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It was like attending a wedding for the first time.

There was much to consider…the venue, the parking, the program, the service, the food, the participants, the guests, the attire and the presents.

There is something that day that made us go to church. Something within us sparked, eager to be united and be joined as one—as the core members of the newly planted church which we chose to call the Bayanihan Canadian Seventh-day Adventist Church.

That historical Sabbath was February 14, 2015. While the world celebrated Valentine’s Day, we simultaneously dedicated ourselves for the Lord’s service, and touched by God grace we were moved to respond to our senior pastor Levi Estores’ message to go, preach and teach with love, support and care.

 We didn’t hand out printed invitations because it was meant to be our orientation Sabbath. In real weddings, it is called the honeymoon stage where adjustments are tested and the spirit of understanding and adaptability practised.



Our hearts were warmed as our core values echoed into a one big word WELCOME as its acronym. Spelled out—Worship, Excellence, Lifelong learning, Community-oriented, Openness, Magkaisa (Filipino word translated as unity), and Embracing.

Truly, it was such a delight to see new faces, strengthen ties with old friends and exchange greetings with family and loved ones. God lovingly blessed our first Sabbath at the Mt. Zion Lutheran Church at 930 Cumberland Street in New Westminster with fifty four attendees, young and old with a surprise visit from some of the youth of our mother church at Vancouver Filipino SDA Church.

Also, we felt doubly blessed to have our youth pastor Matthew Reyes conduct a Revelation Seminar and witness our unchurched friends attending.

And as what the ancient adage says, “we’ve only just began. There is more unknown to come”…we fervently pray that we will step and move forward in faith, very similar to when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and together will declare with Moses that “there is no earthly power, or skill or learning that can supply the place of God’s abiding presence” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 328) when we gather to worship.

Our desire is not to forget our “first love” but celebrate “Adorata”—“the blending and union of two hears” and experience the joy of “inter-connectedness at every level of the human being,” as we labor for the Lord.

By Rachel Pedernal, Bayanihan Canadian Seventh-day Adventist Church