Leaders Celebrate Filiberto Verduzco’s Decades of Service

He is retiring after serving for 22 years as treasurer of the Inter-American Division.

Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division, and Adventist Review
<strong>Leaders Celebrate Filiberto Verduzco’s Decades of Service</strong>
Filiberto Verduzco and his wife, Alma, sit together during a special ceremony held in Miami, Florida, on December 5, 2022,  in celebration of Filiberto’s ministry. [Photo: Wilmer Barboza/IAD]

Leaders from throughout the Inter-American Division (IAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church recently gathered to celebrate the service of Filiberto Verduzco, who for 22 years was chief financial officer for the Adventist Church in the region. During a special ceremony on December 5, union and institutional administrators and IAD leaders and staff honored Verduzco for strengthening the financial system of the IAD and expanding God’s work throughout the territory. Verduzco recently submitted a written request for retirement, effective January 1, 2023, after his service to the church for more than 40 years.

“We have come here to recognize the extraordinary service of Filiberto and the journey that we lived through together, not to bid him farewell but to celebrate his ministry in Inter-America,” IAD president Elie Henry said. “You are a man whom I got to know, someone who listens to God and served with passion in the mission of the church.” Finding solutions to complex problems is an extraordinary gift Verduzco has, Henry said. “Before anyone finished explaining a problem, he already had a solution to fix things and move forward,” Henry said.

A Strong Financial System

“The most important legacy you leave us with is a financially strong division,” Henry said. “You are a man committed to the church, focused on teaching stewardship principles to the church and each member.” Henry thanked Verduzco and his wife, Alma, on behalf of the church, pastors, and IAD leaders and staff.

General Conference treasurer Paul Douglas, who traveled to Miami, Florida, to be part of the celebration, expressed the church’s deep appreciation for Verduzco’s work. “As far as I know, you are the longest serving division treasurer in the world church,” Douglas said. “You have left a legacy of excellence not only in the IAD but throughout the world, for many of your colleagues apply the principles you have shared in their own context.”

After addressing the legacy Verduzco has left on the corporate level, Douglas spoke on a personal note. “Filiberto, you are my friend. We came to the IAD the same year, and you and I have modeled the fact that the auditor and treasurer can actually get along, and I’ve appreciated that,” Douglas said. “I have learned from you how you have taken complex issues and broken it down, but you have taken that process and made it a spiritual process. When I grow up, I want to be like you.”

Born in Mexico, Verduzco’s church service began as general manager of the Inter-American Health Food Company’s COLPAC branch. His years of service also included vice president of finance and vice president of development of Montemorelos University in Mexico.

Expanding the Church’s Work

“You have left an indelible mark in the Inter-American Division, and there will always be that pre-Fili and post-Fili [time],” former IAD president Israel Leito said. Leito worked alongside Verduzco for more than 18 years. “When the local fields were in trouble long before, it was mostly up to them to solve their issues, but when Fili came, he would say, ‘Let’s see what can be done.’ I hope that model can be amplified as how we deal with the church for the Lord.”

One by one, union administrators arranged in groups praised the ministry and service of Verduzco during the three-hour ceremony.

“We will always remember your exemplary use of church funds for the fulfillment of the church and assist the less fortunate,” Haitian Union president Pierre Caporal said. “Thank you for your ministry filled with love, kindness, generosity, and passion for souls.”

Cuba Union president Aldo Perez also thanked Verduzco for his ongoing support to the church membership. “In the history of our region, we had never received so much support and benefits for the accomplishment of the work, and we thank you for that spirit of generosity.”

Lasting Legacy

“On behalf of the church in Mexico with more than 800,000 members, we want to express our gratitude for the legacy you have left in our country,” Ignacio Navarro, president of the church’s administrative office in Mexico and also president of the Chiapas Mexican Union, said. “Thank you for your passion, service, and loyalty and a ministry marked by your great love for Jesus Christ, His church, and your colleagues.”

Verduzco held back tears as he stood next to his wife, thanking the church leadership for their support and God’s guidance in his life, especially as IAD treasurer. “I want to thank God for being so good to me,” he said. “If you only knew how many times I didn’t know what to do. Many thought that I knew so much, but most of the time I couldn’t even imagine a way of solving issues.”

One constant during his ministry, he said, was his wife’s perennial reminder when he was bogged down by challenges of the job. “She would always tell me that the resources I had before me were not mine but belonged to God,” Verduzco said. “At times, when I didn’t want to get up to go to the office, she would constantly remind me to depend on God.”

What Really Matters

Verduzco encouraged leaders to continue to work hard in fulfilling the mission and reminded them to cling to Jesus at all times. “In the end, whatever took place, whatever was done doesn’t count. It’s our relationship with Jesus that matters,” he said.

Verduzco is an ordained minister and holds a doctorate in administration from Montemorelos University and a master’s degree in business administration from Sonora Technological Institute. He is married to Alma Yanez. They have two adult sons and five grandchildren.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.

Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division, and Adventist Review