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!
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.
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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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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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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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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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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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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Two more churches to check out and I am done searching. That was my feeling toward churches until, a cheerful woman rang my doorbell. She had a wonderful smile and shared Amazing Facts Bible Study guides with me. I had no intentions of reading them until I saw the questions on the back. I became interested in them and looked forward to her returning and getting the next lesson. One day she did not return. I thought, “What did I do to keep her away?”
I did not have any interest in attending another church. I did have a different interest in one church that was across the street. It was down the hill behind my house and I could watch from my porch what was happening there. I would watch them arrive every Saturday all dressed up to worship and would wonder, “What are those crazy people doing going to church every Saturday? Don’t they know that you’re supposed to go to church on Sunday?” Why do those people attend church on Saturdays and not Sundays? What’s wrong with them? Each Saturday I would watch these people attend church and wonder why?
One day I needed help putting together a gazebo. I decided to ask for help from the members of that church. I found out the name of the church was Selah Seventh-day Adventist Church. I decided to go to the church and walk in and I met Pastor David Morgan. I was expecting to meet an over-weight, pushy, non-caring and womanizing person. I was wrong. He gave me an overview and tour of the church. To my surprise, there was the woman who used to come to my door and drop off those lessons. It was the Pastor’s wife – Annie Morgan. My shaking knees were no longer shaking and I started to feel better.
A few days later, Pastor David Morgan and a few members came to my house ready to work. Pastor prayed and we worked together to install the gazebo. They were as one, treating me as family, even though they did not know me. We had a great time. I decided to attend their church to see why they were as one. They were friendly, caring, and helpful. The Pastor encouraged us to read from our Bibles and not take his word. He read from the Bible often. I have been waiting for this type of message rather than others who do not use the Bible. One Sabbath I approached the head elder and asked what it took to be baptized and become a member of this church. Pastor Morgan studied with me until I was baptized. My question about the Sabbath was solved. I now serve as a greeter and in the Selah Adventist Community Services ministry. Now my wife, Guadalupe, is preparing to be baptized.
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 5:20-21
Modern evangelistic efforts come with a new set of opportunities, but also a new set of challenges. Today, people are not as familiar with Biblical themes and stories as they have in times past. Biblical illiteracy is on the rise, and regardless if people attend church or listen to sermons, the practice of studying Scripture is largely underdeveloped in most believers. The challenge is, presenting messages with heavy theological themes makes it difficult to creatively set the context for some topics that require a much more comprehensive understanding of the Bible.
However, this new reality is also creating new opportunities that are exciting. Little to no biblical knowledge gifts learners with the beauty of starting from scratch, often without many of the harmful preconceived interpretations that can create barriers to growing faith. The opportunity to approach Scripture from a “childlike” posture, leaves the reader more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in revealing what is necessary and every foundation to the Christian faith. We have found this year that we are attracting a growing demographic of new believers which are changing the way we reach our community. We are embracing what is new with hopeful anticipation of making new disciples in Christ.
Living Free was the title of the series we chose to offer, and it was all about finding freedom through God sent relationships. This topic proved to be a powerful evangelistic tool in that it was so practical, it was able to translate well in all major issues of life. In this series, we explored the idea of freedom of being what God wants for us and how he uses people to do it. Instead of focusing on what tends to have us bound, we focused on seeing the help God has constantly offered us, even in our darkest moments.
This approach allowed us to connect the mission of Christ with the mission of the church in the incarnational method God uses to send salvation through people. Overall, we found these topics to hit home for many people, which raised awareness of people needing people to get through hard times, which voiced the need for having a family (church) to journey with.
One younger member of our church had been off and on with God for about two years before eventually he started attending more frequently, about three months before our series begun. He had just started a new relationship with someone who had no religious background, but he invited her to church. It was clear that she had no idea what was happening and, for the most part, was just there because she had been invited. But then, something amazing happened.
Our people embraced them, and loved them, and began to become friends. The real shocker was the first day they came to church by themselves. We were all amazed and grateful to God. After a few months, they began to help with the social media team, and I began to notice our posts getting better and receiving more traffic. One post I will never forget, was when I read the caption, “Saturdays are for second chances!” I was moved with joy and praise because I know who had created this post and I knew their faith was growing.
The only thing I didn’t know was how. No one was studying the Bible with them and they were only coming to church. I couldn’t figure it out. Finally, overwhelmed with curiosity, I had to ask, and their answer was shocking. In order to recap the message to create a social media post, they were listening to the message over and over again to find something to write. They were also paying close attention to the service and going back to read what Scripture was given. The day of their baptism, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Everyone knew that in some small way, they played a part in leading someone to Christ, and if we give God space, he can do amazing things.
We’ve decided as a leadership team to let grace be in charge, as referenced in the Scripture above. Christ needs to be the leader, both in our personal lives and in our church community. As we submit to his leading, we are praying that stories like this will become commonplace.