Paul Freed was NOT interested in Spain. He would have much rather traveled to any other place in 1948. He was an American who had grown up in the Arab world. Spain was an unlikely country for him. He had no idea what he was doing there.
He’d agreed to go after meeting two Spanish men at an international conference in Switzerland. They pleaded with him to go to Spain and bear the massive burden of reaching their 30 million countrymen with the good news of Jesus.
"Finally, I had said I would go—a very puny, reluctant ‘yes'—but I was on my way," Freed said. "Little did I realize then that God was building the studding for my whole future work during those few days I was in Spain." And, as it happens, for the future ministry of TWR (Trans World Radio).
After traveling to Spain and meeting people eager to learn about Jesus, the question that continually filled Freed’s thoughts was: How can more of them hear of the goodness of God? Millions had yet to hear the good news of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. The picture was so vivid, yet so complex. In the second most mountainous country in Europe, the Spanish terrain was intricately woven with hard-to-reach communities.
"There was only one answer in my mind to the problem. Radio," Freed said. "Like nothing else, radio could blanket the nation from peak to valley, from inland Madrid to coastal Cadiz. I did not have a dime of support. I did not know what steps to take. But one thing of which I was sure—the Lord had unquestionably linked my heart to the heart of Spain."
It wasn’t an easy call with a clear path (these things rarely are). Freed didn’t have money, personnel or know-how when it came to radio. And God opened a door that puzzled Freed—a radio station was available to broadcast from in Tangier, Morocco.
Why would God open a door in Africa—even if it was only separated from Spain by a 26-mile waterway? Why not in Spain?
FROM TANGIER TO SPAIN WITH LOVE
Freed didn’t want to go—this time to Tangier. But as he and his team stood on Moroccan soil and looked over at Spain, they realized there was freedom here to build, whereas there might never be an opportunity in Spain.
Even then, it wasn’t an easy road, but they continued to pray, and God continued to provide.
“We were so sure that our vision was rooted in Christ,” Freed said. “We would not turn back. We were reassured at the point of each discouragement that this was our peculiar task. And we were not in it alone.”
Though Freed wasn’t a radio enthusiast, his mind and heart were gripped by the potential of the airwaves. People encouraged him to learn more about radio before beginning, but he trusted God had people ready to manage those areas.
"It seemed that radio could move across all boundaries, over the walls, through the ‘curtains,’ like nothing else,” Freed said. "I thought of the the world’s masses of people as ‘one world,’ with the same basic needs of the heart. I knew that every individual had the right to be reached. I was sure that in God’s perspective all people were beloved by him, that with him there were no barriers, no differences. The issue had emerged clearly. Our goal as believers comprising the church of Jesus Christ was to reach people everywhere, without exception...
“Here was a force that could move across the mountains, into the valleys, through the hamlets and olive groves and vineyards. Here was the force that could slip into the minds and hearts of the shopkeepers, the matadors, the dockhands, the vendors, the artisans, the farmers. Here was the signal that could penetrate the Lavish mansions of the nobility, and the earthen homes of the peasants and bring life to all who would take it."
In 1954, what was then known as the Voice of Tangier broadcast the first program from Morocco into Spain. And the rest is history, as they say. From there, God began opening other opportunities to broadcast from strategic locations into some of the least-reached areas of the world. Today, we engage millions of people in 190 countries with biblical truth in their heart language. For more than 65 years, God has used our content and vast network of on-the-ground partnerships to lead people from doubt to decision to discipleship.