A Caravan Comes to Town
Caravana de la Vida
by Gary McLain & Krissy Barber

November 4-12 saw a caravan move through northwestern Oregon. This was no ordinary caravan though – this was a Caravan of Life! Also known as Caravana de la Vida, the Spanish-language event featured Jose Rojas as the speaker. To date, 229 baptisms have resulted from the Caravan of Life, with more Bible studies and connections still being made.

Starting in Salem, Ore., the nine-day series began with nearly 1,400 people attending the Saturday evening presentation. After a quick teardown on Sunday evening it was off to Hillsboro to set it all up again! Setup took eight hours, teardown only took two hours. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's meetings were held in Hillsboro and then all was torn down again, this time to be moved to the Oregon Convention Center for the last three nights.

Pastor Rojas spoke on the real issues of life, including “Light vs. Darkness" and “The Law of God”.

Twenty-seven churches worked together to make the Caravan of Life a reality. It took almost a year and hundreds of people to bring the multi-night, multi-location event together. Beginning in January, church members began hosting small groups in their homes, inviting their friends and neighbors to supper, a church social event, or to a Bible study. As November, approached the members began inviting those same people to come hear Pastor Rojas, giving him the opportunity to invite those same people to make a decision for Christ.

Ivan, his wife and children celebrate
their new lives in Jesus.

In all, an estimated 3,000 different people heard Rojas speak. Close to 3,000 people heard that God loves them. One of the miraculous stories to come out of the nine-day event was that of Ivan.

About three weeks prior to the start of the Caravan of Life meetings, Ivan had a heart attack, putting him into a coma in the ICU of a local hospital. Due to brain swelling, the doctors gave him 72 hours to live. His wife had been attending the Hillsboro Spanish Church and called his family in Mexico, begging them to come say their goodbyes.

Nearly 40 members of Ivan’s family arrived from Mexico and were at the hospital when pastors, Harold Altamirano and Rafael Escobar, came to pray with Ivan and his family. A large prayer circle was formed in the waiting room as each person knelt, most non- Christian, much less Adventist. At that moment Pastor Harold finished the last prayer, the doors to the waiting room burst open and a nurse rushed out asking for Ivan’s wife. Ivan had just woken up! Ivan was in church a week later and on the Wednesday night of Caravan of Life Ivan, his wife, and their two children were baptized.

In January, the process will begin again as the Adventist Spanish-speaking community prepares for the NET 2012 meetings that will be down-linked to all Spanish-speaking churches in the Oregon Conference in October.