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Florida Conference: Our Move for the Mission

posted on August 14, 2014, under Conference, Relocation, Video Report by

The article below features excerpts from Florida Conference’s Grand Opening ceremony. A complete video recording of the program is also available with this link.

More than 400 guests braved the early afternoon rainstorms to gather at the entrance to Florida Conference’s new headquarters in Altamonte Springs to celebrate its opening. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

More than 400 guests braved the early afternoon rainstorms to gather at the entrance to Florida Conference’s new headquarters in Altamonte Springs to celebrate its opening. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

by Mike Cauley, D.Min.
Florida Conference President

President Mike Cauley welcomes guests to the Florida Conference grand opening celebration on June 1, 2014. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

President Mike Cauley welcomes guests to the Florida Conference grand opening celebration on June 1, 2014. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Who would have thought a few years ago when the Florida Department of Transportation told us they were going to widen Interstate 4 and that we needed to find a new home, God would lead us in such a marvelous way.

Everything about the new facility in which the Florida Conference team now serves constituents underscores our mission—making mature disciples and preparing people for the coming of Jesus. That’s what we believe God has called us to be about. We know that God has given us a priceless opportunity to be His hands and feet—His servants.

We believe the restoration of broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships is why we’re here, extending God’s grace, mercy, hope, and wholeness to people so God can restore them. We’re seeking to be faithful to do what we are called to do—empower our churches, pastors, educational institutions, educators, and staff to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Florida Conference ribbon-cutting participants, from left: Lee Constantine, Seminole County Commissioner; Duane Rollins, Florida Conference Treasurer; Mike Cauley, Florida Conference President; Carmen Rodríguez, Florida Conference Executive Secretary; and Pat Bates, Altamonte Springs Mayor. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Florida Conference ribbon-cutting participants, from left: Lee Constantine, Seminole County Commissioner; Duane Rollins, Florida Conference Treasurer; Mike Cauley, Florida Conference President; Carmen Rodríguez, Florida Conference Executive Secretary; and Pat Bates, Altamonte Springs Mayor. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

So, for the theme of the lobby itself, and really for the whole building, we have chosen the theme of restoration. All of the beauty and all of the glory that God originally intended for mankind was taken away when Adam and Eve made that fateful mistake in the Garden of Eden. God made a way through Jesus coming as Savior and dying on the cross to not just save souls here, but to take us to heaven where everything will be restored to us in a life-giving environment.

As you walk into the lobby, you’ll see a depiction of the history of mankind in terms of the salvation story. It culminates with God’s intent to restore all that He intended us to have in the beginning. The Nathan Greene paintings on the left side of the lobby represent Jesus becoming Lord of our lives and His sacrifice which brings hope for us in the soon coming of Jesus.

Central to the building and to our mission, this fountain representing Jesus as the Water of Life was generously donated by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

Central to the building and to our mission, this fountain representing Jesus as the Water of Life was generously donated by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

The main corridors form the shape of a cross. Where they join, central to the building and to our mission, is a depiction of Jesus as the Water of Life. Each of the seven pillars surrounding the center were themed after the discipleship journey of a believer coming to Christ: being taught by Him, surrendering to His will, faithfulness in following, obedience to His call, growing in grace, communion with God, and service through ministries of compassion.

Thus, the opening of the new Florida Conference headquarters is not about us. It is about a stewardship—a privilege that God has given to us and the mission of becoming the light of the world, creating a space that will be of service to our members.

VIP Remarks

Construction Acknowledgements

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Miracles and Milestones Highlighted at Grand Opening

posted on August 08, 2014, under Conference, Relocation, Video Report by

The article below features excerpts from Florida Conference’s Grand Opening ceremony. A complete video recording of the program is also available with this link.

The new Florida Conference headquarters at 351 S. State Road 434 in Altamonte Springs. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

The new Florida Conference headquarters at 351 S. State Road 434 in Altamonte Springs. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

Florida Conference ribbon-cutting participants, from left: Lee Constantine, Seminole County Commissioner; Duane Rollins, Florida Conference Treasurer; Mike Cauley, Florida Conference President; Carmen Rodríguez, Florida Conference Executive Secretary; and Pat Bates, Altamonte Springs Mayor. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Florida Conference ribbon-cutting participants, from left: Lee Constantine, Seminole County Commissioner; Duane Rollins, Florida Conference Treasurer; Mike Cauley, Florida Conference President; Carmen Rodríguez, Florida Conference Executive Secretary; and Pat Bates, Altamonte Springs Mayor. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

by Martin Butler, Lee Bennett

“This is a milestone day!” declared Florida Conference President Mike Cauley as he extended a warm welcome to more than 400 well-wishers who gathered June 1 for the grand opening celebration of Florida Conference’s headquarters and the renamed Adventist Book Center, A Better Choice.

“Who would have thought a few years ago when the Department of Transportation told us they were going to widen Interstate 4 and we needed to find a new home, that God would lead us in such a marvelous way?” Mike asked.

“It’s quite a miracle how we ended up with this building,” responded Florida Conference Property Development Director Kathy Deering. “Scott Fish, President of UP Development, bought this former upscale furniture store for demolition. It was his intention to develop this site for a relocated Walmart store; however, Scott was not able to get that project off the ground. Later, he suggested all the stars were aligned for us, but we know it wasn’t the stars. God had a bigger and better plan.”

The building features eight areas called Pillars with raised ceilings and skylights through which an abundance of sunlight streaming in represents our call to go out and light the world. The large central Pillar houses a depiction of Jesus as the Water of Life and serves as a casual common area for employees and guests. The fountain was generously donated by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

The building features eight areas called Pillars with raised ceilings and skylights through which an abundance of sunlight streaming in represents our call to go out and light the world. The large central Pillar houses a depiction of Jesus as the Water of Life and serves as a casual common area for employees and guests. The fountain was generously donated by Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

As an afternoon rain subsided, President Cauley invited local leaders to say a few words. Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine spoke first. “I was four years old when my family moved to Central Florida. Living on Bear Lake Road near Forest Lake Academy, we were welcomed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church family. Thus, today, as a former state senator and now as county commissioner, it is a real honor to welcome you to Altamonte Springs.

“In my younger days, when I was a city commissioner in Altamonte Springs, I had the honor of being Florida Hospital Altamonte Foundation President. The services your churches and hospitals provide to all of us in Central Florida, and to Altamonte Springs in particular, are such a blessing to this community.”

Playfully chiding the commissioner, Pat Bates stepped forward and declared, “Yes, but I’m the mayor of this awesome city, and this is a good place to be. I attended events here when it was Robb & Stucky, and as I walked into the entrance a few minutes ago, I thought you had razed the building and put up a new one. It’s amazing in there, and I can’t wait to take the tour.

“With Florida Hospital Altamonte and Adventist Health System headquarters already in our city, now we have this awesome building with a deli and a book store which are so badly needed in our community. I can’t tell you how blessed Altamonte Springs is to have Seventh-day Adventists as part of our city.”

Seven of the building’s Pillars are themed on principles of discipleship: Teaching, Surrendering to God’s Will, Faithfulness as a Steward, The Call to Mission, Growing in Grace, Communion with God, and Service through Ministries of Compassion. Meeting rooms, such as the one pictured above, were created beneath the four Pillars within the Conference office. The other three Pillars are in the book store. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

Seven of the building’s Pillars are themed on principles of discipleship: Teaching, Surrendering to God’s Will, Faithfulness as a Steward, The Call to Mission, Growing in Grace, Communion with God, and Service through Ministries of Compassion. Meeting rooms, such as the one pictured above, were created beneath the four Pillars within the Conference office. The other three Pillars are in the book store. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

Humbled by these kind greetings from the mayor and commissioner, it was Adventist leadership’s time to seize the moment and represent the Church well. Ken Denslow, Assistant to the North American Division President, spoke first:

“We hire architects who help us cast our vision through buildings. We build, and it says something about who we are, what we believe, and what we stand for. This beautiful, beautiful place says much about Florida Conference but, more importantly, it says much about the God we serve. May this be the center out of which great ministry to communities throughout Florida takes place.”

Next, Southern Union Conference President Ron Smith challenged the crowd, “The church is not a preservatory for pickled saints or a waiting station for those who quest to sprout wings and halos to be launched into glory. The Church has a real responsibility to be relevant in our culture, introduce men and women to Jesus through our mission, and set men and women with heavy burdens free in our surrounding community.

“It is my prayer that, in this beautiful edifice you’ve built to God’s testament for service to this community, you will operationalize the love of Jesus in a very tangible way.”

Spinning off the words of those speaking before him, Lars Houmann, CEO and President of Florida Hospital, told of the vision Mike Cauley shared with the Florida Conference Executive Committee a short time earlier. “Pastor Cauley did a fantastic job. I was inspired as he articulated how this place could become a real presence in the community and move forward in benefit and outreach!

“I really want to see that come true. I encourage all of you to see this location as a place where the community can achieve and receive grace, nutrition, choice, and all the things we articulate through Florida Hospital’s CREATION Health moniker. This place has that potential!”

Veteran shoppers and new clientele from the community find the newly renamed A Better Choice: Books • Deli • Natural Foods an enjoyable place to shop or have a healthy lunch. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

Veteran shoppers and new clientele from the community find the newly renamed A Better Choice: Books • Deli • Natural Foods an enjoyable place to shop or have a healthy lunch. (Photo: Ben Tanner Photography)

Mike Cauley then gave his closing perspective on the milestone day. “This wasn’t a project we went out for. It was something that came to us in terms of opportunity and necessity. If we were going to build an office, we wanted to underscore our reason for existence.

“What you see within this property is about our purpose—making mature disciples, preparing people for the coming of Jesus. We believe God has called us to empower the churches, pastors, educational institutions, educators, and our office staff to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

“So, today is not about us, but about stewardship. This space has been created for service. It is about the privilege God has given us to become the light of the world.

“And now, we pray that people’s lives will be restored because of the empowerment of ministry and service that comes out of this place. We pray for the congregations and people who come to churches wanting to find meaning, and for schools where young people are disciplined to maturity, that they will become empowered by the grace of God to do great and mighty things.

“Bless this place. We pray that You’ll protect it and make it a lighthouse—a beacon of hope for this community. May the Spirit of God always have His way.”

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Cape Coral Seventh-day Adventist Church

posted on May 09, 2014, under Church, Video Report by

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

This month’s video highlights how Cape Coral Seventh-day Adventist Church has grown exponentially through members actively engaging in ministry.

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Realizing the Desires of My Heart

posted on March 25, 2014, under Camp Ministry, Member, Video Report by

by Theresa Stride

Theresa Stride and her horse, Lena. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

Theresa Stride and her horse, Lena. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

“Let’s go visit the tiger for a while,” I thought to myself when I heard the zoo at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs was hiring. Imagining the possibilities of this fun adventure, I applied. However, with horses in my background, the Camp hired me to work in the horse barn. So, at 17 years of age, I reconnected with the camp of my childhood.

I grew up in a Christian home about 20 minutes from Camp Kulaqua in the little town of La Crosse. Our family regularly attended a Baptist Church, and I had a good support system and a loving family. My mom, who heard about the Camp first, went on a tour of the grounds and felt it was a safe Christian environment. “Let’s send you there,” she told me.

I came to Camp Kulaqua as a camper when I was eight years old and attended for four years. Summer camp definitely had an impact on my life, and there are certain things I still remember:

  • Riding into camp with my sleeping bag in the back of the car.
  • My counselors’ names.
  • The horse I rode was Big Red.
  • A lion roaring in the morning.
  • The Friday night program when, at age 12, I accepted Christ.
Theresa Stride leads Camp Kulaqua’s Flag Parade, kicking off the summer camp rodeo. (Photo: Ryan Becker)

Theresa Stride leads Camp Kulaqua’s Flag Parade, kicking off the summer camp rodeo. (Photo: Ryan Becker)

As we passed the cafeteria on my way home that year, I told my mom, “I’m going to work at Camp Kulaqua, and I’m going to be a counselor.”

When I connected with the Camp again at age 17, I began working in the horse barn. I continued my employment at the Camp while attending University of Florida in Gainesville. I made a lot of friends such as Julie Selby and Ray and Jannette Queen who became role models. These people took the time to build a friendship with me through which I started to learn more about the Adventist Church.

When I told my friends I was working at Camp Kulaqua, they would say, “Oh, that’s an Adventist Camp, right? What do they believe?” I wanted to answer their questions, so I studied on my own to know what Adventists believe, as I felt I was representing them in my work. Through my studies and my personal time with God, He led me to the Adventist Church. My mentors walked me through the beliefs, and these beliefs became mine.

Theresa carries the flag for the national anthem with her horse and announces events as campers participate in the rodeo games. (Photo: Ryan Becker)

Theresa carries the flag for the national anthem with her horse and announces events as campers participate in the rodeo games. (Photo: Ryan Becker)

God started to open my heart. I remember when I’d hear certain things like the Sabbath, it would click, and I would say, “Yeah, that’s what you meant, God.” It was never an argument. It was never something that my heart turned away. It became my belief, and it was through this journey that I joined the Adventist Church.

When I graduated from University of Florida, I thought I’d just work in the water park that summer since I had no other job in sight. At the end of summer, Phil Younts, Administrative Camp Director, told me about a job I didn’t even know existed. God opened a door and provided for me.

Theresa, who serves as Junior Camp Director each summer, accepts the American flag from a camper during the evening flag-lowering ceremony. (Photo: Ryan Becker)

Theresa, who serves as Junior Camp Director each summer, accepts the American flag from a camper during the evening flag-lowering ceremony. (Photo: Ryan Becker)

Two years later, my dream came true to work with kids in the summer camp program. Once again, God created another opportunity for me to walk through.

When you are 12 years old, sometimes you don’t know why you say the things you say, but God does. He knew in my heart that I wanted to work at Camp Kulaqua even at an early age. I just didn’t know what that meant. I thought that it was as a counselor.

As it turned out, I’ve never been a counselor. Instead, I have worked in many other areas such as the horse barn and lifeguarding. Currently, I am the Summer Camp Registrar. God just opened doors, and I said, “Okay, God, I’m going to take this step of faith. This is Your truth, and I will stand on it.”

Yes, God opened doors, and He fulfilled my childhood desires.

“Young people come to camp and many things happen. Theresa is a product of what summer camp can do—not just joining the Church, but accepting what she believes as truth and doing what God called her to do. By listening to His calling, God has given Theresa the desires of her heart.”
—Ray Queen, Summer Camp Director

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An Army of Youth to Converge on Miami

posted on March 25, 2014, under Conference, Video Report by

by Pedro Perez, Florida Conference Youth Ministries Director

Have you ever heard the expression, “an army of youth?” This phrase comes from an Ellen White quote in which she envisions young people being properly trained to help prepare people for Jesus’ return. The Youth Ministries Department takes these words seriously. We are on a mission to train, equip, and deploy an army of young people.

One of the strategies in place to accomplish this is through the summer IMPACT events. The Youth Ministries Department is ready to launch its second summer mission trip experience, IMPACT Miami, June 22-29, 2014. The first was last summer in Orlando. The vision is to offer young people, ages 14+, a Florida mission trip opportunity. It will be affordable and focused on training young people to do ministry and develop their spiritual gifts.

Students will attend as missionaries for the week. We will train them how to go door to door, how to start a children’s ministry, how to start a video ministry, how to start a homeless ministry, how to start a sidewalk ministry, how to start an elderly/nursing home ministry, how to start a hospital ministry, how to conduct Vacation Bible School (VBS)/CREATION Health meetings, and more! We want to create opportunities for young people to partner with pastors and local churches to advance the ministry of their local church and community and, ultimately, grow God’s Kingdom. We have partnered with SALT (Service And Love Together—a group of young adults in Florida) to help with the training.

Every day, young people will participate in community service projects to help beautify the city as they share the love of Jesus. They will also receive practical training and put into practice the skills learned that day.

We want to see an army of young people trained, equipped, and deployed. We are putting plans in place to make this a reality. We hope you consider joining us with your young people for this life-changing experience. More info is at http://www.floridaconference.com/iym/youth/mission-trips/, or you can call (407) 644-5000 and ask for Micky Santiago.

It is exciting to see young people catapulted into prominent roles of leadership and service in the local church and strengthen what the church means to that community. Young people who attend this mission trip are poised to IMPACT their local towns, recruit friends to join them, and start ministries that will IMPACT others in the cities and towns from which they came.

We are especially excited to see how well this fits into the vision of Mission to the Cities launched by our president, Mike Cauley. We see that young people can play a key role in making Adventist churches in a city more familiar to members of the community and serve them better.

We are all on the same team, and we all want to move in the same direction—reaching our cities and reaching our young people. Together, we’re stronger. Together, we can do more. Together, we can advance God’s Kingdom. Together, we can raise an army of young people that will help Florida Conference, with its Mission to the Cities, make an IMPACT and prepare young people for a life of service.

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Moving To Expand God’s Mission

posted on January 17, 2014, under Conference, Relocation, Video Report by

Gods Next Stepping Stone

by Mike Cauley, Florida Conference President

We are amazed how God is leading us through our office relocation.

It started when Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) approached us with plans to use our back parking lot in their Interstate 4 expansion project.

The plan included a 20-foot sound wall to be built just a few feet from the west side of the building. This would not only have removed the visibility of the Conference from the Interstate but also eliminate nearly half of the building’s parking spaces. There would no longer be adequate parking for the Conference office and the Adventist Book Center.

We earnestly prayed about this challenge. However, by God’s grace, FDOT eventually offered to instead purchase the entire building. This enabled us to go forward with finding another facility and a better way to accomplish God’s mission.

After months of prayerful searching, God led us to a prime location. He worked everything out so we could purchase the existing building, including changing the developer’s original plans for the property. This new location will allow the Adventist Book Center to grow, to better serve the surrounding community, and to reach out with our health message. The building also has enough space so that we will no longer be required to rent off-site storage.

Our new home is well on its way to completion, and we look forward to all that God has in store for us. We trust God will lead us as we go forward to accomplish His will in Florida Conference.

http://www.floridaconference.com/steppingstone/

This video is also available with Spanish subtitles.

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Making Friends Without an Agenda

posted on October 15, 2013, under Church, Florida Living, Video Report by

by Gladys Neigel

Mission trips have a way of bringing conviction to the hearts of participants; yet, after returning home, these feelings often die or lay dormant. Such was not the case with Gabriel Cardona. He immediately sought to share the good news of the gospel.

Cardona began to pass out literature such as Steps To Christ and necessities such as baby diapers on South Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, in an area of drugs, prostitution, and criminal activity. Joining him in this venture were Emilio Navarro, David Hernandez, and Julio Ramirez. It wasn’t long until 30 individuals, including street people, were consistently involved in the program.

Lighthouse Community Mission Group member Emanuel Depina prays with a homeless man. (Photo: Angela Davies)

Lighthouse Community Mission Group member Emanuel Depina prays with a homeless man. (Photo: Angela Davies)

Because this ministry targeted the unchurched and the urban community, the group became involved in working with residents of an extended-stay hotel. For two years, they visited the residents every week and became involved by playing with the children and meeting needs where possible. “The purpose was to make a spiritual connection without an agenda,” says Cardona.

The group started holding a relaxed service at various churches on Sabbaths at 2:00 p.m. They never invited people to church; however, questions about the ministry often led to Bible studies and church attendance which have culminated in four baptisms.

After two years, the group, which had taken on the name Lighthouse Ministries, moved to Altamonte Springs, adopted 300 families residing at Remington Inn and Suites, and began visiting three times a week. Church services are now held in a nearby storefront through the generosity of Florida Living Church members in Apopka.

Once a month, “church” is brought to the Remington community with field day games for kids, free clothing, free food, etc. They recently provided the children with backpacks for going back to school. “The goal is to uplift Christ in the community and in our relationships as we meet people where they are,” says Navarro.

Lighthouse Community Mission Group members prepare lunches to give to homeless with whom they later talk, listen, and pray. (Photo: Angela Davies)

Lighthouse Community Mission Group members prepare lunches to give to homeless with whom they later talk, listen, and pray. (Photo: Angela Davies)

One Sabbath each month, they pack sack lunches to take to Lake Eola in Orlando. Here, they find homeless people scattered throughout the park. First, they sit down, talk, listen, pray, and give a book to each individual before handing a lunch to them, as being friendly matters as much to the homeless as does the food.

The next goal is to find a location large enough to house a place of worship and a community center where classes can be conducted in healthful living, computer usage, studying for the GED high school equivalency test, résumé preparation, and money management. They also plan to provide tutoring, counseling, free wireless internet, and recreation.

Matthew 7:20, “By their fruits, ye shall know them,” definitely applies to the results of this endeavor, with amazing changes happening in people. “When those we are serving come back, we know Christ is making a difference,” says Cardona. “This ‘love in generation’ is tired of hearing sermons and want to see actions of Christ. We are also tired of preaching, so we are focusing on actions of Christ.”

More than 25 individuals became charter members of Lighthouse Mission Group August 31 as they were welcomed by members of Florida Living Church which sponsors the new congregation. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

More than 25 individuals became charter members of Lighthouse Community Mission Group August 31 as they were welcomed by members of Florida Living Church which sponsors the new congregation. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

Florida Living Church Celebrates More Than 25 New Members

It was the dream of Lighthouse Ministries’ lay pastors, Gabriel Cardona, Willie Ramos, and Emilio Navarro, to plant a church from their ministry of more than four years. Florida Living Church, Apopka, adopted this group because of their close proximity, and so that members could become involved in soul-winning activities, if only vicariously.

The first step was to officially become a mission group as voted by the Florida Conference Executive Committee on July 30, 2013. The second step was on August 31 when the sponsoring Florida Living Church congregation welcomed the 25+ members into their fellowship. During the service, Gabriel Cardona was ordained as head elder for the mission group.

Florida Living Church Pastor Jim King, left, congratulates the lay pastors for the new Lighthouse Mission Group, Emilio Navarro, Gabriel Cardona, and Willie Ramos. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

Florida Living Church Pastor Jim King, left, congratulates the lay pastors for the new Lighthouse Community Mission Group, Emilio Navarro, Gabriel Cardona, and Willie Ramos. (Photo: Aric Turlington)

The two congregations are a unique fit with senior citizens from a retirement community comprising the majority of the Florida Living Church congregation, and the Lighthouse congregation mostly consisting of 20- to 30-year-olds. “They can teach us,” says Ramos. “With the wisdom of the old and energy of the new, together we can finish the work.”

“This group is highly motivated and involved by point-to-point ministry—meeting people where they are—which was the ministry of Jesus,” says Jim King, pastor of Florida Living Church. “It is our desire to help them with any particular resource we can provide to help accomplish this mission.”

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Army of Youth Impact Orlando

posted on July 30, 2013, under Conference, Video Report by

by Pedro Perez

With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world!

—Education, p. 271

Naomi Olsen, right, and Judy Smith, center, lead game activities for children at Lake Eola. (Photo: Rhoda Burrill)

Naomi Olsen, right, and Judy Smith, center, lead game activities for children at Lake Eola. (Photo: Rhoda Burrill)

How many times have we read or heard the Ellen White quotation, above? For years, this standard for evangelism was tossed about by youth leaders and committees.

Recently, the Florida Conference Youth Department began to dream of putting these words into practice and energizing youth to get involved in various forms of ministry. The result? Impact Orlando was born!

During the week of June 23-30, young people throughout the state of Florida came together for training and outreach service, equipping them to make a difference in Orlando and, ultimately, in their home churches. Headquartered at Orlando Junior Academy, 50 young people spent their mornings involved in service opportunities:

Young people learn how to witness through face painting. (Photo: Rhoda Burrill)

Young people learn to witness through face painting. (Photo: Rhoda Burrill)

  • American Red Cross—updated and repackaged first aid kits.
  • Clean the World—recycled soap and shampoo for use after disasters.
  • Ronald McDonald House—prepared food for guests.
  • Bill Frederick Park—participated in park clean up.
  • Harbor House—involved with cleaning projects, games, and activities.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank—updated shelves and moved food.
  • University of Central Florida—worked at Arboretum.
  • Orlando Rescue Mission—prepared and served a meal and helped with programming for kids.

The afternoons were spent in training sessions with various entities such as Service and Love Together (SALT) and Florida Conference Children’s Ministries to learn methods of outreach ministry for the elderly, kids, and hospital patients, through sidewalk visitation, video production, CPR, balloon animals, puppetry, art, and face painting.

Young people learn to witness through balloon ministry and storytelling. (Photo: Rhoda Burrill)

Participants learn to witness through balloon ministry. (Photo: Rhoda Burrill)

“This week inspired me to go back to my church and start a homeless ministry, at least once a week, serving food and singing with them,” says one of the trainees. Trainees are already putting outreach programs learned at Impact Orlando into place at Tallahassee and Brandon Churches.

“The beautiful Florida weather makes it difficult to stay indoors!” said the announcer on Saturday afternoon from Z Radio 88.3 FM broadcasting from Lake Eola Park in Orlando at the Live With Hope Festival as the announcer invited the listening audience to join them downtown at the Festival.

Young adults prepare meals at Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando.

Youth prepare a meal at Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando.

This afternoon program gave trainees an opportunity to practice their skills while providing public awareness of the Adventist Church. Activities for kids, health screenings, information about ministries of the Church, lemonade, and popcorn were part of the free family day that brought this intense week of training to a close. Additional Festivals were planned at Altamonte Springs Church, Apopka Church’s thrift store, Kress Memorial Church, and Festival Park in Orlando.

The spark ignited in our young people is something we want to see reproduced. We are planning, as a youth ministry department, to offer this summer training program every year on a rotating basis at major cities in Florida.

Young people need to have a chance to be involved so they can experience what it means to live with hope, what it means to impact the city, and what it means to be used by God to live a long life of service.

Bonus photos: 
Impact Orlando Training for Puppetry, Face Painting, and Ballooning
Impact Orlando Training 2
Live With Hope Lake Eola Park

Bonus videos: in addition to the Florida Conference In Mission video report above, you may also watch six testimony videos. Click on the playlist button in the upper left corner to select individual videos or click play all.

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Greater Miami Adventist Academy Outreach

posted on June 29, 2013, under Education, Video Report by

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

This month’s video highlights various community outreach projects conducted by students of Greater Miami Adventist Academy.

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Seventh-day Adventist Church Marks 150th Anniversary

posted on May 23, 2013, under Church, Conference, Education, Hospital, Video Report by

This week marks 150 years since the May 21, 1863, founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today, the international Protestant denomination has a membership of more than 17 million.

Commenting on the anniversary, General Conference President Ted N.C. Wilson, said, “This milestone reminds us the Church was founded to serve God and share His love with others. We are celebrating because we don’t want to forget who we are, where we came from, and what God has in store for us.”

Founded in Battle Creek, Michigan, the Adventist Church promotes a personal relationship with God, healthful living, education, and service. During the formative years of the Advent movement, its leaders were mostly in their late teens, 20s, and 30s. Yet, it was these young men and women who led the Bible conferences during which the fundamental beliefs for the Church were discussed, debated, and agreed upon.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is well known for its world-wide network of schools, its leadership as defenders of religious freedom, its disaster relief and community development projects around the globe through ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency), and its promotion of healthful living.

The November 2005 National Geographic and a book, The Blue Zones (2008), profiled how Adventists are the longest-living people in the United States. In 2011, USA Today reported the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the fastest-growing denomination in this country with approximately 1.1 million members.

Florida Conference Organized
Thirty years after the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was formed, Florida Conference was organized September 22, 1893, with 139 members. Although more congregations existed, delegates from six churches were represented during the weekend meetings in the town of Barberville. Prior to the Florida territory’s first church plant, A W. Bartlett wrote, “Florida seems to be a very important field for labor, especially in the winter when thousands flock here from the North and Europe for health and pleasure.”

In a special 1993 Centennial Edition of Florida Focus, the official Florida Conference magazine, Editor Cindy Kurtzhals featured the Conference’s early beginnings, including the first church in Terra Ceia that was organized in 1885 as forerunner to the current Palmetto Church some 40 miles south of Tampa.

Now, 61,279 members strong and celebrating 120 years of service in their communities, Florida Conference congregations meet on Saturdays in 198 churches, 51 companies, and 32 mission groups.

Many of these members serve on the 24 Florida Hospital campuses located primarily across the Interstate 4 corridor. Today’s flagship campus in Orlando was referenced on July 23, 1908, when Florida Conference President R.W. Parmele wrote to W.C. White of the California Sanitarium, saying, “When we decided that we must let this property go because we did not have the funds in hand to secure it, one of our brethren voluntarily purchased the property to save it for us. The property is located at Clarence Crisler’s old home in Orlando.”

In addition to providing quality health care, Adventists of Florida are known for providing quality education. Adventist University of Health Sciences, adjacent the Florida Hospital Orlando campus, is among them. Throughout the state, Florida Conference members and the community are benefitted by 26 early childhood programs, 28 elementary and junior academies (which include grades 9 and 10), and two senior high schools.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is committed to the development of minds and characters through education which explains why the denomination operates the largest integrated Protestant network of schools worldwide.

As 17 million Adventist members worldwide celebrate 150 years since their denomination was organized, 61,279 of them in Florida celebrate 120 years of God’s leading in mission outreach throughout their state. With a vision for Florida and the world in this anniversary year, President Wilson challenged members to “move forward on that great journey on that narrow pathway, allowing God to make revival and reformation real and actual in our lives and in the church.”

Watch President Wilson’s anniversary message in the video below.

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