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Potomac Conference’s Sonia Perez is associate/youth pastor at Beltsville (Md.) church. She also gives Bible studies to children at the Beltsville Adventist School.
Pastors Blog--Sonia Perez
Saturday, September 8
Here I am at the Camp Blue Ridge (Montebello, Va.) Leadership Camp. It is 7:30 a.m. This is my first blog. I’m tired. Who ever thought of holding a seminar at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday must be a morning person. I’m certainly not. My seminar is called “Upgrading Your Church for Youth.” What does that even mean? How am I supposed to tell people how to do youth ministry? Every church is different and has unique needs. Well I guess maybe I should focus on discipleship, because youth are similar everywhere and that is my passion. Will what I say even stick with anyone, or will they just walk out the same as when they came in?
10 a.m. I’m excited that I learned some people had that “aha” moment in the seminar. I feel worn out now. Wow! It is only 10 and I feel I need to rest a bit.
10:30 a.m. While I was resting a bit, I had the chance to chat with other people from other churches and learn what ministry has been going on there. It is refreshing to hear how God is working with others. It is almost time for church. It is so nice that I have the chance to just and go worship God today. I have no responsibilities today in this service. I can just be. Yeah!
No haystacks for lunch today? Oh well. I got the chance to talk to some people about mission trips. I believe it is just as important for the lives of the people going to get changed, as it for the lives of the people who we want to touch to get changed. I just believe in changing lives. It is now 2:45 p.m. and I am hanging out with some of my youth discussing why some people are judgmental. I don’t have the answer to that. Maybe it is just people who are hurting that hurt people. I guess I will catch another seminar before dinner so I can be a good example for everyone. This has been a long day. I hope I can possibly go to bed early. This would be a first.
Sunday, September 9
I missed breakfast today. Not smart. Wait, there is a seminar called “5 Star Breakfast for Camp Outs.” That sounds like a good idea. Maybe I should check that out. Maybe I will get samples to eat since I’m hungry now. Also this will be good information for the Pathfinder Camporee coming up. After that I think I will go support one of the other youth pastors who is holding a seminar. I know his will be good.
It is now 12 p.m. and time for lunch. The sandwiches were good. I’m just surprised we didn’t have haystacks any time this weekend. I think we should travel home early since we have three hours ahead to get back.
3 p.m. Oh no! There is a weird noise in the youth van; our driver is saying we might lose power. I tell her then we should probably pull over at the next exit. As we quickly maneuver off the exit the van comes to a complete stop on it’s own. That could have been bad if we had stayed on the highway. I have to stay positive. Unfortunately there are no service stations open on Sunday. We will have to be towed; however, there are rules to how many passengers can ride. What do we do? I call everyone I can think of. Pastor Ed Komorowski of the Vienna (Va.) church is coming to take us back to Beltsville. This has been a challenging day, however the youth have stayed cheerful and are taking My Space pictures posing by the van. It was really great to have at least six people stop by our van to see if they could help. I felt God reaching through others today. Well, there went the idea of getting home early today.
Monday, September 10
I’ve noticed that my life seems to be lived in themes. Today I had to call a tow truck to pick up my car. The brake lights won’t turn off. This is a recall item that I should have taken care of a month ago. Well, at least it is my day off so I can take care of it.
I spent the whole day at the repair shop. It was good because I was able to call one of my friends and work on the program for small groups for a mission trip I will be going to in December. Oh no! They are missing a part for my car. They fixed my lights, but my windows will have to be fixed another day. When will I find the time? I have to get home because I have some calls to make to some other organizers about the mission trip. I need to take a short nap first, work on my worship for tomorrow, and write some notes of encouragement that God has been asking me to send.
I was up from 9 p.m.-2:15 a.m. to talk to one of the organizers of the mission trip. She is in California and so has different time constraints than me. This has been a busy day. Did I mention this was supposed to be my day off?
Tuesday, September 11
8:00 a.m. I must work on my worship for today. I meant to do it yesterday, just became distracted with that whole mission trip business. I have the basic idea; I just need more. What will capture their attention? How cam I make an impact that will change the kids in a small way? God, please help me. I need wisdom. I wish I had planned better. Okay God, that might work. I just need to type this out, find objects that will work for this lesson. Thanks, God. I like this.
It is now 10:05 a.m. Worship was fun and interactive. God is awesome! Now I better catch up on My Space. This is one way I can keep up with all my youth and friends to let them know I’m thinking of them.
It is 11:40 a.m. I must get to my Bible studies. I don’t want to be late since there is so little time.
After my Bible studies I spent most of the afternoon making phone calls. I need to get to my youth meeting where we are going to work on planning a mission trip to India. I’m excited.
That meeting went well. Now I have an hour and a half to relax before I have a 10 p.m. conference call.
Wednesday, September 12
This is getting more difficult for me to keep blogging. I realize I have little time for luxuries, such as reflecting on my day. I need to change that. Today has mostly been a study day for me since we will be beginning a seminar on Revelation in a couple of weeks. I have always had difficulty liking this book. However I like the books we are reading that are pointing out the idea that really the book is a revelation of Jesus Christ. It has a different feel that is inspiring me to want to learn more. I love it. I can see how relevant this book is for me right now. I’m finding that Jesus accepts us just where we are, with all our weakness; however, He wants us to turn back to Him and allow Him to be our strength. This renewed passion seemed to show in my Bible studies today too. I must remember that I can’t give what I don’t have. I need to really push myself to engage with Scripture on a personal level. I tell others to do this, what about me?
Thursday, September 13
Surprisingly this has been a less hectic day. Bible studies went well. I felt that the kids understood the lessons. The eighth-graders did remarkable in drama class. They are a big class so I always wonder how easy it is going to be to organize them. I believe in the divide-and conquer motto, so I have separated them into groups, which has helped a lot. I am just spending most of this day working on mission trip planning, Revelation studying, and working on a seminar I am supposed to teach on youth relationships for our upcoming church camp out. This will be a lot of brainwork, however, at least I don’t have so much running around today. I received an invitation to be the speaker for Andrews University Womanhood Week. Do I have the time to plan 10 sermons by the end of next month? I’m praying about it and I just feel God is telling me, yes, that I am being called to do this. Okay God if that is what you want. I have to trust you. I do have a warm spot in my heart for Lamson Dorm since I was a graduate assistant there for the three years I was in seminary. I must contribute. If God calls, I have to say yes. Where will the time come from?
Friday, September 14
I again spent a lot of time studying Revelation and working on my upcoming seminar. I also made a lot of phone calls working on upcoming activities. I’m happy because tomorrow is Beltsville schools’ 50th anniversary, so the school has the whole service. This has been an interesting experience for me blogging. I realize I don’t really have what one would call a normal day or week as a pastor. If you asked me to do this again another week, that would be completely different. I learned that I like having variety in my life. I also realized how easy it is to put things off though, because there always seems to be some phone call or unexpected event that pulls you away from whatever task you need to do.
Today I found out one of my neighbors lost his wife. It was devastating to me because I hardly saw her around and only had a few chances to talk to her. They have three daughters who are college aged. I cried tonight over loss I felt so deeply for a person I hardly knew. I’m a pastor and I am not even sure how to reach out to my neighbors because I am feeling so sad inside. Why am I so busy doing ministry that I miss sometimes people hurting right next door?
Saturday, September 15
The church service was wonderful. It was so good to see so many youth involved. I can’t wait for this potluck afterwards because this is the chance that I can catch up with youth who have graduated. It has been frustrating to have our youth at so many high schools in the area. I wish it were easier to keep them connected to each other and to the church. This was a great day to see how people are doing and to invite everyone to upcoming activities.
Now it is time to go and support the Washington Spanish church, which is also celebrating 50 years. Some of our youth attend there and it is good to show how much we care about them.
Okay one more stop before I can call it a day. We have a tradition to show a family movie out at the school in the parking lot. It is always good to see who turns up and to fellowship a bit. I just hope it isn’t too late because I have to be at a Pathfinder meeting at 8:30 a.m.development.