More than 500 people were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in West Venezuela following an online evangelistic campaign held Sep. 5-12, 2020. The eight-day campaign drew more than 1,000 visitors every evening on Facebook and YouTube and saw more than 4,200 people taking bible studies online, church leaders said.
At the end of the evangelistic efforts, more than 53,300 persons expressed interest in taking Bible studies across West Venezuela.
“There are no words to express how successful this evangelistic effort has been here in our church territory,” says Pastor Orlando Ramírez, president of the church in West Venezuela. “This is a completely new experience for us here and in particular this year that our country has faced such challenges with internet across the country.”
Challenges in the country
According to Ramírez, some days the power is down for four, six, or even 12 hours throughout different parts of Venezuela, especially in West Venezuela. Holding services online during the pandemic crisis has proven to be difficult, along with other complications that come up in the planning of a week of evangelism efforts online, he explained.
“It’s been a challenge, but miraculously many people accepted Jesus and decided to be baptized. We praise God for that,” he says. There were no technical complications during the time of each evening transmission of the campaign.
The campaign was also carried live on the 50 Adventist-operated FM radio stations in Venezuela.
Coined as “Let’s Talk About Him,” the campaign emphasized the life of Jesus and his forgiveness, love, peace, healing, power, and salvation.
“We had great expectations since we had already had experience in online evangelism campaigns, but none like this effort,” says Pastor Fernando Toala, assistant to the union president for evangelism in West Venezuela. “It’s really impressive to have baptized 575 persons under these circumstances of the pandemic and under the conditions we face in this country.”
Plan and execution of the online campaign
Normally, after a two-week evangelism campaign held at a local church, baptisms could reach up to 350 persons, Toala explains. “To have reached so many new believers with the work online and in just one week was really good and we praise the Lord for his goodness.”
Prep work took nearly two months and included promotional work, which was coordinated by church leaders, pastors, media teams, and church members. The event was advertised via WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms.
The evening program lasted up to an hour and included music, prayer requests, and a spiritual message by Pastor Arnaldo Cruz of the Peregrinos Seventh-day Adventist Church in Miami, Florida, United States.
Results and follow-up plans
According to church leaders, an average of 70 prayer requests was received every day online from viewers based not only in Venezuela, but also in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, the U.S., Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Argentina, and many other countries.
“There were so many testimonies that came our way online from so many around the world,” says Ramírez. The difference in this campaign had a lot to do with an intensive promotion strategy and in-depth preparation. “We are thankful for all the hard work of each person involved, and our radio stations in Hope Radio Venezuela.”
Ramírez encouraged church members to continue being part of fulfilling the mission of spreading the gospel with everyone they know. Pastors and local church leaders have continued to connect with all the individuals who have taken part in the online Bible studies, and more baptisms have taken place since the campaign ended.
A special program was scheduled online for Sabbath, Oct. 3, 2020, with a follow-up evangelistic message by Pastor Arnaldo Cruz to reach the dozens of believers who have made the decision to get baptized.
Church leaders are already planning for the next online evangelistic campaign scheduled to take place in the second quarter of 2021.
To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in West Venezuela, its initiatives and activities, visit uvoc.com.ve.
Moises Aponte contributed to this report.