earlier, his on-air popularity had soared after revamping his program format at the urging of friends at a San Salvador radio station. They had created for him a micro-program with a new name, Un Mensaje A La Conciencia (A Message to the Conscience). Always begun with a current news item, it appealed to broader audiences, with Hermano Pablo guiding his listeners then to a moral or spiritual lesson.

“Over 50 percent of the people who wrote were those who didn’t know Christ as their personal Savior and they were (spiritually) hungry and wanting to know the Lord,” Finkenbinder recalled as he talked with Cummings. He summarized the program as “not churchy” and “not selling anything” such as a particular denominational belief but instead appealing to a wide array of people and asking them to consider Christ’s claims. HCJB Global aired the program on Radio Station HCJB – La Voz de los Andes (The Voice of the Andes) as well as the film version on HCJB TV La Ventana de los Andes (The Window of the Andes).

Through the years Hermano Pablo stuck with the program format, naming a successor, Charles Ray Stewart, in the 1990s and retiring from actively producing the programs. HCJB Global President Wayne Pederson viewed Hermano Pablo as an encourager of Christian workers. “I saw greatness, not in his stature or his fame, but in his humble kindness. That’s the true measure of greatness,”said Pederson.

During his career, Hermano Pablo received the National Religious Broadcasters’ “Hispanic Program of the Year” award and other honors. At last count Hermano Pablo Ministries’ Un Mensaje A La Conciencia was being broadcast more than 6,100 times per day in addition to being published in over 80 periodicals. The program’s reach spread to 33 countries around the world.

Survivors include his wife, Linda Finkenbinder, who with her husband co-authored Magic Liquid, released in 2011. Paul Finkenbinder is also survived by the couple’s five children, 11 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren.
The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Hermano Pablo Ministries, which exists for the purpose of continuing to broadcast the Un Mensaje a la Conciencia.

Sources: HCJB Global,,