A disillusioned church finds a new beginning.
“Pastor, can you help us understand?” Ariel Lantingan looked into his pastor’s face. “We read the Bible every Sunday, but why can’t we understand what it means? I’m so confused when I read Daniel and Revelation.”
The pastor mumbled a quick answer, but still Ariel felt unsatisfied. The single hour the pastor spent at their church every Sunday left Ariel hungry for knowledge and thirsty for truth. Why did the pastor have to hurry away to his village as soon as he collected the offering?
Ariel cast a look at the foundation as he slowly walked out of the church. Did the pastor even notice the deteriorating foundation? Did he really care for his sheep like a shepherd? Ariel sighed. Better to worship the living God than to worry himself with these questions. After all, his whole village attended here!
Several years passed. Then, in 2015, the church met and decided something had to be done about the foundation. “Maybe the pastor could bring us the offerings that have been made for the church upkeep,” someone suggested. “That should help us fund the project.”
But when the church asked him for the money, the pastor hung his head. “I sent the church offerings to the KAPA investment scheme.”
Ariel gasped. KAPA was a famous scammer. Rich and poor had invested their life savings in it, only to have it all disappear. “Don’t you ever come back here!” Ariel clenched a fist in the pastor’s face. “We can see that money is your god. We will close this church. If you come back to this village, I will take your Bible and burn it in front of you!”
Angry and discouraged, Ariel, his family and the rest of the village went back to drinking and smoking. What good was religion, anyway, if God had scammed them with a selfish pastor?
Some years passed. Then a new preacher came to the next village. Each evening as he preached, his sound system clearly projected the messages all the way to Ariel’s village. For many nights they heard the messages and when the preacher spoke about Daniel 2 and Revelation 13 something told Ariel that these were the answers he had wanted so long ago. But, it didn’t matter anymore.
The preaching ended, and months passed. The new group built a church in the village, and two of Ariel’s relatives invited his family to join them for worship. Ariel nodded to them respectfully, but he knew they couldn’t attend. He had turned his back on God, and God had left him.
That Friday night, Ariel’s brother attended evening services at the new church. “The Seventh-day Adventist Church is much different from the church we belonged to before,” he told Ariel. An eager excitement bubbled up inside Ariel. Maybe he did still have a conscience. Maybe the Holy Spirit wanted to wake him up. Maybe he should attend this new church.
His first Sabbath, Ariel didn’t ask many questions. He just sat back and listened to the messages, happy to be back in God’s house. Right there, he decided to serve God again.
The next day, Pastor Temtem and his wife visited Ariel’s home and offered to hold meetings in his village. They started group Bible studies during the day, and at night they preached publicly. Soon the church that had been closed revived, this time as a Seventh-day Adventist Church rebuilt through the donations of a kind man in America. After a year of Sabbath worship, 19 souls were baptized. Ariel, the new church’s elder, beamed as he stepped out of the water—grateful that God had never forsaken him.
Temtem Piedraverde is a Bible worker in the province of South Cotabato on Mindanao Island in the Philippines.
How You Can Help
Pray for Ariel and his wife Irene as they work in their village to bring others to the truth.
Pray for the personal evangelistic efforts of Temtem and his wife Yanyan.
Give to help Temtem and Yanyan preach the gospel in South Cotabato by sending your gift marked “Philippine evangelism” to:
Mission Projects International
PO Box 151
Inchelium, WA 99138
To give securely online, visit: