God, for His glory and delight, stirred the hearts of His people to envisage what He already charted: the renaissance of the Yutang Saad after thirty years. By His inspiration, the grand family conference known as Yutang Saad 2 exceeded everybody’s imagination.
From April 29 to May 1, REACH-Davao City hosted the Second Yutang Saad Family Regional Conference (YS2) in Kinawitnon, Babak, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao Province.
Yutang Saad is a Visayan phrase for possessing the promised land. The first Yutang Saad (YS1) was held in 1982. Participants included students, faculty, and professionals won to Christ through the REACH-Lakas Angkan ministry at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato, Mindanao State Universities in Marawi and Iligan in Lanao Province. A family atmosphere pervaded the gathering with families and relatives included.
YS2 was an exhilarating time for those who answered the call of disciple making (Matthew 28:19-20) thirty years ago. But it was more than a reunion; it was a confirmation of God’s grace, power and victory.
Objectives of YS2 was to rekindle and deepen Christ-like passion for intentional disciple making and Christ-like transformation so attendees walk their talk to forward the cause of the Cross. Another objective was to strengthen love and unity regardless of what ministry (REACH, Lakas Angkan, or Arise) participants came from.
There were 208 participants at YS2. The alumni were joined by generations of spiritual children serving as disciples of Jesus in churches, Christian organizations, and missionary organizations. Some came from the academe, government and private sectors. Pastors linked with REACH through their spouses also joined. Regardless of background, everyone came committed to the command to make disciples for God’s kingdom.
Participants also represented various geographical areas in the Philippines, but once upon a time, many claimed their Yutang Saad while in Mindanao, only to be sent elsewhere to other promise lands that became their mission fields.
The opening salvo set the tone of awe in honor of the One and Only source of life. The song, Sambahin ka Yahweh, made the entire celebration an act of worship and God’s indwelling presence.
Worship prepared everyone to listen to the account of the Yutang Saad’s birth. The topic “The Spirit of Yutang Saad: Then in 1982 and Now 2012” was delivered by Dr. Fedeserio Camarao. After recalling the last 30 years, it was clear that God was never amiss in His work in the men and women who dedicated themselves for the kingdom.
The history was livened-up by a testimony from Dr. Glo Camarao. A solo, entitled Blessing, by Jean Balaga concluded the first day. It was an evening full of promises and hopes—a moment of great blessing.
The following day, people were grouped into teams for the quiet time in Numbers 14. The story of the spies’ report that discouraged the people from entering the promise land served as a warning not to repeat their mistake and miss God’s blessings and spiritual abundance.
The second speaker was Dr. Oyay Jimenez. She talked about Preparing and Equipping to Possess Our Promised Land in light of what God is calling us to do.
A workshop entitled Land Between, by Glo Camarao, allowed time for everyone to reflect on their present realities and challenges and to consider God’s grace at work in their circumstances. The workshop groupings established deeper fellowship and support, where the spirit of family and friendship sealed the bond of love. The experience prepared each one for God’s mission.
The third speaker was Dr. Rex Cruz, Chairman of the REACH Board. Rex talked about the major task ahead of us—Explosive Evangelism and Infiltrative Disciple Making— before Christ’s second coming.
The topic provided a take off for ministry involvement and plans during a workshop facilitated by Pastor Chris Balaga, a professor at the Baptist Theological College. It laid down a cohesive stand to purposefully go and make disciples with urgency in their response to the kingdom call.
The final challenge was given by Dr. Edwin Cruzado, the ministry area leader in Davao City. He called everyone to recommit their lives to Jesus and to disciple making, in our land between and in our mission field where God calls us to fulfill His perfect will.
Most of the participants came forward during a candle light commitment ceremony. Each one pinned banners to specific areas on a map of Mindanao and the rest of the world where they committed to go and serve Him through disciple making.
The lighted candle portrayed God’s leadership in the mission task as He leads the way to the mission field by choosing everybody’s Canaan, where His name is to be glorified and worshipped. The walk was a depiction of obedience; the pinned lot was the agreement to work with God in kingdom building. It was a momentous experience being guided by the Holy Spirit.
After the commitment ceremony, the Lord’s Supper was celebrated and officiated by Pastor Chris. He was assisted by all the pastors present at the conference. One conferee said the communion experience was God’s eternal mark of confirmation to the great work ahead, a work given to only those who remain faithful.
The following day, Nars and Tess Lozada dedicated the participants to the Lord Almighty after a sharing time. It was an intimate prayer as they lifted each one to God’s throne of grace.
Words cannot capture this solemn occasion before the Lord. His presence and anointing was so real in all the activities. The Lord orchestrated everything according to His purpose.
Pastor Chris described the conference vividly when he said, “It’s been a joyful and memorable time with you and everyone. We felt like soldiers from the battlefield who reported back at our base camp to refuel, rest, rejuvenate and even to be healed of our wounds from war. For us, thirty years in the wilderness was such a long time of wandering but it may not be for Him. As God was working in us through our circumstances, He knew very well that YS2 would be our time of refreshing. How He amazingly reconnected all of us at a specific time of the year was a stone of remembrance that would never to be forgotten. The beautiful tapestry of testimonies and learning have become stronger threads entwined for us to face the battle with more confidence.”
We can only praise and worship God and give Him all the glory.
Dr. Glo Camarao, a retired professor of Entomology, is a member of the National Discipleship Team of REACH and loves painting.
Dr. Melanie Arcillas has a Ph.D. in Rural Development and is a project coordinator at USAID-Growth with Equity in Mindanao. The project promotes economic growth and peace.