The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mexico welcomed more than 21,000 new members as the first six months of intense evangelism efforts across the nation ended with a national online evangelism campaign from Mexico City, Mexico, on June 24. The eight-day series was the third annual national online evangelistic campaign and saw thousands of church leaders and members sharing the gospel in cities and communities throughout Mexico’s five unions, or major church regions, since before the start of the year.
Themed “Don’t Give Up — There is Still Hope,” the series encouraged the more than 800 in attendance at the Central Adventist church in Mexico City every evening, along with thousands of online viewers and listeners, to cling to Jesus as they navigate through fear, doubt, stress, grief, and uncertainty.
It was hard for Jorge Santiago of Mexico City to find Jesus. During the pandemic, he spent many hours practicing Santeria witchcraft, but realized that he needed to change his life.
“I began to search videos on YouTube about God, and I found several sermons that helped me learn more about the Bible,” Santiago said. “What’s hurt me the most is that when I accepted Jesus, my family rejected me. But I don’t care because in Jesus I have eternal life.” Santiago was baptized on June 22, at the Zapata Adventist church, in Mexico City.
Miguel Ángel Pérez, in his 30s, decided to get baptized for the second time. Pérez had grown up in the church but left it for many years. Numerous problems and challenges and the pleading of his family led him and his family to return. He attended each night of the series at Central Adventist church, listening intently. “As I heard the messages, I said to myself, ‘I need to return,’ and here I am getting baptized again,” Pérez said.
Among the baptized in the metropolitan area were Shen Zhui and Jim Feg Chen, who were among the first to get baptized in a new congregation that caters to the Chinese community in Mexico City. The evangelism project, which has been ministering for months in the city, has been led by two missionaries from China and overseen by the church’s Metropolitan Mexican Conference, church leaders said.
Commitment and Hope
In Michoacan, a state that is part of the Central Mexican Union, a church member contacted the mayor of his town, who then provided screens, internet, and audio in the center of the town to project the evangelistic series each evening.
The evangelism impact throughout the union has ignited the membership to spread the hope of salvation, Central Mexican Union President Jose Dzul said. “We are so thankful to see the church embrace with a spirit of commitment the evangelism efforts that have brought so many to get baptized.”
During the week-long online evangelistic series, church members across Mexico turned their homes into “Houses of Hope,” where they invited family and friends every night to watch the messages by Daniel Torreblanca, youth ministries director of the Chiapas Mexican Union. Churches, schools, and even some hospitals were turned into “Centers of Hope” as they streamed the series for the public.
Roberto Velazco and his wife, Otelina, of Tapachula, in Chiapas, were among those who received a copy of Ellen White’s book, “The Great Controversy,” back in March and accepted an invitation to visit an Adventist Church. They began to study the Bible and decided to get baptized. Soon after, they opened their home for Bible studies and to feature the online evangelistic series. The Velazcos were among the 9,363 people to join the Adventist Church this year in Chiapas.
In addition to being transmitted through the Hope Channel Inter-America YouTube and Facebook channels, the evangelistic series was also transmitted via radio and TV Azteca national television channel. The series was also covered by print media.
For Torreblanca, it was important to get to people in need of God who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and the conflict that is growing in society. “We have seen how God is fighting the battles, and we see that it is not because of the work we have been doing but because God has moved through His Holy Spirit,” he said.
In the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union, more than 4,300 baptisms took place after church members intensified their efforts in small group ministries, public evangelism, and impact community activities, church leaders reported.
In the North Mexican Union, church leaders reported more than 3,300 baptisms across the 14 states comprising the territory. Churches launched hundreds of evangelistic efforts — especially in post-modern cities that are difficult to reach like Guadalajara in Jalisco, church leaders said. Evangelism campaigns among dozens of small groups led to more than 300 baptisms early in April.
Father and daughter David and Adalia Hernández in southern Tabasco in the Southeast Mexican Union territory wanted to get baptized together. They had been studying the Bible and decided to get baptized in a river a week before the online national evangelistic campaign began. “We just couldn’t wait any longer to get baptized,” David said. It was with their baptism that the national campaign began, Heber Olmedo, who baptized them, said. Both are among the more than 2,800 new believers who have joined the Adventist Church thanks to ongoing efforts in the Southeast Mexican Union this year.
The national evangelism campaign also provided sign language for the deaf community across Mexico. Hundreds of church members involved in deaf ministries in Mexico also worked to share the gospel during the months-long efforts in the nation. Norberto Avalos and Lady Pérez were the interpreters featured during the live online national campaign. Both are committed to supporting Adventist Possibility Ministries and hope to see the ministry grow more every year.
Church leaders in the Central Mexican Union are basking in the blessings from the special evangelistic impact in the territory, especially in Mexico City, according to Edgar Benítez, communication director and evangelism coordinator in the Central Mexican Union. “We are looking ahead now for another period of evangelistic series where more than 150 guest preachers will arrive in Mexico City to spread the gospel further,” he said.
Victor Martínez, Gaby Chagolla, Jaime Armas, and Uriel Castellanos contributed to this story.