More than 230 Seventh-day Adventist communicators, IT specialists, and church leaders from across Asia met in Jeju Island, Korea, September 13-16 for the 2023 Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) Asia conference.
Leaders invited participants, hailing from Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, and other countries to keep learning and harnessing the use of the latest technology with only one purpose: to support the mission of the Adventist Church of sharing the gospel of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
“When the Holy Spirit fully comes on earth, when the Holy Spirit fills your life, you will lead billions to Jesus,” General Conference communication director Williams Costa Jr. told the event attendees gathered at the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) Leadership Training Center in Jeju Island, Korea, September 13. “It’s not a small task,” he added, reminding participants about Asia, a region that encompasses 30 percent of the world’s area and 60 percent of the population but where Christians are a minority.
Equipping and Empowering
The purpose of GAiN is equipping and empowering for mission and evangelism. To do that, Costa invited attendees to participate in the event’s presentations, training sessions, panels, breakout sessions, and what he called “intense spiritual activities.”
A varied roster of speakers was scheduled to talk about production, videography, photography, news, podcasting, gaming, technology, innovation, and artificial intelligence (AI). The event also includes reports from various regions. “You will listen from the different regions of the world, showing how the Adventist Church is using media and digital means to share the gospel with the world.”
Costa emphasized the role of GAiN, which was launched in 2004, in this process. “Through the years, GAiN has increased the level of collaboration among communicators and IT specialists,” he said. The organization “has evolved into a global platform for networking, training, and collaboration. We pray that this combination between technology and content can be a blessing used by the Holy Spirit.”
In that context, Costa shared some of the initiatives that Adventist communicators are implementing to motivate members and leaders, and to keep the world family together united with the purpose of reaching others for Jesus.
One of them has incorporated AI technology to share a weekly message by GC president Ted N. C. Wilson with other world fields. AI uses Wilson’s voice and inflections from the original English and using his voice, superimposes his message into dozens of languages. By way of an example, Costa shared samples of one of Wilson’s weekly messages in Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi, Tamil, Tagalog, Bahasa, and other languages.
“This is a combination of content and technology,” Costa said. “This is not a demonstration we are doing; it is a tool that from now on will make the message available in many different languages. What we need is all possible tools to share the good news of salvation.”
Against that background, Costa emphasized that the Adventist Church’s “Communication Department exists to support the mission of the church.” He added, “That mission is to share the good news about Jesus. We can’t miss the point. We can’t miss the focus. Everything that we do, everything that we plan, everything that we achieve is to fulfill the mission of taking people to Jesus and baptize them.”