Inter-American Division President Pastor Elie Henry (right) praises the work of Pastor Antulio Espinoza (second from left) creator of the “I Want To Live Healthy” initiative which has been implemented across churches and communities throughout the territory for more than 10 years. Espinoza’s wife Marilu (left) stands next to her husband on Apr. 30, 2019, along with Pastor Arturo King, president of the church in North Mexico (center), and Dr. Ismael Castillo, president of Montemorelos University (fourth from left), who have been instrumental in promoting and training the health program. Photo by Keila Trejo/IAD

May 14, 2019 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD

Seventh-day Adventist administrators and executive committee members in Inter-America recently thanked Pastor Antulio Espinoza for creating the ‘I Want to Live Healthy’ initiative, which has been successfully implemented across the territory for over 10 years. The program centers around the Adventist Church’s health message which emphasizes the physical, mental and spiritual temperance and well-being of the person.

The “I Want To Live Healthy” initiative consists of the eight steps to living a healthy lifestyle: drinking water, keeping a positive attitude, eating salads, exercising, resting, avoiding poor foods, eating a better breakfast, less dinners and promoting happiness.

“You have left a very important legacy for the church not only in Inter-America but across continents to show that we must give importance to the art of living well,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America. “I know that we will one day see the fruits of your valuable work that has motivated thousands to promote this initiative in their communities.”

Pastor Espinoza and his wife Marilu were honored at Inter-America’s Headquarter Office in Miami, Florida, on Apr. 30.

Pastor Antulio Espinoza of North Mexico holds his award next to his wife Marilu after church administrators and executive committee members applauded his commitment to the mission with the “I Want to Live Healthy” initiative, during a special session at the Inter-American Division Headquarters. Photo by Keila Trejo/IAD

It was a small primary church school in Tecate, North Mexico, in 2009, that began to use the pilot program which taught young pupils to make healthier choices every day.

“With that start Pastor Antulio Espinoza and all his ideas moved the entire region in North Mexico, filled the Monterrey Arena with the city-wide launch of the program, saw him involved in a Guinness world record for largest salad on display at the Monterrey Plaza, and crossed seas and many remote places in the Inter-American Division,” said Belkis Archbold, health ministries director for the church in Inter-America.

“We want to thank you Pastor Espinoza because you allowed God to enlighten you in designing this program,” said Archbold.

Church leaders from the North Mexican Union were also commended for their exemplary implementation of the initiative as well as Montemorelos University leaders for their important role in training health promoters on the methodology of the program, and developing additional projects, activities and further research on the program.

Belkis Archbold, health ministries director for the church in Inter-America presents talks on the success of the health program across Inter-America and other parts of the world.  Photo by Keila Trejo/IAD

The initiative has been praised by Dr. Armando Barriguete, president of Epode International Network—a non-profit organization which supports community-based programs which raise awareness of obesity and non-communicable disesas across Latin America, said Archbold, who has met numerous times with Barriguete and government leaders in several countries in the IAD. “Dr. Barriguete is always saying that ‘the only model that you have is essential for the healthy lifestyle and you must continue to share it so others can see what you offer,” said Archbold

Thanks to the “I Want to Live Healthy” IAD-owned program, Inter-America has seen a health-awareness explosion. The initiative will continue to be an integral part of health outreach in the territory, said Archbold.

“We could see that church members were waiting for something simple and easy to follow and understand, and a program that is in harmony with the eight natural remedies which Ellen G. White speaks of in her book Ministry of Healing,” explained Archbold.

A trainer leads a crowd at the Explanada de los Heroes Plaza in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, on April 13, 2014, after the Adventist Church distributed some 20,000 salads during a health impact initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle amid the growing epidemic of obesity in the country. The event was part of a series of activities held during the eight weeks of the church’s “I Want to Live Healthy” initiative. Image by Aljafet Chable/IAD.

The program has been implemented across churches and public schools in North Mexico, as well as in Chiapas, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Antilles Guiana, Guatemala, and The Bahamas, Caymain Islands, and Turks & Caicos. It will soon be implemented in several Caribbean islands like Barbados, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said Archbold.  In addition, many Hispanic churches in the North American Division, parts of West Africa, Central Asia and Kirgystan, Kazajstan are implementing the initiative.

Archbold said that the initiative has seen thousands of trained individuals in the program and has expanded to a specialized program called “I Want to Grow Healthier”, which is geared toward youngsters. The new program is designed to be taught in schools and churches.

The plan is for all 24 unions in Inter-America to implement the initiative, said Archbold. “We want to reach all schools and churches across the IAD, through centers of influence, small groups, health expos and other programs in order to reach every corner of the IAD Division territory.”

To learn more about Inter-America’s “I Want to Live Healthy” initiative, Click HERE

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