Mission Festival Draws Thousands
at Montemorelos University
Twelfth iteration of event focuses upon 10-40 window. (Posted April 19, 2012)
BY ADVENTIST REVIEW staff
While it’s not unusual for Seventh-day Adventists in the United States and Canada to think of “mission” as going from those countries to another part of the world, students at church-owned Montemorelos University in Nuevo León, Mexico, are putting a different emphasis on the challenge of global mission.
The 2012 annual “Mission Festival” at the Adventist university, held March 16 and 17, drew the interest of hundreds of students, along with faculty and church officials. The focus: the challenges of reaching people residing in the 10-40 window, a region located generally between the tenth and fortieth degrees north of the equator. Approximately 70 percent of the world population resides in this area, but fewer than 8 percent of the population is Christian. A high density of Muslim countries, a number of countries with predominantly Buddhist populations, India’s huge Hindu majority, large-scale poverty, and enormous cities where secularism is increasingly prevalent—all these are challenges in spreading the gospel message.
A number of speakers from the General Conference headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church participated in the event, contributing their expertise and passion during the weekend presentations. They included Delbert Baker and Armando Miranda, world church general vice presidents; John Thomas, an associate secretary responsible for volunteer work; and Gerald A. Klingbeil, an associate editor of the Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines.
Presentations included reports and challenges of Adventist volunteer work, the importance of revival and reformation within the framework of mission, the role of the Great Controversy Project in the mission of the church, issues of contextualization and mission, as well as important moments of commitment and worship.
Ismael Castillo, Montemorelos University rector, moderated a lively Sabbath afternoon program and introduced some of the specific projects in which the university’s students or alumni are currently serving. These include the establishment of a lay evangelism training center in Belize, sponsoring the education of numerous orphans in Cambodia, the importing and distribution of e-readers containing the Bible and Adventist literature into Kazakhstan, together with the training of literature evangelists, raising funds for medical equipment for an Adventist clinic in Lesotho, as well as sponsoring Adventist dentistry students from Equatorial Guinea to complete their degree at Montemorelos University and establishing an Adventist dentistry clinic in that part of Africa.
Presentations were interspersed with short interviews with former and current volunteer missionaries using different media. Irving Martínez Mendez, a theology student, was surprised by the challenges and, at the same time, divine openings for mission work in the 10-40 window. “We are part of the challenge to serve,” he noted at the end of the weekend.
Communication major Isabel Galicia particularly liked the freshness of the presentations: “It was an inspiring and fresh program; it served its purpose to inspire and challenge us to work as volunteers around the world.”
Mission is part of the DNA at Montemorelos University, where members of the campus church have raised more than US$270,000 over the past 10 years for specific mission projects. Hundreds of students, faculty, and members surged forward during the call to mission service at the conclusion of the Sabbath worship service—ready to commit locally, but also to think and pray globally.
—with contributions by Sharon Dominguez, Montemorelos University communication major, and Ekel Collins, vice president for student affairs.