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Philippines Adventists ‘Tell God’s Love’ via Text Messaging

The world’s text-messaging capital will soon have the option of a distinctly Adventist voice.

Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Philippines are teaming up with Globe Telecom, Inc., a major telecommunications provider in the Philippines, to create a cell phone chip, or SIM card, unique to Adventists.

A SIM, or Subscriber Identity Module, is used to connect a mobile phone to the subscriber’s selected network and reload airtime. SIM cards are used in cellular devices as a removable card/chip that stores the personal identity information, mobile number, phone book, text messages, and other data.

Jonathan Catolico, communication director for the Adventist Church in the Southern-Asia Pacific region, is hoping the card will be used by some 250,000 Adventists, or about a quarter of the church’s membership in the Philippines.

Part of a church project called “Committed to Tell God’s Love,” Advent SIM card users can minister to others by using the unique features of the card: Bible verses, daily prayer, prayer requests, Bible trivia, news, a directory of Adventist churches in metropolitan cities and towns, and abbreviated versions of the church’s core doctrines.

“If one church member sends an inspirational message already incorporated in the SIM card to someone he wishes to inspire, he or she is already actively involved with the soul-winning program of the church,” Catolico says.

A percentage of each text message charge will also be donated to special church projects.

Rodolfo Bautista, Jr., a part-time professor of Bible and History at the Manila Adventist Medical Center and Colleges, helped spearhead the project. He says the Advent SIM will be a useful tool to reach a generation hooked on sending short cell-phone messages to their friends.

“A young person can have at least 300 persons in his phone book who are not Adventist, so the card makes it easy for them to do personal evangelism,” Bautista says.

In 2002, the Adventist Church in the Philippines started a “mobile ministry,” a simple procedure of sending inspirational messages to any mobile phone subscriber, Catolico explains. But the project went into high gear in 2007 when Bautista heard that Globe had already created community-specific SIM cards for six other religious organizations in the Philippines.