By Richard Greene
Often, an older brother tends to boss around his younger siblings. But in the case of Enrique, his older brother’s investment in his life has reaped eternal dividends that are still reverberating throughout this part of Cuba.
Enrique* was living in a small country village on the island’s northern shore, east of the capital city of Havana. It’s isolated and there’s no electricity.
Jorge,* Enrique’s older brother, had a radio and began listening to the Thru the Bible program broadcast by TWR from the Caribbean island of Bonaire. He invited Enrique and their sister Gabriela* to join him. Eventually, convinced that God sent his only Son — the Lord Jesus Christ — to die on the cross for their sins, all three prayed to receive him as their personal Savior.
“As I knelt crying, I repented of my sins and gave my heart to Jesus Christ,” Enrique recalls. That was on Oct. 2, 1982.
God led Enrique to worship and study God’s Word at a Baptist church, where he was baptized almost a year later. He saw the need to build up other believers in Christ and organized a new church in a nearby village.
“With the Lord’s help, after a while the church called me as their pastor,” Enrique explains. “I had a strong desire to do this, and with time we started four new churches in different communities in the area.”
Enrique and a team of several group leaders are nurturing new Christians in their faith. There are now five mission points in other areas.
“God has been good, and I feel so blessed by him,” he says.
Enrique believes in the power of radio to evangelize and disciple. He’s committed to the ministry of TWR. So much so, he has prayed that God would “richly bless” its outreach and “continue to use you for his glory and that you’d be able to increase the power of the station to be able to provide programming in different languages.”
God has answered that prayer! A little more than a year and a half ago, TWR upgraded its Bonaire station, boosting the transmitter from 100,000 watts to 450,000 watts. It’s now the most powerful station in the Western Hemisphere, with its signal covering all of Cuba and more of Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and other countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
One of the beneficiaries of this stronger signal is a 46-year-old pastor in Cuba who listens to the program Dorothy’s Daily Devotionals produced by Cross Currents International Ministries. His recent email was deeply encouraging, in which he wrote: “In Christ, we have not found a magic wand that changes our pain to joy, but we have found a God who gives us calm in the midst of so many storms. Christ brings us forward, whenever we trust him, to an eternal victory.”
TWR is constantly looking for ways to reach even more people, so they, too, can hear the life-changing message of the gospel. Leaders are especially burdened for listeners living in Pakistan, Afghanistan and North India.
Although TWR had been broadcasting to the region on shortwave radio for some time, the international broadcaster, through the generosity of its donor family and partners, was able to dramatically expand its impact by bringing online a 500,000-watt AM transmitter.
The PANI transmitter airs a full broadcast schedule that reaches a listening audience of more than 200 million people in an area where many people have never been inside a church or even met a Christian. The biblical programs introduce people to Jesus Christ in the heart languages of their regions, including Urdu, Dari, Punjabi, Pashto and Sindhi.
A listener whom we’ll call Hamad lives in Pakistan. His family is devoutly Muslim, and he offered prayer five times daily and read the Quran faithfully. For the longest time, he struggled with the question of whether Jesus Christ is God’s Son who died and was raised from the dead on the third day. He often asked religious scholars about the identity of Christ but was not satisfied with their answers.
Then the young man entered the military and met a Christian. That believer had a Bible and a radio through which he listened to programs aired by TWR, including Thru the Bible. The Christian gave Hamad a Bible and a radio.
Hamad was convicted by what he heard. “I promised myself that whether I remain alive or not and whether my family leaves me or not, I must accept the truth,” he wrote to us. “I decided that Jesus is my Savior and became a human just to save my life.”
Please pray for Hamad, that God would protect him — and other listeners like him — giving him the boldness to reach others with the eternal truth of God’s Word.
* This is a pseudonym used to protect the listener’s anonymity.
Richard Greene is a longtime journalist and feature writer who has traveled to more than 60 countries. In addition to serving with TWR, he worked for The Navigators, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. He and his wife, Lynda, live in the mountains of western North Carolina.