A Life-Changing Experience

Student evangelists preach in the Philippines

By: Becky St. Clair

A group from WWU arrives in the Philippines and receives a grand welcome from the locals.

After a layover in Japan, a brief reprieve at the Adventist mission in Manila, and winding slowly through General Santos City as the highlight of a parade, a group of 19 from Walla Walla University arrived at their destination in Southern Mindanao, Philippines, in August.

Nine WWU students, one from Hong Kong Adventist College, five WWU professors (four current, one retired), and three community members made up this evangelistic team. For two and a half weeks, the group put on nightly evangelistic meetings and Vacation Bible Schools at 10 sites around General Santos City.

Another project they took on while on the islands was conducting an Evangelism Field School every morning. The course taught during the school was Church Growth and Evangelism. At the end of the field school the Filipinos put on a full-scale graduation. Dave Thomas, associate professor of theology at WWU, gave the commencement address, and WWU Field School certificates were given to 50 Bible workers, pastors, and WWU team members.

Several WWU students took on the responsibility of presenting an evangelistic series at one of the 10 locations. One such student was senior religion and speech communication major Brittney Sandvik.

“I prepared sermons during the day and preached at Pag-asa Adventist Church every evening,” says Sandvik. “Both aspects were a lot of fun as well as spiritually confirming.” Sandvik spent a year as a student missionary last year.

“During this trip, I felt as though God was building me back up from my humbling SM experience,” she says. “He helped the Filipinos to be responsive when I preached, and I felt like I was in a really safe environment where I could improve my skills, form relationships, and be myself, even in another culture.”

Preaching and evangelizing wasn’t all those on this trip did, however. Everything culminated in an emotional experience at the end of the trip: a mass baptism.

“The baptism on Sabbath, September 1, was the highlight of the entire trip,” says Pedrito Maynard-Reid, VP for Spiritual Life at WWU. “The baptism itself was a celebration, but afterwards the Filipinos had a musical extravaganza that was absolutely fantastic.”

Maynard-Reid was one of 18 ministers who baptized a grand total of 922 persons in a large swimming pool in General Santos City. Following their departure, another 175 were baptized by local pastors. This brought the total number of Filipinos who gave their lives to Christ to 1,037.

“It was really exciting to watch some of the people who had attended the Pag-asa meeting as they were baptized,” says Sandvik. “Their faces were so sincere. Their baptisms were a miracle. They were like birth.”

For more information on how you can help support the successful mission work happening at Walla Walla University, contact the Student Missions office at 509-527-2102.

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