Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) came into existence in 1996 at its former headquarters in the sprawling commercial center of Asia-Singapore. Relocated in 1997, the headquarters of Southern Asia-Pacific Division now stands in Silang, Cavite-- a 50-kilometer distance south of Manila. SSD, as identified by the Adventist world church, oversees the work of nine Union organizations, two mission fields covering 14 countries: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan and Timor Leste. Southern Asia-Pacific Division is one of the 13 regional organizations of the Seventh-day Adventist church which, has a 16 million worldwide membership spread in 209 countries using 717 languages.
In 2002, membership rose to its highest - 1.25 million - but the membership audit (a process by which the church purges the list with missing and apostatized members) brought the number down by more than 300,000. In September 2009, however, membership was back to its more than 1-million mark where only one member existed in 1888-Abraham La Rue.
Abraham La rue, a 60-year-old self-supporting missionary, established his mission headquarters in Hong Kong. At the 1909 General Session of the Adventist world church, the Asiatic Division Conference was established in Shanghai. Ten years later, in 1919, it was reorganized into Far Easter Division with territories covering Japan, China, Mongolia, Tibet, Malaysia, Dutch Indies, Siam, and the Philippines. In 1930, the Far Eastern Division headquarters was moved to the Philippines and annexed Korea and the French Indo-China territory. Since 1936, Singapore became home to the Far Eastern Division until 58 years later, when it changed its name to Asia-Pacific Division (APD) and it expanded to include Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The short-lived APD was divided into two in 1996 - Northern and Southern Asia-Pacific Divisions - with the latter moved to the Philippines in 1997 and into its present location in June 1999. In 2012, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marian Islands, United States territories of Guam and Wake Islands were brought under the North American Division territory and the country of Pakistan became a field territory under SSD.
The name "Seventh-day Adventist" highlights two of the distinguishing characteristics of this Christian denomination. "Seventh-day" refers to the day of the week, Saturday, on which Adventists worship God as instructed throughout the Bible. "Adventist" refer to the hope Seventh-day Adventists have in Jesus' soon return to this earth. The Church's mission is to communicate hope by focusing on the quality of life that is complete in Christ.