Posted by: calloftheandes | February 6, 2013

Thousands Come to Open House at Quito Radio Station

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Story by Beth Patton with photos by A. Saavedra & R. Kurtenbach

Tears streamed down the face of a man as he approached the main gate of an evangelical radio station in Quito, Ecuador.

“Am I too late?” he whispered, a sense of urgency in his voice. “Did I miss it?”

The man had arrived just 30 minutes before Misión Compartida, the annual sharathon and open house at Radio Station HCJB, concluded in early December. The man said he’d worked as long as possible that day so he could earn more money to give to the outreach. Then he walked three hours to Quito to make his gift to the station that he described as a “friend.” The staff assured him he could still give his donation and enjoy some of the worship music in the auditorium. He ran in with joy.

“We heard many such stories that touched us,” said Anabella Cabezas, HCJB Global’s director of media for Latin America. “As we saw donors give—not out of their abundance, but from a spirit of love and sacrifice—we pledged to continue faithfully in this ministry that God began 81 years ago.”mc1

Radio Station HCJB began in 1931 as the world’s first missionary radio station and the first station in Ecuador with daily programming. In 1974 the ministry added FM broadcasts, complementing the AM and shortwave broadcasts. HCJB-FM broadcasts to the provinces of Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Manabí and Esmeraldas. HCJB-2, an FM station celebrating its 40th year of operation, transmits from the largest Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, reaching much of Ecuador’s coastal region and extending into northern Peru. Both FM stations do live streaming of their programming via the Internet.

mc2012cFor decades, the operations of both radio stations were funded directly by the mission’s general fund, but in January 2000 the local stations held their first pledge drives. Since then the radio ministry has been funded more and more through the contributions of listeners, many of whom pledge support during Misión Compartida (Sharing the Mission).

Led by Tatiana de la Torre, director of local radio, the station’s team aired 14 hours of daily live programming from the ministry’s Larson Conference Center Friday-Sunday, Dec. 7-9. A two-day open house welcomed more than 5,000 people to the Quito campus where visitors could see and hear their favorite programmers—broadcasting live—and make donations and/or financial commitments for 2013. More than 2,300 listeners participated financially—half in person and half via telephone—during the event.

The sharathon’s spiritual impact was also evident as counselors at the station met with 150 attendees, at least four of whom made commitments to the Lord. Listener Cinthya Díaz recounted the story of a 90-year-old man who became a believer many years ago after hearing the programs. He initially commuted up to four hours by horseback from his home in Naranjito-Ibarra to attend the then-nearest evangelical church in Otavalo. He later founded the church, Cordero de Dios, in his hometown—a church that continues to preach a clear gospel message, touching countless lives for Christ.

Díaz said she listens faithfully to the station, both at home and in her car, because she “loves to praise God every day and feast on His Word. I support the station financially because I want other people, who can only be reached by radio, to come to know the Lord.”

A blind girl from northern Ecuador pulled on her mother’s hand to rush toward a voice she recognized. It was that of Marta Claudia Mozquera who produces the counseling program, Al Oído (A Listening Ear) with her husband, Marco, taking live calls from listeners. “I know you, even though I can’t see you,” enthused the girl. “I listen to your voice every day!”

Seventeen Christian musician groups from surrounding areas donated their talents, performing live throughout the two days for the radio programs and for the guests who constantly filled the room and rejoiced together when financial milestones were met.

A separate studio hosted live broadcasts in Quichua, an indigenous Ecuadorian language. Programs in this language air via partner Vozandes Media’s shortwave ministry. Many Quichuas, including entire congregations, had traveled to attend the open house, and the studio was constantly full of onlookers taking i+n special performances by choirs and small vocal groups and bands.

José Bustamante chats with an elderly couple in the prayer and counseling room

José Bustamante chats with an elderly couple in the prayer and counseling room

Many families arrived at the donation center, children clutching plastic bags full of coins they had saved for a year. There were lines as listeners waited to give and tell stories of the impact that the broadcasts have had on their lives. A room full of volunteers took calls from those who wanted to donate by telephone.

“I want to help the radio which has been a blessing to my life,” posted one supporter on HCJB-2’s Facebook page. “Maybe it’s not much, but I’m going to give $10 per month.”

Not everyone had cash to give, and many brought in items to be sold at a special bazaar set up during the event with all the profits added to the final total of dollars received. The bazaar brought in more than $8,000 for the broadcasts.

Eight families of an extended set of relatives each baked and decorated cakes and came together to offer them for sale. Also were rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and ducks raised by area listeners. Locally grown honey and strawberries, hand-woven scarves and blankets, large bunches of greens, squash and dozens of roses from home gardens, two cases of queso fresco (fresh cheese) and chicken empanadas—all were given as gifts in appreciation for the ministry of Radio Station HCJB.mc2012

“We thank God for all the staff of the various areas of the mission who gave many hours of hard work and for the 280 volunteers who offered their valuable assistance,” said Cabezas. Members of a church in Puyo traveled more than four hours to conduct the activities for the children. They entertained families with an inflatable slide, face painting, group games, balloons, an area for coloring and a puppet show.

The days were sunny and warm, and one member of the radio team filled a pitcher with water and walked through the crowds, offering drinks to many of the older visitors and families with young children resting on benches and the lawn.

Other staff members greeted guests at the welcome tent, manned the donation centers, counseled and prayed with guests in the prayer room, helped put up tents and banners and lights, worked at the bazaar tables, kept financial records, monitored computers and worked with the media crew. A special room was set aside for employees to come together and pray for the event and the ministry of Radio Station HCJB throughout the sharathon.

Cheers from the gathered crowd and drum rolls heralded the $200,000 mark near the end of the evening on Dec. 9. Listeners and staff together praised God for His provision as the end of the live broadcasts concluded as more than $218,000 in gifts and pledges had been received.

During the three days, HCJB-FM in Quito received donations and pledges for 73 percent of its financial needs for 2013, and HCJB-2 in Guayaquil had reached 100 percent of its goal.

Geoff Kooistra, media services director for the Latin America Region, explained that if the last 12 years of holding Misión Compartida are any indication, actual giving to the Quito station will coincide with its stated financial goals. This is because listeners typically give more than they had pledged, and others who did not commit during Misión Compartida send in additional donations.

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Responses

  1. […] 16th annual Misión Compartida (Sharing the Mission) raised nearly $400,000 in gifts and pledges for HCJB-FM in Quito and HCJB2 in Guayaquil. The two […]

  2. […] and better connect with various segments of the audience. The event followed closely after the annual Misión Compartida (Sharing the Mission) radio event in Quito in December 2012 when listeners pledged or donated US$218,000 for the station’s operational […]


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