‘All the Family in Mission’ Event in Honduras Welcomes New Members

Hundreds join the Adventist Church during the first of three territory-wide baptisms.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division
‘All the Family in Mission’ Event in Honduras Welcomes New Members
A new believer smiles as she is hugged by a Seventh-day Adventist pastor who baptized her during the All the Family in Mission celebration in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, April 20. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Inter-American Division (IAD) celebrated the culmination of intense evangelistic efforts during a livestreamed program hosted from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on April 20.

More than 2,000 church members and new believers crowded Universidad Tecnológica de Honduras’s auditorium in San Pedro Sula to worship, fellowship, and witness dozens of baptisms onsite and around the region as part of All the Family in Mission initiative.

Involving Every Member

All the Family in Mission seeks to involve every church member in personal and public evangelism mission initiatives in preparation of Jesus’ soon coming to this earth.

“We are delighted that you have chosen this region to host what we have coined as ‘Embrace the Only Hope’ series here in Honduras,” Honduras Union Mission president Adan Ramos said. He thanked IAD leaders and union leaders in attendance. “We are delighted to learn how the gospel has been spread throughout seven other unions and share how we have motivated others to getting involved in the mission here in our country,” he said.

Dozens were baptized during the live event, totaling 1,315 baptisms to close the one-week reaping campaigns held in 180 congregations in the Northwest Honduras Conference, Ramos reported. That brings the number to nearly 3,000 new members across Honduras, he said.

The live event highlighted the work of active church members and leaders in spreading the gospel in their communities not only across the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the northwest region of Honduras but also in other central American countries, Venezuela, and parts of Colombia, church leaders said.

Sharing a Life with Hope

During his spiritual message on Sabbath morning, IAD president Elie Henry encouraged leaders, members, and soon-to-be baptized believers to open their eyes wide to see the mission that God has for them. “God has a plan for each one of you,” Henry said. “He loves us and knew us before we existed. It’s all about the grand vision that God has for us, that God wants to redeem us and wants to lead us to have a global vision for His purpose,” he said.

Henry challenged congregants to take time to study the Bible, pray daily, yearn to know Jesus and His will, and testify of His goodness wherever they go.

“We must preach, love one another, and live a life with the hope,” Henry said. “God wants us to see what He has for us as He strengthens us to move forward and tell others of His love.” No matter your financial struggles or any challenges, he said, “God has a much bigger vision for you, something extraordinary, much greater than your problems.”

Newly Baptized Members

Marleny Matute, 40, took Henry’s message to heart. As a single mother she has struggled to make ends meet working at a school cafeteria. Matute has occasionally visited the Adventist church in Cerro Verde, where her 15-year-old daughter had been part of the Pathfinder Club and was baptized several years ago.

“For 10 years church members would visit my home, but I had not made the decision to choose the right path,” she said. It wasn’t until the pressure mounted in the family that she decided to receive Bible studies and give her heart to Jesus. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she stood in the water among the dozens who were baptized during the live program. “I feel peace in my heart now and a wonderful change in my life,” Matute said after her baptism. “Leaving my burdens to God will help me face my problems, move forward, and not feel hopeless.”

Twenty-three-year-old Maryori Bueso was also baptized onsite during the program. She said she will not turn back on her decision to follow Jesus. She began Bible studies in November 2023 after a friend invited her. After her Bible studies she told her partner and father of their four-year-old son that she wanted to do things right before God. “I wanted to get married, but he did not,” she said. So, Bueso decided to be baptized.

“No one in my family is Adventist, but I feel so good and at peace for choosing to be right with God,” Bueso said. “Taking a firm stand for God and His principles fills me with joy and strength,” she added. Bueso has been attending the Monte Maria Adventist church and recently joined members in distributing copies of the book The Great Controversy throughout the community. “Jesus is coming soon, and we need to be committed to Him and tell others of the gospel,” Bueso said.

Enrique Pérez had grown up in the streets, and when he heard about Jesus at age 17, he decided to get baptized and join the church. Pérez later left the church and became a successful entrepreneur. During one of his business trips, he turned on the television in his hotel room and happened to see a sermon given by Adventist international evangelist Alejandro Bullón. According to Perez, during the sermon, Bullon said, “I don’t know where you are, if at home or in some dark hotel room trying to be happy, but that will not make you happy; only Jesus can make you happy.”

Touched by those words, Pérez found a Bible in his hotel room and read the promise in John 3:16. “I cried so hard, and at that moment I felt God’s embrace,” Pérez said. He looked for his former Adventist church in San Pedro Sula and found himself attending the evangelistic series that was taking place at Central Adventist church.

Reaching Out to Former Members

Pérez is one of 38 former Seventh-day Adventists who have returned to church. Reaching out to former members was part of three evangelism initiatives that leaders launched throughout the Northwest Honduras Conference in November, conference secretary Daniel Durón said. “We challenged our active members, spread out in our 144 churches and 68 small groups, to fast and pray for 15 days and reach out to at least one person in their circle for Bible studies,” Durón said.

A third initiative saw leaders and active members redouble efforts in training seasoned members and retaining new members, as well as assisting new believers financially in the process of getting their marriage licenses completed before baptism. “Marriage licenses tend to be too costly for many to afford, so many couples choose not to move forward, but we have realized that this is a way to help them before they are baptized,” Durón explained.

Six Months of Evangelistic Preparations

The six-month work of preparation for the evangelistic series led to a significant increase in membership, Durón said. Just this year, the conference has reached a count of 500 more new members than the total of 800 baptisms reached in 2023. “We praise God that pastors, small group leaders, and active members took on the challenge of bringing at least one person to the feet of Jesus,” Durón said. Now, besides retaining new members, Durón said, engaging more of the membership in the mission of the church will be an additional initiative in the months ahead.

IAD vice president Balvin Braham urged members to intensify their efforts in helping others to grow in Christ and in preparation of the second coming of Jesus. “We must put initiatives in place to engage members in actively serving their communities, and equip them to share their faith,” Braham said.

Local church leaders thanked IAD officers for leading out in evangelistic campaigns this month, and especially for the support of Melchor Ferreyra, IAD personal ministries director for the evangelistic series. Ferreyra led at San Pedro Sula’s Central Adventist church and at school of evangelism sessions he held onsite with pastors and active church members throughout the past six-months.

Everyone Involved in Mission

It’s all about ensuring that everyone is involved in mission, Ferreyra said. “We must focus on taking time to plan evangelism impact by preparing as a church body, investing in planting the seed of the gospel, growing that seed, cultivating, and keeping the new believers in church as part of an ongoing cycle,” he said.

Highlights of the program included the community impact led by Carlos Bocanegra and his group of medical doctors and staff, who provided free health-care services to more than 850 people from communities in need in San Pedro Sula. Bocanegra’s medical team, from his Asociación Médica Adventista organization in Peru, included an urologist, a gynecologist, medical practitioners, psychologists, a physical therapist, a pharmacologist, and nurses.

In addition, the program showcased the various activities aligned with the All the Family in Mission initiative that have made a difference in the Northwest Honduras Conference.

Growing the Church

“The event here in Honduras was intended to present the model of what a church that is growing and serving looks like,” Braham said. The importance for these efforts to be successful is “to ensure that the church is in-reaching to grow in Christ and reaching out horizontally, connecting people to Christ while addressing their social, economic, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs.”

Nearly 53,000 new members have joined the church in the IAD since the start of 2024, Braham reported at the end of the program.

Union leaders in this first All the Family in Mission celebration event reported that there were 2,871 baptisms in Honduras, 2,800 baptisms in Guatemala, and 3,080 baptisms in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Also, there were 2,000 baptisms in southern Colombia, 1,010 in western Venezuela, and 3,791 baptisms in eastern Venezuela.

Additional All the Family in Mission territory-wide events planned this year include one in Guadeloupe in the French Antilles-Guiana Union Conference on June 29, and in the Jamaica Union Conference on September 28.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site. Melchor Ferreyra contributed information for this story.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division