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Archive for October, 2012

Spring Meadows Passion In Action

posted on October 31, 2012, under Church, Video Report by

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

This month’s video highlights Spring Meadows Church’s ministry called Passion In Action which aims to help the community around them in a variety of ways.

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Finding the Right Path At Camp

posted on October 13, 2012, under Camp Ministry by

The following video report and article was originally published by WCJB TV-20, the ABC affiliate in Gainesville, Florida.

HIGH SPRINGS – Rodeo, go carts, and rock climbing are some of the activities planned for this five-day camp. But beyond the fun and games, the camp hopes to show kids and young teenagers the importance of fellowship and the community.

Eleven-year-old camper Sean Monroe said pin trading is what he is looking forward to most at the Southern Union Pathfinder Camporee.

It’s a camping event created by the Pathfinder Club, a worldwide program that targets the development of youth. Pathfinders is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and their goal is to mentor young people in the Christian faith.

Wednesday afternoon, RVs with families made their way to this 200-acre camp from all over the southeast. There are 12,000 Pathfinders in the south eastern region and about 5,500 of them are here in High Springs at Camp Kulaqua.

Yeseny Morales is one of those campers. She and her family took a road trip from North Carolina for their very first camping event.

“I am excited about the experience, especially spending time with my family,” Morales said.

Others, like Monroe, say it’s also a way to deepen friendships.

Camp director Allan Williamson says the activities the camp has created teaches kids new things without them even noticing it, like the Tower of Faith which he calls a trust exercise in disguise.

“You get in a harness and then all of the sudden it lets loose but then it catches you,” Williamson said.

He says the activities at the camp are not only fun but they teach skills that are relevant to everyday living.

“When they go back, we hope that they will make a difference in their home, their community, their church and also their school,” he said.

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Florida Conference Officers Re-elected

posted on October 09, 2012, under Conference by

by Gladys Neigel

The Florida Conference administrative team was re-elected at the 70th Regular Constituency Session. From left: President Mike Cauley and his wife, Dottie; Executive Secretary Carmen Rodriguez and her husband, Victor; and Treasurer Duane Rollins and his wife, Marilyn. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Mike Cauley was re-elected president of Florida Conference, October 7, 2012, at the 70th Regular Constituency Meeting held on the campus of Forest Lake Academy, Apopka, Fla. Cauley, who has served in this position since 2003, is known for his passion for making disciples, “bringing believers to spiritual maturity.” The president’s report reflected ways in which members around the Conference are reaching out to their communities.

Part of the administrative team since 2006, Carmen Rodriguez was re-elected as executive secretary. “Florida Conference has been intentional in growing and revitalizing its churches,” says Rodriguez. “As a result, God has expanded our territory.” There are 248 churches and companies that now comprise the Florida Conference sisterhood of churches. During the past triennium, membership has grown from 58,844 to 61,234.

"While tithes and offerings have shown some decline, both are on an upswing, which is a huge blessing to the churches," said Treasurer Duane Rollins during his report. (Photo: Martin Butler)

Re-elected as treasurer was Duane Rollins who has served in this capacity since 2008. “While tithe and offerings have shown some decline, both are on an upswing, which is a huge blessing to the churches,” says Rollins, “and, of course, the Conference is simply the sum of the churches.” He gives “praise to God for His leading the Florida Conference family through this yet incomplete recession.”

One of the most anticipated recommendations brought to the floor by this past triennial Constitution and Bylaws Committee was to consider moving from a triennial to a quadrennial session. Delegates voted in favor of a quadrennial session, recognizing that it would facilitate a more prudent use of time, money, and resources.

Positioning For Vibrant Mission, the Constituency Session theme, was introduced this summer in a special Florida Focus Triennial Report given to delegates at regional meetings and mailed to Conference members. The theme was carried over into the session in the officer’s reports.

Special guests of the Constituency Session included North American Division President Dan Jackson who presented the devotional, and Southern Union Conference President Ron Smith who brought the Nominating Committee report to the floor.

Special recognition was given to those individuals who retired from Florida Conference employ during the triennial period.

Delegates raised their cards to vote on several motions, including changing from a triennial to quadrennial session. (Photo: Lori Bennett)

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Pathfinders Spend Weekend On Tropical Island

posted on October 05, 2012, under Conference by

by Calvin Brooks

Several dozen Pathfinders from five clubs participated in the Island Navigator program in the Florida Keys. (Photo: Ray Saladino)

Imagine 52 hours without electricity, electronics, or any other modern conveniences! Five Florida Pathfinder Clubs—Eliathah, Forest Lake, Melbourne Spanish, Palm Coast, and Tampa Spanish—survived these very conditions while taking an island excursion in July.

The Island Navigator experience began as Pathfinders and staff boarded a boat in the Florida Keys with Ray Saladino at the helm. The destination: one of the tranquil tropical islands in Molasses Key.

Alex Ramirez and Jennifer White admire a large Bahamas starfish found near Molasses Key. (Photo: Ray Saladino)

Calvin Brooks, State Pathfinder Administrator, accompanied by his assistants, Francisco Forbes, Martha Lewis, and Alex Ramirez, along with a youth staff team from the Reveille Pathfinder program, taught classes in skin diving, reef fish, marine invertebrates, marine algae, and tides. Young people were invigorated in natural surroundings outside of the traditional classroom as they studied the handiwork of their Creator “which the waters brought forth abundantly.” (Genesis 1:21 KJV)

Spiritual highlights of the weekend consisted of sermonettes, a panoramic view of God’s creation, and witnessing to the many visitors to the island.


Norm and Barbara Middag Celebrate 60th Anniversary

posted on October 05, 2012, under Member by

by Renee Brownlow

Barbara and Norm Middag. (Photo: Renee Brownlow)

Barbara Popp and Norm Middag met while students at Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in 1950 and married in the summer of 1952.

Norm was an educator, pastor, and youth director in a career spanning more than four decades of ministry. He served in Michigan, Southern California, Northern California, Florida, and Potomac Conferences before joining North American Division (NAD) as Pathfinder, Adventurer, and Camp Ministries Director.

When Norm was with the NAD, he coordinated development of the Adventurer and Pathfinder curricula and the Association of Adventist Camp Professionals. He was the originator of Camps For the Blind and the 1991, 1992, and 1993 Witness Through Rose Parade floats sponsored and decorated by Pathfinders. As chairman of the Camporee Coordinating Committee, Norm helped launch the North American Division camporee program and its first national gathering of Pathfinders in 1985 at Camp Hale near Leadville, Colo.

In addition to supporting her husband in ministry, Barbara taught French, music, and secretarial science subjects at Battle Creek Academy in Michigan. Taking a break from the classroom to raise their family, Barbara returned to the workforce in the early 1970s to teach at Forest Lake Academy, Apopka, Fla. Later, she served at Potomac Conference and as an administrative secretary in the General Conference presidential office.

Norm and Barbara were blessed with three children: David, Loren, and Renee Brownlow; and six grandchildren. The Middags are retired and make their home in Mount Dora, Fla. They are members of Forest Lake Church, Apopka, Fla.

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Sports Story to God’s Glory

posted on October 05, 2012, under Member by

by Jane Allen Quevedo

When Mercy and Félix Millán married 50 years ago, they shared dreams of a career in Major League Baseball. Celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in December 2012, they look back on a lifetime of unforgettable memories and blessings from God. (Photo: Ron Quick)

“I played on winning teams with the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, but now I’m on the real winning team—the team of Jesus Christ,” says Félix Millán, retired Major League second baseman.

Instead of hitting fastballs at a ballpark on Saturdays, these days Millán is in church. In fact, he and his wife, Mercy, helped establish two Adventist Hispanic congregations in Florida.

In the 1980s, while working as an infield instructor for the Mets minor league team in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Félix and Mercy started a Spanish-language Sabbath School class at Fort Pierce Church. What began as a class has since become a Spanish-language church which has also spawned a new Hispanic congregation meeting in Port St. Lucie.

Millán demonstrates his favorite hold on a bat. He always choked the bat so high it looked like he would poke himself in the stomach when he swung at a pitch. He is remembered as one of the toughest batters to strike out in the 1970s. (Photo: Ron Quick)

The Milláns are now part of another Spanish group that meets at Clermont, Fla., Church. They look forward to helping establish a church in that city, too.

Growing up in a sugarcane valley of Puerto Rico, Félix played ball from the time he could whittle a bat from the branch of a guava tree. He fashioned a mitt from a piece of canvas stuffed with newspaper, and the seat of his first uniform bore a Gold Medal® logo. While plagued with extreme shyness, young Félix showed promise for the big leagues with his speed, quick hand, and reliable hitting.

Playing in the Major Leagues, 1966-1977, Millán made three All-Star teams, won two Gold Glove Awards®, and, for four seasons, ranked as the National League’s toughest batter to strike out. With the Braves, he usually hit ahead of Hank Aaron, crossing home plate many times when the home run king hit the ball out of the park.

Millán's quick reflexes and agility on the field and in the batter's box earned him the nickname "The Cat" when he played for the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets during the 1960s and 1970s. (Copyrighted photo: Associated Press)

As an athlete, Félix had to stay in good physical condition, and Mercy was health-minded, too. One summer, she attended an Adventist cooking school in New York. Returning home with two grocery bags of vegetarian products, she announced, “Félix, we need to talk.”

The Milláns adopted an Adventist diet long before they joined the Church. They also enrolled their children in an Adventist academy near their winter home in Puerto Rico. Mercy’s occasional church attendance grew into frequent visits, finally leading to her decision for baptism, followed by the baptism of their three children.

“If that’s what she wanted, I would not stand in her way,” says Félix, “but I made it clear she could leave me out.”

In his autobiography, Tough Guy, Gentle Heart, available at Adventist Book Centers and, Millán explains he had Jesus in his heart; yet, he did not see a need for baptism to prove it. However, he had not counted on the prayers of his wife, the prompting of the Holy Spirit, or his children questioning, “Daddy, why don’t you go to church with us?”

After playing in the Major Leagues, the Milláns moved to Japan where, in 1979, Félix was the first foreigner to win the country’s batting crown as leading hitter. Finally, the convictions of his heart led him to request being excused from games played on Sabbath. In time, the tough guy with a gentle heart publicly declared his faith through baptism—a decision that changed his sports story into a story for God’s glory.


Danilo and Lucila Rodriguez Celebrate 60th Anniversary

posted on October 05, 2012, under Member by

by Ingrid Hernandez

Lucila and Danilo Rodriguez.

Danilo and Lucila Rodriguez were married September 28, 1952, in San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic. Throughout the early years of their marriage, the couple worked as literature evangelists.

Danilo was ordained as a minister in 1965, and his first church was in San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic. For 41 years, Danilo and Lucila were spiritual leaders in 50 churches with Danilo serving as pastor and Lucila fulfilling several church roles.

The couple relocated to New York City after Danilo’s retirement in 1988. They currently live in Kissimmee, Fla., and are members of the Buenaventura Lakes Spanish Church. Since retirement, Danilo has led evangelistic campaigns in the United States and served as first elder of several churches. Lucila has also continued to be heavily involved in church responsibilities.

As the couple celebrates 60 years, they credit long marriage to God’s leading, their lasting love, and mutual respect. Raising their children in the Church and assisting in their grandchildren’s spiritual growth is among their proudest accomplishments. They have five daughters, Besaida, Bethania, Brenda, Belinda, and Belisa; one son, Danilo Jr.; and 15 grandchildren.

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