More than 1,500 Seventh-day Adventist communicators, digital evangelists, and influencers from throughout Chiapas, Mexico, gathered for a first-ever Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) event on February 17 and 18 in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
Their goal? Be inspired, learn new technologies, and use their skills to share the hope of Jesus around them and in their digital communities. The hundreds crowding the Chiapas Convention Center, mostly young people, were encouraged to embrace every opportunity to serve the church with their gifts and tools provided during the event.
“This is a good moment, a necessary and very urgent one for all of our young people as a well-organized united army ready to spread God’s message through all possible digital media formats,” Ignacio Navarro, president of the Chiapas Mexican Union Conference of the Adventist Church, said. The GAiN Chiapas event was held as part of a comprehensive strategy the church in Chiapas began in 2018 to seek out and provide opportunities for young people to become digital evangelists across the state, Navarro said.
A Communication Network
One goal of the event was to strengthen communication teams across the eight regional fields in Chiapas, Jose Luis Bouchot, executive secretary of the Chiapas Mexican Union, said. “Digital media has gathered us with a single mission to establish a communication network throughout the territory … so we can reach each field,” he said.
Inter-American Division (IAD) communication director Abel Márquez congratulated church leaders and organizers for holding such a large GAiN event, a historic one across the territory. “This event that brought you here is also for you to exchange emails, [and] learn about new digital ministries that are advancing the mission of the church.”
Márquez added that Jesus showed that God is creative, and He used great ideas of the times that today develop marketing enterprises. “Let’s take advantage and return to our churches to inform, to be creative, and be innovators.”
A Creative Disciple
Among the speaker forums and interviews with “creative disciples” (or communicators) from the region, Carlos Florentino stood out above the rest. At 25 years old, Florentino traveled from the mountainous region from Nuevo Orizaba, a town in Palenque, Chiapas, where power outages are common and the internet is scarce. Florentino came up with a way to receive the transmission signals from a church in Chiapas through specific mechanisms to share with church members and friends. He demonstrated how he makes his computer receive transmissions during the event.
Moved by his creativity and his story, union administrators and the owner of the convention center promised him a full scholarship to study at Montemorelos University. Fighting back tears while church leaders embraced him, Florentino addressed the attendees: “If you feel like you are not good at something, just strive to look for what your gift is. For a long time, I was looking for mine until I realized that this is my talent to share Jesus, and if I could, you can too,” he said.
Investing in Digital Evangelists
Creative, innovative, and dedicated young people like Florentino are what the church in Chiapas will continue to invest in, and strive to keep engaged as digital evangelists, spreading the hope of salvation wherever they are, Uriel Castellanos, communication director and main organizer of the event, said.
“The church has equipped every one of the conferences with basic equipment for each team to begin producing since 2020, and that has allowed training and providing opportunities to grow,” Castellanos said.
“We have three lines of action in our communication strategy: to establish, consolidate, and empower,” he said. “We will work through this new network of communicators and creative disciples who have been trained to make a difference in support of the evangelistic plans of the [regional] church.”
Promoting Creative Content
Groups from the North Colombia Union and North Mexican Union, as well as others from Southeast Mexico and the Dutch Caribbean Union, attended the GAiN event.
“It’s very exciting to see the fervor of the brothers and sisters in Chiapas, and seeing it in person is so inspiring,” Abdiel Hernández, communication director of the North Mexican Union, said. “Every quarter we are working as a team in the five unions in Mexico to create content to strengthen our means of communication, and this has proven to be very important in advancing the mission.”
Diego García, production coordinator of the Hope Media Center in North Colombia, said that the team he brought was thrilled to be part of GAiN Chiapas. “This type of event continues to show that the Adventist Church at the world level is a great family…. We are one church with the same mission,” García said.
Consistent in Digital Ministries
For Joel López, a GAiN Chiapas attendee and volunteer from Nuevo San Juan Chamula, the event surpassed his expectations — from the keynote speakers to the organization of the event. “We need to be consistent in carrying out our ministries because we can do so much in this life, and we should trust in ourselves so that the hand of God can fulfill each one of the goals we have set for our digital ministries,” López said.
The event closed with a special call for every creative disciple in every digital ministry to commit to sharing hope, impact the lives of at least three individuals, and create content that touches lives, not just to be consumers of technology.
“We all have the privilege to share the identity and mission of the church through our social media platforms,” General Conference vice president Abner De Los Santos said. “Not everyone can leave the country to evangelize, but we all have a community to impact through what we post on social media, and that’s how we can impact the world.”