By Maralina Alfonso
A smile lighting up a face, twinkling eyes – these gestures reveal the genuine joy that radio listeners feel when they hear more than just words and instead truly understand the transformational message communicated.
This most likely happens, though, when the message reaches listeners in their native languages, as we read in Acts about the day of Pentecost: “Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?’”
To communicate the gospel – as with any message – the most important barrier to overcome is the inability of the listener to fully understand the words in which the message is presented. This communication is almost always more fruitful when the listener can process the life-changing truth in his or her heart language. Our mother tongue, after all, is the medium or our earliest thinking and self-expression.
This why TWR has worked since its inception to efficiently share the message of hope through media, first in a handful of languages and now in more than 300. The sole objective is to reach millions of people around the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our partners at RTM Bolivia (RTM is the Spanish equivalent of TWR), even in the midst of the pandemic being experienced throughout the world, have formed a team of nine enthusiastic people to produce the radio drama The Story Within in the Quechua language. It’s a challenging project that aims to reach more than 2,000,000 Bolivians so they can know Jesus and accept his forgiveness in the language that speaks not only to their minds but also to their hearts.
Antonio Cotaña, director of RTM Bolivia, sees great potential for the Bible dramatizations.
“Although the stories are known [to most listeners], the difference is in the format,” Cotaña said. “With the clear dialogues of The Story Within, even the actors see biblical characters from a different and motivational perspective.”
The new format offers the Quechua-speaking audience a new, deeper way of understanding the stories of the Bible, he said.
“And it is arousing the interest of the directors, owners and managers of media programming around Bolivia,” Cotaña added. “Therefore, The Story Within has earned a space in the broadcasts of 62 radio stations in the country. We believe that this program will awaken interest and encourage the internalization of the Bible with characters that change the lifestyle of the people and the community.”
The Quechua language is spoken by more than 12,000,000 people in various Latin American countries. The culture of this Bolivian people group is one of the largest to have resisted European colonization for more than 500 years.
Authorities have implemented an educational model aimed at preserving and promoting Quechua customs and all other native languages, its aim being to strengthen the position of these ethnic groups in the modern and multicultural society of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. This official full name of the country emphasizes the concept of a single nation composed of multiple nationalities or people groups.
If you feel the Lord is leading you to support efforts like The Story Within and other projects in Latin America, please tell us about it here.
Maralina Alfonso is the former director of RTM Paraguay and the current TWR marketing and communications director for Latin America and the Caribbean.