Inter-America’s 2nd Health Summit opens with sparks and a special folkloric presentation welcoming the nearly 200 church administrators and health leaders in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Jan. 22, 2020. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

January 23, 2020 | Punta Cana, Dominican Republic | Libna Stevens/IAD

Inter-America opened its territory-wide Health Summit last night reminding top regional administrators and health leaders to begin the new decade with a healthy heart dedicated to strengthening the church’s health message across churches and communities.  Nearly 200 administrators and leaders from dozens of IAD countries and islands met in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Jan. 22, 2020, in what promises to be a full week of lectures, workshops, and opportunities for networking among the core group.

Themed “Your Brain, Your Body, Your Heart,” the four-day event will reinforce the need for the physical, mental and spiritual health necessary for a successful health ministry throughout the IAD.

Belkis Archbold, health ministries director for the church in Inter-America, welcomes the delegation to the four-day event. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

It’s about getting all members involved to promote a healthy lifestyle and share Jesus using the method He establish while on earth, Archbold said.

“As leaders we are committed to educating, serving and evangelizing,” said Belkis Archbold, health ministries director for the church in Inter-America and main organizer of the event. In essence, the health message has all of these three components, a message from God that we as Seventh-day Adventists received more than 150 years ago to not only have quality of life but long life, she said.

Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America, said the health summit was part of the start of the year in Inter-America holding the banner of health high throughout the 24 major church regions in the IAD.

Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America, says the health ministries department is an important element top leaders are looking at as they finish mapping out strategies and initiatives to be followed this year. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

“We are here because as church leaders we are finishing mapping out where we want to go as God’s church,” said Pastor Henry. “We are not going to forget our priorities of Evangelizing, Educating and Serving as we incorporate those components with an open mind regarding integrated health.”

Dr. Peter Landless, health ministries director for the Adventist world church, spoke to the leadership on the importance of taking care of the heart and historical milestones in cardiologic developments.  Some 17.5 Million people die from cardiovascular diseases each year. Experts estimate that by the year 2030, some 23.6 million people will die annually from cardiovascular disease.

“Jesus spent more time healing than preaching,” said Landless. “We don’t have a record that he baptized anyone. We know he healed many, so he left us an example we should follow.”

Seventh-day Adventists were given a formula, said Landless, as he pointed to the banners on the eight health practices banner displayed behind him. “There’s a knowledge/behavior disconnect.”

Dr. Peter Landless, health ministries director for the Adventist world church, stresses the need for leaders to keep a healthy heart. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

“Are you at risk?” How is your heart health?” asked Landless.  “You may think that is very good because you say ‘I exercise, I watch my diet carefully, I sleep well, I don’t smoke or take alcohol’.”

Dr. Landless touched on the benefits of keeping the heart safe while practicing forgiveness, practicing optimism, knowing that you are loved, enjoying supportive relationships, having a purpose in life, and practicing the attitude of gratitude.

“As leaders of the church, we have to lead from the front, share the ‘light’ we have been shown,” said Landless. “The best way I can be like Jesus is to minister to the needs of others, just as Jesus himself did when He was here,” he said. “He mingled with people, healed them, and then He saved them.”

Delegates from the North Colombia Union attend the opening of the health summit. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

The health summit will feature topics on rest and its benefits, curing high blood pressure in four weeks, diabetes and its risks, depression, mental health and the minister, the Adventist philosophy of diet, nutrition, cancer prevention, and more.

To view the online program on Inter-America’s Health Summit opening ceremony, Click HERE

To visit our photo gallery of the online event, Click HERE

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