Right after a Voice of Youth (VOY) Ignite evangelistic series held in the province of Bulacan, Philippines, from December 2020 to May 2021, church leaders in the Central Luzon Conference (CLC) met to plan and build a church for the newly baptized members and to sustain the ongoing effort started by young people. Mauro Lopez, a chieftain of the Dumagat tribe baptized in one of the evangelistic series, donated a parcel of land. On June 27, 2021, a ground-breaking ceremony for the church building took place. Residents and church members witnessed the event.
“God is great indeed,” Lopez said. “I thought it would take a longer time to build a house of worship here in our place. But now I see God’s guiding hands in my tribe, the Dumagat people. For sure, more people will come to this place to worship our Lord God Almighty.”
Ephraim Parulan, president of the CLC, confessed that he is overwhelmed at seeing Adventist young people actively involved and serving on the front lines to share the Word of God, especially in these unprecedented times. “Their big efforts are hugely appreciated as they strive to fulfill our theme, ‘I Will Go and Plant a Church,’ ” he said.
During the June 27 ceremony, Gerry Cajobe, CLC executive secretary, reminded all the attendees, and especially the newly baptized members, that what they accomplished that day was “another victory, since we are laying the foundation of God’s love and salvation through the church building which will soon rise.” Cajobe reminded them that everyone, and especially to those who will become members of this church, has the burden “to call all people to become disciples of Jesus Christ, to proclaim His gospel as expressed in the three angels’ messages, and to prepare them for the soon return of Jesus.”
Mary Joyce Cruz, a VOY Ignite team member who served as the children’s program coordinator, commented, “It was a humbling experience for me to be part of the VOY team. I have experienced how God is being faithful to me and helping me to grow spiritually.”
Cruz said that she has witnessed how blessed she is knowing and living in the truth. “[I know] God wants to use me to share the spiritual gifts He bestowed upon me with others,” she said. “Soon, a new church will rise where the newly baptized people of the Dumagat tribe will continue to learn more of God and spread His message of hope.”
Testifying on the effectiveness of VOY Ignite, Alfredo Selin, a youth adviser in the area, shared that being among the young people was “a life-changing experience” for all those involved. “I believe that when we earnestly disciple and train young people, they can achieve the very best in God’s work. It is what I experienced when I got personally involved in VOY Ignite evangelism. And now we can see the fruit of their labors,” he said.
Mary Mae Ke-e, another VOY Ignite team member, who served as general coordinator, said she was “delighted” with the ground-breaking ceremony. “That we are now able to plant a church shows that God has His perfect ways, in His perfect time.”
Regional church leaders said that God is opening tremendous opportunities to reach out to people “who are thirsty and hungry for His words” despite the challenges resulting from COVID-19. “Let’s pray that this humble and concerted effort of our care group members, church leaders, and the VOY Ignite team will continue and that the construction of the house of worship will soon be finished,” they said.