Pastor Josue Omaña of the North Veracruz Conference in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union delivers food and supplies to a church member in the district where he pastors. Some 13,500 of the most needy Adventist families across the territory benefited from the initiative to help through the pandemic crisis affecting many to not be able to earn wages to support their families. The food bags were donated across the territory Apr. 10-15, 2020. [Photo: Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union]

May 1, 2020 | Puebla, Mexico | Sharon Domínguez/Inter-American Division News Staff

Some 13,500 Seventh-day Adventists across the church in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican region received food and essential items for their families as the country continues its quarantine regulations. The families selected were among the most needy across eight states comprising a church membership of more 203,400.

“Many of our members with their own small businesses do not have the possibility to work and we wanted to make sure the church did something to help them,” said Pastor Moisés Reyna, president of the church in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union. “The church is like a family and it was the moment to join together to support them because we are a family as a church. It’s because of the faithful membership that the union and its 11 conferences and missions have always had resources to operate its churches, he added.

Many of the most needy depend on the daily wages they receive from selling goods in the market or on the streets, church leaders said. The food bags delivered April 10-15, included non-perishables such as rice, beans, tortilla flour, pasta, boxed milk, oil, soap, toilet paper and the like.

Alicia Zapotecas (left) and her daughter Martha of the Las Cuartillas North Puebla church district, smile after church leaders delivered goods to her home mid April. [Photo: Gregorio Vásquez]

Treasurer of the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Antonio Rosas said that each one of the 247 church districts distributed to 30 of its most needy families.

“The union headquarters and the conferences and missions provided the funds for the initiative along with the pastors and members who volunteered to assemble and deliver the goods,” said Rosas.

Miguel García, who pastors the Diaz Mirón church district in South Veracruz, helped identify and deliver food bags to 30 families. “I could see the tears in their eyes because they feel loved by the church,” said García. “I could see that many were struggling and were so thankful for the goods. Many were asking me how they could submit the little tithes and offerings they had put aside for the church.”

Fabiola Morales was one of the members in Puebla, who received the food bags of supplies in April. She was speechless when a church elder and his wife came to her house. She has attended the Las Cuartillas Adventist Church with her two sons for several years now. She’s a single mother and has been battling an illness. “Thank you so much for coming all this way to bring this,” said Morales. “Thank you to all the members who took time to support us here at home.”

Fabiola Morales of the Las Cuartillas Adventist Church in Puebla, Mexico, was among the thousands who received food and supplies during the church’s territory-wide initiative to assist needy families affected by the stay-at-home measures. [Photo: Gregorio Vásquez]

Pastor Martin Olvera, communications director for the church in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union, joined his wife Maria Guadalupe, who leads as Shepherdess coordinator for the union, to deliver food bags. “A member from the Mayorazgo Adventist Church in Puebla was so thankful for the assistance,” said Olvera. “She lost her job as a secretary and her husband, who is an engineer, is hearing impaired and unemployed. It was moving to see this faithful couple so thankful to God for the support of the church.”

“This initiative has shown the closeness that the church wants to keep with its members even when churches remained closed and small groups aren’t able to meet,” said Olvera.

The plan is to continue assisting those families again during the next two weeks, he said.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican region is planning to benefit some 5,000 needy families across the territory during this month as well, reported its regional coordinator Daniel García. “We are working on collecting funds to benefit families struggling through this crisis,” he said.

Pastor José Zeth Gamboa(left) visits a family in his district with t food bag of supplies. [Photo: Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union]

García said that church members who are able to contribute are committing funds to support the project to assist families in the community during a special distribution on May 23.

To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union and its initiatives, visit iasd-umi.org

Gregorio Vásquez contributed to this report.

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