In Colombia, Adventists Celebrate “Vision One Million”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America celebrated the fruits of its discipleship training program with a special live satellite broadcast from Bogota, Colombia, on May 4, 2013. The event was part of a multilayered territory-wide initiative called “Vision One Million,” which began in 2010. This initiative integrates church departments and ministries leaders to train and empower 1 million church members to become true followers and witnesses of Jesus.
More than 12,000 church members and visitors packed the G12 Convention Center in Bogota to witness and participate in the three-hour program, which highlighted the end of intense evangelism campaigns held throughout the large metropolis.
“Thank you, church in Bogota and the rest of theSouth Colombian Union, for your enthusiasm and commitment and efforts to impact this large city,” said Eliseo Bustamente, president of the South Colombian Union, as he addressed the 143,000-member-strong South Colombia region during his opening remarks.
Multiple activities to reach the city included a series of community activities in the city, such as a marathon, street prayer sessions, seminars to restore marriages and families, health expos, health screenings, support of a cancer foundation, and prison ministries, among others.
Edgar Espindola, vice president of the Colombian senate, thanked Seventh-day Adventists for their contribution in improving society by restoring families and standing by the Word of God, which teaches the unity of a family between a man and a woman.
Some 70 longstanding Seventh-day Adventists in South Colombia were honored during the event for their commitment to fulfilling the mission of the church. Among them was Leonil de Díaz, age 91, celebrating more than 80 years of being a baptized member, who was recognized by Israel Leito, president of the Inter-American Division (IAD) and Balvin Braham, associate ministerial secretary and event organizer.
Raúl Taborda and his wife, Gina, were among the visitors who came to the satellite event to be baptized. The couple found themselves attending the evangelistic campaign held at the Kennedy Adventist Church in Bogota after facing a failed business and troubled marriage. Touched by the Holy Spirit, Taborda, a former Seventh-day Adventist, and his wife decided to be baptized and get married.
“God has called us to return to His ways,” said Taborda. “I learned that there is no life without Jesus, and I want to return to His ways form now on.”
Carlos Eduardo Rodríguez was also among those baptized during the event. After attending the evangelistic campaign at the Fontibón Adventist Church, Rodríguez, 36, decided to renew his commitment to God. Rodríguez had battled with alcoholism during the 11 years that he had been away from the church.
“I’m so happy to return home,” said Rodríguez, “but more so because I feel peace after leaving my [old] life behind and being clean in Christ Jesus.”
According to Braham, some 3,580 new members joined the church as a result of the evangelistic efforts among the 130 churches in Bogota and the 130 evangelists from South Colombia and evangelists from the IAD territory who doubled efforts for the citywide impact.
—reported by Libna Stevens, IAD, in Bogota, Colombia, with William Estupiñán and Marcela Piñeros