Avondale Seminarians’ Professional Placement in Mauritius Results in Baptisms

South Pacific Division

Avondale Seminarians’ Professional Placement in Mauritius Results in Baptisms

Curricular soul-winning effort has a significant impact on the East African island

Australia | Brenton Stacey

An evangelistic campaign presented by Avondale University seminarians on the East African island of Mauritius has revitalized churches, returned young adults to in-person worship, and resulted in at least 68 baptisms.

The ten-day campaign in July “mobilized our members for evangelism” and “brought a fresh synergy into the local pastoral team,” said Pastor Ellsworth Baxen, president of the Mauritius Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Assigned their own site, each member of the Avondale team—eight students, three staff members from the seminary, and two alumni now working in pastoral ministry—preached sermons from John. The narrative nature of this Gospel helped the students combine exegesis (critical explanation) with homiletics (the art of preaching), reported Pastor Hensley Gungadoo, a lecturer and Mauritian by birth.

Discovered by the Dutch but ruled by the French and the English, who brought people from Africa and India as indentured laborers, Mauritius is a convergence of cultures and religions. “So, it’s an ideal place to challenge the sensitivity of our students,” said Pastor Gungadoo.

The cross-cultural immersion externship, as the seminary calls it, can be a transformative experience. Master of Ministry student Kate Suchanek described it as “giving me a clarity about my call.” It also strengthened her faith. “God answered my prayers and gave me words to say. The Gospel is powerful. Proclaiming it is one of the most thrilling things you can do in ministry.” An off-campus student completing the course remotely, she enjoyed the camaraderie of the team and preparing presentations with classmates. “I wish I could have a sermon writing co-op every time I preach.”

Pastor Baxen described the contribution of the seminarians as “Spirit-led.” With more people preparing for baptism, the conference president expects the number of those publicly demonstrating their commitment to Jesus Christ will grow.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to share the Gospel and for God’s blessing as we did so,” said Pastor Gungadoo.

The original version of this story was posted on the Adventist Record website.