Radio Ministry Attracts Thousands
By Danny Sanchez –
The Maryvale, Ariz., Community Center in Phoenix has it really going on! “Barrio Breakthru Outreach,” one of the unique programs and approaches being used by A/Captains Daniel and Yvonne Nunez, includes a radio program playing contemporary music to which youth in the inner cities can truly relate. “It’s neat!” says Paul Rojas, one of the young men whose life was affected by some of the programs. “A lot of my peers feel they can call and hook up with it because there will be people talking about similar experiences.”
Hundreds of young men and women, face to face with a self-destructive lifestyle, see alternatives available in order to make changes, and ultimately form a personal relationship with Christ. The program provides a well-established support system that brings in the entire family and their needs.
Starting over two years ago, the radio program did not make the desired impact until the present format brought tremendous response. Growth has since far exceeded the air time, staffing and funds available, showing God’s hand is on the mission. Youth can relate because the approach moves with the times and fads. “D.J.” Nunez says that oldies of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s are also still popular with the Mexican American population in the inner cities. With a little Bible study, words can be changed to carry a message.
Nunez says, “I have seen throughout the Scriptures how Christ himself almost always used the elements of the era, of the times, not only in parables but directly in order to get the point across.” This calls for using natural elements, the material and physical. However, secular songs are carefully screened and edited for content.
Among the people affected by the program are those at local jails and Department of Correction facilities around the area. Many are now taking the time to examine their lives and the factors that contributed to their present status. Inmates are being inspired to write poetry and personal testimonies that can be read over the radio. They also write 60 to 80 letters a week containing personal feelings, reflections and expressions of desire to “get involved.” So, the “Make ye disciples of all men” directive of Jesus Christ is being carried out effectively and consistently.
The program provides help to many youth around the valley who need support, guidance and assistance, bringing them off the streets and into a setting where they can receive the embrace of love and support necessary for positive change. This makes the message of salvation, of consideration to an alternate lifestyle, more palatable than the “boxed in” hard regimen and unbearable discipline used by ministries not equipped to deal with inner city youth.
The chance for the listener to call in and make dedications, read poetry or just express feelings, thoughts and insights creates an atmosphere in which the Captain can open an avenue of communication. This also is consistent with the original method and approach of The Salvation Army. In times past, many bar songs were converted to Christian words to carry a message.
To help reinforce family ties, when listeners have the chance to dedicate a message of love, a song of caring to their loved ones, it lets the minister get involved and meet family needs as well as providing spiritual guidance. Instrumen-tation they can relate to and identify with has proven very effective, and it is hoped that this unique style of ministry can be launched nationally. Barrio Breakthru Oldies airs every Saturday night from 8 p.m.- 12 midnight on KXEG 1010 AM radio station.