On April 12, during the 2017 General Conference Spring Meeting, Daniel R. Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (NAD), and Adventist World executive editor Bill Knott shared a report on the inter-division, international “Partners in Mission” literacy program. Part of the report included a video shot during the NAD January 2017 trip to El Salvador. In the video, Maitland DiPinto, Adventist Community Services associate director and Partners in Mission coordinator, reports on the progress of the initiative — and on the lives changed by it.
ACS's Hope for Humanity has been providing literacy training in Mozambique and India, as well as other countries in Central America, for more than 15 years.
According to the April 2017 Adventist World cover story, “As the literacy program of the El Salvador Union Mission, now nearly 12 years old, has settled in, a growing percentage of Adventist church members have joined one of the nearly 200 literacy circles that cover this small nation of 6.5 million people. Encouraged by the determined efforts of the Inter-American Division to link literacy skills with church membership, thousands of Adventists in El Salvador who previously couldn’t read or write have enrolled in the literacy circles and finished one, two or three eight-month courses” (Knott, “If They Can’t Read the Words”).
The article continues: “With nearly 200,000 members in almost 1,000 congregations across the small Central American nation, Adventists represent only three percent of the population, but have become identified as the most dynamic faith group in helping fellow citizens achieve the basic goal of literacy.”
DiPinto, according to the Adventist World article, “has been one of the primary architects of the agreement between the two divisions, and has personally made more than a dozen visits to El Salvador to inspect, evaluate, and promote the literacy effort.”
In the video, DiPinto says, “The Adventist Church is a family ... and we are united in mission to reach the world with the distinctive Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness. ... [The NAD is] open to partnering on a broad range of mission initiatives, but has a particular interest in helping to expand the adult literacy initiative that the NAD has helped support for several years in a number of countries.”
It was also announced in the video that Adventist World has become a partner with the NAD and the Inter-American Division in the literacy program. The NAD hopes to continue building more partnerships with other Adventist Church divisions around the globe.