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.
From thousands of words to thousands of experiences
Tonight, I will be in Paraguay at a conference with at least 15 partners from across Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, however, I am still enjoying the hospitality of Walter Vacca, director of RTM* Bolivia.
A trip to Latin America provided the perfect opportunity for an initial visit to Bolivia with my travel mates from two of TWR national partners in Europe, Claudia Schmidt of ERF Medien in Germany and Olav Hardang of P7 Kristen Riksradio of Norway. Until this trip, Bolivia was a country that I had only written about, but now these words have new meaning through thousands of experiences.
I will never forget the 11 hours we spent traveling to and visiting in the Quechua communities of the high-altitude Altiplano. A young woman, Alejandra, touched my shoulder. She thanked me for coming and said, “We rarely have missionaries coming our way because we live just too far away.” This trip was already worthwhile.
We visited four local FM radio stations in the area where the Quechua live at an elevation of more than 3,500 meters. That’s over 11,000 feet, or more than 2 miles! The station directors were thankful for the Quechua programs they receive through RTM Bolivia. I remember one pastor telling me about the past difficulties of being a Christian in a region where the major religion was mixed with worship of Mother Earth. Since the radio programs began, many people had turned to Christ, and being a Christian is now much easier.
I had insightful conversations about the lives of the Quechuas and the work of RTM Bolivia with Pastor Diego Davila Martinez, who directs the Quechua ministry, and Dr. Anthony Contaña Toledo, who gave up his medical career to serve the Lord full time at RTM Bolivia.
This afternoon. I will make the short flight to Bolivia’s neighboring country of Paraguay, where our TWR partners will gather. TWR has 17 partners in Latin America and the Caribbean broadcasting in Spanish and 19 other languages. As one of the highlights of the conference, we will be celebrating RTM Paraguay’s 25th anniversary!
In addition to that and many other activities at the conference, I look forward to meeting representatives of our new partner from Mexico, Radio Encuentro Internacional Mexico. They just opened a new radio station in a very violent city. It will be a week of many encounters!
By way of this blog, I hope to bring you alongside my encounters for the next four days so that you can be inspired and encouraged, too. Please join me online for the experience, and if you have questions – about the conference itself or about what’s happening in any of the countries making up this region – email me at [email protected], and I will do my best to find an answer for you.
Blessings from a sunny and warm Bolivia,
* RTM is the Spanish version of TWR.