May 24, 2019

5,000 Adventists Use Street Cleaning Initiative as a Witnessing Opportunity

Uriel Castellanos, Inter-American Division News

At least 5,000 Seventh-day Adventists in Tuxtla Gutierrez, in Chiapas, Mexico, cleaned streets in support of the city’s “Let’s Clean Tuxtla” initiative. Thousands of children, young people, and adults from dozens of Adventist churches in Tuxtla woke up early on Sunday, April 28, 2019, to sweep, clear debris, and collect trash in four areas near the city’s main road, Belisario Dominguez Boulevard.

Wearing Pathfinder uniforms or special shirts identifying them as Seventh-day Adventists, the group cleared parks and empty lots and held signs encouraging drivers and onlookers to keep the city clean.

“For Seventh-day Adventists, the environment in which we live in is very important, so that’s why as church members we try to get involved in these types of projects,” said Daniel Torreblanca, communication director for the church in Chiapas and one of the main organizers of the event. ”A clean city is a happy city; hence, it produces happy and healthy citizens.”

Torreblanca said it was important to join the city’s initiative to clean and beautify the city as a way of raising awareness and getting citizens more involved.

Consuelo Anahí Ruíz Cruz, secretary of the environment and urban mobility for Tuxtla Gutiérrez, thanked the Adventist Church on behalf of the city leaders for having a significant impact across the city. “We would not be able to carry out this initiative of ‘Let’s Clean Tuxtla’ without the support of your [Adventist] churches,” Ruíz said. The Adventist Church has been the largest religious organization to support the initiative so far, she added.

Ruíz explained that the initiative is also crucial in preparing the city for the rainy season, which clears storm drains and lowers the risk of diseases such as dengue, zika, and chikungunya.

As members finished the clean-up, they gathered at Tuxtla Gutierrez Central Park, where they thanked God for the impact of the activity and shared testimonies of what they experienced during the day.

Adrian Ramos of the Adonai church said he was happy to be part of the clean-up crew and to demonstrate how to care for the environment as a Christian. Ramos said many people approached him and asked what the group was doing and how the activity came about.

“One woman, in particular, was impressed after I explained what we were doing, and she gave me her contact information because she not only wanted to be part of such activities run by the church but wanted to learn more about Who we believe in as a church,” Ramos said.

For church leaders in Chiapas, the event was one of many activities scheduled for this year focused on healthy living among church members and communities throughout Chiapas. In 2018 young people held numerous community outreach activities to clean cities and towns and share hope through an initiative coined as “Jesus in My City.”

The 147 Adventist churches and congregations in the region will continue to take part in keeping Tuxtla Gutiérrez clean, once per quarter this year. In addition, church members in the three local church fields in the city have adopted one park to beautify, where they will hold cultural and community outreach activities throughout the year, Torreblanca said.

Other activities planned for 2019 designed to promote healthy living throughout Chiapas include marches, health expos, sports events, and more.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chiapas, Mexico, has more than 246,000 members worshiping in 3,159 churches and congregations.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.