Reported by Roger Hernandez, Oregon Conference Spanish Coordinator
Last year the Spanish pastors decided to combine evangelistic reaping meetings with the regular Campmeeting. When they saw more than 20 people baptized from the Portland area alone they decided that this year they would have area reaping meetings throughout the Oregon Conference that would culminate in reaping meetings at their campmeeting.
The results have been phenomenal. More than 50 were baptized on the final Sabbath of campmeeting, with Conference President Don Livesay, Vice President Al Reimke and NPUC VP for Hispanic Work Ramon Canals, assisting with the baptism. This brought the total for the initiative to 141 baptisms, with at least 9 more preparing to be baptized before August. All in this reaping took place in the summer.
Two Short Stories…
1. Abraham is a church kid from Woodburn, that had strayed from the path, using drugs and alcohol. He went to a party to pick uo his brother. After breaking up a fight his brother was involved in, Abraham was shot in the back, point blank with a ’45. The bullet did major damage to his spine, but he recommited his life to Jesus in his hospital bed. He was baptized, cane and all!
2. Maria and Claudia are sisters who started coming to church about a month ago. The first day they came to the reaping meetings the sermon was “One More Night With The Frogs” about how Pharoah was asked by Moses “When do you want me to take away the frogs?” and he answered “Tomorrow.” After listening to the message and realizing she had been putting off having the “frogs” taken out of her life, Maria decided that the Seventh-day Adventist church was going to be their church. They studied the Bible and made a decision for Jesus and were baptized during one of the reaping meetings. Maria suffers from a phobia towards water and never goes deeper than her feet at the beach or pool, which really doesn’t work well with the Biblical way of baptism. God changed that! She was baptized along with her sister.
Here are some of the keys to success for us–
- Preparation. Bible studies in the homes of interests by memebers, as well as small groups. Our exprience is that members are very good at giving the Bible Studies, but need help when decision time is coming. The preparations started in April. The small groups will now help facilitate the integration of the people into the church after they have been baptized. A good group of the baptisms were from Pathfinders. They were baptized in their uniforms. A great evangelistic tool, Pathfinders are.
- Continuous Harvest Cycles. Without calling it that, we have used the principles of Soul Winning Momemtum for years. with 3 or 4 crusades a year, small groups, reaping and sowing. Several people were baptized that had come to a prevoius reaping series in April. At the final meeting of the April reaping we made a call for baptism and about 25 people began preparing themselves for the next baptism.
- Short Comprehensive Reaping Meetings. Many of our reaping meetings last only one week. Although it is hard to cover ALL the doctrines in one week, people were reviewed Sabbath afternoon for 1 1/2 hours to make sure they understand them. Since most if not all had been studying the Bible already, it was a final reaping event. We also highlight in our sermons every night the Adventist message. For example, on Monday the message was “Healing From Loss” (state of the dead). On Sunday it was “Healing Through Good Nutrition” and on Wednesday “Healing For Finances” (stewardship). I wanted them to experience the doctrines, to see how they will bring value and healing to their lives.
- Pastors and Churches Working Together for Souls. There were reaping meetings throughout the conference with several pastors and church districts combining together to see souls brought to Jesus and into the Adventist message.
- The value of a Good Bible worker that can work closely with the local church membership and help them galvanized the Bible studies they already have.
When we started our petition to God and our vision from God was that all Spanish churches in the conference be engaged in evangelism, with at least 100 souls for the kingdom. We have seen God answer our prayers abundantly.