Photo: Roxie Pido SPUC Communication Department

Spiritual revival baptizes 3,000 in Philippines

Davao, Philippines

A tremendous spiritual awakening entitled “It Is Written: The Hour Has Come” occurred in northern Davao, Philippines, on October 6–21, 2023.

The Tagum Central Seventh-day Adventist Church hosted the gathering throughout 11 locations, playing a crucial role in igniting a profound spiritual reawakening throughout the district. Ely Magtanong, the US coordinator, oversaw the coordination of the It Is Written team’s operations. His tireless efforts ensured the event’s success and long-term influence.

The keynote speaker at the Tagum Central event was Miguel Crespo, president of the New York Conference. His spirit-filled teachings deeply impacted many people. The main speaker for the Cuambogan event was Charlotte Marriott, from Oregon, USA. Pastor Carlos Aganio led the church in Santo Tomas Central, Jennifer Cardoza and the Field Two pastors led the church in Kapalong Central, and Cindy Torgesen delivered powerful message in Mabini.

The event culminated on October 21 at the bustling Panabo Sports Complex, where a large crowd assembled. The secretariat revealed that 3,246 baptisms had been registered since May, a stunning testament to the impact of diligent Bible studies and field preparations.

While this day was noteworthy, both speakers and organizers emphasized that it was only a stepping-stone. The mission would continue, faith would expand, and the congregation would always encourage and mentor the newly baptized. [Roxie Pido, SPUC Communication Department]

Jamaica’s governor general, Sir Patrick Allen (right), pins Jermaine Johnson (left) with a Medal of Honor Gold Award. Photo: courtesy of Jermaine Johnson

Pastor receives gold medal from Jamaica’s governor general

Kingston, Jamaica

Seventh-day Adventist pastor Jermaine Johnson was one of 72 recipients of the Governor General Medal of Honor in Kingston, Jamaica, awarded for significant and exceptional contributions to their communities and the nation. The ceremony was held at King’s House on September 28, 2023.

Johnson, who pastors the Moneague District of churches in Saint Ann, is the author of the “I Believe Initiative” theme song titled “I Believe.” His Medal of Honor Gold Award was presented in the category of social program contributors.

“In all my twenty-four years in the church, this is the first pastor I have ever seen to be so passionate about the mission of the church, and he has only been with the district since May 7, 2022,” said Earl Waysome, a church elder at the Moneague church and the congregation’s personal ministries director. “He has been networking with various government and nongovernment agencies to effect social intervention programs that have not only benefited the church but also the communities of Moneague and its adjoining communities,” Waysome said.

“I look forward to continuing to serve and contribute to my country’s growth and prosperity, for I think that God doesn’t fill you up for you to live like you’re empty,” Johnson said. “We must pour out ourselves for His glory, using our gifts and influence to transform others for time and eternity.” [Nigel Coke and Inter-American Division News]

(Left to right) Ella Simmons, retired General Conference vice president; Dagmar Dorn, Inter-European Division Women’s Ministries director; DeeAnn Bragaw, NAD Women’s Ministries director; Heather-Dawn Small, General Conference Women’s Ministries director; and Judy Glass, NAD treasurer. Not pictured: Celeste Ryan Blyden, Columbia Union Conference executive secretary, and Bonita Shields, NAD associate secretary. Photo: Glendon Hines, NAD

Unveiling a hidden legacy

Washington, DC, United States

At the Women in Seventh-day Adventist History Conference, held October 12–14, 2023, on the Washington Adventist University campus, attendees learned of the hidden legacy of women serving alongside men to build the church. Hosted by the North American Division (NAD) Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, directed by Michael Campbell, the event attracted roughly 150 attendees, both men and women, from across North America, South America, Europe, and Africa.

This conference had its genesis two years ago as Jim Wibberding, professor of applied theology and biblical studies at Pacific Union College, started uncovering “little snippets” of untold stories while developing a class on women in Adventist history. He conferred with Campbell, who also found women’s stories “hidden in plain sight” in photo albums or letters. Campbell subsequently decided to host the conference “not to try to assert [a] political agenda but to tell the church’s history more accurately and paint a broader backdrop of the wealth of women’s contributions.” He and Wibberding see the conference as a starting point, a catalyst for further research and publications.

Campbell also wanted to demonstrate that there are “a whole host of ways to serve the Lord and expand the work of the church.” Thus, the fields represented encompassed pastoral ministry, Bible work, education, healthcare, publishing and editing, finance, and the arts. The conference also affirmed unsung heroes such as secretaries and stenographers who formed the “information bureau” of the General Conference office, helping steer committees away from duplicate or conflicting actions.

Another ongoing theme was men and women being stronger together, particularly in a church and world where women form the majority. Attendee Ardis Stenbakken, retired GC Women’s Ministries director, reflected, “We make decisions now based on our history and understanding our history. And we need women involved. Women think differently. Women act differently. And we need the strength and the ideas and the creativity of everybody.”

During her Sabbath message titled “Hidden Figures,” retired General Conference Vice President Ella Simmons—who in 2005 became the first woman elected to the role—asserted that just like in Nehemiah’s time, when God used men and women to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, “now it’s our responsibility to build a wall of the complete and accurate history of this church.”

On the conference’s final day, two panels facilitated by Celeste Ryan Blyden, the Columbia Union Conference’s first woman executive secretary, showcased “living legends,” including directors, vice presidents, and other administrators at different church levels. These panels offered inspiration as the women spoke of divine guidance, unexpected opportunities, and mentorship from male and female colleagues along their journeys. Their stories celebrated women’s achievements despite barriers and continued the theme of rewriting history. [Christelle Agboka, North American Division News]

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