Galan and Joanie Yorba-Gray
Last month Life Assurance Ministries experienced a landmark event: a website was launched dedicated to the Spanish ¡Proclamacion!, which Joanie Yorba-Gray has been translating since 2006. Joanie has taken on the task of uploading the files of the translated Proclamation! magazines onto a dedicated website:RevistaProclamacion.com
This resource has been sorely needed in Mexico and in Central and South America where, along with the Caribbean nations, the largest concentration of Adventists in the world reside.
In fact, according to a news story published by Adventist News Network on October 16, 2014, church leaders have implemented a reorganization of the Adventist management in Central America, reflecting the growth in membership there. This decision was finalized at the annual Fall Council held at Adventist world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, last October, and the reorganization was implemented in January, 2015.
This new organization affects the Adventist organization in the countries of Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. These three countries, which are small geographically, nevertheless have a combined Adventist membership of 295,000. Now, the organization’s South Central American Union Conference will become two union “missions”: the Panama Union Mission and the South Central American Union Mission. (“Missions” rely on management support from their parent “division”, while “conferences” are financially independent.)
Once the changes are implemented, the church’s Inter-American Division will be comprised of 23 unions, the most in of any of the denomination’s 13 world divisions. Inter-America is also the largest division by membership, with more than 3.7 million Adventists.1
The Inter-American Division “includes the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and the five most northern countries in South America.” 2
The Inter-American Division is not only growing in membership but also in its ability to equip its pastors. In 2011, the Association of Theological Schools “granted the Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary full accreditation status.” 3 This status means that the Adventist organization now offers graduate degrees to its Adventist pastors: “a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology, a Master of Arts in Religion, and a Doctor of Ministry”.4 Inter-American pastors no longer have to travel to Andrews University in the US state of Michigan to earn graduate work in theology.
This Adventist growth in Central and South American reflects the strategic planning of the world organization of Seventh-day Adventists. This July at the quinquennial meeting of the General Conference session of Seventh-day Adventists held in San Antonio, Texas, church leaders urged “each of the world church’s 18.5 million members to find a way to get personally involved in the Adventist Church’s new five-year ‘Reach the World’ strategic plan after the General Conference (GC) session ends in San Antonio.” 5
This plan includes long-term initiatives which penetrate deeply into cities through free health clinics and community service, ultimately bringing those reached into Adventist churches. Andrew McChesney, news editor for the Adventist Review and Adventist News Network, wrote the following from the General Conference session held this July:
Among the newer initiatives expected to continue for the next five years are “Mission to the Cities,” which seeks to share Jesus in the world’s biggest cities, and “Comprehensive Health Ministry,” which aims to meet the physical and spiritual needs of communities through free clinics, health expos, and community health centers in local church buildings.6
Adventists worldwide are also being urged to participate in personal study plans designed to immerse them into Ellen White’s books. McChesney further wrote,
Initiatives such as “Believe His Prophets”—an online Bible study plan that will expand on the previous quinquennium’s Bible study plan, “Revived by His Word,” to include seven books by church cofounder Ellen G. White—seek to nurture church members’ relationship with God by encouraging them to spend more time reading the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, as White’s writings are known.7
Adventism is growing around the world. Moreover, its profile is even higher now with Adventist Ben Carson’s bid for the Republican nomination for president. The Adventist worldview is being subtly introduced to thousands of unsuspecting people around the world through their evangelistic and health outreaches, but God’s truth is still stronger than deception.
The Spanish-speaking world is especially responsive to Adventism which offers education, healthy lifestyle, medical care, and even employment. It stands in apparent contrast to entrenched Catholicism while ironically still offering a “salvation” that includes one’s good works and best efforts. ¡Proclamacion! is much-needed in the Inter-American and South American Divisions, and we ask that you pray for this new outreach. Please pray that God will protect and bless Joanie as she both translates and uploads the magazines online, and pray that God will help those who need to find this site to discover the true gospel and find the help they need to “unpack” Adventism. †
Copyright 2015 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Camp Verde, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised November 10, 2015. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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VOLUME 16, ISSUE 3
D E P A R T M E N T S