Located on the northwest tip of South America, the Republic of Colombia covers an area of 440,570 square miles (1,141,374 square kilometers).
Colombia is a multifaceted and multicultural ethnic mosaic, with a population of 46,000,000, who are descended from natives, Europeans, and Caribbeanislanders and live in five distinct geographical regions.
Colombians are a hospitable, cheerful, and warm people who take advantage of the biodiversity of food produced in their geographical territory: corn, potatoes, beans, coconut, rice, banana, yucca, yam, sugar cane, cocoa, milk, coffee, meat, and seafood. Exotic tropical fruits abound year round. The country is rich with the folklore, music, and customs of several cultures of the past and present. Regional festivals reflect a people rich in religious traditions as well.
American photographer Frank C. Kelley was the first Seventh-day Adventist to settle in the capital city of Bogotá, in 1895. In 1901, Frank Hutchins, an American pastor, and John Eccles, an Australian missionary doctor, arrived in Panama, which at the time belonged to Colombia, to spread the Advent message. But they both died prematurely, victims of yellow fever, in a town called Bocas del Toro. In 1902, Samuel Parker Smith, son of Seventh-day Adventist pioneer Uriah Smith, arrived in the islands of San Andrés and Providencia. The first Adventist converts were baptized in San Andrés, and later in Providencia.
The Adventist work on the mainland began with Max Trummer, a pastor, who baptized José Redondo, his wife, Ana, and their daughter, Carmen, in a town on the North Coast in 1921.
In 1925 the Atlantic Coast Mission was organized, and in 1927 the Colombia-Venezuela Union Mission was created. That was the administrative center until 1989, when the Colombian Union Mission was organized. It reached union conference status in 1992. The headquarters of the church in Colombia is located in the city of Medellín.
The Colombian Union has 244,200 members (70 percent are young adults), 250 pastors and ministerial workers, 651 teachers, 447 colporteurs, 1,000 churches, 956 companies, 212 districts, 10 local fields (conferences and missions), 1 university, 43 academies, and 36 elementary schools.
The union’s membership and administration have adopted four main goals for the 2007 to 2011 period: to change the status of six missions to conferences, to organize a second union conference, to reach 600 towns and villages with the Adventist message, and to reach a membership of 350,000.
Prepared by Eliseo Bustamante, president of the Colombian Union Conference. Translated by Alfredo Garcia-Marenko.