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Children and Retirees Alike Pledge Support at Radio Sharathons [News]

December 22, 2015

(Dec. 22, 2015- by Ralph Kurtenbach)  Ecuadorians Milton and María Suarez have listened to Radio Station HCJB in Quito, Ecuador, for decades, and when offered an opportunity to share in the mission of the station, they seized it.

That was 15 years ago, according to Milton, an older gentleman who mentioned that he and María will soon celebrate 48 years of marriage. As they waited their turn to make a donation at the station’s Misión Compartida (Sharing the Mission), they told a bit of their story.

María shared about listening to the station since the 1960s, and then added, “on a battery-operated radio.” For Milton, a student at the time in São Paulo, Brazil, it was the international broadcasts from the shortwave station that entered his life in 1961.

Anabella Cabezas (right) with a faithful listener to Radio Station HCJB.It would be nearly 40 years before the couple could respond in kind for what they had received from the station. Historically, the station’s costs had been covered by donors abroad who responded to appeals by U.S.-based Reach Beyond.

Then in January 2000, station staff staged the first Misión Compartida in a drastic departure from the previous procedure. “We’ve given since this began,” said Milton.

They talked on, even as coins splattered onto a nearby table where Katherine Pérez was receiving donations. “They broke a piggy bank,” observed Milton with a chortle. Crowded around Pérez, wide-eyed children watched her count up and tally their group’s donation.

How could children’s Sunday school offerings or the Suarez’s annual gift ever add up to help HCJB reach its financial goal? Simply put—but with heaps of logistical preparation and prayer beforehand by station staff—many Ecuadorians (such as the Suarezes and the church children) came and donated throughout Friday-Sunday, Dec. 11-13.

Counting coins donated by children for the broadcasts.In continuous live programming, on-air personalities periodically told listeners that the station’s 2016 fiscal year budget would require US$540,000. During the three-day event, they marked donation milestones by sounding a tympani drum and cheering.

But with even over $207,000 pledged, more help is still needed. “We trust in God that throughout the coming year, sufficient contributions will come in to cover what has been budgeted for,” said Anabella Cabezas. She directs the station’s AM and FM radio outlets as well as online outreach as Facebook accounts and an Internet station, Control Z (http://controlz.fm).

“We will continue walking by faith, depending on God and His provision and doing our best to see HCJB radio strengthen the family with the values of the kingdom of God,” Cabezas continued.

Programming differs, with folks like the Suarezes still enjoying the AM where programming concentrates on those who enjoy the hymns and teaching programs they’ve grown accustomed to. Control Z, meanwhile, is a new endeavor with music and topics geared to teenagers.

Even as Quito-based HCJB radio reaches its multiple audiences, its partners go beyond that effort. In another studio, programming went forth on AM and shortwave in Quichua, the main indigenous language of Ecuador. Program hosts and invited guests talked between segments of live music performed by Quichua-language congregations—many in traditional dress—who traveled to Quito for the event.

Reach Beyond’s Allen Graham assisted with a simultaneous sharathon at another partner station, HCJB-2, to which listeners pledged more than $100,000. His longtime friend, Abel Geovanny Pico, took time away from driving his taxi to sit in front of a microphone. Pico is an avid listener of the Guayaquil-based FM station whose primary audiences are in the coastal provinces of Guayas and El Oro.

“I find myself with people (passengers) who have such difficulties and family problems,” Pico related. “The Lord has allowed me to offer counsel to young people and to families. I am glad that He has permitted me to bless their lives so that as a result His name would be blessed.”

Through radio and digital media, the goal for 2016 is to reach 1 million people, according to Cabezas, who is confident of seeing this happen “with God’s help and the participation of a creative team passionate about the gospel.”

Source: Reach Beyond




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