[Photo courtesy to Pastor Petronio Genebago, SSD Youth Director]
Philippines | Pastor Petronio Genebago, SSD Youth Director

The Southern Asia-Pacific Division’s (SSD) Voice of Youth (VOY) EXPAND 2022 (EXPAND stands for Exponential Advancement through Nurturing and Discipleship) sent 819 teams of 26,792 young people to reach out to their communities. VOY EXPAND 2022 is an all-year-round, church-based evangelistic effort. As of May 3, 2022, the Lord Jesus has led 7,514 new disciples to Himself through this initiative. There are still 2,819 VOY teams that are preparing to go to fulfill the gospel commission this year.

VOY EXPAND has made an impact in the lives of young people, local church leaders, pastors, and administrators. One of the VOY team members, Roldan Jay Bersonia, invited his friend Kenneth Dave Villahermosa to be part of his team, though Kenneth was not yet an Adventist. The team was assigned to La Flora, Talacogon, Agusan del Sur, which experienced great flooding. Roldan and Kenneth were determined to share the gospel in that community despite the flood. They visited people from one house to another by boat. Night after night, for two weeks, the team shared the truth of God’s Word and made appeals for the villagers to follow Christ. Roldan made a special appeal to Kenneth to be baptized along with other attendees. At the end of the series, along with 42 other people from the village, Kenneth was baptized, despite the waters that flooded the town. In total, 7,444 people were baptized after the three weeks of preaching concluded. Roldan dedicated his life to go until Jesus comes. He said, “I will go always until Jesus comes again.”

Upon the visit to some of the VOY teams in the communities in the South Philippines Union Conference (SPUC), under Pastor Jemsly Lantaya, SPUC Youth Director, where they had been assigned, the youth directors made some important observations: (a) 80 percent of those who were attending is young people; (b) the church elders, pastors, and parents supported the young people involve; and (c) the young people were unstoppable in fulfilling their duties despite flooding and electricity interruptions.

The administrators in SSD, together with the union officers, show their support to this initiative by praying fervently and providing more funds to assist the young people in proclaiming the three angels’ messages. 

This article was originally published on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division’s news site