In This Issue
One Thousand Baby Gifts
Costa Rica Evangelism
Church Gives More Than One Thousand Baby Gifts
New moms who give birth at the UPMC Bedford Memorial Hospital, Everett, Pa., are surprised to receive a gift full of baby supplies from people they don't know. But since January, 2009, new moms have been enjoying this surprise gift from members of the Everett Seventh-day Adventist Church. In 2015, they gave 373 baby bags to the hospital, bringing their total to 1,750 gift bags filled with baby supplies donated by members.
Along with a "welcome baby" card and booklet explaining who Seventh-day Adventists are, the bags contain a blanket, onesie, diapers, toiletries, stuffed animal, a children's book, and a gift for the mother.
"The nurses are very grateful for what we are doing and the mothers are very surprised when a bag of gifts are brought to them," shares Florence Fuchs. "We have received quite a few thank you notes from the families."
Pennsylvania Conference of Seventh-day Adventists720 Museum RdReading, Pa. 19611610.374.8331 Fax 610.374.9331Visit us Online.
Day a Success Despite Rain
Members of the East Suburban Seventh-day Adventist Church, North Versailles, Pa., joined hands and prayed together during one recent Sabbath morning service. They had spent eight weeks preparing for their first Community Fun Day and the forecast for the event was a 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms all day. They trusted that God was bigger than the forecast.
Booths were set up-filled with games and food. A bounce house awaited children. The fire department arrived with their firetruck and ambulance. The sun was shining as volunteers finished setting up the health expo and people began arriving. More than 270 people enjoyed the exhibits, games, prizes, and food before members lost count.
The rain arrived two hours after the event began. Members feared people would leave, but as the Mon-Yough Chorale began singing, community members huddled under the carport to listen, eventually heading downstairs for a spaghetti dinner and games while the rain continued to pour outside.
"God's event was a huge success by His grace and we are thankful for the storm," shares member Megan L. Garcia. Without the rain coming at just the right time, and at the rate the people were pouring in, the supplies would've run out, and there wouldn't have been a way for such a closely-knit bond to form."
Youth Reaches Heights
More than 300 people attended the recent Hispanic youth retreat, "Reaching the Heights," held at the Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center, Mt Bethel, Pa. Friday night kicked off with a play about Abraham and Sarah performed by members of the Frazer Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church, Exton, Pa. Sabbath afternoon, about 157 people hiked for almost two hours along the Appalachian Trail to the top of a mountain. Once at the summit, the group prayed for those impacted by the recent hurricanes, for their own faith and journeys with God, and for their leaders. Many of those who attended the event are from and/or have family in the areas devastated and appreciated the prayers lifted for people and countries they love. Featured speakers for the weekend included Pastor Michael Rodriquez, Montgomery, Alabama, and Dr. Luis Fernando Ortiz, Andrews University, Michigan. "Those who attended said they felt the presence of God with power," states Pastor Feleidi Garcias, retreat organizer.
Member Shares Gospel in Costa Rica
One night after many tears and prayers asking God for ways she could use her gifts for Him, Lisa Prass, a member of the Fairview Village Seventh-day Adventist Church, Norristown, Pa., received an invitation to join a ShareHim mission trip to Costa Rica. She and twenty-seven other people from across the United States flew to Costa Rica to share the gospel.
Prass was assigned to the San Rafael church-a small church with only fifteen pews. Her interpreter, a 28 year old pastor from Mexico, was named "Emmanuel", reminding Prass that God was with her.
At one meeting, a visitor responded to an appeal for baptism. Prass was struck by Domingo. "He would not lift his head to look up when he spoke, his shoulders were hunched and his voice was low," she shares. "He looked so broken. He asked me to pray with him, which I did. Later my interpreter told me that his wife was physically abusive to him and did not want him to attend the church."
Prass invited family and friends to join her in praying for Domingo, who attended each evening. On Sabbath, Domingo was baptized. "Words cannot express my praise and thanksgiving to God and for the prayers of the saints, which availed much!" she states. "That, however, was not the best part. The best part is that after that man came out of the water, a change came over him. His head was held high, his shoulders were back, his posture was erect and he had a look of serenity on his face. Brother Domingo had been changed! What a privilege I had been given to witness this!"
Prass was to speak one final time that afternoon, but the pastor suggested that they cancel the meeting. There would be a program at the church that evening and he didn't think anyone would come to an afternoon meeting as well as the evening program. "I told him that I would still speak even if there was one person in the audience," says Prass. "That afternoon God impressed me not to give the scheduled sermon but to share my own testimony."
That afternoon meeting had the largest attendance of session other than Sabbath morning. "I was completely overwhelmed and nervous to share my personal story of brokenness and healing with so many strangers," she recounts. But she prayed for strength and began speaking. The response was overwhelming. "I could not believe that God had used the dark moments in my life to not only draw me closer to Him but to give the strongest testimony as to His grace."
They're called URMs--unaccompanied refugee minors. Most are teenage boys who make a harrowing journey here to escape violence, poverty or neglect in their homelands and seek a better life in the Unites States. Some travel alone, others with relatives or friends. However, it is not an adventure they are on, and coming here is a struggle. They travel here in a difficult, risky journey by themselves which is not easy. Many refugees travel on the top of freight trains.
At the request of Refugee Resettlement Services, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, two social service agencies have begun a group home which remains in an undisclosed location until children can go into a semi-independent living arrangement. Since fiscal 2015 began last October through this August, the Office of Refugee Resettlement's Unaccompanied Children's Services has resettled 20,421 children.
According to a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service, in fiscal 2011, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 16,067 unaccompanied children; in 2014, the number rose to 68,500 before dropping back to 22,869 in the first eight months of this fiscal year. Ninety-five percent of the children come from Central America. An opinion piece in the New York Times stated that many refugees from Central America are now being held in camps in Mexico, terrified that they will be deported back to countries where drug gangs use murder as a means of control.
Article adapted from the Doylestown Intelligencer, Oct. 14, 2015
Should you wish further information on how you can be of help, contact:
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration of Children and Families
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, DC 20447