June 30, 2010

Impacting Lives with Hope

By Erton Köhler Presented June 28, 2010

capThe past five years have been a time of hope and blessings for the South American Division (SAD) territory, which currently has 2,015,910 members; 21,147 churches and groups; and 3,430 pastors. In this period, the church advanced with a well-defined foundation: fellowship and mission, involving all ministries of the church in “integrated evangelism.” This resulted in strong involvement of the local church, qualitative growth, and produced relevant and, at the same time, clearly defined projects.

Impact Hope in South America
2010 1522 page12In 2008 the “Impact Hope” project took the church to the streets to deliver 20 million magazines about Jesus’ coming in a single day. In 2009 almost half a million Adventist families opened their homes and invited friends to listen with them to the Adventist message through the “Homes of Hope” project. At the end of the year, a harvest satellite evangelism series, with Mark Finley, was broadcast by radio, television, and the Internet. Fifteen thousand churches were involved, ministering to 1.4 million participants in each meeting—?340,021 of these participants were visitors and friends, and 123,696 people accepted the invitation to follow Jesus. In 2010, “Impact Hope” and “Homes of Hope” were organized at the same time, presenting the Sabbath as “A Day of Hope” and involving the distribution of 30 million magazines in a single day. Besides delivering magazines, the church adopts every year a missionary book, which is acquired by the members to offer to their friends. In this project 23.2 million books have already been distributed.

Growth in South America
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America is an active church with sustainable growth. During the past five-year period, 1,123,724 people gave their lives to Jesus through baptism. As a result of this growth, 3,563 congregations, 247 pastoral districts, GC link divreportstwo new unions, and two unions of churches have been established, and we were able to reach, for the first time, 1,581 unreached municipalities. Establishing an Adventist presence in these municipalities has been a priority of Global Mission in the SAD. In order to support this growth, 571 new pastors have been called and 71,978 small groups have been organized, helping to deepen the faith and fellowship of church members. In order to reach people interested in the Adventist message, 27,501 Bible study classes and 104,277 evangelistic campaigns have been held during the past quinquennium. The strength of this growth can be demonstrated by a tithe increase of 116.33 percent.

Education and Media ?in South America
2010 1522 page12 linkThe Adventist educational network in the SAD is also committed to the mission of the church. There are 883 institutions, with 232,116 students and 16,168 teachers, who are constantly upgraded through initiatives such as the Adventist education portal on the Internet. With 102 published titles for all age-groups, the didactic books are produced by two Adventist publishing houses: Brazil Publishing House and South American Spanish Publishing House.

The SAD is blessed with a dedicated team of 3,755 literature evangelists, who have delivered a total of 31,319,703 books and magazines, produced from 31,242 tons of paper in the church publishing houses. One of the centerpieces of this publishing effort was the distribution of 305,000 collections of 11 Ellen White books, as part of the global “Connecting With Jesus” initiative.

Hope is also communicated through the work of the Adventist Media Center, which has been consolidated in the past five years, and operates three television channels, 106 radio stations, and Web sites that registered 14.2 million visits in 2009 alone. 

Service in South America

Arrival of the Bible of the “Follow the Bible” project to Brasília, Brazil, at the closing of the satellite evangelism series with Mark Finley (center).

The church is also active in the community. Besides its 15 hospitals and two food factories, 300,000 blood donors participated in the “Life for Lives” project. Speaking up about domestic violence, the Adventist Church produced and distributed 5,903,874 copies of the “Breaking the Silence” magazine and tract. Among other projects, ADRA coordinated the collection of 4,014 tons of food for needy families through “Mutirão de Natal” (Christmas Work Effort). The “Caleb Mission” project (equivalent to the Elijah Project) involved 22,980 young people who used their vacation to participate in special evangelistic meetings.  

Under God’s guidance, the South American Division has advanced significantly over the past five years, generating effective and integrated action in the community and seeking to involve each member. Undoubtedly, these years have been full of blessings, miracles, growth, and the sense of a growing community that impacts lives with hope.