ASi convention rekindles commitment in delegates
Over 370 Adventist business people hailing from across the Southern Asia-Pacific Division’s (SSD) 14 country territory gathered in the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City, the Philippines on August 16-20, 2017 for the 8th Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASi) Asia-Pacific Convention. Themed “The Price of Commitment”, this year’s assembly of Adventist laymen, entrepreneurs, business enthusiasts, and supporters is aimed at realigning its members’ focus and commitment in championing the Lord’s work in their respective work areas.
Attendees coming from major business districts in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Philippines exchanged strategies on how to grow their businesses financially and flourish spiritually in the marketplace. Despite the cultural diversity and unique business mindsets, delegates agreed to utilize their ventures not only to gain financially but ultimately to share Jesus.
“My vision is that every single Seventh-day Adventist business and professional will be engaged in helping to share Christ,” shared ASi North American Division President Steve Dickman. “Because we know when we do that Jesus is coming soon.”
“The ASi Convention here has been really great. Great line up of speakers, good devotional thoughts and good thoughts going forward with regard to business, health, and other related matters,” said Dr. Neil Nedley, president of Weimar Center of Health and Education. Nedley discussed the importance of improving emotional intelligence and utilizing its benefits in the delegate’s respective business units.
“This is the main reason why we always have this kind of event because we want to encourage all lay members to participate so we can join all together and create a distinct network of lay people in our church organization”, said Jimmy Widjaja, former ASi Asia-Pacific President.
Several guests from the Adventist world church (GC) and the Division headquarters (SSD) attended the convention. It was also graced by various business entities, both private and government who showed their support for the church’s initiative to exemplify Christ-like character among its members.
In the roster of distinguished guests gracing the convention was presidential daughter and the first woman to become mayor of Davao City, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. The mayor conveyed her support and appreciation for the Adventist church’s initiatives of incorporating faith in overseeing businesses.
“We (Davao city government) are truly honored that you chose Davao city to be the venue of this convention”, Duterte said. “I hope that they (ASi Convention) will have a fruitful stay here Davao.
Former Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, Presidential Spokesperson for the Philippine president also expressed his warm welcome to the Adventist community gathering for the first-ever ASi Asia-Pacific Convention in the South Philippines.
“I would just like to encourage the people (Adventist church) to continue to uphold the nation in prayer and believe for a truly wonderful transformation that will come not just economically, but basically and fundamentally, spiritual transformation that would truly affect the entire nation,” Abella said. “...and from the nation of the Philippines, out to the entire world.”
Several delegates who found interest in this gathering also expressed their thoughts in this growing ministry of ASi.
Leslie Sharon Gomez, a student at Taiwan Adventist College, said that this convention gave her a new perspective in business, making it a part of a ministry. “This is an amazing convention with really great messages that inspired my life and helped me see and think more.”
“This is a very good opportunity to learn and to apply all the information I got in our context. We will try to bring our lay people here, so they will also be encouraged,” Donald Bapi Das a Bangladeshi delegate said.
Some parts of the five-day convention coincided with the city’s Kadayawan Cultural festival which enthused delegates to learn more about the Philippines’ rich culture. Included in the festivities was the fruit fest prepared by the host mission featuring Davao’s locally distinct fruit: the durian.
The ASi Convention is set to hold its next big meeting next year in Bangkok, Thailand through the initiatives of its newly elected ASi Asia-Pacific President Yew Lipsin from Malaysia.
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