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.
by Pedro Perez
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 http://bit.ly/impactorlando2013
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.”
by Vilma Galva
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.
With a prayerful desire to be in our new office location before the close of 2013, crews have wasted no time beginning renovations. Work started last week to perform rudimentary repair of water lines and electrical systems, immediately followed by removal of ceiling tile which is old and worn.
On December 7, 2012, Florida Conference signed closing papers to finalize the purchase of the former Robb & Stucky Interiors building at 351 S. State Rd. 434 in Altamonte Springs. With acquisition of this building completed, Florida Conference has reached God’s Next Stepping Stone toward relocation, tentatively scheduled for late 2013.
The top priority now is focusing on renovation and repair of damage to the building resulting from years of vacancy and lack of upkeep. In addition, relocation team members are already working diligently with Little Diversified Architectural Consulting to assess space needs for Florida Conference’s ministry and service areas, as well as the Adventist Book Center, and begin designing a suitable floorplan.
Learn more about the building’s location and specifications in the July 2012 press release.
The photo gallery below is from a July 26, 2012, building tour taken by Florida Conference Executive Committee members prior to their vote to proceed with purchase plans. Note that much of the existing visible floorplan is facade left over from the furniture store business. Lobby walls are likely to be the only recognizable architecture remaining after Florida Conference moves in. (Photos: Lee Bennett)
by Abel Paulín
If Jesus is the answer, what are the questions? This supposition provided the basis for One Hope, an eight-night Florida Conference NET evangelistic series in October which was broadcast on the Hope Church Channel, streamed online, and shown live at 37 churches that registered participation.
Tampa First Church hosted the Saturday to Saturday series viewed throughout Florida and other parts of the country. Nightly programs included the pastoral message, music, and a testimony or outreach ministry capsule via Skype videoconferencing.
The question topics and pastoral presenters were:
- “Where Is the World Going?” by Brad Cassell
- “How Does Jesus Change Us?” by Glenn Aguirre
- “If Jesus Is Coming, What Do We Do Now?” by Juan Rodriguez
- “Is There Meaningful Life Before Death?” by Stephen Stewart
- “Can Broken Relationships Be Fixed?” by Marius Asaftei
- “If You Want To Follow Jesus, Why Bother With the Church?” by Anthony WagenerSmith
- “How Do We Find Time For What Matters Most?” by Henoc Paulicin
Following the Friday service, Lehigh Acres Church, where Newton Hoilette is pastor, e-mailed the One Hope production team with news that their average attendance was 118 for the first seven nights. The message concluded with these words of encouragement, “Please keep doing what you do to further the work of the gospel.”
The series ended with a closing appeal by President Mike Cauley after his sermon, “What Is Our Destiny?”
The complete series of sermons and testimonies are archived for online viewing at http://www.floridaconference.com/media/onehope/
The Once Project is a new Florida Conference Youth Ministries initiative mobilizing young people across the state to go door to door conducting surveys, identifying community needs, looking for Bible study interests, praying with neighbors, and partnering with churches.
Trained, then deployed in neighborhoods where Seventh-day Adventist Churches are located, this army of youth in action walk the streets of our cities and towns with adult presence and supervision to advance God’s work.
Recently, youth from Adventurer age to young adults throughout the Conference were reorganized into Clusters by the Youth Ministries Department. Now, every Adventist church in Florida belongs to one of these 23 Clusters representing 10-15 congregations. The Once Project has challenged young people to gather together at a church in their Cluster once each month to go door to door, followed by a debriefing session, vespers, and a church social.
“Imagine that!” says Robert Hines, Florida Conference Associate Youth Ministries Director and designer of the project. “Once a month in 23 Clusters around the state of Florida, trained young people are being deployed to knock on doors, get to know their neighbors, find Bible-study interests, and then share this information with the local church for follow up.”
Can you see it? Young people from various churches in the Cluster working side by side to help one church in their Cluster each month. Guided by Cluster Coordinators, young people are joining with local church Adventurer, Pathfinder, Youth, Young Adult, and Adventist Campus Ministry leaders to work their neighborhoods for God.
Once this army of youth marches into action where the rubber meets the road, the soles of their shoes will prove it, and the souls they touch in neighborhoods will testify of a movement worth joining. For more information, visit the Resources/Links page at http://www.floridaconference.com/youth/
The Property Development Department assists churches, schools, and the Florida Conference Association with all property issues including:
- Coordinating sales and purchases of real estate.
- Processing loan applications.
- Filing county property tax exemptions and appeals.
- Following up with delinquent loans.
- Helping resolve code violations.
- Managing and leasing commercial properties.
- Facilitating leases for churches.
Heading this department is Kathy Deering, Vice President for Property Development with the Florida Conference Association. Kathy has been a licensed real estate broker since 1989 and uses this knowledge to work for churches and schools in their building programs.
Deann Hawley, the Associate Director, has a law degree from Indiana University as well as a financial background working with credit unions in Indiana and Florida. She is available to assist churches and schools with finance and loan questions.
Phil Bond Named Director of Development/Planned Giving and Trust Services
Phil Bond assumed his duties as Director of Development/Planned Giving and Trust Services on August 1 with the call being placed to him on May 20, 2012, by the Florida Conference Executive Committee.
He comes to Florida from Berrien Springs, Michigan, where he was the Planned Giving Specialist with Adventist Frontier Missions. His background also includes employment as a business banker at RBC Centura Bank and a personal banker at Wachovia Bank.
Phil enjoys scuba diving, tennis, reading, and spending time with his family which includes his wife, Sheri, who works at home supporting Phil, and their two sons, Russell, 10, and Samuel, 4. Phil says he praises the Lord for how He has led and looks forward to serving Him in his new position at Florida Conference.
George Carrazana Named Associate Superintendent for Administration and Finance
George Carrazana was advanced to the position of Associate Superintendent for Administration and Finance in January 2012. Prior to this, he served as Comptroller in the Florida Conference Office of Education on a contract basis for two and one half years. “He has a passion for helping people, and his greatest desire is to see schools be financially successful,” says Sandy Doran, Associate Superintendent.
“I was born in Cuba,” he says, “but my family moved to Spain when I was nine years old to ensure freedom and opportunity for my sister and me.” After a beginning career in health care, George became business manager at Greater Miami Adventist Academy and then at Forest Lake Education Center.
“I love that I can now help so many schools,” says George.
Madlyn is George’s wife, and he has three children, George, Joshua, and Jason.
Daniel Dunn Named Associate Director for Information Technology Services
Daniel Dunn was voted on July 26, 2012, as an Associate Director for Information Services by the Florida Conference Executive Committee and began his responsibilities on August 26, 2012.
Daniel was previously employed by the North American Division in Silver Spring, Maryland, as the Network Administrator, a position he held for ten years. He was originally employed at the Division as their computer repair technician for several years. Prior to denominational employment, Daniel worked for World Bank in Washington, D.C., as part of the Microsoft Office team help desk.
His family includes his wife, Becky, who is a contract programmer, and three girls, Thea, 14; Faith, 12; and Holly, 5.
“I look forward to continuing the service-oriented ministry the IT Department provides for my new Florida Conference family,” says Daniel.
Robert Hines Named Associate Director for Adventurers, Pathfinders, Youth, Young Adults, and Adventist Campus Ministry
Robert Hines began serving in July 2011 as Associate Director for Adventurers, Pathfinders, Youth, Young Adults, and Adventist Campus Ministry, with emphasis in North Florida. Voted into this position by the Florida Conference Executive Committee on March 20, 2011, he says, “My work focuses on equipping and deploying an army of young people.”
Robert came to Florida from Southern New England Conference in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, where he served as Associate Youth Director.
He came to the U.S. from Great Britain where he held the following positions: podiatrist and working for the National Health Service; chaplain and preceptor for Stanborough School; chaplain for John Loughborough School; and Associate Youth Director for South England Conference.
His wife, Paula, is a homemaker since the birth of their daughter, Phoebe, now age 7.
Lori Thieme Named Associate Superintendent for Early Childhood Education
Lori Thieme began her work as Associate Superintendent of Education in June 2012, after a vote taken on March 20, 2012, by the Florida Conference Executive Committee. She comes to this position from Deltona Adventist School where she was the Pre-Kindergarten Teacher.
Lori has worked with young children since 1997 as Meadows Academy Child Care Center Director for ages birth to five years, Principal and Teacher at Champion Preparatory Academy, and Pre-Kindergarten and 1st-grade Teacher at Orlando Junior Academy. It is evident she loves what she does, as she says, “This is one of the Adventist Church’s greatest mission fields.”
Lori has a great love for the outdoors and things in nature, which is shared with her husband, Ken, who is Park Ranger for the city of Altamonte Springs, Florida. They have two grown children, Zachary and Chelsea.