The Adventist Cell Phone?
Adventists in the Philippines make it easy to witness on the go.
BY TAASHI ROWE, Editorial Assistant, Adventist News Network
embers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Philippines are teaming up with Globe Telecom, Inc., a major telecommunications provider in the Philippines, to create a cell phone chip or SIM card unique to Adventists.
A SIM or Subscriber Identity Module is used to connect a mobile phone to the subscriber's selected network and reload air time. SIM cards are used in cellular devices as a removable card/chip that stores the personal identity information, mobile number, phone book, text messages, and other data.
Jonathan Catolico, communication director for the Southern-Asia Pacific Division, is hoping the card will be used by some 250,000 Adventists, or about a quarter of the church's membership in the Philippines.
Part of a church project called "Committed to Tell God's Love," Advent SIM card users can minister to others by using the unique features of the card: Bible verses, daily prayer, prayer requests, Bible trivia, news, a directory of Adventist churches in metropolitan cities and towns, and abbreviated versions of the church's core doctrines.
"If one church member sends an inspirational message already incorporated in the SIM card to someone he wishes to inspire, he or she is already actively involved with the soul-winning program of the church," Catolico says.
Some 14,000 SIM cards created exclusively for Adventist cell phone users in the Philippines will go out starting May 22. Some of the features of the card include allowing users to send inspirational messages, Bible verses and prayer requests. [Photo:Jonathan Catolico/ANN]
A percentage of each text message charge will also be donated to special church projects.
Rodolfo Bautista Jr., a part-time professor of Bible and History at the Manila Adventist Medical Center and Colleges helped spearhead the project. He says the Advent SIM will be a useful tool to reach a generation hooked on sending short cell phone messages to their friends.
"A young person can have at least 300 persons in his phonebook who are not Adventist so the card makes it easy for them to do personal evangelism," Bautista says.
In 2002 the Adventist Church in the Philippines started a "mobile ministry," a simple procedure of sending inspiration messages to any mobile phone subscriber, Catolico explains.
But the project went into high gear in 2007 when Bautista heard that Globe had already created community specific SIM cards for six other religious organizations in the Philippines.
He then worked with the church to form New Breed of Public Servants, an organization under the church's Public Affairs department that would work with Globe to create specialized SIM cards for the Adventist community.
The first 14,000 cards will be available May 22. Catolico estimates that 100,000 cards will be distributed by 2009. He hopes to expand the program to other Adventist churches in the region.