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Archive for March, 2013

Reaching Spiritual Maturity

posted on March 22, 2013, under Conference by

by Mike Cauley, D.Min.
Florida Conference President

Dear Believer in the Advent Hope: As we draw closer to the coming of Jesus, God’s people will grow in spiritual maturity as they fall more deeply in love with Jesus. This experience comes by connecting with Him through His Word. Ellen White tells us, “As we read the Bible we learn of His work and listen to His voice. If we really want to know the Saviour, we will study the Bible.” —Steps To Jesus, p. 87

About six years ago, there was a major study to determine the most significant factors in leading a person to spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity was defined as an individual who:

  • Is totally surrendered to Christ
  • Reflects on Scripture daily
  • Returns a faithful tithe
  • Spends time alone with God for significant periods of time daily and, otherwise, has a meaningful daily prayer life
  • Seeks God for guidance daily
  • Regularly looks for ways to share with others what Jesus means to them
  • Regularly spends time in reflection and journaling
  • Serves as a spiritual mentor
  • Individually serves those who are in need

The study was the largest of its kind, encompassing 250,000 American Christians involving 1,000 congregations. They attempted to ascertain which factors were the most beneficial in helping converted people become mature believers. Of all the factors influencing spiritual growth, the practice of daily, meaningful Bible study was the most impactful. They also found that only 25% of active Christian believers in the churches could be characterized as mature believers. These statistics may not be much different in our denomination.

This year’s Camp Meeting, April 11-14 (English) and April 18-21 (Spanish), will focus on how to equip God’s people to dig deeply into His Word. I hope that you will join us for this wonderful time of spiritual renewal. It is vital that we have occasions to come together to be encouraged and strengthened in our walk with Jesus.

Our mission statement, “To make mature disciples…” is what we are trying to achieve in obedience to the great commission. Growing in Christ is foundational to us becoming all that the Lord desires for us to be. Learning how to interact with the Scriptures daily in a meaningful way will help us to grow in Christ more than anything else.

Those who have had the privilege of attending Camp Meeting at Camp Kulaqua have experienced a very real blessing. It is a wonderful retreat from this world. In my opinion, it is as much like an old-fashioned Camp Meeting experience as I have had in many years. I hope to see you there.

May God bless us as we continue to pursue growth to be more like Jesus and help others come to maturity in Christ.

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Youth On a Mission

posted on March 22, 2013, under Conference by

by Pedro Perez

An army of youth will share hope this summer in the city of Orlando.

IMPACT Orlando is a week-long summer mission trip organized by Florida Conference Youth Ministries. It is designed to provide opportunities for young people to serve and share hope. Citizens of Orlando will see it advertised as LIVE With HOPE when messages appear on billboards, door hangers, postcards, business cards, and T-shirts.

Local Adventist organizations SALT (Service And Love Together) and LIFE (Lay Institute For Evangelism) will join the collaborative outreach effort with Orlando-based agencies, as well as Florida Conference’s Publishing, Children’s Ministries, Ministerial, and Community Services departments.

IMPACT Orlando will have many outreach components. In late May, MagaBook student workers will begin making door-to-door contacts in Orlando neighborhoods. Then, a group of youthful missionaries (ages 14+) will descend on Orlando the week of June 23-30.

These youth will be housed at Orlando Junior Academy (a fully fenced/gated property) to receive training in a variety of outreach ministries, including door to door, elderly, homeless, children, sidewalk preaching, puppets, balloon animals, and face painting. In addition, they will be involved in community service projects and help conduct several Vacation Bible School programs.

On Sabbath, June 29, an army of young people representing Adventurer, Pathfinder, Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries age groups, will gather in Orlando for another wave of IMPACT outreach. In the morning, they will distribute more than 10,000 copies of The Great Hope (an adapted version of The Great Controversy), as well as 5,000 copies of the New Testament. Thousands of homes will receive a neighborly visit from young people offering to pray with the residents and share free literature with them.

That afternoon, Lake Eola and Festival Park in Orlando will come alive with parades, Pathfinder drum and drill demonstrations, health exhibits in partnership with Florida Hospital and CREATION Health, live music, activities for young people, literature and prayer tents, and free refreshments.

When IMPACT Orlando activities end, there will be follow-up Living With Hope evangelistic meetings, small group gatherings, and CREATION Health seminars conducted in participating Adventist churches throughout greater Orlando.

Volunteers who would like to join the army of youth sharing hope this summer in the city of Orlando may register at

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Departmental Staff Changes

posted on March 22, 2013, under Conference by

Gloria Becker Named Associate Director for Estate Services
Gloria Becker rejoins the Conference staff after an absence of thirteen years, during which time she served as Principal of Forest Lake Academy in Apopka. She was voted as Associate Director for Estate Services by the Executive Committee on December 11, 2012, and began her new position in February 2013. Previously, Gloria served as Florida Conference Executive Secretary.

She enjoys reading, crafts, and traveling. Three children make up the Becker household: Devin, Ryan, and Kristin.

Gloria is fluent in English and Spanish. “I would like to assist people in understanding the importance of planning their estates,” says Gloria, “with the underlying knowledge that all we have belongs to the Lord. I have experienced the blessings of estate planning through the loss of my spouse, and I praise God for His guidance in this process.”

Gilberto Borges Named Associate Director for Publishing
Gilberto Borges was voted an Associate Director for Publishing on February 5, 2013, by the Executive Committee. He began denominational work as a literature evangelist in Brazil for 12 years before coming to Florida Conference where he has worked 25 years.

Gilberto was recently awarded as the top literature evangelist in cash sales for Florida Conference, Southern Union Conference, and North American Division.

He keeps fit by playing soccer. His wife, Silvie, is a Staff Accountant for Florida Conference. They have a son, Wallace, and a daughter, Nathalie, who both attend Andrews University and help fund their education through the literature work in the summer MagaBook program.

“My goal is for each church to have one or two literature evangelists,” says Gilberto, “and I wish each one may succeed financially and strengthen their faith until the coming of the Lord.”

Anwar Bowes Named Associate Director for Publishing
Anwar Bowes was voted as an Associate Director for Publishing by the Executive Committee on February 5, 2013. The Florida MagaBook program is his major responsibility.

In one aspect of his work, he will visit colleges and invite students to join the literature program and sell MagaBooks in order to earn a scholarship toward furthering their education during the summer as well as during the school year. He will also be involved in training the students and working with them throughout the state of Florida.

Anwar graduated from Antillean Adventist University, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, in December 2012, with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. For 11 years, he has spent his vacations working with the MagaBook program as a student and then as a leader. He attributes this program to teaching him the leadership skills necessary for this new position.

Allan Machado Named Vice President for Spanish-language Ministries
Allan Machado was voted by the Executive Committee on February 5, 2013, as Vice President for Spanish-language Ministries and began his duties on March 11. He replaces Abel Paulín who continues as Evangelism Director. This change will enable Paulín to place more emphasis on church planting.

Since 2010, Allan served as Lay Pastor Director for more than 60 lay pastors in Florida Conference. Prior to that appointment, he was a pastor at Hialeah Spanish Church and a lay pastor in Miami.

Allan enjoys reading and sports activities. His family includes his wife, Elsa, who is employed at Greater Miami Adventist Academy, and two sons, Alan and Erich.

His desire with this new position is “to equip and motivate pastors to advance the cause of Christ by effectively reaching the Hispanic community in the context of their challenges and needs.”

John Pawson Named Service Center Director
John Pawson was advanced to the position of Director for the Service Center by the Executive Committee on February 5, 2013. He began Conference employment in November 2008 as an Office Assistant and then as Service Center Manager in 2010.

Previously, John was employed in purchasing at Regal Marine in Orlando, vice president for materials and logistics at Chris Craft Boats in Sarasota, and in purchasing at 52 Yachts in Holland, Michigan, for 22 years.

John loves to camp and has recently taken up kayaking. His wife, Patricia, is an Office Assistant for A New Step Prosthetics in Apopka. They have two sons: Jonathan and Christopher.

“The goal of the Service Center,” says John, “is to maintain the Church’s property in top-notch condition and to provide the best customer service to Conference departments, walk-in guests, and churches using good stewardship principles.”

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Digging Deeply In His Word

posted on March 18, 2013, under Member by

by Sandra Yandoh

David and Sandra Yandoh. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

I was a cancer patient at Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares when I called out to Christ for the first time. Oh, I believed in God. I was brought up in the Jewish and Catholic faiths.

When I arrived at Florida Hospital for treatment, I was very much in need of God. With cancer, as you can imagine, I prayed often. I noticed scripture verses and pictures of Jesus on the walls and thought that interesting—a hospital based on Christian teachings. With every radiation treatment, I thought of Jesus’ words, “By your faith, you are healed.”

I soon began reading the Bible and got all the way through it in six months. When Florida Hospital Waterman hosted a Cancer Center Christmas party, I met Chaplain Faye Rose.

One day, I made an appointment to speak with her about my relationship with Jesus. I told her it made me feel good to talk about Him, but I really didn’t know Him. She gave me some booklets and counseling. Meanwhile, I continued to read my Bible.

Then, I started listening to a Christian music radio station. At Christmas time 2011, their playlist included “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolf, the Red-nosed Reindeer.” I thought, “This doesn’t sound right for a Christian station.”

After the holidays, I looked for another station and found WGTT 91.5 FM, which I later learned broadcasts from North Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church. This station was different. Rather than music, the format was preaching and teaching, which really appealed to me.

When I had questions, I would bounce them off my fiancé, David, who was a Methodist lay preacher. He answered some of my questions, but I wanted to dig deeper into every truth I heard. We were both excited to learn new keys to open scripture, so we joined a local community church and became part of a Bible study group.

They studied the Bible, but answers were fed to us. Hungry for truth, we really wanted to search the scriptures for ourselves. As we continued listening to WGTT, we realized the presenters were Seventh-day Adventists.

Sandra and David Yandoh, right, study the Bible with Obed and Coretta Graham, bottom; Chaplain Faye Rose, top; and Kendra Hosek, left. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Knowing Chaplain Rose was an Adventist, I approached her in February 2012 to ask if David and I could take Bible studies. With excitement, she suggested we all study together with Obed and Coretta Graham who are members at North Lake Church. Several studies later, the Grahams asked, “Why not come this Saturday and try our church?”

“How can I come this Saturday?” I asked David. “I’ve run my shop every Saturday for the past five years.”

After we prayed about it, I made the decision to take the day off so we could attend North Lake Church. The minute we entered, my thought was, “This is it!” David responded, “The first day was like déjà vu—a reuniting with long-lost friends. They’re like family, and we belong.”

I still faced the dilemma of what to do with the shop on Saturdays. So, we prayed again, and I was convicted no one in my shop would work on the Sabbath. We recently decided to permanently close the shop, and someone has offered to purchase it.

Spring and summer seemed like a whirlwind. We started marriage counseling with Chaplain Rose after she agreed to perform our wedding ceremony July 15 in the chapel at Florida Hospital Waterman. Meanwhile, we continued attending North Lake Church with the intent of becoming members. On December 15, 2012, we were baptized by Chaplain Rose at North Lake Church.

It’s a miracle how God led us into the Adventist Church. For me, this is evidence that our great God brought us to the right place at the right time to join this amazing Church family!

We continue taking every opportunity to study God’s Word. Whether it’s our Wednesday study or the Sabbath School Bible study group, we are being drawn into a closer relationship with Jesus.

When we learned about the April 11-14 Florida Camp Meeting, we knew it would be a blessing if we could attend. The speakers, the topics, and even the theme, Revealing God’s Heart: Digging Deeply In His Word, all point to a wonderful opportunity for getting to know Jesus better, and this is the deepest desire of our hearts.

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Lake Placid Church’s Better Living Community Center

posted on March 15, 2013, under Church, Video Report by

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

This month’s video highlights Lake Placid Church’s Better Living Community Center where they host seminars and other health-related activities to better their community.

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South Orlando Church Celebrates Family Life Sabbath

posted on March 15, 2013, under Church by

by Daniel Forbes

Helen and Ken Bryant. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

South Orlando, Fla., Church members celebrated Family Life Sabbath, February 16, with guest presenters Ken and Helen Bryant.

The Bryants, who have conducted Family Enrichment programs throughout the North American Division, have a motivational, spiritual, and sometimes humorous style of presenting material that has touched more than 30,000 lives.

“Ken and Helen are highly skilled in administering professional personality, temperament, and spiritual gifts inventories,” says Dan Forbes, South Orlando Pastor. “This knowledge and ability brings their ministry to a whole new level of service.”

The program at South Orlando Church was the capstone of the Bryants’ 25+ years of pastoral service and Family Life ministry in Florida before moving to a new home base in northern Georgia where they will continue to serve.

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Kendall Members Attend Anger Management Seminar

posted on March 15, 2013, under Church by

by Jeffrey Thompson

Attendees who completed the Anger Management seminar at Kendall, Fla., Church are shown with their certificates. Kneeling on the front row, from left: Jeffrey Thompson, presenter, and George Williams, Kendall Church pastor. (Photo: Raymond Bennett)

Facing the Giant of Anger Management was the theme of a February 8-9 Family Life program sponsored by the Kendall, Fla., Church and coordinated by Claudette Henry, Family Life Ministries Director.

Weekend presenter Jeffrey Thompson, senior pastor of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Church, interspersed a PowerPoint presentation with practical video clips on anger management resolution. Topics covered were: Effective Anger Management Techniques For Men and Women, Anger and the Bible, The Impact of Anger On Marriage, Anger Management Tips For Teens, and The Spirit of Prophecy and Anger.

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Orlando Magic Mascot Gets a Lunch Box Makeover

posted on March 15, 2013, under Education by

by Janice Banks

Orlando Magic's mascot, Stuff, poses in Orlando Junior Academy's Edible Schoolyard garden with students who helped gather fresh vegetables for his lunch box. (Photo: Jay Facundus)

Stuff the Magic Dragon, mascot of the Orlando Magic basketball team, recently received a healthy lunch box makeover with fresh vegetables harvested from Orlando Junior Academy’s (OJA) Edible Schoolyard (ESY) Garden in exchange for his normal fare of hot dogs and nachos.

He donned an apron to visit the ESY nutritional science lab and tasted fresh produce students prepared as part of their integrated curriculum. On hand to greet Stuff were OJA alumnus Ken Bradley, Winter Park mayor and CEO of Florida Hospital Winter Park; and his wife, Ruth, a licensed dietician.

During a student assembly led by Mission: FIT Possible, a Healthy 100 Kids initiative sponsored by Florida Hospital for Children, the Mission: FIT “edutainers” highlighted the importance of fueling the body with healthy food. Students taught Stuff the importance of movement by leading him through a Just-A-Minute routine.

Principal Nicole Agbonkhese explains, “Stuff has previously visited our campus for traditional Pep Rallies, but today we’re celebrating God’s provisions and OJA’s commitment to healthy living, and we thought Stuff would enjoy sharing in the bounty.”

Teachers and administrators interested in extending their classroom to the garden or kitchen may register to attend OJA’s Edible Schoolyard Academy this summer, June 12-13, through the Edible Schoolyard OJA page on Facebook.

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Publishing Program Reaches Milestones

posted on March 15, 2013, under Conference by

by Vilma Galva

Southern Union Conference representatives William Smith, front row, left, and Keith Reid, front row, right, gave special recognition to the four Florida Conference Publishing Department leaders who have each worked with the department more than 25 years—collectively representing 100+ years of service. Pictured front row, center, Joe Holloway. Back row, from left: Les McCoy, Alfredo Gonzalez, and Gilberto Borges. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

The Florida Conference Publishing Department recently celebrated reaching the million-dollar mark in cash sales from Big Books and MagaBooks.

This milestone for Florida’s unique Giving Light to Our World (GLOW) program brought William Smith, Southern Union Conference Home Health Education Service (HHES) Director, and Keith Reid, Southern Union Conference HHES Associate Director to the Florida Conference headquarters in Winter Park, February 11, to congratulate Joe Holloway, Florida Conference Publishing Director, and his team for their accomplishments.

Individual awards were presented to Les McCoy, Florida Conference Publishing Youth Coordinator—Highest Percentage Gain in MagaBook Sales; Alfredo Gonzalez, Florida Conference Associate Publishing Director for South Florida—30 Years of Service; and Gilberto Borges, Florida Conference Associate Publishing Director for North Florida—Top Literature Evangelist in Cash Sales Award for Florida Conference, Southern Union, and North American Division.

Vilma Galva, MBA, who wrote this article, is Accounting Specialist in the Publishing Department where she tracks sales, inventory, and other financial details which support the literature evangelists. Her computer skills and passion for serving benefit the Publishing Department in getting the printed page out to the public.

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