More than 500 persons were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Venezuela following an online evangelistic campaign held September 5-12, 2020.
The eight-day campaign drew more than 1,000 visitors daily on Facebook and YouTube and saw more than 4,200 persons taking Bible studies online, church leaders said.
“There are no words to express how successful this evangelistic effort has been here in our church territory,” Orlando Ramírez, president of the church in West Venezuela, said. “This is a completely new experience for us here and, in particular, this year that our country has faced such challenges with the internet across the country.”
Challenges in the Country
According to Ramírez, some days, the electrical power supply is down to twelve, six, or even four hours in different parts of Venezuela. Holding services online during the pandemic crisis has proven to be difficult, along with other complications that come up in planning a week of evangelism efforts online, he explained.
"It's been a challenge, but miraculously many persons accepted Jesus and decided to be baptized. We praise God for that," he said. There were no technical complications during the time of each evening transmission of the series.
The series was also carried live on the 50 Adventist-operated FM radio stations in Venezuela.
Coined as “Let’s Talk About Him,” the campaign emphasized the life of Jesus, His forgiveness, love, peace, healing, power, and salvation.
“We had great expectations, since we had already had experience in online evangelism series, but none like this effort,” assistant to the union president for evangelism in West Venezuela Fernando Toala said. “It’s really impressive to have baptized 575 persons under these circumstances of the pandemic and under the conditions we face in this country.”
Plan and Execution
Generally, after a two-week evangelism campaign held at a local church, baptisms could reach up to 350 persons, he said. "To have reached so many new believers with the work online and in just one week was good, and we praise the Lord for His goodness."
Preparation took nearly two months and included promotional work coordinated by church leaders, pastors, media teams, and church members. The event was advertised via WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms.
The evening program lasted up to an hour. It included music, prayer requests, and a spiritual message by Arnaldo Cruz, pastor of the Peregrinos Seventh-day Adventist Church in Miami, Florida, United States.
Results and Follow-up Plans
According to church leaders, an average of 70 prayer requests were received every day online from viewers based not only in Venezuela but also in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Argentina, and other countries.
“There were so many testimonies that came our way online from so many around the world,” Ramírez said. The difference in this series had a lot to do with an intensive promotion strategy and in-depth preparation. “We are thankful for all the hard work of each person involved, our radio stations in Hope Radio Venezuela,” he added.
Ramírez encouraged church members to continue being part of fulfilling the mission of spreading the gospel with everyone they know. Pastors and local church leaders have continued to monitor all of the persons who have taken part in online Bible studies, and more baptisms have taken place since the series ended.
Church leaders are already planning for the next online evangelistic campaign scheduled to take place in the second quarter of 2021.
The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.