Speaking Hope eUpdate
For months, RTM Venezuela’s (TWR’s) director, Gabriel Fernandez, lugged two cans of gasoline up nine flights of stairs in the darkness every other day. You may have heard this story originally featured here. In March 2018, a power transformer failed, and there was no more electricity or running water in RTM Venezuela’s offices and studios. They installed a generator on the roof of the building which was powered by gasoline. When the generator was running, programs could be recorded; however, there was not enough power to run the recording equipment and the air conditioner simultaneously, so programs were recorded in the heat and humidity.
The team faithfully continued their recording for many months. Then, in December, the utility company showed up with a repaired transformer. Within a few days, they had electricity again.
What an answer to prayer! We praise God for his provision, but more than that, we thank him for the faithfulness of the RTM Venezuela staff. And today, now that they no longer have to lug gasoline up nine flights of stairs, their faithfulness has not wavered. They faithfully continue recording the programs, remaining in the country while many have chosen to leave.
The people of Venezuela continue to suffer in the midst of a significant political and economic crisis. There is not enough food or medicine. The transportation system is crumbling. Many people are dying from illnesses that could normally be treated. Hundreds of thousands are leaving the country. But, when our team was asked if they would like to leave Venezuela to record their programs in better conditions, they replied, “If we leave, who will be here to minister to the people who are left in the country? How can we speak over the air that hope can be found through God’s Word in this crisis if we leave as well?”
Radio has become very important in Venezuela. Teachers are leaving the country. Seminaries are empty. There is no money for books or computers. Some pastors are unable to make it to church when there is no bus. But there is still radio, and RTM Venezuela has a vision to bring people hope and encouragement in Christ. With the upgraded signal from Bonaire, Venezuelans can hear the signal in places where they were unable to before.
RTM Venezuela produces 11 programs. These are uploaded to a central site from which more than 70 radio stations broadcast, including our transmitter on Bonaire. Messages of hope from RTM Venezuela are also listened to in other areas that desperately need the hope of Christ, like Colombia and Cuba. Along with the radio programs, the RTM team travels across the country, visiting churches and holding rallies and puppet shows for children. This is often the only way they hear feedback from listeners because pens and paper are so expensive and phone service is unavailable or inconsistent.
Director Fernandez states, “These days, many people look to God for help. That’s why our radio programs are still important. We are experiencing a revival in the midst of this crisis. I am very thankful to God that I can still pay my staff their salaries. Although what they receive cannot cover even basic costs, we have all learned to live with less.”
We praise the Lord for the faithfulness of the RTM team and pray that many Venezuelans will receive the hope of Christ through this ministry.