Adventist Journal Online | Inter-American Division launches bold initiative among groups of people
The goal is to plant 1,000 new Adventist congregations by October 2023.
The Inter-American Division (IAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church moves forward with goal of planting 1,000 new churches among a variety of groups of people and large segments of the population across the territory here October 2023.
The church planting movement, which is expected to impact awareness among Muslim, Hindu, Chinese, indigenous and upper class communities, was officially launched at a special online workshop held under the name of Global DIA Mission Symposium, August 20-23, 2021.
“We must focus on the unfinished business in our territory, which requires new approaches to the intercultural mission that concerns groups of people and population segments of a million people in our cities”, Samuel Telemaque, director of Adventist mission for IAD and lead organizer. of the symposium, said. This is different from traditional evangelism, which takes time and a specialized approach to reach many migrant groups with the love of Christ within the IAD, a task that could take months and years, explained Telemaque.
Muslims, Hindus, Chinese and Indigenous people
Data shows that Muslims, Hindus and Chinese make up about three million people in DIA territory, plus 300,000 indigenous residents.
“This is a very difficult mission and an opportunity for the church,” Telemaque said. “Our youth and church leaders need a new kind of commitment based on the power of the Holy Ghost. “
The symposium attracted over 700 World Mission Pioneers, people trained and registered to witness for Christ in unpenetrated areas and unreached populations. Currently, the IAD has 1,200 registered World Mission Pioneers.
Bibi Persaud from Guyana shared her testimony during the symposium. “I grew up as a Muslim, in a Muslim family, and I practiced Ramadan, I did my fast, my prayers, I went to a mosque and I obeyed all the rules”, she declared. As a devout Muslim, she lived Christ in a near death experience when she lost her first child. Persaud said she wanted to become a Christian based on this experience and her interactions with her Adventist neighbors, who showed kindness and hospitality, visited her and prayed with her at this crucial time in her life. life. She now testifies to her Muslim friends, prays with them, and is an official world mission pioneer who looks forward to establishing a house of prayer in her community.
For Clara (unofficial name), a world mission pioneer at the South Colombian Union Conference, reaching out to Muslim women in her community has become a passion. “God put this vision in my heart to work among them,” she said. Clara regularly connects and engages with local social and humanitarian organizations that help Islamic communities. “I have learned by associating with women, they are generous, have a good heart, are noble, humble and they hear God through prayer,” said Clara. For the past five years, Clara has lived, prayed, respected, ministered and sometimes even stayed at home with them. “I tell them that I am Jesus as a model of life. I spend time with them, pray with them in their house of prayer, I call them on the phone, pray for them, for their health and stay in constant communication, ”said Clara.
Jaidath Visdash Arjun is originally from the Caribbean. He met his wife, who is a Christian, while practicing Hinduism. “I was studying to become a Hindu leader,” Vidash said. “We got married four years later, and I would drop her off at church and continue to practice my Hinduism.” He said that eventually he started to attend church and experienced Jesus in a personal way. His life has changed and he is now showing others what God has done in his life.
Bao Xiang, a young man living in a Chinese community in the Dominican Republic, said he saw his mother and father die. This had a strong impact on his life and that of his siblings. He met several people from the nearby Adventist Church who visited him and invited him to participate in Pathfinder clubs. “They came every Sabbath afternoon, helping me and my sisters grow spiritually and giving us Bible studies about Jesus,” he said. Xiang is now studying to become a software engineer at Dominican Adventist University and continues to be supported by his Adventist church.
Embrace the upper class
Reaching the top class is what Maria Hazoury has focused on for years. As a psychologist and family therapist working at Banco Central in the Dominican Republic and wife of a government official, she was far removed from Christian teachings. But after studying the Bible, she joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In her job, she gives seminars and family therapy to employees and always points to Jesus and prays with them. She also runs a small group in her home, which includes government employees and members of her affluent community. “Everyone who joined the group has been baptized and has been active in the church,” Hazoury said. As a member of the Naco Adventist Church in Santo Domingo, she continues to testify and invite others to learn more about Jesus.
Learning from those who testify and are currently working among groups of people is the key to planting 1,000 new churches, said Telemaque.
The symposium was the final phase of a continuing education initiative that began several years ago for church administrators, pastors, and active church members. DIA has already strengthened Chinese community centers in Central America and the Caribbean and established houses of prayer and house churches among other groups of people.
Strengthening the church planting movement
As the church planting movement strengthens across the territory, Global Mission Pioneers will have the opportunity to mentor those who would also like to become Global Mission Pioneers.
“No one should die before they have planted a church,” Telemaque said. “The greatest thing you can do in your life is plant a church, being part of this movement to work with God and the power of the Holy Spirit to expand the kingdom of God.”
The original version of this story was published on the Inter-American Division news site.