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Archive for June, 2012

The Pulse Christian Youth Center

posted on June 28, 2012, under Conference, Video Report by

Florida Conference In Mission is a monthly video series about people reaching people.

This month’s report highlights a Christian youth center in Jacksonville which is a community outreach for at-risk teenagers in an underprivileged neighborhood.

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Forest City Adventist School Teacher Receives National Award

posted on June 08, 2012, under Education by

by Kaleigh Benge

Joan Waite was presented a 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award May 20 during graduation exercises for Forest City Adventist School at Forest City Spanish Church in Altamonte Springs. Andy McDonald, who volunteers for the Alumni Awards Foundation, presented the award on behalf of the organization. Pictured from left: Valeria Cruz, grades 2-3 teacher; Melanie Paschal, grades 3-4 teacher; Joan Waite, grades 7-8 teacher, Alipia González, Forest City Adventist School Principal; Mayra Rodríguez, Florida Conference Associate Superintendent of Education; Andy McDonald, Florida Hospital Church pastor; Sam Paschal, Forest Lake Academy chaplain; and Sandra Doran, Florida Conference Associate Superintendent of Education. (Photo: Peter Prado)

Joan Waite, seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at Forest City Adventist School, Altamonte Springs, Fla., is among 10 teachers selected from across North America this spring by the Alumni Awards Foundation (AAF) to receive a 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. This year’s award includes a medallion and a $2,000 gift sponsored by Union College, Lincoln, Nebr.

Waite brings classroom lessons to life at Forest City Adventist School with an immersion approach to teaching. For example, during their study of the Civil War, students draw lots to side with the North or South. After conducting research, they make flags for their side, create canteens and cooking equipment, and set up an outdoor camp. Battles from the Civil War are then reenacted.

Helping students realize their full potential, Waite guides them in the discovery of their gifts while encouraging them to be leaders around the school. Each week, students visit the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms where they participate in “reading buddy sessions.”

Joan, left, makes studying the Civil War and coordinating reenactments part of her curriculum. Pictured from left are some of the seventh-grade students inside the Andersonville Prison Camp: Biankha Hughes, Sabrina Gomez, Katty Chavarria, Alisha George, Allan Rodríguez, and Seth Gimenez. (Photo: Yvonne Fines)

After studying the scriptures in Bible class, Waite’s students lead a week of prayer for younger children. Students and parents have requested Bible studies as a direct result of Waite’s impact. Following an invitation for students to attend evangelistic meetings at Forest City Spanish Church, two were baptized.

When students graduate from Forest City Adventist School, many become tutors in math and reading for fellow ninth graders. Waite also serves as a mentor to new teachers in Florida Conference and often leads monthly teacher in-service training.

Nominated by principals, superintendents, colleagues, and former students, the 10 teachers selected from across the nation to receive a 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award are celebrated by peers, the local church, and community for their impact on Seventh-day Adventist education. AAF recognized Waite on May 20 during Forest City Adventist School’s eighth-grade graduation ceremonies.

Joan was one of 10 teachers across North America selected by the Alumni Awards Foundation to receive a 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. (Photo: Freddy Fernandez)

AAF is a nonprofit organization working to support and improve Adventist K-12 education throughout North America. It has awarded grants totaling more than $2 million to Adventist schools and educators. Since being established in 1995, the organization has recognized 106 exceptional teachers with an Excellence in Teaching Award.

This past year, AAF refocused its mission and created the Renaissance Network, an initiative that improves the level of excellence in Adventist schools by providing leadership expertise, vision, resources, and training. AAF aims to awaken the Adventist community to the full potential in Adventist education. More information is available at

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Retirement Community Residents Prepare Bags of Love

posted on June 08, 2012, under Florida Living by

by Carol Janssen

Seminole County Child Protective Services representative Melissa Kreinbring, right, with Florida Living Retirement Community residents, from left, Von Stimpson, Carol Janssen, and Elsie McClanahan. (Photo: Stephen Yost)

Florida Living Retirement Community residents in Apopka recently assembled 15 Bags of Love for children removed from their homes because of abuse or living with a parent or guardian who has run into trouble with the law. Often these children are taken away from their homes late at night after witnessing an arrest by police.

As the children enter a Seminole County Child Protective Services (CPS) vehicle that will take them to a safe place, they are given one of the Bags of Love which carry an inscription, “It’s My Very Own.” Inside the bag is a handmade quilt, pillow with case, towel and washcloth, a small bag with age-appropriate personal toiletry items, toys, puzzles, coloring books with crayons, story books, and stuffed animals.

When Melissa Kreinbring, CPS representative, visited Florida Living Retirement Community to pick up the 15 Bags of Love, she showed her gratitude with expressions that included “awesome” and “terrific.”

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Messiah’s Mansion Traveling Sanctuary Visits Florida

posted on June 08, 2012, under Church by

by Terri Stanley

More than 4,000 people visited Messiah's Mansion. At the end of the nine-day exhibit, 1,138 people requested Bible studies. (Photo: Raama Badalo)

Men, women, and children of all ages and religious persuasions walked around an enclosed 150′ x 75′ courtyard set up at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce, Florida, while waiting to enter the replica of a sanctuary built by Moses in 1400 B.C. Inside the canvass walls, each sanctuary symbol was brought to life through interpreters at five stations regarding: basic structure, courtyard, holy place, most holy place, and description of a priest’s garment.

The Fort Pierce Church prayer ministry team envisioned Messiah’s Mansion, as the sanctuary is called, coming to St. Lucie County after viewing it at General Conference 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Members of this ministry visited 26 churches of various denominations in the area. They rallied God’s people together for the common cause of sharing Jesus with those who do not know about His love and message of salvation as seen through the sanctuary. Five Adventist churches joined the effort: Fort Pierce Church; Victory Church, Port St. Lucie; Macedonia Church, Fort Pierce; Port St. Lucie Church; and Vero Beach Church.

More than 4,000 people visited Messiah’s Mansion. At the end of the nine-day exhibit, 1,138 people requested Bible studies. “We were all amazed as we witnessed the Spirit touch our neighbors’ hearts as they saw Jesus and His salvation in the symbols of the sanctuary,” says Phyllis McColister, project coordinator and Fort Pierce Church prayer ministries leader.

Students from the University of Florida, Gainesville, also benefitted from the Fort Pierce visit as they were granted permission for the sanctuary to appear on campus prior to its stop in St. Lucie County. Messiah’s Mansion, with its 15-foot walls, presented a commanding appearance on the north lawn of the university’s Reitz Union Building.

“The religious museum allowed students to experience what life was like during biblical times,” says Thomson Paris, vice president of Baby Isaac, the Adventist presence on the Gainesville campus. It also provided a vehicle to introduce this Adventist ministry to students, staff, and guests of the university.

Messiah’s Mansion has toured the United States and several countries following its creation in 2003 at Oklahoma Academy, Harrah, Oklahoma. Since then, the sanctuary has traveled to 80 sites and viewed by more than 230,000 people. Learn more about the traveling sanctuary at

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