October 27, 2019 | Medellin, Colombia | Libna Stevens/IAD
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division (IAD) celebrated its fall evangelism efforts with a special live program held at the Colombia Adventist University’s church in Medellin, Colombia, Oct. 26, 2019. Hundreds of church leaders and members witnessed special reports, baptisms and testimonies led by dozens of women, children and adolescents who doubled their efforts in sharing the gospel in their communities across Inter-America this year.
“These women represent a group of warriors who have walked through some tough roads, have knocked on doors, prayed, cried and seen great fruits turn out,” said Dinorah Rivera, women’s ministries and children and adolescent director for the church in Inter-America. A select group of women evangelists from Mexico, Central America, Venezuela and other parts of Colombia traveled last week to Medellin to conduct evangelistic campaigns as a final boost to lead others to Christ in many communities before the close of the year.
“I know that you persevered and came to Medellin with a mission in mind—to demonstrate Christ in the life you live,” said Rivera.
Evangelism efforts by women
Yesenia Chicas of El Salvador was among the dozen of women who held evangelistic campaigns in a poor community called Betel. When she climbed more than 200 hundred steps to get to the small church she noticed that there were many children in the community and decided to hold a special campaign for children and one for the adults. “I taught about ‘Valores de Acero’ [values of iron] to about 35-40 children every night and spoke on God’s promises that bring life to a group parents and adults and gained such a blessing,” said Chicas. Chicas was the champion women’s ministries evangelist from the El Salvador Union leading 48 persons to baptism this year. She has held six evangelistic campaigns back home in San Salvador and said that she had never experienced such dependence on God to touch the lives of so many during this first trip to Colombia.
“The Holy Spirit has moved me like never before through this experience,” said Chicas. As a result of her visitations and evangelistic efforts, six children and three adults from the Betel community were baptized this weekend. “I am returning home with greater determination to work harder to share the gospel,” Chicas said.
Chicas is among active 2,007 women in El Salvador who have brought in 1,720 new members into the church so far this year, said Betty Pacheco, women’s ministries director for the church in El Salvador. “Our active women usually reach 800 or so baptisms every year but thanks to the emphasis push carried out by the Inter-American Division this year, our numbers have tripled and we want to continue reaching more for the kingdom because it’s made a huge difference.”
The IAD church, through its “Women in Mission, Chosen and Loved” initiative has made a greater effort this year to empower, nurture, reclaim and reach women and children, said Rivera. In addition, the church continued its evangelistic efforts with the “Talking Backpack” initiative to help children and adolescents with Bible principles and values to reach others in a meaningful way.
Local evangelism impact
Church leaders in North Colombia thanked the guests evangelists and leaders for assisting in evangelism campaigns that have contributed to reaching more new believers this year. So far, 13,895 new members have joined the church since January and leaders estimate that the numbers will surpass more than 14,000 at the end of the year, thanks to evangelism strategies that have been in place since 2016.
In addition, the leadership of the North Colombia Union inaugurated the first church-run AM radio station on the air during the online program. Esperanza Colombia Radio 1470 AM will reach the 5 million people living in Medellin, as well as the 17 districts surrounding the city.
Guest and local women evangelists were honored and recognized during the live program with medals and awards for their dedication and commitment to the mission of the church in 2019.
The church celebrated the baptisms of 17 children, adolescents and adults during the online program in the morning and 16 more during the afternoon program. Also, reports were shared from across Inter-America on the evangelism impact women and children have made this year.
Child evangelism efforts
Janier D. Rodríguez, an 11-year-old preacher from the South Colombia Union, was awarded a special medal for his evangelism efforts this year and throughout the week of campaign meetings in El Milagro Adventist Church in Itagüí, North Colombia. Rodriguez reported that six new believers will be getting baptized next week after attending the evangelism campaign he led last week.
Peter E. Díaz, age 12, from El Salvador was also awarded a medal for this commitment to preaching during a week of evangelistic campaigns in Belén Zafra. “I want to thank all the brothers and sisters of the church in Belén Zafra for welcoming us and organizing the evening meetings every day and their support in the visitations we did every day in their decision to accept Jesus Christ,” said Díaz. Díaz reported that 68 were baptized and several more will join the church next week. “I know God will continue to help us take more souls to the feet of Jesus.”
Mobilizing the church membership to reach more believers is a priority said Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the IAD president for evangelism. So far during the fall evangelism efforts across Inter-America this quarter, more than 40,000 people have been baptized. As the weeks and months leading up what Inter-America has coined in 2020 as a year of discipleship and soul-winning, Braham challenged the gathering to continue with the responsibility to preach the message of the gospel.
“Our efforts are all about total member involvement, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an integrated leadership and membership passionate about sharing the gospel for the kingdom,” said Braham. Braham challenged women and children to each set the goal of reaching one person for Jesus by next year’s territory-wide baptismal celebration in April.
Getting children involved
Linda Koh, children’s ministries director for the Adventist world church reported on the fruits of children’s evangelism efforts around the world church and motivated church leaders to let children in their church be more active in evangelism outreach, raising funds for mission, in praise and worship, and more.
Raquel Arrais, women’s ministries associate director for the Adventist world church encouraged women to continue growing and flourishing spiritually, physically and emotionally as they ministered to those around them.
IAD Executive Secretary Pastor Leonard Johnson closed the morning online program with a call on church leaders and members to continue to instill the value of respect, love and compassion in children just like the servant girl for Naaman demonstrated in the story in 2 Kings chapter 5.
“It does not matter how small you are, how young you are, when you surrender to God, He can use you in great ways,” said Johnson. “I challenge you to be great in service, serving one another, not trying to be number one, but be like Jesus Christ, great in compassion and love and great in faith.”
“What a golden opportunity to spread the Word of God and we thank you women and child preachers for preaching the Word of God,” concluded Johnson.
Watch Inter-America’s Fall Evangelism Celebration program held Oct. 26, 2019, as follows:
English, Click HERE
Spanish, Click HERE
French, Click HERE
See a photo gallery of the online event HERE