Clarence Wesley Jones (1900-1986) lived over 100 years ago. He built a Christian short-wave radio station in Quito, Equador, South America called HCJB World Radio. With this station Clarence and those who joined to help him have been able to share the Gospel message to over 80% of the earth's land mass and in 100 languages and dialects!
Clarence was born in Duluth, Minnesota. When he was young his parents moved to Chicago where Mr. And Mrs. Jones played instruments in the Salvation Army Band. At twelve years of age Clarence joined his parents in the band. He could easily play the E-flat horn, the baritone horn, the euphonium and the trombone. He could play any band instrument except the bulky tuba!
One day a neighbor invited Clarence to hear a preacher at Moody Church and join Moody's band. Clarence enjoyed the opportunity and it was here that Clarence left his seat in the band to come to the altar and accept Jesus Christ's gift of salvation. He understood that the preacher meant him when he said all people had broken God's laws and needed to be saved from their sin. The only way to heaven was to believe Jesus died for his sin and accept him as Savior and Lord. Clarence was saved!
Clarence continued to attend Moody Church. A Japanese missionary asked, "Is there anyone here who will give his life to serve the Lord." Clarence eagerly jumped up to say, "Yes," to God. He also said, "I will go anywhere for Him!" That same week Clarence went to Moody Bible Institute and asked, "Do you have any missionary course?" "Yes!" was the answer and Clarence quickly responded, "I will take it!"
Three years later Clarence Jones graduated from Moody with honors as class president. He then traveled with an evangelist through West Virginia, leading the singing and playing the trombone. One day the mayor of Chicago telephoned the evangelist. "Chicago now has a radio station," he explained. "I have heard you have some of the best musicians in town. Would your brass quartet come and play on the radio broadcast?"
Clarence became director of radio programs for the Gospel Tabernacle. They were on the air fourteen hours every Sunday. Every morning they were on CBS radio program for one hour. Clarence was the announcer and the engineer, and he wrote the music. People began to say, "This is the greatest man in radio!"
"I will go anywhere for God," Clarence had said and really meant. One evening as he sat listening to a missionary from Tibet, God spoke to his heart using Acts 8:26 which says, "Arise and go toward the south." But the Holy Spirit added two more words to Clarence's mind, "with radio." Clarence sailed for Venezuela and traveled through the jungles and across the swamps looking for a good spot to put up a radio station. After seven weeks he asked President Gomez of Venezuela for permission to build the station. The answer was "No!" The same answer, "No!" was given in Panama, Cuba and Colombia. "We have our own religion," all the officials said.
After much prayer Clarence began to think about the little country of Equador at the north end of South America. They had a village named Quito on top of a 9,300 foot mountain which was only six miles from the equator. Others in the radio business had told Clarence to stay way from mountains and from the Equator but God led Clarence to that exact spot!
He set up a radio studio in an old sheep shed. He used a small 200-watt transmitter and called the radio station HCJB meaning Heralding Christ Jesus' Blessings. This station would tell all who could hear it what Jesus has done for them.
There were only 13 radios in all of Equador at that time. The most important city officials listened to that first radio broadcast and they loved it. God was at work! Clarence met two Christian businessmen who agreed to sell inexpensive radios throughout Equador. People gladly bought the radios, but these were only the wealthy people who could afford them. They listened to the Spanish music, the dramas, the English lessons, the advice programs and the Gospel; teaching. Many received Jesus as their Savior and Lord while listening to HCJB radio. But, Clarence wanted to also reach the poor who could not afford a radio set. He asked God for help and the Lord gave him an idea.
Clarence placed fifty simple radio receivers throughout Equador in the homes of anyone who would promise to share the programs of HCJB with friends. A factory worker accepted a radio and invited all the village children to hear "Sunday School of the Air" on HCJB. Pedro, the tailor, invited 65 neighbors to his small home. People waned to hear so badly they stood outside or hung their head in the open windows. More and more people were being reached with the Gospel message and they were becoming new believers in Jesus Christ. God was using Clarence Jones to reach many people with the truth about Jesus Christ dying on the cross for their sins.
Clarence was happy that now there were 13,000 radios in Equador. Later, Japanese salesmen flooded all of South America with low cost transistor radios. By that time HCJB owned a new 1,000 watt radio signal transmitter which could reach 80-90 million people who spoke Spanish in South and Central America.
By late 1939 Clarence had brought back to Quito, Equador a brand new 10,000 watt radio transmitter and later replaced it with a 50,000 watt transmitter. This transmitter could send out radio programs which could be received by radio sets around the world. Letters arrived from India, Japan, Sweden, Russia and other countries saying, "Thank you for the 'Good News of Jesus'!"
Clarence was seeing God do a mighty work and Satan wanted to stop it. One day Clarence was riding horseback along a narrow trail above a 1,000 foot drop into a canyon below. He had started out with supplies for his home by the radio station at 4:00am with several guides. The guides rode ahead on the slippery muddy path and Clarence was following behind on his horse. The guides did not see Clarence's horse slip and fall over the edge, neither did they hear Clarence's yell for help as they fell together down the steep slope into the canyon. With God's help both Clarence and his horse were stopped by a sturdy tree on a rock ledge. But Clarence's leg was caught under the horse. He called loudly for help but the guides were too far away to hear him. Clarence wondered, "Could going anywhere for God mean dying for Him?" Clarence thought this was the end. The guides finally noticed Clarence was not following behind them and they came back looking for Clarence. They heard his call for help and took ropes and climbed down to rescue the horse and Clarence. The guides pulled both the horse and Clarence back up to the trail safely. Thankfully, his leg was not hurt much while it was trapped under the horse for a long time. God had preserved Clarence to continue the radio ministry of HCJB!
Satan tried another tactic to get Clarence's work for Jesus to fail. Clarence needed money to run the radio station and there came a time when he had very little money. People had stopped sending offerings to help pay the costs to run the radio station and provide for Clarence and his family. Clarence had no money for food or to pay the electric bill to run the radio station. He wondered, "Would HCJB stop sending out the Gospel message to those who needed to hear?" Clarence spent the whole day in prayer calling on God's help. Soon a friend came with a loan of money. Then, Clarence obtained a loan from a bank for the big transmitter that was broadcasting the Gospel. When Christians in North America heard of the need, many gave a little money. All of those little amounts of money added up to enough to keep the Gospel message on the air. Even an Eskimo child sent a bag of pennies to help! God's work would continue!
Today, HCJB World Radio reaches more than eighty countries and broadcasts the Gospel message in more than 100 languages. Clarence Jones answered God's call to go and serve. He called on God for direction and help with problems. God showed Clarence great things. God still asks this question, "Who will go for us? Who will tell others the good news that Jesus died for their sins to give them eternal life?" Will you say 'YES!' like Clarence did? Will you say, "I will go anywhere for Him?"
Pray for the work of HCJB World Radio and pray that the people listening to those radio messages will come to see their own need for salvation and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Author: HCJB missionary, circa 2/11/2004
For more information see Wikipedia: HCJB