“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent Word! What more can he say than to you he hath said -- to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?”
These lyrics from the venerable hymn “How Firm a Foundation” open the Thru the Bible broadcast and are keenly looked forward to every week by listeners across Latin America. The hymn will be incorporated into a July 1-7 celebration of the TTB ministry.
July 2 marks 40 years of TWR translating and broadcasting TTB in Spanish. “One of our core competencies in TWR is translating and adapting spiritual content,” said Jim Munger, TWR’s director of U.S. Hispanic Ministries. “The first experience we had doing this was translating TTB into Spanish, so this is a key event for both ministries.”
Munger said many people have written or called TWR to tell about how they used to listen to the program back in their home countries along with their grandparents. “The program meant so much to them, and when they came over to the United States and heard this program and experienced the nostalgia. … These were immigrants struggling to adapt. This ‘firm foundation’ was something they could build upon.”
Munger was serving with TWR on the island of Bonaire when TTB creator and broadcaster Dr. J. Vernon McGee first visited. The program was only in English at the time. In 1973, while McGee was pastoring at the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles, TWR founder Dr. Paul Freed challenged the Bible-teaching broadcaster to take his daily program into the Spanish language. And so a great partnership was born.
The aforementioned celebration week begins with Samuel Montoya, the Latin American voice of the TTB program for the last 40 years, going on air live with an open phone line on a popular Spanish Christian radio network prior to the TTB broadcast.
Munger also explained the opportunity TWR will have to host a dinner for approximately 50 Hispanic pastors. The team will distribute devotional books and information regarding how pastors can get involved with TWR’s ministry outreach.
The biggest event of the week will be Sunday evening in the old Grand Olympic Auditorium, which is used as a Korean church with a Hispanic congregation. “This is the first time TWR’s Spanish ministry has spearheaded something of this magnitude,” Munger explained.
This event will be introduced by the music of Hermanos Gutierrez with the opening theme of “How Firm a Foundation.” Also included in the event will be the sharing of one pastor’s testimony.
“He is so excited to be with us because he was saved through the TTB program,” Munger said. “Montoya mentored him for several years, and now he is an ordained preacher and his Bible study is basically TTB! It’s a wonderful testimony of what God has done.”
A gospel presentation and invitation will also be held at the event.
The week's events will end just as the TTB broadcasts end – with the singing of “Jesus Paid It All.”
Special report written by Rachel Pearson, TWR journalism intern