Health and family seminar in Sarawak, Malaysia reaps results through member involvement

Noldy Sakul, stewardship director for the Adventist regional headquarters in the southern Asia-pacific, couldn't believe the number of people responding to an altar call he made the evening of August 26. He was speaking on the final night of a five-day evangelistic series held on the second floor of a local parliament building in Serian, Sarawak in Malaysia. Sakul presented topics centered on family relationships as well as end-time prophecies from Daniel and Revelation. His wife Jeanne, a registered nurse, presented the health topics. 

Half of the attendees, mostly middle-schoolers, college students and young couples, walked toward the pulpit to demonstrate their need for Christ. The same crowd came forward on Saturday morning, again responding to the same appeal. In the afternoon, at the baptism pool of Ayer Manis School, 177 accepted Jesus Christ in their lives and were baptized.

Among the new Christians was a lady had been married to an Adventist for 30 years but had remained indecisive about following Christ until now. She told Sakul that after coming to the nightly meetings in Serian, she was moved by the Holy Spirit and decided to open her heart to follow Christ.

Sakul further shares, "I have been to evangelistic meetings where the Adventist members would give gifts just to promote the meetings and attract a crowd. I have been to evangelistic meetings where the evening programs are polished and [the number of] musicians would overflow...Some of these efforts would only reach out to four of five people. Here in Serian, it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that [so many of] these people come nightly even with the possibility of facing doubt, discouragement or difficulty.  "

Joggery Gelu, stewardship director for the Adventist church mission in Sarawak, agrees and also points to the involvement of the local churches. When asked how they managed the preparation and groundwork that led to the meetings, Gelu replied, "It was a joint effort among the church elders' council in the district of Serian."  In turn, these elders worked with local church members and leaders to fill the many needs before and during the series. This type of partnership centered on member involvement and encouraged members to look for the needs in their neighborhoods as a practical way of evangelism first.

The Adventist church in the district of Serian has over 30 churches. Sarawak Mission is an Adventist church territory under the care of the Southeast Asia Union Mission (SAUM). Sarawak Mission has 98 Adventist churches caring for over 18,000 Adventist members. It also operates the Ayer Manis School and Kindergarten in Serian and Sunny Hill School in Kuching.

SAUM is headquartered in Singapore which oversees the Adventist work in the countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singaore, Thailand and Vietnam.

[Gay Deles]

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