Photo Credit: Leaders and staff members of the Inter-American Division Headquarters pray together on Jan. 4, 2021, for the family of Pastor Ervin González, who is still mourning his loss. The leadership gathered for the first of the year worship service via Zoom, led from Miami, Florida, United States. [Photo: IAD Screenshot]
United States | Libna Stevens

During a special worship service this morning, Seventh-day Adventist leaders and staff members of the Inter-American Division reflected on the life of Pastor Ervin Gonzalez, former publishing ministries director for the church in Inter-America, who passed away last month due to complications from COVID-19. Leaders and staff prayed for his wife, Lilia, and their children during the virtual service.

Traditionally, the morning service of the first official day of work of the new year is reserved to give thanks for God’s blessings and the growth of the church throughout the territory.

“This is a strange way to start the year,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America. “We have so many mixed emotions. We are thankful to the Lord for all the opportunities to serve in times like these, but we have sorrow because one of our colleagues is missing.”

González was the first among the church leadership of the IAD Headquarter Office to die in active service during the past 30 years or even more, said Pastor Henry.

“We look forward not only to the great future God has for us, a future with hope, without the sorrow, without sad news but one when we will be happy with Jesus in heaven.”

The mission is about moving forward and seeing what God has done in the past, what He is doing today, and the future. “What does God want us to do? We must continue to say wherever you want us to go, ‘I Will Go’” said Pastor Henry.

Ministerial Association Director of the North American Division Pastor Ivan Williams addressed the leaders and challenged them to continue following and trusting God even in the bad times.

“Praise God, Jesus is available and willing to help us in our grief, just as the disciples were grieving because Jesus was crucified,” said Williams. It’s about letting Jesus breathe on every leader, every staff member, every member with his Holy Spirit as He did for the disciples, he said.

“Whether in Mexico or an island in the West Indies or in Central American, can we do His [God’s] work without Him breathing on us? It’s impossible,” said Williams. “When God breathes on us, our system of operation will be different. We won’t speak harshly on others, we will be born again and Jesus will be seen through our fundamental beliefs and we will know that God is in the changing business.”

Pastor Williams challenged the IAD leadership to “ask God to breathe on us anew today, to do new things in the IAD. ‘I Will Go’, yes, but I will not go without His Spirit,” he said.

The worship program featured musical segments, prayer for the sick among the staff, their extended families, and for God’s providence for the church’s membership throughout the Inter-American Division territory.

Church leaders will hold a special program celebrating the life of Pastor Ervin González, tonight, Jan. 4, 2021, at 8:00 p.m. To view the virtual program, visit

IAD leaders will meet in the coming days to polish initiatives, events and activities to take place in the coming months.

The Inter-American Division oversees the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mexico, Central America, The Caribbean, French Antilles, as well as Colombia and Venezuela. The IAD and its organizations look after thousands of churches, hundreds of schools, universities, hospitals, and clinics.

For more on the church in Inter-America, visit us at

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