Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Leaders Highlight Evangelism at First Union Hispanic Festival

Leaders Highlight Evangelism at First Union Hispanic Festival
Story by Vanessa Leiva, Photos by David Leiva

It was an event many months, even years, in the making, but finally a dream came true when nearly 2,300 attended the Columbia Union Conference’s first Hispanic Lay Evangelism Festival, February 20-22, at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Md. “Livangelism 2015” provided an avenue for union, conference and local church leaders to offer evangelistic training to members from more than 200 Hispanic churches. Attendees also got an opportunity to network and re-experience a sense of God’s call to action in this generation.

“We longed and prayed for our planned festival to be more than just an event, but a new Pentecost,” says Rubén Ramos, union vice president for the Multilingual Ministries and organizer for the event.

Photograph by David Leiva Click here to see a photo gallery of the event.

Living a Movement

The festival centered on four evangelistic initiatives that reminded the delegates that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is more than just a body of believers—it is a movement, with a call to lead others to Christ. The four initiatives were: 1) for every disciple to pray and work to bring five friends to Christ; 2) for each member to proclaim Jesus Christ and start 500 new small groups; 3) for all delegates and leaders to commit themselves to planting 15 new churches by the end of 2015; and 4) for church leaders to focus all ministries and activities on meeting the needs of the community.

José Cortés Sr., president of the New Jersey Conference, started the event by inviting all attendees to cultivate an environment in their churches that opens the door to all who seek Christ, free from any prejudice and baggage. Dave Weigely, Columbia Union president, invited the delegates to “become passionate about being fishers of men” and bring at least one friend to Christ this year. Speakers also challenged members to turn their homes into places of worship. As a result, more than 800 delegates pledged to start small groups.

Lighting up Lives

Many attendees reported surpassing their goals of baptisms and plans to expand to new frontiers. This inspired 51 churches to commit to plant a new church in an area with little or no Adventist presence, passing the original festival goal of 15.

As the powerful weekend came to a close, Ramos reminded attendees that all of their commitments and plans will not be possible without the Holy Spirit’s work in them. “I’m thankful to God for what He has done and pray that this experience will be multiplied and will overflow into every home in our union territory!” he states.


Feature Image Caption: Melecio Benjamin Villalpando Garcia and his wife Gloria Elena Mallorca Kremer(back) getting baptized as new members of the recently established Landmark church in Potomac Conference.  Photograph by David Leiva

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