Seventh-day Adventists celebrate ‘Love in Action’
Close to 20,000 Seventh-day Adventists rallied at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila for a victory celebration of the “Love in Action” initiatives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Central Luzon (CLC) on Saturday, February 22.
For three consecutive Sundays, CLC conducted simultaneous community services such as Clean-up drives, child guidance and feeding program, and medical/dental missions to aid the government in providing basic community needs.
In recognition of the month-long community services given by the church members, Pastor Jose Zabat, Jr., Sabbath School, Personal Ministries, and Adventist Community Services director conceptualized the idea of how the Church can show its care for the environment and its inhabitants, including nearby provinces and urban areas with about 100,000 residents in 500 barangays. The Conference administrators and directors supported the effort by committing its resources for promotion and groundwork.
‘Love-in-Action’ is the result of the Integrated Evangelism Lifestyle or IEL, an evangelism tool for the Hope Manila 2014: iCare that exemplifies the gospel message in the lives of the Seventh-day Adventist Filipinos. Its objective of bringing the message of hope to the people prepares them for a two-week reaping campaign this month of May at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila with Adventist World Church President Pastor Ted Wilson as guest evangelist and speaker.
Preceding the event, a Caravan of Hope was organized originating from different areas towards the venue, highlighting the distribution of 1,000,000 tracts to commuters and residents in nearby areas.
Church members in blue shirts with “God’s love in you” printed on it filled one of Manila’s historical places, the Liwasang Bonifacio, a park close to the City Hall of Manila. Designated posts for each province and territory swells number of Adventist folks, which signaled the start of the festive gathering.
“This design (God’s love in you) shows how God’s love affects our lifestyle. It intends to produce ‘Happy Faces’ in people as we reflect His love and introduce Seventh-day Adventists as warm and caring people that creates impact in the society where they belong to,” explained the organizers.
CLC President Pastor Romeo Mangiliman started the huge gathering by greeting and thanking the attendees for their warm support. Government officials also came to congratulate and testify how the Church showcases its passion for public service and for upholding God’s love through unselfish acts.
Under the scorching heat of the sun, former Philippine President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, now Manila Mayor, welcomed the crowd and acknowledged the organizers for choosing the Liwasang Bonifacio, a famous Manila landmark after the Philippine hero Andres Bonifacio, as venue of one true memorable event of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Estrada, during his regime, signed the PRC Modernization Act that ensures licensure examinations be scheduled on weekdays in observance of the holy day Sabbath. He also mentioned the support of Congressman Harlin Castillo Abayon, First District of Northern Samar; and Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Pastor Benjamin Tejano in the passing of the said administrative order.
Undersecretary Benjamin Gonzales, Jr. representing the Hon. Jejomar Binay, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, gave the message of the Vice President congratulating the Church for “choosing to give life to its message and remaining united with a mission to serve the least of its brothers.”
According to Binay’s chief of staff, the Vice President plans to attend the opening ceremony of Pastor Ted Wilson’s evangelistic meetings in Manila in May, this year.
Also gracing the meeting was Philippine Senator Nancy Binay-Angeles, who expressed her thoughts on the Church’s public service initiative in her congratulatory speech. “Indeed, through these events, the Seventh-day Adventist Church reminds hope to the Filipino people despite difficulties and how this hope remains to be a testimony to Christ’s second coming,” she said.
Along the limelight of today’s media bring Miss Philippines Earth 2009, Sanda Siefert, and actor Cesar Montano sharing their joys in worshipping God on the Sabbath day.
“I am nothing if it weren’t for the Lord; I am nothing, because the true celebrity is Jesus!” says Seifert during her testimony of how God touched her life 15 years ago.
Born in a Seventh-day Adventist Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan and now stands as a living witness to her friends, this half German beauty queen reveals her life as she ventures serving the Lord at her own pace. “Just like you, I am a seeker of truth—and I know Jesus is coming really soon,” Seifert said.
Moreover, after almost two years of renewing Bible Study, actor Cesar Montano admits he is a ‘full-blooded Adventist’ during his talk in the afternoon celebration.
Raised in an Adventist home, Montano used to attend Sabbath services at Sta. Ana Church, the first Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Philippines that celebrated its centennial anniversary on March 2011. “God designed this event to share the light we have,” shares Montano after singing the hymn ‘To God be the Glory’.
Dr Jonathan Catolico, director of communications of the Adventist Church in the southern Asia-Pacific region (SSD), also gave a message and a prayer for unity. This followed the short message of Pastor Nepthali Manez, president of the Church in northern Philippines (NPUC). The closing remarks was said by Pastor Nelson de Chavez, NPUC.
God’s Love in You
The saying “A sermon lived is better than a hundred sermons preached” runs true in in the Love in Action initiative as it shows God’s love, reflecting His method of touching lives with compassion and unselfish deeds.
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34. 35 (NIV)
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