Southeast Asia Apostle Meeting and service for the departed in Cebu

On Thursday, 6th of July 2023

District Apostle Edy Isnugroho, accompanied by Apostle Samuel Tansahtikno, from Saturday, 24th until Sunday, 2nd July visited the working area of Apostle Freddie Nuyad, in the district of Leyte, Bohol, and Cebu. In Leyte, he visited Almeria and Bobonon congregations. The central church, Taguihon, and Carmen congregations in Bohol. And in Cebu, he visited: Cebu Central congregation.

During his visit, he conducted: five divine services and two minister meetings. In Carmen he carried out: The retirement of 3 ministers: Priest Bangoata; Shepherd and District Evangelist. They have served the Lord faithfully for more than 35 years as ministers.

On Saturday, 1st July 2023 in Cebu, Southeast Asia Apostles and Philippines Bishops Meeting was held. Particularly he conveyed the Spiritual Portion from District Apostle Meeting International in Cape Town last May. The topic is regarding ministers whose wife or child no longer attends the divine services. These ministers are suffering a lot, and they are counting on our support. Indeed, we do not have a miracle solution to offer them. But they need to know that we understand them and that we love them! The Chief Apostle takes this occasion to devote closer attention to the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11–32). He asks the District Apostles and their Helpers to retain the following:

God loves those who no longer attend the divine services just as much as He loves us. We pray for them. We continue our service in the Church so that they may find salvation there when they decide to return. Our mission is to show people the way to Christ, but also— and above all—to inspire them to come to Him. Through our preaching, our work, and our behavior, let us show them the greatness of our Lord! Some other topics, such as Ministers’ Training and Teachers’ Training Seminars were also discussed.

On Sunday, 2nd July 2023 morning in Cebu Central Church the District Apostle conducted divine service for the departed. The Bible Text was out of Romans 10:13: “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

 The term “service for the departed” is perhaps misleading. The service is not a funeral service when we are sad, but a festive service. Just when a child is baptized or an adult is sealed in the congregation, that is a celebration for the congregation. That’s how the divine service for the departed. Although we cannot see the souls from the realm of the departed, it is a day of rejoicing as souls are baptized and sealed.

 In preparation for the service for the departed, we, as the living, remember our loved ones and the people who have gone to the other world and we can get sad. A number of questions then arise. Many souls have cried out to God in their lifetime: God, help me! God make me well. The children prayed for the parents or the parents prayed for their children: Dear God, please let them live. But the disease progressed and they passed away. One can imagine what effect this has on the bereaved. We think of the many people who are in terrible situations, in areas of war and crisis, hoping that God would help and protect them. They died, sometimes in a most horrible way. As human beings, we said: Dear God, I don’t understand You anymore, why? Not all prayers and intercessions were answered.

We pray for the soul’s salvation. That is the most important thing. But we must leave it up to the good Lord to whom He calls and on whom He bestows grace. He decides who will be baptized and sealed in the afterlife. But the souls can decide freely for or against God in the hereafter. Our prayer is useful, but not enough. To achieve salvation, these souls must also call on the Lord’s name.

To call on God, we must believe in His existence and care. This is not so easy for all the departed. Particularly for those who have called on God during their time on earth, but did not receive the help they expected. True faith is not based on God’s visible activity, but on His word: what God tells us is more important than what we see! To call on the Lord’s name is to ask for His help but also to:

  •  belief in His perfection and love;
  •  be determined to do exactly what He says;
  •  be willing to wait for His word to be fulfilled.

We must believe in the salvation God offers. The Son of God did not come to earth to solve all the world’s problems, but to give believers access to eternal life.

In biblical language, the name expresses the very person, the nature of the one who bears it. Calling on God’s name does not just mean asking God for help. It is believing that He is as He reveals Himself to humankind through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

God is perfect — He does not forget, make mistakes or do injustices. His perfection is beyond our understanding. We can express our wishes to Him, but not tell Him what to do. To be saved, we must call on God’s mercy not his justice. Only grace can save us. Repentance is essential for forgiveness. We must acknowledge our sins and regret them, without trying to justify them.