As the sky darkened, indicating Sabbath had begun, the Friday evening portion of Annual Council began with song service led by Charles Haugabrooks, a regular on programs such as 3ABN and Hope Channel. Following opening prayer, representatives from around the world presented a series of brief spotlights on mission projects in their communities.
Missions of Jeremiah and Abraham
Viktor Alyeksyeyenko, secretary of the Euro-Asia Division, spoke of a two-option mission program they have developed. The two options are Mission of Abraham, in which young people go out elsewhere in the world and minister, and Mission of Jeremiah, in which young people stay in their hometown and do the same.
“There are three stages in this program, and the last one is the most challenging,” admitted Alyeksyeyenko.
Stage One is all about connections by various means, including such things as discussion clubs, health exhibitions, cooking classes, camping, interest clubs, Christian cafes, and Christian entertainment centers.
Stage Two more overtly and directly brings God into the previously established connections, through such things as evangelistic series and testimonies.
Stage Three is baptism. “It’s easy to invite someone to church,” Alyeksyeyenko says. “It’s another thing entirely to bring them to the commitment of baptism. But it’s a crucial commitment and one we are equipped to encourage and mentor.”
Through this mission initiative within the Euro-Asia Division, there have been:
- 122 projects implemented
- 163 missionaries trained
- 2,000 young people involved
- 20,000 non believers visiting programs
- 2,000 people attending gospel programs and exploring bible lessons
- 241 people baptized
- 1,500 people attending church or baptism classes
- 24 people entering Adventist universities
Why should the church emphasize those with special needs? Larry Evans began his presentation answering that question: “They’re special to God and they need to be special to us as a church, too.”