Category Archives: Changed Lives

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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Changed Lives – Let the Children Come to Me

 

by Jaime Flores, Pastor of the Milton Freewater Spanish Church

We were praying to God, asking Him to bring children to our Spanish church in Milton Freewater. Now we praise God because He did it. On Wednesday evening, April 11, we baptized one family with children! Thanks to God for hearing our prayers and for blessing our evangelistic campaign. The picture above is from a family from El Salvador, they came here five years ago. The father, Jose, used to be a student at a seminary of the Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador. Then, when war broke out, he decided to leave the Catholic Seminary and went to law school and became a lawyer.

The picture below is Carolina (mother) and Daniela (daughter). They were baptized on April 14, In addition to that, Carolina dedicated to the Lord her daughters, two beautiful girls. So, Milton Freewater Spanish Church is so happy seeing these children in church, learning from the Lord.

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Changed Lives – Gospel Long-Term Project

by Sergey Kuzmin, Pastor of the Russian-Ukrainian Federal Way Seventh-day Adventist Church

The program was prepared as part of the gospel long-term project to introduce people to Biblical end-time prophecies. Three families who belonged to a Pentecostal church visited the program. Their personal study of the Bible led them to believe that it was necessary to examine more closely the question of the Sabbath as the fourth commandment. They were opened to the influence of The Holy Spirit studying the Bible. Getting to know more about Daniel and Revelation prophesies they became convinced that the Sabbath is the true day of worship to God. Currently, communication with them continues in order to open to them other truths of the Bible.

Conducting Bible study programs among Russian speaking people is difficult because most are affiliated with a particular denomination, mostly Baptist and Pentecostal Churches. Thus, it is necessary to consider this fact, that these people have already accepted Christ as their personal Savior, and do not need an additional call to give their lives to the Lord. But the fact that many of them are willing to go beyond that level of understanding of the Bible, which was lacking in the churches of the Baptists and the Pentecostals, opens opportunities to preach the truth for the present time. Our new visitors questioned the stand of the church on temperance and the gift of prophecy as well. We pray that our loving Lord will continue to lead our new friends to steadily increase their knowledge and understanding the Adventist beliefs.

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Changed Lives – Jesus Gonzalez met Jesus trough Jesus Rodriguez

by Benjamin Tello, Pastor of the Milwaukie Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church

Jesus is a common name in the Mexican culture. Many fathers name their children with this name to honor Jesus. For this reason this is a story of three Jesus’.

Jesus Rodriguez is a member of our church. He had a friend whose name is like his, Jesus Gonzalez. J. Rodriguez shared about Jesus with his friend, J. Gonzalez, but he didn’t have the time to listen. Unfortunately his friend began to have a bunch of problems.

J. Gonzalez’ wife abandoned him with his two children. Shortly, thereafter, he had a job related accident. When he was in the hospital, receiving treatment for his injures, the doctors discovered an illness in his kidneys. After further testing, he was told he had insufficient kidney function, caused by a rare family condition, and was in need of dialysis. As a result he lost his job, but not his friend J. Rodriguez.

J. Rodriguez took care of his friend and helped him with the treatments. The friendship between them grew stronger, and he shared Jesus with his friend once again. By this time the Milwaukie Spanish Church had started a Revelation Seminar. J. Rodriguez invited his friend to attend the seminar and finally he accepted.

I saw the two friends attend every night and I was privileged to witness Jesus Gonzalez accept Jesus and walk to the front during an altar call. He is now a member of our church.

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