Shepherdess International: Continuing Education Program Level 1

“It is hard to be a pastor’s wife when everyone in the church expects you to know everything,” says Linda (not her real name).  The wife of a pastor plays a very important role in the church and in the district.  She is considered a full time mother, expected to raise perfect kids, adviser to women and family departments, expert in telling stories, good cook, pianist, choir director and many others.  These are a few of the many expectations that can often lead to physical and emotional stress.

The Adventist organization provided a place for these ministers’ spouses and it is called Shepherdess International.  It is the objective of the organization to help deal with these situations.  That is why, Mrs. Marivic Saramosing – the Shepherdess International Coordinator for Caraga Region, together with Mrs. Pinky Gulfan – the Shepherdess International Coordinator for Mindanao, conducted the first “Continuing Education Program Level 1 for Shepherdess International of Northeastern Mindanao Mission with the theme “Growing with Jesus.”  The guest speakers are Mrs. Pinky Gulfan, along with her husband Pr. Edwin Gulfan – the new SSD Evangelist.  Their combine experiences in the field for more than forty years as ministers, they shared their knowledge on understanding the life, challenges and role of the wife of the pastor and how to deal with it physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Mrs. Jeiel Jagmoc one of the forty seminarians says that “the lectures were timely and inspiring.  We were able to share our experiences, opinions and expertise on the topics during the workshop which is a good thing because it is a way of learning together.  Pastor Edwin and Ma’am Pinky Gulfan brought out the best we can be as Minister’s Wife and Shepherdess.”  Mrs. Marivic Saramosing is planning to have a Continuing Education Program Level 2 for Shepherdess International in the future.  It is her hope that every wife of the Adventist pastors in Caraga region would “grow into a spiritually mature clergy spouse,” she added. (Meljoie Pepito – Ampayon Padiay District Leader)

Power of Seventy as Literature Evangelists

Pr. Joseph Vicente (far left) together with his delegates prepares for canvasing work.

The Power of Seventy is the Northeastern Mindanao Mission’s system under the banner of Integrated Evangelistic Lifestyle, for the purpose of equipping the members of the church for the ministry.  They are given a curriculum designed by the Theological Education of Adventist Missionaries (TEAM) which is supervised by Administrators and department directors.

Last October 23-28, 2017, the Publishing Department together with the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries department launched+ the second phase of continuing education for the Power of Seventy.  Lecturers from South Philippine Union Conference and from other fields came to share their knowledge of reaching others through evangelism.

Pastor Nildo Mamac – the Literature Ministries Seminary Director of South Philippine Union Conference together with Samson Andrade – the publishing director of Northeastern Mindanao Mission devoted their time and effort in teaching the P70 members the art of introducing Jesus to the community through selling and sharing books that contains the message of salvation.

On the eve of October 25, 2017, all members of the Power of Seventy spent the night in reading God’s promises from the bible and pray – asking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead the way to the people that God has already prepared.  On October 26, 2017, vehicles carried more than 600 members of the Power of Seventy to the nearby cities and barangay with the purpose of sharing and selling books from the Philippine Publishing House, applying what they have learned from the seminar.  Daniel Lipasan the acting manager of the Philippine Publishing House – Butuan Branch reported that the event had sold more than 200 books which cost about forty thousand pesos (Php40,000).

Pastor Ven Bermudez, the Publishing director of the Southern Asia Pacific Division inspired the members of the Power of Seventy to read the Spirit of Prophecy books and continue to share God’s message thru selling or sharing the printed message of God.

The event inspired many members of the Power of 70 to work as full time or part time literature evangelists.  The Publishing and the Personal Ministries Department have already decided to include canvassing work as part of the activities of the Power of Seventy every last Sunday of the month.

In his keynote message, Elder Max Dante B. Obbus – the NEMM President, emphasize the importance of the work of the Literature Ministries as one of the great tools in spreading the gospel message of salvation and it should be practice by every members of the church, a way to create good opportunities for showing God’s love that will eventually lead to interest in studying the word of God, and through the work of the Holy Spirit many will accept Jesus.

Empowering the Power of Seventy

Photo Credit: K. Saramosing

The seats were heated and the Bayugan Comprehensive National High School Gym was about to explode as the 2,323 Adventist missionaries take the challenge with power and zeal in their hearts, during the send-off ceremony of the missionaries trained under Power of Seventy Program of Northeastern Mindanao Mission on the 1st day of the month of July this year.
The North Eastern Mindanao Mission (NeMM) of the South Philippine Union Conference (SPUC), concluded its first step in educating, empowering, and mobilizing of its members thru the initiative called the Power of Seventy, which is meant to complement the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s program for Total Members Involvement (TMI).
The Power of Seventy, is a program formed for the purpose of helping the local church in resounding the message of the good news of Christ’s coming, to establish communities of believers and to safe-guard the church from religious extremism that is so rampant in the Southern Philippines.
After months of prayer and laborious work, the district pastors with the help of the junior pastors conducted classes thru Theological Education for Adventist Missionaries. Included in its curriculum are Church History, church planting, personal and public evangelism, Literature Evangelism, among others.
The Power of Seventy is patterned on how Jesus Mobilized Christian believers 2000 years ago were He appointed the seventy disciples and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whiter He himself would come (Luke 10:1-3). Their mission was to prepare the field for harvest and harvest those who are ripe and ready.
The members of Power of Seventy was being reminded that they will be sent as a lamb among the wolves, but being reassured that wherever they may be, Jesus Himself, whose power on earth and heaven is on Him, will be with you even unto the end of the world. (Mishael I. Monterola – Junior Pastor, NEMM)

Hope – that Brings Closer to the Redeemer

Left: Bro. Trifon Felicia wearing a yellow shirt.

“In 2014, started to doubt my religion.  I told myself that if there are other religions that established their beliefs on the Bible I will give it a chance,” said Bro. Felicia.

Bro. Trifon Felicia has considered the importance of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  He likes to read the Bible and discovered many things that is in contradict with the doctrine of his religion.  One day he decided to buy a radio, while scanning to the different station, he discovered 93.5 DXIM as a Christian radio station and became an avid listener.

He decided to study the Bible and at the same time send questions to “Sukdanan sa Kamatuoran” about the things that he doesn’t understand.  It is his desire to really find the true religion and discover that the Seventh-day Adventist has its foundation in the Word of God.

I decided to find a church and Pr. Ben Rosales arranged my baptism.  I even prepared money to pay for my baptism, but Bro. Tirso Lagumbay – an anchor of the radio program “Lamparahan ug Dangpanan” who happened to be an elder of the Church told me, that I don’t need to pay for my baptism.

I was baptized at Ampayon Seventh-day Church and I am now a member of Sigla Seventh-day Adventist Church.  “I am so thankful to God that there is Hope Radio that enlightens me about God’s word and I am encouraging everyone to continue to pray for the Hope Radio, its financial needs and the listeners, because I know the Holy Spirit is working and inviting people for heaven,” he added.

The Power of Seventy

More than one thousand church leaders from the different Seventh-day Adventist churches in Caraga Region had attended the launching had attended the launching of the “Power of Seventy” at Northeastern Mindanao Academy last February 1-4, 2017.  Dr. Bienvenio Mergal – the vice president of the Southern Asia Pacific Division together with Pr. Bernabe Dahunan – the IEL and NDR Director of the South Philippine Union Conference had shared their knowledge about the importance of being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.  On Thursday morning, Pr. Max Dante Obbus (NEMM President), through a phone patch was thankful to the overwhelming support of the district leaders and Adventists through Caraga Region for their participation of the mission program amidst the storm.

Mrs. Perlyn Panes (Children’s Ministries Director) and Mrs. Pinky Gulfan (Shepherdess International Director) emphasized the role of the children and the family to the Total Membership Involvement to the mission to preach the gospel during the Sabbath School program.  Elder Edwin C. Gulfan preached and send a powerful message of putting our trust fully to God during the divine worship.  He encourages the members of the “Power of Seventy” to rely on the Holy Spirit by connecting to God through his Words and to the Spirit of Prophecy and prayer.

What is the Power of Seventy?

The call “to go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) stirred the hearts of the leaders to follow the biblical principle of evangelism.  The recent application of the Integrated Evangelistic Lifestyle platform as an upgrade to small group evangelism created an impact to the Seventh-day Adventist members.  It helps divert the common focus of evangelism which is baptismal goal to reflecting the character of Jesus Christ through service.

The Administrators of NEMM see the importance of equipping the church and providing knowledge of the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, its history and mission.  After a careful study of Elder Obbus, the administrators and the departmental directors, they created a system that will answer the need of the leaders of the church and care group.  It is called “Power of Seventh.”  The idea of the “Power of Seventy” is based on a biblical setup of Jesus which is to be a true disciple and to make disciples.

The Power of Seventy will be trained under the “Theological Education of Adventist Missionaries (TEAM)” compose of administrators, departmental directors, theology professors, and pastors.  It is under the supervision of the IEL-NDR Director and the administrators.  The goal is to equip every leaders of the church, leaders of care groups and bible workers – trained them to become a disciple and a disciple maker.  The first phase of the program will be until July 2017.  It will cover the topics about Christ Life and Spiritual Growth, Fundamental doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Servant Leadership, Nurturing and Discipleship, Reclamation of missing members and many others.  This is a continuing education according to Elder Obbus, that will end when Jesus comes, “Do not be just a disciple, be a disciple maker,” he added.

Examples of Prayer Life

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:7

The patriarchs were men of prayer, and God did great things for them. When Jacob left his father’s house for a strange land, he prayed in humble contrition, and in the night season the Lord answered him through vision. . . . The Lord comforted the lonely wanderer with precious promises; and protecting angels were represented as stationed on each side of his path. . . .

Joseph prayed, and he was preserved from sin amid influences that were calculated to lead him away from God. When tempted to leave the path of purity and uprightness, he rejected the suggestion with, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

Moses, who was much in prayer, was known as the meekest man on the face of the earth. . . . While he was leading the children of Israel through the wilderness, again and again it seemed that they must be exterminated on account of their murmuring and rebellion. But Moses went to the true Source of power; he laid the case before the Lord. . . . And the Lord said, “I have pardoned according to thy word.” . . .

Daniel was a man of prayer, and God gave him wisdom and firmness to resist every influence that conspired to draw him into the snare of intemperance. Even in his youth he was a moral giant in the strength of the Mighty One. . . .

In the prison at Philippi, while suffering from the cruel stripes they had received, their feet fast in the stocks, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praise to God; and angels were sent from heaven to deliver them. The earth shook under the tread of these heavenly messengers, and the prison doors flew open, setting the prisoners free.

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Prayer takes hold upon Omnipotence, and gains us the victory.

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Power in Prayer

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. John 14:13

The petitions of a humble heart and contrite spirit he will not despise. The opening of our hearts to our heavenly Father, the acknowledgment of our entire dependence, the expression of our wants, the homage of grateful love–this is true prayer.

Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere. We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect communion with God. The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial, with His approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and friendship without it. We must take time to pray. If we allow our minds to be absorbed by worldly interests, the Lord may give us time by removing from us our idols of gold, of houses, or of fertile lands.

The young would not be seduced into sin if they would refuse to enter any path save that upon which they could ask God’s blessing. If the messengers who bear the last solemn warning to the world would pray for the blessing of God, not in a cold, listless, lazy manner, but fervently and in faith, as did Jacob, they would find many places where they could say, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” They would be accounted of heaven as princes, having power to prevail with God and with men.

True prayer, offered in faith, is a power to the petitioner. Prayer, whether offered in the public assembly, at the family altar, or in secret, places man directly in the presence of God. By constant prayer the youth may obtain principles so firm that the most powerful temptations will not draw them from their allegiance to God.

The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian . . . are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power.

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Pray Always

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Luke 21:36

Remember that He was often in prayer, and His life was constantly sustained by fresh inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Let your thoughts, your inner life, be such that you will not be ashamed to meet its record in the day of God.

Heaven is not closed against the fervent prayers of the righteous. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, yet the Lord heard, and in a most striking manner answered his petitions. The only reason for our lack of power with God is to be found in ourselves. If the inner life of many who profess the truth were presented before them, they would not claim to be Christians. They are not growing in grace. A hurried prayer is offered now and then, but there is no real communion with God.

We must be much in prayer if we would make progress in the divine life. When the message of truth was first proclaimed, how much we prayed. How often was the voice of intercession heard in the chamber, in the barn, in the orchard, or the grove. Frequently we spent hours in earnest prayer, two or three together claiming the promise; often the sound of weeping was heard and then the voice of thanksgiving and the song of praise. Now the day of God is nearer than when we first believed, and we should be more earnest, more zealous, and fervent than in those early days. Our perils are greater now than then. Souls are more hardened. We need now to be imbued with the Spirit of Christ, and we should not rest until we receive it.

Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour. . . . Let the heart be continually uplifted in silent petition for help, for light, for strength, for knowledge. Let every breath be a prayer.

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Prayer Never Out of Place

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. Col. 4:2

There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a petition to God. There is nothing that can prevent us from lifting up our hearts in the spirit of earnest prayer. In the crowds of the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God, and plead for divine guidance.

We may speak with Jesus as we walk by the way, and He says, I am at thy right hand. We may commune with God in our hearts; we may walk in companionship with Christ. When engaged in our daily labor, we may breathe out our heart’s desire, inaudible to any human ear; but that word cannot die away into silence, nor can it be lost. Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the noise of machinery. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard.

Every earnest petition for grace and strength will be answered. . . . Ask God to do for you those things that you cannot do for yourselves. Tell Jesus everything. Lay open before Him the secrets of your heart; for His eye searches the inmost recesses of the soul, and He reads your thoughts as an open book. When you have asked for the things that are necessary for your soul’s good, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. Accept His gifts with your whole heart; for Jesus has died that you might have the precious things of heaven as your own, and at last find a home with the heavenly angels in the kingdom of God.

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If you will find voice and time to pray, God will find time and voice to answer.

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God Shall Supply My Need

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19

It is difficult to exercise living faith when we are in darkness and discouragement. But this of all others is the very time when we should exercise faith. “But,” says one, “I do not feel at such times like praying in faith.” Well, then, will you allow Satan to gain the victory, simply because you do not feel like resisting him? When he sees that you have the greatest need of divine aid, he will try the hardest to beat you back from God. If he can keep you away from the Source of strength, he knows that you will walk in darkness and sin. There is no sin greater than unbelief. And when there is unbelief in the heart, there is danger that it will be expressed. The lips should be kept in as with bit and bridle, lest by giving expression to this unbelief you not only exert an injurious influence over others, but place yourselves upon the enemy’s ground.

If we believe in God, we are armed with the righteousness of Christ; we have taken hold of His strength. . . . We want to talk with our Saviour as though He were right by our side. . . .

It is our privilege to carry with us the credentials of our faith, –love, joy, and peace. When we do this, we shall be able to present the mighty arguments of the cross of Christ. When we learn to walk by faith and not by feeling, we shall have help from God just when we need it, and His peace will come into our hearts. It was this simple life of obedience and trust that Enoch lived. If we learn this lesson of simple trust, ours may be the testimony that he received, that he pleased God.

If we commit the keeping of our souls to God in the exercise of living faith, His promises will not fail us; for they have no limit but our faith.

From My Life Today – Page 18