This week we hear from Steve Shantz, a long-time missionary of TWR Canada and currently serves as TWR’s Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. He recently shared the following with us about the impact of satellite radio in Bolivia.
TWR Canada sponsored the first-year licensing costs to lease time on the satellite. Prior to that, RTM Bolivia was copying and then mailing or hand-delivering CDs to radio stations with Thru the Bible and other content— up to around 600 CDs per month. While they still do some distribution this way, the satellite allows them to distribute more content, more efficiently, to more stations. Now, RTM Bolivia uploads all their broadcasts to the satellite so anyone with a receiver can listen. Many radio stations also pick up the satellite signal and then relay the programming over FM frequencies.
The Quechua people of Bolivia are hardworking labourers and farmers. They rise early in the morning and listen to the radio as they prepare for the day in the fields. They love to hear Quechua on the radio since it’s their heart language. One farmer has a satellite dish on his farm. He writes:
“My name is Alberto and I live in Shinahota. During quarantine, my whole family stay together on our farm. Here we listen to you every day from early in the morning. The Bible study begins at 5:20 and we can listen using the satellite receiver. For more than three months we have not participated in church services at our church, but we are supported in our study of the Bible with the Thru the Bible programme. It is a very complete programme that clearly allows us to understand the message of the Word of God. My wife and I constantly listen to the programme. Later when my children wake up, we also share with them what we have learned. I want to encourage each of the pastors who work in radio, keep going and God bless you.”
Wilson lives in Uncía, a mining city that is over 12,500 feet above sea level. The air is thin, and it can be cold. Night-time and morning temperatures can be below freezing.
“Here in our town there is a station near the river that relays the signal from Trans World Radio”, Wilson tells us. “I listen to that radio station every morning at 5 a.m. At dawn, we are already awake and as it is very cold, we listen to the radio while we are still in bed. I put the radio very close to my bed to listen more clearly. The programme that teaches me the most is Thru the Bible in Quechua. It guides me on how to live life as a family. In my case, I had problems with my wife because of my strong temper. Each day I am learning to control my character. I feel that as I learn more about God it helps me to control my temper. The Word of God is like a medicine. My wife is also noticing that we are living in better harmony and that our lives are improving daily. When the programme ends, we sit down together to pray and then get on with our day. This has become a routine for us. That is what I wanted to share with you so that you continue to prepare more studies, and thus, bless the people who speak Quechua.”
What a blessing it is to hear of the impact that Christ-centred radio is having on listeners in Bolivia. “I love getting listener reports from Bolivia,” says Steve Shantz. “These responses give us a glimpse into the lives and routines of our listeners who live high in the Andes Mountains or in semi-tropical regions near the jungle. It’s exciting when we hear about someone’s life being radically transformed by the gospel and we certainly have read many of those testimonies over the years. I am really encouraged when I hear about ordinary people growing in faith and spiritual maturity as they listen to consistent Bible teaching.”
Join us as we pray for the people who are listening to TWR in Bolivia. Pray that the reception will continue to be strong and that listeners will continue to receive the hope that is found in Christ.