by Viorel Negoi, Pastor of the Grandview Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Grandview SDA Church has strong leaders and friendly members. They network with each other throughout the week. Also, every child, youth, or adult who attends this church is very much appreciated. Representatives of various age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and social statuses are the strength of our membership. Furthermore the neighboring community recognizes the hospitality of our local church for helping struggling families with work on the farm, finances to pursue Christian education, finding jobs, overcoming drug addiction, and getting food.
There is something to do for every member of our small congregation. Everybody is encouraged to participate in an uplifting Sabbath worship service, to enjoy monthly vespers and gym night games, summer outdoor church, camping, and nature walks. An intentional caring ministry is extended weekly to friends through the Grandview Adventist Junior Academy and Food Bank.
Constant outreach efforts by pastor, church leaders, and members focus on reclaiming three families of missing members, several former Adventists and non-Adventist graduates of GAJA. Church members are great in witnessing to their relatives and friends. At our prophecy seminar more than 30 visitors attended the presentations. Three young people were baptized, and two adults were re-baptized. All member involvement, or friendship evangelism, and felt-need ministry, are key factors in retaining visitors.
We are committed to continue a healthy relationship with the surrounding SDA congregations. In the past, significant support was provided by church leaders and members to help raise the Spanish work in Grandview and Sunnyside and the same continues today in making sure that both the English and Spanish work expand. There is a healthy relationship between members of the English and Spanish congregations on a weekly basis. There is also a strong bond with both Prosser and Sunnyside congregations at the Food Banks in operating facilities of and presence at school events, gym activities, and in conducting prophecy seminars.
Over the 2016/2017 school year there were 8 Walla Walla University students who participated in the Theology Student Mentoring Program. These are their stories:
Words cannot express how blessed I have been a part of the City Church family and learned from Pastor Mike Bamett. In the beginning of this journey, I was a bit hesitant in working with Pastor Mike because we have different personalities, but we have the same mission and that is to share Jesus to the people we come in contact with. Pastor Mike has started a high school ministry within the City Church, but it is with public school students that are not Adventist, which was perfect because I went to public school all my life. After meeting the youth, I noticed that our backgrounds were very different. They came from broken homes, parents in and out of jail, separated parents, and abused both physically and emotionally.
I had a difficult time with connecting to them, but God created me with the ability to share a laugh and a smile with broken people. With the gift of humor that God has given me, it didn’t take long for them to warm up to me, especially Tyler. Tyler is a high school super senior that has been searching for his identity in Christ and for a sense of purpose. He opened up to me and shared his past experience in school and his home life. Although they made me sick to my stomach because no one should have to go through the situations these kids have gone through, I was able to share with them of the Gospel of our soon returning Savior. I thought I was there to help the kids get closer to God, but they have shown me that even though we have different paths, we all have a Savior that is by our side through the bad and the good.
Being a part of three other ministries on campus and being invited to go preach around Washington, I had a difficult time connecting with the Adventist youth within the City Church because my Sabbaths have been hectic this year. Pastor Mike has given me opportunities to lead the youth Sabbath school and allowed me to preach for the congregation three times this year. I focused my sermons on the youth and encouraged them to stay in the church with my testimony, treat others with love, and be unashamed for what Jesus has done for them. I feel that God has truly worked through me during my time at City Church and I have received valuable information from Pastor Mike.
It takes some time to get to know a high-school student. Though I have Continue reading
The Elma Seventh-day Adventist Church moved forward with a reaping series presented by Pastor Ryan Whitehead. As the series grew closer, the members’ names in which they were praying for increased. In the small Elma church of about 15 attending there were over 80 names being prayed for on a consistent basis. When the series began, there were 8 individuals who consistently came throughout the meetings. 3 of these were family members of present members. 3 saw a flyer and came as a family. The other 2 were a couple who were attending infrequently, but during the meetings enjoyed a break from their children.
Throughout the series, these 8 individuals were joined by many others on different nights. The overall result of the meetings was an opportunity for church members to grow and be reaffirmed in their experience with God. Several were able to see their family members be convicted about what they heard and thus start to plug in consistently at church.
There was also the opportunity of community members to visit the church and several saw the truth of the Sabbath which they are now following.
The Elma church seeks to reach out to these individuals and encourage them to take a step of faith to follow what they have seen to be truth. This is happening through friendships and through continued invitation to future events.
Given 18 months to live, Bob Stuart decided to bring one person to church every month. Imagine how quickly the Adventist Church would grow if each of the church’s 20 million members brought in just one person a year. Read More
by Dave Crockett, Pastor of the Lewiston Seventh-day Adventist Church
With the arrival of our new Bible Worker, we started 6 month cycles of evangelism, starting in June and December of each year. We offered a Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program for members and the community and our Bible Worker began laymen training with Soul Winning Classes. We followed up on interests from Amazing Facts, It Is Written, and Voice of Prophecy, developing Bible studies. We offered a Setter Health, Better Life Seminar, which focused on natural remedies and heart healthy cooking. This was offered to the community, and we had a wonderful response.
We followed this with the Future of Freedom Seminar, focusing on the statement that Jesus made, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free!” We used various prophecies from Daniel and Revelation to highlight truths that will set us free from the deceptions of satan. The format was a 45 minute lecture and then moving into discussion groups lead by our local elders. We started with 15 or so non-members, of these, 11 attended all the way through.
We are now in the middle of our 1 year plan:
- We have a Prayer Ministry, with a director who functions year round. They sponsor prayer type of events throughout. The latest focus was Prayer walking, where those involved would place a door hanger on each door, with a note letting them know that their house was prayed for.
- We presented the “Contagious Adventist” seminar in October/November of 2016 as a training event for our church family.
- Our Bible worker lead out in a School of Evangelism, which was a training event for our lay members, This was done in December of 2016 and will be again in August of 2017.
- In January of 2017, the Depression Recovery Seminar was offered to our community. At our fair booth about one third of those who filled out a Community Survey indicated that they would attend.
- In March of 2017, we sponsored a Cooking Seminar, again about one third of respondents from the fair showed an interest.
- Then from March 31—April30, we ran a locally presented Evangelistic Reaping series. Follow-up included ongoing Bible Studies and Oasis groups (these are lay led in-home groups, patterned after Lee Venden’s suggestion at the conclusion of his “All About Jesus” seminar)
- September 1-3, we are sponsoring a Marriage Enrichment weekend for the community.
- Then September 6—October 11 Parenting Classes, both a Marriage Enrichment and Parenting Classes were asked for by the community.
- Then October 20— November 19 we will conduct a locally presented evangelistic Reaping series. Follow-up will include ongoing Bible Studies and Oasis groups (these are lay led in-home groups, patterned after Lee Venden’s suggestion at the conclusion of his “All About Jesus” seminar)
- In December the Lewiston Church will again be producing our Christmas Cantata.
- For the rest of December, we are going on vacation!!!
by Dave Crockett, Pastor of the Lewiston Seventh-day Adventist Church
Audrey was our first baptism, followed by 5 more and others planned for the future. Audrey’s journey to her baptism was a long one! She has been a member of many different churches here in our valley, but not finding what she really needed along the way. As a caregiver, a couple of years ago she began to take care of the mother of one of our church members. This meant that she had regular interactions with the woman’s family who are active here in the Lewiston Church.
The woman she was taking care of passed away, and her job ended. However she had seen something in the lady’s family that was different and she wanted to know more. One thing led to another, and she ended up in our church one Sabbath. Of course our church welcomed her (they’re very good at that!) and she came again the next week and the next, until it became a regular habit. Bible studies ensued, she came to the meetings and came under the conviction she needed to be re-baptized. We are praising the Lord for her decision and there’s more to come!
We are following up with a class on Sabbath mornings lead by our Bible Worker/Outreach Coordinator, Slavik. He is a tireless worker who loves Jesus and people! He did all the visiting along with his other duties during the series. Our plan to once again have a six month cycle of outreach is starting in September, and we look forward to more stories like Audrey’s!
Pastor John Stafford presented a four week series of evangelistic meetings in the Zillah Seventh-day Adventist Church. Interest was awakened, a month before the meetings began, with a Dallas Holmes concert held at the local Zillah High School Concert Hall where 300 attended.
Fliers were delivered both by mail and by personal invitations door to door. Several people showed interest and at least 12 of them came to the meetings. A children’s program was provided downstairs so that the parents and adults could enjoy the messages uninterrupted.
At the beginning of each meeting there was a drawing of tickets where three winners could come down to the front and pick a free book. There was a good selection of books to choose from including children’s story books, cook books, and missionary story books. After each meeting, several ladies provided refreshments in the fellowship hall. That is when visitors and members were able to get acquainted.
Four decisions were made for baptism. They will be baptized soon after they finish their baptismal class. Each Sabbath following these meetings, there is a new beginners Sabbath School class, followed by the worship service where Pastor Stafford continues with the series to give a complete message. These meetings have helped the members to re-affirm their faith in the Christ centered Adventist doctrines of our Church.
by Sergei Kuzmin, Pastor of Russian-Ukrainian Seventh-day Adventist Church
Not a lot of Russian speaking people, who live around our Church area, know about the Revelation prophesies. At the same time our own youngsters have a limited knowledge about the last time events before The Second Coming of Jesus.
The Revelation Series we provided attracted some people from Baptist and Pentecostal Churches and became a first step for them to get go know the Biblical truth in the context of Revelation and Book of Daniel’s prophesies.
After the series, 7 young people were baptized. Vasily was one of them. He told his story about how Jesus revealed the Biblical truth to him. His life was not satisfying for him and he wanted to be better. He tried by using his own power, but all was in vain. He started to pray and to read the Bible, then suddenly he notice he was getting better and better, and it was happening not just by chance, but by the power of Jesus. He started to pray more and to read the Bible more and each day more good results were happening.
He said: “my heart was full of happiness because of the love Christ gave. I made the decision to live for Jesus. That decision really impacted me because before, I was somewhat selfish and made choices I regret. But I wasn’t baptized and was thinking that it was sufficient just to be a good Christian. But when I started to go to the “Unhidden Mysteries of Revelation” seminar, I was able to get to know the profound meaning of Revelation, especially the last time events which are going to come. I began to realize that we are living in the last days, and there is not much time to delay with baptism. After baptism Jesus helped me to make better choices and live my life for Him, not for me. I pray often to God and read my Bible more.”
His mother is not a Church member. She was attending the seminar along with her son. When she watched Vasily’s baptism, she was so thankful to the Lord, who gave wisdom to her son to make the decision to follow Jesus. They prayed and had serious conversations in their family. Vasily asked her about his decision, and all his family were very happy about it.
When I asked Vasily’s mother about what kind of impact she received after her son’s baptism she replied: “I am thinking over the decision to be baptized soon.”
According to the General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has surpassed 20 million members for the first time in its history. The Adventist Church had 20,008,779 members as of Dec. 31, 2016, a net increase of 882,332 people, or 4.6 percent, from the previous year. Continue Reading…
by Cristian Bobocea, Pastor of the Shelton Seventh-day Adventist Church
It’s been more than two years since we last had a public evangelistic series in our church.
We have two major ministries that we support, a school and a daycare, and for a rather small church membership, this is a large undertaking putting a strain on both human and financial resources. However, the church board members decided to step out in faith and invest in a Bible Prophecy seminar. And praise the Lord, He answers the prayers of the faithful ones! At the end of the meetings, five new members have been added to the church family!
Since the beginning, when thousands of the advertising brochures were sent in the mail boxes, one could perceive that the evil one doesn’t want this kind of thing to happen. Even though we contracted to cover the whole area in a mass mailing, not all neighborhoods in town received the pamphlet. It remains a mystery how and why this has happened, but we trust God that those who have been overlooked now, He will reach them later, in other ways.
Before the meetings started and all through the time they lasted, a group of faithful members had been praying. The Lord blessed their efforts with a good group of non-members consistently coming to the meetings. The Spirit filled Bible prophecies impressed their hearts and minds. Many had questions and were interested in knowing more. A couple of them are still coming to our church meetings, both on Sabbath and during the week.
The Bible prophecy series culminated with a beautiful baptism ceremony, on the last Sabbath. Four people that attended the meetings decided to renew their lives making a new covenant with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. A fifth person, previously baptized in an evangelical church, joined the Adventist church through profession of faith. Looking at the way He works in our lives, we praise the Lord for His never ending mercies and blessings that He pours upon His people who follow Him in faith!