Story by Esther Hernandez
“At Blue Mountain Academy (BMA), we believe that true education focuses on academics, along with social, physical and spiritual development of our students,”
states Burney Culpepper, principal. “This year’s FOCUS (Focus On Christ’s Ultimate Sacrifice) week impacted our staff and students in a powerful way, causing them to grow in their relationship with Christ and strengthen their understanding and desire for the Word of God.”
Story by Ever Gonzales
Nancy Viera had just learned she was dying from cancer. This news brought sadness and despair. Not knowing what to do, she walked to Walmart to clear her mind. While there, she met an elderly woman who gave her a copy of The Desire of Ages. Their conversation about Jesus’ love led to personal Bible studies, and, as they studied together, Viera learned about the Sabbath.
One day, Viera asked her Pentecostal pastor why they didn’t worship on Saturday. He couldn’t give her a biblical answer. She continued studying the Bible with her new friend, and six months later decided to begin keeping the Sabbath.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.