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Archive for January, 2015

A Lifetime of Joy Continues

posted on January 26, 2015, under Conference, Member by

Evangelist Bill Waters presents the Your Bible Made Simple series in Brooksville, Florida.

Evangelist Bill Waters presents the Your Bible Made Simple series in Brooksville, Florida.

by Gladys Neigel

Evangelists Bill and Sunshine Waters are still working for Jesus in their retirement.

Evangelists Bill and Sunshine Waters are still working for Jesus in their retirement.

What do evangelists do when they retire? Do they move from their house on wheels to a permanent place in a retirement community? Do they move to a desert island?

Upon their retirement in December 2014, Florida Conference Evangelists Bill and Sunshine Waters chose to reduce the number of series they conduct, yet continue the work they love. On a contract basis, they will still hold evangelistic presentations throughout the Southern Union.

“Any conference or church would be blessed to contract Bill and Sunshine in their semi-retirement for a series of meetings,” says Ralph Ringer, Director of Church Growth/Evangelism Training for Southern Union Conference.

The Waters began their ministry in college by assisting Pastors Douglas Bennett and Smuts Van Rooyen with evangelistic meetings. “During this experience,” says Sunshine, “we felt the Lord calling us to our passion for souls, which has brought us a lifetime of joy.”

They began this ministry 45 years ago using a blackboard to illustrate the finer points of the Adventist message. Since an evangelist must be on the cutting edge of technology to draw an audience, Bill added a slide projector and screen. He later upgraded to three screens with nine slide projectors and a movie film projector, and currently uses computerized projections. Bill and Sunshine also use social media to further connect to audiences.

The Waters have changed lives relationally as well as through technology. They have planned weddings, organized youth departments, initiated outreach ministries, and started mentoring programs.

Chef Bill shares a healthy food sample during a portion of his Temple Tips presentation.

Chef Bill shares a healthy food sample during a portion of his Temple Tips presentation.

Out of their evangelistic meetings, they have saved lives both spiritually as well as physically. Temple Tips and Happy Heart Humor became part of the program with Bill presenting food demonstrations. During a routine blood pressure check before a meeting, a man was immediately sent to the hospital and most likely avoided suffering a stroke.

Even with baptizing thousands of people through the years, there are still faces and places that come to mind. One example is when Bill baptized Keith Morrison, Fernando Munilla, and Josie Oates who made a difference in their churches serving as head elders. Josie, who serves on the Florida Conference Executive Committee, says, “I thank God for an evangelist like Pastor Waters and his wife, Sunshine, who are mentors to me.”

Another example is when the Waters arrived at a church of 10 members and exercised their faith by setting up 200 chairs in an auditorium. Police had to help direct traffic after 659 people came to the opening meeting. From that series, 61 were baptized. Later, one member started a radio program and another was chosen as Layperson of the Year.

To schedule this highly qualified evangelistic team on a contract basis for your conference or church or to order DVDs of past presentations, e-mail evangbill@me.com or call (888) 684-7172.

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Malcolm and Hazel Gordon Celebrate 60 Years of Marriage

posted on January 26, 2015, under Member by

Soon after moving to Apopka, Fla., Malcolm and Hazel were photographed in this classic pose at their new home. (Photo: Ron Quick)

Soon after moving to Apopka, Fla., Malcolm and Hazel were photographed in this classic pose at their new home. (Photo: Ron Quick)

by Gladys Neigel

Former Florida Conference President Malcolm Gordon and former First Lady Hazel Gordon celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on June 10, 2014. Hazel grew up with the wish to be a minister’s wife. During a youth evangelistic effort, she became engaged to Malcolm who knew early in his life that he wanted to be a minister. In 1954, they married in Hazel’s home town of Allegan, Michigan.

After graduating from Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in Berrien Springs, Mich., Malcolm and Hazel began the daunting task of reopening a church in Calumet, Mich. From this assignment in the Upper Peninsula, he would pastor churches in North Dakota which led to departmental responsibilities including conference evangelist, education director, and youth director.

Accepting a call to Southern New England Conference, Malcolm served as director of youth, ministerial, temperance, and religious liberty. He then served three years in Carolina Conference as executive secretary and ministerial secretary.

Malcolm has always lived by the motto, "What would Jesus do?" (Photo: Ron Quick)

Malcolm has always lived by the motto, “What would Jesus do?” (Photo: Ron Quick)

Whether at home or in his work, Malcolm lived by the motto, “What would Jesus do?” He adopted this maxim as an expression of his guiding principle that propelled him into leadership as Carolina Conference president, Florida Conference president, and, ultimately, Southern Union Conference president. In retirement, he has continued to be an ambassador for His Lord wherever he is needed.

Not only did Hazel stand by Malcolm’s side, but she had a burning desire for the women of the Church and served as Florida Conference Women’s Ministries Director. “We want to reach others and use our God-given talents and gifts for the furtherance of His Kingdom, both in supportive and in leadership roles,” stated Hazel in 1989 as she and her team began preparations for the first Florida Women’s Ministries retreat.

Upon retirement in 2003, the Gordons settled in the Apopka, Fla., home they bought a year earlier. They resided here until February 2014 when they moved out of state; however, they continue to hold their membership at Kress Memorial Church in Winter Park. They now live in New Jersey with their daughter, Merrilee (George) Miller, and are also near their daughter, Melodee Oster. The Gordons have three grandchildren.

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Sunbelt Natural Foods Celebrates New Warehouse

posted on January 26, 2015, under Conference by

Sunbelt Natural Foods' spacious distribution center and corporate headquarters in Apopka, Fla.

Sunbelt Natural Foods’ spacious distribution center and corporate headquarters in Apopka, Fla.

by Roger Ballas, reprinted by permission of The Apopka Chief

Save for the sounds from a rolling pallet jack or tow motor or a departing delivery truck, a new Sunbelt Natural Foods distribution center and headquarters has quietly moved in to Apopka, Fla. Located on Benbow Court across from Walmart on US 441, the facility is unique.

Pablo Ayala, CFO of Sunbelt, said Sunbelt Natural Foods is a food distribution branch of Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “We distribute to health food stores, institutions, and food services,” he said. “We offer a wide variety of products and brands including Kellogg’s (Worthington, Loma Linda, MorningStar Farms, Gardenburger, and Kashi), Cedar Lake, Heritage Health Foods, Better than Milk, McKay’s, Virgil’s Sodas, Good Karma, Ginseng UP, Crystal Geyser, Vegenaise, and several others.”

Sunbelt ribbon-cutting participants, from left: Pablo Ayala, Sunbelt CFO; Joe Kisheimer, Apopka Mayor; and Duane Rollins, Sunbelt CEO and Florida Conference Treasurer. "When you see how God has opened unexpected doors, you have confidence to step forward," says Rollins.

Sunbelt ribbon-cutting participants, from left: Pablo Ayala, Sunbelt CFO; Joe Kisheimer, Apopka Mayor; and Duane Rollins, Sunbelt CEO and Florida Conference Treasurer. “When you see how God has opened unexpected doors, you have confidence to step forward,” says Rollins.

On October 29, Sunbelt held its grand opening celebration. Apopka Mayor Joe Kisheimer was there to assist with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with officials from Atlantic Natural Foods, Kellogg’s national sales, Cedar Lake Foods, Heritage Health Foods, and the staff and management of Sunbelt.

Sunbelt Natural Foods took shape in 2002 under the Florida Adventist Book Center (ABC) through the advice of Don Otis, national sales director for specialty foods at Kellogg’s. As the demand for vegetarian alternative products increased in Florida and the Caribbean, it led to the creation of Sunbelt Natural Foods Distributors with three warehouses, including Hagerstown, Md.; Miami Springs; and Apopka.

According to Ayala, it was former ABC General Manager Gerald Bond and Associate Manager Bruce Otis who undertook the challenge. During the early years, Otis made all the deliveries with his own pickup truck as states were added to the distribution chain.

During 2008, under the leadership of Ayala who was then ABC general manager, Sunbelt purchased a warehouse facility in Hagerstown, Md. Time passed, and high demand required more trucks employees and warehouses.

In December 2013, Sunbelt officially filed a corporate charter to become a for-profit organization and untied itself from the ABC and its not-for-profit status. In 2014, a 30,000-square-foot property was purchased in Apopka and became the newest warehouse and corporate headquarters.

With a fleet of six trucks and 12 employees, Sunbelt is ready for continued growth. “We run five routes around Florida and ship containers to the Caribbean,” says Ayala. “Sales this year are projected to top $5.5 million after hitting the $5 million mark in 2013.”

While Sunbelt is a wholesale distributor, many of its products are sold locally at Hoover’s Market, 1035 Academy Drive in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and at A Better Choice: Books • Deli • Natural Foods, 351 S. State Road 434 in Altamonte Springs. Visitors to the Sunbelt web site at www.sunbeltnatural.com can find recipes for vegan dishes and other product-based foods.

“Sunbelt is committed to serving its customers with amazing service and the best health food products in the market,” says Ayala. “In accordance with Bible teachings,” he added, “it is Sunbelt management’s sincere desire to continue submitting to His guidance to provide our customers with an alternative choice of foods that will honor their bodies and minds for the Glory of our God who is soon to come.”

To reach Sunbelt Natural Foods Distributors in Apopka, call (407) 901-3713.

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Forest Lake Academy Student Is a Winner in Half-Marathon

posted on January 26, 2015, under Member by

Austin Rodgers pictured after his first-place finish in the male 15-19 age group at the Space Coast Half-Marathon, Cocoa, Fla. (Photo by Robert Rodgers)

Austin Rodgers pictured after his first-place finish in the male 15-19 age group at the Space Coast Half-Marathon, Cocoa, Fla. (Photo by Robert Rodgers)

by Marvin Lowman

When Forest Lake Academy junior Austin Rodgers crossed the finished line at the Space Coast Half-Marathon in Cocoa, Fla., on Sunday, November 30, his 1:38:35 time put him in first place with an average pace of 7:31 for his age group. He was 63rd overall in a field of nearly 3,500 runners.

Austin has run in the Space Coast Half-Marathon for three years and twice in the Daytona Beach Half-Marathon. For him, the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a race is worth the discipline and perseverance of training 4-5 days a week. He prefers the half-marathon distance and, at this point, does not see himself running longer races. “My goal is to do a 1:30:00 half-marathon,” he says. In eighth grade, influenced by a friend, Austin decided to eliminate processed sugar from his diet—a practice he continues to follow. He calls himself a pescetarian, since the only meat he eats is fish.

Austin Rodgers with Tamara Ritterskamp, Physical Education and Health teacher at Forest Lake Academy, who also ran the half-marathon. She has provided encouragement to Austin in his running, and he has inspired several students to take up the sport. (Photo by Alex Bahn)

Austin Rodgers with Tamara Ritterskamp, Physical Education and Health teacher at Forest Lake Academy, who also ran the half-marathon. She has provided encouragement to Austin in his running, and he has inspired several students to take up the sport. (Photo by Alex Bahn)

Besides obvious health benefits, running is a stress reliever for Austin. He takes his schoolwork seriously. “If I have a lot of homework, I go for a run to clear my head and come back more focused than I would be otherwise,” he says. “If I go a few days without doing something active, I can tell the difference. If I want to reach my goal, I have to do it.”

This same determination carries over into his schoolwork and his job.

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Lauderhill Adventurers Walk for Down Syndrome

posted on January 26, 2015, under Church by

Adventurers Timothy Richards, left, and Kyle Wilson successfully reached the Buddy Walk finish line. (Photo: Chelsie Wilson)

Adventurers Timothy Richards, left, and Kyle Wilson successfully reached the Buddy Walk finish line. (Photo: Chelsie Wilson)

by Dave Adden

The Lauderhill, Fla., Church Pioneer Adventurer Club, led by Director Jacqueline Richards, participated for the second consecutive year in the Buddy Walk and 5K Run. The event, held October 19, 2014, supports those born with Down syndrome.

Two Adventurers, Timothy Richards and Kyle Wilson, reached the finish line. Event leaders acknowledged them during the awards ceremony held at Broward County’s Markham Park. Lauderhill Pathfinder Club members cheered on the 10 Adventurers who participated in the cause.

Ten Lauderhill Pioneer Adventurers participated in the 2014 Buddy Walk and 5K Run. (Photo: Chelsie Wilson)

Ten Lauderhill Pioneer Adventurers participated in the 2014 Buddy Walk and 5K Run. (Photo: Chelsie Wilson)

The Buddy Walk, established by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995, takes place every October. According to this organization, “Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome. There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.”

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Florida Advent Missionaries Bring Medical Care to Peru

posted on January 26, 2015, under Church by

by Carl James

People in the highlands of Peru wait their turn for treatment at a clinic manned by volunteers from Florida Advent Missionaries. (Photo: Sudine Richardson)

People in the highlands of Peru wait their turn for treatment at a clinic manned by volunteers from Florida Advent Missionaries. (Photo: Sudine Richardson)

Volunteers with Florida Advent Missionaries embarked on a flight to Arequipa, Peru, on October 16. Sponsored by South Palm Company in Delray Beach and led by Pastor Carl James, missionaries came from as far as Canada to participate. They brought medical care and the good news of salvation to people in the highlands of Peru.

A medical doctor from New Mexico operated a daily clinic service. Several Peruvian Adventist physicians, a holistic medical practitioner, nurses, and other missionary volunteers assisted in the clinic. Together, they provided daily service to more than 450 patients.

Each day after the clinic, the missionary team spent time in neighborhoods visiting prospective candidates for baptism. This was a follow up to nightly evangelistic meetings and a Week of Prayer held in the local elementary school, middle school, and high school. More than 120 precious souls joined the local church by baptism.

Florida Advent Missionaries bring medical care and the good news of salvation to people in the highlands of Peru. (Photo: Sudine Richardson)

Florida Advent Missionaries bring medical care and the good news of salvation to people in the highlands of Peru. (Photo: Sudine Richardson)

Collectively, the group donated more than $3,000 to help financially strapped churches with infrastructure development.

As word of this group’s effective mission model spreads, invitations have been forthcoming. In February 2015, they will travel to Santiago, Chile, and again in November 2015. These trips are part of South American Division’s Month of Reaping. The intent is to raise 20 new churches in a district and enable leadership to establish a new local conference.

Florida Advent Missionaries continue to welcome dedicated, humble Christians wishing to join their mission of bringing the message of salvation to a dying world.

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Bags of Love Comfort Kids in Crisis

posted on January 26, 2015, under Florida Living by

by Betty Kossick

“Kids really love the bags. They get so excited,” said Christina Gosch, an aide with Seminole County Child Protective Services, as she collected 20 Bags of Love in Apopka.

Bags of Love are lovingly created by Florida Living Retirement Community residents and Florida Living Church members with assistance from Forest Lake Academy students. Every four months, a group of volunteers puts 20 bags together to help children enduring a crisis such as abuse, neglect, poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, or an incarcerated parent.

The love bags, created to be age appropriate from infancy through 17, contain donated items such as a quilt, pillow with case, towel, wash cloth, and two small bags. One bag holds toiletry items, and the other holds such things as a flashlight, various toys and games, books, and stuffed animals.

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Port Charlotte VBS Highlights Fruits of the Spirit

posted on January 04, 2015, under Church by

by Lynn Price

VBS director Angela Denis helps Brandon Cassell plant a corn seed. (Photo: Ashley Queen)

VBS director Angela Denis helps Brandon Cassell plant a corn seed. (Photo: Ashley Queen)

Children at the Fruits of the Spirit Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Port Charlotte, Fla., planted corn and learned how to garden by providing water, light, and soil. “This process is just how Jesus plants His seed of love in the children’s hearts so they can grow to be like Him,” said VBS Director Angela Denis.

Each day, Senior Pastor Brian Cassell or Associate Pastor Alex Voigt spoke on how the day’s gardening theme applied to life: Grow Love, Sprout Joy, Plant Peace, Produce Patience, and Pick Kindness.

As an outreach follow-up, several children visited a nursing home to sing songs, distribute hand-made pillows and cards, and give lots of hugs.

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Margate Church Holds Women’s Ministries Day

posted on January 04, 2015, under Church by

Platform participants, and most everyone in the audience, wore pink and gray attire in support of Margate Church's Women's Ministries Day program. (Photo: Julia Tedim)

Platform participants, and most everyone in the audience, wore pink and gray attire in support of Margate Church’s Women’s Ministries Day program. (Photo: Julia Tedim)

by Julia Tedim

“Whatever we are going through, it is important to remember that Jesus paid the price,” said Sharon Roberts during a sermon for Women’s Ministries Day at Margate, Fla., Church on September 20. “We are too blessed to be stressed.” The acronym of GRACE (God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense) lent itself to the theme for the day of God’s Amazing Grace.

The event lauded two young people for their contribution and leadership skills: Tianna Fention, Women’s Ministries teen track, and Omri Coke, youth ministries director. Dawna Wright-Mullings, Upper Gold Area Coordinator for Women’s Ministries, received a plaque for safety and care given to the women attending the yearly retreat. The Margate elders were also recognized for their dedicated service to the church.

The color scheme of pink and gray was evident on the women in the congregation and also in the pink shirts and ties worn by the men. The colors showed their support for the Women’s Ministries program. Sheryal Vandenberghe, Florida Conference Women’s Ministries Director, sent her special wishes for “a spirit filled worship.”

The youth ministries program for the day was an interactive workshop entitled Women and Confidentiality.

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Florida Living Artisans Exhibit Work

posted on January 04, 2015, under Florida Living by

Carol Janssen exhibited her quilts and facilitated the Florida Living Retirement Center Artisan Exhibit. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Carol Janssen exhibited her quilts and facilitated the Florida Living Retirement Center Artisan Exhibit. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Artist Von Stimpson served as a missionary nurse to Pitcairn Island on three different occasions with her pastor husband, Ollie. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Artist Von Stimpson served as a missionary nurse to Pitcairn Island on three different occasions with her pastor husband, Ollie. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

by Betty Kossick

Residents and friends of Florida Living Retirement Community (FLRC) in Apopka, Fla., recently held a two-day fine arts, crafts, and hobbies show highlighting their talents in recent and past accomplishments.

While browsing through 23 exhibits, attendees gained new perspectives about the talented artisans. “I’m excited about the variety of arts done by this age group, including lost arts that have reappeared,” said FLRC’s Administrator, Nancy Pleasants. “It’s very insightful of those who included these arts from the past that are memory connected.”

Facilitated by FLRC resident Carol Janssen, the exhibition showcased needlework, crafts, paintings, woodwork, photography, and published works. The mediums, materials, and skills used made each of the items unique. One talent which could not be hidden was the aroma of fresh baked bread.

Many who exhibited their handiwork were retired missionaries, pastors, or professionals in the fields of medicine and education. Two students from Forest Lake Academy joined the exhibit and displayed their quilt-making abilities.

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