November 18, 2019 | San Salvador, El Salvador | Fabricio Rivera/IAD News Staff
During a day in which many families mourn the death of their loved ones by visiting their graves on the Day of the Dead in El Salvador, on Nov. 2, thousands of Seventh-day Adventists skipped church to visit cemeteries, city streets and communities to offer hope. That hope was in the form of a free magazine distributed to more than 400,000 persons with messages on Bible truths, health, strengthening marriages, reaching children and youth, community service and much more.
“This was a historic day for the church in El Salvador,” said Pastor Abel Pacheco, president for the church in El Salvador. “Our country suffers many social problems and we as a church wanted to give a little bit of hope in the midst of chaos.”
It was the first time so many church members invested in buying and distributing the special edition of the Priorities missionary magazine. Priorities is a missionary magazine published monthly by Inter-American Division Publishing Association (IADPA) which presents a wide variety of articles on family, current events, education, the Bible and more from a Seventh-day Adventist point of view. The magazine is distributed throughout Inter-America.
Churches across El Salvador closed their worship services earlier and took to their cities and communities to pray with people and distribute the magazines. Live streaming of the activity and interviews with leaders, members, prayer and music were carried through Facebook Live from 7 a.m. to 12 noon throughout the day.
It was not so much that nearly half a million people were reached, said Pacheco, but the fact that so many church members got involved in the evangelistic impact by buying so many issues of the special edition for that day. Usually Priorities magazine has a monthly distribution of 18,500 issues in the country but thanks three to a months-long promotional campaign on radio and in social media, historic distribution numbers were reached, church leaders said.
The idea for a special edition of Priorities magazine arose out of a conversation by laypersons and pastors who were looking to have a greater evangelistic impact in their congregations and in the nation, said Pacheco. “We addressed the idea of featuring the history of the church in El Salvador, messages of interest to those living here and what we are all about as a church and some of our active initiatives and community projects and interventions,” added Pacheco.
IADPA leaders worked with church leaders in El Salvador for the special edition of Priorities as a first version of its kind for a particular country in Inter-America. The magazine also included information of the Adventist education system in El Salvador, the work of ADRA in the country, projects and initiatives from the women’s, children’s, family, and youth ministries, as well as community outreach through the Miramonte Adventist shelter for families. Messages on the eight natural remedies, the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath, the Second Coming, the resurrection were also featured.
The magazine distribution impact was a prelude to a series of 154 evangelistic campaigns that were scheduled to run from Nov. 3-9, 2019, across churches and congregations, church leaders said.
Esperanza Cortez, a 90 year-old woman who resides in the Santa Teresa community in San Salvador, found a copy of the special edition magazine on the ground while she was walking on the street on Nov. 3. “I picked up the magazine and took it home and was intrigued by the Bible messages and the 10 commandments,” said Cortez as she told her friend Hilda Ramirez de Ascencio, a member of the church. Ramirez and other church members invited her to attend church and she wants to learn more about the Bible and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“It is out duty to present Jesus to those who do not know Him and invite them to come near one of the more than 1,000 congregations that are waiting to welcome them with outstretched arms,” said Pacheco.
In addition to the evangelistic efforts to impact the community, more than 2,000 food baskets were delivered to low-income families throughout the country.
Church leaders reported that 1,036 new members were added to the church as a result of the evangelistic efforts earlier this month. Leaders are planning additional efforts before the year is over to reach the hearts of many more Salvadorians.
It was not so much that nearly 500,000 were distributed, but the dedication and commitment of the visible total member involvement of spreading the good news of the gospel, and connecting more in their communities, said Pacheco.
There are more than 195,000 Seventh-day Adventists worshiping in 1,005 churches and congregations in El Salvador. The church operates 25 primary and secondary schools, two radio stations and a shelter facility.
To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in El Salvador, Click HERE