Small Things With Love

One woman’s quest to support Christian education

Thelma Pallasa
Small Things With Love
Thelma Pallasa (R) and project coordinator Marife Tucdadn Bagawi stand behind an enlarged photo of the original permit to build a new junior high school on the purchased property.

I am a resident of Concepcion Adventist Academy in Gregorio del Pilar, Ilocos, Philippines. I was a college professor at Philippine Union College (PUC), now called Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP), when, almost 50 years ago, I founded and organized the Philippine Union College Adventist Collegiate Taskforce (PUC ACT), inspired by an article by Ellen White that I read in the Youth’s Instructor

During school breaks PUC ACT sent students to conduct medical rallies and Better Living crusades in isolated areas where medical services are not readily available. The medical rally and Better Living Crusade in Concepcion garnered 11 precious individuals for the kingdom of God. These 11 pioneers composed the members of the first Adventist church in that area.

Through a friend in the government, I was able to procure a prefabricated school building to utilize as a gathering place for the increasing number of young people who attended young people missionary volunteer meetings every Sabbath afternoon. When I left for the United States in 1976, the visionary leaders of Mountain Provinces Mission (MPM) converted the building into classrooms for the newly established Concepcion Adventist Academy (CAA).

I worked a job and a half in the United States as a medical unit secretary at Glendale Adventist Medical Center and as an adjunct faculty member at Glendale College in southern California to send financial support to the teachers and students of CAA. I retired from the medical center in 2007, but kept my teaching position at the college until 2014 to continue sending funds to the school. I returned to the Philippines in 2014 to direct the school’s philanthropic services and outreach ministry. 

Because of inadequate facilities and some unfulfilled recommendations by the Department of Education in the Philippines, CAA seemed doomed to close. The Lord intervened, however. Through earnest prayers; the loyalty, commitment, sacrifice, and dedication of teachers and of students and their parents; and the moral and spiritual support from MPM and the municipal political leaders, the school continued to stay open. They all worked hand in hand to keep CAA afloat. Its doors and gates for the past 48 years have stayed open for our young people who desire to obtain an education that shall equip them in their journey to spiritual and academic excellence from this earth to the earth made new. I am an avid believer and an ardent proponent of Christian education, and CAA shall always be a part of me. 

As retirees we don’t have to wait to do great things for the Lord. We can do small things with love. Ask your pastor where your help would be needed most, either in your local conference or in a developing country that suffers from political unrest, poverty, discrimination, and lack of education. For those who live in the United States, financial support goes a long way. While you sleep at night, your dollars, coupled with prayer and love, will do wonders in winning precious souls for the kingdom of God. 

Thelma Pallasa

Retired professor Thelma Pallasa, 85, has chosen to spend the rest of her life at Concepcion Adventist Academy in Gregorio del Pilar, Ilocos, Philippines.