A new Seventh-day Adventist church building was completed in the heart of the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas, Mexico, thanks to the efforts of students from Montemorelos University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in northern Mexico.
The university students and volunteers who built the new facility are part of a group called Adventist Missionary Youth. They began construction of the building in 2016, on the same site as the 50-year-old wooden structure where members used to gather for worship services, which was demolished. They started with the cement walls and a sheet-metal roof.
During the time of construction, the members of the church, called Betel Adventist Church, continued to worship near the site, while students and faculty held a two-week evangelism campaign in the evenings and community outreach activities during the day.
The church project was completed in early 2018, when additional funds became available. The student group returned in early December to complete the flooring, install ceiling tiles and windows, paint the church, and put the finishing touches on the new building.
The objective was to finish the church’s construction so that it can provide a better place of worship and become a more appealing meeting place to the remote jungle community, said Primitivo Sánchez, human resources director of Montemorelos University and adviser for the missionary project.
“It has been a true project by faith as we have learned how to build and do everything to the best of our abilities, for what the Lord has allowed us for the cause,” said construction volunteer Eliezer Castellano.
Students, faculty, and employees at the university say the project has bolstered the mission-oriented message proclaimed by the university.
"Our mission here at the university is not only to instill a sense of mission in our students but ask our employees also to be an example," Sánchez said. "If that message we give to every student stays with them when they leave this institution, we will surely be able to advance much faster in the spreading of the gospel."
Local and regional church leaders in Chiapas witnessed the inauguration ceremony of the new church and thanked the university community and its students and employees for bringing their efforts, resources, and talents to the project.
Funds were donated by the Chiapas Mexican Union and the Inter-American Division church regions to assist in the completion of the church building, church leaders said.
In addition to completing the construction, volunteers visited neighboring families and spoke to them about living a healthy lifestyle.