Student Evangelism Has Opened 32,000 Hearts to the Gospel

More than 1,300 people were baptized in Zimbabwe last year following the efforts of 23 Southern Adventist University Evangelistic Resource Center speakers. [Photo: courtesy of Southern Adventist University]

Since 2001, 1,300 Southern Adventist University students have participated.

Growing up, Paola Mora Zepeda had a zest for Jesus and an eagerness to publicly express her beliefs.

“I was always ready to stand up for the invitation of baptism or for the opportunity for someone to pray for my spiritual life,” Zepeda said.

However, as she grew older, she found herself responding to appeals less and less. Then, a spring break trip gave her a new perspective. In March 2019, as a second-year digital broadcast student at Southern Adventist University (SAU) in Collegedale, Tennessee, United States, she went on a trip to the Dominican Republic with SAU’s Evangelistic Resource Center (ERC).

When she learned that she was supposed to make spiritual appeals every night during the sermons she was scheduled to give, Zepeda became frustrated. But a conversation with the local pastor of her host church helped her see things differently.

“He told me, ‘When you call people, you are tugging at their hearts to make a decision. Little by little, the heart of the person is being opened so that Jesus may enter,’” Zepeda said. “This conversation changed everything for me.”

On her final Sabbath preaching, she silently prayed that the Lord would touch the heart of someone during her last appeal.

“As an answer to my prayer, a visitor — one who had come to every meeting but who had never responded to the appeals — walked to the front,” Zepeda said. “God had been working on her heart that whole week, and after many appeals, she was finally ready to accept Jesus.”

About the Evangelistic Resource Center

Every year, thousands of individuals surrender their hearts to God through the work of ERC participants. This volunteer evangelistic program gives students at SAU the opportunity to share their faith and connect with people around the world, leaders said.


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