The first Yearend meeting of the Ceylon Mission of Seventh-day Adventists (SLM, Sri Lanka Mission) since its inclusion in the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) took place on December 14-15 at the Mandarina Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The meeting brought together NSD leaders and SSD Leaders in the SLM, including NSD President YoHan Kim, Executive Secretary Hiroshi Yamaji, Treasurer TaeSeung Kim, Communication Director SeongJun Byun, and SSD President Roger Caderma, Jacinth Adap, SSD Treasurer. SLM President Jerry C. Patalinghug, Executive Secretary EARK Emerson, and Treasurer Anthony Francis also attended this Yearend meeting following Sri Lanka’s integration into the NSD.
Sri Lanka is a country where 70 percent of the population is Buddhist, 12% Hindus, 9.7% Islam, and only 7.4% percent is Christian. Sri Lanka is currently facing economic challenges exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, the Ceylon Mission, with 39 churches and 3,919 members, is navigating these challenging times with faith, and a purposeful focus on the return of Christ. In particular, the SLM is actively involved in providing resources for the local community. It operates four schools, a hospital, and a publishing house under its umbrella, with the goal of raising members committed to missions and supporting the needs of more people in the community by 2024.
Before the start of the yearend meeting, the officers of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) officially transferred its authority to the NSD officers in a monumental ceremony. SSD President Roger Caderma handed over a big-sized key signifying the authority to NSD President YoHan Kim, emphasizing the hopeful future of the Seventh-day Adventist community in Sri Lanka.
After the ceremony, institutional reports followed. They were from Kandana School, AIS(Adventist International School) Negombo, AIS Vavuniya, Lakpahana School, Lakeside Adventist Hospital, Lakpahana Publishing House, and ADRA provided comprehensive reports on the state of the Adventist institutions in Sri Lanka.
The SLM Education Department reported that school enrollment, which had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, is rebounding, and they anticipate a better outlook for 2024. The resilience shown by these institutions demonstrates their commitment to providing quality education despite adversity. They also commented on the makeup of number of Adventist students within these institutions, noting that while the percentage of Adventists is still small, there is steady growth, indicating the potential for expansion in the Sri Lanka educational institutions.
The PARL Department reported on challenges facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sri Lanka due to national examinations held on Saturdays. Denominational representatives are seeking prayers and attention as they continue discussions with the government on the issue of Sabbath keeping.
Reports from various departments, including the Communication department and Adventist Mission, followed. Each departmental directors emphasized the role of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sri Lanka to continue serving the community and contributing to society through sacrifice.
During the Yearend meeting, NSD leaders proclaimed the Word of God every morning and evening. In his sermon, NSD President YoHan Kim said, “We are a specially chosen people for the mission. It is our mission to spread this good news.” He emphasized “faith over human effort” and encouraged attendees to be leaders and people of faith who understand the times and respond to challenges.
Following the meeting, the NSD leaders began their institutional visits. Pastor Hiroshi Yamaji, the NSD Executive Secretary said “You are the hope and future of our Adventist church. Please continue to learn and to grow in the wisdom of Jesus Christ” during the visit to Lakpahana College and Seminary, and also he gave encouraging message to the staff and faculty members.
Despite economic challenges, the Ceylon Mission is committed to serving and sacrificing for its community as part of the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Sri Lanka’s inclusion in the NSD brings many expectations and challenges, but with God’s help, we will be able to fulfill the great commission that Jesus has given to us. More prayer support will be truly be blessing for our people in Sri Lanka to overcome various challenges.