20,000 Adventist Youth
Trade Vacation for Service
Evangelism also a component of “Mission Caleb” outreach in Lima (Posted April 12, 2012)
BY ANSEL OLIVER
, Adventist News Network
ome 20,000 Seventh-day Adventist Peruvian youth committed a week or more of their summer vacation for service projects and evangelism outreach in Lima recently, in one of the largest mass-scale projects of the South American Division’s summer service program.
More than 5,000 people joining the Adventist Church through baptism, and the formation of several small congregations, called “companies,” resulted from the Mission Caleb program, held in the Peruvian capital from February 16 to 26.
URBAN RENEWAL: Mission Caleb participants plant trees on a highway in Lima. Adventist youth helped plant a total of 12,000 trees during the recent program, which included various community outreach projects across the city..
Dressed in matching red polo shirts, Adventist young people throughout Lima planted a total of 12,000 trees along highways, constructed 60 housing modules for low-income residents, cleaned parks, and donated 1,500 units of blood to five hospitals. They also distributed more than 400,000 copies of The Great Hope
, an adapted version of the book The Great Controversy
, which was written by the denomination’s cofounder Ellen G. White.
In the evenings youth helped with some 3,000 evangelistic meetings held in churches, auditoriums, parks, and garages throughout Lima, a metropolitan area of more than 8 million people.
“It was an eye opener,” said Hiskia Missah, associate Youth Ministries Department director for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, who attended the event. “The youth paid their own way to come from all over Peru and sacrificed their vacation time for the Lord.”
Church members in Lima opened their homes for participants to stay during the event, Missah said. Event materials were provided by church administration.
MODULAR HOMES: Mission Caleb participants help construct one of 60 modular houses for low-income residents in the Santa Cruz sector of Lima. Materials were donated by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.
Government officials offered their support to the initiative, from local mayors appearing at service projects to a federal minister and six congressional members attending a Mission Caleb rally outside the convention center.
Mission Caleb, originally launched in Brazil, holds projects throughout South America each summer in an effort to reach places that have no Adventist presence.
Though the combination of evangelism and community service isn’t new, the denomination is promoting the initiative as an officially suggested option for youth outreach worldwide, according to Gilbert Cangy, General Conference Youth Ministries Department director. The Youth Ministries Department adopted Mission Caleb as an outreach strategy at last year’s world advisory of the movement’s top youth directors.
“This is a model for young people conducting evangelism,” Cangy said. “It’s not just direct proclamation—combining it with service projects is a biblical model.”
Future Mission Caleb mass-scale events in South America are scheduled for June and January in Brazil and September in Paraguay.