Peru’s cultural and political climate have been very favorable to church planting in the last decade. Veteran missionaries Stan and Ruth Templeton knew this opportunity could be time-sensitive. After the Templetons moved to Peru’s capital of Lima in 2009, God fixed their minds on a goal: seek maximum spread of the gospel while hearts are open. The vehicle for that acceleration was radio.
Four years earlier, the Lord prompted Stan and Ruth and their Peruvian coworkers Edward and Margarita Zacarías to lay the foundation by searching out radio frequency licenses and properties. The license for the Lima station arrived December 18, 2009, and the next day Radio Integridad, “The Voice that Glorifies God,” began broadcasting on AM 700. The station sits between two very popular Lima stations, giving it excellent exposure. Listeners immediately contacted the station, overjoyed that God’s Word was being proclaimed in their city.
Radio Integridad broadcasts the gospel through messages, songs, and testimonies, and in its announcements and news. The Lord provided a small office in an excellent location. This office has become a distributorship for Editorial Bautista Independiente, BMM’s Spanish publications ministry. Listeners often stop in to buy Christian books, give an offering, or seek counsel. Many in the Lima area are religious but not born again or they’re not attending churches with solid doctrine. The Lord is using the station to fill a hunger for biblical teaching. So many listeners were interested in further teaching that the Templetons and Zacaríases planted two churches: one where the radio tower is located and another in a large urban area of Lima. As of spring 2020, both churches are under Peruvian leadership and one is self-supporting.
As the team built up and expanded the station, its potential audience grew to nine million in Lima. But that was just the beginning. The station changed its name to Red Radio Integridad (RRI—Integrity Radio Network) and expanded across Peru. Radio Chaski, an FM and short-wave station begun by BMM missionaries, had fallen onto hard times. In 2015, RRI began overseeing this station, which fills a critical need among the area’s 500,000 Quechua speakers.
During the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine in Peru, RRI was a blessing to those having no internet to watch online church services. Many house-bound listeners tuned into RRI for the first time and learned of Christ’s hope in a time of fear and suffering. Because Edward Zacarías (at right) lives next to the radio studio, he maintained broadcasts seamlessly, including a weekly one-hour live program where he and Stan (through a remote connection) answered listeners’ questions.
Although reduced giving because of the virus crisis may delay their plans, the RRI team envisions blanketing Peru with gospel radio as an instrument for evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and church growth. In 2017, they bought three additional radio station properties. Now that the Lima churches are graduated, the Templetons are devoting themselves to building more stations. Two stations are on the air in Moyobamba and Chachapoyas, and they are working on another in Moquegua. They have purchased another license in Yurimaguas, a jungle city in north-central Peru. They are also applying for a license for an area that would broadcast into Columbia and Brazil. As they walk by faith, Stan and Ruth say, “Our goal is to cover the country with the gospel and help independent Baptist churches in each area. Where none exist, it means starting new ones. Our opportunities are exciting!”
The rural town of Benalla was a small start for Baptist Mid-Missions’ work in Australia … but God did big things.