LifeNets makes grant for Sierra Project in Colombia, South America as part of Livelihood Development Program

Helps create jobs in an economy with unemployment rate of 35%

Updated March 9, 2011

by Peter Eddington

We have an exciting update regarding the blog filed on November 19, 2010, about Beyond Today being produced in Spanish. In a small family production studio in Santa Rosa del Sur, Colombia, members are producing Spanish voiceovers for our Beyond Today TV program. The family production studio is called

It is a small enterprise created by the Sierra Brothers in association with CABLESAN TV which produces commercials and documentaries for radio and television. It focuses mainly on suburban or small-town population groups—and is now volunteering time to do Spanish voiceovers for Beyond Today television programming.

“Sierra Productions.”

It has been a blessing for people in Latin America to have access to the program in Spanish. And now,  thanks to this group of people in Colombia, a number of Beyond Today TV programs can be seen and heard by anyone that speaks Spanish.

Back in June 2002, the non-profit organization LifeNets helped them set up this production studio, and through the many hours that these people have volunteered we can now reach a bigger audience than ever before—without a language barrier. However, with the editing system now almost ten years old, it was in great need of upgrading and replacement.

So, here is the latest update on this story: The United Church of God home office purchased new computer editing equipment for the project in December 2010 and shipped it to the studio in Colombia. But, to cap things off, LifeNets reimbursed United for the whole cost of purchase and shipping!

Much thanks goes to Victor Kubik and LifeNets for their generosity and willingness to help a small family business in need in a developing country—and all for a business such as this that is doing it’s part to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom in the Latin American world.

Thank you to all who helped with this equipment upgrade.

Peter Eddington—Producer, Beyond Today

November 19, 2010 -- the blog entry --

Update From the Spanish Media Department

We have been very busy the last couple of months in the Spanish media department and we have some very exciting news to share. As of yesterday, four of the Beyond Today programs have been fully translated into Spanish and they are now available online for anyone to watch.

In a small family production studio, our brethren in Santa Rosa del Sur, Colombia, started doing Spanish voiceovers for the TV programs after being greatly impressed with the content and production quality. They felt it would be a blessing for other members in their area to have access to it, so they asked for the assistance of a member in the United States to translate the program. And now, two months later, thanks to this group of members in Colombia, the program can now be seen and heard by anyone that speaks Spanish.

Thanks to LifeNets, an organization that helped them set up this production studio 10 years ago, and the many hours that these members have volunteered, we can now reach more people than ever before, without a language barrier.

This program will complement the Las Buenas Noticias magazine as well as the local member bulletin called El Comunicado, along with many booklets and a newly launched Internet advertising campaign. This ad campaign has already received over 4,000 Las Buenas Noticias magazine subscribers after only 10 days on the Internet.

Thank you for your continued prayers as we move forward in preaching the good news of the coming Kingdom of God to the world.

Spanish Media Department

June 25, 2002

LifeNets, as part of its mission to help people help themselves, gives support to the Sierra Project in which a group of people provided funding for more than 50% of the project.  LifeNets will help fund this project that will provide four direct and six indirect jobs in an economy with an unemployment rate of 35%. What made this proposal attractive to LifeNets was that those involved in the Sierra Project had already raised 50% of the funding needed and requested the remainder as a loan.

LifeNets decided to make an outright grant  $1000 to the project and made an additional loan for $1232 to be repaid  in six months.  This is extremely great value in helping create the extra jobs.  Leon Walker and Victor Kubik each made a $100 contribution for the grant.

The Sierra Project is spearheaded by two brothers who have considerable experience as broadcast announcers.  They have formed Sierra Productions and the entire proposal is explained below written by Claudio José Sierra.

Reports will be made regularly to our LifeNets supporters about how this Sierra Project is proceeding. The dollar exchange rate for Colombian pesos to the U.S. dollar is 2150 to one, so don't be shocked by the astronomical peso amounts!


PROPOSAL Approved by LifeNets


Presently, Colombia has an unemployment rate of 35% which has greatly affected the population in the cities of Codazzi and Valledupar forcing us to move to other areas such as Santa Rosa del Sur.


What is SIERRA PRODUCTIONS? It is a small enterprise created by the Sierra Brothers in association with CABLESAN TV which produces commercials and documentaries for radio and television. It focuses mainly on suburban or small-town population groups. This proposal would give employment to 10 people.


Santa Rosa del Sur is a town in the state of Bolívar with about 35,000 people. It serves mainly as a communications hub for the region, this being the main way in which it influences the inhabitants of the area. SIERRA PRODUCTIONS, working successfully as administrator of the local radio station for a year without any competition, now looks to employ directly four people and an additional six indirectly. One of the most important sales opportunities is the recording of events such as weddings, birthday celebrations, parties and family get-togethers. Such events have garnered income of 7,000,000 pesos. Up to the present I have been working with Santa Rosa Stereo Radio which reaches some 50,000 households in the states of Norte de Santander, Santander del Sur, Bolívar, Cesar and half of Magdalena. Here SIERRA PRODUCTIONS can tap an untouched market as far as the production of commercials is concerned. Even now the station has very little in-house production equipment and is basically lacking the techniques that modern advances offer. Through proper contacts with the station directors, one could forge an excellent working relationship since they would benefit from the modernization of their radio commercial production facilities. This would help us in three ways:


1.      In production of  commercials, which costs between 20,000 and 50,000 pesos each, depending on length. If currently running ads are updated, we are talking about 2,000,000 pesos income for ad production, and this in one month.

2.      Establish standardized advertising rates, present them in a personalized portfolio to the station, and then settle on the cost of airing the ads. In effect, we would function as the middleman bound to the standard advertising rate, netting a profit of 20% on each transaction. Presently the station receives monthly per client per ad account an average of 100,000 pesos. If current clients only are considered, we are talking about the broadcast of 20 commercials daily. Based on this and doing the simple math, we arrive at 400,000 pesos a month.

3.      The direct broadcasting of special events such as soccer games, exhibitions and community activities needing a sponsor can be negotiated with the station according to amount of airtime needed. Using this method an average monthly income of 800,000 pesos can be projected. Weekly soccer games each Sunday earn an average of 200,000 pesos per broadcast. This money comes from the commercial sponsors, and they are charged from 10,000 to 20,000 pesos per game, depending on how many times they wish their commercials to be run during the course of the game. This pertains only to scheduled broadcast programs and does not take into account other unscheduled events.


Television programming has been a partnership with CABLESAN TV which owns the equipment and of which we have served as the administrators. Even with the partnership dissolved, a lot could still be done in this field. A community access channel broadcasting local events alternately with the radio station could be very productive earning income from the following:


1.      Commercials aired daily during general interest programs. Based on standard advertising rates of 50,000 pesos per month per ad, estimated total monthly income should be on the order of 500,000 pesos. This would be in a sense free advertising, since once people see the quality of the programming, many should be motivated to contract our services for their own special occasions. These will not be high-cost commercials because they will use the same format as the radio ads, simply adding the televised images.

2.      The filming of special events will be the most labor intensive since birthday parties, weddings, exhibitions and entertainment groups require work contracts. The present cost of 100,000 pesos for two hours of filming represents monthly earnings of up to 2,000,000 pesos.

3.      Making copies of special videos for those who did not contract with us beforehand can be profitable generating earnings of up to 500,000 pesos a month, depending on the time of year. For example, soccer teams will want a video of the game, and two or three others could request copies at a selling price of  40,000 pesos each. In another instance, a video could be made of a municipal beauty pageant and copies sold to each contestant.

4.      Special documentaries can be produced focusing on city hall events and the community hospital and can be televised on the station staffed by SIERRA PRODUCTIONS and sponsored by local groups or organizations. This past year four such documentaries were produced, and their airing earned 5,000,000 pesos. This came about by means of package deals which included both production and transmission costs.

5.      Package contracts offering both film footage and still photos can produce earnings of 100,000 pesos per event.


Required maintenance personnel and equipment costs could be broken down as follows:


1.      An announcer/writer is paid at a rate of 10,000 pesos per commercial. This leaves SIERRA PRODUCTIONS earnings of 10,000 pesos per commercial.

2.      An announcer covering an event for radio—a soccer game, for example—receives 50% of the earnings, leaving net income of 30%, since 20% goes to the radio station for air time.

3.      A video cam operator covering an event can save an estimated 10,000 pesos of the editing costs of 50,000 pesos an hour, thus leaving production costs of 40,000 pesos per hour of filming.

4.      A contracted secretary/receptionist/accountant at base salary plus office space rental comes to 100,000 pesos monthly.

5.      A data entry clerk/editor and TV broadcast technician can both be hired at minimum wage.

6.      Blank video and audio cassette costs per month, depending on discounts, is estimated at 300,000 pesos.

7.      A market researcher in charge of coming up with standardized industry rates would be paid on commission at 10%, leaving another 10% as earnings per standard created.

8.      SKY service for daily programming maintenance; the daily downtime would be filled with on-hand programs or commercials.


As visualized this work project would directly create four positions and six indirectly, all of which would be filled by Church members. Such a payroll as described above plus electricity costs, computer technicians and other services could total 10,000,000 pesos, leaving a net income of some 2,000,000 pesos monthly. This is not a lot, but taking into account the 10 jobs created, it is quite a positive outcome.


A negative factor in this positive start has been the rupture of relations between SIERRA PRODUCTIONS and CABLESAN TV because of policy differences relating to the Sabbath and the Holy Days on which we do not work. Even so, we still have an open playing field before us if we wish to launch ourselves into the commercial advertising industry.


Presently we have only a personal computer, of no value as an editing tool but which can handle the office business of the secretary. We have yet to purchase office equipment, the cost of which is estimated below:


A CPU with the following capacity:

·        One hard disk drive of 40 gigabytes

·        A memory of 260 megabytes of RAM

·        Two audio cards (input and output)

·        One TV video card (All In Wonder)

·        One CD burner

Cost of the above equipment                                                     2,000,000 pesos

Radio and TV software                                                                300,000 pesos

One digital camera                                                                       160,000 pesos


One UPS                                                                                    200,000 pesos

One scanner                                                                                200,000 pesos

New software updating capacity                                                  500,000 pesos

Two M9000 Panasonic video cameras                                      4,000,000 pesos

One long range photographic camera                                        1,000,000 pesos

Blank audio and video cassette tapes                                           140,000 pesos

One sound console                                                                      500,000 pesos

One SKY for retransmission                                                        200,000 pesos

One VHS video outfit                                                                  200,000 pesos

One 20-inch TV monitor                                                              400,000 pesos

Total Investment                                                                    9,800,000 pesos


Presently SIERRA PRODUCTIONS has 5,000,000 pesos on hand. For this project all required funding must be available up front since this is the minimum equipment necessary for startup.


According to projections if we can get the remaining part of the funding, we can recover our total investment within one year and half of it within six months.


Our designation as a legal entity is now pending before the Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Rosa Association of Broadcasters.