June 16, 2021 | Vistahermosa, Meta, Colombia | Laura Acosta, South Colombia Union and Inter-American Division News

A couple in south Colombia recently were baptized after surviving COVID-19 and joining a cycling club with other church members. Roger Herrera and Erika Gordillo, from Vistahermosa, Meta, said that as they fought the virus, they feared they would succumb to the disease before accepting Jesus. “Our greatest fear was to die before surrendering our hearts to God through baptism,” they said.

As they were sick, they kept praying, asking the Lord to help them recover. “We promised God that we would give our lives to Him as soon as we recovered,” they shared.

Part of the cycling club in Meta Colombia, who witnessed the baptism of  Roger Herrera (4th from left) and wife Erika (3rd from left) at the Río Caño Acacia in the Vistahermosa municipal district in Meta, Colombia, on May 21, 2021. The couple joined the Adventist church after being part of the “I Want to Live Healthy” initiative  and during an evangelistic  campaign led by the Vistahermosa Central Adventist Church. [Photo: Courtesy of Fabian Naicipa].

The Herreras shared that they were already acquainted with the Adventist message. “I used to be a Seventh-day Adventist,” Roger said, “but due to economic hardship, I moved to another city where they asked me to work Saturdays. I eventually moved away from God.”

When the Herreras returned to Vistahermosa, however, they were drawn to the “I Want to Live Healthy” church initiative, that included a bicycle club. In Colombia, cycling clubs are well known, particularly among church members who advocate for healthy lifestyle habits. The “I Want to Live Healthy” initiative, which is popular throughout Inter-America, has been well accepted among church members and others interested in good nutrition and other natural remedies for a healthier life.

After a painful process of recovery, they felt the need of setting things right with God and try to live a healthier life. “It was difficult because breathing normally was hard,” Roger shared. “It was a long road.”

Roger Herrera (2nd from left) and Erika (right) pose for a photo with their daughter after Pastor Fabian Naicita baptized them  at the Río Caño Acacia in the Vistahermosa municipal district in Meta, Colombia, May 21, 2021. [Photo: Courtesy of Fabian Naicipa]

But throughout the ordeal, Roger said he felt a need to change his life habits and developing a closer relationship with God once more.

As soon as they felt stronger physically, they accepted an invitation to go cycling.

“We began to go cycling with the ‘I Want to Live Healthy’ club,” Roger said. “As we cycled by beautiful landscapes and rivers, I was told I could be baptized right there. And when I got COVID-19, I asked myself why I had not made a decision. I asked God to give me the opportunity of surrendering my life, because I felt the need to make amends with God and get closer to Him.”

Group of QVS cyclists including Roger and Erika Herrera belong to meet at the Vistahermosa Adventist Church on May 28, 2021, before they they take off on their weekly route. The group meets every week for spiritual and physical activities. [Photo: Oscar Nazario Lombana].

The Herreras finally got baptized on May 22 in Vistahermosa.

Roger credits the role of the bicycle club in helping him and his wife to come closer to God. “Those who wish to belong to the club will find spiritual and physical strength,” he said. “Club members provide spiritual support amid difficult times. We are glad we find ways of having fun and sharing as we enjoy nature. Having good company and spiritual support is wonderful,” Roger added.

The Llanos Orientales Cycling Club of includes 110 active members in the area. Its members form a group of people that love the Lord and sports, and who want to keep being witnesses of God’s love, organizers reported. They are working to offer a health expo and with other cyclists to join them and learn about healthy living.

Leaders also explained that health programs and initiatives in the region are positive developments amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, which in Colombia has so far infected close to 3.8 million people and resulted in almost 97,000 deaths, with no vacancies at many ICU services across the nation.

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