The Inter-American Division’s Festival of the Laity kicked off last night with the passing of the torch, which had symbolically traveled across the 24 major church regions, targeting 1,300 unentered communities with the gospel during the past four weeks. Coined as the “Centennial Gospel Caravan,” the initiative was part of comprehensive evangelism efforts led by active lay persons and ministries, that swept through the territory with the same passion that moved early missionaries to pass the torch of the gospel at the end of the 19th Century.
Against the backdrop of evangelism efforts commemorating the centennial anniversary since the IAD was officially organized in 1922, the Festival of the Laity’s opening ceremony showcased the rich 130-year Adventist heritage in the territory through a video-drama performance, music, prayer, bright colors, wide smiles and waving flags on Aug. 4, 2022.
“The torch of the gospel needs to shine brighter and brighter,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in the IAD. “We need to continue advancing the gospel and never stop until the light of the gospel can reach every corner in our territory.”
Pastor Henry challenged the more than 600 delegates representing a core group of lay bible instructors, lay evangelists, lay preachers and church leaders from throughout the IAD to take on the light of Jesus, the flame of His Holy Spirit and shine for Him to hasten the Second Coming of Jesus.
“Shine leading people to the light of God,” he said. “This is not about just a moment in time, or a church program, this is about shining for Jesus so that others can see the light in us that comes from our relationship with God by the study of His Word.”
Themed “His Light Prevails”, the festival comes after a 12-year hiatus since the last time the IAD held a Festival of the Laity in 2010, and one that has been overdue, said Pastor Melchor Ferreyra, personal ministries director for the church and main organizer of the event. “The light of the gospel can never run out in Inter-America. “It’s a privilege to together commit to keep shining our light in this part of the world.”