Words of Life

May 4, 2015 • Bolivia
Bolivia radio station

A new radio station will broadcast the Gospel in a rural Bolivian community

Keri Carpenter is a general intern with Samaritan's Purse in Bolivia

I pull the hood of my rain jacket tight as I walk through the mud to the small Assemblies of God church in the mountains of Chuma. But not even the gloomy weather can put a damper on tonight. This is a night of celebration.

Bolivia radio station

The Bible opened up to John 3 in Aymara, the language of the Chuma region of Bolivia. “There will be fruit. Much fruit. And it will all be for God’s glory.” –Enrique Carrasco, National Director of Programs, SP Bolivia.

Samaritan’s Purse Bolivia is partnering with this congregation to establish a Christian radio station. RADIO PESCADOR 97.1 FM will be run by Pastor Jose Luis, who works with Samaritan’s Purse.

I walk into the small, cozy church building. The evening begins with worship and praise. Then Pastor Jose Luis speaks.

“The radio will be a powerful tool. We need to thank God for it.”

The words almost throw themselves at my face and cause me to question, “Am I a grateful individual? How often do I actually thank God for things in my life: tools, people, events, etc?”

Bolivia radio station

The congregation treks up the hill to the building with the transmitter.

Before my thoughts become bogged down by my selfishness, my mind returns to the service. Other pastors speak, describing their hopes to reach over 31,000 listeners. They pray for wisdom.

“We have a device to give these people more than words–we have the chance to give them words of life.”

As the service ends, Pastor Jose Luis invites us to see the transmitter. We climb up a hill of grass and mud to reach the home where the radio is stationed. My deep breathing is a clear indicator that the 15-minute hike is no walk in the park, but the trek does not hinder this congregation.

Bolivia radio station

Everyone was excited to hear the pastor’s voice over the airwaves.

As I try to catch my breath, anxious church members scurry into a room to see the transmitter. Teenagers giggle and beg family members to take photos. Children’s eyes light up as they look at the red lights on the alien looking machine.

We filter up the stairs into the area where we will hear Jose Luis’ voice over the radio. But before the broadcast begins, rain drops onto my head. I look around and expect to see people racing towards their homes. But they do not flee.

Instead, feet run to any kind of shelter—overhangs, random door spaces—all around the radio. These people are still eager to listen.

Bolivia radio station

Keri with the local ladies.

Groups congregate around the radio room to hear the echoes of Pastor Jose Luis on 97.1 FM.

“We want to reach every corner of our village, so that our people will know Jesus.”

The faces of the church members glow with excitement. I look at the radio and again see lights blinking on a piece of metal. But this time, I see it not as a machine working properly. I see it as a tool coming to life.

May we all learn to use the tools around us to impact our own cities. And may we remember to thank Him who has given us such tools.