Thursday, November 1, 2012

God does double duty: Father and father.

The fatherless: abandonment, death, divorce, indifference. The reasons vary, but the results are the same: anger, confusion, bitterness, rebellion, and abusive or reckless behavior. This is when God has to double duty, becoming a father as well as being our heavenly Father.

During my two decades as a missionary, whether in Latin America or in Africa, I’ve met and counseled many youth who don’t know their earthly fathers or who have been shunned, sometimes even abused, by their biological or adoptive fathers.

Some have been able to move forward, with help from God. Others, however, have a hard time knowing Him as a heavenly “Father” because of what they have or have not seen in their earthly father.

Last week I was chatting on-line with “John”, a young man in Peru. I’ve never met him in person, but God allowed us to “meet” each other by way of HCJB-2’s Facebook page in December 2010. (HCJB-2 is our local radio station in Guayaquil, Ecuador.) “John” is studying tourism at the local university. He did well on a recent project and I said “I’m proud of you, brother. Facebook hug!”

I was left speechless by his response, “You know, I would have liked for my father to tell me that he was proud of me and to give me a hug. He has never hugged me nor told me that he loves me or that he’s proud of me. He has only mistreated me, and when he does come to the house, he acts like I don’t even exist.”

I’m most familiar with the fatherless situation in Ecuador and now Liberia. However, John Sowers, President of The Mentoring Project and author of Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story, says, “Rejection is the defining characteristic of the fatherless generation, where in the United States alone, just over 33 percent of youth — over 25 million kids — are fatherless and searching for Dad. Searching for his love and acceptance. (Just like “John”.) But Dad is nowhere to be found.”

Please pray for “John”. Pray that God would make Himself so real to our Peruvian brother that he will one day be able to forgive his earthly father. If not, the anger and bitterness will simply flow to another generation of his family. “John” knows he MUST forgive his father, even though his father has never asked for nor deserves forgiveness. However, you and I both know, the forgiveness is just as much for “John” as it is for his father, as well as for “John’s” future children.

And please pray for me as I counsel him from nearly 5,000 miles away. That God would give me the right words to say and clearly tell me what NOT to say. Pray, too, for local believers that God has brought into “John’s” life.

And thank God for being with him, doing double duty, as father and Father.


P.S. Here are some sobering statistics from a recent report by Pew Center Research: “Another notable change during this period was the rise in births to unmarried women. In 2008, a record 41% of births in the United States were to unmarried women, up from 28% in 1990. The share of births that are non-marital is highest for black women (72%), followed by Hispanics (53%), whites (29%) and Asians (17%), but the increase over the past two decades has been greatest for whites—the share rose 69%.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

From Chazuta, in the jungles of north central Peru; to Cuzco, capital of the Incan Empire, high in the Andes Mountains; to the Amazon jungles in northwestern Brazil: an exhausting, but incredible 3-week training tour which allowed us to touch more than 130 colleagues!

One of the goals for HCJB Global Voice’s radio training ministry in the Latin America Region is to raise up like-minded Christian colleagues in this area in order to be able to more quickly and economically respond to future needs.

Please meet Kenny Lazo, a young communicator from Arequipa in southwestern Peru who trained with me in Chazuta and Cuzco. In 2009, Kenny received training by our team at a conference in southern Peru and in 2010 came to Quito for more training. [Kenny (r) presenting a certificate to one of the participants in Cuzco.]

However, this time the tables were turned and the trainee became the trainer. Kenny did a fabulous job, was well received by all the participants and was anxious to learn about the different cultures of his country which they represented. For instance, the 29 colleagues in Chazuta came from seven different ethnic groups!

In Brazil, I was once again teaching alongside Jasiel Martins. This is the third time that we have taught together over the past several years. Jasiel is a quiet young man from the Terena indigenous group, which primarily inhabits western central Brazil.

We were in Filadelfia, Amazonas State, with 15 participants representing five different tribal groups. As in Chazuta, what a special opportunity to see how God works to make sure His Word can be heard by all nations and all tongues! We were teaching these indigenous brothers and sisters how to produce programs to reach out to those in their tribal communities that don’t yet know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

In February of 2008, Jasiel received training in the first production workshop we conducted in Brazil. And like Kenny, he is now the trainer! In fact, Jasiel will go to Quito in mid-October for more specific technical training. Please pray for his trip and that it would be a fruitful time of learning and cross-cultural exposure.

What a blessing and privilege to serve alongside fellow communicators like Jasiel and Kenny who have a passion to use media to reach those that don’t yet know Christ or who have fallen away from an intimate walk with Jesus. A few years ago they were the students. Now we stand together as fellow trainers: generation to generation!

Please pray Kenny and Jasiel, and others like them in the Latin America Region, as God continues to form them, teach them and prepare them for His service. To God be all the glory and honor!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Training in Guatemala

I just got back to Quito after a week in Guatemala where I was able to scout out a training possibility for May 2011, follow-up on training we did in May 2008 and do training for a small group of very talented young people from an indigenous community in the province of Totonicapán. We held the radio workshop in the facilities of the Guatemalan Bible Seminary in Chimaltenango.

One of the goals for our radio training ministry in Latin America is to develop a network of Christian communicators throughout the region. For the workshop in Chimaltenango, I had the very special opportunity of teaching with one of my former students from the Christian Center of Communications (CCC), an university level institute on HCJB’s Quito compound which is a joint education program with Northwestern College of St. Paul, Minnesota. Kristy (Calvache) Liles is a gifted Christian broadcaster with Almavision Radio in Miami, Florida, USA. She was in the second group of students I had the privilege of teaching in the CCC. That was in 1995. What a blessing to be able to teach with her in 2010!

The night after we finished, Kristy wrote me the following note:
I want to tell you how happy I feel for having been able to be a part of this training. I’m sure that I learned more than I taught! I want you to know that I admire a lot the work that God has called you to do. I admire more the passion you have for it and want to encourage you to keep on going because you will see the fruit of your efforts in us, your students. Many thanks for this opportunity. May God continue to use you and I’m here to serve when I can. Blessings, Kristy.
Thanks for the encouragement, Kristy. And thanks to each of you who have faithfully prayed for and supported my ministry with HCJB Global Voice year after year. You were there when Kristy studied in the CCC in 1995 and you’re here now as we taught together 15 years later. You made it possible! I hope that you can share in Kristy’s gratitude and joy in having been a part of this workshop. This was her first time to share her experiences and knowledge, and let me tell you that she did a fantastic job. Kristy is good at what she does and is also passionate about being able to help others use this great tool of Christian radio to reach people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. To God be all the glory and praise! Thanks again for making it possible, generation after generation.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Spotlight is a daily 15 minute radio program that uses a special English method of broadcasting. This makes Spotlight easier for many people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

In Ecuador, HCJB has been broadcasting Spotlight since 2001. We've had fabulous response from the program over the years. In fact, there are currently more than 4,770 listeners throughout Latin America who receive the scripts of the program by e-mail every week. This gives them an opportunity to hear the program and read along at the same time.

Here's an e-mail I received from Carlos, a listener here in Quito, after sending him the scripts for this week:

Thank you a lot for the e mail.

There have been awesome programs like the one about the museum of laziness, disappearing languages, fear....

It´s fabulous listening from you that in Japan a Toyota´s employee died of too much work. Yeah. That must really be widely told.

We (people who listen carefully to your program) appreciate your stories about people who are miles away: Middle East, Asia, Africa, and aren´t super stars, nor famous heroes. That´s meaningful not having programs related to Hollywood, Shakira, US fashions.

Tell us more about South America and Cuba.

Bye Bye

Cool, huh? We are so thankful for the Spotlight program that allows our radio stations to meet a very real need of our listeners. And as they improve their English, they also hear a message of eternal hope, the message of Jesus Christ.

Please pray for the Spotlight production team and please pray for our listeners as they struggle to learn English, but more so as they have an opportunity to hear about and give their lives to Jesus.

Monday, August 23, 2010

In September 2009 I was in Tacna, Perú for a training session with our partner station Radio El Buen Sembrador (The Good Sower). One of the participants was Kenny Lazo, a dynamic Christian communicator from Arequipa Visión en Arequipa, Perú. This past May, Kenny and two colleagues traveled 3.5 days in bus to come to Quito for our annual conference with affiliates of our Spanish satellite network, ALAS-HCJB. It was great to see Kenny again and share more ideas on how we can do a better job of communicating Christ by radio and other media. After the conference, Kenny shared the following comments about his participation in our training conferences:

"Thank you for the events in which we’ve had the privilege of participating. I feel well equipped, challenged and encouraged to serve in a more efficient manner, breaking down paradigms, filling myself with new ideas, and, moreover, the ability to establish new contacts with various people around the world. Thank you and congratulations to everyone on the team at Radio HCJB for helping us do better radio."

Kenny, thank you for letting us be a part of your formation as a Christian broadcaster. And thank you dear friends for making this happen through your support of HCJB Global Voice's radio training ministry. More people who need Jesus will hear of Him because Kenny and others have been given the tools to do better radio ministry. To God be the glory!

Monday, April 26, 2010

More on radio training in Africa

Emmanuel Ekpeh-Addrey was one of the very talented radio producers with us during the radio training in Accra, Ghana. After I got back from Africa, Emmanuel sent me the following message.

"APPRECIATION and GRATEFULNESS are the two words that I woke-up with this morning. The fact that you are so down to earth amazes me. Your simplicity blows my mind.

Like our Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven to show us the way, you came to 'show' us the way in radio communication. Your all inclusive style of teaching is superb. I'm a better communicator now than before thanks to your impact made possible by the Holy Spirit."

What an incredible privilege to have shared the training experience with people like Emmanuel. Please pray for him and the others that took part in the training. They are all great communicators of a great God! May the Holy Spirit use them to impact the lives of their listeners.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Radio training in Sub-Saharan Africa

I am currently in Accra, the capital of Ghana in Western Africa. This is my first time to this continent, so it will be a great learning experience.

Together with Joseph Kebbie (with me in the photo), we will be conducting the first region-wide radio training for HCJB Global's SubSaharan Africa Region. Joseph is the training coordinator for the region and is also very involved in the radio planting aspect too.

We have folks joining us from Freetown, Sierra Leone and many different parts of Ghana: Tamale (north central), Bolgatanga (on the northern border with Burkina), Asin-Fosu, Assamankisi and of course the capital, Accra.

Praise God for this opportunity to share our experiences in radio training in Latin America with our ministry colleagues here in Western Africa. I am also very thankful for the partnership that this region shares with the media ministry of Theovision International.

Joseph and I welcome your prayers!