Puerto Rico: Communicators Challenged to Expand Their Vision
BY LIBNA STEVENS, Inter-American Division
Nearly 100 Adventists in South Puerto Rico recently met for a special communication training to sharpen their technology skills for greater outreach as they share the good news of the gospel in their communities.
The event, coined as EVANGECom, brought young and old church members who are passionate about creatively sharing the message of salvation, said Edson Canqui, communication director for South Puerto Rico Conference.
“This was not just about sharing tools and information but an event to establish and foster a network of communicators who can work wholeheartedly to expanding the work of the church here in the southern part of the island and beyond,” he explained.
Ponce is just the city to expand with the gospel, explained Canqui. With a population of over 152,000, it is the second largest city on the island. It has 33 Adventist churches with 2,300 church members.
Creativity must be utilized to appeal to more people who need God, he continued. “You are part of this church that needs to stretch out more and more to others,” said Canqui. “It is about going beyond church walls and beyond local communities.”
Fostering a network of communicators throughout the island is an initiative in which church leaders have been investing during the past two years, said Julio Javier, communication director for the Puerto Rico Union.
EVANGECom is the third regional communication training event supported by the church on the island, said Pastor Javier, and one that represents the needed impact that can enrich the church further.
“We want our communicators to believe in this department of communication, to be part of creating new and different concepts using all media available, on the streets, in the communities, and on the internet because we have a wonderful message to share with the world,” said Javier.
The hunger for service has been evident in South Puerto Rico, the smallest church constituency region out of the four on the island, added Javier. Yet is one with a core group of volunteers who have created and maintained their Facebook account with the largest traffic on the island as compared to the other church social media accounts, organizers said.
Aida Gonzalez from the Ponce 5 Adventist Church is among the core group of young people in South Puerto Rico who loves to serve her church. During the day she works at the Tribunal Court in Ponce and the rest of the time volunteers as the communication director at her church. “I really enjoyed being part of EVANGECom and was most excited about the training on news writing,” said Gonzalez, who also helped organize the event.
Her brother Julio Gonzalez, an industrial engineer, is also active in church and is in charge of technology. “We stream Sabbath services every week and cover activities on social media and our church members are very supportive in understanding the role that communication and technology play in evangelizing,” he said.
Yessenia M. de Jesus of Arroyo Bueno Adventist Church in Ponce, said that this communication training was the motivation she needed to create a support ministry online to connect with other communicators to work on projects to support the church.
EVANGECom, held March 7-8, offered training in photo editing, web design, video editing, online streaming, news writing, blogging, podcasting, script writing, social media, and more. Additional communication certifications are planned to continue in the coming months and year, said Pastor Javier.
“We want our communicators across the island to continue being motivated and equipped to share, to inspire, to share the vision of evangelizing with all accessible and available media,” he said.
For more information on the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Puerto Rico, visit www.upasd.org
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