World Report: 1,087 baptisms in Bucaramanga

Unprecedented results in a land that has long resisted the message.

Raimundo Pardo Suarez was the publicrelations director for the Colombia campaign.
An important gospel spirit has stirred the city of Bucaramanga, in Colombia, taking the beautiful Ad vent message to thousands of people, and adding 1,087 precious souls to the church.

The campaign was a team effort directed by Pastor Jose Osorio Brafia, Ministerial secretary and evangelist of the Colombia-Venezuela Union Mission, and included the efficient collaboration of various ministers of the Association of the Alto Magdalena, the pupils in the fourth year of the Theological Faculty of Icolven, and many consecrated laymen.

The tent was situated in a strategic spot of the city. The authorities assisted in a marvelous way, providing machinery, trucks, materials, and specialized personnel for the preparation of the ground. The army, commanded by one of the officers, assisted in the erection of the tent.

All communications media of the city gave ample publicity to the pro gram, interviewing the evangelist many times about the subjects to be presented.

Material prepared by the evangelist was used in the preparation of the campaign. Thousands of homes were visited with inquiries about social matters. Later a Biblical course based on the New Testament and entitled "New Horizons for a Better Life" was offered to interested per sons.

The pupils that finished the course received their diplomas after the campaign was already well under way. The laymen worked with great enthusiasm and dedication in the preparation of the interests for the cycle of conferences.

The program began with the Five- Day Plan to Stop Smoking. In two shifts, more than 4,000 people at tended. Dr. Daniel Gonzalez, an Adventist physician, and Pastor Osorio, who acted as a psychologist, worked together. Although Bucaramanga is the capital of the Colombian tobacco-growing industry, with many factories near the auditorium, 2,452 persons signed their decision of victory over the smoking habit. Following this, the evangelist initiated his cycle of conferences, entitled "Four Dimensions for a Better Life."

Night after night the size of the audience was astounding. Throngs of people formed long rows, some times even blocks in length, waiting to go inside to listen to the subject being presented. People from many different social classes attended, including many professors, senators, diplomats, and academics. It became necessary to organize double sessions to accommodate the crowds who were eager to hear the good news. The subjects presented by the evangelist fascinated the listeners. The messages were of a practical nature, offering God's way to a better life.

Opposition arose from the bishop of the city, who warned against at tending the meetings, using all means of communication and finally threatening to excommunicate publicly those who would attend meetings at the tent. But the Lord blessed the people, and they rejoiced in the good news.

The baptisms were conducted in a portable baptismal pool installed on the spot. Following the first baptism, others were conducted every Saturday, with four pastors doing the baptizing. A baptismal class met twice a week, with more than a thousand persons attending. The final results of these classes were decisive, with Pastor Osorio's presentations captivating the interest of the people and guiding them progressively in their experience with Jesus.

The first Sabbath observed in the tent saw more than a thousand per sons in attendance, eager to follow the steps of the Lord in observing the fourth commandment. Only those who had begun to keep the Sabbath and were practicing the whole truth were accepted for baptism. It was with great seriousness that the group worked with the candidates for the baptism. The slogan "Quantity and Quality" was the rule for the whole campaign. Pastor Osorio has been greatly blessed and used by the Lord in the preaching of the gospel in this union. Thousands of people have come to know the truth and become a part of God's remnant people through the gospel campaigns that he has conducted, and we give God all the glory.

With the follow-up work in the churches, we hope to end the year 1977 with 1,500 baptisms in this district.

When this most recent effort began, there were three churches in this city with 1,500 members, the result of 40 years of labor. Because of this campaign, four new churches have been organized, one of them with 500 new members.

The campaign cost US$15,000. As a part of the program, 20 dedicated laymen, well instructed by the evangelist, were sent to preach in the district. Their work has resulted in 100 precious souls won to the Lord.

Pastor Osorio firmly believes that the union of ministers and laymen in the gospel work is the decisive factor for the finishing of the task committed to the church.

During this campaign, which ran from the first of May to the close of August, Pastor Jose Osorio Brafia also directed a training school with academic credits. Ministers, students in theology, and laymen assisted in the program.

The coupling of theory and practice in the same gospel campaign proved a special blessing. This is suggestive of the gospel explosion that is presently underway in the whole territory of the Colombia- Venezuela Union, now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. The magic of the church is "Gospel in Action," and its great objective is to conquer every city, village, and home for the present truth.

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Raimundo Pardo Suarez was the publicrelations director for the Colombia campaign.

February 1978

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