- The Founders
- Radio Station HCJB
- Medical Ministry
- Leadership Development
- World by Radio
- Radio Planting
In 1927, God called Clarence and Katherine Jones to go to South America and use radio to help tell people around the world about Jesus Christ. Clarence was excited as he left in 1928 for Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Cuba seeking government permission for the radio station. However he was rejected in each of those countries and returned to Chicago as a failure.
In 1929 and 1930, Clarence Jones would meet four Christian & Missionary Alliance missionary couples who were working in Ecuador, South America: Reuben & Grace Larson, Stuart (D.S) & Irma Clark, John (J.D.) & Ruth Clark and Paul & Bernice Young.
These four couples not only encouraged Clarence to seek permission in Ecuador, but they would help get government permission and play an instrumental role in the founding and operation of Radio Station HCJB. Jones also recruited Eric & Anne Williams as the engineer and technical staff to build and operate the station’s first radio transmitter and studio.
The station’s call letters, HCJB, were chosen by the founders to reflect its ultimate purpose of “Heralding Christ Jesus’ Blessings”. HCJB, “The Voice of the Andes”, aired its first programme from Quito, Ecuador, on December 25th, 1931.
Radio Station HCJB was the first missionary radio station in the world, as well as the first radio station in Ecuador with daily programmes. The radio ministry had a rather humble beginning since there were perhaps as few as 13 radios capable of receiving its first broadcasts.
With the addition of a 10,000-watt transmitter in 1940, designed and built by Clarence Moore, Radio Station HCJB was able to send the station’s English and Spanish programmes far beyond Latin America. Soon the station was receiving letters from listeners around the world.
Radio Station HCJB quickly began adding programmes in other major international languages. The first to be added in 1941 was Swedish programmes by Ellen de Campaña. Shortly after that, the station added Russian programmes produced by Peter Deyneka Sr. and the Slavic Gospel Association. That same year, HCJB added programmes in Quichua, a language spoken by indigenous groups living throughout the highlands of Ecuador and nearby countries.
By 1944, Radio Station HCJB had added broadcasts in Arabic, Czech, Dutch, French, German and Yiddish. In later years, other major languages would be added such as Portuguese and Japanese.
While a few language programmes were recorded elsewhere, the vast majority of Radio Station HCJB’s local and international programming was produced and aired live from the station’s studios in Quito.
Radio broadcasting was the primary tool used by HCJB to share Jesus Christ, but it certainly was not the only tool. Staff members, for example, travelled throughout the country in the “Gospel Sound Truck” telling people about Jesus Christ in city squares and markets. They held evangelistic rallies and events in theatres, bullrings and large tents. Missionary staff started local Bible studies and children’s programmes that would grow into various local churches.
As the mission continued to grow, Clarence Jones and Reuben Larson began looking for missionary doctors and nurses to care for the mission’s staff and employees, as well as attend to the needs of indigenous people who passed near the station. Dr. Paul Roberts and Nurse Kay Erb Berry were the first to arrive in 1949 to begin a small indigenous shelter and clinic.
Dr. Paul Roberts had a much greater dream of a fully-equipped modern hospital where all people could receive the best care, regardless of their race, social class or ability to pay. His dream became a reality in 1955 with the inauguration of Hospital Vozandes-Quito, financed largely through the gifts of listeners to Dr. George Palmer’s local radio programme “Morning Cheer” in Philadelphia, USA.
Shortly after, Dr. Ev Fuller joined HCJB’s medical work in 1950, he met Nate Saint, a young missionary pilot working in the eastern jungle of Ecuador. Nate Saint shared with Dr. Fuller the need for a medical hospital near Mission Aviation Fellowship’s base at Shell Mera. Hospital Vozandes-Shell was completed in 1958 largely through gifts from listeners to the “Back to the Bible” radio programme of Dr. Theodore Epp.
HCJB’s medical ministries extended beyond the hospital walls to local villages through community development ministries such as mobile medical clinics, water projects and urban clinics. Throughout the history of the mission’s medical outreach, it has continually provided formal and informal training to doctors, residents, medical students, nurses and local health promoters.
Clarence Jones often talked about the many people behind the scenes that made gospel radio broadcasts possible.
HCJB Global has a long heritage of innovative engineers and technical people that designed, built and maintained high-powered transmitters, antennas, and control equipment to simultaneously broadcast programmes to many different locations around the world.
High powered transmitters require a lot of electricity. So engineers completed HCJB’s first hydroelectric project in 1965 to provide the station with a cheaper and cleaner source of electricity. Two other hydroelectric plants were added later.
Training local church leaders has always been recognized as essential for growth in the Latin American Church. Over the years, HCJB Global staff have mentored and discipled many people individually, in small groups, at churches, workshops and through radio programmes. A combined radio programme and correspondence course called “The Bible Institute of the Air” was begun in 1949 for people who often had limited or no other means of receiving Biblical training.
The Centre for Evangelism and Discipleship (CED) was created to build and strengthen the local church primarily in Ecuador. The CED would eventually be developed into Apoyo to train pastors and church leaders throughout Latin America as well as other parts of the world. Apoyo developed a programme called TNT to train national leaders to take what they've learned and then train others.
In 1984, HCJB Global launched the Christian Centre of Communications in Quito, Ecuador, to provide practical radio, television and print media training to Christians in Latin America.
HCJB Global has taken leadership development to a new level with the launch of Corrientes in 2009. Corrientes is a partnership by HCJB Global with various organisations who are dedicated to preparing and placing missionaries, primarily from Latin America, for ministry in other parts of the world. The Corrientes curriculum is customised based on the needs of the individual students and includes spiritual formation, language acquisition, cross-cultural and hands-on practical skills in areas of media or healthcare.
In 1984 HCJB Global President Ron Cline was thinking about all of the successful ministry the organisation was doing. Then God asked Ron, “What about all those other people—the people who cannot hear the gospel in a language they can understand?”
For Ron Cline, this seemed to be an impossible task. After all, there are thousands of languages in nearly 200 countries. He wondered how anyone could ever find Christians that speak all those languages and who would be capable of making good radio programmes. There would be many technical issues about where to put studios and transmitters and how much all of it would cost. Of course for God, nothing is impossible!
In 1985, HCJB Global, Far East Broadcasting Co. and Trans World Radio signed a commitment called “World By 2000,” endeavouring to broadcast the gospel in every major language, using all available facilities and developing new sites so that all men, women and children might hear the gospel in languages they could understand. Other organisations including SIM, FEBA Radio and Words of Hope later joined the partnership, now named “World by Radio,” which continues to seek out and work with local partners to meet this goal.
HCJB Global would need to undergo a substantial transformation if it was to truly attempt to accomplish its part in making sure everyone could hear the gospel in a language they can understand. It became clear that the only way this goal could be met was through partnerships with believers, the local church and local Christian ministries to produce programming and then help them start their own local radio stations.
The mission began by moving staff and opening offices in other regions of the world. Our engineering staff began developing a small transmitter and portable studio that could easily carried inside of suitcases.
HCJB Global’s “radio planting” ministry began in 1992 with the inauguration of a partner Christian radio station in Bakavu, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo). Since that time HCJB Global has helped partner ministries start more than 300 Christian radio stations around the world in more than 100 countries.