EDITOR'S NOTE: Every year, each of the four main regions of TWR's global ministry holds a national partners conference. Regional and international leaders of TWR join representatives of the ministry's national partners for a few days to learn from one another, encourage one another and report on how the Lord is moving in their respective countries and around the world.
Mariette Oosterhoff, marketing and communications director for TWR's Latin America and the Caribbean Region, blogs this month from the region's 2019 national partners conference, held this year in South America. Check in regularly this week for engaging updates.
"Welcome to our beloved Asuncion in Paraguay! We have knowledge that many people have not yet attained. This is a gift can only be received through our faith in Jesus. Jesus had to walk for long days to get somewhere where he could bring the message of salvation. Today our messages through media embrace the world in seconds.
"The Lord gave us his complete plan. In times of uncertainty, we know how to bring peace in the storm. These are values and principles that other media do not have."
With these words, Alejandro Mainero, chairman of the board of RTM Paraguay, opened the TWR Latin America and Caribbean National Partners Conference for 2019. Later, we had the opportunity to meet the region's newest national partner, Radio Encuentro Mexico!
Radio Encuentro Director Alejandro Vieyra and his wife gave a great presentation about the ministry, which was founded by Michael Escalante in 1961. A couple of years ago, Alejandro became the national director for Radio Encuentro in Mexico. In November 2018, TWR signed a partnership agreement with Radio Encuentro.
Alejandro started his presentation with the following interesting story.
A Multipart Encyclopedia in One Volume
Alejandro was a journalist in Mexico when a radio station asked him to create a radio program. Because the program could not be overtly Christian, he named it The Instruction Manual.
On the program, he told the listeners something like this: "We have an encyclopedia comprising 66 books that give you instructions for life. If you have a problem, we will find a practical answer in the encyclopedia. When you find that the advice has been good, why don't you come to the station, and we'll give you a copy of the encyclopedia for free?"
Alejandro recalled, "People would come to the radio station with a box, expecting to get 66 books. And we gave them one Bible."
Establishing a Christian radio station in Mexico isn't possible, so Radio Encuentro helps community groups apply for licenses to operate community radio stations. This summer, Radio Encuentro opened a radio station in Poza Rica Veracruz with help of TWR. And with the help of our Lord, this will not be the last community radio station that will be installed by Radio Encuentro.
Brazilian Missionaries Going to Italy
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8
While attending the partners conference last month for TWR's Europe and CAMENA* Region, I heard that a couple from Brazil was coming to serve in Italy. We have been praying for years for new recruits to help strengthen our national partner there, Centro di Radiodiffusione Cristiana [CRC].
So during the coffee break this morning, I asked Andre Castilho, director of content production for RTM* Brazil, about this interesting development. Here's what Andre said:
"As RTM Brazil is a big and stable organization, TWR leadership challenged us some years ago to contribute to the needs of other national partners. We started to pray about this. In my heart, I thought it was Africa that needed our support. I even visited the TWR office in Johannesburg.
"At that same time, in 2017, Paula Fernandez came to our office for a job interview. She told me that she speaks Italian and felt God's call for Italy. At that moment, I heard a voice in my head that said, 'Send her.' Now I know it was the Holy Spirit talking to me."
"During last year's partners conference in Brazil, Fernando [Díaz Sarmiento of national partner Canal de Vida in Spain] was looking for me. He walked through the wrong door and bumped into Paula. 'Coincidently,' her husband, Walter, was there, too, recording programs. As Paula and Fernando started talking, they discovered that they both speak Italian, so Paula told Fernando about feeling God's call for Italy.
"When Fernando returned to Spain, he met Jonny Wiegers of CRC Italy and told him about the Italian couple who wanted to help in Italy. At the same time, a sponsor of RTM Brazil called and said, 'I want to help a country in need, and I'd like to do this through RTM.' Everything came together."
Please pray for Paula and Walter Fernandez, who are answering God's call and will leave Nov. 3 to serve with TWR partner CRC in Italy.
I heard many more stories today. I will be sharing one very impressive testimony with you later this week.
* RTM is the Spanish version of TWR.
* Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa
Photos: (top and middle right) attendees and speakers at the TWR Latin America and the Caribbean National Partners Conference, (bottom left) Paula and Walter Fernandez