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.
As TWR’s national partners in Latin America and the Caribbean gather in Paraguay, one of the ministries among us struggles daily for basic survival.
“We are going through one of the most horrible times Venezuela has ever been through,” Pastor Ramon Muñoz, a board member of RTM* Venezuela, told the group. “Everyone who has a different opinion from the government is seen as a terrorist and thrown in jail.”
Despite the crisis facing his country, RTM Venezuela director Gabriel Fernandez pledged that his staff will keep the ministry operating and serving their listeners. God will not allow the “boat” that is RTM Venezuela to sink, he added. While the nation may be trapped in a deep political and economic quagmire, God is never in a crisis.
His words were amply illustrated by pictures he showed us of his team’s outreach to many children’s groups. In the rallies this summer, more than 2,500 children heard the gospel.
“We like to invest in the children because they are the future of Venezuela,” Gabriel said.
Brother Venancio Mejia of HRVC, known as “The Evangelical Voice of Honduras,” led the assembled participants in prayer for Venezuela.
As a Leader, Walk Closely With Jesus
TWR President Lauren Libby spoke to the Latin American and Caribbean partners about the essential role of faith among ministry leaders. Faith is the visualization of God's will, he said, with faith translating his will into the physical world. That’s why TWR leaders must walk very closely with Jesus Christ.
In the end, it is Jesus’ vision that they communicate to people, Lauren said. God wants to speak to the world and will bless our ministries for his name’s sake. Lauren provided the participants with a fresh, concrete way of thinking about TWR’s mission: “We help people 30 seconds after they enter eternity to meet an old friend and not a stranger, Jesus Christ.”
Neighbors Team Up in Tough Region
For an example of a leader who walks in faith and listens to God’s voice, look no further than Eduardo Zacarias, director of TWR’s national partner in Peru, Red Radio Integridad (RRI). At last year’s conference, RTM Brazil director Valdir Pydd pointed him to the opportunity to start broadcasting in a strategic area that borders three countries – Peru, Brazil and Colombia – and is a route for drug trafficking. In July 2019, RRI received a license for a station in the Loreto region of the country.
Drugs are trafficked from Peru and Colombia to Brazil and the U.S. When I asked Eduardo why he thinks establishing this station is so important, he answered, “First, for the expansion of the gospel, and second, the region in all three countries is known for its violence and poverty, and third, the Ticuna indigenous people group lives in this area. We have programs in their language, and we can reach them. A Peruvian pastor, Orlando Manullama, will oversee the station.”
RRI Peru and RTM Brazil will work together on this radio station and broadcast in Spanish, Portuguese and Ticuna. More than 100,000 people can potentially be reached with the gospel.
When I asked Eduardo how we could pray for this new station, he said, “Pray for finances and that we will build a relationship with the churches, pastors and Christian leaders in this area.”
Today we took a group picture, which is customary at these national partners conferences. The picture represents a very special group of people, dedicated to God, the gospel and each other.
Tonight, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of RTM Paraguay. At 5 p.m. I am expected to come downstairs, where the local Women of Hope group will do my hair specially for the event!
Thanks for reading this blog report, and let’s meet again Friday!
* RTM is the Spanish and Portuguese equivalent of TWR.
Photo: (top) Gabriel Fernandez of RTM Venezuela reports on doing ministry amid the political and economic upheaval in their country, (above left) Mariette Oosterhoff, (middle right) CEO and President Lauren Libby speaks to attendees with the help of Esteban Larrosa, Head of RTM Uruguay, (bottom center) conference attendees from all over the world pose for a group picture of the 2019 TWR Latin America and the Caribbean National Partners Conference (Photos by Olav Hardang)