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Archive for November, 2012

Adventist Giving: Did You Know…

posted on November 30, 2012, under Conference by

A sample electronic offering envelope on the Adventist Giving web site.

There are many convenient opportunities for making monetary gifts using the Adventist Giving web site—the Church’s online resource for securely sending contributions to your local church and beyond. Adventist Giving is not just for returning tithe and offerings. Special gifts and contributions may also be made:

When you sign in to Adventist Giving, four categories are presented: Tithe, Local Church offerings such as church budget and Sabbath School expense, Conference offerings such as evangelism and Florida Advance, and World Budget items.

The non-tithe offerings listed on this web page represent those commonly used by members or those being specifically promoted by the local church, Conference, or World Church. To make a contribution to other areas, click the Add More Offerings link near the bottom of the page.

The More Offerings page lists all the active offerings to which you can make a special gift. Your local church may have offerings for a building fund or its Pathfinder club. The Conference provides gift opportunities for the Worthy Student Fund, Camp Kulaqua, Camp Meeting, disaster relief, and more.

Both your local church and the Conference may update or expand the list of offerings. Be sure to check the More Offerings page each time you sign in to Adventist Giving to learn what new special gift opportunities are available.

When choosing a payment method, consider using the electronic check method instead of credit card. This provides significant savings in transaction processing costs.

In order to give offerings to the church where your membership is held, it is important to use the unique Adventist Giving link for that church. Visit our Adventist Giving page, or access your own church’s web site. If your church is not participating in Adventist Giving, you may contribute non-local offerings using Florida Conference’s Adventist Giving link, and please talk to your church leaders about enrolling in Adventist Giving.

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Orlando Junior Academy: Catching the Eyes of the Community

posted on November 30, 2012, under Education by

Orlando Junior Academy (OJA) is not the same school it was when first established in 1906. With a steadily increasing enrollment that encompasses Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade, OJA exhibits a learning environment that is drawing students and catching the eyes of the community 107 years after its beginnings.

Edible School Yard

Photos: Brad Jones

Every class at OJA participates in our school garden. The teachers integrate what they are teaching in the classroom with what they are doing in the garden. The students are learning about different foods, how they are grown, and how they are beneficial to everyone. Students are provided with opportunities to taste different foods both in the garden and in the grades 5-8 cooking classes. —Amy Sorensen, grade 1 teacher

We are right at the top in our garden and kitchen program. We are intentional about creating a garden culture, and our students are growing and benefitting from this tremendously! —Janet Braga, grade 4 teacher

A member of the RoboJags team working with Lego Mindstorms NXT robots. (Photo: Carianna Farfan)

The Robotics Team
For the fourth year in a row, the OJA Robotics Team, RoboJags, will participate in the Adventist Robotics League Southern Challenge hosted by the School of Computing at Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee. This site is one of 560+ to host the annual worldwide robotics tournament. OJA will join more than 200,000 students, age 9-16, from more than 60 countries in exploring the topic of aging and how it may affect a person’s ability to maintain his or her lifestyle. The RoboJags will research obstacles and then suggest ways to improve the quality of life for seniors.

“I really feel that when I am trying to solve the tasks in robotics, I am helping to make the world a better place,” shares Alex, a fourth-grade student. —Carianna Farfan, grades 5-8 teacher

Mini-Jag Podcast
Students produce a weekly podcast, Mini-Jag, with news, inspiration, and class events. The computer and writing teachers introduced this communication tool in an effort to teach students how to collect news, write scripts, and announce the material.

OJA places a strong emphasis on teaching leadership and presentation skills. These podcasts are one fun way to implement this effort. —Leanne Andino, parent

Adventist EDGE School of Excellence Award
OJA is the 14th school in the southeast to receive the Adventist EDGE School of Excellence Award from the Southern Union Conference Department of Education. The award represents the highest achievement possible for schools within the Southern Union.

“We are so proud of Orlando Junior Academy,” says Sandra Doran, Florida Conference Associate Superintendent for Education. “This school makes a unique impact on the community with their emphasis on gardening and healthy living. The EDGE Award is a symbol of the countless hours of hard work and the tireless dedication of the entire faculty and staff.”

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Worthy Student Scholarships Impact Young Lives For Eternity

posted on November 30, 2012, under Conference, Education by

by Mike Cauley, D.Min.
Florida Conference President

This time of year always provides me an opportunity to reflect on the many blessings God has provided over the past twelve months.

One such blessing is the overall increased school enrollment we have seen this year. I am encouraged whenever I hear stories about one of our students making a decision for Christ. I feel particularly blessed when that student is able to attend one of our schools because of grants from our Worthy Student Fund. Here are two such stories:

Michele Huarte. (Photo: Cleopatra Trevilcock)

Michele Huarte is a senior at Greater Miami Adventist Academy (GMAA). Michele, lovingly known as Coco by her family and friends, has always had a passion for art and previously attended a school that focused on the arts. She realized, however, that although she had this passion, there was a void in her life that it could not fill. In her words, “The emptiness continued, and I cried every day.”

One time, the person who drove her to school each day failed to pick her up. Her family became concerned about the reliability of this arrangement and decided to check into GMAA which is within walking distance of her home. Although her family is not Adventist, Michele began attending our church in Westchester. Again, in her words, she says, “I felt like the Holy Spirit was steering me in a different direction than what the art school was offering.” Michele applied for admission to GMAA and, with assistance from the Worthy Student Fund, was able to enroll.

“I thank God for reaching out to me and saving me. God spoke to me in many ways, and I became very active at school. On November 11, during GMAA’s Week of Prayer, I was baptized by Pastor Samuel Reyes.”

Mariank Gonzalez. (Photo: Isaac Vallejo)

Another encouraging story is that of Mariank Gonzalez. She is a freshman at Forest Lake Academy (FLA).

Mariank loves the Lord and has attended a Simple Church group since 2008. During that time, five of her friends from public school have come to Simple Church at her invitation; and one of them has been baptized.

Mariank had never before been able to attend an Adventist (or even a Christian) school. She often spoke of how it distressed her to have to study things she did not believe and repeat the information back to her teachers. It was her dream to be able to attend FLA, but financial reasons made it seem inaccessible to her.

Last April, however, she and her family began applying for scholarships. Thanks to scholarships from FLA, Florida Conference, and Simple Church, Mariank is attending FLA this year.

We are truly blessed to hear stories such as these. Unfortunately, here in our Conference, we still have many deserving students who are unable to afford or find scholarships to cover the costs associated with a quality Christian education.

This holiday season, please consider giving a gift that will impact a young person’s life for eternity by making a year-end gift to your local Adventist school or to the Conference’s Worthy Student Fund. You may either use the envelope inserted in print copies of the Winter 2012 Florida Focus, or contribute online with the Adventist Giving web site. Thank you for your generosity. Merry Christmas!

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Perry Church Members Embrace Differences

posted on November 30, 2012, under Church, Video Report by

by Patty Crouch

Perry, Fla., Church members and their youth-focused U-turn Ministries have joined forces under the direction of Patty Crouch, Lay Pastor, to bridge the generation gap within their own walls before reaching out to others.

Young people lead praise music during the devotional segment that opens the Christ-centered Saturday Night Live activities at Perry Church. (Photo: Rainey Turlington)

“For effective evangelism to any community, the church family must first be completely in love with each other,” says Crouch. “You don’t just tolerate each other and your differences, you embrace them.” In order to accomplish this, she believes members must spend time together beyond a weekly one hour church service.

On Saturday evenings, the Perry Church family, along with young and old friends invited from the community, come together for a Christ-centered version of Saturday Night Live. The open mic program gives everyone an opportunity to sing, read poetry, perform skits, play an instrument, or present religious humor. Completing the evening are group activities, such as: Wii games, board games, ping pong, air hockey, pool, volleyball, hula hoop contests, and gatherings around a bonfire.

Patty Crouch, lay pastor, helps two young participants with their song, Jesus Loves Me, during the open mic portion of Saturday Night Live. (Photo: Rainey Turlington)

Half the fun comes in watching younger and older generations enjoying one another, laughing together, and learning from each other. “When we are no longer separated by the older and younger generation but are together as the Jesus Generation,” says Crouch, “then we will truly be effective in leading souls to the foot of the cross.”

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Let’s Move Walk-a-thon

posted on November 02, 2012, under Conference by

by Gladys Neigel

Approximately 60 joggers and walkers participated in an afternoon walk-a-thon for child obesity awareness. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

On a sunny Florida afternoon in October, approximately 60 joggers and walkers participated in a walk-a-thon to raise awareness for child obesity. Moms pushing strollers, dads walking with their daughters, and three-generation families walking together were seen sporting yellow wrist bands and yellow balloons as they made their way around the lake at Crane’s Roost Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The walk-a-thon, sponsored by the Florida Conference Health Department under the direction of Joe Holloway, also provided entertainment and activities for nearly 250 spectators. The Orlando Junior Academy Band presented several musical numbers, a mime was kept busy making balloon animals; and interactive games were coordinated by Rhoda Burrill, Florida Conference Children’s Ministries Director.

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Earl and Marie Ward Celebrate 70th Anniversary

posted on November 02, 2012, under Member by

by Naomi Zalabak

Earl and Marie Ward. (Photo: Tom Amos)

Earl and Marie Ward recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Marie grew up on a farm about seven miles from Battle Creek, Mich. Earl, after losing his father at the age of 15, lived with his uncle, Lee Cook, on his farm not far from Marie’s home.

Earl and Marie met when her mother sent her to buy eggs from Earl’s uncle and suggested she invite Earl for the 4th of July fireworks in a nearby town. They both attended the little church in Bedford where they were married on September 19, 1942.

Following their wedding and serving in the army for two years, Earl began working as a taxi driver. Then he drove a truck to move mobile homes before he switched to delivering oil and fuel. Marie worked as a secretary and bookkeeper for an architectural firm.

Earl and his aunt and uncle were frequent snowbirds to Florida as he was growing up, as were Marie and her family. For three winters, Marie’s parents worked for Dr. John H. Kellogg at his winter home in Miami. During this time, she attended Greater Miami Academy and graduated from Forest Lake Academy in Apopka. It is not surprising, therefore, that Earl and Marie decided to retire in Florida and became faithful members at Avon Park Church.

Earl and Marie have five children, nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

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Clearwater Church Team Sees 697 Baptized in Philippines

posted on November 02, 2012, under Church by

by Joy Hunter

The Clearwater Church team and Davao Mission leaders prepare to distribute gift bags to those who were baptized. From left: Clearwater Church members Blas and MaryAnn Dabucol, Dorothy Ebanks, and Marva Edwards; and Davao Mission leaders, Marife Patalinghug, Director of Shepherdess, Family Ministries, and Women's Ministries and wife of the Mission President; Laurence Lamera, Treasurer; Edwin Magdadaro, Executive Secretary; and Jerry Patalinghug, President.

Blas Dabucol of Clearwater, Fla., Church has long aspired and prayed for the opportunity to again minister to his people in the Philippines. Originally a pastor there 15 years ago, he has kept in touch with his congregants and family.

Dabucol spoke with members of Davao Mission located in Davao City in the province of Mindanao, Philippines, about his burden to conduct an evangelistic effort. He also talked to members of the Clearwater Church he attends and found them open to the idea of raising $23,000 for such a program. Eventually, $25,000 was raised. Two church members, Marva Edwards and Dorothy Ebanks, volunteered to accompany Dabucol and his wife, MaryAnn, to the Philippines.

After getting word that this evangelism venture was going to be realized, even though the entire amount of money had not yet been raised, 40 Philippine laymen proceeded in faith. First, their outreach ministry resulted in 200 baptisms prior to the arrival of the Clearwater team. The people there were very enthusiastic and already had youth and women’s ministry meetings in progress throughout the city and outlying areas.

Dabucol preached 13 sermons in the Bisaya language between July 15-28 in addition to speaking at two different churches on the first Sabbath. Buses were provided to bring people who did not have transportation. The meetings were held in the Rizal Memorial College gym which easily accommodated the daily attendance of more than 2,000 at the nightly meetings.

Jerry Patalinghug, president of Davao Mission, conducted a health seminar every evening, and literature evangelists distributed pamphlets. The attendees were warm, friendly, and eager to learn about God. Mrs. Dabucol greeted the visitors in their native language. Edwards and Ebanks processed nightly registrations and distributed prizes to the winners of Bible quizzes. The attendees were very poor, so the prizes of rice, food, and hygiene products were greatly appreciated.

At the conclusion of the meetings, 697 people were baptized while others are planning for baptism later.

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Florida Pathfinders Making a Difference

posted on November 02, 2012, under Church by

by Darrin Hayes, Yolanda Acevedo

"The Pathfinders' kind natures, talent, and loving spirits impacted the lives of our elders in a beautiful and caring way and gives us bright hope for the future," said Kathleen Wilkes-Pierce, Activity Director/Volunteer Coordinator for Taylor Manor and Villas, after members of the Jacksonville Mandarin Club helped host an Aloha Party for residents. (Photo: Zaidilie Gutierrez)

Jacksonville Mandarin Church Pathfinders
Recently, Mandarin Pathfinders helped host an Aloha party for residents of Taylor Manor, an assisted living facility in Jacksonville, Fla. With the activity hall decked in flowers, balloons, and other festive decorations, Pathfinders sang songs, performed the Hukilau—a traditional Hawaiian dance—served beverages, and helped more than 65 residents participate in the event even though many were using wheelchairs or walkers.

For 15-year-old Jessica Prescott, making people happy was worth the time and effort. “They enjoyed it, and I’d love to do it again,” she said.

This year, Mandarin Pathfinders have adopted the theme, Making a Difference. “We want to engage Pathfinders in making a difference in some way on three levels: church, community, and even the global community,” said Betsy Greene, Pathfinder Co-director.

The newly organized Pathfinder and Adventurer Club at Lakeland Spanish Company. (Photo: Yolanda Acevedo)

Lakeland Spanish Company Pathfinders and Adventurers
An exceptional group of nonAdventist young people are part of a newly organized Pathfinder and Adventurer Club at Lakeland, Fla., Spanish Company. They are a product of several years of work in the community, and now these young people are ready to go to a new level in their walk with God.

A special Pathfinder Sabbath in October began with the young people leading the children’s 13th Sabbath program. Volunteers Javier Santiago, Florida Conference Central Area Administrator, and Jose Diaz Jr., Central Area Zone B Administrator, presented the Pathfinder and Adventurer program to the church families in the afternoon.

Pathfinders from Sebring Spanish and Leesburg Churches traveled to Lakeland to encourage this new venture. Other Pathfinder personnel attending were: Ruben Rodriguez, Central Area Cluster 6 Coordinator and Sebring Spanish Pathfinder Director; Yolanda Acevedo, North Area Cluster 6 Coordinator; Jimmy Mitchell, Brandon Spanish Pathfinder Director, and Noemi Mitchell, Brandon Spanish Pathfinder Counselor.

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