Esperanza TV Launches Hispanic Outreach
BY STEPHEN CHAVEZ, managing editor, Adventist Review
ore than 300 Hispanic church members filled a production studio at the Adventist Media Center on March 24 to be part of the official kick-off of Esperanza TV (ETV). The one-day event, coordinated by the North American Division, highlighted the official beginning of a dedicated satellite channel, broadcasting 24/7 from North America to Spanish-speaking people throughout the Western Hemisphere.
“This is a historic day,” said Ernest Castillo, a general vice president of the North American Division (NAD), as he welcomed members of the NAD Hispanic Evangelism Advisory to an informal worship service prior to the public afternoon event.
Alejandro Bullón, Ministerial director for the South American Division, was on hand to present the devotional messages to the Hispanic leaders that morning, as well as to the general audience that afternoon. To the leaders, Bullón used Christ’s parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13 to encourage those gathered. “Don’t be afraid to dream,” he said. He added that every dream has its price, but in God’s kingdom everything born small eventually yields large results.
Citing the effectiveness of media ministries such as radio, television, and publishing, he reminded his listeners, “Radio and television don’t win souls, people win souls.” And he urged them to continue to support public and personal evangelism.
The Public Event
|NOW IT'S OFFICIAL: Brad Thorp, Ernest Castillo, and Halvard Thomsen (from left) cut the ribbon to the master control room at the Adventist Media. [Stephen Chavez]
Sabbath afternoon Castillo welcomed Hispanic Adventists to the satellite broadcast with the words, “This afternoon is the realization of a dream.” Tracing the church’s media ministries that are focused on ministry to Hispanics, he said Esperanza TV is part of the foundation laid by the Spanish radio broadcast, La Voz de la Esperanza
, and the publishing ministry of El Centinela.
“This is our channel for the glory of God,” he said, as he spoke about the influence this ministry will have on Hispanics in North America, Inter-America, and the islands of the Caribbean.
Brad Thorp, president of Hope Channel, said Esperanza TV joins an outreach ministry that will soon broadcast in Chinese, Portuguese, and Romanian. “The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a clear goal: to communicate the gospel in every way possible,” he said.
In addition to selections from Hispanic musicians, those gathered heard messages from Juan Prestol, treasurer of the NAD, and José Rojas, director of the NAD’s Adventist Volunteer Ministries Network. Bullón offered a devotional message based on John 14:1-3, before cameras filmed Thorp, Castillo, and Halvard Thomsen, assistant to NAD president Don Schneider, cutting the ribbon to the master control room where the Esperanza TV programming will be monitored.
Sandra Juarez, marketing coordinator for Esperanza TV and co-host of the day’s broadcast, urged the audience to support the ministry of ETV, not only with financial contributions that will be used to help develop programming but by submitting programs from their local ministries. She reminded audience members that conferences and unions are encouraged to feature local speakers and ministries that will help inspire viewers in other parts of the world.
The final hour of the two-hour production consisted of Castillo and other members of the Hispanic Evangelism Advisory sharing the advisory group’s five initiatives for nurturing and evangelizing Hispanics. The five initiatives are:
- Training in administration and leadership;
- Developing a human resources directory;
- Training in lay evangelism;
- Developing small-group ministries;
- Working on behalf of third and fourth generation Hispanic Adventist youth.
Coincidentally, as Hispanics in North America were gathering to celebrate the official launch of Esperanza TV, their counterparts in the Inter-American Division were celebrating the baptism of the division’s three-millionth member in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, an event carried live on Hope Channel.
Adventist Hispanics, now with a membership of 150,000 in North America, can expect to see their numbers grow with the addition of Esperanza TV’s evangelistic outreach.