May 4, 2022

Mission is central

Just prior to His ascension our Lord gave a clear command to His church: Go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19).

The intent of this statement was to place mission as central to the church’s purpose. Jesus did not create a church and then give it mission as just one of its tasks. The very essence of the church is mission. If the church ceases to be mission-driven, it would not fulfill our Lord’s command but instead, at its best, simply become a religiously oriented social organization.

Mission is central to the identity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Lake Union Multicultural Ministries Department considers mission as our central purpose; our involvement in a variety of events testifies to our commitment. Here are some examples of what we have done during this past quinquennium.


Latino Youth Outreach and Nurture

The Latino youth event known as Conectate had its origin in 2010 with the purpose of reaching bilingual youth throughout our Union. During this quinquennium, hundreds of our youth came to this unique youth congress, held every other year on the campus of Andrews University, with the purpose of not only helping them to grow in Christ through guest speakers and a variety of seminars but also inspire them to be mission-minded through practical acts of service. In 2016, the theme for Conectate was “Love Live Lead Like Jesus”; in 2018, the theme was “Strength in Numbers”; and in 2021, in our first virtual convocation had as its theme, “Bridge the Gap.”


Lake Union Hispanic Women’s Congress

During this quinquennium, we are thankful for the thousands of women who attended the two congresses that were held (2017 and 2019) on the Andrews University campus. In 2019, we had a unique challenge in that we had so many women register that, instead of meeting at the Howard Performing Arts Center, we held the event in the Johnson Gymnasium. Over 1,000 women came, which included holding a communion service and also the baptism of several women. In 2021, we also had our first Virtual Women’s Convocation; its theme was “Abro mi Corazón al Poder Transformador de Dios” (I Open My Heart to the Transforming Power of God).


Hispanic Evangelism

In October of 2016, we were privileged to support the uniting of Hispanic churches from the Lake Region and Michigan conferences to a citywide campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, held by the Hispanic media ministry, La Voz de Esperanza. We are thankful for the unity fostered from that event and the many baptisms which resulted from that campaign.

Since mission is central to the heart of our department, we were not discouraged by the coronavirus pandemic. We adapted to undertake evangelism in unexpected ways. Our original plans included having the media ministry, Esta Escrito, host evangelistic meetings in Indianapolis. Instead, it was decided to hold those meetings virtually, with our members inviting their friends to watch online and pastors committing to following up on decisions. The Lake Union also partnered with the Hispanic coordinators from the five conferences to hold a week-long virtual evangelistic series in December 2021 with renowned evangelist, Alejandro Bullon, as our featured speaker under the theme, “Mas Alla del Temor” (Beyond Fear).


Refugee Ministry

Refugee ministry is a very important part of the work that this department supports. In 2016, the pastors of the Mizo, Karen and Chin people groups asked if we would support the training of their people in small group and youth ministry. For over two years, members of these people groups came every month to the Lake Union office where they could receive training from Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary professors. We are thankful that over 50 people graduated who received official seminary certificates in those two areas.

Our department also has had the privilege for several years to support Rwandan ministry that the Lansing Bethel Church has been providing for the many Rwandans living in that city. The Lake Union recently has been privileged to support Haitian church plants and a refugee church plant in Indiana.


Collaborative Efforts

In 2016, we were happy to support the translation into Spanish the messages presented by Pioneer Memorial Church senior pastor, Dwight Nelson, in the Hope Trending series. We also partnered with Andrews University on their first Change Day event by providing the opportunity for youth to put together special school backpacks which were sent to children living in refugee camps in Lebanon.

Our department also partnered with the seminary in 2016 with the Mission in an Era of Migrants conference and in 2018 with the Urban Mission conference.

For three years, our department also supported North American Division Hispanic Ministries’ small group initiative known as VIDA GPS by the training of lay leaders and the distribution of materials. Despite the pandemic, this initiative continued in the virtual world by emphasizing small group ministry among our Hispanic youth across our Division.


Unity Amidst Diversity Initiative

In this quinquennium we started a Unity Amidst Diversity initiative by coordinating opportunities for dialogue between state and regional conference pastors and laypeople. This initiative was birthed from a meeting titled “Journey for Healing and Understanding,” led by Elder Don Livesay, which took place in Berrien Springs in September 2016.

Following that event, our department took on the challenge to encourage dialogue and partnership between people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. We began our monthly meetings with pastors and members in 2017 in Indianapolis which continued for one year, followed by meetings in Milwaukee in 2018 and Detroit in 2019.

As a result of our conversations in Detroit, the area pastors of the Lake Region and Michigan conferences and with the Lake Union led an unprecedented virtual convocation with church members from both conferences, listening to a Bible study on race relations led by Drs. Gregory and Carol Allen titled, “His Invitation: ‘Reconciliation, Unity and Latter Rain Power.”


United Cry Prayer Convocations

The Lord has recently impressed our department to bring together people from all cultures to join an initiative to come into the unity God wants us to have through prayer. In March 2020, the Lake Union sponsored our first multicultural United Cry Convocation which led over 500 people to come together to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Even after the pandemic began, we continued to move forward in prayer by holding two virtual United Cry summits in 2021 with many people from our Union and around the world coming together to pray.



ASI supports the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in spreading the good news of God’s love by sharing Christ in the marketplace.



In 2016, longtime ASI members Dr. Manuel Alva and Dr. Esther Alva opened the ADELANTE Community Health Center in Berwyn, Illinois. Our 2019 offering helped fund a street sign for this center of influence located along historic Route 66.

FARM STEW equips families with skills in sustainable agriculture, plant-based diet, sanitation, enterprise, and more. After joining ASI in 2017, we helped support a trainer on their Jinja Team in Eastern Uganda from 2018 to 2020.

The 2017 Motor City Medical Mission in Detroit served 1,217 individuals—75 percent of whom had no dental insurance, completing 332 extractions and 519 eye exams among other services. We assisted financially and members donated their time and services.

ASI Lake Union made a three-year commitment beginning in 2018 to help support George and Theresa Tooray, a missionary couple with Adventist Frontier Missions. They have been ministering to the Muslim Malinke people in Mali, where accepting Jesus may mean losing the support of family and friends.

Orphan’s International Helpline assists with the basic needs of orphans in Haiti and was a recipient of the 2018 and 2019 offerings.

Each year in this quinquennium, we have supported evangelism to Karen and Zomi refugees within the Lake Union Conference through ASAP Ministries.

In the last six years, we have distributed over $84,000 to 13 projects, led by 12 different ministries that are furthering the advance of the gospel.



In 2018, we were one of nine Maranatha volunteer groups to work on the construction of an Adventist education center in Dolega, Panama. It will be used both as a school and for evangelism and is the only Christian school in the region. The campus includes ten classrooms, staff offices, bathrooms and a central auditorium that can be used as a meeting space or a gymnasium.



Each year, our members gather to share ideas, fellowship and learn new ways to evangelize. We have had the pleasure of hosting Maurice Valentine II, Taurus Montgomery and Derek Morris as main presenters. In 2020, our spring fellowship looked a little different as we had a virtual conference broadcasted by 3ABN.

In 2021, our chapter held our own virtual convocation with a wide variety of speakers addressing issues of health and faith under the theme, “Faith not Fear.” This virtual broadcast was very popular and even today continues to be viewed on YouTube under the title, “ASI Lake Union Spring Fellowship 2021.”



Jesus' last prayer for His church was a simple one: That they all may be one (John 17:21). The Multicultural Ministries and ASI departments see this prayer as a condition that needs to be met so we can see the Great Commission be fulfilled. It is our desire and prayer that all we have done and will do in the future will lead to the fulfillment of our Lord’s prayer.


Carmelo Mercado, vice president for Multicultural and ASI ministries; Carmen Rivas, administrative assistant