Carlos Aeschlimann is Ministerial association secretary for the Inter-American Division.

 

THE IMPERATIVE expressed in the gospel commission given by Jesus to His church to "Go . . . teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 28:19) spurs the Inter- American Division to evangelistic action. Workers and laymen alike are vibrant with missionary enthusiasm, motivated by the urgency of finishing the Christ-assigned task of preaching the gospel.

The Lord has responded by blessing us abundantly. In 1975 we experienced the joy of baptizing 49,315 people.

Major Evangelistic Campaigns

At the beginning of 1975 Carlos Aeschlimann, Esteban Lopez Porras, and Claudio Ingleton, together with a team of workers and teachers from the Panama Conference, held a multiple campaign resulting in more than five hundred baptisms.

In Caracas, Venezuela, a difficult city for evangelism, the Colombia-Venezuela Union evangelist, Jose Osorio Brafia, together with his team and a number of theology students, conducted a tent campaign similar to the one re ported on below. Four hundred people were baptized.

In Guyana, Elder K. S. Wiggins and his team of workers, also using a tent, made an impact on the city of George town, winning nearly 350 people for Christ.

Every pastor in the division dedicates a considerable portion of the year to evangelistic activities. Dozens of pastors baptize more than one hundred people and become centurions. For instance, in Mexico, Elder Castro Maheda baptized more than six hundred people last year.

Conference and mission administrators have given a tremendous impulse to evangelism in their territories. These presidents have held large and successful soul-winning campaigns. As a result, in Mexico for example, all the local fields reached their baptismal goals, and in Central America six of the seven - local fields also reached their goals. In the South Mexican Conference alone 4,444 people were baptized. The Costa Rica Mission, for years considered to be a very difficult field, reached 168 per cent of its annual baptismal goal. Mexico has shown the most outstanding results, with almost eleven thousand people joining the church through baptism.

Our colleges and schools have co operated fully with the soul-winning program, inaugurating a missionary program designed to win students to Christ. One teacher in Panama prepared almost one hundred students for baptism. Theology courses in our senior colleges are organized for effective evangelism by both teachers and students.

The Missionary Mailmen program of the communication department has been especially successful in Mexico, Central America, and the Colombia- Venezuela Union, and has been responsible for thousands of baptisms. The publications department is a great soul winner, with its army of 4,500 colporteurs.

Probably the most notable aspect of Inter-American evangelism is the direct integration of laymen into soul-winning activities. Hundreds of laymen are holding successful and outstanding campaigns. In El Salvador we began the year with 35 lay preachers holding meetings in the capital city. Our lay men are efficient Bible instructors, and i prepare thousands of persons each year.

Large Plans for 1976

The year 1976 has been called the year of 50,000, as all efforts of the Inter- American Division are geared toward | reaching this marvelous soul-winning goal. It is hoped that by the time of our division meetings in Kingston, Jamaica, in July, 30,000 will have been baptized.

At the present time in San Jose, Costa Rica, Carlos Aeschlimann, with the help of Mario Munoz and Haroldo Ruilobas is holding a city-wide campaign with a goal of 250 baptisms. In Ibague, Colombia, Jose Osorio pitched a tent and held a Five-Day Plan, with an attendance of 3,000 people. At the evangelistic campaign which followed, nearly 3,500 of these people attended the double session meetings. It is expected that hundreds will be baptized as a result.

Tremendous enthusiasm reigns in Jamaica, where a master plan has been developed to hold a major baptismal ceremony every day of the year.

In the East Puerto Rico Conference, three full-time evangelists are engaged in soul winning. Elder Salim Japas, with workers and students from Antillian College, will be holding a major evangelistic campaign.

A familiar phrase in the Interj American Division expresses the spirit I that reigns in the church: "The most | important thing in Inter-America is soul winning." We have a clear vision of the priority of evangelism in the general activities and organization of the church. Workers and laymen alike are united in evangelism, and the Inter- American Division goes forward with sure and rapid steps toward the finishing of the work of the gospel in her territory.


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Carlos Aeschlimann is Ministerial association secretary for the Inter-American Division.

July 1976

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