Category Archives: Changed Lives

Momentum – Planning Every Detail

by Brandon Korter, Pastor of the Valley View Seventh-day Adventist Church

The evangelistic series was outstanding in almost every way. From the very beginning, the Valley View Seventh-day Adventist Church (located in East Wenatchee, Washington) came together in a beautiful unified spirit. Virtually everyone was excited and inspired to be able to share the good news of Jesus to our community.

The leadership of the church really rallied together and we began planning almost a year in  advance—planning for outreach events, planning every detail of the evangelistic campaign—along with our Evangelism Committee. The leadership of our Evangelism Committee did an outstanding job in the finalization of all details, ordering resources, planning the children’s programing and all internet and media advertising.

The attendance of the church family was strong each night, averaging between 100 and 120 each night. We sent out 43,000 invitational brochures, and on opening night, 64 non-Adventists came to the meeting. Attendance for the non-members continued in the 54-60 range.

One of the families attending had previously visited our church and they were very excited about the meetings that were starting. There was, however, a major conflict because they were highly addicted to tobacco. The family members expressed the belief that they would certainly never be able to stop after smoking for 46 years with multiple failed attempts to quit the addiction.

Happily, during the evangelistic campaign, Pastor Korter did a stop-smoking training with this family. By God’s grace, they quit cold turkey, remained smoke-free until baptism, and praise God that His victory is still theirs. Similarly, another man was victorious who had smoked for years and years. He, too, did not believe he could quit smoking—especially due to the home atmosphere from his wife’s smoking habits. However, the pastor did a stop-smoking training with him. By God’s grace, he too quit cold turkey and remains smoke-free to this day. This man had previous baptisms into the Pentecostal church, the Methodist Church, a Nondenominational Church and even the Mormon Church because of his search for the truth. Now be was baptized into the Adventist Church and is thrilled to discover truth as it is found in Jesus Christ. The man’s wife has become interested in learning more about Jesus and is attending along with him. Evangelism still works!

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Changed Lives – Why I Left the Church

 

by Janna Thomsen

Growing up, I had always belonged to a church family. Summer camp, pathfinders, SDA schools through high school. It was always easy to find friends with the same/similar beliefs. Not anymore. Only recently have I started to connect on a Christian level with a few of my friends.

Years ago, I moved back to Seattle from Spokane, and I never felt comfortable finding a new church. Especially because I’d be doing it on my own. I had saved the contact info from all the churches in the area in my phone, intending to visit them, but never did. I also went through quite a few life changing things (marriage/divorce/moving across the country twice, etc.), that made me question my relationship with God. I still had love for Him, but nothing felt right. Time passed so quickly, and before I knew it, I hadn’t been going to church for 12 years.

It took a breakup from my first official boyfriend since my last divorce, that made me finally realize that I had really lost myself and needed to make a change. I wanted a church.

I still had no desire to visit churches to find the right one. The whole idea of that gave me anxiety. So, I decided to use technology to my advantage. I checked online for all those churches that I had saved years before. A lot of them had links to sermons on YouTube. I watched a few, but nothing was getting me excited. Then finally, a sermon from a pastor from Volunteer Park Seventh-day Adventist Church (VCP) in Seattle impressed me. It was interesting. It was relevant.

So I decided to check out VPC. It was a big church with a small congregation. I could get in on the ground floor. Be a part of the establishment of this church. Everyone was kind, the sermon was great, and the music incredible. I then met Elton, who’s eyes lit up when he found out I could sing. I joined the praise team and was able to feel that powerful feeling of worship through music that I hadn’t felt since I graduated from Upper Columbia Academy.

My position at the church eventually grew into me becoming and elder… What?! It was really just the elder that made the church look pretty though… basically VPC’s own interior designer.

Shortly after I became an elder, I made a difficult decision and took a new job in New York City. So I moved across the country. A church was recommended to me, but ugh. A new congregation. Again. I forced myself to go. The music was great, the sermon was decent, but it was well established. I did not feel as welcome there as I did at VPC. the only people who said hello to me are the greeters. And it’s not like I hid in the back. I sat in the middle pew, in the dead center. I went a handful of times for almost a year. Tried to connect to their multiple social groups, but my schedule never permitted.

A year later, I decided to move back home to Seattle. I went straight to VPC. So happy to be home. But just a few Sabbath’s ago, I found out my pastor was leaving. I was actually in tears about it. I was excited about church again because of his sermons and how he had grown our church community. How was this going to affect me? Then I remembered, it wasn’t just him. We have an amazing congregation who are hungry to continue the vision for VPC. I’m scared but excited to see what is in store for us.

I struggle every day with what my relationship with God should be. With what kind of Christian I should be. What kind of woman I should be. Honesty, it’s never-ending. But I do my best, or at least I try to. I just need to remember that I’m not doing it alone.

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Changed Lives – Pastor, How Can I Get Involved in Ministry?

by Ryan Rogers, Pastor of the Poulsbo Adventist Church

Pastor, how can I get involved in ministry?” That is an exciting question for a pastor. And it’s the question Daniel asked one Sabbath after church that led to discussion, brainstorming, prayer and, eventually, got Daniel and me out on the streets going door to door. We shared a desire to reach the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood across the street from our church. Daniel speaks Spanish and I don’t. He printed off some fliers to offer Spanish Bible studies. As we stood at each door I would silently pray and smile while Daniel talked with the people. It was exciting to see Daniel’s enthusiasm for sharing his love for Jesus.

Daniel is an overcomer. I was reminded of this as we went door to door. Daniel had a cast on his hand that made it difficult for him to pass out fliers and to knock on doors. He had recently had a wood shop accident and it was likely that he would loose a finger. But Daniel’s hand was healing. I was inspired as I watched Daniel serve so willingly, even with these limitations. Overcoming is something that Daniel has experienced a lot of. Daniel just graduated from high school. This was a remarkable achievement considering that he had suffered a major trauma when he was 14 years old. He was in a comma for 2 weeks, had to eat through a feeding tube, he lost his ability to walk and talk. God blessed his recovery and he relearned how to do the basic things of life. Early on in his recovery he experienced a distinct calling from the Lord to serve Him. Daniel’s recovery has been richly blessed and Daniel desires to live out that calling to serve his Healer.

I first met Daniel during an evangelistic series I preached in the Fall of 2018 at my Church in Poulsbo, Washington. God again called to Daniel’s heart during those meeting. Daniel reaffirmed his desire to respond to God’s calling to serve him and in November, 2018 I had the privilege of Baptizing Daniel.

It is a blessed pleasure to baptism a child of God. But that blessing is extended when you get the added opportunity to disciple that person and to serve along side of them. I praise God that I had the opportunity to meet Daniel through evangelism. I continue to praise God that six months after his baptism, Daniel is inviting me to do ministry along side of him.

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Changed Lives – Soaking it All In

by John Miller, Pastor of the Winlock Seventh-day Adventist Church

By God’s grace our fall meetings went really well! Our little church was excited to hold another evangelistic series and my wife and I appreciated the support and prayers of the members. Many of our members committed to helping in various ways and it was encouraging to see their enthusiasm and dedication.

A few months back one of the couples attending our church had taken the initiative to follow up one of the It Is Written Bible study leads that we had received back from our recent mailing. This couple met the Peters family; a dear family of seven. After doing Bible studies with them for quite a while, they were able to bring the Peters to our evangelistic series.

We started our meetings off with 13 non-Adventist adults and 8 children. The Peters family and several individuals faithfully hung in there with us through the entirety of all 24 presentations.

Brandy was a lady in her mid-thirties who gave her life to the Lord in the last five years. She came to this series because she got a flyer in the mail and was interested in learning about the prophecies of the Bible. One evening after I sent out a group text to those attending, she responded with the following message:

“Great. I plan to be at all the meetings. Thanks. I don’t really have any questions.. , I’m just soaking it all in at this point. It is very interesting to me and I am enjoying everything I’m learning. It’s really helping me to understand many of the difficult-to-decipher verses I have read in the past, but now make much more sense.”

We were thrilled to see her excitement and openness! Brandy continued to regularly attend each meeting and readily accepted the Sabbath along with other testing truths.

Not only were non-Adventists blessed by the truths presented. We also had two recently baptized couples from the Castle Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church who faithfully attended each meeting. Every night they sat in the front row and loved hearing the messages they were understanding better and becoming more grounded in.

In the book Evangelism page 5 we read: “Evangelism, the very heart of Christianity, is the theme of primary importance to those called to herald God’s last warning to a doomed world. We are in time’s closing hours, and the Advent message, proclaimed to make ready a people prepared for our Lord’s return, must swell to a loud cry reaching the uttermost parts of the earth.”

I want to be a part of that “loud cry” here in my little communities of Winlock and Onalaska. Pray for us as we continue to work and make disciples of those who attended our meetings. May God continue to help us all to be faithful and sharing God’s last-day message with the world.

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Changed Lives – “A” Interest

by Mike Armayor, Pastor of the La Grande Seventh-day Adventist Church

Our story begins with opening night of the Prophecy Seminar held in La Grande. One of the guests in attendance was a retired business owner by the name of Linda. Linda became an “A” interest as she took in every word of each presentation and filled in every blank in the lesson with the Bible answer. Over time she shared with us that in the previous seven years she and her husband had been regularly watching 3-ABN and had thought about responding to the advertising mailers and attending one of the seminars offered a couple times each of those same years. She wondered if the messages she was enjoying on TV were the same as those presented in the seminars at the local Seventh-day Adventist church. Linda explained that she thought about attending, but for whatever reason she just didn’t until this seminar. In my recollection as a pastor, I’ve never had someone with perfect attendance, but Linda did not miss one series presentation of the thirty one.

Shortly following the seminar, Linda made her decision for Jesus in joining the La Grande Seventh-day Adventist Church by Profession of Faith. She has continued to attend church with her husband for which we praise the Lord. Linda now serves as one of our Evangelism Team members who has faithfully supported subsequent evangelistic seminar series. Linda told us that as a Christian in her teens she began searching for the right church and now after forty years she says God has led her home.

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Changed Lives – Sleep Induced by God?

by Matthew Vixie, Pastor of the Clarkston Seventh-day Adventist Church

His name was Ray, he had lost his wife recently. He told me he was hoping she would hang on a little while longer for “the rapture.” Jack had invited him to come to the meetings. He accepted the invitation but didn’t return until one night when our topic was the 2nd coming. I said a prayer and preached the topic, certain that Ray would be offended by the information and never return. As I preached the sermon I noticed something about Ray, his eyes were shut, his head bowed down, he was either sleeping or in a very long prayer! Is God in the business of causing sleep to a kind old man who just lost his wife and isn’t ready for what he is about to hear?

A week or so later Ray showed up again, he apologized for being sleepy the last time he came. That night our topic was the Millennium. I said another prayer and proceeded with the information from God’s word, we went over the same information and Ray wasn’t sleeping this time. After the meeting he asked me a question that went something like this. “Pastor where is my wife tonight?” Certain questions have answers that change the way some individual lives. I went over some of the same verses from scripture concerning what happens at death. Ray responded, “I want to know where you personally think my wife is tonight.” I told him I believe the Bible when it says the dead are going to rise first. Ray told me something then that struck me as profound. “All my life I believed the dead go to heaven when they die, that Jesus comes back in the rapture. Now I don’t know what I believe.”

For me that was a high point during these meetings. Why? I saw firsthand the word of God move someone from a belief whose foundations are outside of scripture to a willingness to study what the Bible really says. Did he get baptized? Not yet. Anymore conversations about the Bible? I plan on having them with him first chance I get. For now, I am rejoicing that the word of God still moves men and women.

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From Beyond the Pulpit – Three Prayers and Their Answers

by Stan Hudson who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference

In national polls taken in America, the vast majority of respondents answered the question of whether their prayers had been answered with “Yes!”  Answered prayer is perhaps the most meaningful personal evidence that there is a God.  That’s why it is so important to pray regularly and with specific enough requests as to make answers obvious.  We need to remember that it is in God’s own interest to answer the needs of His people, so that their faith would grow.

There have been three huge prayers with answers that I’ve had in my life.

“Back in the day,” as my son Daniel thinks I lived, I was a cowboy-loving kid in Los Angeles.  For one birthday I received a cowboy outfit complete with plastic bullet-shooting six guns.  This was back in the day when the world didn’t freak out about playing with guns, of course.  In my playing I dropped a silver, plastic bullet into our short dichondra grass.  But, where did it go?  It should be straight down, I thought, and very easy to see.  I sure didn’t want to lose some of my birthday gift.  I panicked a bit;  what would Mom and Dad say?  So I remembered there was this Jesus person you could pray to (we didn’t go to church).  I knelt down and said, “Dear Jesus, please help me find my bullet!”  I opened my eyes and it was there in front of me, right where I had looked and looked.  I closed my eyes and said “Thank you!”  My bullet was found.

A couple of years later my Mom told me, “Daddy isn’t coming home anymore.”  I cried and cried.  Then I prayed to Jesus, Who had answered my prayer before:  “Please send Daddy home!”  But Dad didn’t come home.  I knew things were complicated and I remember I didn’t disparage Jesus, but obviously the answer was “I can’t do that.”  But because of Mom’s concerns for my sister and I, she put us in a Christian (Adventist) school.

Years passed until the next serious prayer.  I was not a Christian, and I was living in a bachelor pad in Riverside, California with a good buddy David Friend.  We were full time employees at two local McDonalds.  One night we had a party with McD folks, ending up with Dave, a young lady and I going to a Dennys restaurant at 3:00 in the morning.  The talk suddenly turned serious as we reviewed our lives and where we seemed to be going…which seemed like nowhere.  We started talking about changing things, then David added “and let’s look for God.”  Seriously?  The next day he asked me to borrow my Bible.  After some searching I found my children’s Bible and he started reading it.  Then, I did, too.

The moment came for prayer #3.  I knelt by my bed (that’s where you’re “supposed to pray”), and simply asked, “Dear God, it looks like David and I are looking for you.  Will you help us?  Amen.”  The answer was YYYEEEESSSSSS!!!  And it still is….

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Changed Lives – Bible Truths

by Benjamin Orian, Pastor of the South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship Church

I’m always concerned about opening night. Will anyone show? Is anyone coming? But we’ve prayed about it, we’ve prepared, we’ve advertised, we’ve reached out to our active interest list—which at present is about 600 individuals. What will we see?

We mailed 20,000 brochures, as well as our interest list. I was hoping for 40-50 visitors on opening night. We got 23.

Norma came and told me she has been receiving our mailers now twice a year for the past four years. Every time she received one, she thought, “I should go,” but never did—until this time. She was quite spiritually hungry as she came each evening, commenting how much she appreciated that we preached the Bible and the Bible only. “Other churches,” she told us, “claim to do this, but we truly did.”

On the evening I was preaching on the state of the dead, I couldn’t read her. She looked as though she was struggling. My Bible worker, who was sitting with her that evening, later told me that while I was preaching, she became angry and wanted to leave. It was too different from anything she had ever heard before. But, then, she said she prayed and asked God to lead her. She said everything she had heard prior—including the Sabbath—was Biblical, this must be too. So she asked God to give her discernment and to take away her anger. He did. And she said afterward how relieved she was that she had stayed—it made sense. While Norma has not confirmed a date for her baptism or profession of faith, she has stated to us and to her children (whom she is encouraging to come to church and check us out) that she considers us her church now.

At our meetings last fall, with Pastor Tyler Long, one of our attendees, Rose, was baptized on the final Sabbath of the meetings. She brought with her, her Catholic friend Verna to witness her public baptism. Verna has been attending ever since, but because of her elderly husband’s poor health, cannot come out at night. So Verna got a copy of my DVDs from previous meetings and has been going through them by herself and with Rose. She comes to church and we discuss what she’s learned. This past Sabbath as I was wrapping up the series—preaching on heaven during the 11 o’clock hour, I made an appeal. Verna will be baptized!

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Changed Lives – Lighthouse Testimonies

by Hasani Tait, Pastor of the Maranatha-Lighthouse Seventh-day Adventist Church

Below are Testimonies from two young ladies who have recently given their lives to Jesus and have been baptized at Lighthouse Christian Fellowship at the end of our recent “Health & Wholeness” Evangelistic Series. They are brand new to Adventism and on fire for God! Their testimonies are extremely powerful.

Lydia is originally from the continent of Africa and has been attending Lighthouse for two years, but was hesitant to join. She is originally from a first day denomination and I have personally seen God work in her. I have also seen God totally heal her body from cancer as we have spent much time in prayer for her healing.

Alice recently moved to the States from Kenya. She grew up Catholic her whole life. After moving to the States, she found Lighthouse Church through members. After much prayer and study, she has been converted to our wonderful message.

At the conclusion of our “Health & Wholeness” Evangelistic Series, both ladies made a stand to be baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Below are their testimonies (Please don’t mind the grammatical errors, English is their second language).

Testimony of Lydia:

I had resisted God for a long time, was busy with work and business. When money was not my problem disease struck. I got cancer of the breast in 2012. I was devastated, but vowed to soldier on. I changed my lifestyle, moved from where I earlier lived and came to this state, I found new friends, and found the Lighthouse church through a friend. In this church, I have learned how to depend on God. I never shared my problem to anyone except my daughter and God. I cried to God to heal me as I continued with treatment. God healed me. I AM FREE OF CANCER.

Before my healing I went through many struggles. I lost six relatives. My son to a road accident. This almost shattered me. I’m thankful for my friends and pastor Tait who prayed with me. Two months later I lost my sister who had gotten a scholarships to join a university here. It was tough but God saw me through and brought me healing.

The same month I was baptized, I got real sick on my knee and was not able to walk, but God is good
after prayers with pastors and friends I am restored. I give honor and glory to God.

Testimony of Alice:

I was just baptized last month and became a believer of the SDA church. I was a born Catholic and attended Catholic Church my whole life. But last year, I came to the US and met an SDA family who invited me to church. I was hesitant at first, but eventually decided to go. In church we found other believers in Sabbath School. I was curious to know why go to school instead of just starting the divine service, since I knew Sunday School was for little children. The Sabbath School that day was amazing, the lead preacher taught some very interesting things that I have never heard. My curiosity was aroused and I so became interested to know more of the new things I was hearing, since they were being read from the Holy Bible. After Sabbath School, I enjoyed the divine service as well and decided to join my friends family the next Saturday.

Next Sabbath came and I was eagerly waiting to go and learn more. We went and I wasn’t disappointed since the teachings were very educative and exciting. I was allowed to ask questions and I got very satisfying answers from the Bible. At that point I decided that I will always go to Sabbath School whenever I got a chance, but hadn’t made my mind to become a believer of the SDA church. My friend always asked me if I would like to be baptized but I continually refused citing that I was baptized before and didn’t need another baptism. She respected my decision, but always reminded me to join them for church every Sabbath, which I did.

One Sabbath, a pastor, who is a friend of the same family, told me he was starting Bible study for some new believers who wanted to be baptized and asked me to join them and learn the basics of the SDA church. He said he was teaching them the 28 fundamentals. That got my attention since I am a very curious person, I wanted to know what these fundamentals were. I started going for the lessons and the same thing that happened before happened again. I learned of very new things that were read from the Bible. I really enjoyed the lessons, but one lesson really got to me.

One day, the pastor taught about baptism, I was very attentive to know why it was good to be baptized again. To my shock. I was really drawn to that specific lesson and God really, really wanted me to know about baptism. By the end of the lesson, I had this burning desire in me to get baptized. I couldn’t wait for the pastor to finish his lesson before I put up my hand and told him I wanted to be baptized. I couldn’t believe it was my hand which was up and my heart burning with desire to be baptized, but I knew that it was God who put that desire in me. So we finished the remaining lessons and three weeks later, I was baptized and I have never felt so good and complete before. I hope to continue being part of this great congregation. I hope that I will continue serving God and living holy so as to see and be with Him after He comes for His people, I want to be among the saints.

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Changed Lives – My Friend, Jesus

by Kim Berg, Pastor of the Highline Seventh-day Adventist Church

Evangelism is rewarding and is always a blessing to you and your members.  It can be a special blessing when God has prepared someone to respond to your invitation to follow Jesus.  Dave George was that someone.  Dave came to every meeting.  He was personable and enjoyed meeting people and getting to know them.  He listened attentively and always asked questions.  He wanted to know more about what the Bible had to say.  He is in his 50’s and has led an eventful life.  He will tell you that he travelled a crooked path and did not always make good decisions.  Throughout his life he was looking for meaning and acceptance.  At a particularly low time in his life he asked Jesus into his heart.  He began a serious journey to know Jesus better.  He received a flier in the mail and decided to come and see what ‘Hope in Bible Prophecy’ might mean for him.  He was encouraged and when he was invited to be baptized and become a member of a local group of believers, he said yes.  He wants to tell people about Jesus.  He wants to be part of a family of believers that wants to know and please God more and more.  Dave was baptized into the Highline SDA Church family.  He invited his friends and he can’t wait to make new friends and invite them too.  Dave is on a mission to tell the world about his friend, Jesus.  He wants to personally invite them to begin a journey to get to know the one that can make an eternal difference in their lives.

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