Inter-America’s ASi Convention Challenges Delegates to Strive for Wellness and Greater Service

Leaders of the ASi chapter in Panama, welcome  organizers and delegates to the 16th Annual ASi Convention held in Panama City, Panama, Aug. 16-19 2017. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

August 21, 2017 | Panama City, Panama | Libna Stevens/IAD

Hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist business owners, lawyers and health professionals from across Inter-America were challenged to move forward in faith to expand the mission of the church in their businesses and communities, as the 16th Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries annual convention drew to a close in Panama City, Panama, on Aug. 19, 2017.

Dr. C. Wesley Knight (right)of Oakwood University challenges ASi delegates during the conclusion of the convention. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

“You must have spiritual confidence in who God is, confidence in who you are in God, confidence in His power and confidence in the gifts He has given you,” said Dr. C. Wesley Knight, assistant professor of preaching and religion at Oakwood University, during the final charge of the event.

Knight encouraged the more than 435 delegates and church leaders to run in faith just like David did as he faced Goliath. “You must run with the gospel of Jesus as you face the giants every day and continue to share hope wherever you are,” he said.

Sharing hope calls for an understanding that “we serve a God who requires faith,” explained Knight. “Our vision should be bigger than our finances, our projects should be larger than we think because our faith is not in bank accounts but is in God. It is faith that must take us forward.”

That faith to take the gospel forward in the marketplace, or businesses, is at the core of ASi’s reason for its existence–its mission.

ASi business connections

It’s as simple as putting God first in your life, letting Him lead you into finding ways to help further the cause of gospel, said Diamond Andrews an ASi-er from Tobago.

Diamond Andrews (left) of Tobago reports on the projects and initiatives of the 47-member ASi chapter in Tobago. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

As a business owner of a clothing store and the only fully vegan restaurant in Tobago, Andrews has been an active ASi member for over 18 years and currently leads the local ASi 47-member chapter in Scarborough. He is friends with many business owners across the island and leans on their support to help the community and work of the church. Andrews calls on ASi chapter members to find ways to step out and be active in helping the community around them.

“If you’re not selfish then you can come join our [ASi] chapter,” Andrews tells those who are contemplating joining. “We need your talents and your money to accomplish our mission.” Through business connections, monthly ASi meetings and activities and many projects have benefited hundreds of people in need throughout the year, making the chapter one of the most active and successful across the Inter-American Division (IAD), organizers said.

The most recent community impact included the construction of six new classrooms for the Scarborough Adventist Primary School, thanks to donations from business owners across the city, and united efforts from ASi chapter members.

Marvalee Franklyn reports on the ASi Mission 2000 & Beyond evangelism impact in West Panama this month. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

Part of the offering collected during this year’s ASi convention will go toward clearing construction debt in the Adventist school, a new media studio that will serve as a TV and radio station, and training youth from the church and community on media and technology.

ASi investing in young people

Marvalee Franklyn, an attorney-at-law from Barbados, is the moving spirit behind a group of more than 100 young people from all across the English Caribbean who every year go on a mission to provide evangelism impact in countries across the IAD. This year she brought 120 young people from the group “ASI Mission 2000 & Beyond” to Panama.

Twelve teams of young people led 12 evangelistic campaigns in West Panama during the last three weeks leading up to the convention. In addition, they visited public schools, feeding hot breakfast and speaking to children about health through puppetry, cleaned and painted homes and held dozens of health expos. Nineteen persons were baptized as a result of those evangelistic campaigns.

Franklyn works full time at her civil law office and appearing at court. The rest of the time is dedicated to preparing young people to learn their self-worth in Jesus and to impact their communities with the hope of the gospel.

ASi Mission 2000 & Beyond distribute breakfasts to children in public schools in West Panama. Image courtesy of Marvalee Franklyn

“We have a responsibility to lay plans to benefit those around us dying and going to eternity without a knowledge of God,” said Franklyn. “As business owners, lawyers and health professionals, we must use our talents and gifts to help others find their talents and disciple them to fulfill the mission.”

ASi Mission 2000 & Beyond will be another recipient of the offering collected during the annual convention.

ASi health professional in mission

Dr. Kamal Thorne, a cardio vascular surgeon in the Province of Colon, was delighted to be part of this year’s ASi convention in his country. He is glad that being part of the newly organized chapter in Colon will bring about more opportunities to impact surrounding communities.

“ASi will drive us to connect with other medical professionals and business owners to assist the Adventist Church with activities and initiatives designed to spread the gospel further,” said Dr. Thorne, who was appointed in July to lead the chapter, which has seven members so far.

The first project at hand from his chapter will see the distribution of 1,000 special solar-powered radio transmitters for families in the Miguel de la Borda district in the coastal region who are without electricity, thanks in part to the offering collected at the convention.

“The message has not penetrated in this region of about 20,000 people and we want to plant the seed with these radio transmitters tuned into the church’s radio station,” Thorne said.

ASi by grace

ASi is all about filling a void with an initiative or activity that will benefit and teach others about the love of God. It was the mission of taking care of the most needy among family members that drove Wally and Christine Amundson, retired church workers from the IAD office, to place their resources and work with church organizations across the territory.

More than 435 delegates attended this year’s convention. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

“We always wanted to continue to make a difference, even after retiring,” said Wally Amundson, who served most of his 38 years as Adventist Development and Relief Agency director in the IAD. Their “By Grace Charity” organization provides livelihood and purpose to destitute Adventist families through small enterprises, like providing a number of chickens per family or fishes for sale so they can start a business and in turn help other families in their communities better the livelihood of their families and on.

The convention, themed “Committed to Wellness and Service”, gave them an opportunity to share the mission of the project in order to inspire others to start their own such projects where they live.

ASi Inter-America strengthening

ASi Inter-America is stronger now with 16 years being organized thanks to dedicated professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders said Rolando Garcia, president of ASi Inter-America.

“Our organization is a more influential, capable entity, moving toward becoming the right arm of the Adventist Church’s work of evangelization in Inter-America,” said Garcia. “As professionals we need to invest our skills, time and resources in the task of evangelizing without delay.”

A group of lay professionals worked with church leaders in three of Panama’s conferences and missions three weeks prior to the convention, to hold 20 evangelistic campaigns. These evangelism efforts resulted in 107 baptisms.

Pastor Leon B. Wellington, is honored for his leadership in establishing ASi Inter-America and serving as secretary of the board for 16 years. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

Plans for next year are to strengthen current chapters and establish more regionally.

The convention included a panel discussion on how to strengthen ASi chapters, seminars on mental health, witnessing and nurturing, technology, entrepreneurship, conflict resolution, and more. ASi chapters also reported their achievements and projects during the past year and shared current initiatives.

ASi organizers honored Pastor Leon B. Wellington for his leadership in establishing ASi Inter-American and the 16 years he served on the board as secretary.

Next year’s ASi Inter-America Annual Convention is scheduled to take place in Guadeloupe in the French Antilles, in August 2018. For more information, visit

ASi is an organization of the Seventh-day Adventist laypeople involved in professions, industry, education and/or services and exists to challenge, nurture and provide experience in sharing Christ in the marketplace as well as supporting the church’s worldwide mission. The annual convention offers delegates seminars, presentations, forums, Q&A sessions, networking opportunities and a chance to present projects as well.

To view photos of this year’s ASi Inter-America Convention, click HERE


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Categories From the Headquarter, RSS English | Tags: | Posted on August 21, 2017