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Leaders from Adventist church regional territory share witnessing insights at Sabbath School Congress

The 2014 Sabbath School and Personal Ministry Congress attracted more than 50,000 Adventist church leaders and laypersons in the southern Asia-pacific region (SSD) of the Adventist church. Held at Mountain View College in the southern Philippines, the theme of the May 18-24 event was Revival and the Christian Life with a focus on church members living a life fully dependent on God and evidenced by a life lived for the service of others.
 
One of the May 19 seminars featured Pastor Pervaiz Bahadur, Sabbath School and Personal Ministry director for the church headquarters in Pakistan (PKU), sharing a method of reaching out to people with Christ as the model. Bahadur noted that Christ fellowshipped with the locals, reached out to the community, ministered to people through the Scriptures and had a worldwide sense of mission involving going out into the world to share the gospel.  He further explained that in Pakistan, church members unite in prayer with the Adventist family around the globe and create an impact to society by visiting the sick, helping the poor and distributing free Spirit of Prophecy literature written by Ellen G White. 
 
Michael Ditta, PKU president, sees a connection between personal ministries such as these and the Adventist church’s Sabbath School program. He believes that “the work of the Sabbath School department of the church is threefold: spiritual development of the members, promotion of the world mission program, and local evangelism. This process unites [workers] to achieve the work… bringing the gospel message to the entire world.”
 
In spite of limited resources, security threats and cultural beliefs and practices that are in stark contrast to the Adventist faith, the church work there continues. These are very real challenges for the 15,000 church members and workers who serve in the 122 churches and lone Adventist college there but these challenges motivate members to work together and serve others.
 
Pastor Bibek Halder well understands the challenges Bahadur and Ditta face. Halder serves as the Sabbath School and Personal Ministry director for the church’s union headquarters in Bangladesh (BAUM) with 120 churches, a college, a seminary and over 31,000 church members in a country where an estimated one-third of its 150 million people live in poverty.
 
In his morning devotional message, Halder emphasized that “it is noble to admit to ourselves that we’re … imperfect .. and that the only way to be revived is by recognizing that… we need God in our lives.” He further expounded that “rejecting the fact that we are imperfect prevents ourselves from looking up to Jesus, the Mecca of our lives. It clogs our senses from recognizing that we need to change… for He is the sole source of righteousness.”
 
In a brief interview, Noldy Sakul, president of the church headquarters in East Indonesia (EIUC), similarly spoke of the inability to meet challenges all alone. He stated that “while we understand that the initiative of the World Church is mission for big cities, the present day condition is a great challenge to us as we live among the postmodern society. Revival and transformation is to be the life of the church.” EIUC represents over 700 churches, a hospital, several educational institutions, an aviation service and over 100,000 members. 
 
In another brief interview, world Church president Ted Wilson gave additional encouragement to those who serve in challenging situations as well as those who face personal challenges. He exhorted them to realize anew that “God is calling for a renewed revival and reformation – not one imposed by the General Conference or the Southern Asia-Pacific Division – but imposed by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
 
[Shane Montefalcon/Gay Deles]
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