For the first time since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversation, laughter, and joyful singing of more than 50 Hispanic leaders and coordinators from across the North American Division (NAD) echoed through the halls of the regional headquarters building.
From August 30 to September 1, 2022, the Multilingual Ministries department hosted the Hispanic Annual Council Meeting, where various speakers encouraged and inspired pastors and reminded them of their mission to multiply hope within their communities through the theme, “Multiplica Esperanza”(“Multiply Hope”).
The three-day meeting commenced with the presentation of the Multiply Hope evangelistic plan. It also included ministry reports from the nine unions within the NAD, special presentations from Hispanic media ministries such as Esperanza TV, El Centinela magazine, and La Voz de La Esperanza radio ministry, among others.
NAD vice president for Multilingual Ministries Minervino Labrador Jr. welcomed attendees. “This is a time to worship, celebrate, and to be reminded of the vision,” he said.
Upon introducing the meeting’s theme, Labrador noted the premise for the evangelistic plan. “We are living in a world that lacks and needs hope. God’s will is that we multiply hope,” he said.
As an extension of the NAD’s threefold strategic focus — multiply, media, and mentorship — the Multiply Hope plan is a seven-phase initiative that seeks to guide the work of local Hispanic churches throughout the division by strengthening member retention and promoting effective evangelism within local church communities. Multiply Hope’s seven phases include preparation, sowing, growth, harvest, equipping, planting, and revitalizing.
“The seven phases are meant to surround and complement the work being done in churches throughout North America,” Labrador explained.
He elaborated, “This plan will help church leaders to coordinate and combine church, conference, union, and division ministries to strengthen local mission fields. Our prayer is that every local church refers to the seven phases, reviewing the organization of every activity and program they produce to ensure it is aligned with the overall vision of Multiply Hope.”
Vice presidents for Multilingual Ministries from the nine unions within the NAD, representing 59 conferences and more than 300,000 Spanish-speaking church members, informed attendees of the evangelistic work and church growth occurring within their respective unions.
Each vice president and their Hispanic Ministries conference coordinators summarized events and initiatives that took place within their unions during the past three years. Many celebrated numerous baptisms, small groups, the opening of new congregations, church building projects, children and youth ministries initiatives, community service projects, and more. Speakers also presented their union’s evangelistic goals moving forward.
These reports inspired listeners and provided attendees with new ideas for evangelism. Osvaldo Rigacci, vice president of Multicultural Ministries for the Southwestern Union, emphasized, “I love that Multiply Hope is not complicated and can be adapted to the needs of every local context.”
“I enjoyed each of the presentations every union gave,” Raúl González, the Hispanic Ministries coordinator for the Ontario Conference, shared. “As I listened, I wrote down ideas of what other leaders were doing within their conferences to implement within my conference.”
“We’ve been equipped with strategies and tools to continue moving forward,” Gerson Sanchez, Hispanic Ministries coordinator for the Gulf States Conference, said. “By coming together as pastors, coordinators, leaders, and directors, we join in the purpose of ‘Together in Mission.’ ”
The Hispanic Adventist television channel Esperanza TV focuses on providing viewers worldwide with holistic lifestyle Christian media. On Tuesday, August 30, 2022, Axel Orellana, assistant director of Multilingual Ministries of the NAD and manager of Esperanza TV, announced the NAD Multilingual Ministries’ new initiative, Hope Channel Hispano.
Orellana highlighted that Hope Channel Hispano will be a “digital center of influence” for Spanish speakers worldwide. It will contain content produced by Adventist pastors and church members throughout the NAD.
Calling it a “channel to share,” Orellana encouraged Hispanic Adventist pastors and members to share the channel with friends and family who have yet to know Christ. Through digital evangelism, Orellana emphasized the value of “Together in Mission,” asking, “If every Hispanic Adventist shares the channel and its content 10 times, how many thousands of people will it reach?”
Pacific Press/El Centinela
Representatives of the Hispanic Adventist magazine El Centinela reported that more than 45,000 copies have been distributed each month so far in 2022. The goal is to increase distribution to 50,000 copies per month by the end of the year.
The team from Pacific Press, publisher of El Centinela, alsopresented several books. During the report, attendees were able to order copies of the books for literature evangelism. With the NAD’s financial support of 20 cents per copy, the orders quickly multiplied to an astounding amount of more than 163,000 copies.
In celebration and dedication, “We placed our hands over the books, praying over them like our pioneers used to do before the distribution of any book,” Bentancur said. “We asked God to touch the hearts and lives of those who would receive this literature and thanked God for Pacific Press.”
La Voz de La Esperanza
Since 1942, the La Voz de La Esperanza radio program has shared hope worldwide. La Voz de La Esperanza’ work has led to more than 1,000 baptisms since 2020. Despite its positive impact, the radio ministry has faced financial challenges for several years.
During their report, Omar Grieve and his wife, Nessy Pittau Grieve, director and associate director for La Voz de La Esperanza, shared their powerful testimony. “When we first arrived at La Voz de La Esperanza, we learned it had a debt of more than one million dollars,” Grieve said. Nevertheless, the couple began to pray, asking God to provide for the debt to be paid.
One day, the prayer was finally answered through the contribution of a faithful listener of the radio program who willed her small home to La Voz de La Esperanza. “The house was appraised at more than US$800,000,” Pittau Grieve explained. In like manner, “the Lord led our administration here at the NAD to credit all the interest paid by La Voz de La Esperanza through the years, which added around another US$100,000 [paid] to the debt,” he said.
“After praying about this debt for over nine years, we’re not only out of debt but also have more funds to continue doing ministry for years to come,” Pittau Grieve said. “We praise God for this lady’s generous heart and for her desire to impact the lives of others through the radio.”
Ready to Multiply Hope
Through the multiple reports, testimonies, and worship experiences, Multiply Hope reinforced the flame of evangelism within the hearts of leaders serving Hispanic communities throughout the NAD. This evangelistic mission does not stop here, however.
Justino Aguilar, Central California Conference Hispanic Ministries coordinator, said, “The intention through these meetings and what we learned here is to inform and equip local church members so that they too can be equipped to serve in the mission.”
“We can only spread hope if we go ‘Together in Mission,’ ” Labrador said. He added, “When we do so, we multiply hope — which is the gospel, discipleship, and evangelism summarized.”