in Southern Mindanao Mission
By Pastor Romulo Tuballes – District leader of the adopted ministers of SMM
John 10:16….And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
In 2006, Pastor Elmer Romano, adopted minister of Southern Mindanao Mission (SMM) under the sponsorship of Adopt a Minister International was assigned in Colombio, a neglected and shunned area. Shunned because this troubled and dangerous place is where many NPA (National People’s Army) and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front – Muslim group in the Philippines) that fight the Philippine Military live. Colombio is a war zone and for this reason, Colombio has not been evangelized by Adventists since 1985.
Another adopted minister, Pastor William Galagnara, was assigned to work in the scenic and peaceful mountainous area of Lake Sebu. This is the place of the Tboli people.
In the early years of 2000, there was a General Baptist Bible Institute in the village of Lamhaku of the Tboli people. Many Baptist students graduated from this Institute but then, the school closed and Rey Santos, the school dean, and Nonoy Donding, professor of theology, suddenly found themselves without jobs and no place to go; they resorted to farming. Santos stayed in Lamhaku while Donding went to Colombio.
In 2006 when Pastor Romano visited Colombio for the first time, he met Donding and some residents there. Friendship between Pastor Romano and the residents ensued. Pastor Romano held evangelistic meetings and many were baptized, which included the municipal and barangay officials, an NPA leader and tribal Blaans. Donding, former Baptist pastor, was not in the baptismal group at that time but was studying new Bible truths with much interest.
It was then when Pastor Romano asked Adopt a Minister International for funds to build a church for the new congregation of Colombio. We raised over $5,000 (thanks to the sponsors) and a beautiful church was built.
On the latter part of 2008, an American evangelist held evangelistic meetings at Southern Mindanao Mission. Donding, the former professor of the General Baptist Bible Institute at Lamhaku, Tboli, South Cotabato was baptized together with hundreds of others.
On the other hand, Pastor Galagnara in Lake Sebu had befriended the residents, including the elders and pastors of the protestant churches there. He organized a Bible-sharing group that meets once a month.
In December 2008 -January 2009, an evangelist held meetings in Lake Sebu, which resulted to the baptism of many, including 27 pastors of protestant churches. As the months went by, many members of the protestant churches and pastors decided to accept the Advent message in its entirety until the number of pastors baptized went up to 35. Six new churches were built for the new congregations.
In 2009, over 6,000 precious souls were baptized in Southern Mindanao Mission (there are 18 local missions in the Philippines).
The 45 formerly protestant pastors baptized into Adventism are not only from the areas of Lake Sebu, Tboli and Banga but also in other areas of Southern Mindanao Mission. In the district of Lebak, 3 former protestant pastors were baptized under the leadership of adopted minister, Pastor Juanito Dote. A month ago, Pastor Romulo Tuballes baptized 3 other protestant pastors. And last Sabbath (August 28, 2010), the SMM President baptized one protestant pastor. And this coming 18th of September, baptisms of 3 other protestant pastors are scheduled in Tboli.
A PREACH Seminar for a 40 former protestant pastors baptized into Adventism is ongoing and by end of this year, the course will be finished and we are praying for more former protestant pastor baptisms. Those protestant pastors baptized were the students of Donding, former Baptist theology professor. Today these pastors are now actively working as volunteer lay workers in established SDA churches winning their own people (former protestant brethren) to Christ.
What is Southern Mindanao Mission doing now:
1. SMM holds one-day-quarterly meetings for the former protestant pastors – now Adventists (fppna). What do fppna get? Free breakfast and lunch and refunded fare to and back to their stations.
2. SMM gives the children of the “former protestant pastors turned Adventists” opportunities to attend high school (Wallace Academy, Sascatchewan, SULADS schools) and College (Adventist College of Technology).
What is SMM campaigning for:
1. $20 donation per month for each of the 45 pastors (fppna) for their food and travel (to and from) to attend the monthly workers’ meetings.
2. Garden tools and vegetable seeds.
3. Battery-operated lamps and flashlights for evangelistic meetings in the dark nights of the mountains.
4. Horses, shoes and white uniforms.
5. And most important of all – to purchase a 2-hectare property for a MISSION STATION – to build an ADVENTIST LAYMAN BIBLE INSTITUTE and Fellowship Center with a model farm for livelihood projects – to train the fppna to become future Adventist lay pastors to win more souls and establish Adventist churches in these areas.
a. 2-hectare land will cost $1500
b. Classrooms and shade-houses $3500
d. 4×4 Vehicle (not priority-just a dream)
Please help us achieve these goals for our Lord. Please give to Adopt a Minister Int’l and designate for SMM Layman Bible Institute. Thanks you so much!