January 22, 2019 |
By Michael T. Dalida
the South Oriental Mindoro (SOM) District brethren inched their way to the assembly area. They signaled the south’s first move to an Oriental Mindoro-wide anti-drug campaign. The North Oriental Mindoro (NOrM) District made the same preparation as Lakeside District (Victoria and part of Naujan) set to follow. Soon, the rising sun spotted lines of vehicles from northern and southern parts of Oriental Mindoro moving toward a common point. Decked with balloons and streamers, the long convoys converged to a place called Zigzag. “To make an impact, we had planned a long motorcade from the north and south [of Oriental Mindoro] where every district would follow one another until they all met at the venue,” Pastor Robert Dulay, Oriental Mindoro Area Assistant Coordinator, explained. Before 9 o’clock a.m., the long line of vehicles parked along both sides of the zigzag road. Their shirts conveyed their intent: Hope Zigzag. It was the launching day of Hope Zigzag Project. An anti-drug rally, the launching program flashed its theme, “Sagipin ang Bukas: Kaya ko ‘to ng walang droga.”
An abandoned resort in Brgy. Happy Valley, Socorro, Oriental Mindoro became alive as thousands of participants sheltered under huge military tents and trees surrounding the makeshift platform. The peaceful view, overlooking the Naujan Lake, somewhat gave a refreshing feeling amid the growing heat of the sun. “It was not an easy preparation. Just to think that it’s a big event attended by VIPs. We had guests from provincial and local governments. Then there’s the concern to make the greatest impact possible,” the event host, Pastor King Ruallo of Central Oriental Mindoro (COM) District, said. Guests from South-Central Luzon Conference and North Philippine Union Conference arrived, some made their way up the platform to make their remarks. Pastor Arnel Gabin, NPUC Health Ministries Director, emphasized the need for awareness programs on evils of drugs. “This anti-drug campaign helps to remind the public that there’s nothing to be gained in drugs,” he said. “It’s not worth to try it or use it, because it destroys the future of everyone involved.” Also, administrators, health and police officials from the provincial government, as well as the regional office, came as honored guests. Vice-Governor Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor talked about the strong temptation of drugs, especially on young people. He inspired his audience with quotations from the Scriptures. Governor Alfonso “PA” Umali, Jr. praised the efforts of the Adventist Church. “I am happy for Adventist friends who help our government in the drug problems,” he said. Besides speeches, the program featured song composition, slogan and poster-making contests. One winning slogan said, “Zigzag angdaraanan kapag droga ay sinubukan, Diyos ang kasagutan sa tuwid na daraanan" “That’s a nice program. I am gladdened by the remarks of one speaker who said that he was happy to see the support to the program of every Adventist even down to the smallest kid,” said Sis. Dorie Plotado of Bongabong District.
Spearheaded by the COM District (Socorro and Pola), under Pastor King Ruallo, the project coordinator, the action plan for the work began to take shape. A special group of volunteers, known later as HisApprentice, formed through the guidance of God, he revealed. Composed of professionals, high school and college students from various churches in the district, the team
helped in medical missions, Hope Impact, anti-drug campaigns, Global Youth Day, feeding programs, VBS, Care Group meetings, health lectures and visitations. “HisApprentice also worked with the local government for drug surrenderers’ counseling and moral recovery programs,” Pastor Ruallo reported.
On June 9-24, 2017, the first reaping campaign yielded 46 individuals at Mindoro for Christ efforts. Before that, HisApprentice conducted satellite meetings as ground preparation. Follow- up efforts later increased the total number of new Advent believers to 62. Pastor Ruallo voiced his concern, “We now
Yesterday’s hope is now a reality. It is how God has opened His work for His willing servants. “We request that whenever you travel this way, please offer your prayers for the total success of God’s work in this area,” Pastor Dulay appealed.
Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are meant to permeate your whole life. Growing out of scriptures that paint a compelling portrait of God, you are invited to explore, experience and know the One who desires to make us whole.