The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division (IAD) recently celebrated dozens of volunteers currently serving throughout the territory and around the world. During a special videoconference event, church leaders praised the commitment of the 74 volunteers to celebrate what has been coined as Adventist Volunteer Service Day.
Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS) is an official program of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists that matches volunteers’ skills with opportunities all over the world.
“It was important to connect with volunteers to celebrate their mission efforts and let them know how much we appreciate their commitment and stand behind them,” said Janelle Scantlebury, assistant secretary responsible for AVS in IAD and main organizer of the event. Scantlebury noted that it was also a critical opportunity to cement relationships and bonds among the volunteers in the group.
Currently, 49 Adventist volunteers are serving outside the IAD territory, and 25 volunteers from around the world are serving in the IAD.
Adventist world church president Ted N. C. Wilson thanked Adventist volunteers for their dedicated work during the event.
“Praise God for your ability to be part of the wonderful outreach of the Adventist Church,” Wilson said. “People are panicking. There is chaos. All of you are to be anchors of stability and pillars of hope.”
Wilson reminded volunteers to trust in God, to take refuge and find strength in Him. “Continue to spread the Word of God and continue sharing encouragement…. Take time to pray, study the Bible, and be infused by the Holy Spirit every day.”
Elbert Kuhn, associate secretary for the Adventist world church in charge of AVS, spoke on maintaining volunteers’ focus in troubled times and praised the work of the volunteers who are making a difference in so many countries.
“You, as volunteers, represent this passion, this willingness to serve, this willingness to make oneself available to be a blessing to others,” Kuhn said. “I want you to know how pleased and proud I am for every person serving within the division and outside of the division.”
Kuhn said there is a vast unexplored potential throughout the IAD and encouraged the thousands of viewers to envision their multicultural and multi-language heritage as a blessing to reach out to others. “Praise God for your ministry and all the lives you are touching,” he said.
Psychologist Ann Hamel spoke on four coping strategies for crises:
Hamel answered questions from volunteers during a Q&A session.
Some current Adventist volunteers shared their personal experience in the place where they serve; provided special music; showed videos of their ministry; and participated in breakout groups to address questions that came up for the volunteers during the three-hour online program.
Lidia Ordoñez, a Panamanian serving in Australia, said her experience as a volunteer radio broadcaster has been an opportunity to learn to depend on God and spread messages of hope.
“It’s been hard here with the fires that have claimed lives, animals, and displaced many people, but our purpose is to share hope to all those who are now at home during the quarantine, spending more time looking for sources of hope,” Ordoñez said.
She said she has grown spiritually every day she has served and has seen God use her talents.
“Things aren’t always easy, but I have learned patience and perseverance,” she said. “God is in control.”