From October 27 to 29, 2023, at the Adventist Multi-Purpose Center of Entrepeñas, the Convention of APM and Deaf Leaders took place successfully.
In its first four verses, Psalm 19 tells us about some great witnesses that God has on this earth: the heavens, the days and the nights. They convey wisdom and declare the glory of God and declare the work of his hands. They carry this message around the world continually. The greatest thing about this is that they do it without words. The text says that their voice is not heard, but their message has around the world. We had a very similar experience last weekend from October 27 to 29 at the Adventist Multi-Purpose Center of Entrepeñas, at the Convention of APM and Deaf Leaders.
Throughout the earth
Pastor Ivan Omaña, director of the Chaplaincy Ministry of the General Conference, was with us. Through his reflections he reminded us of the importance of caring for caregivers and our mission to all humanity. He told us the story of Mephibosheth and how Ziba went to look for him so that he could accept King David’s invitation. Through this reflection he committed to us the work of Ziba, that of traveling throughout the world with God’s invitation to all the fallen, because, the pastor said, we are all definitely incapacitated for the kingdom of heaven because of sin. We all need to hear the message that Ziba brought to Mephibosheth: the King is calling you.
Their voice is not heard, but they declare the work of His hands
Another great privilege we had was Pastor Jeff visiting again. Pastor Jeff is the deaf pastor of Southern Deaf Fellowship, Tennessee. He was born deaf of an unknown cause, and American Sign Language (ASL) is his first language. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in 1996. In 2016, Jeff was appointed to serve as Associate Coordinator for General Conference Deaf Ministry while continuing to pastor his Deaf church. Every message given by Jeff was, as Solomon says, “a nail well driven in.” His themes, his testimony and his human quality transmit wisdom. He connected us with the Spirit. Pastor Jeff, himself, is a clear message that with “voice…not heard” declares the glory of God and the work of His hands.
Imparts wisdom to the heart
We also participated in several workshops to better understand the functional capacity of people with Down syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Reduced Mobility, Blindness, Low Vision, Deaf Community… Another workshop consisted of discovering gifts to more effectively develop our ministry in the churches. As a whole, the workshops were focused on giving APM leaders tools to carry out their local ministry. Thanks to all the professionals who have put their knowledge and experience at the disposal of APM for the training of our leaders.
The heavens declare
This convention has sent all the participants, with a defined purpose, with tools and with the necessary motivation, to promote the ministry in each of our churches, because the experience has been truly enriching. This is what some of the participants tell us:
Jhenifer Corrida: “October 27, 2023 definitely marked a before and after in my life. I didn’t think that in this event I would feel the presence of God so strongly. One of the greatest experiences I had was being able to meet Carolina and Eva, my Spanish sign language teachers via Zoom, in person. It was very exciting for me to be able to hug them, smile with them, and learn a little more. Another experience that marked my life in a positive way was the preaching of Pastor Jeff, a Deaf pastor who visited us from the United States.”
“I have been in the church for many years, and it has been a long time since I felt the call of God in such a powerful way as this pastor conveyed it. For me it was something incredible, a person from who no voice is produced, but by using his hands he managed to capture my attention and touch my heart. I found the workshops very interesting, in my case I went to the Spanish sign language workshop where I learned about Deaf culture and its history, some signs and vocabulary. I carry in my heart beautiful memories of the testimonies that the other brothers and sisters shared with us and I understood that above all things that God gives Possibilities to those who need them.”
Leaders of the Vigo Church: “We thank the team for organizing the meeting. It was very positive, we have learned a lot, both in the workshops and in the topics taught, we return home with new ideas that we hope with God’s help can be carried out in our church.
The glory of God
Firstly, we thank God for everything he has given us this weekend, and we thank each of the professional coordinators of the various workshops (Andreea Ionela Caruntu, Lavinia Dumitriu, Mayary Sánchez, Juliana, Stefani Benavides, Raquel López, Belén Gonzaga and Ani Pantoja), Isabel Rodríguez for her management and organization of the event and to her team, to pastors Ivan and Jeff, to pastor Félix Gutiérrez for all his help in logistics, to the team of sign language and Spanish language interpreters and to the kitchen team for their good work and Christian courtesy.
To each and every one of the participants in the event we say THANK YOU! May we now, filled with the Spirit experienced in the encounter, like the heavens or night and day, surround the world, in many cases without language or words, declaring the glory of God, announcing the work of his hands, and carrying the invitation “The King calls you, and wants you to sit at his table.”
Resources in the following link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-5U_VCnAZVFXVXJ6fEHHVJ0joQHU1SCI?usp=sharing
Author: Luis Carlos Rueda , pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Spain
The original article in Spanish on the Revista Adventista website can be found here.