August 27, 2012 – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic….Libna Stevens/IAD
Dozens of chaplains from educational institutions throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America met to gain certification to better minister to the needs of students across schools and institutions. The event took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Aug. 7-14, 2012 and was the first of its kind to be held in the territory, organizers said.
“Chaplaincy Ministries recognizes that most of our chaplains are functioning in the education area and it is where the greatest challenge lies due to the large number of schools and universities we have in our territory,” said Pastor Benjamin Carballo, chaplaincy ministries director for the church in Inter-America.
The certification program focused on a number of seminars on how chaplains can prepare more attractive and interactive Bible classes, offer more sound counseling and continue to minister to the spiritual needs of students and teachers on a daily basis, said Carballo.
“We want to ensure that each chaplain can look at the whole aspect, with teachers, students, and student’s families,” said Carballo. “We want to ensure that the chaplain is more than a pastor, more than a Bible teacher who can fill the spiritual needs farther than praying for students, preparing devotional worships, and weeks of prayer during the school year.”
The gathering was also an opportunity for chaplains to interact and network as they make their ministry more effective in facing the challenges of providing guidance to children and young people suffering problems at home, low self-esteem, drug addiction, worldly distractions, and a negative outlook, said Carballo.
The certification was validated by the General Conference Chaplaincy Ministry department, and brought chaplaincy experts like Dr. Mario Ceballos, chaplaincy associate director at the Adventist World Church, Dr. Miguel Alemany, clinical psychologist and professor at Montemorelos University in North Mexico among others, during the seven-day, 32-credit hour event, explained Carballo.
Pastor Jeremias Morales, chaplaincy ministries director for the church in South Mexico said the certification marked a new stage in chaplaincy ministry in his territory. Morales was accompanied by a dozen regional chaplaincy directors overseeing dozens of primary and secondary schools in South Mexico.
“God is calling us to double our efforts and work in favor of our students, parents and staff of each institution,” said Morales. “There are souls to save, battles to fight but above all, God is with us.”
The goal is to continue nurturing and guiding through the needed ministry of chaplaincy, said Carballo. “We hope that our educational institutions can soon see a difference for its students and faculty.”
It can be a challenge as there are more than 25,000 primary and secondary students in 178 Adventist schools across Inter-America, but one that will see improvement in the coming months and years in the 12 Adventist universities as well, explained Carballo.
“We want our chaplains to be able to better discern what goes across the mind and heart of children and young people. That they may be blessed and rescued even if the home may be falling apart, and that each institution can be a light to help each one,” Carballo said.
For more information on the Inter-America’s Chaplaincy Ministries in Inter-America, visit https://www.facebook.com/CapellanesAdventistasDia
To view photos of the event, click here