By Becky St. Clair
Alberto Ingleton, Hispanic Ministries director for the Pacific Union Conference, is accustomed to holding four or five outreach meetings within the union every year. For several nights at the end of April and beginning of May, he was scheduled for a presentation at the Perris Spanish church with Ricardo Escobar, the church pastor.
“COVID-19 changed everything,” Ingleton said. “Nothing was normal about our worship experience anymore, and that included the opportunity to gather for outreach events at our churches.”
Together, Ingleton and Escobar decided to attempt an online event, something neither of them had done before.
Noting the intense fear and anxiety growing around the world, Ingleton thought he would need to shift some of what he had prepared.
“After prayer and meditation, I adjusted my presentation and general theme to ‘Cristo Es Suficiente,’ or ‘Christ Is Enough,’” Ingleton explained. “I moved from an outreach focus to a revival meeting focus for our members, believers, and nonbelievers in order to present Jesus as the only hope for our present chaotic situation.”
Addressing the privilege and blessing that comes when Jesus reigns in a person’s heart, Ingleton focused on handling life’s challenges, using the apostle Paul’s thorn in his side as an example.
“God told Paul, ‘My grace is sufficient for you,’ and Paul realized then that when he was weak, he was strong,” Ingleton pointed out. “This gives us a message of courage and hope as we too realize that God is sufficient to help us deal with our struggles, pain, fear, and uncertainty.”
Ingleton also focused on the majesty, omnipotence, and omnipresence of God and on His willingness to give people comfort, healing, love, forgiveness, salvation, and peace.
Just before the series began, Escobar approached Ingleton with a request from several Southeastern California Conference pastors, as well as a contact in the Honduras Union, who wanted to transmit Ingleton’s presentations to their constituents. Ingleton happily agreed. As he began speaking on that first night, attendees were joining from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Honduras, and several SECC Hispanic churches.
“All of these churches across SECC and Central and South America simultaneously tuned in to this evangelism series that was originally expected to reach only a few hundred people,” Escobar said. “Instead, it was thousands.”
The number of viewers totaled between 35,000 and 40,000 each night.
“The entire world is dealing with COVID-19, and the messages of this event dealt with relevant fears and concerns for all of us,” Ingleton said.
Because the “Cristo Es Suficiente” idea spoke to many aspects of what people across the globe are experiencing, Ingleton was convinced it was a needed message of hope for the world.
“The world needs to know that our God isn’t in quarantine,” he said. “He has not been surprised, like us, with the uncertainty of COVID-19. We are loved by God, and there is no fear in love—perfect love drives out fear. The world needs to know we are secure in His loving hands.”