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SUMMER | 2019

A quarterly journal of Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

IN

HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS HOPE WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND GROWING IN HOPE FLORIDA FOCUS | SUMMER 2019

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LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT FOCUS ON HOPE There’s a famous saying that goes like this: “When God intends to make something wonderful, He begins with a difficulty. When He intends to make something very wonderful, He begins with an impossibility.” There are countless stories of wonderful difficulties and impossibilities in the Bible: the birth of Isaac though his parents Abraham and Sarah were far past childbearing age, the birth of Joseph and Benjamin though Rachel was barren, and even the birth of John the Baptist though his mother was both barren and advanced in years. Yet, in comparison to the impossibility of the birth of Jesus, these examples are mere difficulties. An incomprehensible mystery is the Son of God made flesh, born of a virgin, and with God having breathed life into her womb. I will let your mind venture into the infinite meaning of this impossibility being made possible for just another incomprehensible question: Why did God make Himself in the likeness of us and was it just because He loved us? Perhaps because there is hope in the knowledge that Jesus became one of us. He was born of a woman, raised as a child like any other child, spoke our language, wore our clothes, ate our food, and walked our roads. He knows our needs. He understands our fears. He’s seen our sufferings. Christ means hope to those that need it most: to the family facing terminal illness, the single mother struggling to make ends meet, and the prodigal son or daughter still finding their way home. Even when the disappointments of life are so overwhelming that we cannot see in front of us, if we have Jesus, we have hope. He is not a false hope or a fictional happy ending. When Christ rose from the dead, evil and hopelessness and death were defeated. Our hope in Christ is solid, and it is real. I pray your hope is renewed by this edition of Florida Focus. As you read stories of hope, may you begin to see every difficulty or impossibility as an opportunity for God to make something wonderful in your life. May God bless you always,

Allan Machado, Ph.D. Florida Conference President

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CONTENTS 4. 6. 8. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 16. 20. 22. 23. 24. 26. 30. 31.

GROWING IN HOPE

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HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT BIBLE RETREAT ABC - KULAQUA STORE ANNIVERSARY ABC - JULY SPECIALS ABC - DELIVERY SCHEDULE ABC - RECIPE

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NEW LIFE COACHING - HOPE HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS FOCUS KIDS THEY WILL WALK AND NOT BE FAINT LETTER FROM CAMP DIRECTOR UPCOMING EVENTS

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CAMP MEETING & CAMPESTRE RECAP HOPE WHEN YOU DONT UNDERSTAND PATHFINDER - REDZONE RECAP IMPACTO EVANGELISTICO BROWARD

31 FLORIDA FOCUS is published quarterly by Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and mailed free of charge to constituent members with nonprofit standard postage paid in Orlando, Florida. ®

Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists® 351 S. State Road 434, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714-3824 (407) 644-5000 • www.floridaconference.com • floridafocus@floridaconference.com President: Allan Machado Executive Secretary: Tim Goff Treasurer: Elisa Rahming Editorial Staff: Public Relations Department

floridaconference floridaconf florida.conference

FLORIDA FOCUS | SUMMER 2019

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GROWING IN by Joseph Kidder, Ph.D. Professor of Christian Ministry and Discipleship at SDA Theological Seminary, Berrien Springs, MI A few years ago when I did the research for my book, The Big Four, people told me over and over that what they are looking for in life, in the church, and the Bible is hope. One man said to me, “My boss makes my life miserable all week long. I want to read the Bible and go to church to hear words of hope.” A woman confided in me that her husband emotionally beat on her all week long. “I want to hear words of hope.” We often talk about hope in a type of wishful sense: “I hope you have a nice day.” “I hope I get the job.” “I hope she says yes.” “I hope I don’t get sick.” There are many things we hope for in this life, some more probable to happen than others. However, the biblical concept of hope goes far beyond these earthly hopes. It is not mere wishful thinking, but something we have confidence will happen. Paul in Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hope, therefore, is the object upon which we direct our focus and energies. The evidence or assurance of our faith in God is hope. We don’t have to see Him to believe that He exists. It is the conviction that no matter the circumstances, God’s plans for our lives are for good, to give us a better future (Jeremiah 29:11). Without hope, we can never fully trust in God with all our hearts. Hope is grasping for what we can’t see, but we believe because of the assurance in our hearts from God. HOPE DESCRIBED The Bible is full of examples of men and women who hoped in God’s promises. The patriarch Abraham is held up for believers as a model of hope. When he was 75, God promised to bless him and give him many descendants, as numerous as the stars in the sky. Abraham heard these words and believed God (Genesis 15:6). But despite his belief, Hebrews 6:15 explains that Abraham had to wait 25 years to see the fulfillment of his hope. Yet all the while, Abraham trusted in God, the Author of his hope, until he saw the promise come to pass. Abraham’s hope wasn’t in his own ability to father a child. It was rooted in a trustworthy, unchangeable God, and in His eternal promises. The writer of Hebrews explains that God wants us to take encouragement from His character and hope in Him, (Hebrews 6:16-18). In fact, the Scriptures describe this hope “as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). 4

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HOPE DERAILED What can cause our hope to be lost? Often, we hope in the wrong things. It’s so easy to place our hope in this material world – what we can see, taste, touch, and feel. These things are controllable to us. But God says His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). In fact, the things of this world do not provide a firm foundation for our lives (Colossians 2:8). But Jesus does. In Him we will find a hope that anchors our souls. If your hope is not in Jesus, it is misplaced. If you are feeling hopeless right now, consider where your primary hope is grounded. Come to Jesus and find a hope unlike any other. Jesus offers His hope freely to all who willingly come to Him, acknowledge their sin, and trust in His cleansing blood for eternal life. WHERE IS YOUR HOPE? Hope can be lost and found. It can be as tiny as an atom and still pack a powerful punch in the eye of despair. Hope is the gentle tug within the heart of every Christian to comfort us when we are tossed to and fro by trials. Hope is a powerful stimulant for the brokenhearted and dejected, especially when we’ve lost loved ones in death. God has planted hope in the heart of every believer so that we can build a strong relationship of love and trust with Him. Where is your hope? Let it grow and be nourished in the word of God every day.


WHAT HOPE CAN DO FOR YOU

BUILDING A FOUNDATION OF HOPE

If you truly have your hope anchored in Jesus, there will be many wonderful changes and benefits to your life.

Even if you know Jesus as your Savior, you can still lose hope. We learn from Proverbs that “hope deferred makes the heart sick,” (Proverbs 13:12). When our hopes are delayed, we can be overcome by a deep sense of despair.

Hope brings security. “You will be secure, because there is hope,” Job 11:18a. House alarms, security guards, and metal detectors offer some hope for protection against wicked people. But the hope we have in Christ means that you’re completely secure in God’s hand in this world and the next. When the storms of life are raging, your anchor is the hope that God is in control. Hope brings praise to God. “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more,” Psalm 71:14 In the darkest hours and the deepest pain, Christians can still have hope. Believers in Jesus Christ can praise Him even when everything around them looks bleak. Our hope in God reveals that He is in control, and He uses everything for our good.

So, how did Abraham do it? How did he remain hopeful for more than two decades? Look at Abraham’s relationship with God: he was a friend of God, (2 Chronicles 20:7); he was also God’s servant, (Genesis 26:24); and he was totally obedient, (Genesis 22). You can do the same. Here are four practical steps you can take every day to build a sure foundation of hope that will carry you through the storms of life:

1) SUBMIT YOURSELF TO GOD.

God is the source of our hope. Come to Him in humility and He will restore you (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Hope brings eternal value. “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off,” Proverbs 23:18. No matter what is going on around us— there is a future hope in Christ. He’s not only working in us at this very moment, but He’s also working out our destiny in His kingdom. Even in our physical death, we have hope of eternal peace, joy, and comfort.

2) STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH.

Hope brings strength. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,” Isaiah 40:31. The demands of this life can beat us down spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Yet remembering the hope we have in Christ to overcome evil with good, to bless and not curse, and to draw on His word gives us renewed energy to face the world.

3) TRUST GOD’S TIMING.

Hope brings goodness. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him,” Lamentations 3:25. The favor of God rests on those who put their hope in Him. Goodness from the Lord is evident in our speech and actions because of the hope we have in our hearts.

4) THANK GOD TODAY.

Hope brings joy. “Be joyful in hope,” Romans 12:12. Our outward circumstances may be exceptionally painful and difficult to deal with, but because of hope we still have joy. The hope in Christ stirs up our joy so that we can praise the Lord even in the midst of hardship. Hope brings love. “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us,” Romans 5:5. Hope reveals the love of God that is within every believer. We are moved by the Spirit of God to show love to others in the hope that they will come to know Christ.

Allow God’s previously fulfilled promises to renew your hope. God has given us written record of countless ways He has provided hope for believers in centuries past. Look to these marvelous accounts for renewal (1 Chronicles 16:11-21).

Sometimes God answers our prayers and fulfills our hopes quickly. At other times, for His own divine reasons, He allows us to wait. Remember, it was through faith and patience that Abraham’s hope was fulfilled.

Though it’s difficult to rejoice as we wait for hopes to be fulfilled, rejoicing enables God to perfect us in ways we are unable to see at the time. Paul reminds us that hope, purified in the crucible of waiting, “does not disappoint” (Romans 5:1-5).

Right now, turn to the Author of all hope and rest in Him. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope,” Romans 15:13. FLORIDA FOCUS | SUMMER 2019

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GENERAL STORE Twenty years ago, the Kulaqua General Store, a Florida Adventist Book Center opened. “This is the first and only Adventist Book Center-operated Camp Store in our denomination,” said Alan Williamson. As Gerald Bond stated, “We believe in the ministry that will be provided by this store in our camp and know it will enable others to be ready for the soon return of our loving Savior, Jesus.” Now, twenty years later, the Kulaqua General Store is celebrating their 20th anniversary. This grand celebration highlights the power of God’s will and how if you believe in the conviction He has placed in your heart, support will always follow. Just as He did twenty years ago, God will continue to bless and guide the Kulaqua General Store. As a thank you, the Kulaqua Book Center is having a special one-day sale in honor of their 20th anniversary. Come and join us on Sunday, July 21st, from 10am-5pm. The anniversary celebration will include food demonstrations, door prizes, free hot dogs, special discounts, and more! If you have never visited the Kulaqua General Store, never fear, there is no better time than the present!

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HOW DO WE DEFINE The Apostle Paul uses the word hope as he defines faith. “Now, faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see,” Heb 11:1. Webster’s dictionary defines hope as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” In the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, we can find a deep and meaningful hymn that most know or at least have heard, “We Have This Hope.” The opening line is, “We have this hope that burns within our hearts, Hope in the coming of the Lord” (#214, Wayne Hooper). So, we have both an expectation and a desire to see Jesus return. This fills our heart with joy but also motivates us to serve Him and share Him that others may also have this Hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11.

In coaching, we help people clarify for themselves where their hope lies and what steps they can take to see it more fully in their lives. Hope can be something that is just around the corner, or it can be years away, but it is that compelling force that draws us ever forward to see it come to pass. The key to hope is that it is real and based on what is tangible. Hope cannot be faked. What are you doing to foster hope in your life and the lives of those around you? Let me suggest three things that you can do now.

1) PRAY

Since our greatest hope is found in Jesus, it only stands to reason that we need as much time with Him as we can find; and there is no better way than through prayer. Remember that prayer is a two-way conversation. When you have said all you need to, be quiet and listen for God to speak.

2) COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

We find greater hope and happiness when we focus on the blessings we have in our life rather than what we wish we could have.

3) LIVE IN THE PRESENT

We look to the coming of Jesus. However, we must live each day as if it is our last. Remember that the past is past, and the future is the future. What we have is now, living each day filled with hope that comes from Jesus.

Alexander E. Schlussler

Field Associate for Lay and Leadership Development alex.schlussler@floridaconference.com

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HOPE FOR THE by Fiorella Meidinger his eyes; they glazed up towards the ceiling. Karl started screaming out loud asking me if I could hear him. My heart sunk! Although I have always been one to easily worry, I create a veil of confidence and calmness in times of distress, and this was one of those times. I calmly kissed him and let him know that I was here, that I could hear him, and that it was going to be okay. As I dialed 911, he deteriorated quickly: he couldn’t see me, he couldn’t hear me, he couldn’t breathe very well, and then his body started to stiffen up.

Have you found yourself in a place where you think there’s absolutely no hope for you? Hope is a tricky thing. It’s a short, four-letter word that encloses an abundance of power even to those who doubt its power. The thing about hope is that it’s always there, believer or non-believer. But why do we find ourselves in situations where we don’t think there’s hope for us? In these cases, how can we carry on? My name is Fiorella Meidinger. I’ve been married to my husband, Karl Meidinger, for twelve years and have been blessed with two wonderful children, Maddox and Marshall. I am a stay at home mother, and Karl worked hard every day to support us. He always made time for our family. He never missed any of the important events the children had, and he would always make time for just the two of us. We are not a perfect couple, but God put us together. I am so thankful to God for placing Karl in my life. One day Karl started to complain about a headache he was suffering for a few days. He was paying bills on the computer, and I was folding laundry when all of the sudden Karl said, “That’s weird! My eyesight just went blurry.” I figured he was exhausted from his new job as director of finance at AdventHealth East and the commute, so I told him to go to sleep. Little did I know, this would be the last calm thought I would have. I left the room for a few seconds, and to my surprise I walked in to see Karl completely knocked out. “Wow, he must be really tired,” I thought, but then I felt something, something weird–that weird sensation your gut gives you when something is not right. I touched him and said his name, no response. I started to worry. I shook him harder and yelled his name. This time Karl responded and opened 14

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At the hospital, Karl had emergency surgery. The doctors were great, but doctors have a duty to inform family members with facts, and the fact was that Karl’s chances of surviving the surgery were not good. It had been four hours since this nightmare started, and Karl had suffered a basilar artery occlusion, which is known for being an ischemic stroke. I was distraught! The doctor didn’t give me much hope, but those were the facts. I prayed over Karl and kissed him before they took him into surgery. I couldn’t do anything else but leave him in God’s hands. I felt helpless and hopeless. There was nothing left to do but pray, so I did...I prayed a lot, along with hundreds of other people whom at the moment I was not aware of. Finally the doctor came out of the surgery room after what felt like a lifetime and started to speak although I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I could hear his voice and see his lips moving, but all I heard was noise. I stopped him. “Is he alive?” I asked. “He’s alive,” the doctor replied.


Nothing else would go into my head besides the fact that Karl was alive; that’s all I cared about!  What I didn’t understand was that he was not out of the woods yet. He couldn’t breathe on his own and was in a coma. As I’ve researched his stroke, I’ve learned that the basilar artery occlusion is an uncommon stroke for most people. Only approximately 15 percent of the population suffer from this type of stroke avery year, and its mortality rate is 85 percent. I now understand why the doctor didn’t want to give me much hope. After surgery, Karl was not my Karl. He was just there, not responsive to anything. My heart ached, and I started to talk to him because my Karl still had to be in there, right? The following morning, Karl was rushed back into the operating room for another emergency surgery as he had suffered another stroke. I knew how bad the first stroke was, so when I looked up at the doctor, he practically said he’d try. My faith and hope were almost gone. However, God saved his life again! Karl made it through his second emergency surgery, but again was unresponsive. I didn’t know it at the moment, but the organ donors were on call because it was doubtful Karl would make it through the night. Still, I could only pray and hope for the best. The next day was Sabbath and something happened, Karl opened his eyes and started responding. I could not believe it! Karl stayed in the ICU for a total of three weeks and went onto intensive rehab for another six weeks. One day he would do better, and the next he would not. We knew it was going to be a long journey. Through all of this, it was amazing to see the love between Karl and our children even though Karl was unable to respond with his voice or much movement. When nobody was around, the boys would go up to their dad and say, “squeeze my hand,” and Karl would not only squeeze their hands, but he would point his thumbs up to the ceiling! That was Karl’s way of showing his love for our children and showing me he was fighting for us.

Although the worst is over, our journey does not end there. Karl is doing much better now. He can speak, run, and even throw the ball around with our children; yet, we are still working hard towards a full recovery of his cognitive function. It has been a very difficult journey, and this could have very well been a different story for us. We are faced with challenges on a daily basis, but we are surrounded with a plethora of support, guidance, and hope. Yes, we have our low points and doubts. In those moments of doubts is when we have to push through and conquer. If you are feeling hopeless, you have to know that God has a purpose, and trust Him even if sometimes the outcome may not be what we desire. We feel very blessed to have Karl with us, but the story could’ve been different. It is in those moments, those very difficult, treacherous, gut wrenching, helpless moments, when hope arises. When you can do nothing else, you have to leave it in God’s hands, because God is bigger than anything we face. He loves you and will always be there for you! So pray, pray some more, even in the waiting. Maybe you’re going through a difficult time right now. Maybe you’re at a place where it seems that there’s no hope for you. Know this, “Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place,” (author unknown). I would like to share with you a verse that kept our family going even when we didn’t think we could. We trust that His plans are bigger than ours.

“Many are the plans of men, but it is the Lord’s will that prevails,” Proverbs 19:21 The Meidingers are members of the Forest Lake Seventhday Adventist Church in Apopka.

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Kids Alex Rodriguez A popka, FL

Isabela Barbosa Boca Raton, FL

Maiya Lo we Apopka, FL

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As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

Psalms 71:14.

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THEY WILL WALK AND by Florida Conference Staff Writer Terry and Michael Newmyer and their families, active members of the Apopka Seventh-day Adventist Church, had a desire to be an extension of their church through their business lives. After asking God for guidance, they found an opportunity where they could impact people’s lives in more ways than they could have imagined. They literally help people “Walk Together,” as our mission statement declares.

opened doors that has allowed SKY to reach more people that deserve great care.

Michael graduated from Forest Lake Academy in 2008, attended Adventist University of Health Sciences (now AdventHealth University), and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Pacific Union College. He started his career working in the corporate world in auditing, accounting, and as a financial analyst. Today, Michael is the operations administrator of their family business while being a husband and father of two cute little ones.

SKY patients may be on an isolated or vulnerable path, where they have to face many trials alone. SKY understands these situations. Trauma as described in the dictionary is, “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” Losing a limb is definitely a trauma. SKY services a community that is in great need of support. From beginning to end, they are there for their patients.

Terry, Michael’s father, is the founder of SKY Orthotics and Prosthetics, and holds an MBA from Andrews University. He has had a career in the health care industry and enjoys his family both at home and the family of colleagues he has worked with over the decades of his career. Michael and Terry had dreamed about working together in a family business aimed at helping people. When they saw the opportunity to do so, they felt God was opening the door for them. They decided to start this journey together, doing work as a father and son in a business that promoted their values. They wanted the principles of Christianity to be felt as they went about their day-to-day duties. This is how the company got started. The Newmyers are now providing prosthetic care for people who have lost an arm or leg and orthotics for patients that need braces or diabetic shoes. Their mission is getting the right care to people in the right place and at the right time. This means patients come to the SKY offices when they can, but SKY caregivers also go to facilities, private residences, or wherever patients need to receive their care. “At SKY, the patients are also our family,” says Michael. “We do our very best to offer ‘something extra’ to give them an experience they can’t find elsewhere. The SKY caregivers travel all over Florida in order to provide our patients with their prosthetic and orthotic needs. We want them to feel special and accepted into our SKY family!” SKY now has six practitioners, thirty employees, three different locations in Kissimmee, Maitland, and Ocala, and more than 2,000 patients. As Michael and Terry have faced struggles, God has blessed them with patience and 20

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This is why the Newmyers believe in Isaiah 40:31, “They that wait upon the Lord will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This text conveys the spirit of the SKY family. It is the vision of SKY that patients, staff, and friends will each reach their full potential and enjoy life at its best.

SKY has grown from a business experience to an emotional one as well. Transformations happen frequently, such as patients that go through a depressed and grieving state to become a smiling and self-sufficient individual. “It is a great journey to witness and an even better one to be a part of,” says Michael. “People who once could not walk, can now walk! It is that inspiration that keeps the SKY caregivers motivated.” Dana was in a low emotional state when he first went to SKY for care. He didn’t even know if he wanted a leg or if he ever wanted to walk again. God was by his side when the insurance company approved him on the first try, and God continues to walk with him. Dana went from not knowing if he would want to walk again to going outside, getting back to work, and playing with his son. He tackled life by being more active physically and through his community, to helping feed the homeless, sponsoring a camp for youth with lost limbs, to wanting to run a 5K; he is now unstoppable! When he was asked, “What is it that gives you that confidence now?” he responded with, “Prayer, prayer is the strongest power and has allowed me to return to this life, but it was with the help of SKY to help me realize that there was hope.” Watching Dana’s outcome and watching his continued growth has been a powerful experience for the owners of SKY. They believe that as a business you cannot give that power of faith and prayer, only God can do that. Dana turned to God and witnessed His power, and continues to do so. If you believe God has put conviction in your heart to do


anything, you have to move forward and trust that the support from God is always there. Michael and Terry want to help people reach their full potential, and by God’s grace, that is something they are working to achieve every day. Two years ago before there was SKY, there was prayer. God gives us all a different journey. There is no right or wrong journey; it is different for us all. For Michael and Terry, their journey included creating SKY with the help of their family of colleagues. They knew this is what they were supposed to do. Opening SKY for business was an important mission the Newmyer family wanted to achieve. God always has a plan. He has brought SKY to where it is for a reason. “Whatever God has in mind for your journey, you will be blessed if you follow His plan,” says Terry.

“Let us pray for each other that God’s desire for each of us to bring meaningful contributions to the lives of others will be understood in our hearts and fully experienced. As for SKY, the sky is the limit!” www.skyoandp.com FLORIDA FOCUS | SUMMER 2019

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LETTER FROM Spring has finally come to north Florida! Easter was late this year, coming late in the middle of April. A lot of the old farmers say you can still get a frost on the ground any time before Easter. We have our own weather tree here at Camp Kulaqua. There’s an old hickory tree that stands right by the camp office. Once the blooms have shown up on this tree, winter is over. The wildflowers start blooming, and more and more people start arriving at camp. We have just completed two wonderful Camp Meetings, one in English and one in Spanish. Thousands of people came this year to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to spend time with Jesus and enjoy some wonderful preaching, beautiful music, great fellowship, and lots of food. We were excited to unveil the newest place on camp called The Gathering Place. Located between King Chapel and the cafeteria, the Gathering Place is just what it sounds like–a place where people can gather and converse, share some food, and some food for thought. The Gathering Place is made up of a group of porch swings that invite people to sit and talk and share with each other. In the middle sits a fire pit that’s run by gas and makes for wonderful ambiance at night. Adding to the porch swing area is outdoor bistro dining tables and a group photo spot with large rocks and the Camp Kulaqua sign. Camp was designed and developed for the purpose of God’s people gathering together to worship, enjoy fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ, and experience God’s wonderful creation that He has so graciously given us. One Camp Meeting attendee said, “I felt like I was sitting on my front porch swing visiting with my neighbor.” I hope sometime this year you can visit us here at camp and take your turn in the porch swing. Your brother in Christ, Phil Younts Camp Ministries Director Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

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UPCOMING Single Parent Retreat

Ministerial Retreat

July 5–7, 2019

July 21–24, 2019

For questions regarding the program contact: Judy Smith - judy.smith@floridaconference.com

www.floridaconference.com

Registration: www.campkulaqua.com (386) 454-1351

Family Camp August 30–September 2, 2019 Registration: www.campkulaqua.com (386) 454-1351

Unquenchable Love Couple’s Retreat, for Married and Unmarried Couples September 20–22, 2019 Registration: www.campkulaqua.com (386) 454-1351

Independent Living/Blind Camp

Young at Heart

Sept 22–27, 2019

October 20–23, 2019

Registration: www.campkulaqua.com

Registration: www.campkulaqua.com

(386) 454-1351

(386) 454-1351

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WATCH VIDEO

VER VIDEO

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HOPE WHEN YOU DON’T WATCH VIDEO

by Judge Judith Hawkins

I am not sure how to properly warn you about what you are about to read. I wish I could tell you it’s a sad story with a happy ending. I have the ultimate hope in my Lord Jesus Christ that the ending, indeed, will be a happy one, but I think my story is far from over. So, if you happen to be going through adversity in your life, maybe my story can help. In the meantime, we keep putting one foot after the other knowing Christ is our shield moving forward. Here is my story. I had been a successful lawyer until I felt the Lord guiding my steps toward becoming a judge in 1996–something which, at that time, was far-fetched from my reality. Never in the history of Tallahassee, FL, had an African-American judge been voted into our court system, let alone a woman! But this is neither here nor there. I can only brag on what Christ has done in me. After being known for serving the people as a judge with the best of my abilities and the integrity my position demands, I suddenly, in 2014, find myself being persecuted for what I can only define as a spiritual battle. Let me explain. The Judicial Qualifications Committee came after me with baseless job performance accusations that until this day simply cannot be proven. Maybe I was representing the Lord too well in the court of law, where I made a conscious effort to avoid letting my personal and spiritual beliefs influence the way I executed and applied the law. I also believe Gaza Road Ministries, an organization I am proud 26

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to have founded in order to better serve the Lord, has had a lot to do with it. Let’s just say my heart and will to serve the people, even without saying the name of Jesus out loud, didn’t seem to be in the best interest of the system. Long story short, I am removed from the bench in 2014. I know what you must be thinking. It has got to be devastating to lose such a prestigious position in such a sketchy manner right? Sure it was tough, especially knowing I have not done anything wrong, but this was just one more blow to a few I had already taken. In 2012, I had lost my brother to his second bout with cancer. He left behind two nieces whom my husband and I vowed to care for the rest of our lives. Never could I have guessed I would lose my husband just nine months after my brother’s passing. Then, my removal from the bench takes place. So yes, this has not been the easiest stretch of my life, I can assure you. Just as I am trying to gather myself from the aforementioned adversity, I receive a letter from the Florida Bar letting me know they want to suspend my license. Now, I have to not only leave the bench, but I also need to stop practicing law altogether? What is going on? I thought this was going to be like a Daniel in the lion’s den story. It’s bad, but I’ll come out of it. But then, maybe it is more like the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace, and Jesus will show up. But no, wait a minute, it’s more like


Joseph. I know I am going to have to go through Potiphar’s house and prison, but I will end up at the palace. I wish all the struggles ended there. They did not. By the end of 2015, my son became deathly ill. When I went to see him, I literally found him in a fetal position, and I just told the Lord, “I can’t do this anymore, I need a break.” If even Satan gave Jesus a break in the wilderness after 40 days of tempting him, why could I not catch one? The Lord did grant me that break period in 2016 when I dedicated myself to travel the world. I did a mission trip in Peru, and I took my sister to Australia as a reward and rest from taking care of our ailing father who also passed away. I also went with my niece to Branson, Missouri, and to Oklahoma to check out our family roots. However, in 2017, my best friend died of cancer, and my niece, the one I traveled with, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. I was there for the biopsy, and I was there when they took her body out of the house. I had no strength in me anymore, but my son needed me. Only through a lot of prayer and a little miracle, he was able to be seen early enough so doctors could save his life. He was so malnourished, they could not operate on him right away. In the midst of all this trouble, I faced foreclosure, I had health issues, and there more deaths in my family. By now, I am fully convinced this is not Daniel’s, Joseph’s, or the Hebrew boys’ story. This is more like Job. But why me? Why my family?

This is where the Lord works in us by speaking to us in the middle of the storm, a distinct voice that can be heard if you really walk with Him. God is preparing us and our character to be saved. Sanctification is giving the opportunity to the Holy Spirit to work out in us what’s standing between us and our salvation. In order to be faithful, WE HAVE GOT TO BE TESTED! Salvation is not a small prize you win by collecting a few stamps. As my walk with the Lord has been full of Satanic attacks, I know God has used all this pain to strengthen my faith in Him. Psalm 91 has been my main source of energy moving on one day at the time. My hope is that someone can be inspired by this story to walk with Jesus. Stephen was stoned to death, but were it not for that, Saul would not have become Paul. God used Stephen to make Paul the Apostle. I am not going to try to say I don’t cry, and this has not been hard. Some days are very tough. What I can tell you is, if this is the price I have to pay to hear my dear Jesus say “well done my good and faithful servant,” the price is not too high. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness. He can make all wrongs turn right, for His glory; not yours, not mine. And this process, as painful as it could be, is a very small price to pay to walk with Him for eternity. That’s the ending I’m looking forward to. I hope you are as well.

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There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:18 .

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Red Zone is a weekend that brings the Florida Conference Pathfinder and Adventurer families together to celebrate all that God has done in the clubs and in the kids’ lives throughout the year, and to test their skills in several final challenges. It is beautiful to see Camp Kulaqua full of young people enjoying the outdoors and participating in so many activities.  The Pathfinder and Adventurer Department thanks every director, staff member, parent, and child for all they have done to make the 2018-2019 Pathfinder - Red Zone Recap Club Year a success. For the clubs that were recognized as Club of the Year, you put forth exceptional effort to be one of our premiere clubs in Florida; thank you.  We also want to acknowledge all the kids who received the Adventurer or Pathfinder of the Year award – continue to be exceptional. We are proud of all our drill and drum teams and the kids who signed up for the races and skill events.  Finally, our volunteer team deserves a big thanks for all their commitment and dedication to make an event like this come together to be a blessing. Thank you one and all. We are praying for you this summer and look forward to Red Zone 2020 next May.

WATCH VIDEO

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IMPACTO EVANGELISTICO BROWARD 2019

MINISTERIOS EN ESPAÑOL DE LA ASOCIACIÓN DE LA FLORIDA

Con mucho entusiasmo y gran expectativa, del 4 al 11 de mayo, se llevó a cabo IMPACTO Broward 2019. Anualmente, el Ministerio Hispano de la Asociación de la Florida programa un impacto con el fin de apoyar evangelísticamente a las iglesias de un condado específico. Este año, 2019, el Condado de Broward fue el que recibió este beneficio, y el cual está ubicado al noreste de Miami. Fueron 14 iglesias adventistas las que participaron de este gran evento, de las cuales 8 iglesias fueron hispanas y 6 americanas. Las 14 iglesias se unieron para llevar a cabo de manera simultánea la gran campaña de cosecha titulada “DECIDETE POR JESUS” y “RECLAIM” respectivamente. El impacto evangelístico anual, consiste en una semana especial de cosecha que cuenta con la participación de predicadores invitados que generalmente son pastores distritales de la Conferencia y algunos de sus administradores. Para poder cosechar en la semana de impacto, los pastores distritales, unidos a sus laicos, preparan con anticipación el terreno a través del proceso de siembra y cultivo, esperando con ansias la visita de los evangelistas para la etapa de cosecha. Como resultado final de IMPACTO Broward, 45 personas fueron bautizadas y recibidas como miembros de la iglesia. Glorificamos el nombre del Señor porque nunca su Palabra vuelve vacía. Al cierre de IMPACTO, y para celebrar esta gran victoria, el sábado 11 por la tarde, se llevaron a cabo dos conciertos simultáneos: uno en la iglesia de Hollywood en español, y el otro en la iglesia americana Ambassador en inglés. Agradecemos a nuestro Dios porque IMPACTO Broward fue realmente una gran fiesta espiritual. Pr. Homero Salazar Evangelista y Coordinador de Evangelismo Asociación de la Florida

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Florida Focus Summer 2019  

Florida Focus Summer 2019