Women's outreach ministry reaps 51 happy, new believers

God Loves You ministry is the passion of a businesswoman in central Philippines.

Southern-Asia Pacific Division (SSD)

[Philippines] God Loves You ministry was organized through the initiative of Merlyn Yubal Maderazo, the wife of Mr. Melchor Go Maderazo, the former three-termer mayor in the Municipality of Caibiran, Leyte, Philippines. She is a teacher by profession but became a businesswoman who devoted much of her time to being God’s instrument in spreading the gospel as well as in sharing God’s love and mercy to mankind.

Mrs. Maderazo initiated this ministry because she was inspired by the writings of Ellen G. White, particularly this quote, “The work of God in this earth can never be finished until men and women comprising our church membership rally to work and unite their efforts with those ministers and church officers” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 117). These words caused Mrs. Maderazo to contemplate God’s goodness, desire to be God’s witness, and yearn to serve the Lord.

The pen of inspiration also writes, “There is no other work of so great importance” as to give “the last warning to the perishing world” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 19). To answer this call for spreading the gospel to a perishing world, Tingog sa Paglaum (Voice of Hope) publications were organized through fervent prayer and supplication.

Caibiran is composed of 17 barangays, with an estimated population of 30,000 souls, most of whom do not know the light of God’s Word.

“Voice of Hope 1,” a gospel tract printed in the Waray language, was distributed to 2,000 households in the barangays of Caibiran by the Voice of Youth Volunteers led by Mark Maderazo, son of the town mayor and ministry founder., with overseer and district leader, Pastor Paul Barcenas. The neediest families also received a pack of goods with the tract distribution.

“Voice of Hope 2,” a tract printed in the Visayan language containing a message of courage, hope, love and faith in God, was distributed to Naval Provincial Hospital, Naval Provincial Jail and to some households in Naval.

“Voice of Hope 3,” a slightly larger message of four printed pages, tied with a ribbon, and sealed with a heart sticker reading, “God Loves You,” contained a message about the Creation and fall of man, God’s offer of salvation, last-day events, and the Second Coming, was distributed to the 7,000 households of Caibiran, Leyte. With the average number of five members in each home, this pamphlet came in contact with approximately 35,000 individuals.

About 180 youth volunteers and church members delivered this third printed publication in four hired vehicles (three trucks and one pick-up truck) to every family in the town in one successful day. The volunteers taped the pamphlet to the wall or gate if they found the gate closed. Homeowners who arrived home later found the publication, and many people read the pamphlets that evening, because messages were texted to the telephone number provided asking questions about the content.

A survey conducted of the most pitiful houses identified the least fortunate families. Through the help of the Manlabang Seventh-day Adventist Church members and the God Loves You charitable foundation, these homes were repaired in one day, July 1,d2016. Male church members worked with the construction while some female members assisted by presenting health and gospel seminars to the families. Youthful members taught the children songs and told them Bible stories.

No one tired during that successful day of repairs and new construction when volunteers worked between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All people involved went home happy and blessed, particularly, the families who returned to a newly built house. Each house became a “God Loves You” home because a prayer of thanksgiving was offered for it and a God Loves You sign sealed the wall.

Church members continued to work with the needy families and returned each Sunday to conduct cottage meetings. At first only a few women who brought their children showed interest. Their husbands were anxious when the wives kept returning. Slowly participation increased until about 100 adults and children attended the weekly cottage meetings. Church members began to share the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventists with the participants who were eager, delighted, and thankful for the new light and hope that now burned within their hearts.

The date of the reaping baptism was set for December 24, 2016. The weather became unfriendly and dangerous as Typhoon Nina approached. The night before the baptism, the Manlabang Seventh-day Adventist Church members were in a season of fasting and prayer. They prayed earnestly to the Lord for a successful harvest amidst the storm.

The Lord heard their prayers, and the weather was fine for a reaping service and baptism. At noontime, 51 precious souls were baptized as the firstfruits of the God Loves You ministry. The following week on December 31, the last day of the year, these new members celebrated their first Sabbath as a newly born congregation, which was organized as the Tomalistis Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The God Loves You ministry will continue to be a channel to communicate the riches of God’s grace and an agency to help in the hastening of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, God is worthy to be praised!

Published in Mosaic, 2017 Q2