By Tyson Jacob, 29 September 2019 | When Adventists involved in various web-based activities gathered in Nairobi during the past week for the East-Central Africa gathering of the Global Adventist Internet Network (GAIN) they were introduced to Adventist Communication Training (ACT), brought to them by the staff of the denomination’s General Conference (GC) communication department.
The more than 300 participants from 10 nations were happily surprised with the creative way the program was presented. “This is the training indeed,” said Hosiana Mwasomola, an IT expert from north Tanzania who has been privileged to be at several international GAIN events. This gathering was hosted by Pastor Prince Bahati, communication director for the denomination’s East-Central Africa Division (ECD), and the presenters were led by Pastor William Costa, communication director for the GC.
One exercise focused on roles in communication operations: news, media, spokesperson, crisis management and bridge building. Another section focused on the elements of today’s media; audio, print, visual and multimedia. A third major section focused on planning skills for communication.
The group also had an opportunity to watch an Adventist action movie before its official release. The drama was about a man who gave up his own life so that the lives of others might be left untouched; it is about cruelty and forgiveness, and symbolizes Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Viewers were exited to watch it.
During the final session, Costa urged the participants, “Don’t allow anyone to talk evil about our church. Never copy or forward fake news or bad news about the church.” He said, “I have been serving this church for over 40 years; I should have retired a long time ago but because of my passion to this church here I am still.”
The participants, including the Adventist Today reporter, each received a certificate for completion of the basic level ACT course.
Pastor Tibanoga Epaphras, who is a communication director in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told Adventist Today that there were French-speaking participants in the group and they enjoyed the event despite the challenges with language. “I was very happy because of the reception we received … and the training helped us a lot.” Bahati helped translate the meetings and Costa promised to translate the materials in the future, including Swahili.
Sources told Adventist Today that the ACT curriculum will be brought to Tanzania next year because the goal of the GC is to provide this training to local church volunteers as soon as possible, and the materials will be translated into Swahili soon. ACT has been in preparation for four years and is still going through some editing.
“I think this was an interactive and engaging session that has empowered us as Adventist communicators,” Joel Mutungi, who works in IT at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, told Adventist Today. The university is an Adventist institution in Kenya.
Tyson Jacob is a reporter for Adventist Today based in Arusha, Tanzania.