Category Archives: Changed Lives

Three Stages of Evangelism

by Juan Pacheco, Pastor of the Hillsboro Hispanic Adventist Church

Our evangelistic program for the year was severely affected by the pandemic so we had to reinvent our plan. This year we talked about the crisis we were experiencing and planned for many resources in order to be effective as a church. We came up with three stages for evangelistic series to reach new converts.

Outreach

First, a program to help entrepreneurs who have been affected by this crisis. Several small business owners were forced into unemployment or had limitations as a result of the pandemic. Thus we began a series of topics on leadership, stress management, marketing, and how to trust God in difficult times.

Revelation Series

Our second stage, we presented an online 7-track Revelation series. After the presentation, interested people wrote me for questions and answers.

REAPING

Then in our third stage, we had a series of 15 harvest themes that was distributed in 2 weekly presentations by zoom. So far we have 2 professions of faith and 2 baptisms and recently started another series with 15 people studying the Bible.

Baptisms

Marcela and Julio were baptized after a series of meetings. Doctors gave Marcela 6 months of live because of an advanced case of cancer. She decided to surrender her life to Jesus, knowing that He can be her healer, but if His will is for her to rest, she knows that He already saved Her and will have a beautiful gathering in heaven when Jesus returns.

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Second Coming Surprise

by Cristian Barrera, Pastor of the Central Valley District in Eastern Washington

This has been an interesting experience where, even in the middle of a pandemic, God has been moving. We started an online series of evangelistic presentations every Monday. Each night a biblical truth was presented in a practical and easy-to-understand way, especially for those who had no prior knowledge of the word. We had special guests such as Dr. Minner Labrador, Dr. Cesar De León, Mike Rosario, among other renowned speakers who accompanied us on different nights.

The idea was to not only ensure that viewers would get connected to the broadcast, but to also follow-up with them after. Bible studies began to emerge and God worked in a powerful way resulting in five souls for the Kingdom of Heaven.

One of the most interesting cases was the story of Abel, a Jehovah’s Witness and husband of a member from one of our churches. To reach him took a lot of work and prayer on the part of his wife and church leaders as he was still very attached to his beliefs. Yet, as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit, Abel made the decision to surrender his life to Jesus and accept Him as his personal Savior. On July 26, he was baptized in a very pleasant family ceremony, celebrated in the middle of nature.

Another experience that we also enjoyed seeing was the case of Esmeralda and her family. She is the daughter of Benjamin, one of the leaders and pioneers of our church in the Yakima Valley. He passed away at the end of last year and one of his greatest wishes was to be able to see his children again in the second coming. His prayer was answered when Esmeralda, together with her husband and children, made the decision to follow Jesus and give their lives to Him through baptism. The best part of this is when Christ returns and raises brother Benjamin from the dead, he will be overjoyed to see his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

There is no doubt that the Spirit of God has not been in quarantine during this pandemic, but has moved and will continue to move to transform hearts and bring them to Jesus.

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Heavy Conviction

Feeling free. Success and happiness. Happy young man with arms raised with blue sky in the background

by Scott Tyman, Pastor of the Tacoma Central Adventist Church

2020 has been quite a year as it relates to evangelism. We started out as usual with a number of interests from community events and evangelistic series interests from 2019.

Evangelism is truly a cycle. As usual I started out with my four Revelation classes scattered throughout the Tacoma community with 30 plus interests attending. Then COVID-19 hit toward the end of the series. I was forced to do individual Bible studies and work around their schedules.

I had been working with Robert for nearly five years. He and his wife had attended at least three or four evangelistic meetings in the past, initially coming to the church through a handbill. They had been into heavy drugs and alcohol. Robert had been under heavy conviction that the things he was learning was true, but he would never move forward. I wasn’t exactly sure why. I thought maybe it was the addictions he was fighting.

Then Robert’s wife died last year and again I came in contact with him. He was still searching and desiring a closer relationship with Jesus. He was still struggling with different addictions, but one he had given up was alcohol. I found out that his wife had really been a huge influence on him in not making a decision for Christ and baptism.

After a lot of prayer, Robert finally decided to accept the gift of salvation through baptism. He is now a very active church member, attends Sabbath school and church every week and is volunteering at the local Tacoma community center.

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Finding Hope

Hand turns a dice and changes the expression "new year" to "new start".
Photo by Fokusiert on iStock

by Jorge Richarson, Pastor of the Nueva Vida and Independence Spanish Seventh-day Adventist churches.

“Approximately 18 years ago, I arrived in the United States. I came with dreams and illusions of a better future. God gave me the opportunity to come with my greatest gift on this earth, my family,” Sara says.

Sara has been living in Independence, a city southwest of Salem, for 17 years. There, she has seen her three children grow up. She has also experienced the pain of a marriage destroyed by the alcohol and drugs her husband consumed. Alone, without hope, and with the battle of finishing the education of her three children, she kept going. As the years went by, her life kept feeling empty, stressful, disillusioned, and hopeless. One day her neighbors told her about some hope meetings. Sara said, “I need to hear hope.”

Sara then met Magoo, Head Elder at the Independence Spanish Church, started a friendship and became part of a small group in his home and began to study the Bible together. Pastor Jorge Richarson would visit twice a month and encourage her to go forward and give her life to Jesus.

Sara says: “My best day of the week was when they would visit me on Wednesdays at 7 PM and have the small group. That was a day where I could learn new songs, learn more about how to live a new life in Jesus. At first I did not understand anything, but then I was creating a study habit and I liked to learn about my origin, why we are as we are, we react as we react, it was very interesting to know: creation, the origin of evil and the effects of sin throughout time, and the great provision that God has made through Jesus Christ so that we do not continue in the chaotic life that we have lived because of sin. It has been 14 months since the small group became part of my life. I am now has peace, and I want to give myself to Jesus,”

In May 2020 there were three weeks of spiritual emphasis & evangelism through ZOOM entitled: Hope in a World with Covid-19 Bible Study led by the Pastor of the church.

In June 2020, the church met again in the building and Sara decided to be baptized and also her nephew who attended the small group.

When she was in the baptismal pool Sara said: 18 years ago I came to USA, and I came with dreams and illusions of a better future – today I have found a better future in Jesus Christ – today I decide to be born again, to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Today Sara is emotionally restored, she serves as a deaconess in the church and testifies of what God has done in her life. In addition, she is giving Bible studies to her parents and her husband who wants to restore their marriage relationship after 7 years of separation.

This story of Sara’s redemption reminds us that there is still hope in a world with Covid-19.

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These Meetings Were for Me!

by Delilah McGhee

Rachael and Cole, two young people who have made the decision to find out more about what God’s plan is for their lives, faithfully attended the “Understand Prophecy” meetings at the Hayden Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church. When they weren’t able to attend, they made it a point to watch it online. They didn’t want to miss a single sermon!

Both Rachael and Cole have very eventful past lives, having started down a path of drug use in their early teens. Rachael made the decision to become clean and sober 12 months ago, and had been diligently praying for Cole to do the same. Cole was a bit more resistant to committing to a change, but Rachael never gave up on him, and she prayed for the Lord to reach him somehow.

As the Lord would have it, Cole ended up in jail the same week the prophecy meetings had begun. While in jail, Cole made the decision to turn his life around. He realized he no longer wanted to live the life that he had been living. Upon his release a few days later, he kept that promise. Rachael encouraged him to attend the meetings that were being presented by Pastor David Morgan, and he did! He committed to attending the prophecy meetings every night, and was moved to tears on more than one occasion, recognizing how lost he had been all these years.

Cole states, “I believe these meetings were for me. Every time I hear Pastor Morgan speaking, it’s almost as if he is talking directly to me. I’ve learned so much these past few weeks. Coming from a place where I’ve had little to no biblical knowledge and understanding, I felt like a sponge, just soaking in everything that was being taught. I appreciated how everything that was taught was straight from the Bible and it was so clear and easy to understand.”

Rachael, who has been consistently studying the Bible for the past few months, also greatly enjoyed the meetings. She states, “I felt the prophecy meetings were amazing. They were so in depth and I learned so much. It clarified so much for me. I had no idea all of this information was in the Bible. I feel like the world needs to hear this!”

We are so grateful that God has chosen our church family to have the privilege to minister to these two beautiful souls, and look forward to seeing what God has in store for them.

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Surprise Baptism

by Gerizin De Pena, Pastor of the Salem Spanish Adventist Church

In mid-July, in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, we were blessed to hold virtual evangelistic meetings entitled “Today is Your Day. During these meetings, we had an average of 200 people connected every day. Several of the local families, watching the virtual meetings, were receiving Bible studies from members of the Salem Spanish and were making the decision for Christ. In addition to these, dozens of people in various parts of the world who also embraced Jesus as their only personal Savior.

I want to highlight the wonderful experience that occurred at the baptism on Saturday, August 29th, in the Willamette River in Salem, Oregon. That beautiful afternoon, with social distancing, a group of brethren got together to celebrate the baptism of a family of five. As we sang by the river, an Anglo man, named Nicholas, was observing our baptism. When we finish singing and praying, we proceeded to the baptismal ceremony. When we finished the baptism, Nicholas mentioned to a member about his desire to talk to me.

When Nicholas approached me, he said “God has touched my life and I need you to please baptize me now!” He spoke to me with conviction and a cry of the heart that could only reflect the sincerity of when the Ethiopian eunuch asked Philip the same question. I immediately asked him if he believed and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and the answer was yes. Upon perceiving this impressive work of the Holy Spirit, I returned with this man again to the waters and there I baptized him. I have never seen such a cheerful face and expression of such joy in a newly baptized as I saw that afternoon. He looked like a child who just received a toy he had desired all his life!

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Unexpected Visit Proves Worth of Drive-In Church

Read this inspiring storyabout how, despite a lack of indoor church services, the Anchorage Northside Church is still able to minister the community, even reaching those curious and first-time visitors.

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More From Port Orchard

Silhouette of bird flying and broken chains at blurred sunset background

by Jeff Harper, lead pastor for the Arden Hills Adventist Church and youth pastor for the Mentone Adventist Church in Southern California
Source: NAD Ministerial

“Public evangelism doesn’t work,” thought Justin Walker. He was one of eight students from the Andrews University Seminary who came from Michigan to Washington to help facilitate Revelation of Divine Love, a Bible prophecy seminar,at the Port Orchard Seventh-day Adventist Church from May 17 to June 8, 2019. The diverse seminary team for this Field School of Evangelism was from Jamaica, Cambodia, India and all over the United States. Led by Pastor Dustin Serns, they hit the ground running with lots of visitation, preparation, and prayer. God worked powerfully through each of the Masters of Divinity students. Many lives were impacted, including Justin’s.        

“In fact,” Justin says, “I came into this series as a proponent against evangelism. But to watch God trahttps://www.nadministerial.com/stories/jesus-changes-lives-in-port-orchardnsform lives in a way that could never happen without every piece of this experience caused me to do a 180 degree turn. I now see that traditional public evangelism produces results. My mind has completely changed.” Justin is excited to conduct an evangelism harvest cycle right away when he finishes his studies and begins pastoring. So what did God do during the three-week reaping campaign to change Justin’s mind? Continue Reading…

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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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