Inter-American Division President  Pastor Elie Henry (center), speaks during a special devotional program to start the new year as Pastor Leonard Johnson (left) executive secretary and Ivelisse Herrera (right) treasurer stand before addressing more than 45 department directors and staff at the Headquarter Office in Miami, Florida, United States, Jan. 3, 2023, . [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

January 3, 2023 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

Top Seventh-day Adventist leaders welcomed the new year at the Inter-American Division (IAD) headquarter office in Miami, Florida, United States, earlier today. The more than 45 leaders and staff members reflected on God’s blessings during the past year passed and committed to doubling their efforts in fulfilling the mission of the church in the territory.

“Last year we celebrated God’s mercies for our church and our families and although many of you faced difficulties, and mourned the loss of family members, we can say that God was with us,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in the IAD.

Leaders and staff members listen in during the first work day of the new year at the IAD Office. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

“God is ready to fulfill His promises and guide each one in purpose, vision as we serve Him and give Him glory and praise in all that we do,” said Pastor Henry. “We must work together to continue moving forward with the mission.”

Moving forward successfully will mean the close teamwork of departmental leaders and staff members to continue in service, leadership, and ministry to the growing membership, added Pastor Henry. “We want to do the best with you in the work of God, so that God can be exalted always, for we have nothing to fear as God is with us and moves ahead of us.”

Pastor Leonard Johnson, executive secretary of the IAD, also spoke to department heads and staff to continue pursuing the mission at hand. “The mission is why we exist as an organization,” he said. “This is not about tile or position but fulfilling the mission, claim the promises of God as we work together.”

Beny Paez, an assistant at the IAD Office, prays during a special prayer session during the worship program. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

The new year brings a new administrative team which includes Mrs. Ivelisse Herrera, as IAD treasurer, who was elected last month by executive committee members after former treasurer Filiberto Verduzco retired.

“God uses us, especially those who serve faithfully with love and dedication, no matter what position we serve from,” said Herrera.  She challenged leaders and staff to stay committed to serving the church. “I believe we can have a wonderful year, a glorious year for God’s honor and glory for He will continue leading the church no matter the challenges.”

The new year is set to continue motivating the 3.7-million membership to continue focusing on numerous strategies to educate, evangelize and serve in their communities with activities and on-going initiatives set in motion across the 24 unions, 156 conferences and missions, and more than 23,000 local churches.

Guest Speaker Pastor Edgar Benitez, evangelist and communication director of the Central Mexican Union, challenged leaders to carefully examine their work and ministry during the fast changing world today.  [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Guest Speaker Pastor Edgar Benitez, evangelist, and communication director of the Central Mexican Union, pointed leaders to the dangers of the success they might experience in leadership.  He challenged leaders to look attentively to the fast changes taking place in the world today and to examine and evaluate how things were done in 2022.

“As leaders we need to renew ourselves, put away our old sermons and washed-up strategies, leave paved roads and open new pathways because the times today demand it,” said Benitez.

Benitez encouraged leaders to renounce to keeping the status quo, guard their ministry as the most sacred thing they have, live connected to the Lord, treat colleagues with respect and always remain accountable to God and the church. “Fellowship and communion with God must prevail in your life as you serve Him day by day.”

Louis Cleare of The Bahamas sang during a mini concert segment during the morning program. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Church leaders took time to praise and pray together for the church, families, and the membership across the IAD territory.

IAD administrators and department directors will meet during the days and weeks ahead to polish initiatives and review upcoming events and activities.

The Inter-American Division oversees the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mexico, Central America, The Caribbean and French Antilles as well as Colombia and Venezuela. The IAD and its organizations look after thousands of churches, hundreds of schools, universities, hospitals and clinics.

IAD staff members watch a special video greeted by church leaders and their families during the start of the worship program on Jan. 3, 2023. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

For more on the church in the Inter-American Division, visit us at

To view photos of the Jan. 3, worship program, Click HERE




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