Nearly 600 people in Northern Luzon Mission (NLM) recently accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord after the concerted, intentional, and unconventional effort of 36 Voice of Youth (VOY) teams.
NLM young people heralded the good news of salvation in every way possible with limited face-to-face VOY Ignite evangelistic meetings, house-to-house visits, radio broadcasts, and online Bible studies. The VOY teams held evangelistic campaigns adhering to local mandates due to the pandemic.
"To avoid a large number of gatherings, we divided our group into four, and we ended up doing house visitation," says Marjurytt Salvador of San Manuel Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Alpha Bulatao of Lokeb Seventh-day Adventist Church, explains: "Due to restrictions, our VOY Ignite meetings were done online via Google Meet. I am amazed that it brought us thirty committed people ready for baptism.”
Hence, the synchronized VOY efforts culminated in an online media evangelism via Facebook Live themed, "I AM JESUS: The Way, The Truth, and the Life" June 16-25, 2021. The online series was championed by Pastor Ron Genebago, Youth Ministries director for the Southern-Asia Pacific Division. In his message, Genebago emphasized that Christ is the only way to salvation, forgiveness, and righteousness; the truth on which all teachings of the Bible must be centered; and the source of abundant and eternal life.
"To encourage viewers, we sent them mobile loads so they can watch our nightly programs using internet data,” explains Pastor Roseller Zamora, NLM Adventist Youth Ministries and Communication Department director. “I find it remarkable that our church members are also thrilled to watch our programs with their friends using a big screen in satellite meetings."
The two consecutive Sabbaths of the campaign resulted in the baptism of hundreds, including three ministers from other Christian denominations. One of them is Alex Calidayan, leader of the United Methodist Church in Bulaoen, Sison, Pangasinan. He shares that on a sunny afternoon, while he was lazing on his hammock, he thought of searching for a Christian-oriented program on the radio to make his power nap even more worthwhile.
"I tried my worn-out transistor radio to see if was still working, and to my surprise, it did,” he relates. “I was hoping to find a Christian program and I browsed the stations until I heard a song that caught my attention.”
Calidayan quotes the chorus he heard: Umay manen, Umay manen, ni Hesus umay manen! (Coming again, coming again, Jesus is coming again!)
Calidayan had tuned in to 107.7 Adventist World Radio NLM. For one year, he listened to the program until the radio simulcast of the online series of Pastor Ron Genebago reached him. On June 26, 2021, Calidayan decided to be baptized.
The other two, Ronald Ramos and Glemark Agustin, were ministers of the Pentecostal Church in Manalpac, Solsona, Ilocos Norte. They were visited regularly by Glady Pascual’s VOY team.
"The two ministers had no qualms whenever we presented biblical truths," says Pascual.
Their continuous pursuit of biblical answers led the two ministers to accept Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life through baptism on July 3, 2021.
"From now on, we will worship on the true day of rest,” Agustin says. Then he adds, “We will also continue to attend the church service of the Pentacostal Church on Sundays because we want the members of our former church to know the truth we found in Christ."
“I have seen the desire and determination of these two pastors; that's why we will evaluate their educational transcripts,” says Pastor Marvin Diaz, president of NLM. “Based on those, we will enroll them in the theology program for the Adventist Church so that someday they can be full Adventist ministers.”
The Voice of Youth program is one of the many ways the church is responding to the I Will Go strategic focus of the world church. As for the NLM, the concerted efforts of the youth will always be instrumental in realizing the vision of one congregation in every seven-kilometer distance leading to a town or district.
"I am happy to see how the Lord is using his people in this mission,” commends Pastor Samuel Saw, president of the Southern-Asia Pacific Division. “They are fulfilling the vision to reach every place by establishing a congregation every seven kilometers, preparing people for the Lord's soon coming."