Adventists and Government Agencies Partnered to Hold Enrichment Programs

In Eastern Visayas, Philippines, officials participate in moments of spiritual reflection.

Nadeth Balbuena, Central Philippine Union Conference, Southern Asia-Pacific Division
Adventists and Government Agencies Partnered to Hold Enrichment Programs
Men in uniform attend recent spiritual enrichment meetings in Ormoc City, Leyte, Eastern Visayas, Philippines. [Photo: Central Philippine Union Conference]

In an unprecedented initiative, members from several government agencies in Ormoc City, in Leyte, Eastern Visayas, Philippines, came together for continuing, comprehensive professional and spiritual enrichment. Spearheaded by Ormoc City Seventh-day Adventist district pastor Ricardo De Asis Jr., the program aimed at fostering camaraderie and wholistic well-being while focusing on professional development and spiritual growth.

Participants from diverse agencies, including the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), PCG Auxiliary, Maritime Police, Ormoc City Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Department of Health in Ormoc City, received directives from their department heads to attend the enrichment. The program offered a unique blend of 14 doctrinal topics and discussions on professional development, surpassing traditional approaches.

De Asis, acting as a life-and-spiritual-health coach for these agencies, emphasized the importance of establishing close ties among the attendees. “By extending my services to them and connecting where trust and confidence grow, I could talk and conduct Bible study whenever needed,” he shared.

Operating in several sessions, with each session involving ten personnel from each government agency, the program ensured sustained engagement without overwhelming the participants. “This was more than a one-time event. It was an ongoing commitment to personal and professional growth,” De Asis said.

Notably, the initiative included the participation of Philippine Army personnel, with flexibility for their demanding schedules. “The flexibility accommodated their busy commitments,” De Asis said.

The spiritual aspect of the program was approached deliberately and meaningfully, organizers said. De Asis described the program’s goal: “Baptisms will follow when we served our purpose to let them feel the need for a Savior, guiding them on a profound journey.”

During a recent session, De Asis explored the suffering of Christ, particularly during the crucifixion. “Last night’s appeal was an amazing experience when most of them cried. I went deeper into the suffering of Christ, emphasizing the pain and shame He endured for them and all of us. It touched their hearts,” he said.

One attendee, Coast Guard employee Lallaine P. Dacallos, expressed her gratitude for the seminar. “I learned a lot from what you shared with us,” Dacallos said. “What impressed me the most was not forgetting God, because God has not forgotten us. Thank you, Pastor, because you are willing to share with us the words of God.”

Government agencies praised the initiative, with a high-ranking official of the Coast Guard expressing gratitude for De Asis’s dedication. “Pastor De Asis is truly important to our organization. Despite his busy schedule, he gives himself ample time to share knowledge and information. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for this wholistic advocacy towards all mankind,” the official said.

Samuel Salloman, president of the Eastern Visayas Conference of the Adventist Church (EVC), noted the unique approach of De Asis to ministry among government agencies. “He prioritizes establishing a professional form of friendship through personal visits to heads and directors. His programs benefit government personnel personally rather than the church, fostering deeper connections,” Salloman said.

Ibnohasan R. Amilasan Jr., Maritime Police station commander in Ormoc City, expressed that “Call of Duty” season 2 was very timely for the men in uniform tasked with maintaining peace and order. “Listening to the words of God in this seminar is truly instrumental in helping us become God-centered and God-fearing servants,” he said.

Adventists in Ormoc City actively engaged in diverse sessions, showcasing their talents through singing and fervent prayers, organizers reported. “Their unwavering commitment endures as they actively respond to the call, striving to make a positive impact and uplift lives in their community, fostering spiritual preparation for the imminent return of Christ,” they said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.

Nadeth Balbuena, Central Philippine Union Conference, Southern Asia-Pacific Division