[Photo courtesy of Nestor Mollda]

Southern Asia-Pacific

Adventist Church's "Christ for Thailand" Effort Results in Over 400 Baptisms in the South Asia-Pacific Region

On March 11, 2023, thousands gathered at the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam to witness the culmination of the week-long evangelistic series, the third nationwide evangelistic event since the pandemic.

Thailand | Southern Asia Union Mission Communication Leaders

The Adventist Church's "Christ for Thailand" initiative has concluded with more than 400 individuals being baptized across the country.

The week-long evangelistic campaign began on March 1, 2023, and was held in over 40 locations nationwide, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. The program's aim was to spread the Gospel of love and hope to the people of Thailand and bring individuals to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

According to the Adventist Church in Thailand, the initiative was a resounding success, with hundreds of people responding to the Gospel message and making the decision to be baptized. The church expressed its gratitude to all those who participated in Christ for Thailand and also thanked the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the initiative a success.

"We are overwhelmed by the response that we have received from the people of Thailand," said Pastor Arnel Gabin, vice president of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) and coordinator for the Nurture Discipleship Retention - Integrated Evangelism Lifestyle (NDR-IEL) initiative. "We are grateful to everyone who participated in the initiative and helped us spread the message of love and hope to those who need it the most."

Thousands of people gathered at the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam in Bangkok on Sabbath, March 11, to witness the culmination of the third nationwide evangelism since the pandemic, which resulted in baptisms happening all around the division. This event is the result of a collaboration between the Adventist World Church, the Adventist Church in the Southern Asia-Pacific region, the Adventist Church in the Southeastern Asia region, and the Adventist Church in Thailand, as well as other denominational entities.

From Translation to Conversion

The Christ for Thailand week-long evangelistic outreach concluded on that Sabbath afternoon, with simultaneous baptisms around the division highlighting the nationwide campaign. The groundwork and planning for this crucial occasion began months before, when pastors, local church leaders, and lay members prayed for wisdom and blessings for hours.

After days of Bible study and fellowship, study interests decided to embrace Jesus in baptism. Several newly baptized members shared their reactions about the recent event:

“I do not know if I should say ‘yes’ to being baptized because for me, it is very hard … I have to start everything once again. But you know, like, when you are going to the Holy Place, the message will catch you somehow,” stated Chalisa, a third-year nursing student at Asia-Pacific International University in Muak Lek, Thailand.

Chalisa grew up in a household with many Christian friends, both in high school and college. She heard testimonies about God and His love. She was apprehensive and unwilling to accept this unusual worldview because of her Buddhist upbringing. However, circumstances led her to experience a deeper knowledge of the Savior.

Chalisa wanted to avoid being assigned as the translator for the Christ for Thailand evangelistic campaign because she knew she would endure the full force of the Christian message. Yet, after agreeing to the duty, the first night persuaded her unyielding heart to give in and interpret the following nights. As a result, she profoundly accepted Christ that same Sabbath through baptism.

Unity in Mission

Pastor Billy Biaggi, General Conference vice president, delivered a relevant mission message on "The Spiritual Necessity of Church Unity," which was inspired by Jesus' prayer in John 17.
"In chapter 17 of John, the Lord is urging us to commit our lives to Jesus, and He is pleading for us to be one," Biaggi said. "The Lord would love us to offer our faith for the mission that everyone may be one for the world to believe in Christ."

When the delegates were urged to meet together to celebrate the Christ for Thailand evangelism campaign, everyone was reminded of the church's mission and the only sure assurance of unity in diversity through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our Goal for the Mission

At the leadership summit, Pastor Roger Caderma, SSD president, offered a commitment sermon on the necessity of the church's engagement in the mission. He described the duty of missionaries, referring to the story of the three disciples who caught fish. The boat was used to demonstrate one of the pieces of equipment needed to capture fish from the depths. All missionary activities should center on Jesus. The summit leadership commitment is to cast people as fishers of people for Jesus Christ. Caderma advised all the leaders to be more diligent in delivering the Gospel to countries that have not yet heard about Jesus Christ's second coming.

Both men and women were encouraged to participate in the mission. "We can only prevail if we put the trust that He has instilled in each individual's heart," Caderma stated. He thanked the missions, conferences, and unions that moved decisively to deploy their missionaries outside their comfort zones to serve where there was more need.

Fifty-two missionaries were to be dispatched on missions across the Asia-Pacific region. This is an urgent attempt to hasten the arrival of Jesus' second coming. "That has to be emphasized, and the church is encouraged to react to the call to serve as missionaries," Caderma stated.

"Fear must be erased from our souls since bravery is the greatest characteristic," Caderma added. "Every institution that God has given us should be a pulpit where God will bring many priceless souls to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ's feet." Caderma further noted that "the goal will never be done if the people do not sacrifice for the cause."

Diversity for Mission

Pastor Caderma ended his SSD Leadership Conference commitment message with a metaphor equating a fishing boat to all of our organizations that will spread the Gospel around the globe. He assured the congregation that they could all contribute to the task God has given His church. Caderma then called on all groups of delegates to march on stage by union and country, hoisting miniature flags of various countries to symbolize each union's resolve to send forth missionaries outside their own territory.

Each union was commended for its pledge to send a particular number of missionaries to other nations in the coming years to serve in mission sectors. "This is God's chance to utilize us.… This is an order from God to send people forth," Caderma said.

The gorgeous procession on stage was followed by a profound commitment song, which was joyously repeated by all delegates.

The Christ for Thailand campaign was part of the Adventist Church's commitment to communicate the Gospel of hope and salvation with people all over the globe. The campaign also aims to assist individuals in overcoming everyday problems and finding meaning and purpose in their lives.

The Adventist Church is still dedicated to spreading the message of love and hope across the globe. In the following months, the church plans to establish similar projects in other nations to assist individuals in finding peace and happiness in their lives.

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division website.