Thousands of Seventh-day Adventist ministers and local church pastors in the Inter-American Division (IAD) were praised for their dedication and commitment to shepherding congregations and furthering the gospel during a special online program held October 19, 2022. The 90-minute program, which was hosted from the IAD headquarters in Miami, Florida, United States, sought to encourage the more than 3,200 pastoral families ministering in more than 23,000 congregations across the territory.
“This is a special time to honor the pastor, his spouse, and family for advancing the work of God across thousands of congregations in Inter-America during a year when we are celebrating the division’s centennial and the 100 years since the ministerial association was organized in the world church,” IAD ministerial secretary Josney Rodríguez said.
Ramon Canals, ministerial association secretary for the Adventist world church, thanked pastors and their families for their hard work in the church and the communities throughout Inter-America. “Thank you because you live a life consecrated to God, a life that glorifies God, a life that produces fruits in sharing the knowledge of God, and interceding in prayer for others always,” Canals said. “You are an example of faith, kindness and love to your congregations and families.”
The call that God has made and continues to make to each pastoral family throughout Inter-America to preach, educate, and serve the community is a resounding one, IAD president Elie Henry said. “None of us are here by chance or because it’s what we were assigned to do, for we can all see the hand of God guiding us every step of the way and giving us the opportunity to tell Him ‘Here I am send me,’” Henry said. “We appreciate you and the work that you faithfully do, and continue trusting in the Lord in faithfully advancing with Him so you too can triumph for Him.”
The pastors and their spouses were given commemorative centennial pins marked with their respective years of service, whether they had just started their ministerial work or had served for more than 40 years.
Those honored included Henry and his wife Ketlie, for their 43 years of service; IAD executive secretary Leonard Johnson and his wife Denise, for their 42 years of service; and IAD personal ministries director Melchor Ferreyra and his wife Meriviana, for their 42 years of service.
Pastors also received certificates, pins, and gifts at each of the 156 local conferences and missions throughout the IAD territory.
In addition, local district pastors were recognized for their commitment to following the church’s comprehensive discipleship program in their congregations, keeping track of their members in small groups, and supporting member involvement in Bible studies. They were also commended for training church elders through a special online platform to measure the spiritual health of the pastoral district and local churches under each pastor.
Special congratulations went to all 24 union for their dedication in reporting the number of members involved in discipleship programs. The three highest reporting unions were recognized: the West Venezuela Union, with 95 percent of their 935 churches reporting; the South Central American Union, with 89 percent of their 825 churches reporting; and the East Venezuela Union, with 85 percent of their 770 churches reporting.
“It’s amazing to see what is taking place across Inter-America in each pastoral district,” Rodríguez said. “Our pastoral families are so vital and important in the nurturing, growing, and discipling of church leaders and members and we praise God for their strength and leadership.”