June 12, 2019 | Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico | Uriel Castellanos/IAD
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chiapas, Mexico, highlighted its comprehensive health impact plan with eight brand-new vehicles during a special ceremony held in Tuxtla, Gutiérrez, Chiapas, June 3, 2019. The new vans will be used to expand the health and medical missionary work at the eight conferences that comprise the union territory.
“Health is one of the important pillars the church should invest in to be used as a light where it is needed most, as part of fulfilling the mission,” said Pastor Ignacio Navarro, president of the church in Chiapas. There are many marginal communities that are in great need of healing and medical services across Chiapas and the new equipped vehicles will cater to them, explained Navarro.
Local conference administrators, health ministries directors and Adventist health professionals took part in the inauguration ceremony at the union’s headquarter office in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
The first half of the year has seen dozens of health brigades, an amount which has doubled this “Year of Health” focus the church is celebrating in Chiapas, church leaders said.
“We saw the great need of special medical transport vehicles and decided to facilitate that ministry in order to accomplish the scheduled activities throughout the year,” said Navarro.
Faustino De Los Santos, M.D., health ministries director for the church in Chiapas, said that the vans, besides transporting medical staff and medicines during health impact programs, can also be used to transport patients who are in need of specialized medical services at clinics or hospitals.
De Los Santos said that currently, conferences usually hold a medical brigade almost every weekend and dozens more medical brigades are scheduled to take place during the rest of the year.
More than 200 Adventist health professionals are currently participating in the health brigades, said De Los Santos. Plans are to involve every health professional across Chiapas in the coming weeks and months, he added.
The health and/or medical brigades usually include free medical check-ups, minor medical surgeries, minor dental procedures, ultrasound scans, ophthalmology exams, free distribution of eye glasses, features psychological attention, nutritional advice, healthy lifestyle lectures, cooking classes, and more.
The church in Chiapas has four missionary focal points: evangelism, education, health and publications. Local leaders have seen many benefit from the medical missionary services and seen the church expand through its health activities, especially where there is no Adventist presence in communities.
The Chiapas Mexican Union is one of five major church regions in Mexico. There are more than 246,000 Seventh-day Adventists worshiping in 3,159 churches and congregations in Chiapas. The church operates 31 primary and secondary schools and a university.