Colombia — Lying on the floor, blood spilling from a leg wound suffered while working outdoors, the Colombian drug lord was without his usual contingent of bodyguards and had to turn elsewhere for solace.

Carlos Yepes scanned the darkening room to find something to take his mind of his throbbing, swelling leg and noticed a radio. Radio signals, however, don’t reach into this part of the isolated Sierra Nevada mountains this late in the day.

“So I turned it on just so that it would make noise next to me,” Carlos recalls. “And it made noise a little while, but then a station came on with the news – interesting, the news and everything. … And [a man] began to preach on the Prodigal Son. I almost looked to see if the man was standing beside my mattress speaking to me personally. He covered virtually my whole life.”

When the voice on the radio invited listeners to pray to accept Christ, Carlos joined in and felt as if an enormous weight had been lifted. It was a TWR broadcast, along with some earlier groundwork laid when he started reading the Bible simply to fight boredom, that helped turn Carlos’ life around.

Immediately, he gave up his ownership of cocaine-growing land and then burned down his cocaine-processing lab. When the small army of men who worked with and protected him returned from various destinations and heard what had happened, all 40 chose to become Christians. Carlos’ leg soon healed, and many of these men later followed him into the ministry.

Strangely, after that evening when he lay bleeding, Carlos and his companions couldn’t locate TWR on the radio dial for many weeks, even on a better receiver they purchased. Eventually, the group rediscovered the frequency and wouldn’t allow it to be changed, drawing spiritual nourishment from all the Spanish programs aired by Radio Trans Mundial, the Spanish for Trans World Radio.

“I tell you, Radio Trans Mundial is our spiritual father, our spiritual mother,” Carlos says. “We grew with Radio Trans Mundial. It’s a blessing.”

After starting a number of churches in different regions of Colombia, Carlos ended up in the capital, Bogota, where he and his wife, Janeth, work with teens in poorer neighborhoods. They grabbed the youths’ attention by organizing a weekly soccer competition that later expanded into a ministry providing spiritual and physical food along with educational help.

“They were getting involved in gangs, in drug addiction, many bad things,” Carlos says. “So that’s where the idea was born: God brought us to help these children.”