By 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, October 28, 2023, there were already several vehicles in the parking lot of the College Drive Seventh-day Adventist Church located in Pearl, Mississippi. The volunteers were in their assigned spots to welcome the attendees to the opening night of the series, "We All Have
From 6:30 p.m., the first guests were welcomed by the parking lot attendants and the greeters at the doors. Attendees and volunteers were ready for a night of worship with Pastor Roger Hernandez, ministerial and evangelism director of the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
This evangelistic campaign, which ended on Sabbath morning, the 4th of November, was the climax of nine months of preparation coordinated by Katherine Hernandez, ministerial and evangelism coordinator of the Southern Union.
The campaign launched on the 4th of March, led by Roger and Katherine Hernandez during a rally held at the College Drive Church. We were reminded on that day that “A Christianity that asks for nothing and costs nothing ends up meaning nothing.” As a result, our members were motivated and ready to live a meaningful Christianity and to share the love of Christ with those around them.
During the following nine months, several training sessions took place, where we were blessed by speakers who motivated us to keep our focus on our mission.
On Sabbath, the 8th of April, Pastor Glen Altermatt shared on the topic of “Reconnecting and Retention.” On the 29th of April, the importance of service evangelism was exposed to us by Pastor Kymone Hinds; this coincided with the beginning of our “Seasons of Service.” Over the course of forty days,
our members were involved in several acts of kindness towards the people they encountered.
This was followed by a presentation from Pastor Kendal Turcios on Sabbath, the 3rd of June, entitled, “Reaching the Next Generation.”
From there, a forty-day, church-wide season of prayer took place prior to the meetings. This was launched by Pastor Roy Rugless on Sabbath, the 9th of September, where he taught us about the importance of having a life of prayer and devotion.
In the afternoon of that same day, Katherine Hernandez had a training session for all the committee leaders and volunteers during which we were reminded of the importance of being good representatives of Christ by aiming to accomplish our tasks with excellence.
One of the highlights of this period of preparation was the banquet with the theme “A Little Rock in My Shoe.” At that time, several couples joined us in the fellowship hall to listen to Pastor Roger Hernandez share in a humorous and practical way what he and his wife Katherine have learned during their 30 years of marriage.
After all of this preparation, the attendees to the evangelistic series were blessed by the sermons preached by Pastor Roger Hernandez which were entitled: “Epic Fail”, “We All Have Issues,” “Rest," “Dollars and Sense,” “Building Bridges,” “The Problem with Pain and Suffering,” “Surrender” and “Hope Wins.”
Each night we were led in worship by a guest artist. On the opening night, we had the privilege of welcoming Tamara Bodie, who was followed by Hugo Yin on Sunday. Madisen Renée and Neville Peter were with us on Monday and Tuesday respectively. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Jamayra Nunez was our singer, whereas Lisbeth Melgar was with us on Friday night and for our closing meeting on Sabbath morning.
This evangelistic series was also an opportunity for us to connect with organizations that are making a difference in our community.
Four non-profits that were invited on four different nights had the opportunity to present to us what they do for the community and in what ways we could collaborate with them. This included, Brian Crawford, president of Mission Mississippi, Bridgett Macklin the founder of God’s Haven. Scott Walters the ministry coordinator of All things New, Inc. and Samuel Bolden, the executive director of the Jackson Leadership Foundation.
As tokens of our appreciation for what they do for others, each non-profit leader received an award, as well as a check for $400, along with a plaque that had the inscription, “Local Legend Award, Presented by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in recognition of your selfless and positive contributions to our community.”
During the entire series, we could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, particularly on Thursday night when we had an anointing service. The pastors and elders present had the opportunity to pray with those who came forward.
The apex of this series is, by far, the thirteen souls who gave their lives to Jesus through baptism (11) and profession of faith (2) during the three ceremonies we had on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. We do not forget the two souls who also gave their lives to Jesus prior to the evangelistic series, which makes it a total of fifteen baptisms for this particular evangelistic campaign.
One of the newly baptized members, who was invited by one of our Bible workers, Marie and Arjen Bes, happens to be a sign language interpreter. She generously offered her services and came each night to translate. When the call for baptism was made, the sign language interpreter decided that she would be baptized. What a great testimony!
To God be the Glory!
Murvin Camatchee, MDiv, MBA
Senior Pastor of the College Drive Seventh Day Adventist Church (Pearl, MS)