Administrators of several Inter-American Division (IAD) institutional boards reported on growth, challenges, and financial stability during the past five years, as dozens of Seventh-day Adventist board members from across the territory gathered during online meetings today. Board members also elected administrators who will serve in the next five-year term.
IAD Publishing Association
IAD Publishing Association (IADPA), one of two publishing houses managed by the IAD, reported that despite the pandemic that shut down bookstores for over six months in 2020, sales reached over US$11.3 million. It didn’t compare with the phenomenal sales year of 2019, with $13.5 million, but the Lord abundantly blessed the publishing house, with its 88 bookstores and 167 employees, said Saul Ortiz, president of IADPA.
“We thank God none of our employees were laid off or had to take time off without pay, nor lost their salary,” said Ortiz. IADPA transitioned into online congresses and training sessions, as well as increased their discounts to bookstores and especially literature evangelists, he added. The publishing house increased its distribution of books for women’s ministries, discipleship books through personal ministries, books for the ministerial association, and additional content from Evangelist Alejandro Bullón through its missionary magazine, Priorities, among other books.
“Even though [sic] the crisis, God has helped us thus far, and we praise God because we didn’t close the year  with debt,” added Ortiz.
IADPA leaders reported that 2020 saw more than 29,000 books by Ellen G. White, a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, distributed last year during the pandemic.
The years 2016 to 2020 saw 16.8 million missionary books distributed across the IAD territory, reported Ortiz. Financial leaders also reported on the tithe and offering contributions to the church throughout the past five years, the progress of textbooks, and the success of bookstores, upcoming book projects, and more.
IADPA board members elected Saul Ortíz as president to serve another term until 2025. Ortiz became president in 2018 after serving as vice president of financial affairs from 2013 to August of 2018. Also elected during today’s board meeting included Daniel Medina as vice president of production, Moisé Javier as vice president of finance, Ana Rodríguez as vice president of marketing and sales, Neysa López, associate vice president of finance, and Cristhel Cárcamo, associate vice president of marketing and sales.
“IADPA is part of the church, belongs to the church, so we will continue in the mission during this new period of service,” Ortiz said.
IAD President Pastor Elie Henry, who also chairs the IADPA board, praises the work of the publishing house and their commitment to the mission, even amid challenging times today. “We praise God for the strong vision IADPA carried through in the past and a clear path for a successful future for God’s purposes,” said Pastor Henry.
Top officials of Montemorelos University, located in Nuevo Leon, North Mexico, began their quinquennial report focusing on the mission statement that has carried the institution to greater heights. “Montemorelos University educates for integral development and well-being with a sustainable educational model that fosters research, selfless service, and missionary vision with the Adventist hope of a new world,” read Ismael Castillo, president of Montemorelos University.
The university, which is considered a division institution operated directly by the IAD, is part of the direct council of the Mexican federation of private institutions of higher education and accredited by the educational system. It leads the network of health-promoting universities in the nation.
“Thanks to the virtual classes set up many years ago for students enrolled in extension campuses in Africa, Europe, and throughout Inter-America, we were able to transition right away into distance learning when the pandemic initially hit in April,” said Castillo.
University officials reported that 90% of students surveyed in the virtual classes format program were satisfied with the class model. Students were able to do their health practices in real settings, according to university leaders.
Castillo reported that students from 80 countries have enrolled in Montemorelos University during the past quinquennium.
Board members elected Ismael Castillo as president of Montemorelos University for the 2021–2026 term. Castillo has about 35 years of experience in serving as the top official of the Adventist university. During his tenure, the institution went from 16 academic programs in 1987 to 30 undergraduate degrees, 26 specialty programs, [and several? specific number known?] master’s and doctoral degrees today.
In addition, board members reelected Raquel Korniejczuk as vice president of academic affairs, Joel Sebastian as vice president of financial affairs, and Ekel Collins as vice president of student affairs for the 2021–2026 service term.
Pastor Henry congratulated Castillo for his lifelong commitment to growing Montemorelos University and assured him of the continued support among board members and top administrators throughout the church in Inter-America. “Leaders chosen today will not fail you,” said Pastor Henry. “There are many challenges, but with God, we can overcome those for His church if we put our lives in His hands.”
Board members will look at the development plans and strategies the university has set in motion for 2021–2026 during its next board meeting in October, Castillo said.
Adventist Healthcare Services Inter-America
During a brief report to board members, Dr. Franck Geneus, M.D., president of Adventist Healthcare Services Inter-America (AHSIA), who oversees the administrations of 14 hospitals and 21 clinics, appealed for the need to ensure that healthcare institutions are healthy institutions. “We need to change our paradigm for healthcare institutions to go from struggling to thriving institutions with improved quality of care,” said Dr. Geneus.
Board members voted to adopt the shared vision for all Inter-American Division healthcare institutions, based on six key commitment statements: to be responsible, resilient, accessible, sustainable, secure and safe, and Christ-oriented institutions.
Dr. Geneus honored his predecessor, Elie Honore, M.D., for his lifelong dedication to healthcare institutions across the Inter-American Division, especially in his role in establishing AHSIA in the quest to strengthen and assist healthcare institutions, collaborating with Loma Linda University (California, United States) to promote physical, mental, social, and spiritual wholeness while fulfilling the mission of the church.
Several more of IAD’s institutional boards will meet in the coming days to report on their accomplishments and upcoming development plans.
To learn more about Inter-American Division’s business meetings this week, visit us at interamerica.org
Laura Marrero contributed to this report.