Chapter 19 - "For It Is God Who Works"

 

Chapter 19 - Hispanics Launch Friendship Radio

        On February 4, 1991, KHCB-Galveston, AM 1400 went on the air. The first week of programming was in English, broadcasting simultaneously with KHCB-FM. Then on February 11, at 7:00 a.m., the station began programming in Spanish under the slogan "Radio Amistad" or Friendship Radio. A large group of Christians was at the station to witness this historic event and celebrate the arrival of Christian Radio in Spanish. Letters began trickling in during the coming months from people who had discovered the station and were being blessed by it. A listener from Baytown wrote:

I feel so happy because since February of 1991 when I tuned to this blessed station that God put in my hands, I am a new woman. My house is full of blessings even though I have a sick husband and thanks to the Lord, I am not lacking anything.

        The pre-recorded programs were used during the first two months that Friendship Radio was on the air. Following the precedent set by KHCB-FM, Radio Amistad is run almost entirely by volunteers. Dolly Martin, who had served as a volunteer for KHCB as a teenager, was hired one month later as the first full-time staff member for KHCB-Galveston.

Music

        Radio Amistad's format includes a great deal of music because the Hispanic is a lover of music. Both Christians and non-Christians enjoy hearing music, so the Spanish programming consists of a segment of music followed by a short Bible study or devotional. The goal is to attract the non-Christian Hispanic through the music and news, and interest them in learning more about the Lord and His Word. Christian music in Spanish was much harder to obtain than music recorded in English. For the first few weeks, much of the music was instrumental and the few vocal tapes were acquired from Christian brothers and sisters who donated them to the station from their private collections. Of the music, one listener writes:

I want to thank you for the music you play on the radio. Sometimes I personally feel very discouraged and I begin to listen to this station and there are songs which have helped me feel the strength of the Lord who never leaves us alone although we may think he does.

        Since Radio Amistad shares the same studio building with KHCB-FM, the experience and help of the FM staff allowed KHCB-AM to expand at a very rapid pace. Within a few months, as the list of volunteers grew and local pastors were added to the programming, the broadcast day began to lengthen. By the end of the year, Spanish programming could be heard on AM 1400 from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

        The following summer, Radio Amistad decided to experimentally extend the broadcast day to 7:30 p.m. to take advantage of daylight savings time. The radio signal from an AM station has much more interference at night than during daylight hours. Thus, many areas of Houston that receive the signal clearly during the day cannot hear the station at night. By the fall of that year, the Lord provided sufficient volunteers so that Radio Amistad could permanently extend the broadcast to 10:00 p.m.

Kingdom Fruit

        A number of listeners have either written or called Friendship Radio sharing how the Lord has touched their hearts and brought them into a personal relationship with Him. One trucker wrote:

        

I feel very fortunate for having discovered KHCB accidentally 8 or 9 months ago. I was driving an 18 wheeler when at the end of the message the preacher gave an invitation to receive and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of my life. And right then, while driving, I repeated after the preacher all that he said and I became a part of the family of God.

        This man is now a part of a local church and is growing in his relationship with the Lord. His wife and children are also now interested in spiritual things and they attend church as a family.

        A single young woman found out about KHCB through a coworker and started listening while doing her work as a house cleaner. Having just arrived from Mexico, she knew almost no English. Her mother and whole family were heavily involved in the occult so all that she was now hearing was totally new to her. She obtained a Bible from her employer and began following along to see if what was being preached was true.

        As she listened and read her Bible daily, she began to feel very dirty. She felt that she was the worst sinner in the world. Then one day while listening to a local pastor, she heard him say that no one is too much of a sinner to accept Christ. After praying to receive Christ, she immediately felt a change in her heart and life. She had an insatiable desire to read and learn from God's Word. When she returned to Mexico one year later, she was able to lead several of the members of her family to the Lord.

        Estella, a woman from El Salvador received Christ as her Savior while listening to "Vision Para Vivir", the Spanish translation of "Insight for Living" with Chuck Swindoll. Her spiritual journey began when her sister wrote from El Salvador saying that she had become a believer. Her mom, who lives in Houston, was already a believer and listened regularly to Friendship Radio; however, when Estella visited her mother and heard the Christian programs, she became irate because she felt the conviction of the Lord in her life. Soon she found herself praying and asking Him to help her.

        The Lord humbled her and soon afterward she prayed to accept Christ while listening to "Radio Amistad." The changes in Estella's life were dramatic. She had been married four years and had been unable to bear children, but shortly after she became a believer, the Lord opened her womb. She now has two children and she and her husband, who trusted Christ a year after she did, worship the Lord together in a local church.

Limited Coverage

        KHCB-AM is a blessing for those who live within the coverage area, but those Hispanics who live outside this area are only able to enjoy the one and one-half hours of programming which is still on late at night on 105.7 FM. The Trustees of KHCB have attempted several different avenues to try to increase the outreach of the AM station.

        Shortly after KHCB bought AM 1400, the FCC passed a regulation saying that the AM band would be expanded in an effort to reduce interference. Various stations would be selected to move to the new part of the band and would be given the opportunity to increase their power to 10,000 watts. KHCB immediately applied to move to the new position on the AM dial. The staff and Trustees prayed fervently that the Lord would grant the station grace and good favor in the eyes of the FCC commissioners reviewing the applications.

        The days and months passed and finally one year later KHCB received word that the station did not qualify to be considered for the new position on the AM dial. This came as a great shock and disappointment. Apparently, the Lord had some other means of expansion in mind. The Trustees went back to the drawing board and continued praying about what the Lord would have them do to expand AM 1400.

        Several other opportunities have since been explored but the Lord has closed the door to each one. The Board continues to pray and look to the Lord for direction for both stations patiently waiting on His time for expansion, if this is His will. In the meantime, Radio Amistad continues to work hard sowing the good seed of the Gospel knowing that God is sovereign and He is in control of all circumstances.

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Table of Contents

Foreword & Preface
1. From Houston to the World
2. A Seed is Planted
3. Getting Started
4. The Lord's Ways
5. God Reveals His Best
6. The Lord Provides Personnel
7. Remodeling
8. Financial Struggles
9 Ministering Servants
10. KHCB Goes to the Rodeo
11. Programming
12. Expanding
13. New Studio Building
14. The Tall Tower
15. Volunteers
16. Changed Lives
17. Trustees
18. AM Station Acquired
19. Hispanics Launch Friendship Radio
20. Chinese Language Programming
21. The Gospel in Vietnamese
22. Translator Takes KHCB-FM to Bryan
23. Reaching for the Stars
24. To the Ends of the Earth
25. And the Work Goes On