LIFESTYLE CHANGE: Girls in the T’boli hillside region of South Cotabato in the Philippines typically marry at ages 12 to 14 and soon begin having children. Adventist leaders hope newly converted members who have followed their pastor to the Adventist faith will push their daughters toward education instead of early marriage.Their expectation follows a two-year trend in which several ministers of other Protestant faiths in the lush highland farming villages have converted to the Adventist Church. Members who joined with them could gain access to the denomination’s schools if sponsors can be found. Soon local families could push their 12- and 13-year-old daughters toward education instead early marriage, Adventist leaders say.
REFORMATION: The Lambuling church was a Pentecostal congregation until it became an Adventist church at the urging of its recently converted minister. Most churches in the rural hillsides of the T’boli region are made of bamboo thatch walls.“Some switched immediately, some took their time, some are waiting to see if they get benefits or if the missionaries are trying to get benefits from them,” said Romulo Tuballes, communication director for the Southern Mindanao Mission, a region home to nearly 60,000 members.
BUSY PASTOR: William Galagnara oversees 25 churches in the Lake Sebu district of the Adventist Church’s Southern Mindanao Mission. He is one of 45 Protestant ministers there who have converted to the Adventist faith in recent years.Dulay, 35, said his friends were surprised when he became an Adventist, asking “Why?” He told them he saw more biblical truth in the Adventist Church after having been visited by a missionary and studying the Bible with a local lay member afterward. Five other ministers became Adventist along with him, he said.