East Visayan Conference Evangelism Brings 33 Souls to Christ
Women find a way to hold their evangelistic series one week ahead of schedule and thus avoid being shutdown by quarantine.
Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD)
[Philippines] Women's Ministries activities during the first part of the year 2020 included evangelism, COVID-19 relief work, and intercessory prayer, reports Mae Den C. Romanillos, director of Women’s Ministries in East Visayan Conference.
As the threat of the novel coronavirus gripped the world in February 2020, the evangelistic series scheduled to begin February 29 was cancelled. Working with the local authorities, women in the Tacloban City continued with their plan, except they began a week earlier on February 22. The series brought 33 precious souls to accept Christ as their Savior and to be baptized. Just days later the president of the Philippines declared a national state of emergency.
Adventist churches in the East Visayan Islands took responsibility for procuring relief goods for church members and neighbors who needed assistance. Women's Ministries clusters distributed these supplies during March and April. Teenagers of Burauen, Leyte, also became involved and distributed 80 packs of free food to essential frontliners in April (pictured above with emergency rescue workers).
“God’s work must continue even in time of crisis.” When working together, “everybody is happy amidst this crisis,” states Romanillos. Working from the acronym of Total Member Involvement (TMI)—an initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—Romanillos reminds the women of her territory, "It's Time to Move and be Involved!" Acronyms are also employed for naming the five clusters of women organized from the 19 districts of the East Visayan Conference: CARE, SHINE, SHARE, SERVE, and REACH (see the report below).
By the third week of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, Romanillos organized round-the-clock intercessory prayer with each of the five clusters of women in her territory leading prayer during their assigned time periods. The regular periods of intercessory prayer is nurturing the spiritual lives of each woman involved.
The focus of the intercessory prayer time is for:
- The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people.
- Our family members (spouse, children, parents, and relatives).
- Our protection from COVID-19.
- Our church leaders and members.
- Our fellow women to become involved (fulfilling the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Total Member Involvement initiative) and to be empowered to accomplish the mission of the Church.
Mres Mae Den C. Romanillos filed this report
East Visayan Conference Women's Ministries Director Mae Den C. Romanillos submitted the following report to Glenda C. Catane, director of Women's Ministries for the Central Philippine Union Conference, who forwarded it to Helen Gulfan, director of Women's Ministries for the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, who shared it with General Conference Women's Ministries department.
DIVISION: Southern Asia-Pacific Division
UNION: Central Philippine Union Conference
CONFERENCE: East Visayan Conference (EVC)
EVENT: Ongoing Women’s Evangelistic Efforts Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
DATE OF EVENT: March 21-April 30, 2020
WHERE: EVC Territory
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT: Pandemic Activities
By: Mae Den C. Romanillos
Even with the pandemic looming around our territory the East Visayan Conference (EVC) Women’s Ministries Department is still doing its part in the Gospel Commission by continuing on with its planned evangelistic efforts, but, of course, we are following the guidelines set by the government’s IATF (Inter Agency Task Force on the Emerging New Disease).
East Visayan Conference has 19 districts in all, each with active, equipped, and empowered women members. To better manage and serve our constituents we deemed it wise to subdivide our conference territory, thus clusters were created namely:
- CARE(Called to Act and Reach Everyone), which took care of the 4 districts in the western part of Leyte province
- SHINE(Serve Him with Integrity and Nurture Everyone), shining God’s glory in the 4 districts in central Leyte province
- SHARE (Sharers of Hope, Affirmation, Restoration and Empowerment), effectively sharing the message of hope to Tacloban City and its suburbs (4 districts)
- SERVE (In God’s Service we Encourage one another to Render Valiantly and Effectively), genuinely serving the 4 districts of Southern Leyte province
- REACH (Revived and Empowered to Act and Care people for Heaven), reaching out to the people of Biliran province.
EVC was supposed to hold the Harvest Celebration for NDR-IEL (Nurture, Discipleship, Reclamation-Integrated Evangelism Lifestyle) on the 29th of February 2020, but due to COVID-19 threat, the said gathering was cancelled. Despite of this, after consultation with authorities, the work of evangelism planned by the women of Tacloban City was pushed through last February 22-29 in Tacloban Adventist Center.
Mrs. Glenda C. Catane, Central Philippine Union Conference (CPUC) Women’s Ministries Director was the main speaker. Different programs were prepared. Every night is a Health and Happy Family Seminar. During daytime workshops are given like; livelihood for women, table setting, table skirting & cooking, charobics and many more.
One of the strategies our women used during this evangelistic meeting is “each one, reach one.” The attendees to the said meetings are people around the church compound of which one of them has this comment, and I quote, “I have been staying in this place for many years, but only this time that I was invited and attended a seminar conducted by Seventh-day Adventist people—they are nice people.”
The meeting ended on the Sabbath, February 29, 2020, with fruits. There were 33 precious souls who accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. A few days after the baptism the president of the nation declared a state of national health emergency thus literally stopping every aspect of the lives of the citizenry and establishing a so-called “new normal.”
Despite the pandemic, the work of the Lord must continue. Evangelism must take a new form. And the Women’s Ministries Department must make a sort of an adaptation.
At the start of this Pandemic, our women from the different clusters started to make ways to help those who are considered least in the community, this includes the widows/widowers, senior citizens, pedicab divers, laborers and those whose means of living is dependent on a one-day income. Brethren who are financially stable give donations, others give goods in kind, while others still volunteered to pack the goods. The teen girls from the Share Cluster (Burauen Church) help in the preparation of food packs for the frontliners. Women from Tacloban City also were the ones who prepared the rice packs for the Tacloban Adventist Center’s Project: James 1:27, to cite a few. Everyone got their share in God’s ministry even when COVID-19 is in its full blast.
“Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him,” (Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 93).
Those who stayed at home had the opportunity to create prayer groups with the use of media. CARE cluster used to have prayer groups every Tuesday 5pm in the church but during this pandemic to follow the protocol on social distancing they still continue through the use of gadgets. Women from the REACH Cluster were given the challenge to memorize verses like Psalm 91. Each one has their own way of nurturing their spiritual lives.
On the 3rd week of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) the women participated in the round the clock Intercessory Payer. Each cluster has the schedule of prayer which focuses on the following: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people; our family members (spouse, children, parents, siblings); our protection from this COVID19; our church leaders and members all throughout the world; and fellow women to get involved and empowered to do the mission of the church.
It’s Time to Move and be Involved!
Contributed by Helen Gulfan, director of Women's Ministries, Southern Asia-Pacific Division
Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2020 Q3, summer issue