Donald McKinnie, Hillside Pastor

Story by LaTasha Hewitt

Toward the end of 2019, Minnie Redcross, one of the matriarchs of the Hillside church in Harrisburg, Pa., passed away. Among those present at her funeral was her great-great-niece, Dereasha Leaks.

At the service, Leaks felt impressed by the Holy Spirit that she needed to return for a Sabbath worship service. Shortly after, she began attending services regularly. Her husband, Kevin, also enjoyed attending, and soon they began studying with one of the church elders and his wife. Eventually, Leaks decided to fully embrace the Sabbath message and requested to be baptized.

Vernelle Fitzgerald

Story by LaTasha Hewitt

The Prayer Ministries team of First Church in Washington, D.C., recently dedicated their community prayer box. The concept for the box came about when the team, inspired by Hebrews 4:16, sought to connect with their community in a meaningful way. After a team member saw a “Free Book” sharing box, in which community members “take a book or leave a book,” they formulated an idea to start a community prayer box.

The group wanted a box that would be durable, weather-resistant and represent their care for the neighborhood. They ended up choosing a steel church barn mailbox, and a church member hand inscribed the calligraphy on the box.

Daryl Foster, Shiloh Adventist Gardens

Story by Benia Jennings

Seniors have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Needing to exercise greater caution, contracting the virus is particularly dangerous to them. As a result, during this COVID-19 season, seniors are often lonely, sedentary and depressed. But this crisis created an opportunity.

The Shiloh Cincinnati church runs and operates Shiloh Adventist Gardens—a 64-unit senior living facility— and is always looking for opportunities to share the love of Christ and bring joy to an often-forgotten population. Last fall, the church brought breakfast and a smile to the residents. Shiloh member Amanda Smith organized the meal preparation and food delivery.

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“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all” (Eccles. 9:11, KJV).

These words hold two very credible sources of endorsement: They were penned by Solomon—the wisest man who ever lived—and, as a part of the canon of Scripture, fall under the category of being inspired by God. The truth of this passage can be viewed in two ways that offer hope to us in our earthly journey and experience.

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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Prov. 3:5–6, NLT).

A few years ago, my husband lost his job. Down to one income with children in private school and bills to pay, I was scared. Late one night, trying to fall asleep with a thousand thoughts racing through my mind, Proverbs 3:5–6 was brought to my mind.

Fast forward to 2020 and living in the “new normal” of COVID-19. With so many unknowns, there were moments of what-ifs; however, as with everything in life, going straight to my Heavenly Father and talking with Him helped to calm my fears. Keeping my favorite Bible verse on a continual loop in my mind also helped.

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“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4–5, NKJV).

I find it amazing to consider this verse, especially along the lines that I was chosen “before the foundation of the world” by the Almighty God. As I ponder upon this, I am reminded of what was done for me before the foundation of the world. Jesus, the Lamb, was slain! (Revelation 13:8). Jesus and His Father loved me and had a plan for me before I was created (John 3:16).

God has clearly chosen me, and all of us for that matter, but have I chosen God? (Joshua 24:15).

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“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1, KJV).

My favorite verse in the Bible is Psalm 23:1. I know I am safe if God is my Shepherd. I will always have what I need. Many times, however, when I experience trials, I easily forget this promise and start to distrust and despair. I need to trust God when difficult times occur, and rely on this promise to keep my heart calm.

God saved my life when I was baby. As a premature infant, I weighed only three pounds at birth. The doctors didn’t expect me to live. They also thought that, if I did live, I would only have half of my heart and be unable to walk. But God saved me and sustained my life. If it weren’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t be here today—totally healthy and strong.

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“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor” (Eccl. 4:9, NKJV).

This verse is one of my favorites because it encourages teamwork. I like working in groups and working with my friends on projects because it’s fun! We learn so much from each other.

Have you ever done a group project and the other person won’t work with you? How does that make you feel? It probably makes you feel sad because you’re the only one working. My teacher assigned a group project in school, and I was excited to work on the project, but my teammate didn’t want to do much of the work. I tried to talk to him and encourage him to work with me on the project so that we could finish it and it would not be a lot of work for both of us.

Kate Sharbaugh and Emma Schartner stand with one of their pantries.

Story by V. Michelle Bernard

Last April, Kate Sharbaugh, now 13, and Emma Schartner, 12, opened a pop-up pantry distributing food and toiletries in a lime green china cabinet outside a local church on Friendship Avenue in Pittsburgh. They have since opened another pantry outside Pennsylvania Conference’s Carnegie Simple Way church.

Photo by Eugene Simonov

Story by Lisa Krueger


“Would you help us pray for WGTS listeners?” This was the question then-Sligo church Youth Pastor Terry Johnsson had for several of the station’s volunteers and local church members. Johnsson was doing a weekly call-in show for teens in 2008. Following the show, he would pray with a dozen or so listeners who would call. After an on-air promotion, the number of calls reached 100, and that year during the station’s spring fundraiser, 500 listeners called for prayer in just six hours. Johnsson says, "That’s when I realized we should make prayer available all the time."