Nineteen-year-old Jayrene Kock never imagined she would be speaking to dozens of people about the same prophetic Bible truths that convicted her to get baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church two years ago in her home in Aruba. She stood at the pulpit at La Roca de Eternidad Adventist church in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic (DR), where members of Amor Adventist church also gathered to hear her speak during a week of evangelistic meetings.
Kock was among 32 radio announcers, producers, and technicians from the English- and French-speaking territories of the Inter-American Division (IAD) who traveled recently to the DR as guest speakers to join in local evangelism efforts. The initiative was sponsored by Adventist World Radio (AWR) in coordination with Hope Channel Inter-America’s Hope Radio, which oversees radios stations across the IAD territory. Kock has been engaged in leading in youth ministries and volunteering as a radio announcer at Radio Adventista Esperanza, an online radio station based in Aruba.
“When the radio director approached me about the AWR evangelistic training initiative, I was a little hesitant but agreed to take part in it,” Kock said. It was a life-changing experience that taught her to depend on the Holy Spirit every step of the way, she said. She connected with many people thirsty for the Word of God. “I’m much more comfortable behind the camera, in a studio, behind a microphone, but God showed me that He wants to help us expand and be more open to doing His work, that He can turn our weaknesses into strengths,” she said.
It’s all about wanting to be used by God and letting Him take over, she added. As the week of evangelistic meetings closed, she witnessed five people being baptized. “This has been life changing for me,” she said.
A Transformative Experience
A transformative experience for radio personnel is precisely what the evangelistic initiative is all about, Eduardo Canales, AWR director for North America, Inter-America, and South America, said. “The team had been preparing for more than three months through online meetings and orientation with local administrators and church pastors on the evangelistic efforts they would be part of,” Canales explained. Each guest speaker preached 10 sermons, with Christ-centered presentations provided by AWR on prophecy and other topics, he said. The initiative included morning training seminars and presentations to help the speakers grow in the fields of communications and evangelism, much like a school of evangelism, before they headed out to lead at churches, Canales said.
Efforts in San Pedro de Macoris resulted in 197 baptisms during the week of meetings led by the 17 individuals from the English and French Caribbean territories and 15 radio staff members from the DR, Canales reported. “It’s been extraordinary to see the culture of evangelism among union and local leaders here in the Dominican Republic,” Canales said.
The joint venture was possible thanks to collaboration with the dozens of pastors, church leaders, and members under the leadership of the Dominican Union Conference of the Adventist Church, and Geuris Paulino, president of the East Dominican Conference, who led his team in preparing evangelism efforts for the visiting team of speakers, according to Canales.
The AWR initiative becomes the fourth this year in the IAD. The others included meetings in Colombia, Nicaragua, and Panama, where so far more than 140 radio personnel participated and contributed to nearly 2,000 baptisms in just the one week of evangelism campaigns this year, Canales reported.
First-time Speaker Experiences
Blain Thomas, 29, was recently appointed as communication director of the St. Lucia Mission of the Adventist Church and has been media manager of a radio station that also covers Antigua, Barbados, and Monserrat. Public speaking was something he has done for several years. But preaching during the evangelistic series made him nervous and a bit anxious, he said. He was so nervous that his wife came with him for support. “She’s … been giving me pointers, as I’ve practiced and presented the messages,” Thomas said.
Thomas was assigned to the Bethania Adventist church — a small church with five rows of pews. “The members and visitors were so friendly and warm, which made me feel less nervous and more confident,” he said. At the end of the week, five people were baptized. “This was such an amazing and spirit-filled experience for me and my wife. We have made life-long connections and have been fired up for the mission of God in a new and exciting way,” he said.
Magdalena Taveras, 51, who works at the Adventist Church’s Radio Amanecer in the DR, said leading an evangelistic meeting at Las Colinas Adventist church took away her public speaking fears. “Behind a microphone is very different, [but] these evangelistic meetings led me to let God use me and reassure me of His presence,” Taveras said.
Kenisha Simms, 40, who is a radio producer at Word 88.3 FM Adventist Radio Bahamas and serves as children’s ministries director of the South Bahamas Conference in Nassau, said she accepted the challenge of leading an evangelistic series one month before she was asked to go to the DR.
“It’s one thing to minister behind the mic through the airways, but to see the faces listening to you, even with a translator … I felt like language doesn’t matter if you talk about Jesus,” she said.
“This new collaborative relationship with AWR … has been very productive,” Abel Márquez, director of Hope Channel Inter-America and communication director of the IAD, said. “Taking part in the training session and appreciating how evangelism is transforming the lives of these radio leaders and producers … allowed for a closer contact with the church and the community.”