George and Barbara Zarris Prayer Letter: Gentle GiantWhat do a puppet and a radio have in common? Seemingly nothing, but in the mind of Paul Collins, the two were inexplicably linked. The year was 1959. Five-year-old Paul, along with eight million other American children, was captivated by a round-cheeked, freckled-faced marionette puppet named Howdy Doody, who starred in his own television show. The same year, Paul received a puppet as a birthday present, and a lifelong pas¬sion was born. Paul’s imagination went wild. He created funny puppet skits for his family, friends, and church in which he used a variety of voices to represent unusual characters with strange-sounding names like Blaine Dingoffer and Elmer Hesselsnort. Paul’s mother encouraged his every endeavor saying, “Paul, this is so good! You could use the puppet ministry your whole life! You could be on radio!” Radio? How prophetic! Paul had an insatiable love for the radio. Where his interest began, no one knows. It was just there—deep inside—a God-given seed waiting to grow.

Darkness entered Paul’s life at age 15. A vindictive girl bullied him, shamed him, and convinced the church teens to ostracize him. Gentle Paul was devastated. After weeks of rejection, Paul found acceptance in a group of teens using drugs. Thus began a 30-year battle with addiction.

Through his teens and twenties, Paul’s life was a roller coast¬er of successes and failures, but he never lost his passion for puppets or radio. At 22, he recorded radio skits and produced his own sound effects. While living in Louisville, Kentucky, Paul created a Saturday children’s program entitled Salvation’s Road Crew Puppets. At times, Paul worked as the church jani¬tor, taught Junior Church, built a kids’ time machine, and wove Bible truths into his puppet skits. Most people had no clue that Paul had a hidden drug problem that haunted him. On occa¬sion, he would empty the family bank account, buy cocaine, and disappear for several days. Decades passed, but the drugs did not. The cumulative effect from years of addiction weighed heavily on Paul. Finally, Paul’s son, a Hyles-Anderson College student, convinced his father to move to Hammond, Indiana, for six months to get help in the Reformers Unanimous recovery program. Paul agreed, and his life changed!

“The people down here love me, and they accept me,” Paul told his wife Ja¬cinta. “I have momentum here!” Paul completed the RU program and proved his dependability by eventually overseeing the maintenance of 26 church buildings; however, his greatest delight was creating and producing the award-winning, two-hour children’s program, The Power Club Radio Show, featuring Paul’s beloved puppet, Cletus Anderson. That popular pro¬gram is being aired around the world on numerous Christian radio stations.

For 13½ years Paul remained drug-free. He served his Lord and the people of First Baptist Church with faithfulness and humility, while showing sincere kind¬ness to all. Once, after a funeral, Paul mentioned to his wife Jacinta, “I want to have a funeral like First Baptist has—a fu¬neral that will make you happy and make the kids proud.”

On March 21, 2021, Paul Collins, the gentle giant, got his wish. Multiplied hundreds honored the life and legacy of, not a perfect man, but a forgiven servant who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, passionately used puppets and the radio for God.


Testimony from Missionary Chris Karamitros
(Pictured below with his wife Sherilyn)

I was saved at the age of 30 when I heard the Gospel for the first time on a Christian radio station in Fort Worth, Texas. After salvation and training at a Bible College, the call to minister in Communist China led me to teach English at Northeastern University in Shenyang, China. While visiting an “official” church, I met a man whose testimony astounded me. He was saved as a teen by listening to Far East Broadcasting Corporation (FEBC) radio programs beamed into mainland China from South Korea. The family radio (provided by Chairman Mao to spread Communist propaganda to “unenlightened” Chinese) brought the Gospel of Jesus to his home. What Mao Zedong meant for evil, God used for good!” (Editor’s note: Mao gave radios to thousands of families in China and required that they listen to his daily diatribe. Miraculously, an estimated 35 million Chinese were saved listening to the radios that Mao Zedong had given themf.)

MEXICO, Chiapas

Seventh Station Birthed

Missionary Tom Sloan has announced the opening of a seventh station in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Vision Radio 98.3 F.M., Ocosingo, began broadcasting on May 15, 2021. Pastor Jose Tapia (above left) and Brother Luis Armando (above right) will co-direct the new station. Two more stations are in the works in the towns of Margaritas and Najas.


Radio Outreach
Testimony from Open Doors

We have continued our critical radio outreach despite the pandemic and border closings. As sermons, Christian stories, testimonies, and praise songs are broadcast, underground believers often hide in secret places and listen to the Christian radio programs. Some¬times they share what they have heard with family or trust¬ed friends.


Desperate for Bibles
Testimony from Iran Alive Ministries

I am so blessed by the Bible Reading Campaign. I longed to own my own Bible, but in Iran, Bibles are hard to get. Now I receive your emails and read a chapter every day as you have suggested, but I also have started writing down every chapter by hand. My goal is that by the end of the year, I will have the whole New Testament written. Then I will have my own Bible!

George Zarris
Christian Radio International