by Robert and Thomas Broome
For the past three years, Apopka, Fla., Church has partnered with Florida Hospital Apopka for a Let’s Move Day 5K walk/run and health fair. On September 22, in addition to the main event with 130 participants, a Kids’ Fun Run was offered to youngsters 12 and under. The goal of this event was to encourage healthy kids and families in the community.
One success story was that of Shermin Tao, a return participant from last year’s race. Shermin did well in the race but was determined this year to win his age category. His preparation included running a mile every day and playing tennis in the evening.
However, just weeks before the event, Shermin was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He took the news in stride and promptly changed his diet to improve his health. Changes included more plant-based foods, a reduction in meat consumption, and staying away from his favorite fast food restaurant.
Confirmation of the results from Shermin’s efforts came just days before the race when both his high blood pressure and cholesterol numbers were lowered to within normal ranges. On September 22, a healthier Shermin Tao finished the 5K run and won his age category!
by Lennie Schiefer
The Pathfinder Club of New Port Richey received free CPR instruction from Tom Mazzant and Daryl Sample, two certified CPR teachers from Florida Hospital of North Pinellas.
According to Pathfinder Club Director Carol Koch, 18 Pathfinders and staff members took the three-hour CPR course. The teachers gave each Pathfinder a Red Cross booklet to remind them how to perform CPR. Instruction included a video and a how-to demonstration of each step in giving CPR to adults, children, and infants.
Pathfinders also performed hands-on practice with various-sized manikins loaned from the hospital, and they were instructed in Automated External Defibrillator (AED) usage.
After successfully completing the Family and Friends CPR course, each Pathfinder received a case containing an official CPR mask and gloves and a certificate of course completion.
These Pathfinders are ready and prepared to act in a time of emergency. Director Koch has approached the Church Board with this request from the Pathfinders, “Our church should look into obtaining an AED to have on the premises in case we should ever need one. They are simple to use and could save a life.”
by Eric Cadiente
The story of Han Chen’s journey into the Seventh-day Adventist Church began in 2009, in the central Chinese city of Changsha. Han first heard of Adventist University of Health Sciences in Orlando, through his aunt, Yuesha Chen, executive director for Florida Hospital’s Institute for Lifestyle Medicine & Retail Pharmacy Division. She not only suggested he look into studying nursing at Adventist University, but she was also instrumental in introducing him to the Adventist faith.
As Han started researching Adventist University, he realized it was an opportunity to not only study abroad, but to learn more about God. “China is a place that really needs God,” says Han. “It’s a place where many don’t know Him.”
Han arrived in Florida in May 2011, and he graduated in April 2013 with an associate degree in nursing. He plans to begin the bachelor program in the fall.
“God led me here,” Han reflected. “He has made everything go smoothly.”
During his first trimester, Julie Cook, associate professor of health sciences, invited Han to join Circle of Faith, an interfaith Bible study group composed primarily of students.
Cook was unsure how he would react, but, to her surprise, he replied, “You don’t understand, I’m glad you asked.” Cook soon realized he had never heard of “grace” or a God who loves him. Han regularly attended the Bible studies where he embraced the Word of God completely.
“Han turned out to be an example to me,” said Cook. “He soaked up everything we talked about. I admire his enthusiasm.”
In one of the Bible studies, someone asked Han his religious affiliation. After a brief pause, he stated, “I am a pre-Adventist.” When asked what a pre-Adventist was, he replied, “It’s someone whose belief and faith has turned to God, but he just hasn’t been baptized yet.” Han’s studies resulted in his baptism into the Seventh-day Adventist faith on May 28, 2011, at Forest Lake Church in Apopka. On that day, he converted from a pre-Adventist to a full-fledged Seventh-day Adventist.
Han has recently been in communication with a nurse manager in China about job possibilities. After he finishes his bachelor’s degree, he plans to return and use health care as a ministry in a place where few know God’s grace as he now does.
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.
by Lynell LaMountain, sales and marketing manager for CREATION Health, Florida Hospital
During the 10+ years he has served as the senior pastor of his church, he has intentionally and strategically reached out to the people in his community, and it hasn’t been with the intention of increasing church attendance. His motivation? Service. Disinterested benevolence.
So, he has worked hard to forge productive relationships with the key leaders of his city. For instance, the local hospital administrator (not an Adventist hospital) offered him a partnership opportunity. The pastor and his church were invited to conduct health and wellness seminars for the community, and the hospital would provide the space and the advertising. It proved to be a win–win situation for everyone involved.
Pastor Shares With the Sheriff
For many years, this same pastor has served as a volunteer chaplain in the county Sheriff’s department. One day, while he was walking down the hallway holding the CREATION Health Seminar Personal Study Guide, the Sheriff asked him, “What are you reading?” The pastor handed it to him and said, “It’s just a book on whole person health.”
The Sheriff thumbed through the 300+ pages and seemed lost in thought. Without being prompted, he said, “This looks so much better than what we just did. The wellness program we just bought and conducted among our employees only dealt with exercise and nutrition. But this—this seems to be so much more.”
The pastor shared more about CREATION Health. As a result, the Sheriff said, “If you’re willing, I would like for you to teach this to all of our deputies and support staff throughout the county.” The pastor gladly accepted and is now teaching the CREATION Health lifestyle—God’s original plan for having a life of health, happiness and abundance—to more than 350 employees in the Sheriff’s department.
Palm Coast Church
The stories keep coming. Take what’s happening in Flagler County where God continues to bless Palm Coast Church. Pastor Robert Hayes has been teaching CREATION Health for more than two years, and now his church has the reputation in the community for being a center of hope and healing.
Through his church’s partnership with Florida Hospital Flagler, county leaders have extended the invitation to bring CREATION Health to its citizens and students throughout the region.
As a result of disinterested benevolence, Pastor Hayes just had a rather large baptism at his church, and more than half were people from the community.
Port Charlotte Church
Here’s another story. When CREATION Health first started at Port Charlotte, there was a man who told the presenter, “I don’t know what your church believes, but after what I heard tonight, I want to be a part of this family.”
Orange Cove Church
Then there’s the story I just heard about Pastor André Van Heerden of Orange Cove Church in Orange Park. Because of his leadership in health ministry, he was asked recently to chair the county-wide committee that represents and organizes health-related initiatives for the nonprofit sector. Because of his influence, the largest Catholic church in Clay County has started teaching CREATION Health to its parish.
A Doctor’s Life Is Changed
The stories keep rolling in. Todd Lang, O.D., (a member of Port Charlotte Church) told me recently, “CREATION Health changed my life and continues to help me effectively manage and simplify the myriad of choices I encounter each day.”
Here’s his testimony: “Many of the choices made by society today are diluting the quality of daily living and shortening lives by many years. CREATION Health’s eight principles teach the answers for the delicate balance of everyday life. Complete health is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual fitness. Interdependence among these three is the key to an extraordinary quality of life. It is a wonderful witnessing tool paired with the latest medical research. CREATION Health offers practical solutions to encourage and equip all who desire lasting lifestyle changes now and for eternity!”
Florida Conference and Florida Hospital Collaborate To Transform Lives
Two years ago, Florida Conference President Mike Cauley approached Florida Hospital leadership to explore a vision that God had placed in his heart. He envisioned a partnership where the Hospital and the Church worked together to transform lives throughout the state of Florida and beyond. With Florida Hospital’s expertise to treat people’s physical pain, and with God’s blessing on Florida Conference churches to heal people’s spiritual pain, the partnership seemed like a match made in heaven.
It was a relationship that Florida Hospital was eager, and felt privileged, to enter upon, and the response has been incredible. Pastors, church members, and people in our communities are saying that CREATION Health is so positive and uplifting. They talk about how refreshing it is to be told what they can do instead of what they can’t do. They also realize, some for the first time, there is much more to wellness than just eating right and exercising.
The vision we have for this relationship between the Church and the Hospital is for our churches to become centers of hope and healing—to intentionally mingle with and serve people’s needs just like Jesus did. Inspiration tells us that He moved among the people as One who had their best interests at heart.
I want to repeat that last statement: He moved among the people as One who had their best interests at heart. Jesus served without an ulterior motive. And guess what? His method opened hearts to the gospel message. People found hope and healing in His presence. As a result, they followed Him and their lives were transformed.
The ultimate hope of the vision Florida Conference and Florida Hospital share and steward together is to transform lives.
It is so exciting to minister together to reach people at the point of their deepest need as they actively seek and respond to this method and message. This is a point worth emphasizing because there are times when we come to share a message with people that we know they need, but they are not ready to hear. So, they close their ears and raise their defenses, and the opportunity to minister is lost.
Here in Florida Conference, we have an opportunity to do something that can’t be done anywhere else. We have 23 hospitals and more than 200 churches in our territory. This is unique within Adventism where no other region has such a high number of churches and hospitals.
This should be the epicenter of hope and healing. It should be a place where people from around the world come to learn how churches and hospitals can work together to extend Christ’s healing ministry and grace. We are privileged, but with privilege comes responsibility. Let’s continue working together to be catalysts of hope and healing in our hospitals and churches until Jesus returns.
Florida Conference pastors are using the eight principles of CREATION Health to encourage people in the community to make a difference in their lives through: Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook, and Nutrition.
Following are a sample of seminars being held throughout Florida with others being planned for the fall:
Twenty-three of the 25 attendees at CREATION Health seminars at Florida Hospital Flagler were nonAdventist. Testimonies of weight loss, reduced medications, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar levels have participants excitedly sharing what they have learned, reports Pastor Bob Hayes. A continuing education process is incorporated into CREATION Health Alumni meetings and through e-mail.
People started changing their lifestyle habits after two lessons. An average of 25 members and nonmembers are attending each session.
Two members of the church health team served as guest lecturers for a CREATION Health event at Florida Hospital Waterman. The team has also conducted a follow-up cooking class for previous seminar attendees.
Sabbath School attendees have had a choice to attend a CREATION Health class during this time slot. The seminar was also offered to bariatric patients as an online support group at Florida Hospital Celebration Health. Pastor Joseph Wamack has taught a Study Guide on Trust to a group in the Town Hall.
Members teamed up with local organizations to help sponsor a fundraiser for cancer research as a first step to launching a CREATION Health program.
Nine other Florida Conference pastors have reported their plans to start up CREATION Health seminars in their congregations this fall.