May 18, 2020 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | Bernardo Medina/Inter-American Division News Staff
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Dominican Republic recently urged its members and citizens to join in fasting and prayer as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
According to Pastor Paulino Puello, president of the church in the Dominican Republic, government statistics (as of May 15) show that there are 11,700 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 470 deaths, including one church member who died last month.
Natanael Encarnacion, 55, of the Colirio Adventist Church in southeastern region of Santo Domingo, died after contracting COVID-19, reported Puello. “We understand Encarnacion died within a week of contracting the virus due to other health complications he was facing and church leaders have continued offering spiritual support to his family,” he said. Encarnacion is survived by his wife and three daughters.
There are 22 church members across the island who have contracted COVID-19 and are recovering, reported Puello. “It was important for us to come together in fasting and prayer to share hope and strength to the Dominican family,” explained Puello.
The church advertised its fasting and prayer initiative of Apr. 27-29, through major media outlets and back-to-back programming on the church’s Radio Amanecer that broadcasts to 90 percent of the island.
The three-day fasting and prayer campaign was themed ‘God is in Control’. The campaign encourages families to continue praying for the nation and the victims of the pandemic.
“It was wonderful to see among the leadership and the membership fasting and praying united during those three days,” said Puello. Encouraging messages and a prayer were transmitted at 6:40 a.m., at 12 noon, and at 6:40p.m. through Radio Amanecer in through a Zoom video conference via Facebook Live and YouTube as well. “We had all the leadership of the six conferences and all the institutions taking part in the national prayer initiative,” he added.
The three-day initiative focused on the following reasons for special prayer:
- Persons to have the assurance that God is in control of everything that happens on earth.
- The Dominican Republic nation to put their faith in Jesus.
- God to supply their physical and spiritual needs.
- Divine intervention in protecting each citizen.
- Government authorities.
- Health professionals in the front lines of the pandemic at hospitals and health centers.
- The armed forces and the national police as they keep the nation safe, as well as essential persons who work at grocery stores and other essential services during the pandemic.
- Each Dominican family during the quarantine to receive the serenity, understanding, harmony and peace at home that only God can bring.
- Parents, tutors, students and teachers so that the school year can be appropriately completed.
- All the victims affected by the Conoravirus, that God may restore their health.
- Families who have lost a loved one through the coronavirus, for God to comfort and they may find refuge in Him.
- Children and adolescents who are in vulnerable situations in their homes or communities during the social distancing regulations, that God can protect them.
“We continue to pray for Jesus to be in control of this crisis,” said Puello.
The six conferences have continued with prayer and fasting initiatives through local church pastors who are keeping a close connection with their members through worship services, a week of prayer, evangelism series, and social media platforms, he added.
“Even though our temples have been closed for over two months, the church continues to be active in ministering to its members and those outside the church,” Puello said.
There are more than 358,000 Seventh-day Adventists in 1,401 churches and congregations in the Dominican Republic.
To learn more about the church’s initiatives and activities in the Dominican Republic, visit adventistas.org.do