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Gulf Coast Hispanic radio broadcast impacts livescomment (0)

July 10, 2008

By Greg Heyman

Aias de Souza still remembers the biggest challenge in successfully establishing a Hispanic radio ministry along the Gulf Coast — the lack of a capable individual to lead the effort.

That was until a retired Baptist representative by the name of David Daniell realized the next chapter of his ministry was the establishment of Missionary Broadcasting in 2005.

"Radio carries with it a great authority in what is broadcast, and it’s natural to communicate the gospel," said Daniell, who worked in radio broadcasting in Texas before he and his wife spent almost 38 years as International Mission Board representatives to Mexico and Central America. "We seek to use radio to put listeners in contact with local churches in order to evangelize and plant new Baptist congregations in those towns within the coverage area of the station."

Through Daniell’s leadership of the Mobile-based nonprofit group, the gospel message is not only being shared with Hispanics in the southern United States but also throughout Central America by way of radio shows produced by the group. One of those shows — "Revista Radial," which means "Radio Magazine" — is heard by more than 40,000 in south Alabama and eastern Mississippi, said de Souza, who served as director of Mobile Baptist Association’s International Ministries Center before retiring recently.

The hourlong show airs Sundays at noon on radio station WPAS-FM in Mobile and features contemporary Christian music in Spanish, short inspirational messages by local Hispanic pastors and brief programs and spots by nationally known Hispanic evangelists like Luis Palau and Hermano Pablo.

According to Daniell, de Souza was "instrumental in promoting the radio program proposal among the Hispanic pastors in Mobile and Baldwin counties and in southeastern Mississippi." Daniell added that both the pastors and management of the station were excited about the program, which began airing on Easter.

Five Hispanic congregations in Alabama and one congregation in Mississippi are involved in supporting it. Each promotes its worship services and other activities on the program.

For de Souza, the combined effort of the six congregations is one of the most exciting facets of the ministry.

"They have many different doctrines but agree about one purpose — spreading the gospel," de Souza said. "It is amazing to see the cooperation."

Missionary Broadcasting’s ministry to Central America gets personal attention from Daniell, who visits the area on a regular basis to help with engineering and facility needs of stations broadcasting there.

Len Chilton, associate pastor of Dayspring Baptist Church, Mobile, in Mobile Association, where Daniell is a member, traveled with him to Guatemala in February to assist with building a home for a radio station manager.

"In a Third World situation like many of the stations David works with, there is very poor infrastructure and communications are horrible," Chilton said. "This ministry provides a clear, personal, culturally appropriate atmosphere to reach people with the gospel. It reaches where most people cannot go due to poor roads and no phones to speak of.

"There is such a hunger for truth, and this provides a wonderful way" for it to be put into people’s hands, he added.

Vernon Ayre, a member of First Baptist Church, Falkville, in Morgan Baptist Association, started working with Daniell several years ago after seeing a request for volunteers to do repairs on Christian radio stations in Central America. Since that time, Ayre has gone on several trips with him.

"During these one- to three-week trips, we do repair, maintenance, troubleshooting and instillation of radio and audio equipment," Ayre said. "It has been a pleasure working with David, and I have become friends with many pastors and Christians in Central America."

Along with financial support, Daniell said volunteers — particularly young engineers — are one of the ministry’s greatest needs.

"Most of us are in our late 60s or early 70s, and we need to touch that younger generation who have a background in broadcast engineering to address the technical problems that some of these stations face," he said.

For more information, visit www.mbimedia.org.

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