The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chile celebrated the baptism of over 300 individuals during their week-long evangelistic series held in the Central South Chile Conference on August 27 to September 3, 2022. The event, themed “Never give up, there is still hope,” included a series of inspirational messages by Pastor Robert Costa, associate ministerial secretary for Evangelism and Church Growth of the General Conference. It also featured special musical performances by the ASAF Quartet.
The event also reached over 24 million people as it was accessible through social networks and radio stations throughout the country. Furthermore, various Seventh-day Adventist television channels from throughout North, Central, and South America transmitted the event, including an evangelical television channel from Viña del Mar, Chile. The meetings were also interpreted into American Sign Language for the hearing-impaired.
“I was informed that there has never been another event during [the] pandemic so well-attended online as this one—thousands of devices connected every night,” shared Pastor Costa. “We got responses from many viewers from various countries in Europe and even from Japan.”
The event began in an Adventist school gym in Concepción and moved throughout several cities in southern Chile, ending in Quilamapu Municipal Auditorium in Chillán, Chile. During the week, many churches and small groups followed the online broadcast, waiting for the in-person event to reach their area. As the meetings moved through school gyms, stadiums, auditoriums, and churches, “members and visitors filled each place to capacity,” stated Pastor Costa. State and municipal leaders from each city the event visited also attended the evangelistic series nightly.
Preparing the Soil
Chile is one of the most stable, prosperous countries in South America. The Central South Chile area is known as the financial and educational district of the country. Characterized by its sophisticated culture, the area is highly secularized, making evangelism a challenge.
Despite this challenging spiritual terrain, the heart soil was prepared by many committed pastors, church members, and laity prior to the event. Pastor Costa highlighted the total member involvement he witnessed, stating, “From the young conference president with a leadership that truly models service, to the administrators, departmentals, office personnel, the entire educational system, literature evangelists, medical personnel, and a multitude of laymen and leaders from local churches, all were involved in the mission.”
Prior to the start of the evangelistic series, Chile was facing many challenges, including political tensions, new COVID-19 outbreaks, intensified safety measures, and reduced capacity for large gatherings. Nevertheless, Pastor Costa notes, “Attendance surpassed our expectations.”
Every night, attendees heard messages of hope addressing challenging questions many ask today, such as, “Why does a good and loving God let innocent people suffer?” and “Where did evil begin? Will it ever end?” Pastor Costa concluded each encouraging sermon with an appeal, inviting attendees to give their lives to Jesus.
As a result, over 200 individuals were baptized during the in-person meetings, while many others were baptized in churches that virtually joined the event. Two portable, inflatable, water-warming pools served as the baptistries. “Many former Adventists also returned to Jesus,” expressed Pastor Costa.
Due to the success of the event, the church in Chile is already considering their next evangelistic series for the upcoming year, determining how the event can be further improved to share hope with more people.
The message of hope was not shared exclusively during the evening meetings. During the week, Pastor Costa and several Central South Chile Conference leaders visited the Biobío state governor, sharing Bible promises with him and praying over him.
Pastor Costa also visited Centro Educacional Adventista de Los Ángeles (CEALA), a denominational K–12 school, where he spoke to nearly 500 parents, many of which were non-Adventists. At the end of his visit, many parents requested Bible studies, in search to learn more about the hope Pastor Costa shared.
There is no doubt that the success of the “Never give up, there is still hope” event resulted from the collaboration between God’s blessing and provision and the faithful work of committed individuals.
Pastor Costa expressed, “I am becoming increasingly convinced that public evangelism brings unity and revival to churches. I saw a revived church committed to mission … Now, thousands of members are praying and working enthusiastically as they prepare for the second round of evangelism in November.”
Pastor Costa added, “To God be all the glory and credit. Thank you to the many committed laity and pastors who pray and work tirelessly.” Maranatha!