Mexico Welcomes More Than 23,000 New Church Members in Record-Setting Evangelistic Event

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MEXICO | VICTOR MARTÍNEZ AND INTER-AMERICAN DIVISION NEWS STAFF

Seventh-day Adventists in Mexico are celebrating the more than 23,000 people who joined the church after a coordinated evangelistic event across the nation that was held from June 12th-19th, 2021. The special week of “reaping” crowned months of evangelistic initiatives across the five unions, or major church regions, in Mexico.The guest speaker for the closing week of evangelism was Pastor Alejandro Bullón, who delivered a spiritual message online every evening from Brazil. Under the theme “Hope Beyond Uncertainty,” Bullón’s messages reached an average of 280,000 people each evening, on top of the more than 300,000 on the opening night, thanks to the region’s distribution platform systems through the support of the Seventh-day Adventist Television Network Hope Channel Inter-America.
Seventh-day Adventist Evangelist Alejandro Bullón shares a spiritual message as the keynote speaker for the national evangelistic campaign held on Hope Channel Inter-America and its various platforms, during the closing evening program on June 19, 2021. An average of 280,000 persons tuned into evening programs every evening. [Photo: IAD Screenshot]

Church members and guests accessed the one-hour program each evening, which also included moments of prayer for the needs of the community, praise and worship.

The comprehensive effort was coordinated from the city of Mérida, in Yucatán, where leaders of the Southeast Mexican Union led the rest of the church regions in Mexico in facilitating the landmark initiative. Personal Ministries Director for the church in Inter-America, Pastor Melchor Ferreyra, was part of the coordinating efforts among Mexico’s top church leadership. The historic collaboration was part of strengthening and resetting the direction of mission in Mexico, said Ferreyra.

Church leaders in Mexico are pleased with the coordinated efforts

Pastor Ignacio Navarro, the spokesperson for the church in Mexico and President of the Chiapas Mexican Union, said the comprehensive evangelistic endeavors among the five major church regions took them to another level of outreach.

“We have seen that this evangelism effort among the union has blessed the church so much,” Navarro said. “It moved the leadership of each region to invest more to impact the country with the gospel together.” The months of evangelistic initiatives and community projects previous to the series with Pastor Bullón, allowed them to be enriched as a church for further reaching the masses, he said. “This is just the beginning of even greater outreach in the months and years to come,” added Navarro.

For the church in Chiapas, the combined work of pastors, small group leaders, and laypersons this year drew in more new members into the church than ever before, surpassing last year’s and even the pre-pandemic 2019 year. The union led in the most connections every day compared to the rest of the country, he added.

As a field secretary for the Inter-American Division, Pastor Navarro also oversees evangelism strategies for the five church regions in Mexico and they have already met this week to plan for the months ahead. “We have set our evangelism objectives and missionary strategies that will lead to a massive national evangelistic campaign on June 23rd-30th, 2022,” Navarro said.

Hosts Edith Ruiz and Jaime Velázquez of the Southeast Mexican Union, in Merida, Yucatan get ready to kick off the first night of evangelistic meetings on June 12, 2021. The transmission was available on Hope Channel Inter-America on satellite, its various distribution platforms, and social media outlets. The evening series was viewed by more than 280,000 persons every night across Mexico. [Photo: Víctor Martínez]

CAREFUL PREPARATIONS

During the months preceding the special closing week, several programs helped people get closer to God and know His plan for their lives. Initiatives included “I Want to Live Healthy,” an eight week program that led hundreds of people to acquire healthy living habits to enjoy a more productive and happy life. Concurrently, a health marathon connected hundreds more on the first Sunday every month, attracting other interests through online outlets and platforms, leaders said.

An online platform, Esperanzamexico.com, sought to provide answers to people going through suffering, pain, and sorrow, partly caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of people registered their willingness to participate in the week of meetings on hope. The church in Mexico now has a data bank with names of people interested in learning more about hope.

Local church pastors worked for months to strengthen the work of small groups; they invited small group leaders to reach out to their families and neighbors across towns and cities. Pastors also helped train missionary couples who studied the Bible for weeks . Also, a joint team from the five church regions across Mexico coordinated an effort to promote the series online and helped local churches find tools to promote the event.

DURING THE EVANGELISTIC SERIES

The recent evangelism series was broadcast on Hope Channel Inter-America in Spanish, using every analog and digital system available, including satellite, television, websites, Roku, mobile apps, and social networks.

In the city of Comitán, Chiapas, a local Pathfinder Club set up the overhead projector on the outside wall of the Hospital Materno Infantil (Children’s Hospital) every evening for people in the community to watch. They shared hot drinks, bread, and tamales every night to some 40 viewers. Pathfinders set up areas before and after the transmission for anyone in need of prayer. Dozens got acquainted with God’s message through that initiative. As a result of their efforts, 30 persons signed up to receive bible studies. Often, transmission access points included up to 50 people in churches, garages, and on exterior walls of houses and business offices, leaders reported.

During the week of meetings, a call center helped to field hundreds of calls each night for people searching for spiritual support and prayer requests.

Local TV networks in Puebla, Veracruz Hidalgo, Tlaxcala and Tabasco agreed to broadcast the series. In addition, several local radio stations also shared Bullón’s nightly messages, which helped increase their reach in areas with limited Internet.

“We aren’t able to really assess how many viewers were impacted through the television broadcast in so many cities of the region,” said Pastor Moises Reyna, President of the church in Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union. The impact of the evangelistic series will surely bring more interested persons to study the bible. Hundreds of pastors overseeing more than 9,400 small groups across the territory doubled their efforts to grow the church since the beginning of the year, said Reyna.

Pastor Reyna said that he was at the morning worship service to preach at the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Veracruz on June 19. “There were several families that came to church that morning because they had heard Pastor Bullón’s messages and had found the nearest Adventist Church to visit,” added Reyna. More people are calling small group leaders [saying] that they wish to be baptized, he added.

ABOUT THE SERIES

The “Hope Beyond Uncertainty” series sought to heal the wounds of human hearts, in providing emotional, spiritual, and mental health restoration, organizers said.

Bullón spoke on the healing power of forgiveness, the need to find freedom from sin, and the hope of surrendering to God even in the midst of life’s hardships.

More than 5,000 people were baptized during the week of meetings, which added to the more than 17,000 people baptized across Mexico in the previous weeks.

According to church statistics, the region leading in baptism was the Chiapas Mexican Union Mission, which added 1,167 baptisms during the week and 5,655 in the weeks before the event for a total of 6,822 new members. The Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union was a close second, totaling 6,767 baptisms. The Southeast Mexican Union reached 4,452 baptisms, the North Mexican Union 3,819 baptisms, and the Central Mexican Union totaled 1,618 baptisms.

Church leaders expect thousands more will be baptized in the next few weeks across the country.

STORIES OF HOPE

Carmen Roxol San Juan, a 113-year-old man, for many years resisted accepting a faith different from his own but recently accepted the invitation to study the Bible. As the evangelistic event approached, Carmen received an invitation which included other church members meeting at his place to watch the series. On Tuesday of that week, Carmen said he felt it was the right time for him to surrender to God. A day later, he was baptized.

Williams Torres de Dios, a Chinese-Mexican importer of home goods, also felt drawn to God during the special week of meetings. In his youth, he distanced himself from the values his parents had instilled in him and managed to make good money, which he spent on worldly pleasures. His short temper, however, often got him into trouble, he said.

One day Williams asked God to free him. Then he connected to the series, where he listened to Bullón emphasize, “You can have everything, but you will never be satisfied because the emptiness you feel can only be filled by God’s love.” That very same night, Williams called a pastor, making a decision to return to God and be baptized.

Andrik García De la Cruz from North Veracruz received an invitation through text from a friend with the link to the evangelistic series. Every night at 8 pm he watched the transmission and by mid-week decided to register for more information. The next day García De la Cruz was contacted by a local pastor and later that day was visited by two pastors from the Inter-Oceanic Union where he received bible studies. “I was convinced that God was calling me and I wanted to give my life to Jesus,” he said. García was baptized on June 19, alongside his Uncle Antonio Cruz Rivera on the beach in Tuxpan, Veracruz.

Keila Urbano, Cristel Romero and Uriel Castellano contributed to this report.