General Conference

A Healthy “Infection”

How the Gospel can “spread” even during a pandemic lockdown

Miami, Florida, United States | Melchor Ferreyra, Inter-American Division

In Isaiah 55:11, the Lord promises that His word will not return void—that it shall bear fruit and prosper wherever He may send it. Jesus’ influence was viral -everywhere He went (Matt. 4:23-25) He had an eternal impact on those who listened to His words and kept them in their hearts. The beauty of the promise recorded in Isaiah is that it keeps being fulfilled even in our days.

It is not by chance that we are at home in the midst of this pandemic. On the contrary, I think it’s an exciting opportunity to share the good news in the best “viral” way possible. To include the good news of the gospel on our mobile devices and computers is an opportunity we should not squander.

At this very moment, there are millions of people locked in their homes, with a lot of time on their hands. These are people that we can reach with the healthiest “viral” message that exists-the everlasting gospel. Salvation in Christ becomes a wonderful experience in the midst of this pandemic. In her book Christian Service, Ellen G. White wrote, “Our Savior went from house to house, healing the sick, comforting the mourners, soothing the afflicted, speaking peace to the disconsolate. He took the little children in His arms and blessed them, and spoke words of hope and comfort to the weary mothers” (p. 114).

It is exciting to know that we can play a leading role, “infecting” others with hope and passion for the healthiest message that the world has ever experienced, namely, salvation in Christ. “Every follower of Jesus has a work to do as a missionary for Christ, in the family, in the neighborhood, in the town or city where he lives” (Christian Service, p. 18).

This is how José and María Muñoz understood it. They were hosts of the annual visit of Fernando and Margarita, María’s parents who were not Seventh-day Adventists and had no intention of learning about the Adventist faith. Due to the unexpected lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fernando and Margarita had to stay in their daughter’s house for an extended period of time. José and María saw an opportunity of sharing the gospel with them, but they were very smart about it. It was not an imposition or obligation but just their personal testimony. José and María showed sympathy, making Fernando and Margarita realize little by little their need to study the Bible.

José and María are members of the Kendall Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Miami, Florida. As in any other church, services in the building were canceled due to the pandemic. Immediately, the church elders and their pastor made plans to take church services to Zoom and Facebook. Sure enough, Fernando and Margarita were invited to attend these services through social media platforms. This created a desire in them to learn more about this congregation that was so interested in their members, and in sharing a message of hope with people. They asked their son-in-law to give them Bible studies, which he gladly did. They were then invited to a small group through Zoom, one of several that the church regularly offers on weekdays. There they learned much more about Jesus’ wonderful love and grace.

One night, close to midnight, the pastor’s phone rang. It was José, asking Pastor Alejandro Delgado if he was willing to baptize María, who had decided to take that important step before returning to Mexico. Pastor Delgado gladly accepted, and the whole church rejoiced in her decision. On Wednesday, July 31, María was baptized. Fernando, her husband, had not made a decision yet. He said that he would when he returned to Mexico. God’s love, however, had such a big impact in his life, that one morning, he told God he didn’t want to wait and that he would surrender his life and asked to be baptized. Two weeks later, on August 12, I had the privilege of baptizing Fernando at the Kendall Adventist Church. It was wonderful to witness in his face and words the joy that such a decision had on him.

When Fernando was raised from the baptismal waters, he said he had been infected with the hope and passion for the most beautiful message in history – the message of the good news of salvation. Fernando said he now wants to infect others with the same excitement that he felt. Fernando and María returned to Mexico with a desire to tell others that the love of Jesus is stronger than a pandemic and that the vaccine of the gospel is more powerful than the virus of sin.

There are thousands of people in Inter-America who could tell a similar story, and there are thousands of church members who are willing to be actors and not mere observers in the fulfillment of our mission. I challenge everyone to get the world infected with the hope and the excitement for the gospel, telling others that Jesus is alive, is real, and will soon return.

Melchor Ferreyra is the director of Personal Ministries of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

This article was originally published on the Inter-America Division’s website