Death of a Christian Radio Ministry in Mexico

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Vandals topple transmitter, threaten lawyer/pastor who directed station.
by Elisabeth Isais

MEXICO CITY, July 31 (Compass Direct News) -- Some 85,000 people listened faithfully to Radio Nueva Vision in Nogales, Sonora. At times the station reached the No. 1 spot in ratings.

The station was directed by Hector Manuel Lopez Delgado, a lawyer and pastor of Rivers of Living Water Christian Center and leader of international evangelistic ministry La Unción (The Unction). The radio ministry began in February 2002, renting 24 hours a day on XEHN (1130 am) with 1,100 watts. It was supported by offerings.

Mexico does not allow churches to own radio or television stations, although there is hope that the next government may change the law.

The strong spiritual impact of its programs, including only Christian music from 7:30 at night until 6 a.m., attracted the entire community, including the criminal element. Little anonymous notes began to appear stuck onto the pastor’s car, warning him to “watch out.” Messages such as, “Things are going to be bad for you and your family” also appeared.

Vulgar telephone threats became common.

The pastor decided to tone down some of the prayers on the radio, to have his car watched, to try to travel in the company of other pastors and generally to watch out for trouble.

The radio programs helped people to withstand gales of evil. Listeners frequently called in to ask prayer for community needs, for protection against witchcraft and other occult practices, for healing. Pastor Lopez said that they saw miracles – people healed of cancer and sight restored to the blind.

Then attacks began in earnest. Twice in 2005 someone climbed the mountain to the transmitter and destroyed all the cables connecting the antennas. Both times the station went off the air for an entire week. Trying to be charitable, Christians thought perhaps someone wanted to rob the cables for their copper.

One night the pastor was leaving the church with his three children, his wife, and other believers when a very tall and heavy man jumped him from behind, throwing him down. He intended to kill Lopez, he later confessed. The Christians began to pray and finally were able to subdue the man, who began to foam at the mouth and shake, apparently from powerful spiritual forces upon him.

Opponents put a price on the life of the pastor with the intent of destroying the radio ministry, the church and its influence. Concerned members of the church formed urgent groups of fasting and prayer.

On June 16 came the final blow. Vandals climbed the mountain to the transmitter with axes and other tools and destroyed the entire installation. Radio New Vision was off the air definitively.

When the Christians went to the authorities to denounce the attack, they were told, “The other events definitely were not to steal the copper.”

Once when pastor Lopez was on the other side of the border in Nogales, Arizona, he received an anonymous call on his cell phone saying, “We know that a group of narcos and Satanists is against you.”

Pastor Lopez said his passion for preaching the gospel comes from having persecuted the church for many years; describing himself as “perverse and terrible,” he said he came to belief in Christ 20 years ago after he was miraculously healed of cancer. In 1992, he began Rivers of Living Water on the Mexican side of the border; on the other side, he recently began its U.S. equivalent, The Unction.

For now, however, his Radio New Vision has been silenced.

Copyright 2006 Compass Direct News