South Quintana Roo Mission

By Enoc Tello

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Enoc Tello Jiménez, M.P.Th. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, and doctoral candidate of Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary), was most recently the department director of Health Ministries, Ministerial Association, and Youth Ministries in South Quintana Roo Mission. Previously, he had served as a pastor in Metropolitan Mexican Conference, South Veracruz Conference, and Quintana Roo Mission. He is married to Gabriela A. León Graham and has two children.

First Published: May 6, 2021

South Quintana Roo Mission, formerly know as Quintana Roo Mission, is a part of Southeast Mexican Union Mission in the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. It was organized in 2006, and its territory was divided and renamed in 2014. Its headquarters is in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Territory and Statistics

South Quintana Roo Mission comprises the Quintana Roo municipalities of Bacalar, Othón P. Blanco (Chetumal), Felipe Carrillo Puerto, José María Morelos, and Tulum; and the east part of Calakmul in the state of Campeche. In June 2020 it had 72 churches and 8,413 members in a population of 490,406. Its main offices are located at Ave. Venustiano Carranza 498, Col. Flamboyanes, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico.1 It also has 16 districts, 110 congregations, 96 organized Sabbath schools, 48 affiliates, and 22 pastors – ten ordained ministers, ten licensed ministers, and two aspiring ministers.

Origins of Adventist Work in Territory

Payo Obispo (currently the city of Chetumal, capital of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico) was mostly supported by the cutting and sale of precious woods and the making of chewing gum.2 The people hunted and fished to meet their nutritional needs and for trade. Due to its dense forests and treacherous terrain, Payo Obispo was practically disconnected from the other states in the peninsula and the rest of the country of Mexico. Payo Obispo’s closest and safest connection was with English ex-colony Belize since the Hondo River was all that separated them. To travel from Payo Obispo to the states of Mérida and Campeche in the Yucatán peninsula, one had to travel by sea, making a stop in Carrillo Puerto and then traveling to the port of Progreso, Yucatán.

Miguel Lara, a colporteur and the first Adventist messenger to this area, arrived in the south of Quintana Roo in 1933. Little is known about him besides his first and last name. In Payo Obispo, he stayed at the only hotel that existed at that time, “Hotel Villanueva.”3 His first contact was with Agustina Huss and Juliana Tamay Ancona, both of about 16 years of age. He spoke to them about the seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest from the Bible. The young ladies were convinced. They then decided to meet the following Saturday to continue the study of the Bible. They met at the home of Felipa Ancona de Tamay, Juliana Tamay Ancona’s mother. The group was convinced of the Sabbath truth and decided to meet the following Sabbath. After teaching them the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Miguel Lara did something unusual: He gave each member of the group a leadership role so that, in his departure, they could lead the emerging church. He appointed Juliana Tamay Ancona as the director of the Sabbath School, Felipa Ancona de Tamay as the treasurer, and Agustina Huss to be in charge of the group.4

The next day, Miguel Lara left to search for an ordained pastor to baptize the believers in Payo Obispo, who were already firm in the faith. Bringing the pastor to Payo Obispo had its challenges because the city was located within the dense jungles of Quintana Roo and isolated from the rest of the world. Travel was slow, and, with no roads or railroads, the transportation that was available was primitive. In addition, pastors were scarce. The closest pastor was in Veracruz, who covered the entire district of the southeast area of the country. An even more difficult challenge to overcome was the religious persecution conducted by the dictatorship of Governor Tomás Garrido Canabal of Tabasco, who vowed to eliminate the “Christians” of the state. His power and persecution had finally reached Payo Obispo.

Amid fears of being discovered by the persecutors, this first group of Adventists in Payo Obispo was baptized in a 200-liter barrel of water by the pastor, who had finally arrived. Thus, they sealed their covenant with God and expressed their joy for having known the truth and salvation in Christ Jesus.5 The pioneers of God’s work in Chetumal and the four brave people baptized that night were Agustina Huss, Juliana Tamay Ancona, Felipa Ancona de Tamay, and Máximo Carrasco Ochaita. Thus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was established in the south of Quintana Roo. Máximo Carrasco Ochaita died in 2003 at age 103 after a faithful 70-year-long journey.6

Events that Led to Organization of South Quintana Roo Mission

Long before South Quintana Roo Mission was established, Adventist evangelism in the state of Quintana Roo was directly promoted and directed by Mayab Conference. Mayab Conference held a congress on October 20, 2006. Thirty delegates met to discuss the reorganization of the Mayab Conference territory and request the Inter-American Division to support it. The Inter-American Division accepted the recommendation to approve the territorial readjustment of Mayab Conference and form Quintana Roo Mission. The Mayab Conference territory would comprise the states of Campeche and Yucatán with the main offices located in Mérida, Yucatán. The new Quintana Roo Mission territory would comprise the state of Quintana Roo with the main offices in the city of Chetumal, Quintana Roo.7

In 2006, the South Mexican Union Conference board of directors appointed Pastor Ignacio Navarro Pérez as president of Quintana Roo Mission and Luis Manuel Velázquez as secretary-treasurer.8 As a part of Mayab Conference’s quadrennial congress, a territorial reorganization ceremony was held to establish Quintana Roo Mission. The offices of Quintana Roo Mission were officially inaugurated later by the Inter-American Division President Israel Leito and the South Mexican Union Conference President David Javier Pérez.

Establishment and Growth of South Quintana Roo Mission

From 2006 to 2010, Quintana Roo Mission grew in all aspects, especially in the economic and missionary areas. Due to this growth, the mission soon required a territorial readjustment. In 2010, during the second Quintana Roo Mission quadrennial congress, a change of status and the study of a territorial reorganization was proposed and voted.9

This reorganization of the original Quintana Roo Mission was approved, and it was divided into two new fields in 2014: North Quintana Roo Conference and South Quintana Roo Mission.10

From its organization in 2006 up to August 2019, over 3,200 members had been added to the church in South Quintana Roo Mission. The members of South Quintana Roo Mission believe that the growth and development experienced will continue until the fulfillment of the mission that God has entrusted to His Church.

List of Presidents

Jesús Corona Maya (2014-2019); Saúl Ruiz Esteban (2020- ).

Sources

Cortés, Félix A., and José Castrejón G. ¡Suspenso al filo del agua! Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico: Instituto de Liderazgo y Desarrollo Empresarial, 1999.

Romero Mayo, Rafael I., and Jazmín Benítez López. “The Historical Formation of Old Payo Obispo (Modern Day Chetumal) as Urban Border Space During Quintana Roo’s Period as a Federal Territory.” SciELO. Accessed 2018. http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1870-57662014000100006.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

South Mexican Union Conference Board of Directors minutes. 2006. Accessed 2018. Secretariat archives, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.

Quintana Roo Mission Quadrennial Congress minutes. “Administrative Report.” August 18-20, 2010. Accessed 2018. Secretariat archives, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Notes

  1. “South Quintana Roo Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, accessed March 29, 2021, https://www.adventistyearbook.org/entity?EntityID=30947.

  2. Rafael I. Romero Mayo and Jazmín Benítez López, “The Historical Formation of Old Payo Obispo (Modern Day Chetumal) as Urban Border Space During Quintana Roo’s Period as a Federal Territory,” SciELO, accessed 2018, http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1870-57662014000100006.

  3. Manolo Camacho Espinosa, conference executive secretary, interviewed by Maximiliano Oliviera Blanco, via email, October 16, 2018.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Félix A. Cortés and José Castrejón G., ¡Suspenso al filo del agua! (Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico: Instituto de Liderazgo y Desarrollo Empresarial, 1999), 85-96.

  6. Manolo Camacho Espinosa, interview by Maximiliano Oliviera Blanco, via email, October 16, 2018.

  7. “Mayab Conference” and “Quintana Roo Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Hagerstown, Maryland: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2007), 150-151.

  8. South Mexican Union Conference Board of Directors, 2006, 1293, accessed 2018, secretariat archives.

  9. Quintana Roo Mission Quadrennial Congress, “Administrative Report,” August 18-20, 2010, accessed 2018, secretariat archives.

  10. “North Quintana Roo Conference” and “South Quintana Roo Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2015), 155.

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Tello, Enoc. "South Quintana Roo Mission." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 06, 2021. Accessed June 17, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6G1V.

Tello, Enoc. "South Quintana Roo Mission." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 06, 2021. Date of access June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6G1V.

Tello, Enoc (2021, May 06). South Quintana Roo Mission. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6G1V.