Despite an average weekly attendance of only 20-35 people, the Surfers Paradise Company (SPC), Queensland, pastored by volunteer John O’Malley, helped facilitate 1440 baptisms in the Philippines in 2019.
Know by SPC as “The Iligan Project”, the initiative was inspired by key church members Minardo and Lynda Baldonado from the city of Iligan in Mindanao, who desired to support church growth in their home city.
Each year, the project is funded by an annual offering from SPC members of around $A30,000, a sacrifice beyond their normal tithes and offerings.
Utilising the funds, SPC uses Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) to teach hundreds of young people, and financially supports two graduate Adventist ministers from the Philippines who follow up contacts made during each VBS.
Every child receives a Bible at VBS graduation, and parents often enquire about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Philippines as a result.
Mr Baldonado visits Iligan once a year to touch base with the conference, meet with the ministers, follow up on contacts made through VBS and arrange baptisms.
In the early months of 2020, SPC hosted four simultaneous revelation seminars in the cities of Acmac, Libertad, Sambulawan and Suarez, resulting in 75 more baptisms.
“It is obvious that the people in Iligan and the surrounding municipalities are seeking for truth, and this is now our greatest God-given opportunity to fulfil their desire to know the Saviour by our prayers and support, plus the working power of the Holy Spirit,” said Mr Baldonado.
SPC’s overseas ministry is tracking well each year. In 2018, 1620 people were baptised—most of whom were whole families—and from 2007 to present, 8250 baptisms have been conducted.