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Volume 21, Issue 1

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Inside:

Special Needs Program Page 3

Love Letters From God Page 6

Homeless Families

Page 14

Columns:

Hooked On Books:

Page 8

Faith & Footprints: Page 10

Grace Notes:

News Wire:

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February 2017

Uniting Community And Families In Love And Prayer

By Amanda Boston

More than a dozen churches from been brought together by God's Son, “Character Pep Rally for Unity” and the Tampa Bay area united for an and we can extend His work of reconwill feature a celebrity speaker to be evening of prayer and thanksgiving at ciliation and peace to others. named later. As the name implies, the Bell Shoals Baptist The event rally will spotlight the role of an individChurch in Brandon. gathered a diverse ual’s character in unifying the commuIn response to the group of people nity through current struggles. nation’s escalating from various Students, parents and community racial and political denominations, members are invited to an encouragdivides, the event races and political ing evening jam-packed with entertainfocused on unifying views. The ment from local high school bands, community and famidrama teams lies. and choruses. Leading the In respect to charge was Rep. community Ross Spano from events, Spano the Florida House of clarified that Representatives. He although he expressed, “I had a can’t separate growing concern who he is as Dr. Stephen Rummage, senior pastor Bell Shoals Baptist Church, played an active and a feeling that I abeliever from needed to do some- role in planning and provided the venue who he is as a for the November 20 event. thing. I began to leader, he is pray about it and met with friends, evening dedicated careful not to community leaders and local pastors a time of prayer to infringe on the Worship Pastor Jason Millsaps, Bell Shoals who share a heart for that same vision educators, law Baptist Church, and Senior Pastor A.D. Shaw, beliefs of others. of unity. The November 20 event was enforcement, first “I understand Shekinah Glory Cathedral, joined together in prayer for our community. the first step of a series of meetings responders, milithere may be that we hope will take place at quarter- tary, and leaders some concern ly intervals.” of the city, state and nation. Worship that I will use my platform for some Dr. Stephen Rummage, senior teams from the participating churches religious agenda. But that’s not what pastor Bell Shoals Baptist Church, and combined into a mass choir to worship this is about,” explained Spano, “I A.D. Shaw, senior pastor Shekinah the Lord in song. The church, being sense an openness in the church parGlory Cathedral, share in Spano’s the body of Christ, put aside personal ticularly to get out of our comfort zone enthusiasm and shouldered key leaddifferences, displayed love for one and reach across divides to truly see ership roles in preparation for the another, and acted as an example of unity and love one another like Christ.” UNITED event. unity to the rest of the community. If you would like to get involved or Rummage said, “I believe that the In March, plans are underway for be added to the mailing list, please church is the beginning place for real a community event at a local high contact the office of Rep. Spano at unity in our communities. We have school. In Spano’s words, it will be a 744-6256.

Missionary Couple Relocates From Brandon To Village Of Hope In Uganda By Amanda Boston For nearly two decades, Uganda endured brutal attacks from the terrorist organization known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The rebel group employed ruthless tactics to procure its soldiers—it raided the northern Acholi villages and carried off the children to become soldiers or sex slaves. Mercifully, in 2006, the LRA’s stronghold weakened in Uganda, but the reign of its terror camMike Doud, a missionary with Village of Hope paign generated thouUganda teaches the orphans about farming. sands of displaced Janelle Doud sensed restlessorphans. In response to the crisis, ness rising within. “Mike and I Village of Hope Uganda was founded had missions experience in “to help the helpless in Africa, to bring West Africa back in the 80’s, safety to children who don't have safewe were at a point in our life, ty, to provide shelter to the homeless where we were asking God if and food to the hungry.” he could use us in some way In 2008, Bay Life Church of other than here in suburbia. Brandon partnered with Village of We saw this as an opportunity Hope Uganda to build houses and to use our past cross-cultural schools on 100 acres of undeveloped exposure,” explained Janelle. bush, two hours south of Gulu, With hearts for the motherUganda. After hearing Uganda’s disless and a passion for Christ, tress call, church members Mike and

the duo returned to Africa in 2009 to answer Uganda’s plea for help. Except, this time Mike and Janelle ventured to the opposite coast with an added companion—daughter Jenna, a brand-new high school graduate, joined them for a year. The first order of business was to clear the uncultivated land in order to create access roads, dig a well and erect mud huts. “When we signed on, the director of Village of Hope painted a pretty bleak picture of the work

Continued on Page 6

Missionaries Mike and Janelle Doud uprooted their lives in Brandon to build a village for Ugandan orphans.


Page 2 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Fellowship of Christian Athletes: Champions For Christ By Putting Spirituality In Sports By Amanda Boston Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) has turned the playing field into a mission field. The FCA vision is “to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.” Though the FCA has been around for decades, Dee Franks, the director for the East Hillsborough area said, “There was a resurgence in the Tampa Bay area in 2011, and it has been growing ever since; almost every high school in Hillsborough County has representation." The ministry of FCA is comprised of four parts, dubbed as the Four C’s: coaches, campus, camps and FCA offers leadership camps focusing community. Coaches have on skills and spirituality. direct influence on athletes public school policies with and play a vital role in the program. regard to proselytizing, While on and off the field, coaches are their coaching often comexpected to uphold and instill the municates Jesus Christ FCA’s core values of integrity, serving, without ever speaking his teamwork and excellence. John Kelly, name. a teacher at Strawberry Crest High FCA also materializes School recognizes the vast scope of a in the school as a club coach’s impact. A former FCA student through its second C, the athlete, Kelly is now an FCA coach campus component. FCA and said, “The whole reason I coach is clubs are student-led and because of the positive influence FCA non-compulsory. The club has had on my life. I hope to give back typically meets once a month and may in some small way.” take on a variety of forms such as a FCA equips and encourages Bible study, a platform for guest coaches to be Christ-like role models speakers, or an outreach event. by offering faith-based training Outside the perimeters of the resources, conferences and mentorschool zone, FCA’s third C is coming. Although coaches must adhere to

attendees hone their sport skills while fellowshipping with other like-minded participants. Finally, the fourth C is its community ministry; FCA partners with local churches and business to establish non-school club and league sports. The FCA has had a positive impact on thousands of lives on and off the sports field. With the propagation of its core values of integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence, the coaches and athletes are already victorious in the game of life. For more information or to get involved with the Tampa Bay FCA, visit www.fcatampabay.org or contact the Hillsborough Area Director, Dee Franks at dfranks@fca.org.

prised of camps for coaches and athletes. The camp mission is to inspire spiritually and perspire FCA coaches may hold a time of prayer, but it must be after practice athletically. Camp hours and optional.


Page 3 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Local Churches Offer Specials Need Programs

By Amanda Boston

Bell Shoals H.O.P.E. ministry teaches children through adults with special needs about the love of Jesus. This service also provides parents with the opportunity to serve and worship in the church.

to 8:30 p.m. From Psalm 139: 14 February 2 to May 18, reads, “I praise you, the group participates for I am fearfully and in devotional studies, wonderfully made. shares food and Wonderful are your builds mutually supworks; my soul knows portive relationships. it very well.” Every For those interested, child is a unique creplease register ation of God and at baylife.org/groups deserves an opportuand contact Connie nity to learn about his Kincaid at love. Several local ckincaid@baylife.org. churches offer proFirst Baptist grams designed to Church of Brandon meet the needs of offers special minindividuals with cogniistries for children and tive, social, medical or Karen Richards and her daughter adults with special other disabilities. Shawnee participate in Bell Shoals’ needs. The program Although not a comH.O.P.E. ministry. includes life groups for prehensive list, the folall ages on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and a lowing information highlights a few of the choir on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. First local churches focused on this specific Baptist Church is located at 216 N. ministry. Parsons Ave., Brandon. For more inforBell Shoals Baptist Church at its mation, contact the church at 689-1204. Brandon campus presents H.O.P.E. (He FishHawk Fellowship Church Offers People Encouragement) ministry offers a group for children with special for elementary age children through requirements for ages 4 years to 5th adults with disabilities. The H.O.P.E. ministry provides parents with the opportunity grade during the 9:30 a.m. Sunday servto worship together, attend a life group, or ice. The church is located at 15326 FishHawk Blvd., Lithia. For more informaserve in the church while their child is tion on how to enroll, cared for in a safe and please first contact Brooke loving atmosphere. Childs at 655-7431 or Additionally, Bell Shoals bchilds@fishhawkfc.org. offers a once a week Redeemer parent support group Presbyterian Church called L.O.V.E. (Lord holds a class for young Orchestrates Victory in adults with special needs Everything). The support on Sunday mornings at 11 group provides encoura.m. The church is located agement and fellowship 12404 Boyette Rd., Riverview. For more with other parents who have special information, contact the church at 741needs children. For more information 1776 or office@redeemerriverview.org. about the H.O.P.E. ministry or L.O.V.E. If your church is interested in launchsupport group, please contact the chiling a special needs group, The One Roof dren's ministry office at 689-4229 or www.bellshoals.com/hope-special-needs- Initiative is a local non-profit organization ministry/. The Brandon campus is located that provides churches with training and resources. For more information, contact at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd., Brandon. 804-8674 or www.theoneroof.com. The Bay Life Church of Brandon hosts One Roof Initiative is located at 1325 E. a special needs adult life group for ages 2nd Ave., Tampa. 18 to 35 years on Thursdays from 7 p.m.

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McAuley Fine Jewelry Opens In Brandon

By Michelle Caceres

Although His jourMartin’s Jewelers, ney to the jewthe iconic store elry trade that has served wound through the Brandon area other profesfor 62 years, has sions. shuttered its “I’ve sold doors. Customers things from looking for the insurance to same level of appliances, McAuley Fine Jewelry (formerly Martin’s Jewelers) superior craftsbut was miserowner Ed McAuley is prepared to continue the legamanship will be able because cy of fine jewelry craftsmanship. pleased to learn these were that McAuley Fine Jewelry will continue in things customers had to buy,” said its place, with many of the same staff McAuley. ready to provide the superior level of Lutz resident Michelle Townsend was service and workmanship that Martin’s referred to McAuley when she was in the customers have come to expect from the market for a piece of custom jewelry. Her store. mother, who passed away in 2004, had These include watch repairman Mike left her several pieces of jewelry and she Martin (Joe’s cousin), who has more than wanted to use them to create a wedding 33 years’ experience, store manager Don ring set for her anniversary. Korte, a local artisan with 46 years’ expe“Ed was able to take the idea that rience, Rob Comfort, a third generation was in my head and construct it into a master jeweler with more than 37 years’ tangible thing,” she said. experience (17 of those at Martin’s Townsend was so pleased she’s Jewelers) that specializes in custom already thinking about her next custom pieces, Seudatt “Deo” Gajadhar, a bench piece. ‘McAuley Fine Jewelry specializes jeweler with more than 50 years’ experiin custom design work and is definitely ence (18 with Martin’s) and an accomthe store I will be turning to,” she complished goldsmith, Wayne Simmons, mented. The shop also specializes in jewwhose 31 years’ experience is reflected in elry repairs. his outstanding work and Pam Simmons “Martin’s was so successful for so (Joe’s daughter), who has been in the long because customers trusted us to business for 15 years. take care of their jewelry that same way McAuley Fine Jewelry, located at 664 we would take care of our mom’s,” said Oakfield Dr. in the Atlantic Village McAuley. McAuley Fine Jewelry is open Shopping Center on the corner of Kings Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Ave. and Oakfield Dr., is owned by Ed Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. McAuley, who spent a decade as Visit www.mcauleyfinejewelry.com, Martin’s’ assistant manager before taking call 689-8124 or visit its Facebook page over the mantle of owner. at McAuley Fine Jewelry.

Redeemer Presbyterian Church: Anchored In Christ And Active In Culture

By Amanda Boston

Redeemer’s food pantry is opened the first and third Thursday of the month. Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) first assembled in September 1998 under the leadership of its current Pastor Craig Swartz. With humble beginnings, Redeemer Church first gathered at the Bloomingdale West Community Center, but today it convenes on 35 acres off of Boyette Road in Riverview. With a mission to be anchored in Christ and active in culture—Redeemer Church accomplishes its mission by reaching out to the community in a multitude of ways. In line with Christ’s command to love one another, Redeemer Church established a food pantry on its property and extends a helping hand to the surrounding community. Since its inception in June 2015, the pantry has served a steady stream of people in need. Janet Atchison, a church member and volunteer said, “It is God's pantry. His hand has been in it every step of the way and continues to be in it every day and every hour we operate. We absolutely had no idea how much our community needed us.” The pantry is open the first and third Thursday of

every month. For anyone who would like to volunteer or donate items, please contact the church. Every spring, the church hosts the Boyette Sports Soccer Program on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The eightweek program is for ages 4 through 14 years and provides instruction and games in a noncompetitive environment. Registration is on Saturday, February 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the church. Visit www.boyettesports.com for further information. Also this spring, Redeemer is hosting a Seder Meal on Sunday, March 19 at 6 p.m. This special meal is symbolic of the Passover where six foods items are arranged on the plate to retell the Exodus story from Egypt. The Sunday worship service begins at 9:30 a.m. with Sunday school at 11 a.m. Classes are available for all ages to include a special needs adult class. Also, at 11 a.m., Redeemer holds a Spanish worship service. On Sunday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the church building bursts with a flurry of activity from its children’s discipleship club and youth group for middle and high school students. For information on how to get involved, visit www.redeemerriverview.org or contact the church office at 741-1776 or office@redeemerriverview.org. Redeemer Church is located at 12404 Boyette Rd. in Riverview.


Page 5 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Florida State Fair Captures Memories

Staff Report

The 113th ated with jellyFlorida State Fair beans. is scheduled for Visitors also February 9 learn about the through 20 at the ingredients used to Florida State make their favorite Fairgrounds, treats from a “farm located at I-4 and to fork” perspective US Hwy 301 in and get schooled in Tampa. This the nuts and bolts year’s theme, of the confectionThe Florida State Fair will take place “Picture Yourself making process, February 9-20. at the Fair,” while hearing fasciemphasizes all of the unforgettable nating stories of famous candy makers moments waiting to be captured on camand chocolatiers. The Sweets exhibit is era. One of the new featured attractions free with the price of admission. promises to make patrons of all ages as “We want both loyal patrons and happy as kids in a candy store as they those who have not yet visited the Fair to learn about the history of confections. The join us in making memories that will last a Sweets exhibit, along with rides, shows, lifetime,” said Cheryl Flood, executive concerts, shopping, food and amazing director of the Florida State Fair Authority. animals and livestock, as well as Mildred “The Sweets exhibit in particular will proW. and Doyle E. Carlton Jr. Cracker vide a fun and educational experience for Country and other exciting entertainment, all ages.” promise non-stop fun – all at an excellent In addition to thrilling rides, it wouldn’t value and always with free parking. be the Florida State Fair without educaDiscounted advance admission and ride tional and entertaining attractions and armband tickets are available for purperformers. Where, for the price of a chase online movie ticket, can you see a Sea Lion, a at www.FloridaStateFair.com beginning spectacular Big Top Circus, cheer on your Thursday, December 1. favorite porker at the pig races, feed a New at the Florida State Fair in 2017 giraffe from your own hand, enjoy acts is Sweets: A Tasty Journey, an interactive from TV shows like America’s Got Talent, exhibit that utilizes a blend of traditional watch an amazing bear show, and be and modern educational techniques to thrilled by the dogs of K-9s in Flight? explore candy’s history and role in popuDiscounted admission and armband lar culture. There also is a giant Candy tickets are available at Land game perfect for fun photo ops, a www.FloridaStateFair.com. Get the best “beanboozled” taste test challenge (grass prices now through January 1. Tickets flavored jelly beans anyone?) and candyalso can be purchased at Florida inspired art, including amazing replicas of Walgreens locations from January 2 famous paintings like the Mona Lisa, crethrough February 8. Dr. Amir Boules

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The Bible, A True Love Letter From God.......

By Amanda Boston

On Valentine’s Day, it’s customary for many to express their love and adoration for another through greeting cards, flowers and chocolates. For those who love a word aptly spoken, a thoughtfully crafted card can make a person’s cup runneth over. Words, whether spoken or written, possess great power. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host,” Psalm 33:6. Take into account the Bible; it contains the actual words of the almighty God. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” God commissioned about 40 men to record his powerful and lifechanging words and preserved it for generations. Throughout the Bible, God reveals himself, declares his love for the world and communicates how to live a pleasing life for him. Yet too often, the Bible is mistakenly characterized as voluminous book with arbitrary rules and regulations. If 2 Timothy 3:16 clearly suggests all Scripture is profitable for reproof and correction, how can it be a love letter from God? In the likeness of a parent-child relationship, God is a devoted father to his children. Does a loving and caring father allow their child to play in traffic, skip school or underage drink? In Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11, God affirmed, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” He knows the beginning from the end and discerns what is best suited for his children. Sometimes correction is

intended for protection. Likewise, many folks consider the content of the Bible as violent and archaic and can’t image it as an expression of love. Here is the truth - this world is a fallen place and has been since Adam nibbled on the forbidden fruit. If not convinced, turn on the television; the headlines repeatedly report acts of violence, war, murder and malice. So why does God’s love letter include stories depicting the depravity of human behavior? Mankind’s sinfulness showcases the world’s desperate need of a perfect Savior. God doesn’t paint a rosy picture; he exposes the flaws of humanity even from his most devoted disciples. Motivated by love, God provided Jesus Christ as a lifeboat. The belief of Jesus Christ as Savior is the only means of rescue from imminent death. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16. Jesus Christ is the light and hope in the dark and stormy seas of life. God desires to know you, but like any relationship, it requires spending time with the person. While praying is an essential element in a Christian’s walk, it is only part of the conversation. God conveys his side of the discussion through the Scriptures. Romans 10:17, reads, ”So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” So next time, as you open your Bible, unwrap it like an eagerly awaited valentine from your heavenly Father.

Uganda Trip... Continued From Page 1

By Amanda Boston

ahead,” said Janelle, “but Mike said to me, ‘that sounds perfect’.” For eight years, Mike and Janelle have served as an intermediary between stateside support and the people of Uganda. The former remote acreage is now home to 350 orphans. Likewise, a nursery, secondary and vocational school provide emotional and spiritual support with trauma counseling, Janelle Doud (center) along with Ugandan widows and chilskill training and the dren learn the art of soap making to sell in the local market.

the local marketplaces. Every day the couple’s efforts and sacrifices deliver hope to these children of war. Although their previous mud hut dwelling was superseded by a 300 square foot cement structure, it still lacks running water and an indoor latrine. “We choose to live this way because we want to reduce the cultural Missionaries Janelle and Mike Doud smile for the camera gaps. The land here is in front of their humble abode of 300 square feet. beautiful and it is our home,” said Janelle. sharing of hope in Jesus Christ. The For more information on how to village is flourishing as it becomes donate or sponsor a child, visit self-sustained through farming, beewww.villageofhopeuganda.com. keeping and distributing its goods in

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Hooked On Christian Books

Page 8 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Love Season Books To Learn & Live By

By Kelly Wise Valdes

By now, the nostalgia of Christmas is long gone, the bills have arrived for all the gifts we bought and to top it all off, we are now entering the month of the sometimes-dreaded Valentine’s Day. Some people love Valentine’s Day – it may involve loving cards, flowers and a romantic dinner. Other people just want the holiday to be over. It’s another reminder that they are not in a relationship, or a reminder of the relationship that ended, or even worse – a reminder that they are in relationship where they are not happy. As Christians, we know that the greatest love ever known is God's abundant love for us. Love can be found in many treasured relationships such as our children, our parents, our siblings, a special friend, teacher, and our pets; or even in the kindness of a stranger. On Valentine's Day - and every day whether your life is chocolates and flowers or loneliness and pain, determine to fill your heart with hope, peace, and most important - love.

Date Smart to Marry for Life: Divorce Prevention for Single Christian Women By: David C. Griffin This dynamic book helps measure a relationship using biblical guidelines. It gives the spiritual fruit you look for in a mate and leads to powerful guiding truths for deal breakers, to know if you need to continue on with your current relationship. This faith-filled book is an excellent guide using God’s navigation.

The Happiness Dare: Finding the Sweet Spot of Your Heart's Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire By: Jennifer Dukes Lee Do you wish you lived on Cloud 9 but feel stuck on Cloud 6? Encouraging you to take delight in your life right where you are, this book explores the relationship between happiness and holiness. Find out what you can do in five minutes a day to experience more joy and what "happy" means when facing challenges.

How to Find True Love By: Gregory K. Popcak This reassuring book takes a wide view of love and introduces new possibilities of finding different kinds of love everywhere in life—among couples, parents, friends, family and strangers. Every encounter with another person offers a transformative moment: a chance to transform one's self and others and derive strength, joy and grace.

When God Winks on Love By: Squire Rushnell Let the power of coincidence lead you to love. Like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece of your life leads to a completed picture God intends for you. Look at the big picture and believe that each "God wink" is a part of the perfect love God has in store for you.


Children With Autism Rock The Spectrum

By Matt Boniface

ers from According to the Tampa's 501st CDC, 1 in 68 children Legion and are on the autism Anna from the spectrum. This is up movie Frozen. from 1 in 150 in the Kapusta year 2000 expressed how (www.cdc.gov/ncbdshe'd recently dd/autism/data.html). hosted a birthThe prevalence of this day party for a disorder has affected 9 year old boy millions of households who'd never and parents are lookA ribbon cutting was recently held to celebrate experienced ing for safe environthe opening of We Rock the Spectrum, a gym ments for their chilthat offers safe environments for children on one before the autism spectrum. because he'd dren. An independentbeen asked to leave from other, more ly owned and operated gym called We structured facilities. “If they don't want Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym has been structure they shouldn't be forced into it,” established in the local area by Michelle she explained. Kapusta, “After seeing We Rock the It offers many reasonable admission Spectrum in Largo, I knew Tampa needoptions for families. They offer “Open ed one.” Play” daily for $12/child + $10/sibling with “I have three children and one is on no specific time limit. Daily passes and the spectrum...most of our employees memberships are also available. have children on the spectrum so we Insurance may only cover an hour each have a lot of experience,” Kapusta week of occupational therapy so they explained. In addition to direct experiteam up with a non-profit, My Brother ence with children on the autism spectrum, the cooperation trains Kapusta and Rocks the Spectrum, part of the corporation, which grants families assistance for her employees. These trainings are additional time otherwise not covered. designed by Occupational Therapists They are also a huge sponsor for specifically for children on the spectrum. “Autism Speaks” and are looking to partCatering mainly to children from ner with local schools for field trips and infant to 13 years, they still welcome as a general resource. teens and young adults interested in Kapusta would like to extend her coming to play and can find a time bestthanks to the support from Ed Buckley suited for them by calling in advance. and her husband Phil who have helped Children not on the spectrum are also her bring this dream to fruition. welcomed to attend and play. Kapusta The Gym is open 7 days a week: noted, “We are a full inclusion, sensory Monday to Friday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., gym for children of all abilities.” They do require that a parent or guardian remains Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 Noon-5 p.m. on site at all times as they are not a It is located at 1076 E. Brandon licensed daycare. Blvd., Suite 102. Their grand opening, on January 7 www.WeRockTheSpectrumTampa.com of this year, was filled with wonder as or call 571-1600. children were greeted with storm troop-

Page 9 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

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Page 10 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Patience is the Place Where Hope Is Born Is Born By Derek Maul

By Kelly Wise Valdes

The month of February is often closely associated with the story of St. Valentine. History tells us that St. Valentine himself was the first bishop in the city of Terni, Italy and was a martyr for his beliefs in the third century A.D. The Basilica of San Valentino is a historic and sacred cathedral located just outside the town center of Terni on the site of an early Christian cemetery where St. Valentine was buried. In 742, the church was the site of a historic meeting between the Pope and the King, both who believed that the remains of St. Valentine may have been buried under the church and held miraculous powers. Then for the next several centuries, the Basilica was nearly destroyed when the city of Terni, experienced raids, looting and destruction. In 1605, the search for the body of St. Valentine began. The excavations were promoted by Pope Paul V as part of the revitalized interest in the first martyrs of the Church. The basilica had been in a state of ruin but the interest in St. Valentine gave birth to its reconstruction and eventually led to a successful finding of his relics. The construction was for a simple building with a single nave that would house the altar containing the body of St. Valentine. Built just

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above the tomb of the martyr is a painting dating from the seventeenth century that celebrates the martyrdom of the saint. The saint's custom of promoting love is associated with a number of legends. One story tells of the difficult marriage between a pagan and a Christian that sought eternal bliss from Valentine. The Rose of Reconciliation, offered by St. Valentine reconciles an arguing couple; it seems to have given rise to the anniversary of February 14th, the day when the Feast of Lovers has been celebrated since the discovery of the body in the basilica in Terni. Because the Basilica contains the remains St. Valentine, on February 14 of each year engaged couples pilgrim to the church to receive the blessing of the bishop and promise of eternal love. For more information, visit www.keytoumbria.com/Terni/St_Valen tine.

One of my pet peeves about Christmas is how we tend to go hard at the familiar story that plays out around the manger, or at least the classic tableau featured in Christmas cards, but then routinely ignore so many other interesting elements. It’s like movie and television writers evidently believing the only hymn ever sung in church is Amazing Grace, when hundreds of others are just as popular. It’s just that with Christmas we’re all complicit in practicing tunnel vision. This is one reason my men’s group talked about the story of Simeon and Anna (Luke 2: 21-38). It’s a wonderful narrative; featuring two faithful, hope-filled, elderly people who wait patiently their entire lives to witness the promise of Jesus. We talked about impatience, the incessant “show me now!” mentality that pervades our culture, and what God is teaching us about hope and promise. The sad fact is, endemic impatience and demanding short-term gratification (two maladies that define our age) not only govern our expectations, but they limit our vision too. Then, as we talked about our own struggles to live Christ’s teachings rather than the ideals of the world, the

following truth settled into my consciousness and came to the surface like a daffodil pushing its way through the snow on an early spring day. “Patience is the place where hope is born.” Patience can provide a place where hope takes root and grows. Patience can be the place where vision is nurtured, and where we begin to see the road ahead more clearly. One of many problems associated with the desire to see results “right now”, and to reap the profits in this quarter rather than letting things settle and grow, is that all we see is a one-dimensional return. Then we become unable to look far enough into the future to nurture hope, or walk into vision, or live as a people conceived in promise. “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.” (Isaiah 40:31) Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com

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Page 11 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

St. Stephen Catholic School Hosts Student Open House

Our Residents Are Always On The Move!

By Kate Quesada

If you are conschools,” said Umoh. “We sidering a Catholic are constantly told that school education teachers appreciate stufor your children, dents that come from St. mark your calenStephen as they come to dars for Friday, high school with the necesJanuary 20 as St. sary skills and attitudes Stephen Catholic towards learning and also School in with strong leadership qualRiverview is ities and good character.” hosting an But Umoh is quick to open house add that St. Stephen focusSt. Stephen Catholic School Principal Linda es on more than academwhere prospecUmoh and student tive parents ics. “We are committed to ambassadors will be can learn the instilling Catholic values available at an Open House on Friday, January 20 to tell into everything we do many things the prospective families all that the school has to offer. through academic, spiritual school has to offer. Founded in and service experiences 2001 and accredited by the Florida that help students develop a personal Catholic Conference, St. Stephen is open relationship with Jesus,” said Umoh. “We to students in Pre-K through eighth are a forward-thinking school, rooted in grade. “St. Stephen provides a learning Catholic traditions and values and devotenvironment where every student is ed to preparing students for high school encouraged to reach their full potential,” and the 21st century.” said Principal Linda Umoh. “We offer a Students pray daily, celebrate Mass core curriculum, experiences in the arts, together, participate in reconciliation and foreign languages, sports and many spiritual retreats and provide service to extra-curricular activities.” the community. They have opportunities In addition, the middle school has a to live their faith through events such as one-to-one iPad and Chromebook prothe Week of Caring, Pro-life rallies, gram and eighth grade students are able Advent and Lent retreats, Focus 11 and to take and receive high school credit for Catholic Schools Week. “St. Stephen is Algebra 1 and Physical Science. The perfect for those seeking a school where school’s Resource Department has three they can feel part of a family,” said Umoh, instructors who meet the needs to stuwho added that this is a very exciting time dents on support plans and students who for them with the addition of the Family excel and need enrichment. Extra-curricLife Center and the much anticipated ular activities include show choir, drama opening of a new church this summer. To club, chess club, Little Flowers, 4-H, sign up for the open house or information Student Council and National Junior about the school, which is located at Honors Society. “The greatest compli10424 St. Stephen Cr. in Riverview, call ments we receive are from area high 741-9203 or visit www.sscsfl.org.

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Page 12 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Lithia Author Tells Her Story In Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

By Amanda Boston

Does the clay say to the potter, “what are you making me?” In this allegory, God represents the potter while the clay symbolizes humans. The Bible often uses symbolism to reinforce God’s message. Have you ever looked up to God and said, “Why did you make me like this?” The December release of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident shares 101 inspirational stories about loving yourself and your body. Emme, the first plus-size supermodel is one of the co-authors. In the book’s introduction she wrote, “Each story is unique, but we learn this universal lesson from all of them: We are all perfectly imperfect. And to strive to attain someone’s narrow idea of perfection sets us up for failure and a lifetime of unhappiness.” Wendy Keppley, a Lithia resident is one of the writers contributing to the 101 stories. With a career in counseling and instruction from the Florida Writer’s Association, Keppley was primed to tell her story. She said,

Co-author and plus-size supermodel, Emme graces the cover of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s newest book Curvy & Confident.

the negative ones, really happens, although you may not realize it for decades.” In the book, Keppley recounts her bouts of insecurity over her towering height and broad shoulders. Over the years, she recognized and asserted, “What is most important is how a person chooses to believe and live, no matter what.” With the desire to inspire, Keppley will continue to use her counseling experience to compose additional short stories focusing on the joy of living and the importance of one’s beliefs. As we approach this Valentine’s Day and celebrate love, remember to love yourself for who you are and how the Wendy Keppley of Lithia shares her experi- Potter made you. For more information, ences in the latest Chicken Soup for the visit the Chicken Soup for the Soul Soul: Curvy & Confident. Website at chickensoup.com. Chicken “I always learn from my own writing as Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident is well as the writing of others. I learned available for purchase from Amazon, that growing from our experiences, even Barnes & Nobles and Indie Bound.

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Page 13 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Who Was Saint Valentine? History of Romance

By Michelle Colesanti

Valentine’s Day – it’s a time for showing love and appreciation to your significant others. But when did it begin and why? It’s not just a ‘Hallmark’ holiday. Its roots go way back. Just who was Saint Valentine? Officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, he was a third-century Roman priest. At the time, the Emperor, Claudius II, decided that single men made better soldiers than those who had wives and families, so he banned marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius by continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When this was discovered, Claudius ordered that Valentine be put to death. Not much is reliably known, but most agree that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome. It’s also believed that Valentine’s Day has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. According to another legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting after he fell in love with a young girl, possibly his jailor’s daughter. It is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. At the end of the fifth century, Pope

Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the middle ages. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. It is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Exchanging hand-made valentines in the Americas probably began in the early 1700s. Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America in the 1840’s. She was known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” and made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, an estimated one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, We may never know the true story, but Valentine’s Day continues to be one of the most popular of our annual holidays, which only reminds us of how important our loved ones are; something we should carry forward the rest of the year too.

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Page 14 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Family Promise Graduations Help Keep Homeless Families Together

By Amanda Boston

Two weeks before Christmas, DyAnn Dalton, a mother of three was down-andout with no place to go. She explained, “I had a really hard time finding help. Family Promise was the first place that got me the practical help I needed, and it was quick.” In Hillsborough County, 18 percent of the homeless are families. Family Promise of Greater Brandon is a non-profit public charity partnering with local churches and resource centers to help homeless families attain perJohn Hamman, a single father of manent sustainable two daughters graduated from the Family Promise program in housing. The 90-day November 2016. program is not a shortdesigned to term fix. It equips families with a plan to keep the famibecome self-sufficient through its handsly together, on training in financial literacy and caseespecially for by-case management of resources and single dads. Keeping the family together services. increases stability for the children.” A vast majority of homeless shelters In pursuit of a potential job, Shaun separate families based on gender and and Althea Weller along with their three age. However, Family Promise furnishes children packed up and relocated from room and board for the entire family in Mobile, Alabama to the Tampa Bay area. temporary spaces offered by local conUnfortunately, the anticipated employgregations. John Hamman, a single ment was delayed for a few weeks. With father of two daughters encountered no cash flow, the family stayed at a local countless closed doors until he knocked campground and waited for the work to on Family Promises’ door. Edwina begin. But misfortune struck again—this Reddick, the director of Family Promise time in the form of a storm. explained, “There are not many programs

to different shelters, but Family Promise was the only place where we could all stay together,” said Mr. Weller. In September 2016, Shaun and Althea Weller graduated from the program. Today, the dual-income family resides in regular rent housing as opposed to low-income housing. “God answered our prayers. We learned how to budget and won’t end up in the same place again,” affirmed Shaun. Family Promise of Greater Brandon operates with minimal In September 2016, Shaun and staffing. The driving force Althea Weller with their chil- behind the organization is its dren, Joshua, Kaleb and Naomi kindhearted volunteers, concelebrated their graduation and gregations and donors. The move into an apartment. is locally funded organization “A terrible through donations, grants and fundraising storm destroyed events. Without volunteers and donors, the campsite and Family Promise would cease to exist. To all of our things. In out more how you can donate or volfind the parking lot, we unteer, visit FamilyPromiseBrandon.org started praying. or call 681-6170. We called around

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Page 15 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Grace Notes “NO SUBSTITUTES”

By Debora Coty

Last Christmas as I prepared to host a dinner party, I was in a quandary about what to serve for dessert. I settled on a low-calorie pie recipe that looked super scrumptious in the magazine photo. All the regular cheesecake ingredients had been replaced with fat-free, sugar-free substitutes, topped with fat-free whipped topping and drizzled with zero-calorie faux fudge sauce. Hmm. Faux fudge. Shoulda been a red flag. It turned out gorgeous! I was so proud to be serving my guests such a masterpiece that wouldn't add more wattle to their waddles. At the first bite, I saw the faces all around the table fall. Blech. It tasted like soggy cardboard. Magazine-cover beautiful it might have been, but there's no substitute for the real thing. Faith can be like that. Many religions look tempting on the outside, but once you get past the fluffy frosting, you find the ingredients have no real substance. They're inferior. Flat. Fake. Jesus made it very clear that true

faith is found only through Him. He, Himself is truth. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV) Yep. The only way to a living, breathing, dynamic relationship with

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Page 16 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

By Kelly Wise Valdes Passengers Star Chris Pratt on How He Became a Christian, Changed His Life

Hot Off The Christian News Wire

Actor Chris Pratt recently revealed how he became a Christian at a point of his life where he was going down another path. Pratt has become one of the busiest celebrities in Hollywood but feels confident talking about his faith in public. The actor recently revealed the unorthodox way he came to believe in Jesus Christ. Pratt talked about living in a van on the beach in Hawaii when he was young, as he waited tables at a Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant. During that time, he said he and his pals would send people to make alcohol runs to the store because they were not old enough to drink. "I was sitting outside a grocery store ... And a guy named Henry came up and recognized something in me that needed to be saved. He asked what I was doing that night,

and I was honest.” Pratt told the stranger that he was planning on drinking and doing drugs at a party. The stranger told Pratt, “Jesus told me to talk to you.” Over the next few days Pratt surprised his friends by declaring that he was going to change his life. Pratt was the highest grossing actor of 2014. Pratt and his wife,

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www.Crosswalk.com aims to be that intersection. It offers the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is the online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news and more.


Page 17 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Area Church Directory

BAPTIST Bell Shoals Baptist Church 2102 Bell Shoals Rd, Brandon (813) 689-4229 Bell Shoals - Apollo Beach Campus 6414 Golf and Sea Blvd, Apollo Beach (813) 641-2222 First Baptist Church of Bloomingdale 3303 E. Bloomingdale Ave, Valrico (813) 689-3847 First Baptist Church of Brandon 216 N Parsons Ave, Brandon (813) 689-1204 FishHawk Fellowship 15326 Fishhawk Blvd, Lithia, (813) 655-7431 Journey Church 1310 John Moore Road, Brandon (813) 699-8262 Liberty Southern Baptist Church 2505 W. Granfield Ave. Plant City 813-752-1450 New Beginning Baptist Church 15926 Carlton Lake Road, Wimauma (813)634-4555 South Brandon Baptist Church 4929 Bell Shoals Rd, Valrico (813) 661-2273 CATHOLIC

CHURCH OF GOD Boyette Springs Church of God 12114 Boyette Rd, Riverview (813) 671-0086 EPISCOPAL Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church 604 N. Valrico Rd, Valrico (813) 689-3130 LUTHERAN Immanuel Lutheran Church 2913 John Moore Rd, Brandon (813) 689-1787 Living Savior Lutheran Church 2650 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Valrico (813) 681-2375 METHODIST First United Methodist Church of Seffner 1310 South Kingsway Rd., Seffner (813) 689-3513 Grace Community United Methodist Church 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Lithia (813) 661-8858 New Hope Methodist Church 120 N. Knights Ave., Brandon (813) 689-4161 Riverview First United Methodist Church 8002 US Hwy 301 South, Riverview www.riverviewflumc.org Ruskin United Methodist Church 105 4th Ave. NW Ruskin (813) 645-1241 South Shore United Methodist Church 11525 Big Bend Road, Riverview (813) 649-9462 NON-DENOMINATIONAL Bay Life Church 1017 Kingsway Ave, Brandon (813) 661-3696 Centerpoint Church 1801 S Miller Rd, Valrico (813) 689-1906

Nativity Catholic Church 705 E Brandon Blvd, Brandon (813) 681-4608 St. Anne Catholic Church 106 11th Ave. N.E Ruskin (813) 645-1714 St. Stephen's Catholic Church 5049 Bell Shoals Rd, Valrico (813) 689-4900

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Destiny Church 2322 11th Ave Se, Ruskin (813) 645-3337 Life Church at FishHawk 6420 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Lithia (813) 681-6503 Revival Outreach Center 225 N.Dover Rd, Dover (813) 681-2250 The Crossing Church - Main Campus 10130 Tuscany Ridge Drive, Tampa, (813) 626-0783 The Crossing Church - SouthShore 3058 East College Ave, Ruskin (813) 626-0580 The Palms Church 207 New Hope Road, Brandon (813) 841-9598 True Sanctuary 6528 US Hwy 301 S, Suite 114, Riverview (813) 319-5862 PENTECOSTAL HighPoint Church of Brandon 2207 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd, Valrico/Brandon (813) 685-4827 PRESBYTERIAN First Presbyterian Church of Brandon -PCUSA 121 Carver Avenue, Brandon 689-4597 Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale–USA 710 E. Bloomingdale Avenue, Brandon 813-654-3699 Redeemer Church-PCA 12404 Boyette Rd., Riverview (813) 741-1776 Westminster Presbyterian Church PCA 402 E. Lumsden Road, Brandon (813) 689-6541

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Page 18 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Your Monthly Catch Local Happenings In Our Community

Open Enrollment for 2017-2018 School Year At Limona Village Chapel Children’s Center

Torah and Tea: Understanding the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith

Join in for tea and cookies on the second Monday of every month beginning Monday, February 13 from 10 a.m.-12 Noon to learn about the restoration of, and our connection to, the Promised Land, the people of God, and the scriptures of Israel. Call Beth at 857-7818 if you have any questions and to RSVP. Childcare is not available for this event. Torah and Tea will take place at Beit Shuvat Zion / For Zion’s Sake Ministry, located at 1010 John Moore Rd. in Brandon.

Limona Village Chapel Children’s Center (LVC), located at 408 Limona Rd. in Brandon, is a leading preschool serving the greater Brandon area for more than 30 years. LVC serves 3 and 4 year old children and is an approved VPK provider. Preschool hours are from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. with optional aftercare. LVC’s Open Enrollment period for the 2017-2018 school year will be from Tuesday, January 17-Friday, February 10. Registration forms may be picked up from the office or printed from the website at www.lvcchildrenscenter.org. All applications will be entered into a registration pool for consideration for the 2017-2018 school year. For information, call 689-8385 x227.

Brandon Christian Women’s Connection Valentine Tea

grateful they were for this opportunity to grow in their faith, how dynamic the presentations were, and how they would like another retreat day with even longer sessions. Thank you to all who participated.

Celebrating Faith, Knowledge And Service

At a time when our country is coming to terms with a public education system that needs reform, it is gratifying to acknowledge the success of Catholic School Education. Catholic schools in America are proud of their exceptional record of achievements with almost all of their graduates going onto college. In celebration of Catholic Education, Catholic Schools throughout the country will be observing Catholic Schools Week

Day Of Retreat At Prince Of Peace

The Brandon Christian Women’s Connection welcomes all ladies to their annual Valentine Tea, Tea for Two, with ballroom dancing by Kelly Chandler on Monday, February 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Bell Shoals Baptist Church Special Event Center, 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon. A full high tea/lunch with entertainment is $15. First time guests pay $10. No membership is required, but a reservation due to limited seating is requested by Friday, February 3 by calling Lillie at 7400098.

Week 2017 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service”. Catholic Schools focus on integrating Catholic faith values into all aspects of the school curriculum and student life. Catholic Schools Week is a great way to recognize and celebrate how students live their faith daily through spiritual commitment, learning and community services. During Catholic Schools Week, students will participate in activities honoring their country, thanking their families, and contributing to charitable organizations. Students at both Nativity Catholic School in Brandon and St. Stephen Catholic School in Riverview have a week full of planned activities that will focus their attention on faith, knowledge and service. We have new service times as of January 1st, 2017. Please note the new service times.

On January 11, nearly Church of Sun City 100 parishioners gathered Center has new service at Prince of Peace to partimes as follows: 8 a.m. take in a Day of Retreat. -Contemporary This event consisted of Service, Life Enrichment seven sessions, each about In January nearly 100 parishioners gathered at Prince of Peace to participate Center, 9 a.m. – in a Day of Retreat. a different style of prayer, Traditional Service, such as Meditating with Sanctuary, 10 a.m. – Contemporary from January 29 through February 4. Scripture, Praying with Sacred Art, and Service, Life Enrichment Center, 11 a.m. Beginning in 1974, Catholic Schools Prayer 101. Parishioners chose four ses– Traditional Service, Sanctuary and 4 Week has been annually observed in the sions to attend and rotated through, expep.m. – Hispanic Service, Life Enrichment United States. The importance and value riencing a taste of each style. Presenters Center. There is free nursery available for of a Catholic Education is acknowledged were Fr. Joel Kovanis and Fr. Augustine all services. with school open houses, special faith Mailadiyil, Deacon Patrick Frye, Sister United Methodist Church of Sun City centered services and fun and informative Diane Wansley, OSB, and parishioners Center is located at 1210 Del Webb Blvd activities for students, families and comBarb Caleca, Fulvia Fiorani, Tom W. in Sun City Center. Visit munity members. Vormwaldt, and Luke Amato. Attendees www.sccumc.com/. The theme for Catholic Schools remarked numerous times about how

The United Methodist

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION DIRECTORY

Learn more about how to advertise your school in the Christian Voice education directory! Contact Trisha Becker at tbecker@ospreyobserver.com St. Stephen Catholic School

• Providing Quality Education BAPTIST ACADEMY

Celebrating 50 Years of Kingdom Education 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. Brandon

689-9183 www.bsbacademy.com

Inspire. Teach. Minister. K5-12th Grade Faith Christian Academy of Plant City Now Enrolling/Accepting McKay, PLSA and Step Up For Students 905 W. Terrace Dr. | Plant City, FL 33563

813.473.2090 www.fcapc.com

• Early Childhood Programs (3 & 4 yr. olds) • Elementary Education (Kindergarten thru 5th) • Middle School Education (6 thru 8th grade)

10424 Saint Stephen Circle Riverview (Off Boyette Road)

(813) 741-9203 www.ststephencatholicschool.org

Christian School & Child Development Center Toddlers thru Preschool & K-8th Grade

Accepting Scholarships & School Readiness 1511 U.S. 301 S. Tampa, Fl 33619 (813) 626-4600 Christian Daycare Enrolling Students

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Preschool • VPK • Half-day Kindergarten Before and After Care • Mom’s Morning Out Offering early childhood education in a loving, warm Christian environment for over 45 years.

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before & after-school programs available Registration NOW OPEN!

689-9435

216 N. Parsons Ave. Brandon, FL AdvancEd and ACSI accredited

WWW.FBCBRANDON.ORG

Christian Academy Ages 1-11 Bible-Based Teaching olling Individualized Educational Program Enr w! No After School Care Summer Programs To Schedule a Tour, Call Adunola Steen at 813-319-5862 Located on 301 S. in Riverview

www.tsop-academy.org

6 weeks to 4 yrs. old No Enrollment Fee for New Students

Living Well Daycare 232 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Brandon http://tpattbr2wixsite.com/livingwelldaycare

6am to 6pm

Valrico Campus 950 S. Mulrennan Rd. Valrico

(813)654-9500 Winthrop Campus 11297 Winthrop Main St. Riverview

(813)654-9400 Providing quality childcare for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Faith-based curriculum and credentialed staff.

Now Open at Winthrop Center Grades PK-12

Offering Fall VPK CENTRAL BAPTIST CHRISTIAN SCHOOL “Distinctly Christian, Academically Excellent” 402 E. Windhorst, Brandon, 33510

813-689-6133 www.cbcslions.com

Accepting Step Up Scholarships

Now Enrolling

Accepting Students with IEPs Two Locations

K-8th Grades 1204 S. Lenna Ave, Seffner 13498 US Hwy 301 South, Riverview

813.661.4200

WWW.LIVINGSTONESHOOLS.ORG


Page 19 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Local Fisherman Helps Feed Hungry Crowd

By Kelly Wise Valdes

Local fisherman, Philip of Bethsaida, was reported to have recently joined the disciples of Jesus after being approached directly by Jesus at a local event outside of Galilee. Apostle John spoke of the experience recently and described the interaction. “On the day after Peter's call, we were all about leave for Galilee when Jesus met Philip and called out to him with the simple words, ‘Follow me,’” said John. “Philip obeyed the call, and a little later brought Nathaniel on board as a new disciple.” It was reported that during the trip to Galilee, Philip was appointed to the position of road manager for Jesus and helped direct crowd control during Jesus’ speaking events. At the Galilee venue, there were more than 5,000 people in attendance and Philip was reportedly prepared for such a large crowd according to sources at the event. According to one of the attendees, “We were enjoying the preaching and worshipping and it grew later in the day. Many people had become hungry.” Philip is practical, always thinking about the bottom-line and on this occasion, Jesus was trying to teach Philip to expand his faith and asked him, “Where will we buy bread for

these people to eat?” Philip was overheard replying to Jesus, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite." It was reported that an unidentified young boy approached Philip and Jesus to offer his small basket of food. Jesus prayed over the food and the disciples passed out the food to the crowd. Everyone in the crowd was fed and Philip confirmed that this was yet another miracle performed by Jesus. Sources close to Philip report that although he is new to Jesus’ miracles and teachings, he plans to continue to follow Jesus and will faithfully serve Him alongside the other 11 disciples. **********************************

Jesus inspired 12 ordinary men to leave their old lives behind and become followers of Him. Among these new followers were fishermen, a tax collector and a revolutionary. The Gospels record the failings, struggles and doubts of these twelve men who followed Jesus. This series will document one of the disciples each month in a fun way in order to learn more about how God turned each man from ordinary to extraordinary.

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Page 20 • christianvoicemonthly.com • February 2017

Osprey Observer Christian Voice 2017-2