Two Southern Adventist University student missionaries (SMs) had a unique opportunity in Hong Kong last year. Theology majors Edvan Benitez and Mauricio Jaldin attended Hong Kong Adventist College, where most of the enrolled students are not Seventh-day Adventists. They served as “friendship evangelists,” studying parttime while working as assistants for the practical missionary training program, and organizing events and other occasions for social interaction while making friends.
Benitez said it wasn’t easy at first; some of the students were reserved, but once trust was established in the relationships, he and Jaldin were accepted and loved unconditionally.
As the weeks in Hong Kong flew by, Benitez and Jaldin noticed a gap in the spiritual programming available to the college students. With support from the president of the college, the SMs organized Connection, a student-led church that met once a week and provided fellowship and spiritual enrichment, followed by a potluck meal. On average, 35 students participated each Sabbath.
The friends shared communion, went on spiritual retreats together, and learned about Jesus. Six members, including three who were roommates of the SMs, committed to baptism.
Benitez and Jaldin also spent a week serving in the Philippines, focusing on humanitarian work with low-income families, and leading out in children’s programming and an evangelistic series. Both SMs preached, and 12 people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and were baptized.
“Serving in Asia was the highlight of the past few years for me,” said Jaldin. “It was especially meaningful to see how God led in the friendships we made.”
Benitez added, “I will never forget the students’ farewell to us — so many gifts, so many letters. In the end, I know that God helped us to fulfill our purpose there.”
Southern Adventist University | September 2023