January 5, 2021 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News
He was a loyal friend with a kind heart, an extraordinary mentor and a remarkable visionary. Those were some of the words that described Pastor Ervin González, publishing ministries director for the church in Inter-America, during a special online celebration of his life on Jan. 4, 2021. González died from the effects of the novel coronavirus at a hospital in Monterrey, Mexico, on Dec. 31, 2020.
“We are gathered here through this virtual platform to show respect, friendship and love for Ervin González, a great servant of God, and to join Lilia, your children and grandchildren, in your great sorrow,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America. “We are gathered here for all that we have lived and experienced with Ervin during his [nearly] 35 years of service to the Adventist Church and to share in the faith we share in the blessed hope and assurance that soon the Lord will come.”
“His calling, his vocation, his mission was about the work of publications and the youth,” said Pastor Henry. “He had a passion for the work of literature evangelists.” Pastor Henry said one of Gonzalez’s main concerns during the pandemic was the well-being of literature evangelists, that they be able to continue sharing books and resources and support their families through a special online platform set up to assist them.
“We remember him as a courageous warrior for Christ, and a committed and loving colleague who was so pleasant to work with,” said Pastor Henry.The online service was also about remembering him as a family man, full of love for his family, children, and grandchildren, added Pastor Henry. “We are not in your shoes, because you are suffering for his loss,” he said to the family, “But Romans 8 tells us that nothing will separate us from the love of God and our faith should continue to be projected to that future, full of hope when Jesus will come again take us home.”
A friendship of 42 years
From the moment Pastor Tomás Tórres, vice president for the church in Inter-America, met González at the Cardenas Central Adventist Church in Tabasco, Mexico, in 1978, their friendship and lives remained intertwined for 42 years. As teenagers, active in the youth leadership of the church, with little money, they came up with a plan to reach Montemorelos University, after a literature evangelist visited their church and encouraged them to get to the Adventist school in North Mexico, a far-away place from where they had grown up.
“With a dream and concern about becoming somebody in life, we got on a bus to Montemorelos,” said Tórres, “We worked 10 hours daily on campus for a year to save enough money for the next school year, and eight summers canvassing to save enough money to complete high school.” In 1985 and 1986, González and Tórres completed their theology degree from Montemorelos Univeristy and began their church service as district pastors, publishing leaders, local field presidents, presidents of GEMA publishing house, and the Inter-American Division office.
“Many things grew our experience as friends and colleagues,” said Tórres. “He was a man of courage, faith and determination.”Legacy in Mexico
González was very proactive and visionary in his leadership, said Pastor Ignacio Navarro, president of the church in North Chiapas. “I watched him invest in local church leaders, in workers, in their families, and bring about a culture of teamwork that motivated us to do different and better things [for the church],” said Navarro. “He took a conference as president in North Chiapas, struggling financially and going through an administrative crisis, and turned it around to become one of the strongest fields in all Mexico today.”
It was through González’s leadership that Linda Vista Adventist School in Chiapas was upgraded to Linda Vista University status during his tenure as president there, said Navarro. “We spent so many moments together, kept in contact regularly and traveled on several occasions together.” Navarro shared the last text he received from González when he was admitted to the hospital in Monterrey in mid-December. “I appreciate you very much. You are a great friend and I value your words and prayers… what a great Almighty God we have and I am trusting in Him,” González wrote.
“We say goodbye to a great friend, a great pastor, a servant of God…but soon he will wake up and we will be able to hug and talk to him and travel together in the presence of our God forever,” Navarro said.
Pastor Navarro, along with Pastor Jose Luis Bouchot, executive secretary for the church in Chiapas, unveiled a special image interpretation of Ervin González on the morning of the resurrection as a gift for the Gonzalez family.The legacy he left in the publishing house will forever be remembered, said Pastor David Javier, president of GEMA Publishing House. “From establishing policies to regular credit for literature evangelists, editing new books for literature evangelist, to pushing for massive distribution of missionary books, permanent communication among publishing ministries across Mexico, a national publishing council, to establishing new stores in the southern part of the country, his greatest legacy was his friendship to so many,” said Javier.
“I have cried for his absence,” Javier said of his friend of more than 20 years, “but I have the hope of meeting him soon in heaven.”
Inter-America Division’s Ministerial Association leaders, thanked the family for Pastor Ervin González service, on behalf of thousands of ministers and their spouses during the online service.
Colleagues at the IAD office took turns reading Psalm 51, González favorite passage. A musical slide presentation honored González by the Grupo Sinaí, an Adventist singing group which he founded while he was a student three decades ago.
Words from the family
“We want to thank God for giving us Ervin González,” said his daughter Lilia Idaly González, on behalf of her family. “He was an inspiration in our lives. He gave us love and always pushed us to strive in life. As a husband and father, he was exemplary…He was loving, very protective and always provided for all our needs,” she added. “You knew him as a pastor who loved to preach the Word of God, it didn’t matter the time or circumstance. He had a great vision to undertake projects and with the kind of leadership to make sure things would get done.”
Lilia Idaly thanked church leaders for their prayers and support at the time of deep sorrow in their hearts.
“We cry and suffer, but not as those who have no hope, because we will see our father soon. Brother, sister, if you have lost a loved one, get ready because Christ is coming soon,” she said.Dedicated church service
González was born in Chiapas, Mexico, and began his service as a church pastor in South Mexico. In his more than 34 years of church service, he led as conference publishing ministries director, conference president, university president and publishing house president of GEMA Editors in Mexico before becoming publishing ministries director for Inter-America in 2012.
He completed his bachelor’s degree in theology at Montemorelos University, obtained a master’s degree in theology through Andrews University in 1996 and a doctorate degree in pastoral ministry from the same institution in 2002.
Ervin González is survived by his wife Lilia, their sons Erwin and Jenner, daughter Lilia and four grandchildren.
To watch the online celebration service of the life of Pastor Ervin González,
For English, Click HERE
For Spanish, Click HERE