A kaleidoscope of colorful cultural outfits and a myriad of languages marked the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Southern-Asia Pacific Division (SSD) Pastoral Convention in Bangkok, Thailand on July 13. Attracted by the theme of Revival and Reflecting God’s Glory, over 1200 Adventist pastors, church workers, administrators and spouses have gathered for this historic three-day event.
Although similar events have been held in southeast Asia under the auspices of the Far Eastern Division, this is the first such event hosted by SSD since the territory was divided into two divisions in 1997. As a result, for many attendees this was their first opportunity to gather with fellow ministers and workers on such a grand scale. Dhay Htoo Sien, a pastor and principal from Yangon City, Myanmar, was impressed by the ceremony. “I’m happy to see so many pastors from different countries and that we could gather together. I’ve never seen anything (like this) before. It makes me feel I’m a part of the world church family.”
During Sunday’s keynote address, world church ministerial director Jerry Page exhorted attendees to develop a deep and authentic relationship with God, coming to Him not only as ministers needing His power to share the gospel but as individuals seeking a personal relationship.
Elder Ted N.C. Wilson, world church president, was Monday’s keynote speaker and shared a number of ways to develop a more vibrant relationship with Christ and as a result -- positive relationships with family members, church members and the general community. “Let them know that a walk with Christ is a vibrant, joyful existence,” he urged. “Proclaim this (Adventist) message with love and great admiration of what God has done for us.”
Pastor Houtman Sinaga, SSD ministerial director and pastoral convention coordinator, shares “I am really inspired by the pastors and their dedication. They have spent their money just to come to this meeting because it is so important to them. I was also inspired with our presenters. They are talking about practical things in life and what the pastors really need to hear. I have the expectation that when our pastors go home, they will be changed.”
The convention continues through Wednesday, July 16 and will conclude with a commitment service. An additional article will feature overall highlights from this event.