The South American Division of Seventh-day Adventists will increase the sending of missionaries to other regions of the world so that the biblical message, especially about the soon return of Jesus, reaches places with little or no Adventist presence.
The first step in this direction took place in 2015, when 25 families joined the Missionaries to the World project, which is still ongoing. It will enter its second phase, with greater financial resources and opportunities for more people to serve in other locations that need support to expand the preaching of the Gospel.
This plan, presented during the Annual Council of the South American Division on Monday, November 6, 2023, will be an expansion aimed at further strengthening Mission Refocus, a General Conference initiative created to mobilize the administration and staff of institutions, denominational offices, and members of local congregations around the globe. The aim is to reinforce the church's mission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (see Mark 16:15).
Mission Refocus is looking for people who are willing to stay in the mission field for a year or more. It also provides for short-term mission trips in support of specific needs in those locations. To make this possible, the resources will be made up of investment from the church in its various instances and support from members.
South American Support
Within the territorial limits of the South American Division (the administrative level of the Adventist Church made up of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay), the initiative will receive financial support from the institutions, unions, conferences, and missions.
Candidates will be selected and trained in 2024 after analysis of various criteria, including clear missionary vision, English proficiency, and emotional health, among others. They will be sent in 2025 to meet the needs of other divisions around the world, which have already presented projects that need support, which have been evaluated and approved to receive support from the South American Division.
Thus, Mission Refocus in South America, which will have Missionaries to the World under its umbrella, will work as follows:
Three months after the arrival of the missionary family in the territory where they will serve—a period in which it will be possible to have an overview of the local challenges—a project that points out the main challenges of that community can be submitted to the division. It will be evaluated, and if approved, after six months, it will be possible to receive two volunteers sent by Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS).
The difference is that instead of the investments related to accommodation, food, and stipends for these volunteers being made by the region of origin of the call, this support will come from the South American Division. "Work on the mission field is usually lonely. We want these men and women to support the great need identified in each region and the work carried out by the missionaries," says Pastor Dieter Bruns, associate secretary and AVS director for the division.
After a year from the missionary family's arrival in the territory, mission trips can be received, either from church offices, institutions, or members of local congregations. The purpose of these trips is to support initiatives developed in the community, such as assistance in a wide variety of areas and evangelistic campaigns.
Preparing in Advance
Notwithstanding, from where will most people come? From the local churches, says Bruns. "We want each member to be aware of the global challenge and to strengthen this reality by getting involved in missionary initiatives, which, until recently, weren't talked about so much. When it's talked about locally, it's easier to prepare to reach out to the outside world."
For this reason, the Adventist Church encourages young people, adults, men, and women to pray and think about and support the expansion of the biblical message in places that need to hear about Christ. This can be done mainly by participating in mission schools, getting involved in local or regional initiatives, and, above all, studying the English language so bridges can be created with other cultures and communities.
"We are sent by God to extend our tents to reach all people. We need to answer: 'Whom shall we send?' By God's grace, we hope to count on people who are willing to make a difference, not only here, but to the ends of the earth," adds Pastor Bruno Raso, vice president of the South American Division.