Billy Graham Center

Interviews with Americo Saavedra - Collection 427

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Americo Saavedra

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection

Brief Description.
Interview in which Saavedra, a Peruvian-born missionary working with HCJB in Ecuador, describes his childhood, family, conversion, Catholicism in Peru and Ecuador, radio station HCJB and its ministry, Quito, Ecuador, his decision to be a missionary, employment with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Peru, his education at Moody Bible Institute, Christian education in Ecuador, non-formal education, seminars for training lay pastors, intercultural communication, cooperation among missions, materialism among North American missionaries, his wife Kathy Pfeiffer Saavedra, and rearing children in a mission setting.
Vol: 3 Reels of Audio Tape

Collection 427
[April 4, 2000]
Saavedra, Americo; 1947-
Interview; 1990

Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Full name: Americo Saavedra

Birth date: 1947

Birth place: Jungle area of Peru--(Odeyana?); later moved to Pucallpa

Conversion: At age 12

Marital Status: Married Kathy Pfeiffer in 1970, whom he met as a Wycliffe short-term missionary

Children: Steve (born 1971; graduated Wheaton College 1993)
Carla (born 1974)
David (born 1980)

High school in Pucallpa, Peru--graduated 1969
Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL--began 1970 major: Christian Education
Wheaton College, Wheaton IL--M.A., 1990
major: Educational Ministries (degree completed after interview)

1967-1969 Technical work for Summer Institute of Linguistics in Lima, Peru
1975-1979 Evangelism department of radio station HCJB in Quito, Ecuador Director: 1978-1979
1979 HCJB affiliate in McAllen, Texas
1980-1984 Director of Evangelism department of HCJB
1984-1989 Developed and supervised Center for Christian Communications: seminars on Bible study, leadership, discipleship, and family

Future Plans: To continue work with Center for Christian Communications in Ecuador

Scope and Content

Americo Saavedra was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on January 10, 1990, at the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, Illinois. The time period covered by the interviews is 1947-1990. The boldfaced entries are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to a cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:40 Introduction to interview
01:00 Birth and family background, Protestant religious background, exposure to various evangelical groups in the area
06:15 Relations between Catholics and Protestants in Peru, relationship between his mother's Catholic parents and his evangelical family
10:15 Godliness of his parents, rebellious teenage years, advantages and problems of being the eldest child
15:30 Personal conversion at about 12 years of age, influence of missionaries, Peruvian youth leader
20:45 Early impressions of Wycliffe missionaries
23:00 Summer job at Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), transfer to radio work, love for his job, description of job
29:30 Reasons for move to Moody Bible Institute, met his wife in Peru before coming, reaction of friends and family to bicultural marriage, wife's assimilation into Peruvian culture
36:30 Impressions of Moody, difficulties with language, advantages of being given extra work because of language difficulties
40:15 Work with AWANA program, importance of practical application of school learning
44:45 End of tape

T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:00 Struggle with language at Moody, fear of preaching, spiritual growth through small groups and classes, realization of historical Christianity in Latin America
08:00 Extension courses at Azusa Pacific University, work with uncle for a year, desire to teach in a Christian institution, no possibilities in Peru, opportunity at HCJB in Ecuador
13:15 Initial difficulties caused by strained relations between Peru and Ecuador, later reconciliation, permanent move to Ecuador
15:00 End of tape

T2 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:30 Struggle to find what he wanted to do, HCJB: engineering department, evangelism department, application process, change from short term to full time, wife's reaction, job description, working with local churches, types of jobs and number of workers at each
12:45 Lack of good teaching in Ecuadorian churches, importance of Scripture application to present situations
19:30 Center for Christian Communications (CCC), workshops to train pastors to apply Scriptures, family structure in Latino culture, teaching servant leadership in the home, influence of his wife in his understanding of this, importance and difficulty of family relationships
27:00 Difference of approach when speaking to nonbelievers, effect of workshops on unchurched people
30:00 Problems and fears of missionary families, choices between spending time at work or with family
33:00 Expansion of workshops to Peru and other countries, teaching pastors sermon preparation and basic skills, large number of lay pastors in jungle areas, monetary difficulties
37:45 Comparison of response between Ecuador and Peru, advantages of radio, sources of money, selectivity and cooperation with national churches
42:30 Break in interview
42:45 Continuation of interview
43:00 Center for Christian Communications (CCC), training Christians in radio announcing and programming
45:45 End of tape

T2 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:10 Overlap from side 1
01:00 Respect for HCJB and CCC from government and people of Ecuador, vision for the future of CCC, history and characteristics of the program
07:45 Mistakes encountered in developing the program (not enough equipment, too many students, too high expectations), mistakes in leading seminars (focus on teaching instead of learning methods, need for picturesque teaching), Ecuadorian perspective of husbands toward their wives
17:15 Explosive church growth especially following evangelistic campaigns cause mission organizations to work together, remaining difficulties between Catholic and Protestant churches, danger of separating from society as Christians
24:00 Growth of the whole Christian community even among middle and upper classes
25:30 End of tape

T3 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:30 Continuation of interview
01:00 Need for God in Latin America (drugs, family problems), evangelical churches meeting these needs
04:30 Relations between Quechua and Mestizo in Ecuador, differences in worship styles (length of service, music)
09:45 Differences between North Americans and Latin Americans, North Americans are much more scheduled and action-oriented
15:15 Variance of nationalities in HCJB, past hatred against North American missionaries, new missionaries have better attitude toward working with nationals
20:45 New materialism of North American missionaries, usefulness of modern tools, effect of this attitude on poorer nationals
26:45 Description of wife's background, their meeting while she was on a short term mission in Peru, marriage, her part in his ministry, strains on his family caused by his trips to lead seminars, wife's flexibility and strength, general need for simple Bible teaching, missions should be more based on sharing your life than sharing the gospel
36:15 Rearing his children, differences with the way he was brought up, difficulties his children face as children of a missionary, adjusting to the United States, children's dislike for deputation and fund raising
44:15 End of tape

T3 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:15 Continuation of side 1
02:15 Rewarding qualities of education here, furlough schedule, church activity in Chicago
04:00 Cultural baggage that North American missionaries brought with them to Latin America, desire to be like North Americans at first, realization of the value of cultural variety
11:30 Values North American church could learn from Latino church (spontaneity, fellowship, respect for older members)
18:00 End of tape


The materials for this collection were received by the Center in January 1990 from Americo Saavedra.

Accession 90-5
April 25, 1995
Mark Congdon

Accession 90-5
Type of material: Audio tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 60 minutes. One side. Interview with Americo Saavedra by Paul Ericksen, January 10, 1990. Discussion of his childhood and family, personal conversion, relationship between Catholics and Protestants in Peru, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Moody Bible Institute, work at HCJB.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 70 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T1. Discussion of HCJB, its history and characteristics, Ecuadorian church situation and church growth, Center for Christian Communications (CCC), its history and characteristics, leading pastoral workshops, difficulties of a missionary family.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 62 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T2. Discussion of differences between North Americans and Latin Americans, attitudes toward North American missionaries, family strains, wife's part in his ministry, qualities of the Latin American church.

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Last Revised: 4/4/00
Expiration: indefinite