October 31, 2021 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News
Top Seventh-day Adventist leaders of the Inter-American Division (IAD) are stopping at nothing to motivate church members to be totally involved in evangelizing, discipling and serving the community as centennial celebrations sweep across the territory in 2022. IAD administrators and departmental leaders celebrated big during a special online program on Sabbath, Oct. 30, 2021, pointing to the blessings God has bestowed in the IAD since it was officially organized as an Adventist World Division in 1922.
The online ceremony was part of the launch of Inter-America’s annual year-end business meetings which will take place online this week.God’s leading
“On this Sabbath, the Inter-American Division remembers how God has led His people in recent years and reaffirms its truths in this living Almighty, Wonderful, Loving God,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America, during the worship service. We cannot forget how God has assisted us in the past and we have the assurance that we can project ourselves into the future.”
As the new year will mark 100 years since the Adventist World Church Council determined the geographical territory of the IAD, including Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, to the northern tip of South America including Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname, the call to preach the everlasting gospel with the anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus remains the same, said Pastor Henry.In 1922, there were nearly 8,000 church members in what had been called the eastern and western regions in the territory, he said. “In a miraculous providential way, the Adventist message arrived in several countries before 1922, thanks to boxes of books left in different ports which were collected by men in search of the truth in places like Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and Guyana,” he said.
Tireless work of early pioneers
“Thanks to the tireless work of the early colporters, devoted, men and women, who left everything to be bearers of hope to journey over hills and mountains, to valleys and large territory proclaiming that Jesus is alive, that He is returning Soon and with Bible on hand sustaining that we must keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, the church began to expand,” said Pastor Henry.The work in Inter-America quickly grew to establish primary, secondary, and professional schools, as well as colleges and universities so that young people could have access to an Adventist Christian education. Then, health centers and clinics began to show compassion to a humanity suffering from ailments, bringing relief, restoration and well-being, he said.
“Soon we saw that deacons, good Samaritans, Dorcas, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, centers of influence and others brought selfless service to the homeless people, the unfortunate ones, showing themselves brothers and sisters of hope,” said Pastor Henry.
100 years later with 3.6 million members
“Today with more than 3.6 million members grouped in 24 administrative units, or unions, 156 regional organized conferences and missions, in more than 23,000 churches and congregations, led by over 3,000 pastors, missionaries and educators, we give glory to God for His infinite grace over the years, for the great accomplishments and growth that He was brought to the church under the first leadership of Pastor Elmer Andross, as well as Bender L. Archbold, George W. Brown, and Israel Leito – great men of vision and faith,” he said.
Added to the leadership under the influence of the Holy Spirit, pastors, missionaries and lay people, men and women, young people of all ages have been able to overcome great obstacles to stay strong and be witnesses of their faith in Jesus, explained Pastor Henry.
The launch of the first centennial celebration is meant to be a great movement of praise and thanksgiving, to rekindle God’s actions in the past and move forward with renewed loyalty and passion in the mission entrusted to each one of us, said Pastor Henry.
Importance of remaining, relevant, vibrant and healthy
In his spiritual message addressing thousands of church member viewers in their homes and throughout churches and congregations, Pastor Henry appealed for each member to remain relevant, vibrant, healthy, sincere and blameless until Jesus comes. As he quoted the miracles God performed in Mark 8, with the feeding of thousands and the unbelief of His disciples, Pastor Henry encouraged viewers to not forget how God has led in the past, and how He has called each one to participate in this great enterprise which is the proclamation of His salvation and the building of His church in the world.“The adventure in which God has led us is that of faith,” said Pastor Henry. “Faith requires our trust, obedience and perseverance.” Pastor Henry encouraged members not to doubt God’s goodness and let Satan erase from their memories the great deeds God has done in their lives.
“Let God use you and multiply our breads and our fishes, here and there, our seeds and our harvest, our works in our churches and communities,” he said.
“May looking back to our 100 years of life of this organization give us courage and hope for the years to come until the return of our Savior Jesus. Move forward with confidence answering the call of God by saying I Will Go,” Pastor Henry encouraged.Multiple evangelism initiatives for 2022
The online celebration saw church leaders invite church members to be involved in 100,000 specific projects in the preaching of the gospel, set to launch in the coming months as part of the centennial celebration in 2022. In addition, leaders expect church members in 100,000 small groups will be involved in neighborhood evangelism campaigns, 100,000 bible studies led by the laity, and 100,000 missionary couples spreading the gospel. Church leaders at every level of the church will be involved in getting members involved in helping plant 1,000 new churches starting in 2022, as well as numerous evangelistic, discipling and community impact initiatives and activities led by every department and ministry throughout the church in Inter-America.
The online centennial celebration featured former IAD administrators, leaders and regional administrators who made significant contributions to the growth of the territory, as well as greetings from the 24 union presidents, praise music, prayer segments, and more.Adventist World Church President Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson congratulated the church in Inter-America for reaching such a significant milestone. “We are celebrating God’s providence and the affirming activities that God has provided through you,” he said. “On behalf of the world church family, we salute you and your evangelistic progress through the Holy Spirit’s power in total member involvement.”
“God is truly blessing you. May you press froward toward a finished work through the power of righteousness of Jesus Christ believing that He who began a good work in the Inter-American Division will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ’s return,” said Pastor Wilson.
A special music festival featuring musical selections from Adventist Universities and institutions continued during the afternoon and viewed online in English, Spanish and French.The Inter-American Division will hold its next centennial celebration across its 24 major church regions, on Jan. 8, 2022.
To find out more about Inter-America’s Centennial celebrations, it’s ongoing initiatives and activities, visit interamerica.org.
To watch Inter-America’s Centennial Celebration launch of Oct. 30, 2021, go to the following links:
Morning Launch Program
English, click HERE
Spanish, click, HERE
French, click HERE
Music Festival Program
English, click HERE
Spanish, click HERE
French, click HERE