Libna Stevens/IAD/ANN staff
Nearly 100,000 local evangelistic series across the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Inter-American Division last month marked the latest step in the implementation of the denomination’s Revival and Reformation initiative in the region.
The two-week effort was part of a plan involving thousands of church leaders and lay members working in small groups to promote the testifying and sharing of their faith.
Previous division-wide events in the program have focused on prayer and Bible study.
The series are part of a one-year plan leading up to the recruitment of 1 million people trained for discipleship.
Although the number of new members from recent outreach efforts are not all accounted for, organizers said the goal is not numbers but getting new members involved in the church and small groups. They are encouraged to invite friends and neighbors and become active disciples in fulfilling the mission of the church, organizers said.
The denomination held the local events in churches, auditoriums and community centers, said Melchor Ferreyra, Personal Ministries director for the division.
Ferreyra spoke to hundreds of people gathered at the Puebla Central Adventist Church in Mexico, where some 150 community members met each night to learn more about the Adventist Church.
Ferreyra said that small group leaders in the area were so motivated for evangelism that 22 were chosen to each establish a new church. Lay preachers and Bible instructors were also teamed up with each new leader, Ferreyra said.
During the day, Pastor Ferreyra met with small group leaders at churches to encourage and motivate for further involvement in the two districts. That pastoral district has only 2,000 Seventh-day Adventists in a population of about 3 million.
The Inter-American Division includes Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and the five northernmost countries of South America.
In Guatemala, more than 1,400 events were held with nearly 21,000 people attending. Church leaders reported that some 1,100 new members joined the church during the-two week meetings were held throughout the Central American country.
In El Salvador, more than 800 evangelistic meetings were held, said Hector Sanchez, Ministerial Association secretary for the division.
Sanchez held the week's series in the Cojutepeque Central Adventist Church, a small city close to San Salvador, the capital city. He spoke to dozens of church members and some 80 visitors each night.
On the island of Barbados, Belkis Archbold, Health Ministries director for the church in Inter-America, spoke at the Black Rock Adventist Church where more than 150 people attended a meetings. The series, held February 11-18, focused on health topics and offered health screenings.
"It was the kind of community outreach that drew members and visitors alike to listen to the health message so helpful for our daily living," Archbold said.
In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, at the Quisqueya Adventist Church, Leon Wellington, vice president of the church in Inter-America, spoke to more than 40 visitors every night about Jesus being the solution to all problems.
The comprehensive initiative follows the appeal of Adventist world church President Ted N. C. Wilson to facilitate spiritual revival and reformation.
Ferreyra said the coordinated efforts have already made a difference.
"This year is like no other," he said. "Because under the context of revival and reformation we have dedicated time for prayer, focus on the Bible and now with testifying. There cannot be effective preaching without revival and the step-by-step process is seeing results."
The next step in the initiative is a division-wide satellite program on March 31 based in Guatemala City. Church leaders are asking each member to bring one visitor to the program at local downlink centers.
For more information on Inter-America's Spiritual Revival and Reformation initiative and live programs, visit www.interamerica.org.