Archive for June, 2011
by Monica and Rupert Preddie
Violet Hernandez from Frostproof Company partnered with Dolly Woodley in formulating an idea to provide fresh fruits and vegetables as an outreach to the community. They visited packing houses within a 50-mile radius to request their excess supplies to give people in need.
Early on, members would distribute fruits and vegetables directly to homes and identify themselves as members of Frostproof Seventh-day Adventist Church. Now, a giveaway center on the church property is open, depending on supplies, Monday through Thursday and sometimes Friday afternoon.
Potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupes, collard greens, and tomatoes have been distributed. In 90 minutes, more than 400 cantaloupes were given away one afternoon. One week, 1,500 pounds of potatoes were passed out. In any given week, more than 1,000 items are distributed with tracts and health literature included in each package.
One neighboring church in the community sent their van, along with two members, to help. When they saw the amount of work needing to be accomplished, they brought two more volunteers. That evening, they delivered packages to 40 homes. Members of this friendly church have continued to be a valuable part of the program, while another church has sent individuals to help assemble packages. On many occasions, three loads of produce are collected and distributed in one day.
A Department of Agriculture employee who grew up in the Frostproof area has never seen the community so united. “It’s because of you people making a difference,” he says. As a result, many community folk are inquiring about the church and have attended church services.
The book Evangelism has been used in prayer meetings for some time, and the following passage has become the objective of the church:
Let every worker in the Master’s vineyard, study, plan, devise methods, to reach the people where they are. We must do something out of the common course of things. We must arrest the attention. We must be deadly in earnest.
—Evangelism, page 122–123.
Photos: Rupert Preddie
by Nancy Pleasants
Florida Living residents in Apopka, Fla., have found creative ways to share their love for the Lord:
- Christmas bags for long-care nursing facility patients containing large bibs or aprons made by the women, as well as other essential items.
- Small quilts and lap robes for those in the long-care facility.
- Baby supplies crocheted for Florida Hospital Altamonte included baby blankets, caps, and booties for needy newborns.
- Greeting cards made to be shared.
- Floral arrangements put together by a group of residents to bring a little cheer to others.
- One resident keeps a puzzle going that brings lots of folks together to participate even for a few moments.
“The spirit of the residents at Florida Living is Christ in action by taking care of the needs of those who need that loving touch of the Savior,” says Nancy Pleasants, administrator.
by Sandy Doran
Eric Doran, pastor of Kress Memorial Church in Winter Park, recently received his doctor of ministry degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. Doran’s dissertation focused on the sermons of radio evangelist H.M.S. Richards as a basis for examining the distinct purpose of Seventh-day Adventist preaching.
“This has been a deeply spiritual journey for me,” he says. “I am grateful to Florida Conference for providing this opportunity which has led me to re-examine my preaching in light of the unique message and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Doran received his degree at Pioneer Memorial Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan, on May 1, along with graduates from more than 50 countries.
If you were to peruse the Orange Cove, Fla., Church web site, an eye-catching motto would stand out—“To be a mature disciple: Refresh, Abide, Share, Give, Mentor.” This wasn’t, however, always the evangelism path chosen by the pastor or congregation of this 100-member church.
Things rapidly changed in 2009 after Pastor André Van Heerden fervently prayed on his way home from a mission conference, “Lord, please open up opportunities for me and my church members to get outside the four walls of our church to serve the local community.”
His quest for outreach opportunities occurred after a visit with a colleague who had started a free medical clinic. André discovered a clinic in nearby Green Cove Springs with a need to be open on Sunday for treating an overflow of Saturday patients. With training and certification to screen and approve patients, Orange Cove Church members held an initial medical clinic on July 19, 2009. This ministry continues on the first and third Sunday of each month.
After becoming involved in community meetings and functions, André was introduced to The Mercy Network of Clay County, an organization providing a platform for city, county, and faith-based non-profits and charitable organizations to share resources and partner together. Because of his vision and passion, André was chosen as president of Mercy Network, and avenues for community outreach became unlimited.
Orange Cove church members began sporting blue T-shirts and smiling faces while volunteering at soup kitchens, helping at a free county-wide back-to-school immunization day, and serving food to workers at a Labor Ready supper program on Monday nights. They also operated an ACTS mobile mass-feeding kitchen at a county-wide outreach program for disadvantaged, unemployed, and homeless, and recently volunteered to feed crew members at an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition event.
Members serve as facilitators for seminars, cooking schools, and a food pantry. The church has opened a waiting room with cubicles for consultations, and members are trained to screen and do case management for people needing assistance.
Housing provisions for homeless families began more than a year ago when Orange Cove Church initiated assisting them with temporary accommodations. Other churches and organizations came on board, providing a week of hotel housing for one family. This led to establishing two group homes as depicted in a video aired on First Coast News in Jacksonville.
Pastor André believes this miracle of ministry came about as a result of his persistent prayers and counsel he followed from Ellen White:
Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”
—Ministry of Healing, page 143
A small church in Northeast Florida has been rejuvenated, retread, and revived. Attendance has increased, and new members have been baptized as this miracle of ministry continues.
by Alex Pinilla
On a typical Wednesday morning, more than 150 families gather at University Church in Orlando to receive food, clothing, and spiritual support. More than two years ago, members felt called to revitalize the food pantry. The ministry’s impact has grown beyond expectations.
Partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank and the USDA food program, University Church provides more than 10,000 pounds of food to its clients every week. More than 40 volunteers from the church and community have donated hundreds of combined service hours preparing food for distribution.
Through surveys conducted by Bible Worker Mike Shellong, community service team members identified other opportunities for ministry. As a result, seminars on nutrition, resume workshops, and English as a Second Language classes are taught.
When retired teacher Nohemy Bradley saw the sign advertising free English classes, she thought it was a marvelous way for the church to help others. “Now, as a volunteer, I feel so blessed to be part of such a wonderful project.”
The church has opened its doors to the community, and the community is opening its heart to the church as recipients of the ministry have joined members in Wednesday evening and Sabbath worship services. One beneficiary, Jackie Van Dike, who also volunteers in the food pantry, was baptized March 19 as a result of this ministry.
by Rolando de los Ríos
Spring season campaigns of Florida Conference Evangelist Rolando de los Ríos were a time of refreshing. Efforts put forth in small group ministry by the Fort Myers, Naples, and Melbourne Spanish Churches were crowned by three public reaping meetings with a harvest of 36 baptisms.
Since the beginning of the year, Idalberto Torres, pastor of Fort Myers and Naples Spanish Churches, and David Labrador, pastor of Melbourne Spanish Church, concentrated their efforts on encouraging leaders of small groups to prepare people for spring reaping meetings. The success of these endeavors was a perfect example of how God can use His people in working together for a common goal.
Pastor Torres and his wife, Amarilys, led by example in organizing a small group at their residence in Lehigh Acres. As a result, members of their group were baptized, and it is hoped that, eventually, a new church will be born in that area. In Naples, where the local congregation has no church of its own, the candidates were baptized in the Gulf shore waters.
In the same way, Pastor Labrador and the church in Melbourne enjoyed an unforgettable experience. During the harvest week when Pastor de los Ríos made the altar calls, some came forward who attended church for years without making a decision for Christ. Such was the case of José Agressott whose wife, Cecilia, and son, Joey, had been praying 30 years for his conversion. Joey, a paraplegic since birth, watched with joy as his father and sister, Patricia, descended into the waters to become part of the body of Christ.