TT he Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division (IAD) recently celebrated dozens of volunteers who are currently serving throughout the territory and around the world. Church leaders praised the commitment of the 74 volunteers during a special online Zoom event to celebrate what has been coined as Adventist Volunteer Service Day.
Adventist Volunteer Service is an official program of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists that matches volunteer skills with opportunities all over the world.
“It was important to connect with volunteers to celebrate their mission efforts and let them know how much we appreciate their commitment and how we stand behind them,” said Janelle Scantlebury, AVS coordinator in Inter-America and event organizer. She said it was also a critical opportunity to cement relationships among the volunteer group.
Currently, there are 49 Adventist volunteers serving outside of the IAD territory and 25 volunteers from around the world church serving in the IAD territory.
Adventist world church President Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson thanked the Adventist volunteers for their dedicated work during the event: “Praise God for your ability to be part of the wonderful outreach of the Adventist Church,” said Pastor Wilson. “People are panicking. There is chaos. All of you are to be anchors of stability and pillars of hope.”
Pastor Wilson reminded volunteers to trust in God, to take refuge, strength in Him. “Continue to spread the Word of God and continue sharing encouragement….take time to pray, study the Bible and be infused by the Holy Spirit every day.”
Pastor Elbert Kuhn, associate secretary for the Adventist world church in charge of AVS worldwide, spoke on maintaining volunteers focus on troubled times and praised the work of the volunteers who are making a difference in so many countries.
“You as volunteers represent this passion, this willingness to serve, this willingness to make oneself available to be a blessing to others,” said Kuhn. “I want you to know how pleased and proud I am for every single person serving within the division and outside of the division.”
Kuhn expressed that there is a huge unexplored potential throughout the IAD and encouraged the thousands of viewers to envision their multicultural and multi-language heritage as a blessing to reach out to others. “Praise God for your ministry and all the lives you are touching where,” he said.
Psychologist Ann Hamel spoke on coping strategies for crisis situations and maintaining a volunteer focus in troubling times.
Dr. Hamel urged those serving to maintain strong social connections, remember their purpose, be certain of the call from God to serve, and keep themselves in good health. Hamel answered questions from volunteers during a Q&A session.
Current Adventist volunteers shared their personal experience where they serve, praised with special music, featured videos of their ministry, and participated in breakout groups to address questions that came up for the volunteers during the three-hour online program.
Lidia Ordoñez, a Panamanian serving in Australia, said her experience as a volunteer radio broadcaster has been an opportunity to learn to depend on God and spread messages of hope. “It’s been hard here with the fires that have claimed lives, animals, and displaced many people but our purpose is to share hope to all those persons who are now at home during the quarantine, spending more time looking for sources of hope,” said Ordoñez. She said she has grown spiritually every day of her service and has seen God use her talents. “God is in control,” she said. “Things aren’t always easy, but I have learned patience and perseverance.”
Ordoñez encouraged online viewers to take time to be missionaries, and not necessarily to travel abroad but start right where they are.
The online event also showcased opportunities at several universities and elementary schools currently requesting volunteers throughout Inter-America.
Those in the region can learn more about signing up as a volunteer in the Inter-American Division and the Adventist world church, by contacting their local Union’s AVS coordinator and visiting adventistvolunteers.org.
To view the online Adventist Volunteer Service program of May 9, 2020