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Archive for November, 2014

From Darkness to Light

posted on November 20, 2014, under Conference by

Wall of China

by Audrey Folkenberg

Lives are being changed and faces are lighting up with new hope in China because caring individuals in Florida are sponsoring pioneer missionaries who are sharing Jesus.

Lives are being changed and faces are lighting up with new hope in China because caring individuals in Florida are sponsoring pioneer missionaries who are sharing Jesus.

Mr. Zhang* lived comfortably by Chinese standards. He had a virtuous wife, lovely children, and the admiration of family and friends. However, Mr. Zhang felt empty and depressed. Wealth, a harmonious family, and status within the community didn’t satisfy his needs.

His journey was recently revealed by a Florida Conference-sponsored indigenous pioneer missionary in China who ministered to Mr. Zhang and shared this testimony:

“Occasionally, Mr. Zhang came to our church and health center for Chinese herb therapy. He believed this therapy might help release him of his burdens. I served him, and he shared his story with me during the therapy. I always encouraged him to return for more therapy since I could see he truly trusted me.

“One day, I shared Mr. Zhang’s situation with another pioneer missionary with whom I am still working. We decided to ask some of our Adventist brothers and sisters to join us in reaching out to Mr. Zhang the next time he returned for therapy.

“A few days later, Mr. Zhang came again. He made many new friends this time as we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. We also told him the reason we have happiness and peace is because we have Jesus. As we spoke of Jesus, Christianity, and our church, Mr. Zhang did not resist. We even invited him to attend our church the next Sabbath, and he came.

“Soon, it became evident that God was making a difference in Mr. Zhang’s life. We began to see God shining through him. Even his family and colleagues came to us and spoke of the tremendous change they saw in him. He had become a bright person. He found a new way to live because God was now his hope. He praised God for everything. Mr. Zhang was physically, mentally, and spiritually healed!

“Can a human change the markings on a leopard? I cannot. Can man create a new heart and a new mind? I cannot. But God can! And that’s exactly what He did in Mr. Zhang!”

Florida Conference members, friends, Sabbath School classes, and churches are working toward the goal of supporting 130 pioneer missionaries in China. With only 20 sponsorships yet to be filled, thrilling reports already reveal that 1,200 individuals have been baptized.

“It’s unbelievable, when compared to our standard of living, that it only takes $1,500 to help fund a Bible worker/church planter in China for an entire year,” says Phil Bond, Florida Conference Development and Planned Giving Director. “That’s an amazingly low cost to help support a faithful worker with the high calling of bringing souls to Jesus!”

Video clips and more information about Florida Conference’s Mission to the Cities/China projects are available at floridaconference.com/missiontothecities

*Name changed to protect Mr. Zhang’s identity.

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Camp Kulaqua Opens Three Woodland Lodges

posted on November 20, 2014, under Camp Ministry by

The new Woodland Lodges (Live Oak, Dogwood, and Cypress) each have 20 rooms that comfortably accommodate six guests for a total capacity of 360. (Photo: Melissa Rivera)

The new Woodland Lodges (Live Oak, Dogwood, and Cypress) each have 20 rooms that comfortably accommodate six guests for a total capacity of 360. (Photo: Melissa Rivera)

by Phil Younts

The Camp Kulaqua Advisory Board is shown in front of one of the three Woodland Lodges recently completed under their direction. Pictured from left: Duane Rollins, Chairman and Florida Conference Treasurer; Pastor Brendan White; Eric Cantillo, Conference Executive Committee member; Phil Younts, Camp Administrative Director; Rose Beavers, Conference Executive Committee member; Mark Schiefer, Conference Executive Committee member; and Alex Vaz, pastor and Conference Executive Committee member. Not pictured: Pedro Perez, Florida Conference Youth Ministries Director and Pastor Keith Harding. (Photo: Marilyn Rollins)

The Camp Kulaqua Advisory Board is shown in front of one of the three Woodland Lodges recently completed under their direction. Pictured from left: Duane Rollins, Chairman and Florida Conference Treasurer; Pastor Brendan White; Eric Cantillo, Conference Executive Committee member; Phil Younts, Camp Administrative Director; Rose Beavers, Conference Executive Committee member; Mark Schiefer, Conference Executive Committee member; and Alex Vaz, pastor and Conference Executive Committee member. Not pictured: Pedro Perez, Florida Conference Youth Ministries Director and Pastor Keith Harding. (Photo: Marilyn Rollins)

With approval from the Conference Executive Committee and Association Board, and under the direction of the Camp Kulaqua Advisory Board, three Woodland Lodges with 360 additional guest accommodations are completed. These lodges are the first project of Phase I in Camp Kulaqua’s master campus plan. Phase I also includes an expansion to the cafeteria and building a new welcome center.

I cannot thank the Camp Advisory Board enough for the creation and completion of the new Woodland Lodges. They are already blessing church families and adults who are looking for lodge-style accommodations. We are excited that now more people can come and enjoy God’s creation!

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Margate Church Hosts Youth Evangelism Series

posted on November 20, 2014, under Church by

by Julia Tedim

Andre Campbell spoke to the hearts and minds of youth.

Andre Campbell spoke to the hearts and minds of youth.

Margate Church presented a youth evangelism series entitled Last Call for Alcohol. This three-week emphasis focused on the troubled times and the effect they have on teenagers.

Andre Campbell, associate pastor of Palm Bay Church, spoke on issues relating to drugs, music, peer pressure, and real world dramas that cloud the minds of youth today. “Many of us live our lives in the past looking through the rear view mirror,” says Campbell. “We should stop focusing on the sin and look toward the Savior.”

Each evening’s program included inspirational music, gifts, health lectures, counseling, and special prayer. At the end of the series, Margate Pastor Andrew Nugent baptized three individuals.

The evangelism services concluded with the surprising meaning of the word, alcohol, as an acronym: All Listening Christians Open your Hearts to the Offer of Life.

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Jewish Meetings Continue Winning Souls

posted on November 20, 2014, under Church by

Pictured with the Torah at Beth-El Shalom of St. Petersburg, back row, from left: Jeff Zaremsky, Otto Starr, Carol Wervey, and Robert Fender. Front row, from left: Barbara Zaremsky, Margarita Rodriguez, Mary Madlock, and Christine Polena. (Photo: Cheryl Sidorenko)

Pictured with the Torah at Beth-El Shalom of St. Petersburg, back row, from left: Jeff Zaremsky, Otto Starr, Carol Wervey, and Robert Fender. Front row, from left: Barbara Zaremsky, Margarita Rodriguez, Mary Madlock, and Christine Polena. (Photo: Cheryl Sidorenko)

by Gladys Neigel

Evangelism doesn’t end when a series of meetings comes to a close. In 2011, Jeff Zaremsky held a series of meetings for the Florida Conference Messianic congregations in St. Petersburg and New Port Richey. Since that time, many who attended have become members. One woman recently joined the Beth-El Shalom congregation in St. Petersburg—some three and one half years after the series of meetings ended.

Zaremsky’s sermon series, Surviving and Thriving in These Last Days, was unique in many ways:

The series began at a Jewish holiday season when there is an increase in visitor attendance.

Two locations simultaneously hosted meetings. One location met on Tuesday and Friday, and the other met Wednesday and Saturday.

After each meeting, a question and answer period sparked so much interest, Zaremsky extended the series to 31 meetings.

Everyone who starting attending the meetings continued to the end.

“We presented the topics in a Jewish-friendly manner with a very biblical foundation,” says Zaremsky. “We uplifted the Messiah in every meeting as the center and foundation of everything. We also presented a mixture of logic/emotion and truth/application in every meeting.”

Sermon DVDs recorded by volunteers are still winning souls for the Lord in the local congregations. DVDs are also sent to friends in other parts of the country. More information is available at www.JewishHeritage.net.

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Weatheralls Celebrate 60th Anniversary

posted on November 20, 2014, under Member by

by Kristy Williams

Ardyce and Don Weatherall.

Ardyce and Don Weatherall.

Don, an education major from Oklahoma, and Ardyce, a nursing student from Colorado, met while working in the bakery at Union College, Lincoln, Nebr. They married on July 28, 1954.

Upon graduation from college in 1956, Platte Valley Academy in Shelton, Nebr., invited Don to teach Bible, history, and physical education. After eight years, he took a call to be principal of Enterprise Academy in Enterprise, Kans. Meanwhile, Ardyce started a successful flannel graph company for children’s Sabbath Schools across North America.

Don continued his career in education: principal at Highland Academy in Portland, Tenn.; principal at Kahili Adventist School in Kuloa, Hawaii; six years as superintendent of education at Florida Conference; and 23 years in the Southern Union Conference and North American Division education departments.

Throughout this time, Ardyce was the consummate mother, cook, and hostess for the many Sabbath lunches and guests who frequented their home. She also traveled with Don, typing thousands of manuscripts for manuals, curriculum guides, and textbooks written by teachers during summer workshops chaired by Don. Her favorite period of time was when she was the librarian at Forest Lake Education Center in Apopka, Fla.

In 2006, after 50 years of denominational service, the Weatheralls moved to Florida Living Retirement Community, Apopka, Fla. They are the parents of three daughters: Cynthia Buckingham, Kristy Williams, and Lori (Ted) Asbury. They have four grandchildren: Jaclyn and Justin Williams and Bailey and Rylee Asbury.

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UNITE Ministry Reaches Isolated Young Adults

posted on November 19, 2014, under Member by

Theology major Ryan Becker tells Southern Adventist University students about UNITE. (Photo: George Nelson)

Theology major Ryan Becker tells Southern Adventist University students about UNITE. (Photo: George Nelson)

by Angela Baerg

During his senior year at Forest Lake Academy (FLA), Ryan Becker lost his father to a heart attack and discovered that his mother had Stage 4 lung cancer.

“Suddenly, I realized there was a very real possibility I could be attending my graduation as an orphan,” recalls Ryan, a member of Florida Hospital Church.

As Ryan reeled from the news, his FLA classmates and teachers rallied around his family. He always plugged into the many spiritual activities on campus, but the support of his FLA family strengthened his faith and took his appreciation for faith-based relationships to a new level. Miraculously, his mother went into complete remission in four months.

As a freshman at Southern Adventist University the following year, Ryan bonded with classmates through campus ministries, spiritual discussions, and prayer with his professors and peers. For the second time in his life, Ryan found himself embraced by a rich spiritual community, and the desire of his heart grew clear—he wanted to create a ministry to connect young Adventists who feel isolated.

“Some people don’t have an Adventist school and are one of only a few young adults in their church,” Ryan observes. “Some people may wish for meaningful outreach and not know where to begin. Others might have just moved to a new area and not know any other Adventists. We keep losing so many young adults who are on the fringe. I really hope that UNITE can help them find meaningful ways to engage their faith while reconnecting with Jesus, each other, and local churches.”

Now two years old, UNITE is all about accessibility. The ministry has a web site full of free resources, a Twitter feed, Facebook page, and e-mail updates that alert followers to ministry opportunities in their areas. If young adults wish to create new ministries or small groups where none exist, UNITE matches them with like-minded people and churches to make it happen. Its outreach also includes periodic OneDay conferences to give isolated believers a chance to talk about important spiritual topics and to make new friends.

“The people I met at FLA and Southern fill each other with hope, encourage each other in our faith, and inspire each other to take action,” says Ryan. “I hope UNITE can help everyone find relationships like that.”

Learn more about UNITE at http://www.uniteconference.org/

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Meeting Needs in a Chinese Community Results in Safer/Healthier Families

posted on November 19, 2014, under Conference by

by Audrey Folkenberg

Children left alone at  home are all smiles when Bible workers visit to help with household chores.

Children left alone at home are all smiles when Bible workers visit to help with household chores.

When MaeLi and Shouling started their missionary work in their assigned unreached area, they first went door to door and visited every family. In the process, they found that many young girls, age 13-14, had been left alone at home as parents went to work in a larger city. No one was caring for or looking after these adolescent girls. The hardships on these girls’ faces was evident as they were, at times, exploited while their parents were gone.

MaeLi and Shouling began going to the homes of these girls and visiting with them. They helped them wash their clothes and cooked dinner for them. They invited the young girls to their own home, played hymns for them, and told them Bible stories. Before long, when the girls had finished their homework, MaeLi and Shouling gathered them all together, prayed, and invited them to come to church.

Of course, this pioneer team took the time to locate and contact the parents of each girl and communicated with them about how their daughters were doing. The parents were then invited to join them for Sabbath worship in their house church.

God has been faithful and has rewarded the outreach of MaeLi and Shouling. You can only imagine their joy when the parents themselves learned to pray and began praying for their families.

As a result of their efforts, there have been 10 baptisms, an average of 15 weekly Bible studies, and a church membership of 36.

Your gift of $1,500 will help support a Chinese Bible worker for one year. To make a donation, call Phil Bond at Florida Conference: (407) 618-0243.

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Home Bible Study Impacts South Florida and Beyond

posted on November 19, 2014, under Member by

by Abel Paulín

A weekly Bible study group that meets in the Guarismas’ Hollywood, Florida, home includes participation from family and friends in Venezuela via video conference.

A weekly Bible study group that meets in the Guarismas’ Hollywood, Florida, home includes participation from family and friends in Venezuela via video conference.

Adriana and Jorge Guarisma, and their three children, responded to a friend’s invitation to visit Davie Spanish Company one Sabbath morning. Afterward, feeling well-received and comfortable, the Guarisma family decided to return.

Pastor Demetrio Hernandez visited in their home. He began to study the Bible with them which later evolved into a small group study that meets every Wednesday night in the Guarisma home.

After a time of fellowship and Bible study, Adriana, two of her children, and her niece, Alexandra, made their decisions to accept Jesus and be baptized. Adriana also shared her new-found love for Jesus with her sister, Mila Ramirez, who lives in Venezuela.

Deciding she wanted to be baptized with her sister, Mila traveled to the United States, and the two sisters were baptized together in the Davie church on August 9, 2014. Adriana’s husband, Jorge, also made his decision for Christ and was baptized October 18.

When Mila came from Caracas, she brought Alexis Corrales; his wife, Lilian; and their two sons to witness her baptism. While in Florida, they all participated in the weekly small group meeting.

Returning to Venezuela, Mila invited family and friends to her home in central Caracas to participate by video conference with the Guarismas and Pastor Hernandez in the weekly Bible study. Alexis and his family, who live in southwest Caracas, are also participating in the Bible study via video conference. Mila and Alexis attend church each Sabbath in their respective communities.

Using the material provided by Pastor Hernandez and the Davie church, Mila holds a Monday night Bible study group at her house with 10 people attending. Through the witness of the Guarisma family, the Word is growing and multiplying.

A welcoming church that makes guests feel comfortable, the availability of small group Bible studies, and the use of modern technology are effective ways that can be employed in reaching a city for Christ.

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