196,000 People Baptized Across Africa Continent as a Result of Total Member Involvement

General Conference

196,000 People Baptized Across Africa Continent as a Result of Total Member Involvement

Special Annual Council report highlights how ECD initiative “Hope for Africa” mobilized leaders and laypeople

Business Meetings | United States | Maryellen Hacko, ANN

Announced in a special report during Annual Council meetings on October 9, more than 196,000 people have been baptized across the African continent following “Hope for Africa,” an evangelistic campaign held in Nairobi, Kenya, September 2-16 this year. 

Thanks to hundreds of leaders and laypeople across the East-Central African Division (ECD) embracing the call to Total Member Involvement (TMI), the two-week event brought together more than one million people in-person and online.

Mark Finley, renowned pastor and evangelist, was the main speaker for the campaign.Finley shared his admiration for the evangelistic effort, “The thing that deeply impressed me was that every entity was cooperating together.”

Sponsored by Hope Channel International, in collaboration with ECD and Adventist World Radio, the event was broadcast via two satellites and 20,000 downlink locations in 11 countries, also streamed live across websites, YouTube channel, the Hope Channel app, social media, and radio.

“This is the first time in the history of ECD events, starting in 1995, that they have had an all-African staff,” Finley added. “I just think that’s a tremendous sense of growth for the African church to be able to, in 20,000 places and on multiple platforms, uplink the meetings.”

When asked how this large-scale event was coordinated, Blasious Ruguri, ECD president, shared his appreciation for the work of local union leaders, as well as the media and communications professionals who made it possible.

“These [union presidents] had very difficult logistics to think about. But each union worked so hard with their media centers and communications directors, and they all worked together in great synergy,” he said.

During their Annual Council presentation, a video showcased testimonies from individuals, families, and whole churches baptized in response to the campaign. Specifically, Burundi pastor Milboro Balshazzar, just three days after receiving an invitation to the event, transformed his church into a downlink and converted his entire congregation to Adventism. He was then baptized as an Adventist.

Local churches and institutions were also mobilized. Every Adventist school in the ECD became a downlink location. Church members opened their shops. Programs were made free to the public. Prisons and buses were transformed into places of spiritual revivals by laypeople.

“People were putting a TV on the roof of their buses, so that people at bus stops were baptized. A group of laypeople wanted to baptize prisoners, but there was no baptistry there. So they turned the back of a truck into a baptistry,” said Finley.

During the campaign, audiences were captivated by Bible-based presentations from Finley, and also enjoyed practical insights on building healthy relationships from David Mmbaga, as well as health education from Dr Chidi Ngwaba, Adventist doctor who specializes in the prevention and reversal of lifestyle diseases. In addition, more than 50 choirs from Kenya and Tanzania shared songs of praise.

All presentations were translated into seven languages: Amharic, Arabic, French, Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, Luganda, and sign language.

“What we are witnessing with Hope for Africa is the power of multiplication,” Hope Channel president Derek Morris said in the video. “As we’ve put these messages on multiple platforms, we’ve seen the incredible miracles of God.

Concluding the segment, Finley invited ECD Union presidents to stand, in recognition of their efforts and gratitude for their service. “God is indeed at work through His Spirit in Africa,” he said.

To watch the Annual Council recorded live streams, go here. Find more news about the 2023 Annual Council at adventist.news. Follow #GCAC23 on Twitter for live updates during 2023 Annual Council.

To watch the Hope For Africa presentations, please visit Hope Channel Kenya’s YouTube Channel.