A new believer is embraced after being baptized by a local pastor after intense evangelistic campaigns wrapped up on Mar. 23, 2024, at the Palmira Davis Adventist Campgrounds in Hato Mayor, in the Dominican Republic. More than 800 people joined the church across the 230 churches and congregations in the East Dominican Conference last month. [Photo: East Dominican Conference]

Pastors, church members and guest evangelists wrapped up series across 230 congregations in the eastern part of the island.

April 4, 2024 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | Bernardo Medina and Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Dominican Republic recently celebrated the efforts of hundreds of local church pastors, laypersons, theology students, regional leaders and guest evangelists from the United States as intense evangelism campaigns ended on Mar. 23, 2024. Their efforts resulted in over 800 baptisms; leaders expect hundreds more to be baptized in the coming weeks.

The efforts were part of an annual initiative led the Dominican Union involving leaders from its six conferences on the island, where thousands of active members collaborated with bible studies, visitations and community impact activities and initiatives six months before evangelism campaigns wrapped up. This year the evangelism impact took place in the eastern part of the island.

Part of the more than 3,000 church members and new believers enjoy the evangelistic celebration program on Mar. 23, 2024. [Photo: East Dominican Conference]

Thousands packed the Palmira Davis Adventist Campgrounds in Hato Mayor to enjoy music, spiritual messages, witness 100 baptisms and listen to evangelism effort reports on Mar. 23, 2024.

Bringing hope

“We do not spare any type of effort or resources to fulfill the mission of preaching the gospel,” said Pastor Teófilo Silvestre, president of the Dominican Union. “As a church, we are committed to fulfill our mission to take the good news of salvation to each community, and we are convinced that these types of programs change lives, bring hope to homes, rescue our young people from drugs and as a result bring eternal life.”

President of the Dominican Union Pastor Teófilo Silvestre prays on stage during the celebration program in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic. [Photo: East Dominican Conference]

All 230 congregations organized in 36 districts were active in evangelistic campaigns, reported Pastor Geuris Paulino, president of the East Dominican Conference. Many of the smaller churches near each other combined their congregations during the series.

Thirty-five theology students local as well as regional pastors preached the week before Mar. 15, a week before the 50 preachers including pastors from the Inter-American Division, administrators of the Atlantic Union of the North American Division, and union, and conference leaders led in the second week of evangelistic campaigns.

Young people take part during a drama performance during the East Dominican Conference evangelistic celebration, Marc. 23, 2024. [Photo: East Dominican Conference]

Ongoing annual strategy

The annual ongoing strategy to support evangelism efforts at a different conference at the end of the first quarter was different this year, said Pastor Silvestre. “Before, only administrators and department directors and of institutions, but this year we added theology students with their dean and university president and preachers from our division and outside of the island.”

Themed “Trust in Him,” the evangelism efforts had a focus on spirituality, evangelism, and development to drive the fulfillment of the mission, church leaders said.

Pastor Melchor Ferreyra, personal ministries director of the Inter-American Division preaches at the Higuey Central Adventist Church in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic during the evangelism efforts Mar. 15-23, 2024. [Photo: Higuey Central Adventist Church]

Pastor Melchor Ferreyra, personal ministries director of the Inter-American Division, spoke at Higuey Central Adventist Church, where dozens of church members brought more than 200 business colleagues, employees, and friends to the evening evangelistic meetings every night. Ferreyra spoke on trusting in God in the daily struggles and challenges in their business endeavors and life itself.   “I was so impressed to see so many church members and business owners bring their workers and their friends every night,” said Ferreyra.

One such guest included the National SWAT Director Rafael E. Reyes Castillos, who traveled from Santo Domingo, the capital city, several hours to visit the church on Sabbath morning. He was invited by a church member friend. It was his first visit to a Seventh-day Adventist Church. “He asked for prayer and stayed the entire worship service,” said Ferreyra. When the altar call was made at the end of the sermon, he stood and moved to the front where he was gifted with a bible and The Great Controversy and prayed for. “If I had to choose a church, I would choose to become a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” said Castillos.

Misael Viscaino, pastor of the Higuey Central Adventist Church prays for National SWAT Director Rafael E. Reyes Castillos during his first visit to the church on Mar. 23, 2024. [Photo: Higuey Central Adventist Church]

Thousands of visitors

Like Castillos, thousands were invited to attend the evangelistic efforts in the churches across the conference.  The work of bible workers, laypersons, small group leaders and local pastors will continue to reach and disciple new contacts as part of the follow-up ministry after the series.

“We have almost reached 50 percent of our set goal of 2,098 baptisms this year,” said Paulino. What made the difference from our previous efforts is how the church pastors and laypersons experience the spirit of integration, dedication, and amazing teamwork throughout the efforts, he explained. “I see a more motivated and committed church membership with a zeal for mission.”

East Dominican Conference President Geuris Paulino (let) speaks to the large crowd of church leaders and members next to Leidy Marínez, treasurer of the East Dominican Conference. [Photo: East Dominican Conference]

The number of visitors per night throughout the churches totaled nearly 15,000, added Pauline. “We have never seen that before,” he said. That means there are hundreds of bible studies to follow up right now he explained. The initiative this year surpassed the impact during the last quarter of the year of 600 persons joining the church, he reported.

Wave of evangelism

“We praise God and see that this marvelous wave [of evangelism] will continue until the next stages of impact with children, adolescent and youth, followed by women’s ministries evangelism efforts to wrap up this year,” Paulino said.

One of 100 new believers who were prayed for before baptisms on May 23. 2024, in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic. [Photo: East Dominican Conference]

There’s so much drive to fulfill the mission, said Ferreyra. “Seeing their joy in preaching and the dedication they live makes a real difference.”  During a morning dedicated to seminars and presentations, Ferreyra reminded pastors to continue to follow the traditional process that the bible teaches in wining others to prepare, plant, cultivate, harvest and conserve new believers. “The church must become a nourishing center for believers so that the community can be reached with the gospel,” he said. “We don’t need to reinvent anything; we just need to rediscover the biblical principles of the primitive church and apply them to this post-modern society.”

IAD Stewardship Director Pastor Roberto Herrera spoke at Villaverde 1 Adventist Church in La Romana during the week to encourage local pastors and active church members to remain committed to letting God use the gifts and talents they must double their efforts for mission.

Church leaders, local and regional pastors, and guest evangelists who took part in the evangelistic efforts in the East Dominican Conference. [Photo: East Dominican Conference]

In addition, guest preachers from the Atlantic Union included Pastors Pierre E. Omeleter, president, Ted A. Huskins, executive secretary, Elias F. Zabala, treasurer, as well as Pastors Henry Beras and Jose Joseph, vice presidents.

As the celebration closed, church leaders handed over the symbolic torch of evangelism that will continue in the southern region of the country next year.

To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Dominican Union, visit adventistas.org.do.

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