Santiago, Chile …. [ANN Staff]
When a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist conducts an outreach event, it’s not unusual to have people respond by giving their lives to Christ. But a recent Adventist-led outreach that covered the entire nation of Chile brought in much more: blood donations totaling 2,150 liters (1,140 pints), and pledges to donate organs from nearly 6,000 people.
The national Red Cross collected both the blood and pledges, said Pastor Armando Miranda, a general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, and one of the evangelists who participated in the “Caravan of Hope” meetings. Pastor Alejandro Bullón, ministerial secretary for the church’s South American region was the other evangelist.
Bullón started from the south of Chile and headed towards its capital, Santiago, while Miranda started towards Santiago from northern Chile.
The “Caravan of Hope” visited a different city each day, holding social and evangelistic meetings in each location. The caravan ended in Chile’s National Stadium in Santiago on Nov. 26 before a crowd estimated at 40,000.
The blood donations and organ donation commitments were two goals set by Caravan of Hope organizers before the event; another was to see 1,000 people baptized as a result of the series of meetings, a number which was slightly exceeded, Miranda said.
The Adventist Church in Chile “is emphasizing different methods of evangelism,” Miranda told ANN in an interview. “They want not only to preach a message, but also to demonstrate the Gospel in a practical way.”
That practicality expressed itself in neighborhood clean-up drives, aid to poor families, and the donations to the Red Cross, he said. Miranda said the public and government leaders, including Chilean Senate President Andrés Saldivar, acknowledged such acts, which gave the church an opportunity to present its message to many.
Church members were “very involved” in the public service aspect of the “Caravan of Hope”, Miranda said: “Everybody was trying to do something–donate blood, pledge to donate organs. People accepted our church as just another Christian church that is doing good in the community.”
There are more than 114,000 Seventh-day Adventists in Chile, or one out of every 140 people in this nation of 16 million. The church’s work in Chile goes back to early pioneers in 1885. Today, there are over 500 Adventist congregations, one university, four academies, a clinic and a publishing house among the church’s operations there.
Copyright (c) 2005 by Adventist News Network.