Southern Asia-Pacific Congress Concludes with Resolutions and Renewed Mission

On final day, more than 400 people were baptized after months of preparation.

Nelson Paulo and Lesley Joy Estrella, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
Southern Asia-Pacific Congress Concludes with Resolutions and Renewed Mission
More than 400 people were baptized on the last day of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division’s division-wide congress for Sabbath School, Personal Ministries, Integrated Evangelism Lifestyle, and Children’s Ministries on June 15. [Photo: Vince Morada]

The Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) division-wide congress for 2024 concluded at Mountain View College (MVC) in Valencia, Bukidnon, Philippines, June 15.

Regional church leaders reported that the event made a huge impact on its more than 30,000 attendees, coming from various parts of the Philippines and other SSD countries. Throughout the campus, pastors stood at exit points, offering prayers to the delegates as they departed, as a conclusion to the event’s deep spiritual emphasis.

During a live interview that Saturday (Sabbath) afternoon, Rudi Hartono Situmorang, secretary of the SSD Ministerial Association, shared his impressions about the event. “I had never witnessed such a congress with more than 30,000 delegates. What struck me was the enthusiasm and hunger of the people as they came to God,” he said. “Today, our worship started at four o’clock, and the church was filled with sincere worshipers; their commitment deeply touched me.”

The meticulously planned daily and nightly schedules kept participants engaged throughout the event, organizers said. General Conference secretary Erton Köhler closed the congress with a commitment message. Köhler highlighted Christ’s salvific work on Calvary and the assurance of salvation. He then encouraged everyone to stand firm in their faith in Christ’s accomplishment for us.

Köhler also celebrated the mission achievements of the global church and the sincere commitments of many members to actively engage in spreading the gospel.

Delegates walk on the Mountain View College grounds in Valencia, Bukidnon, Philippines, as they proceed to the final few sessions of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division congress. [Photo: Joesamel Tadlas]

More than 400 Individuals Baptized

More than 400 individuals gave a public testimony of their love for Jesus in a baptismal ceremony on June 15. According to organizers, it was a joyous celebration as numerous souls were baptized that afternoon in the college’s swimming pool.

Elvin Salarda, Southwestern Philippine Union Conference ministerial secretary and main organizer of the baptismal ceremony, commented, “My heart is overwhelmed with joy to see these precious souls. We are praying that these souls will continue to serve Him until Jesus comes.”

Salarda added that the candidates received care from various ministries within the church. “Our brothers’ efforts through the Care Group ministry, with help from laypeople and district pastors in public outreach, made these initiatives possible,” he explained. “Our goal is to equip and empower them to become disciples who make more disciples for Jesus Christ.”

During a live interview on the Adventist Asia Facebook page, Andrew, one of the church’s newly baptized members, shared that it took him three years to make the decision to be baptized. “I worked as a seafarer. I was hesitant to accept the truth, but the experience I had at this congress helped me finally accept the truth alongside my son. I am very happy to be part of God’s family,” Andrew said.

He credited his baptism to the dedication and commitment of church members in his area, who tirelessly reached out and shared Bible truths with him.

Forty ordained pastors conducted the baptisms, with Salarda offering a prayer before each person was immersed in water.

Positive Feedback

SSD president Roger O. Caderma emphasized the seamless collaboration among various church departments behind the event organization. “I commend organizers for their exceptional work in integrating all aspects of the program,” he said.

Participant Amy Redula shared her experience. “Traveling from Luzon to MVC presented challenges, but the uplifting messages, music, fellowship, and interactions with our leaders left us deeply blessed — our journey fatigue hardly crossed our minds,” she said.

Despite the rainy afternoon, the line of vehicles stretched some distance from MVC to the exit points leading to Valencia. “Delegates eagerly headed home with newfound knowledge and inspiration,” organizers said.

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

Nelson Paulo and Lesley Joy Estrella, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review