February 28, 2021 | Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico | Uriel Castellanos and Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

The Seventh-day Adventist church in Chiapas, Mexico, recently began the first of a series of 13-hour online programs focused on health in an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle among its thousands of church members and their friends.  Coined as “I Want to Live Healthy Marathon,” the event delved into various healthy practices for all ages and was carried through the church’s official social media platforms.

“It is evident that in the times in which we are living, health has turned into a very special subject of interest with most people looking to improve their immune system to be better protected during the present pandemic,” said Faustino de los Santos, M.D., and health ministries director for the church in Chiapas. “The church with its unique health message, drives us to do more for members and the public in general with relevant health topics for today.”

The program is not only an effort led by the health ministries department but involves all the departments and ministries of the church, he said.

Yanina García [left] and Omar Rodriguez [right] host the “I Want to be Healthy Health Marathon” 13-hour online event  led by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chiapas, Mexico, on Feb. 7, 2021. The program launched in an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle among church members and the community as part of the I Will Go missionary initiative led by the Adventist world church this quinquennium. [Photo: Chiapas Mexican Union]

Creating more awareness and involvement

It’s about creating more awareness, educating others, and encouraging them to follow a healthier lifestyle to improve their lives not only physically but spiritually as well, explained Dr. de los Santos.

“We are living in the end times and we should use all our efforts and talents in service to God and humanity, showing the love to one another and leading them to Christ,” Dr. de los Santos said.

For church administrators it was important to blend the focus of the past two years in Chiapas on being ready for the Second Coming of Jesus and the need to practice the health message provided by Ellen G. White, one of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s co-founders. The endeavor falls under the “I Will Go” missionary initiative led by the Adventist world church during the next four years, church leaders said.

“Our leadership across the region worked hard during 2019, a whole year dedicated to promoting health through various initiatives including the I Want to Live Healthy’ – with the eight natural remedies—as well as  community impact activities, health expos, and health brigades throughout dozens of needy communities, yet it drew us back to more health emphasis for this year,” said Ignacio Navarro, president of the church in Chiapas, Mexico. This year will have more aggressive healthy lifestyle focus but with a strong missionary purpose, Navarro said.

Dr. Nery Martínez (left), host of the “I Want to Live Healthy: Open Clinic” addressed questions and issues together with Dr.  Andrés Ramírez, surgeon and director of the Canoas Naturopathic Clinic Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico, during the special segment on Feb. 7. [Photo: Chiapas Mexican Union]

From 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., the monthly event will offer 12 programs focused on physical, mental, social and spiritual health as a wholistic health approach, including training for health professionals, medical orientation, programs for children, financial and family advice, exercise routines, healthy recipes, and more.

Collaboration with regional media centers

The program is produced in nine different media studios across the conference/mission fields as well as the Linda Vista University under the direction of the Hope Media Chiapas center.

One of its most popular programs on the premier marathon was the “I Want to Live Healthy: Open Clinic” where viewers called during the online transmission with their medical questions and submitted questions through chat messages, said Dr. de los Santos. Another segment called “Health in Action” was focused on offering prevention, treatment and health for young people through the youth ministries leaders.

For Carlos Ruiz, associate secretary and producer of the “Exercise” segment, the health marathon has been a program to invest, learn and develop audiovisual productions in each local field and a grand opportunity to involve creative young people and communication professionals as part of blessing the community.

A cameraman of Hope Media Chiapas works during the the production of 13 programs of the health marathon, with media teams from the eight fields in the Chiapas Mexican Union and Linda Vista Adventist University.  [Photo: Chiapas Mexican Union]

Plans to expand the program

Church leaders reported that dozens of calls came in during the first transmission requesting health courses, medical guidance, and information on Adventist health publications.

The first edition of the I Want to Live Heathy Marathon drew the attention of church leaders across North, Central, Inter-Oceanic, and Southeast Mexico, said Pastor Navarro. “We are in talks right now to do a joint venture among the five unions with this health marathon beginning in May,” he said.

The church will continue to produce the 13-hour-program marathon every first Sunday of the month.

Chiapas Mexican Union is one of five major church territories in Mexico with more than 267,000 Seventh-day Adventists in 3,230 churches and congregations.

To watch next month’s ‘I Want to Live Healthy Marathon’ on Mar. 7, visit:

Facebook: iasdchiapas

Youtube: HopeMediaChiapas

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