Tuesday, Klaus Rempel, president of TWR Brazil, opened the Partner Conference with the following words:
“The reason why we exist as RTM is serious and extremely urgent. We speak about God’s love to 700 million Spanish Portuguese speaking people. RTM is a gigantic ministry.
“We live in a rapidly changing world. Technology and political changes demand from us that we also change. One thing is certain: if we stop and stay where we are, it will be the beginning of the end of TWR. Therefore, let this Conference be an inspiration, a moment not only of deep reflection but also a start to creative initiatives that increase the effectiveness and reach of our ministry.”
Mr. Rempel then gave a special greeting to the representatives or RTM Venezuela. “We are in solidarity with you in this moment of great suffering in the nation of Venezuela. We are standing by your side.”
Heroes in Faith
Right in front of me sat Gabriel Fernandez, director of TWR Venezuela, together with two board members. Just to see the people for whom our TWR-Bonaire staff pleads to the Lord every morning makes me sad and humbled. Although there are only 85 miles of distance between them and us, they live in a different world. It is a world where children have no food anymore, where people die because of lack of supply.
And still, in these hard circumstances, they persevere. They still produce programs. I see them as big heroes in the faith.
Crisis is an Opportunity
Today Gabriel introduced two board members to me. Yoletti has been a board member since 1995. She is a lawyer and helps RTM Venezuela update legal matters. Yoletti loves to work for TWR. Her mother and her former husband both grew up listening to TWR. When I ask her why she still works for TWR, she says, “I am convinced, TWR Venezuela is a ministry of God.”
TWR Venezuela has a board with 18 people, among which are pastors, Christian leaders, business people, and professionals. Pastor Elias Puentes became a board member of TWR Venezuela in 1990. When I ask him about the role of TWR Venezuela in these difficult times. He answers, “Our role is still the same. We offer a message of hope for the Venezuelan people.
“This crisis is a great opportunity to talk with people, who don't see any solutions for their problems. We now can speak to them to put their trust in God, in His love and mercy. He will show you the way, how to solve your problems.”
I asked Pastor Elias what he thinks of the Power Upgrade to 450-kW on Bonaire. His answer was very short. “The Power Up was necessary. People were waiting and praying for the message from Bonaire to come back. In Venezuela, we have many religious groups who work with magic or worship idols. These groups need the Biblical message from Bonaire.”
Pastor Lemuel Larrosa – Voice of Latin America
Today Lemuel Larrosa was honored by Steve Shantz, TWR's vice president for Latin America and the partners. Lemuel has been the Voice of TWR in Latin America for more than 40 years. Every night his voice comes into Latin American homes with messages of Thru the Bible. Lemuel Larrosa has been the international director for Latin America for more than 15 years. Now he will give the torch to his son, Esteban, and to Annabel Torrealba, who will both serve as regional coordinators for Latin America. Lemuel will continue to work for TWR part-time, coordinating Alimento Para Alma, producing radio programs and organizing the partner conference.
Lemuel said today: “I don't like to retire, I’d rather die with my boots on, serving the Lord.”
Today was a busy and good day! God was present. We learned a lot from each other and especially during the honoring of Lemuel. It was obvious that TWR is not only a global ministry but also a warm family where there is love and unity as brothers and sisters.
To be continued…
Marketing and Communication Director for Latin America and the Caribbean