January 26, 2022 | Guatemala City, Guatemala | Gustavo Menéndez and Inter-American Division News

When Bertilda Vázquez de Quiej, 64, came across the TikTok app, a social media network platform that uses short form videos, she was moved to start a bible study ministry.  The grandmother of eight began to share bible verses and an encouraging message every day from her home in San Lucas, Sacatepéquez, in Guatemala.

Quiej soon began to gain many followers. In just two years since joining TikTok, she has more than 29,700 followers.

Her daily messages follow a “Do not fear” theme and also include the “Faith of Jesus” bible courses, and other initiatives promoted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She recently highlighted the 10 Days of Prayer the world church follows at the start of each year.

Bertilda Vázquez de Quiej films her daily TikTok Bible message one afternoon from the living room of her home in San Lucas, Sacatepéquez, in Guatemala. Her TikTok account grew to 29,700 followers today since she signed up for the app during the onset of the global pandemic in 2020. [Photo: Gustavo Menéndez]

Perfect timing during the pandemic

TikTok gained popularity at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and it was perfect timing for Quiej to begin with the app, she said.

“I was motivated to begin with social media platforms because most people are connected and spend a lot of time, even during their productive times at work, they are listening to messages on social networks,” said Quiej. “They keep their phone next to them and take time to listen and view videos and so I realized that the Holy Spirit can work through an audio, through a video.” That was motivation enough for Quiej to start her ministry.

“One day I noticed that I had more than 1,000 followers and so I thought ‘well they like what I’m doing’ so I continued to do so trying to improve each day,” said Quiej.

A Seventh-day Adventist since she was 13 years old and a native of Nicaragua, she is active in her San Bartolomé Milpas Altas Adventist Church in Guatemala, serving as head elder last year. She was recently appointed again as elder and treasurer.

Bertilda Quiej’s TikTok  account is themed “No Temas” or “Do not Fear” and features a Bible verse and encouraging message every day of te year. [Image: Screengrab] [Image: Screengrab]

Wife, mother, grandmother, business owner and active member

As a wife, mother, grandmother and business owner, she keeps busy during the day, beginning with personal devotional time. She also takes time to exercise, do gardening, and runs her two beauty school shops. Every afternoon she makes TikTok videos. She also posts on Facebook Live and recently opened an account on Instagram.

Her daily videos have gained her popularity as the Seventh-day Adventist TikTok grandmother in Guatemala that shares encouraging bible messages every day.

She studies for the best time to post her videos on the TikTok app every day, takes time to answer questions that her followers send her and tries to ignore or block hate messages she occasionally gets.

A very personal ministry

“This has become a very personal ministry to me,” said Quiej. What she likes most is that she has found a purpose in sharing bible promises. Her followers are based in many different countries like Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States.

In her Dec. 29, 2021, TikTok video message, Quiej (left) encourages her followers not to give up and that human effort and the divine power is the key to success in their lives. Last week, her video message reviews a bible scripture focused on the 10 days of prayer follow by the Adventist world church every January. [Image: Screengrab]

Quiej says she has received many questions from hundreds of people, even from evangelical pastors who asked to see if she knows her Bible as she shares on her videos. “I may not know the answer to every question but the Bible does and it has all the answers,” she said.

“I see this as such an important ministry because we have to preach this [gospel] message throughout the world, and I believe that I’m doing just that, preaching to Europe, Asia, to America and the rest of the world. I want Jesus to come and I want to use all the opportunities I can to that end,” said Quiej.

No limit to preaching God’s Word

Quiej is blessed every day she gets to share on TikTok. That’s 365 days of the year. “I just love this about the social networks, that there is no limit to preaching God’s Word.” She dreams of being surprised by the people she has touched by the message of the Bible in her ministry when she gets to heaven.

She has had highs and lows in her life. She left the church for two years and returned to the Lord, was re-baptized and since then has clung to Jesus. When Quiej thinks back to how God helped her in this ministry, she is so grateful.

Quiej and her husband Moises have been married for 48 years. She has lived in Guatemala since they married. Their three children live in the same town and are active in their local church.

“When I started to use social media networks, I was like a chicken pecking corn, with my fingers, but now I’m managing better and it’s enough for my ministry,” she said. It wasn’t easy but she loves technology and keeps learning how changing and dynamic it can be. She believes anyone can share the messages of love and hope found in the bible through their mobile device(s).

Quiej who hopes to soon surpass 30,000 followers on TikTok and continue growing her ministry. She will continue ministry on Facebook and soon begin bible studies on Instagram.

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