Twenty-four Baptized in the Philippines Following a Stroke Recovery and Bible Study

[Photo: Delcy Melliza]

Southern Asia-Pacific Division

Twenty-four Baptized in the Philippines Following a Stroke Recovery and Bible Study

What began as a desperate search for medical help turned into a spiritual journey of faith and community for Anita Salibio and her family.

News | Philippines | Edward Rodriguez and Delcy Melliza, with ANN Staff

What began as a desperate search for medical help turned into a spiritual journey of faith and community for Anita Salibio and her family.

On May 18, 2024, Anita Salibio, a resident of Hacienda Paz in Negros Occidental, Philippines, led her family and neighbors to embrace faith, culminating in the baptism of 24 individuals. The journey began when her husband suffered a stroke and was admitted to Bacolod Adventist Medical Center (BAMC).

Despite financial constraints, Anita felt guided to take her husband to BAMC. With only USD$17 (₱1,000) in her pocket, she decided to seek help at the facility known for its critical care. “When the incident happened, my son, who was driving the motorcycle, suggested we take my husband to the government hospital. However, as we approached the intersection, I instructed my son to turn left towards the Adventist Hospital. I heard that if someone wants their patient to survive, especially in critical conditions, they should bring them to BAMC because they are known for commendable treatment regarding her husband’s condition,” Anita narrated. Upon arrival, a doctor promptly attended to her husband, who had been admitted for six days.

During their stay at the hospital, a staff member was assigned to regularly pray for the family and gradually introduce them to Bible teachings. After her husband's discharge, Anita's curiosity grew, and she decided to continue the Bible studies at home.

Aser Selga, a BAMC ambulance driver, took on the responsibility of visiting the Salibio family despite his busy schedule.

"I received a message from Delcy Melliza, one of our hospital chaplains, about a patient in Hacienda Paz," Aser recalled. The family's eagerness to learn about the Bible impressed him, and he then started paying them visits. They invited neighbors to join the meetings, leading to a growing group of people who are all interested in faith.

Aser and his wife, along with nursing students from Central Philippine Adventist College, conducted regular Bible studies and health lectures. Their efforts bore fruit when 24 individuals decided to get baptized during the 62nd anniversary of the Adventist Church in Negros Occidental.

After the baptism, Anita expressed her joy and future plans, saying, "I am happy that many of us from our place got baptized. We have a two-hectare lot, and I plan to give some space for a church since the current one is almost three kilometers from our place. We seek donors to help build a local church."

The community's faith continues to deepen under Anita's direction and the care of Aser and his team. Plans are underway to sustain their spiritual growth and establish a more accessible place of worship for the residents of Hacienda Paz.

The original article was published on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division website.