Clarence Jones – Starting a Work
One of the first signs that Ecuador was where God wanted Clarence was that they received permission to start a radio station there! It had to be approved by the president and then by the congress and made it through in record time. Clarence was very excited about receiving permission from the government and that God was opening doors but was discouraged by other information that he was receiving from the Us government.
He researched where he should put his radio station in Ecuador, and the state department was helping him with the decision. They told him that radio would not work well in Ecuador. They said that there were too many mountains and that the rocks’ high mineral content would make the signal intelligible. All the radio experts told Clarence that he should try to stay as far away as possible from the equator. This was going to be very difficult because the equator runs right through Ecuador. Although Clarence was discouraged by the experts’ advice, he knew that Ecuador was where God wanted him and that he would have to trust Him with the details.
The Jones raised funds to purchase a 200-watt radio and used a two-acre lot in Quito to build the first radio station in Ecuador. It took several months and two 85 foot eucalyptus poles to build. It was finally complete on Christmas Day, and Clarence, along with several other missionaries, held the first broadcast on the HCJB radio station in Quito. They played and sang several hymns, and then a missionary preached in Spanish. There we only a handful of radio receivers in the country, but Clarence immediately began receiving calls from people who listened to the program. Several people had invited their friends and neighbors to their house to listen to the program with them.
Things only continued to grow after the first program. They started programs in Quechua for Ecuadorians that did not speak Spanish, as well as programs in English and Spanish. They had Gospel preaching and singing several times a day and programs about health, hygiene, and practical agriculture. They started a news hour where someone would read some of the articles from a local newspaper. They also started a Sunday school program every Sunday morning to reach kids listening to the radio to share the Gospel with them. Many people all over Ecuador began tuning in and hearing the Gospel. Clarence had one priest tell him that he listened to the radio every day but had to keep the volume down so the other priest wouldn’t find out.
One of the challenges for Clarence was the lack of radio receivers in the country. Many people did not have access to a radio, so to help more people hear the radio, Clarence put up over fifty receivers on poles in different cities and towns throughout Ecuador. These listening posts quickly became known as la cajita magica que canta (the little magic box that sings)!
Clarence also began to think of other ways to reach Ecuador with the Gospel. He started something called the Radio Rodante (Rolling Radio). He purchased a truck and equipped it with speakers. A group of missionaries would load up in the truck and drive to a village square. They would then open the back of the truck and began playing instruments and singing. A crowd would gather, and a missionary would preach the Gospel. They would give out tracts and play some more songs and then move on to the next village to do the same.
God was growing the radio ministry and Clarence’s work in Ecuador, but it was only a glimpse of what was to come.
This post is part of a series on the life and work of Clarence Jones. If you would like to read the previous post, click here.
If you would like to purchase a book about his life, click here.