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Border Station in Guatemala Reaching Mexicans with Christ’s Love

By Kenneth D. MacHarg
January / February 2015

A banner announcing Christian radio station Radio Impacto
hangs across a busy street in the Guatemalan border town of
La Mesilla. Photo credit: Polly MacHarg.

Radio Impacto, a small, 1,000-watt FM Christian radio station in La Mesilla, Guatemala, is also planting churches.

“Our goal is to reach Chiapas state [in southern Mexico] with the gospel,” said Christian Villatoro, pastor of the fast-growing Twelve Pearls Evangelical Church and general manager of the radio station. “It’s difficult to do ministry in Mexico and almost impossible to put a Christian radio station there. So we decided to focus our broadcasts to that audience.”

To do that, Radio Impacto incorporates Mexican music and invites pastors from Chiapas state to appear on the air regularly. In Mexico, it is illegal for a radio station to be owned by a Christian organization. Villatoro knows that the broadcasts are bearing fruit.

“Three years ago a listener traveled all the way from his small town in Mexico to visit me here in Guatemala,” Villatoro said. “He told me that he was Roman Catholic but had doubts about his faith. I invited him to my house and two hours later he accepted Jesus Christ. Today, in his town, there is an evangelical church and a growing number of Christians.”

Villatoro says that someone from Radio Impacto visits that town every eight to ten days to provide training and discipleship and help the new church grow. Radio Impacto is on the second floor of the Guatemalan church’s new building. The bare walls of the control room and studio reflect the station’s austerity, but the on-the-air enthusiasm witnesses to the fervor of staff members to reach Mexico for Christ.

Largely a self-developed ministry, the radio station reflects a church that bustles with activity. The station was started about five years ago by Ronaldo Orellana, a local businessman and a member of Villatoro’s church.

While a live program involving greetings and announcements for Mexican listeners is underway in the studio, one hundred women have gathered in the church’s old worship center for an afternoon meeting. Their efforts are almost drowned out by hundreds of teenagers in the adjoining school also operated by the congregation.

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Kenneth D. MacHarg has served as a missionary journalist with HCJB Global and the Latin America Mission. Currently, he writes for Christian publications about what the Lord is doing around the world.