Adventist Media Center in Timor-Leste Extends Its Reach Outside the Church

Church media channel followers exceed by far the number of church members.

Edward Rodriguez, Southern Asia-Pacific Division
Adventist Media Center in Timor-Leste Extends Its Reach Outside the Church
Despite resource and manpower constraints, a dedicated media team in Timor-Leste launched the Adventist Church’s official Facebook page and YouTube channel in that region. The number of followers already exceeds by far the church membership. [Photo: courtesy of Eppy Manu]

Timor-Leste currently has about 300 Adventist church members. Despite being a minority group among the 1.3 million inhabitants, the Adventist Church remains steadfast and prayerful in its mission to share the gospel message. With unwavering faith in God’s guidance and provision, the church is determined to extend its message to every corner of the country.

The country of Timor-Leste is situated among the 11 countries in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) region of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is a small country characterized by a predominantly Christian population. Despite this religious orientation within the country, spreading the Adventist message faces significant challenges due to its diverse cultural landscape and economic factors.

Amid the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Adventist Church in Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste Mission, or TLM) embraced the use of mass media to disseminate a message of hope throughout the region. Despite resource and manpower constraints, a dedicated media team consisting of four individuals, including volunteers and one church worker, embarked on the initiative to launch their church’s official Facebook page and YouTube channel. Armed with only two camcorders, a basic lapel microphone, an outdated laptop for editing, and a makeshift 3×3-meter studio, the media team courageously embarked on this seemingly impossible endeavor.

“I recall vividly the challenges we faced during our early endeavors,” TLM media volunteer Mariano da Cruz says. “There were instances where we had to redo entire productions due to sudden battery failures, leaving us unable to salvage our recordings. Yet, amid these difficulties, we discovered a sense of fulfillment in our work. Each setback presented an opportunity for growth and improvement, allowing us to enhance the ministry to which God has called us in the realm of mass media.”

Since its inception in March 2022, the church’s media presence has experienced significant growth in its followership, reaching more than 1,000 subscribers for the YouTube channel and almost 3,000 followers on Facebook. This organic growth in less than two years is remarkable, especially considering that the number of subscribers is significantly larger than the current active Adventist membership.

In under two years, the dedicated media team has produced 558 videos, which have collectively been viewed more than 64,000 times. Remarkably, all this content was created using the modest equipment available to the media team. Their content spans a wide range, including youth productions, family enrichment segments, Bible lessons, children’s shows, music, and much more. Despite limited resources and a limited workforce, they have managed to achieve remarkable results, effectively spreading the gospel across their region in the quickest and most extensive manner possible.

Since establishing their online presence, the TLM media team has been inundated with random text messages, calls, and visits from individuals at their office headquarters, with many people expressing interest in Bible studies and desire for baptism. While the appeal of immediate baptism is tempting, the media team has been steadfast in encouraging all visitors to undergo thorough Bible immersion first. This approach ensures that they fully comprehend the hope and healing that the Bible offers before making such a significant commitment.

“Many individuals have approached us, stating that they discovered truth through our videos and expressing a desire for immediate baptism,” TLM secretary Inaciu Da Kosta said. “While we deeply respect and admire their decision to embrace Jesus through baptism, we emphasize the importance of Bible study and the personal connection that comes from reading the Scripture,” he added.

“We aim to inspire young people, volunteers, and media teams worldwide within the church,” TLM president Chris Anderson said. “Despite facing inevitable and substantial challenges, we believe that God sustains the hearts of those passionate about advancing His work with the resources at hand.”

Anderson emphasized that while the TLM equipment may not meet the standards of large production companies, the team is making steady progress through prayer and the support of like-minded individuals. “Please keep our team and the work in Timor Leste in your prayers,” he said.

The Adventist media center in Timor-Leste is currently in the process of obtaining its license from Hope Channel International. Significant steps have already been taken toward securing the necessary authorization to represent the church’s official TV network.

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.

Edward Rodriguez, Southern Asia-Pacific Division