In the Philippines, it used to be that when we spoke of church growth, there was a tendency to overlook the pastoral wives and their contribution to it. We usually associated church growth to pastors, laymen, church elders and other male church leaders; however, the picture has gradually changed.
After looking closely into the Filipino traits and observing the growth of Seventh-day Adventist churches in the missions/conferences of the North Philippine Union, I came to the conclusion that Filipino Adventist women, particularly pastoral wives are the "unsung heroes" in soul winning.
Filipino women generally are more spiritual and more receptive to religious matters. This can be proven by the preponderance of females over males in Adventist churches and in Methodist churches.
Since Filipino children tend to form a closer bond with their mothers than with their fathers, their religious preference is greatly influenced by their mothers' religious affiliation. Filipino women who are won to the Adventist church bring with them their children and grandchildren thus contributing to the growth of the church. Many of these mothers who remained faithful, despite the fact that their husbands never accepted the Adventist truth, have spawned generations of faithful and active Adventists.
Filipino pastoral wives, who work outside the home and in non-denominaticinal institutions, share the gospel with their colleagues more freely than do their male counterparts. Their openness and ease in discussing Adventist lifestyle and doctrines with their co-workers, both male and female, has led many to the Seventh-day Adventist church. Pastoral wives are in the forefront of this evangelistic outreach.
A month ago, I talked to a newly-baptized couple. I learned from our conversation that they were introduced to Adventism by the lifestyle of two Adventist women in their office. One of these women loves to sing hymns from the Church Hymnal during office breaks while the other woman reads her Bible. It didn't take long before their office mates began asking questions regarding their religion. Questions led to Bible studies which later ended in baptism.
Just two weeks ago, with some other pastoral wives, I attended the first Union-Wide Women's Ministries' Spiritual Retreat. In one of the afternoon sessions, selected women from the five missions/conferences reported on the number of Bible seminars, evangelistic meetings, and other soul-winning programs they have launched in their respective territories.
Women Bible instructors (Filipino term for women pastors) and pastoral wives have been working hand-in-hand with laywomen in conducting all these programs. People who were led to the truth by these dedicated, nurturing women find it easy to adjust into their new "status." The new believers are also more ready to share their new-found faith with non-believing friends because they feel secure in the caring and nurturing attitude of the women who led them to the Lord.
Filipino pastoral wives have experienced the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and have devoted their time, money, efforts, and talents to the finishing of the work in our generation.