June 22, 2017

Collaborative Efforts Result in 1,500 Baptisms in El Salvador

Debra McKinney Banks, Atlantic Union Conference News

More than 1,500 people were baptized at the end of “Impacto Salvador,” a series of evangelistic meetings in El Salvador, last March. The meetings were a joint endeavor with the Atlantic Union Conference church region in the US, under the direction of Dionisio Olivo, Atlantic Union Conference Hispanic and Portuguese ministries vice president, and the El Salvador Union Mission. Atlantic Union officers, departmental directors, conference administrators, and pastors all participated in the meetings as they presented evangelistic messages simultaneously at 38 different churches in and around the capital city of San Salvador.

On behalf of the Atlantic Union Conference administrators, Olivo collaborated with El Salvador Union Mission president Abel Pacheco; executive secretary of the Metropolitan El Salvador Conference Danny Perla; and Paracentral El Salvador Conference president Santos Antonio Canas Quezada. Before the evangelistic series, pastors from all five of the conferences in the El Salvador Union Mission served as Bible workers, helping to prepare the people for the upcoming meetings.

Each year, the Atlantic Union Conference church region, which comprises several states in northeastern US, the Greater New York region, and Bermuda, takes part in an evangelism campaign in countries represented by members of the Atlantic Union.

“Because we have people from these countries in our union, we send the message that we care for you, and we care for your roots,” Olivo said. “We want to reach and care for them [Atlantic Union members] and bring the gospel to people in their home countries.” Previous evangelistic efforts have also been conducted in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Cuba.

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and is the most densely populated, with nearly seven million people living on 8,124 square miles (around 21,000 square kilometers.) As of March, the Adventist Church has about 200,000 baptized members in the country, with 766 churches.

Churches were gathered into districts, and 38 sites were established for the meetings led by the group from the Atlantic Union. Speakers from the Atlantic Union Conference included its president G. Earl Knight; executive secretary Pierre Omeler; treasurer Elias Zabala, Sr.; Hispanic and Portuguese ministries vice president Dionisio Olivo; and Haitian and African ministries vice president Jose Joseph, among others.

Financial contributions from the Atlantic Union Conference, Greater New York Conference, as well as private donations, helped to build a new church in El Salvador.

After the meetings, all speakers attended two professional growth seminars presented by the El Salvador Union Mission. The seminars covered knowing and understanding Salvadorian culture and background, as well as useful information on how to minister to and reach Salvadorians with the gospel. The Atlantic Union Conference is home to many people from El Salvador, and several large Salvadorian communities are located in the metropolitan areas of Boston, Massachusetts, and Long Island, New York.

An original version of this story was published in the Atlantic Union Gleaner.