Florida Living News
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
UPDATE: Horace Walsh passed away Thursday, August 29, 2013 at age 93. Services held September 3 at Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, 515 Harley Lester Lane, Apopka. Visitation: 1:30-2:30 p.m.. Funeral: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Military Honors: 4:00-4:15 p.m. at Deltona Memorial Gardens, 1295 Saxon Blvd., Orange City.
More information is available at the Deltona Memorial Funeral Home web site.
by Gladys Neigel
What great accomplishments would propel a person to the cover of Florida Focus? Can you tell the measure of the man from a photograph? Let me introduce you to Horace Edward Walsh.
As a young man, Horace had two interests that might have guided his career track: Baseball—In his early teens, he spent several days as an official bat boy for the Washington Senators baseball team during spring training in Orlando. Music—Horace worked with a vocal instructor in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to train his Irish tenor voice. In order to accompany himself, he studied piano. Later, he was privileged to attend The Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1939, Horace enrolled at Washington Missionary College (now Washington Adventist University) in Takoma Park, Maryland. After a few months as a student in pre-medical studies, he felt the call of the gospel ministry and changed his major to theology.
Following graduation, he was assigned as a singing evangelist for an evangelistic campaign in Salisbury, Maryland. Horace willingly accepted the duties assigned him except when the sermon was on hell, and Evangelist Dan Harris wanted him to dress in a devil suit, stand on a corner, and pass out fliers.
Horace’s first pastorate was in Wilmington, Delaware. One of the young people, Elizabeth Sterndale, remembers him playing volleyball and starting a camera club for them.
Later, two firsts came into Horace’s life: he was the first to receive a Master of Divinity degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and the first Adventist minister chosen to become a military chaplain.
“Congratulations, Horace, on your retirement after nearly 67 years of ministry,” wrote Gary Councell, Director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries. “You are the first to receive Ecclesiastical Endorsement from the [Seventh-day Adventist] denomination as a chaplain. Since your visionary and courageous step, more than 200 men and women have followed your example and legacy.”
After the military, Horace became Chaplain at Loma Linda Hospital (now Loma Linda University Medical Center) in California and taught Bible classes for 10 years at Loma Linda College of Medical Evangelists. His inventive nature soon had him presenting a daily devotional program, Silver Linings, that was piped into each patient’s hospital room.
Horace went on to pastor in Rochester, New York; Miami Temple Church, Miami, Florida; and Forest Lake Church in Apopka, Florida, before his first attempt at retirement in 1983. He continued to preach in various churches for two years before returning to Miami Temple Church where he helped plant the Kendall Church in Miami. He then pastored churches in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and DeLand, Florida, before his 17 year pastorate began at Florida Living Church, Apopka, Florida.
As an example of this beloved pastor’s influence over the years, several people who attended a June 10, 2012, retirement celebration shared their stories. Dr. Ted Furnish, a Urologist from Spokane, Washington, told how his choice to not carry a gun while in the Army in Germany had upset his superiors. A fellow soldier whose mother was an Adventist told him to “go see that Adventist Chaplain” to get him out of the mess.
Furnish, who wasn’t a church member, attended the Adventist service and spoke to Chaplain Walsh. Soon, he was taking Bible studies, and even before his baptism, Horace had him teaching the Sabbath School lesson. Dr. Furnish’s comment, “Thanks so much for the introduction,” was a testimony of his gratitude to Horace for bringing him into the Church.
At age 92, with 67 years of service, Horace Walsh closes his ministry as senior pastor of a congregation and stands tall among the denomination’s elder statesmen. To recognize this milestone, members gathered on June 10 to honor their highly respected friend and celebrate with him in thankfulness for his many years of service for the Master.
Rejoicing with them were Horace’s daughter, Bronwyn and her husband, Bob; and grandchildren, Bobby and Sam. Horace’s son, Bryan and his wife, Callie, could not attend.
Horace’s first wife, Pat, passed away in 1977 and his second wife, Aimee, passed away shortly after they came to Florida Living Church.
by Carol Janssen
Florida Living Retirement Community residents in Apopka recently assembled 15 Bags of Love for children removed from their homes because of abuse or living with a parent or guardian who has run into trouble with the law. Often these children are taken away from their homes late at night after witnessing an arrest by police.
As the children enter a Seminole County Child Protective Services (CPS) vehicle that will take them to a safe place, they are given one of the Bags of Love which carry an inscription, “It’s My Very Own.” Inside the bag is a handmade quilt, pillow with case, towel and washcloth, a small bag with age-appropriate personal toiletry items, toys, puzzles, coloring books with crayons, story books, and stuffed animals.
When Melissa Kreinbring, CPS representative, visited Florida Living Retirement Community to pick up the 15 Bags of Love, she showed her gratitude with expressions that included “awesome” and “terrific.”
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 Robert Janssen
Residents of Florida Living Retirement Community in Apopka displayed the results of their God-given talents at an Arts and Crafts Display held in the Retirement Center’s meeting room for three days in mid-January.
Forty-six different art mediums were represented by 21 senior citizens, including: intricate needlework, calligraphy, wood crafts, Christmas decorations, stained glass, and ceramics. The show also included pictures from seven resident artists. An item that drew considerable attention was a hymnal translated into the Chichawa language that is used in Malawi, Africa.
The purpose of the show was to encourage residents to get involved in making useful items that can be shared with others.