Fortaleza, Trinidad Grande (1942–2018)

By Rolando E. Dolor

×

Rolando E. Dolor is currently serving as a district pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the West Visayan Conference. He is married to Roiny Fajilan Dolor, a church school teacher. They have three sons.

Trinidad Grande Fortaleza was an Adventist evangelist, gospel worker, Bible teacher, church planter, prolific speaker, and church administrator.

Early Life

Fortaleza was born on February 1, 1942,1 in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, to Adventist parents, Alfredo and Vivincia Grande Fortaleza. His father worked as a road construction worker before World War II. Before Fortaleza’s birth, his parents were Roman Catholics who happened to stay at the home of Uga Malala and family at Salong, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, who were Seventh-day Adventists. The Fortalezas received Bible studies and in the course of time became converted and baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church. Trinidad Fortaleza was the fourth of six children who included Paterna, Ruben, Tunay (her nickname), Lou, and Vivian. Only Paterna and Vivian were living at the time of writing.2

Born during World War II, from 1942 to 1945 Fortaleza’s family moved from place to place, consequently his parents were unable to attend church and practice their faith. Only during peace time did they return to Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, the place where they had lived previously. They met Rosario Yulo, a church elder of Hinigaran Seventh-day Adventist church who invited them to join a Bible study. Later, Fortaleza’s mother decided return to church, but his father remained a backslider.3 After the family moved to Banga, South Cotabato, his father eventually returned to church and decided to be rebaptized when he became sick with tetanus and felt he might die. Church members, upon hearing that he was sick, visited him offering songs and prayers. From then on, he returned to church and remained faithful until his death in 1997.4

Education and Marriage

Fortaleza started his education at Pilar Barangay Elementary School where he attended class through the second year of high school before transferring to Hinigaran Institute. He later moved to the island of Mindanao, settling in Banga, South Cotabato, and continued his third year high school. Learning that there was an Adventist school (Southern Mindanao Academy or SMA) located in Digos, Davao, Del Sur, his mother immediately transferred Fortaleza to SMA during his senior year, and there he graduated with his secondary education. After his graduation from high school, he pursued his college dream but later quit, due to his interest in joining the military.5 He applied to Sangli Point, a navy school at Cavite, Manila, for he thought that because of his height, structure, personality, and military bearing, he would be qualified. Unfortunately, he did not pass the entrance and medical examinations. As his medical examination approached, Fortaleza became aware of a rising temperature in his body. In fact, he felt quite ill as he entered the doctor's office. Because of this fever, he was rejected by the navy, but soon after the examination the fever left him.6 He believed this unusual event happened because of his mother’s prayer that he would fail, for she was afraid that Fortaleza would compromise his faith during the course of training if he was accepted into the navy.7

Fortaleza enrolled at Mountain View College in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, and for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in theology. He financed his education as a working student and graduated in the year 1972 after five years.

Fortaleza was active in the Lord’s work even at college. In fact, he became president of the ministerial seminar, an evangelism club of the college spearheaded by the ministerial students with the support of faculty and staff.8 He was very active in a number of college musical organizations and dreamed of becoming a singing evangelist. He also manifested excellent skill as a carpenter, which would soon make him a very practical pastor evangelist.9

On February 14, 1977, Fortaleza married his former school mate at Mountain View College, Exaltacion Sally Cordero, a graduate of Theology who later became a chaplain, head of information and medical records at former Bacolod Sanitarium and Hospital, Miller Sanitarium and Hospital, and also worked at the Negros Mission and the CPUC offices, being the Voice of Prophecy, editor, women’s ministry, family life, children, music director and etc. They were blessed with two children: Aileen Rose Fortaleza now a teacher in Thailand, and Steward Bryan, a nurse in Bacolod Adventist Medical Center.10

Ministry

Upon graduation in 1972, Fortaleza was called into the denomination service as a ministerial intern in the Negros Mission.11 The following year he became a Bible teacher while serving as dormitory dean at Negros Mission Academy.

Fortaleza was ordained to the ministry in 1979.12 He became a licensed minister in the Negros Mission in 197313 and served in various capacities from 1972 to 2002 including Bible teacher, dormitory dean, mission/conference communication directory, stewardship director, and mission president from 1993 to1994.14 He was the first president of the Negros Mission from 1997 to 2000,15 which attained the conference status during his tenure. Fortaleza was also a writer and contributed articles related to evangelism to the Far Eastern Division Adult World Mission Report.16 He was also one of the regular delegates during the 56th General Conference Session at Utrech.17

Later Life

After serving the Seventh-day Adventist Church for thirty years, Fortaleza and his wife retired. In retirement, they produced 200 programs for the AWR (Adventist World Radio) Ilonggo version.18 He and his wife were gifted by God with the ability to speak and write, but Fortaleza had a distinctive ability in radio broadcasting.19 In 2003, he was called to pastor FILSDAK (Filipino-International Seventh-day Adventists Korea) church in Seoul, South Korea, for one year, and in October 22, 2004, he returned home. From 2006 to 2008, he lived in the United States where he worked as an associate church pastor in one of the Filipino churches.

Trinidad Grande Fortaleza died at the age of 76 and was buried in his home place on May 20, 2018.20 Survived by his wife, Exaltacion Sally Cordero Fortaleza, and two children, Aileen Rose and Steward Bryan.

Sources

“Delegates: Asia-Pacific Division.” ARH, June 30, 1995.

Certificate of Live Birth of Trinidad Grande Fortaleza, Philippine Statistics Office, Bacolod City, Philippines.

Certificate of Death of Trinidad Grande Fortaleza, Office of the Civil Registrar, Bacolod City, Philippines.

Personal Service Record. Trinidad Grande Fortaleza. Negros Occidental Conference Archives, Bacolod City, Philippines.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1997.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1973.

“Thank You to This Quarter's Contributors.” Mission: Adult World Mission Report, October-December 1990.

Tupas, Archie. “Bocala Speaks at Week of Prayer.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, December 1971.

Zachary, J. H. “Meet the Ministerial Graduates of M.V.C.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1972.

Notes

  1. Certificate of Live Birth of Trinidad Grande Fortaleza, Philippine Statistics Office

  2. Personal interview with his wife, Exaltacion Sally C. Fortaleza, Trinidad Fortaleza’s wife, interview by author, Taculing, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, November 5, 2018.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. J. H. Zachary, “Meet the Ministerial Graduates of M.V.C.,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1972. 19.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Zachary, “Meet the Ministerial Graduates,” 19.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Personal Service Record of Trinidad Grande Fortaleza, Negros Occidental Conference Archives.

  11. Ibid.

  12. Ibid.

  13. “Negros Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1973), 155.

  14. “Negros Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1997), 309.

  15. Personal Service Record.

  16. “Thank You to This Quarter's Contributors,” Mission: Adult World Mission Report, October-December 1990, 3.

  17. “Delegates: Asia-Pacific Division,” ARH, June 30, 1995, 21.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Personal knowledge of the author.

  20. Certificate of Death of Trinidad Grande Fortaleza, Office of the Civil Registrar, Bacolod City, Philippines.

×

Dolor, Rolando E. "Fortaleza, Trinidad Grande (1942–2018)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. June 15, 2021. Accessed January 28, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJBJ.

Dolor, Rolando E. "Fortaleza, Trinidad Grande (1942–2018)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. June 15, 2021. Date of access January 28, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJBJ.

Dolor, Rolando E. (2021, June 15). Fortaleza, Trinidad Grande (1942–2018). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 28, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=BJBJ.