Posted by: calloftheandes | October 19, 2012

Solar-Powered Audio Players to Expand Outreach Among Indigenous Brazilians

The Reverend Mother always says, ‘When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.’ -Maria in The Sound of Music
When the indigenous Ticuna believers in Brazil found their chances of ever being granted a license for low-power community FM station frequencies were slim, the news dimmed their prospects of evangelizing their tribal neighbors.

Brazil’s broadcasting authority has stopped issuing frequencies for now, according to HCJB Global missionary Larry Buckman who ministers among the Ticuna and other tribes, including the Terena. “The Ticuna probably didn’t try introducing a request because they knew the government froze the frequencies,” he said.filadelfia3

Allen Graham, an audio production trainer with HCJB Global, added that “even though they are in an area where there is not a lot of congestion on the FM band, and even though they’d be low-power FM, the decision was to issue no licenses.”

Reflecting upon that perceived setback, Graham related, “But as it turned out, as one door closed, God was opening an even bigger door. And that was through solar-powered MP3-like digital audio players that do not require a license in Brazil.”

Graham, director of radio training for the Latin America Region, provided more instruction in audio production to Brazil’s indigenous people in August. Teaming up with him in Filadélfia—a town in Brazil’s Amazonas state near the Colombian and Peruvian borders—was Jasiel Martins, a Terena believer who learned the audio production skills from Graham at a training session just four years ago.

But instead of aiming their efforts toward radio stations, these evangelicals have turned to “plan B”—placing programming onto the small audio players known as El Mensajero (The Messenger).

Shapu Meo with The Messenger

Shapu Meo with The Messenger

“Our [Messenger] players are usually loaded with the whole New Testament, 30 half-hour ‘life principle’ messages and [usually 32] discipleship messages, each about 40 minutes long,” explained Ian Currey, In Touch Ministries’ executive director of international outreach. In Touch is an Atlanta-based organization that has agreed to cover costs of the small audio playback devices.

“HCJB Global is coming alongside in order to provide the training on how to produce the programs which will then go onto the audio players that are distributed in these communities,” added Graham.

In Filadélfia the group produced pilot programs that they played for people at the market in a nearby village. “They took the programs to the Ticuna, and the people liked them,” Graham said. “People said they could use them, so our students knew that all the blood, sweat and tears of the previous days had been worth it.”

Buckman, who grew up in Brazil and returned to minister there several years ago, considers the indigenous people’s zeal to spread the gospel the “third wave” of evangelism in that South American country. Missionaries from Scotland evangelized the Terena people beginning a century ago with subsequent evangelistic and discipleship outreach by both foreign missionaries and non-tribal Brazilians.

Graham finds it exciting to see the indigenous people seizing opportunities around them for evangelism, realizing that their opportunity for reconciliation with God came about through someone else’s efforts.

“They now see that it is their responsibility to take the gospel to other tribes within Brazil so that they have an opportunity to receive Christ,” he explained. “They also realize that they have a much better opportunity to do that than would a missionary from outside Brazil or even a non-indigenous person.”

(front l to r) Allen Graham, Shapu Meo, Jasiel Martins, Firney da Silva Lucas, Larry Buckman. (back l to r) Jurandir Nicaonor Alfredo, Roy Cruz Joao, Macleny Gonzaga Augustinho, Hamilton de Almeida Vasques, Roberto Catachuaga Peres, Jose Cruz Dionosio, Eliseu Mauwi, Lolo Yance, Jose Miranda

(front l to r) Allen Graham, Shapu Meo, Jasiel Martins, Firney da Silva Lucas, Larry Buckman. (back l to r) Jurandir Nicaonor Alfredo, Roy Cruz Joao, Macleny Gonzaga Augustinho, Hamilton de Almeida Vasques, Roberto Catachuaga Peres, Jose Cruz Dionosio, Eliseu Mauwi, Lolo Yance, Jose Miranda

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Responses

  1. […] While taking the course, Meo was also introduced to the Portuguese versions of two books, The Action Bible and The Story of Jesus, and he became one of the first to begin translating the latter into the Matis language. […]


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