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.
I mentioned in my blog post yesterday that I have been traveling with Claudia Schmidt of ERF Medien in Germany and Olav Hardang of P7 Kristen Riksradio in Norway. Both are very much involved with the work of TWR.
As we made our way to Paraguay with a stop first in Bolivia, I asked them why they are taking part in this week’s Latin America and Caribbean National Partners Conference.
ERF and TWR Share a Common History
In July 1968, Pastor Horst Marquardt, then director of ERF, traveled to Latin America to find out if there were people who listened to German programs broadcast from TWR’s Bonaire transmitter station. One of the countries he visited was Paraguay. There he met a listener who walked 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) just to meet him. During this long trip, Pastor Marquardt visited with 12,500 people across South America.
Today, Claudia is following in the footsteps of Pastor Marquardt. She says, “ERF has strong links with Latin America because of the past. After Horst Marquardt found out on his trip that there were more listeners than he could dream of, ERF decided to continue the broadcasts and even increase the ministry. Soon after Horst Marquardt’s visit, ERF helped to establish German offices in Latin America, and in time, local languages were added, and those offices became local ministries.
“Going to this partners conference will help me get to know the partners personally. I like to hear about their needs. Listening to them will help me explain to my colleagues in ERF Germany and ERF friends what our partners need and what can be done through radio.
“I find the Latin American partners conference always very joyful! And it’s amazing how ERF friends can help keep the ministry going in Germany and help TWR offices all over the world.”
P7 and TWR Share Knowledge
Olav tells me, “One time, Branko Bjelelac, TWR vice president for Europe, visited P7 in Norway and said to me, ‘Your type of technical knowledge might be interesting for many others in the world.’
“Then the invitation to the conference in Bolivia came, and I was invited to talk about internet radio. Maralina Alfonso, director of RTM* Paraguay, grabbed my arm afterward, and three months later, I was back, helping her to get the radio station online. I also helped Buby Verardi from RTM Argentina to set up a studio.
“So I am helping brick by brick. That’s why I am here. A lot of the partners can use help with technical things, anything from servers to transferring files. They can always reach out to me if they have questions, even for small things.”
Listening to Claudia and Olav makes me realize again how special the TWR organization is. We help, share and encourage each other wherever and however we can.
Now, let me close this blog post with a question for you to consider: What skill or material blessing could you share with others today, and are you willing to do so?
I hope you’ll join me right here again tomorrow.
* RTM is the Spanish version of TWR.
Photos: (top) Claudia Schmidt visits with a Quechua woman on the way to the conference, (above right) Mariette Oosterhoff and (bottom left) Olav Hardang, center, of P7 in Norway visited with volunteer members of the production team for RTM Bolivia’s children’s radio program.
Photocredit: Olav Hardang