Baptisms continue throughout Ukraine despite conflict


Over a year has passed since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops. For many people, this has been a time of anguish and uncertainty. But many have also experienced the Holy Spirit working in unexpected ways.

Since the beginning of the conflict, social support programs have been offered in Ukraine for all those affected. These people were then invited to attend gospel meetings and Bible studies.

In January 2023, gospel meetings were held in Korop, Chernihiv, and seven women accepted the Word of God by faith and were baptized.

In February, in Dnipro, eight brothers and sisters from the city and region came to be baptized.

In March, an evangelistic program for young people was held, led by the director of the Youth Ministries Department of the Western Ukrainian Conference, Oleksandr Koropets. For a year, Pastor Andriy Konashuk has been conducting Bible studies with the youth. As a result, on March 18, 2023, two young people were baptized.

That same month, seven people were baptized in the Sumy, Krasnopillya, and Okhtyrka communities and eight in Zhytomyr. An evangelistic program was held in Poltava with the participation of evangelist Viktor Begas. The program was attended by 270 people, 7 of whom were baptized on March 18, 2023. On the same day at the Podil church in Kyiv, 12 men and women were baptized.

Please pray for the pastors who continue to inspire God’s people to reach out to relatives, friends, neighbors, and those in the community, offering both practical help and spiritual hope. [Natalia Luchak, Ukrainian Union Conference]

Photo: Arnulfo Allarse

More than 6,000 baptized after simultaneous hybrid evangelistic series in the Philippines

Davao, Philippines

The recently concluded Earth’s Final Countdown hybrid evangelistic series in Davao, Philippines, had a significant impact on the island of Mindanao, welcoming more than 6,000 newly baptized members. The hybrid campaign, which focused on spreading the message of hope and faith, has proven to be an effective tool in drawing people closer to God and assisting them in navigating life’s challenges.

Pastor Timothy Saxton, Adventist World Radio (AWR) Asia-Pacific director, and Pastor David Bornales, executive secretary of the Davao Mission, led the main production broadcast. Saxton led the first four days of the series and was followed by Pastor Kyle Allen, vice president of AWR.

Collaboration was critical to the event’s success because church organizations were able to reach a larger audience by broadcasting on more than 27 Adventist radio stations and 8 television stations.

More than 1,000 people from various communities in the South Philippines were given medical and dental services as part of the community outreach for the evangelistic series.

“The SSD NDR-IEL [Southern Asia-Pacific Division Nurture and Retention] office planned and proposed a massive evangelism program to involve all members and workers in the South Philippines in reaching major cities in the region and other people groups in line with our world church’s Mission to Cities and Mission Refocus programs,” said Pastor Arnel Gabin, vice president and NDR-IEL coordinator for the Southern Asia-Pacific Division. “This initiative is part of the division’s three major campaigns this year, intended to reach various people groups and in reaching major cities in this part of the world.” [Edward Rodriguez, SSD Communication]

Hundreds baptized after evangelism in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Baptismal ceremonies crowned an ongoing partnership between the Atlantic Union Conference (AUC) in the northeastern United States and the Dominican Union Conference. Twenty-five pastors fanned out across the SDC territory, conducting the series at various locations under the theme “Rescue of Love.”

The meetings drew thousands each night, and more than 600 people were baptized at the completion of a nine-day evangelism series that took place at several sites in the Southeast Dominican Conference (SDC) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Dominican Republic.

“This year’s impact was so positive,” said Henry Beras, AUC vice president for Hispanic and Portuguese Ministries. “We were able to go into the community and serve their needs in various aspects. Young kids who had been battling drugs and delinquency made the decision to leave that life and follow Christ. On the last day of my evangelistic campaign, I asked if there was anyone—even just one person—who wanted to be baptized that day. One young lady raised her hand. I went into the baptismal waters [to baptize her], and to my surprise, ten people ended up being baptized that night!”

Organizers also held a large baptism service on Saturday afternoon to coincide with a Global Youth Day 2023 “Love in Action” rally at the SDC headquarters in Santo Domingo.

For more than a decade, the AUC and the Dominican Union Conference have partnered to conduct numerous evangelistic and mission-related activities. Additionally, the Atlantic Union has assisted in raising and building several churches in the Dominican Republic.

“Our focus in the Atlantic Union Conference continues to be mission-oriented,” said Pierre E. Omeler, AUC president. “That is what we are all about as a church, and for one hundred twenty years, we have been active in missions not only in the Atlantic Union territory but also abroad. Mission and evangelism go hand in hand, and evangelism is a natural activity that flows from a mission emphasis.”

Atlantic Union Conference administrators are making plans for a similar evangelistic initiative to take place in the Atlantic Union territory in 2024. [Debra Banks Cuadro, Atlantic Union Gleaner]

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