Category Archives: Changed Lives

The Change You Will Not Find on Your Couch

Group of Asia hiking help each other silhouette in mountains with sunlight.

by Troy Fitzgerald, Pastor of the Walla Walla University Church

JT was baptized this year in January. He has always been involved in church and school endeavors, but it was in junior high when he made a decided choice to be a disciple of Christ. Backpacking, sports, photography, –being outside is home for JT. In the outdoors, JT found a way to influence peers and others to draw close to God.  There are many moments where JT makes an unmistakable impact to others for God:

Leading efforts for moving students from a static lifestyle to the outdoor activity has deepened many students to consider God is their Creator. We use the spiritual growth devotional “40 Days Wild” that challenges believers to activate their ideas in action. The Sub-title is “The change you will not find on your couch.” 

JT has developed his photography and video skills to enhance the stories of our Week of Prayer revivals at Walla Walla Valley Academy. Some stories are told and some testimonies are only captured well in images and interviews. JT and friends have made the ordinary journey of faith in an engaging way.   

It was at a mission trip to Zambia, with his dad, classmates, doctors, and university students, where he put his mind and the heart in service. It became evident that JT connected theory into practice by tirelessly working with the dental clinic and leading children to joy and hope in Christ through worship. 

JT Harris is a respected leader among his peers as well as others in the community of faith.   

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Seeds of the Word

by Barry Kimbrough, Pastor of the Brookings Seventh-day Adventist Church

Brookings, Oregon is the site of the only World War II bombing on American soil.  On September 9, 1942 a small Japanese floatplane—transported in a submarine from Japan to a spot 20 miles offshore from Crescent City and then assembled on the deck—flew to the mainland and dropped a 170-lb. thermite bomb in the forest near Brookings.  Imperial Navy Pilot, Nobuo Fujita, thought he had scored by starting massive fires that would distract the American military from the Pacific Theater.

The bomb exploded, but wet conditions put the fire out.  Total damage was a small crater and some burned trees, however it was soon overgrown and forgotten.

This event is an example of the power of God’s creation.  Seeds are small and seem to be much weaker than any bomb; but nourished by rain and nutrients from the soil, they grew and overcame the damage done by war’s destructive force. 

The seed of the Word of God can also overcome the damage of sin in our lives.  Over the past year, a miracle of spiritual renewal through the power of the Scripture was implanted in lives of interested seekers. 

The evangelism season commenced even before I arrived in the district. Brookings church decided to host the Voice of Prophecy “The Appearing” series, October 11-15, 2019, which attracted many attendees.  Local Sabbath School teacher, Bob Biegel, led the Bible study portion of the meetings.

Three weeks after I arrived, I began a series of weekly prophecy lectures, ‘Ancient Discoveries in Revelation,’ that were hosted on Wednesday nights at the church, beginning November 7, 2018.  The meetings continued through April 17, 2019.

Church members invited friends.  Advertising was by personal invitations, and a large sign posted outside the church.  

The meetings were simple and direct with Bible study as the main feature.  Several responded to the calls for decision. 

Four new believers were baptized on Sabbath, December 21, 2019.  Marian grew up in a Christian home, but lost interest in church as she went out on her own.  Later she tried different churches.  None seemed to keep her interest.  A few years ago she attended an evangelistic program, Christianity and Islam, hosted at Brookings church.  She continued to attend services.  She made her decision for baptism during the prophecy series last year. “The Adventist emphasis on Bible studies drew me in,” she said.

Megan’s grandmother invited her to church when she was a teen.  Over the years she attended and her spiritual interest grew as a result of the worship services and her view of the faith of her grandmother.  As the prophecy series came to a close, Megan made her decision for baptism. 

Marilu has believed in Jesus for most of her life, although she never had a church home.  Mostly she discovered spiritual truths by watching Trinity Broadcasting Network.  As she listened to the Seventh-day Adventist speakers on TBN, her interest in deeper Bible study of last day truths grew.  Soon she discovered Three Angel’s Broadcasting Network and began watching the messages.  Entirely as a result of this TV ministry, she decided to become a Seventh-day Adventist even before she met one church member.  She found a city bus that took her to Brooking  church and she announced to the greeters at the door that she wanted to be baptized.  Pastor Kimbrough reviewed the Bible teachings with her for several weeks before her baptism.

Kristofer is seven and he has raised his hand at every baptism for the past few years, wanting to be baptized himself.  Because he was so young, he was encouraged to learn about the Bible and salvation from family worships and Bible studies with his parents.  When he heard that a baptism was coming up, he asked to be included.  He is excited about being a follower of Jesus.

The cross is still mightier than the bombs of the devil. May the seed of the Word of God continue to grow in the lives of all who are seeking Him.

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Changed Lives – Washed Clean

by Dustin Serns, Pastor of the Port Orchard Seventh-day Adventist Church

February of 2019, Mitch walked away from his house with a noose in his pocket, a beer in his hand, and a plan to take his life. Mitch had been a severe alcoholic for all of his adult life. Now he had given up… but God hadn’t.

Mitch’s wife took him to the hospital. When Mitch told the lady at the reception desk his plan to kill himself, she acted immediately and got him into an alcoholic rehabilitation program. There, a girl looked him in the eye and said, “Whatever you do, please don’t drink and drive.” She had been hit by a drunk driver and broke almost every bone in her body. It was a miracle she was still alive.

“I’ll do you one better!” Mitch responded. “I’ll never drink again!” God gave Mitch the strength to follow through on his decision. After five days in the program, Mitch came home sober. 

God continued to transform his life. He began reading the Bible and praying every day. A few months later, a couple people showed up at his door with a flyer for an upcoming Bible prophecy seminar. Mitch was interested. At the seminar, Mitch surrendered everything to Christ. By the time the seminar was over, Mitch was attending church regularly, had joined a couple Bible study groups, and was continuing to grow in his love for God. 

He wanted victory over smoking. After decades of being enslaved by addictions, Mitch wanted Jesus to set him free completely. He began asking Jesus for power to overcome. He asked a few friends at church to pray for him and encourage him through the ups and downs of trying to quit.

A few weeks later, one of those friends called, “Mitch, I’ve been praying for you. How long has it been since you had a smoke?”

“You know, I can’t even remember!” Mitch said. He was free.

On October 5, 2019, Mitch was baptized into the Port Orchard Seventh-day Adventist Church. The same man who had wanted to end his life eight months earlier was now “made alive in Christ.” He shared a powerful, joyful and tearful testimony about what Jesus has done for Him and encouraged everyone to put their trust in Him. He was so happy to be “washed clean.” 

We praise Jesus for offering each of us victory and a new life of hope and wholeness!

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Changed Lives – Miguel

by Vidal Mendoza, Pastor of the Federal Way Hispanic Adventist Church

Miguel has lived very strong experiences where he has questioned the presence of God in his life. For many years he was addicted to alcohol and drugs, he was hopeless and his life had no meaning. Many times he asked himself what his reason for living was.

One year ago he had the first encounter with brothers of our church and they introduced him to Jesus and the hope that we have in him. Miguel was invited to join a small group and he attended all meetings for four months. He had many questions about the care and protection of God in his life, but what worried him the most was if God could still forgive him. When we showed him the word of God in 1 John 1: 9 that says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” he started to cry. It was there that he experienced the great love of our God.

Since that day, 1 John 1:9 is his favorite Bible verse. He continued studying the Bible and when we had our evangelistic meetings he asked to be baptized and leave his whole bad life behind. And when we baptized him, he told us that he had never felt so much peace and purity in his life as that day.

Today Miguel is a faithful brother in Christ and, before the lockdown, was in training to be a deacon for the honor and glory of God. We are so thankful to know that WE are the church and will continue doing God’s work faithfully, but are also anxiously awaiting the reopening of our church building.

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Why Not Try This – Sick of Being Fat

Pastor Phil White of the Simi Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church had a problem. In his own words, he said, “I was fat, exercise challenged, and not very happy with the road my health was taking.” His wife Jan, had similar concerns, especially when she got the results of a blood test. Phil and Jan decided they wanted to improve their chances of watching their grandchildren grow up. What they did had a spill over effect in their church.

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Changed Lives – Miracles in Maple Valley

by Nemaia Faletogo, Associate Pastor for the Maple Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church

14 year old Kaylyn was a troubled young lady who got into a lot of trouble at school. In spite of her troubles, her parents would bring Kaylyn to church on Sabbath, praying that she would make new friends and turn her life around.  Kaylyn joined Pathfinders and made new friends. She enjoyed the youth Sabbath School class and joined the baptismal class held by the Pastor. 

During our Evangelistic meetings at Maple Valley, Kaylyn gave her heart to Jesus and decided to be baptized! Her parents were so excited for Kaylyn as she was baptized in June during our Camp Meeting. Kaylyn is doing much better at home and in school.

There were several ladies, Kat, Luda and Lynette who also attended the meetings and were blessed by the nightly presentations. Kat is thinking of joining the church through profession of faith and Luda and Lynette are continuing their Bible studies. All of them expressed their appreciation of the Christ centered messages and that they were learning truth they had never heard before. 

We praise God and give Him the glory for what He has done and for the blessing of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with these precious souls and our community. 

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Changed Lives – God’s Great Timing

by Janroi B. Calley

I grew up in the Philippines and my parents were both Filipinos. l am the third child among my siblings. I remember when my father brought me to a Seventh-day Adventist Church for the first time. I was very confused because most of my childhood friends went to church on Sunday. When I became an adult, I experienced worldly things and stopped attending church.

Many years later, my father contacted me and told me that he wanted to take me to the Oak Harbor Seventh-day Adventist Church. Because of God’s great timing, we heard that Pastor Kevin Scott was conducting a Bible seminar entitled “Keys to Bible Prophecy”. I thought that was God’s great opportunity for me to come back to Jesus Christ so I attended with my father, aunt, uncle, and my grandma.

Pastor Kevin Scott was very passionate when explaining and preaching. God used Pastor Kevin as an instrument for me to be enlightened and know the truth. The first time I attended the meeting, I already felt welcome and comfortable. Then the Holy Spirit made me realize everything. That’s why I decided to be baptized and follow the commandments of God and be one of those who will inherit the kingdom of God for his second coming.

Because of sin, all of us are vulnerable. We cannot predict when our life will end. While we have some time left to live in this sinful world, I encourage you to spend time, even a minute, to read the Holy Bible everyday of your life for you to discover the truth. l am happy and blessed that I accepted Jesus as my true King and Savior. I pray that my other brothers and sisters, relatives and friends will also be imparted and enlightened by the truth through the word of God in the Bible.

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Changed Lives – Your Influence Matters

by Hugo Villalobos, pastor of the Hermiston/Pendleton Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Churches

This year we held an evangelistic series that taught our church an important lesson, the fact that we never know the impact and influence our choices make to those around us.

Two brothers began attending our church for several months and had decided to take their next step and get baptized in this series. As they were getting up to get prepared for baptisms, they walked down the hall and saw a friend who was visiting our church for the first time. His name is Carlos. Carlos was going through some rough moments in his life and was looking for God that day. He recognized these two brothers and was surprised to see them in blue robes getting ready to take an important step.

He saw something different in them. Last time they saw each other they were under the influence of alcohol. But now they were sober and had accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. Their faces reflected peace, joy, and happiness. He was touched by these brother’s testimony so much that he too decided to receive Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit through baptism that day. God surprises us every time. He is good all the time. They are currently being equipped and trained to become servant leaders.

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Changed Lives – Big and Hard Choices

by Guadalupe S. Richardson

The road to giving my life to Christ was not exactly easy as some may think. Big and hard choices had to be made in my life first.

In the year 2012, do l retire? Do I continue with my teaching career of thirty-two years? Do I take care of my husband after his neck surgery? Do I continue taking care of my mother, who is showing signs of dementia? How do I finish my remodeling project? These questions are eating at me.

It became too much to handle. I finally hit rock bottom and felt beyond broken. I was physically and emotionally drained.

While driving from one place to another, I kept hearing “Go to a sanctuary and talk with someone.” In 2017, my husband visited the Seventh-day Adventist Church down the road from our house. He found solace there. One year later, he was baptized.

On July of 2018, I lost my mother. My father and a sister are both gone. I started to visit the church on and off. I kept hearing “Visit the sanctuary.” That’s where I met Pastor David Morgan and the family of the Selah Seventh-day Adventist Church. They welcomed me with open arms and lots of hugs. They have become very good friends. Their friendship helped me with my losses, troubles and gave to me time to heal.

On May 4, 2019, I was baptized. God has lightened my load of burdens. I’m active in the church, helping with the community services. I am now a member of the family of God!

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Changed Lives – Public Evangelism Doesn’t Work?

by Scott Tyman, pastor of the Tacoma Central Seventh-day Adventist Church

I was privileged to share the three angels’ messages in the Tacoma community at four different locations. Our budget was around $10,000. I have heard recently that people no longer come to meetings from brochures. Well opening night in the four different locations we were blessed to have around 35 pre-Adventist come to the meetings. Five of those who attended had either Master of divinity degrees or masters degrees in theology. After the 10-week seminar, almost all these people went through the entire series of meetings on the book of Daniel.

As follow up to this prophecy seminar, we invited Brian McMahon to be a part of the reaping process. Opening night, we again had approximately 35 pre-Adventist. 15 to 19 came directly or indirectly from the prophecy classes that I had been teaching. So far, we had 7 become part of God’s last day church and we have 10 “A” interests that will be baptized in the very near future. We also have formed 3 small groups for continued studies with these interests.

We have another person who attended my Seminar who now is studying with 10 different people using the prophecy series that I had been using. Out of this group, 30 to 35 are now starting to keep the Sabbath. We are hoping this will be a part of our new church plant in the very near future.

Everyone who gives their life to Christ has a story and I would like to share a very quick story from one who attended Brian McMahon’s series. His name is Mo. He is an overnight truck driver. One evening around midnight he was in western Washington channel surfing and came across a radio broadcast on 3ABN. He was so impressed with the program that he listened night after night. He could not believe what he was hearing so he shared it with his mother. The mother was so impressed that she decided to call about the speaker, Brian McMahon. Brian told Mo’s mother that he was coming to Tacoma to do a live series in the spring. They both looked at this as providential and God’s leading. In May, both Mo and his mother are now part of God’s worldwide church family.

Don’t let anybody tell you public evangelism doesn’t work!

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