Sunday, May 18, 2008


A religious leader declared his public resignation from his office during the Easter Sunday celebration on the 23rd of March in Aringay. He spoke the words, “I am becoming a Seventh-day Adventist.”

He is Brother Elpidio Villanueva, also known as Pidiong. Pidiong was chosen as a leader of the Parish Renewal Experience and installed as a 1st degree Knight of Columbus and elected as secretary for the Barangay (Village) Pastoral Council of the Roman Catholic Church and one of the elected political counselors of the Barangay.

In February 2008, Arturo Estimo, an assistant elder of the Aringay Seventh-day Adventist Church and Manny Vanderlipe, the head elder, spoke to me about Pidiong. Manny asked me to visit his classmate. When we arrived at the house, Manny called out, “Hello Pidiong, how are you?”

Pidiong turned his head and answered, “Who are you?”

“Oh, I am Manny Vanderlipe, your classmate in Notre Dame High School.”

Pidiong thought a bit and replied “Oh yes. I recall you now. You were my silent classmate who had a crush on our Valedictorian classmate. Ha ha!”

After a short conversation, Pidiong asked, “What is your purpose for coming? Amazing, for almost 40 years we don’t see each other and now, here you are!”

Manny introduced himself as a Seventh-day Adventist missionary and introduced me as an evangelist. Then he testified about his conversion in 2000.

Wow, what a good start. It caught the attention of Brother Pidiong. We discovered that he was searching for truth. Even though he was a Roman Catholic, he allowed Protestants and Christian sects to study the Bible with him and he subscribed to tracts and magazines from them. He was unsatisfied with his Catholic belief. He knew that they were living in tradition. Let us read his oral testimony that I have noted;

From my childhood, I was an active member of the Roman Catholic Church. I received an academic award as a Salutorian (2nd to the top) from Elementary to High School. After my High School graduation in Aringay Notre Dame, I become a University student and received awards as academic topnotcher in all kinds’ of examinations in the University of Baguio (UB) and graduated as Cum Laude at Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA). I stopped attending our church masses and found my self as a lost sheep.

As a skilled man, I was immediately hired in Manila City and served as one of the department heads, in the Department of Tourism procurement branch. There were many ways to produce extra income, besides my salary. I often spend my free time in five star hotels, eating and drinking, the well-known and classy hotels in the Philippines, just to enjoy myself only, and stayed to a well-known subdivision in Makati, Forbes Park residence of prominent people in the Philippines. However, I failed to enjoy it. I still felt I had a lot of problems and I had no peace of mind. I became like a Vagabond. I finally resigned from my job and went home with my daughter and my wife in Aringay.

Since that time, I was evangelized by the Couples for Christ of the Roman Catholic Church and became one of their leaders. I served in the Parish Renewal Experience and as a Knight of Columbus, but I again became in-active because I couldn’t see Christian reflections from them.

One day, Maxwell Agunan, a GO Evangelist and Manny Vanderlipe visited me. I saw God’s will and felt His love and mercy from their Bible presentations. I was really enlightened and impressed. After three consecutive Bible discussions, I asked them, “Why you are evangelizing me but you don’t invite me to attend your church services?

They smiled and said, “You are welcome Brother!” I started to attend the Sabbath Services. I was a political leader and Barangay (village) counselor in Santo Rosario West of Aringay. Every time we had our community services and meetings, I delegated my job to others and provided free snacks for the workers to make myself free so I could attend the Sabbath Services. I revealed it to my boss, our captain, and he asked why?

“I am becoming a Seventh-day Adventist now and I have to attend and celebrate the real Lord’s Day that our church does not recognize,” I answered. Our captain was amazed. In fact, the captain was a Knight of Columbus too, but he couldn’t do anything. It was my choice.

After they knew that I was becoming an Adventist, our priest desired to talk with me but I refused to face him. My friends and former brethren concluded and often told me that I was a lost sheep. But I made a solid decision to be baptized and I am proud of it.

After my baptism on April 5, with the two teenager Bible interest, I felt a real happiness. I had been baptized as a child into the Roman Catholic Church but my baptism as a Seventh-day Adventist was something unique.

A few days prior to my baptism, my friends and co-workers told me, “You have already changed and we were no longer friends.”

I replied, “No, we are still friends. The only difference is I am now a Seventh - day Adventist.”

It was our first time to meet a brilliant and optimistic person searching for the truth. Upon arrival and after a short conversation about our personal experiences, we leaped directly to the Sabbath topic because he wanted to hear the differences between denominations and what makes Adventist unique? Of course he knew already the basic Biblical doctrines, so we thought there was no need to discuss it. We addressed his needs.

After showing the Biblical perspective of the Sabbath we pointed out that it was the Roman Catholic Church who made the changed. We never saw negative reactions from him because he knew the history of the church. In our second visit on Saturday afternoon we discussed Daniel chapters 2 and 7. He understood clearly. On our third visit, Manny and I discussed the Adventist diet. Just after the presentation, he asked, “Why we are you not inviting me to attend your church services”.

We were amazed! Upon our departure, while driving my motorcycle, Manny and I had tears of joy, because we were catching a big fish. We really felt the joy of serving because we saw how the Holy Spirit worked with us. As a result, we were thoroughly strengthened to find more souls.

After experiencing our Sabbath services, he promised to attend regularly. The following Monday afternoon, he asked, “Do you believe in baptism?”

We replied, “Yes!” I then discussed Biblical baptism. We learned that he had already prayed and decided to be baptized and he wanted it as soon as possible. Wow! Amazing! We had a problem since our district leader was not ordained. Therefore, we had no available minister baptize unless we sent a request to the Mission but still it would depend on the availability of an ordained minister or director from the Mission. I called the President of Northern Luzon Mission, Pastor Danilo Asuncion, but he could not because he was scheduled in Bagulin, La Union, where he would baptize also. I followed-up a second time and requested him through phone that if he was not available could he send someone or could he swap with another minister, because our church wanted him to baptize Pidiong. After ten minutes, I received a text message saying, “OK, I will take the responsibility!”

Our beloved spirit-filled sponsors, your donations have been worthwhile. I believe God is using us. Without our united efforts, our ministry would be sluggish. If we did not go out and find souls, we never would have met Pidiong and he would die in his wickedness. Without your financial support we would not be able to go out. We would think of earning a living first before we go. But because God called you to finance us to be full-time evangelists, we took this opportunity to find more souls. I believe you are also happy when we succeed because you know that you are part of the ministry.

Brother Pidiong is now one of my volunteer assistant. We are planning to evangelize his former members. We know that he is a very influential person.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


“It is my desire to meet Kabsat (Brother) Max. I want him to baptize me. I found the true gospel of Jesus through him” Reynaldo Nisperos said.

Reynaldo is a founder, and president, and instructor of Christian Institute of Technology at San Fernando City, La Union. He is is a single Fil-Am citizen, son of a retired navy officer, and one of the respected leaders of San Fernando Capitol church of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).

One Sabbath morning, at 7:45 am, he went to meet me in San Fernando SDA church. He thought that I was the assigned pastor there because I did radio broadcasting in the city near where his church was located. He did not know that I lived in Aringay and worked with the SDA Company there. Aringay is forty-five minutes travel from San Fernando.

When he arrived he found only one man, who was a visitor too. Therefore, he failed to get any information until such a time that the brethren began coming in. Oh, it was his pleasure to see them.

After the service, the brethren invited him for lunch. He chatted with Pastor Ely Rafanan who is the Northern Luzon Mission (NLM) Executive Secretary who served as the speaker for the divine service.

At 4:00 pm, I drove to bring Pastor Rogie Valdez, the NLM Ministerial Secretary, to Aringay town/city to wait for his bus ride to go home. We met Pastor Rafanan along the road. He told me about Sir Reynaldo and requested me to visit him.

This news reminded me of what I do each Sunday in the broadcast room. At 10-10:30 am, after the Catholic Mass, Kabsat Rod and I deliver solid hitting Bible truths. We conversed and smile together thinking that we would have a lot of respondents. We were bombarded with questions and comments from different religious sects and organizations. They attacked our belief, concluding that we were certainly wrong.

By God’s grace, earnest prayer and dedication paid off. There were unexpected diligent listeners, who appreciated our Biblical answers and presentations. Reynaldo was one of them.

The following week Kabsat Noah, who is the San Fernando Church Elder, and I arranged to comply with Reynaldo’s invitation. When we were at his home, we witnessed his tears of joy. He showed and played his Christian books and Christian’s music’s. Then he testified about our radio program.

He said, “At the moment I turned on my radio. I heard your introductory message backed-up by the song “Jesus Is Coming Again” I was amazed! It was like being jolted by a live wire on my head. My skin hairs were awakened when, while I was standing in front of my radio, I heard, “Jesus Is Coming Again”. And when I heard your Sabbath topic, I recalled when I was questioning our minister about the Sabbath in 2005.

“Our UCCP minister knew that Saturday is the Sabbath day. I asked him why we observed Sunday instead of Saturday.

“He answered, “Sunday is the resurrection day.”

“I asked again, “Why do we show priority for the resurrection day instead of Jesus’ rest day?”

“He did not reply.

“Then I stressed, “We should keep the Sabbath in commemoration of God’s creation! If resurrection is necessary, then the rest day is also essential!

“Still no answers followed.

“Since the pastor told me that Saturday was the Sabbath, I have had doubts. Therefore, I seldom go to church.

“You know, Kabsat Max, I am enjoying your radio program. While listening I am praying for Gods blessings. I am asking God to take me, and to bless your radio program and so that many will be benefited. Since then I learned that Seventh-day Adventist church is the true protestant reformer. It is a world-wide family of believers keeping the Sabbath. I now have companions. I consider you as my brothers. I am asking God to give me a place in His Kingdom.”

Reynaldo is very willing to accept the Lord. We clarified that only an ordained minister is authorized to baptize him. He understood. After hearing all his concerns, we took our lunch and left him with a prayer.

Reynaldo along with 6 (six) other souls were baptized this quarter.

It is good news to me that before my radio contract ends, Reynaldo accepted the Lord. I wish the Lord to bless those planted seeds and make them grow and bear fruit.

To our radio sponsors, I take this opportunity to say “Thank you” for supporting Gospel Outreach Missions.

I hope you are still enthusiastic to finance our radio program to gather more souls for Jesus. This year 2007 is our planting year; however, we reaped in the 1st and last quarter. How many more will be reaped in 2008?

Maxwell D. Agunan
GO Radio Evangelist
November 2007


Apo Lakay Leonardo Pacheco is an 80-year-old man who lives in a cemetery garden. He owns no property but spends his nights in a small house he built in the “city of the dead.” He eats his food once or twice a day and has many complicated diseases. But when he met Jesus, miracles began to transform his life.

Apo Lakay is a respectful Ilocano term. Apo means reverent, and Lakay means old man.

In the early 1970s, Leonardo was a businessman. He traveled from place to place to advertise and sell his products. This produced a high income for him with which he could buy anything he wanted. He spent his evenings in bars, using his money for liquor.

One day, on his way to the Aringay province of La Union, he met a young woman. They decided to live together without the benefit of marriage. Soon a
baby girl was born to them.

Apo Lakay began to suffer from rheumatism, diabetes, arthritis, headaches, high blood pressure and other maladies. That stopped him from earning a good living. His family members suffered from the financial crisis until they were obliged to build a small house in the public cemetery garden with the permission of the municipal mayor. One condition was set: Leonardo would serve as a volunteer cemetery watchman.

Adding insult to injury, Leonardo’s “wife” left him for another man, taking
two sons with her.

Then the municipal engineer ordered Leonardo to move his house and leave
the cemetery. More space was needed for graves. The engineer asked him
to sign a document stating that he would leave, but Leonardo refused. He said,
“This is not the time of the Japanese regime. I have no place to live. I will stay here. Give me some time to decide. I will appeal to the municipal mayor.” The
mayor favored him, and Leonardo was allowed to stay in the cemetery.

He recovered from his diseases and met another woman who was a relative
of his first “wife.” They also lived together and had two girls and two boys.
This was an unhealthy relationship, and they separated. The woman took the
children. Even after they were separated from each other, the woman stole the
food and clothing Leonardo produced.

Apo Lakay’s life was miserable. His only hope was Jesus. He knew that Jesus was the resurrected One who gave hope to the weary. At that time, Jehovah’s
Witnesses frequently visited him and gave him Bible studies.
After he heard and knew what Jehovah’s Witnesses believed, he stopped entertaining them. He discerned that the resurrected Jesus, whom he believed in, was rejected by them as the real God and Jehovah.

One night, three men stole the coffin of Apo Lakay’s father. We visited Leonardo at that time. While we were at his home, I saw Glena and Merilda, two of his children, playing on the grave and eating mango fruits. They had sweet smiles but very dirty clothes and bodies.

During our stay, we offered to talk about Jesus. At first, I spoke to Leonardo about the great advent hope. He appreciated this very much. He began to understand God’s plan for him, and he was happy. He asked us to come back again and continue the series of Bible studies. We did this for six consecutive months with the assistance of my broadcast team and church members. After much consideration, Apo Lakay decided to accept baptism.

When we taught about the Sabbath, he revealed that when he was 20 he lived with an uncle who was a Catholic priest. This uncle told him that the Sabbath— Saturday—was the real day of rest. This made it easier to persuade him that the Adventist belief was biblical.

“I am a Catholic and have Catholic relatives. But I did not understand what I believed. Only when the Adventist message came to my home was everything made clear for me. It is just like sweet honey,” he said.

Apo Lakay has made many changes in his life. He delivered his testimony during our Sabbath service. He testified that his diseases seldom attack anymore because there have been changes in his diet.

He walks one kilometer without a cane to attend our Sabbath service. He’s happy because God loves him as well as his two kids. He was thankful because God gave him brothers and sisters in Christ who showed that they cared. He liked what the Seventh-day Adventists did because they not only taught about the Sabbath and health but they also studied God’s Word and served Him.
As Apo Lakay learned to eat spiritual food, he shared it with others, including some of his alcoholic friends. Spiritual things are now his great happiness.

Maxwell D. Agunan
GO Radio Evangelist
October 2007


Last fall, I proposed that the Voice of Hope radio program be carried on DZNL in the Philippines.
Fred Webb, a Gospel Outreach director, saw value in
the proposal. He urged me to submit more information about budgets,
the audience, topics to be discussed and a follow up plan. As a result, Gospel Outreach voted to fund the radio program. In October, I received a check from the Northern Luzon Mission to begin the program.

I traveled to Baguio City to meet Pastor Cadalig, the communication director for the Mountain Provinces Mission. Unfortunately, I had an accident along the way. My motorcycle slid on a mountain near Baguio. My motorcycle and I rotated many times. I know the devil wanted to hinder my work, but God protected me. He sent two men to rescue me and bring me to the hospital. At the hospital, I said, “I can manage now for myself. Thank you for your help.”

After repairing my motorcycle, I went to Baguio Central School for treatment because I had a wound on my left leg. Then I went to Mountain Provinces Mission.

Sad to say, I didn’t meet Pastor Cadalig. Instead, I went to the North Philippine Union Mission in Pasay City to obtain the necessary equipment and supplies for the program.

Early in November, the program began. I had two regular and five part-time assistants.

Proclaiming Jesus on the air is very interesting. It is one of the easiest ways to reach lost people. Young people should be encouraged to broadcast the Gospel without fear.

In addition to broadcasting the message, we have follow-up services. We’ve been conducting a Pathfinder program in the Adventist school located in our territory. As a result, we baptized 12 people in January.

We also conduct funeral services for both Adventist and non-Adventist bereaved families. We have visited sick people in the hospital, and have been conducting visitation and Bible studies with those who do not yet know the Lord. As a result of these activities, another 11 people have accepted Jesus through baptism.

I could not imagine how the Holy Spirit would work with us. Radio broadcasting has been very effective in our first quarter. We have seen immediate results from the work. It is a way to plant the seed in areas we haven’t been able to reach.
I have found real happiness in this work even though there are many obstacles. I urge my fellow evangelists and volunteers not to be afraid or lazy in winning the lost and telling people about Jesus. Time is short. Jesus is coming soon!

Maxwell D. Agunan
GO Radio Evangelist
May 2007


Tata Miguel Vanderlipe, a 90-year old Philippine veteran and Roman Catholic, was married to Nana Remedia Yaranon. He had three sons and six daughters who served as leaders and members of different protestant denominations.
Tata’s wife was a member of the Born Again Christian (BAC) Church, as were two of his sons and three of his daughters. The other three daughters remained Roman Catholics.

Tata’s eldest son, Manny, became a Seventh-day Adventist in 2000. Manny ended up introducing Tata to Adventist beliefs.

Before the Seventhday Adventist message entered Tata’s home, he first became a Born Again Christian Bible student with his wife.

Later, in 2005, Manny suggested that I present a series of Bible studies to his parents.

Prior to that time, Manny was staying in Baguio with his three children because of his employment in the RCBC Bank. Many times he left his work to assist in the Aringay Adventist group activities and services and to visit his parents.

The Aringay group accepted Manny’s proposal to visit his parents for Bible studies.

After four months of Bible study, Tata and his wife were baptized.

But then trials and obstacles came to test them. Tata’s son who was a minister for the Born Again Christian church, along with other ministers and members of the BAC church, urged Tata and his wife to eat unclean foods. The couple was also pressured to leave the Seventh day Adventist Church, which the BAC members called a cult religion.

However, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Tata and his wife stood firm through the trials. The Aringay Adventist leaders and members continued Bible studies at Tata’s home.

Nine months after his baptism, Tata lost his hearing. His mouth was also affected in such a way that it was difficult for him to
take food.

Maxwell Agunan, an Aringay Adventist group leader, anointed Tata for the forgiveness of his sins, and the brethren sang a song of hope and salvation. Tata felt that he was right with his Lord.

Then Tata passed away with the blessed assurance of seeing King Jesus on the great resurrection morning.

Maxwell D. Agunan
GO Evangelist
September 2006