Radio Station Robbed

An armed robbery and threats against HCJB World Radio in Ecuador have continued to baffle police and raise tensions at the pioneering Christian station. Last February, two armed men entered the HCJB transmitter building in Pifo, about 15 miles east of Quito. They tied up the two operators on duty and stole about 50 circuit boards, which control transmitting operations.

HCJB engineers restored most service by midmorning the same day. However, the thieves left a note demanding $250,000 and threatened additional damage to the facilities, said HCJB president Ron Cline. They warned that they would destroy the circuit boards if HCJB contacted the police or the news media, and that HCJB personnel would be harmed should any of the thieves be arrested. After a four-week silence, the thieves made yet another threat in early April.

Ministry leaders believe common criminals motivated by money, not political terrorists, were involved in the robbery. HCJB, operated by World Radio Missionary Fellowship, received security advice and assistance from the U.S. embassy in Quito and put armed security guards at its transmitter site. HCJB engineers in Elkhart, Indiana, built replacement circuit boards, which were flown to Ecuador. Full service was restored by Easter.

Christian Population Grows

The world’s Christian population grew by some 326 million during the past decade, according to David Barrett, writing in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. The total of all Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant believers is now an estimated 1,758,777,900, or about 33 percent of the world’s 5.3 billion people. That figure includes 963 million Roman Catholics, 324 million Protestants, 180 million Orthodox, ...

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