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More than 6,000 Seventh-day Adventists gathered at Plaza Caracas on August 10 to celebrate after a week-long series of community outreach activities throughout the city. [photos courtesy East Venezuela Union Mission/IAD]
August 20, 2013 | Caracas, Venezuela | Yarlis Gonzalez/IAD Staff/ANN
Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders in Caracas, Venezuela, say a week-long series of service activities had the largest community impact in the history of the Adventist Church here.
More than 3,000 church members took to the streets of the capital city to share a message of hope, to bring a smile, and to address basic needs in their communities.
“We are so overwhelmed with the huge committed response from our members during this past week,” said Josney Rodriguez, president of the Adventist Church’s East Venezuela Union Mission. “To see their unwavering dedication in living the gospel was one of the happiest moments of my life and ministry.”
Church leaders and members from the 88 Adventist churches in Caracas worked together to clean up streets, offer free haircuts, feed the homeless, visit more than 1,000 people in hospitals and offer Vacation Bible School to more than 3,000 children. More than 100 liters of blood were donated, nearly 300 trees were planted, thousands of free medical check-ups were offered, dental care was administered, dozens of health prevention and family presentations were held, and dozens of parks were beautified.
The August 4 to 10 program was titled, “Close to You, Caracas.” Participants wore T-shirts bearing the phrase, “Smile, God believes in you.”
Part of the week’s activities included trying to capture 1 million smiles in photographs through a social media campaign to help maintain the church’s contact with its surrounding communities. More than 32,000 people connected through social media, organizers said.
More than 400,000 pamphlets on health and family and the Seventh-day Adventist Church were distributed at traffic lights and government offices, including the national palace.
The initiative was reported by national and local news agencies through radio, on television and in newspapers.
The week’s events culminated on Saturday afternoon, August 10, when more than 6,000 church members gathered at Plaza Caracas to praise and worship in celebration of a productive impact in Caracas and throughout the rest of the eastern part of the country.
Rodriguez said the initiative was the “most important, most expensive and largest impact in the history of the Adventist Church in our country.”
Outreach efforts will continue in the coming months in the capital city as urban evangelism continues to take center stage. Caracas has approximately 17,000 Adventists and some 5.2 million inhabitants.
“We are thankful for God’s presence during this massive impact,” Rodriguez said. “Our mission was to show that God’s hands are opened to every community, that He is interested in building stronger families, in restoring health, and interested in the welfare of every one of His children.”