Pasco church takes message to radio waves

PASCO -- A Pasco church has turned to the radio waves to reach the Hispanic population.

Pastor Ovidio De La Fuente and members of Templo Betania, or Bethany Temple, discuss faith and try to answer community needs in Supernatural, a new Spanish-language program on 1560 AM.

De La Fuente said in Spanish that the program is a way to reach out to people in crisis and to talk about Jesus Christ.

He said he and other members of the 135-member congregation try to address community needs by discussing topics such as dealing with divorce, drug abuse and suicide.

The program is played live by La Estacion De La Familia, or the Family Station, on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m.

Many Hispanics believe in God and want to know more about him, said De La Fuente, who became the church's pastor in May 2009.

Format of the program varies and includes words of praise, a conversation and a message for the community, De La Fuente said.

For example, during Tuesday's program De La Fuente said they discussed when the apostle Peter saw Jesus walking on water.

The message shared in the Tuesday program was that no matter what someone's personal situation is, their needs can be answered through faith, he said.

"People don't want religion," De La Fuente said. "People want the reality of what Jesus is."

De La Fuente already considers the radio program a success. The program has sparked calls and messages through Facebook expressing gratitude, he said.

The goal isn't necessarily to see those who listen to the radio program someday walk into the sanctuary of Templo Betania. What the congregation wants to do is help the community and share what they have, he said.

De La Fuente said he's heard from Hispanics living in Prosser, Othello and Seattle who have listened to the program. And although Templo Betania is part of the Assemblies of God, he said they are reaching out to all who believe that Jesus heals and saves.

Vicki DeLeon, the church's secretary, said the first time she heard De La Fuente on the radio she cried. It's something members of the 40-year-old church have wanted to do for a long time, she said.

T Decides, a statewide bilingual newspaper, is sponsoring the radio program for the first six months. Ismael Campos, co-owner of T Decides and one of the church's board members and deacons, said, "It's good that the community is hearing (De La Fuente)."

Campos said the newspaper decided to sponsor the radio program because it is part of a personal duty to help share God's word.

De La Fuente already writes regular columns for T Decides. He said the next step would be to try to get a local TV program.