Venezuela was one of the Latin American countries where radio broadcasts of the Spanish Lutheran Hour began in 1940, 11 years before the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod actually sent missionaries to Venezuela. The first CPTLN speaker was Dr. Andrés A. Meléndez, who also was the chief editor of the Spanish version of the Book of Concord that we use in our churches today. Over the years, CPTLN's radio spots, short and to the point, became a fixture of Venezuelan radio. CTPLN's work helped establish a Lutheran presence in Venezuela. For example, the first Lutheran Church of Venezuela congregation in Barinas, Corpus Christi, was founded after the man who became its first pastor heard a CPTLN broadcast.
When I arrived in Venezuela in 2003, CPTLN had for years operated out of a grand old mansion on a tree-lined street in Caracas, which housed state-of-the-art recording and postproduction facilities, an elaborate system of responding to telephone calls with live operators and recorded messages, and a printing operation that produced hundreds of tracts, Bible studies and other educational materials. CTPLN Venezuela took a big hit in 2007 when Lutheran Hour Ministries made drastic cuts in its worldwide budget. The historic headquarters in Caracas was sold, along with the audiovisual equipment. The organization moved to a smaller office in the city of Valencia, and continued to produce tracts and other printed materials. Dr. Jaime Paredes, who served as CPTLN director until the early 2000s, resigned and Alexander Perez assumed the post.
Every month of the year until this year, our mission received a package of CPTLN tracts and we distributed about 50 of them per month. Irys always would call me to make sure that we had received the materials. Every year, CPTLN provided a Christmas movie for the preschool children and it was through the efforts of CPTLN that we received shipments of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation edition of the Reina-Valera Bible and Luther's Small Catechism in one volume. CPTLN will be missed here and throughout Venezuela.
|Alexander Perez with members of La Fortaleza Lutheran Church.|
|Distributing CPTLN tracts in La Caramuca.|