stories from the field

Little Red Radios

As I reflect on our journey, I think of the brightly coloured tapestries woven by the Quechua people. The men weave traditional hats with pointy tops and ear flaps to keep them warm in the winter. The women weave a variety of garments, each brightly coloured and unique. They use their clothing to carry things and to keep them warm in the wind, snow and rain.

These colourful tapestries remind me of God’s design. The men and women volunteering for the trip had little in common, except their love for their God and Saviour. I joined eight other Christian brothers and sisters, each of us excited, maybe a little nervous, but ready to bring the Good News to people who had waited patiently for their own radio. Our team included a: father of a Pioneers missionary, custom homebuilder and his wife, retired nuclear power-plant worker, lumberjack, videographer, retired primary school teacher, Statistics Canada worker.

The radios came from Galcom International whose mission is to “multiply missionary impact through audio technology." The entire Bible is already loaded on the radio. And the radio is preset to Mosoj Chaski, a radio station that produces Christian programs in Quechua, the language of the people living in the Andes. It’s an amazing gift!

The trip was led by Greg and Lily who have dedicated their lives to serving the Quechua people. Greg is from Canada and he met Lily in Bolivia. Lily is a Quechua believer. Greg’s father, Alex, lives in eastern Canada and plays a huge role in promoting three annual trips to Bolivia to deliver radios. He dedicates many hours to recruiting Canadian Christians to join Greg and Lily.

God has opened many doors for Greg and Lily. Behind each door is a relationship with someone who God has placed into their lives. Each of them has a unique story of God working in their lives. As we travelled, God continued to weave a uniquely beautiful tapestry. Alejandro had waited four years to receive his own radio. He is the leader of his community and the only Christian. He found out about the radios when he was visiting a neighbouring community. As he listened to the Scripture in his own language, he was in awe. Few people in the community can read and write. To have the Scripture recorded so they can listen to God’s Word is a miracle. He tracked down Greg, the "gringo" in Sucre who was responsible for bringing the radios into the region. For four long years he asked Greg to bring the radios to his community. We were there on Good Friday!

Our presence and the gift of the radio give Alejandro great hope. “I want to see my people worship God from these mountains,” he told us. “And to see churches pop up across the summits and valleys.” Felipe echoes Alejandro’s prayers. Felipe is 76 years old this year. Felipe is Quechua and a Bible scholar who taught at a seminary. On the weekends and school holidays, he invited his students to come with him into the Andes and share the Gospel with the Quechua people. When students no longer volunteered to go with him, he went on his own – a messenger sent by God. After almost 40 years, he was forced to retire. But God was not finished with him. Since retirement, Felipe has walked from village to village, sharing the Good News with everyone who would listen.

Hector is a mechanic and when he heard about the trip into the mountains, he asked if he could come along to keep the vehicles running. Hector and Felipe are a regular part of Greg and Lily’s team. Hector keeps the 4x4 going – in spite of the treacherous mountain roads, jutting rocks and semi-dry river beds. As he has traveled with the different teams, he too has become a powerful evangelist and thoughtful Bible teacher.

God is working. With awe, I stood and listened as the Quechua people lifted their voices to praise God. Their beautiful music proclaimed: Our God Reigns! Even in the remote, rugged mountains, God is there. And as I listened, I thought of home and how each Canadian partner is woven into the incredible tapestry. Through prayer and financial partnership, you are a part of our team here and worldwide. Each of us has a special colour and specific thread. And, woven together, we become a tapestry declaring the glory of God to all people, in all regions.

For, without a question, Our God Reigns.

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