September 12, 2012

In Baltimore, an Adventist Aims to Teach Jews About the Messiah

If you are ever in Baltimore on a Friday evening, you can find Yehuda Mordechai in the basement of an old Jewish synagogue. Allegheny East Conference’s Berea Temple now occupies the building, but its Jewish history holds special significance to Mordechai, who is working to build up the newly established Baltimore Hebrew Adventist congregation in an area with a large Jewish population. It is in this place that Mordechai leads a Friday night Shabbat service designed to reach Jews for Jesus.

Some 30 years ago, Mordechai, who grew up a secular Jew in Washington, D.C., accepted Jesus (Yeshua) and was baptized into  Potomac Conference’s Capital Memorial church in D.C. He considers himself as much of a Seventh-day Adventist as he is a Jew, and longs to share the parallels between the two faith traditions with his fellow Jews, one of which is the Sabbath. Other similarities include belief in one God and the coming of the Messiah.—Story by Taashi Rowe


Washington Adventist Hospital Performs County’s First Single-Site Robotic Surgery

The Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Md., has become the first hospital in Montgomery County to perform a da Vinci robotic single-site operation. This comes less than a year after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved single-site instruments for the da Vinci robotic surgical system.

Innovative single-site technology allowed Washington Adventist Hospital’s surgical team to remove a patient’s gallbladder, called a cholecystectomy, through a single, one-inch incision made through the belly button. The surgery was performed on Friday, September 7.

“By making only one incision, patients experience virtually no scarring, minimal pain and a quick recovery,” said Bobby David, MD (pictured), the general surgeon who performed the procedure. “We are pleased to be able to offer this unique technology that will serve to revolutionize surgery and enhance the care we provide to our patients.”—Story by Danielle Lewald


Beltsville Church Opens Social Services Branch Office

For many years, the building directly behind Potomac Conference’s Beltsville (Md.) church served as a parsonage. But on Tuesday, September 4, the building became a branch office of the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services. The office, located in the Adventist Community Services house at 4220 Ammendale Road, will offer emergency temporary cash assistance, food stamps and medical assistance.

“Our church wants to serve our community. Having an office at our site will be a useful benefit to the residents in this part of Prince George’s County,” explains Glenn Holland, the church’s associate pastor and advocate for organizing this ministry. “Traffic, long lines and the distance to the Hyattsville office have created substantial barriers to services in this part of the county. More importantly, this service allows us to be positioned to form relationships with people in need near our church, which goes far beyond simply opening our doors to a government agency.” Richard Peters is pictured changing all plug-ins in the house.—Story by Beltsville church staff


Ohio Conference Pastor Assists in Archeological Dig

Five years ago, Jerry Chase, pastor of Ohio Conference’s Akron First church and a trained Geographic Information System (GIS) specialist, worked with the Andrews University Horn Museum (Mich.) to purchase a GPS system to be used for measurements during their archeological digs. Due to conflicts, however, he was unable to participate that year. This year archeology staff from Andrews and La Sierra (Calif.) universities invited him to serve as a GPS and GIS specialist during a visit to their ongoing digs in Tall Jalul and Tall Ataruz, both in Jordan.

The GPS system, which includes a rover, base and radio, helped Chase provide horizontal measurements within a 1-centimeter accuracy, and within 2 centimeters vertically. “Historically, archaeologists used tape measures, strings and levels to measure location. The GPS is faster, more accurate and enables data collection to flow into the digital world,” Chase explains. He is pictured with the GPS system at the dig site.—Story by Heidi Shoemaker


Pennsylvania Young People Lead More than 200 to Christ

Imagine traveling to another country and preaching 19 sermons in three weeks to crowds of people you’ve never met. A job for a professional evangelist? Not this summer. Eleven “ordinary” people from the Pennsylvania Conference joined the Youth and Young Adult Evangelistic Mission trip to the Dominican Republic, many of them preaching for the very first time.

By the end, 122 people were baptized and 79 more baptisms were scheduled for the following weeks. “It is so humbling to see how they have taken the challenge to come out and preach in a country in which they don’t know the culture or the language, and yet allowed God to use them in a mighty way,” shares Ray Hartwell, conference president and a team member.

“This experience has been absolutely fantastic,” one young person shared. “I really believe I have changed, and I believe God has used me.” Read more at Hartwell’s blog,—Story by Tamyra Horst

Potomac’s Hispanic Youth Lead Evangelism

At the beginning of the year, Hispanic young people in the Potomac Conference received a CD chockfull of sermons, posters and other materials to help prepare them to become evangelists. Nine months later, those who accepted the challenge stood in front of friends and family preaching about Jesus during a recent youth evangelism week at their churches. Some 27 churches participated, including youth from the Bealton (Va.), Oxon Hill (Md.) and District of Columbia Spanish churches.

“We were blessed in having the opportunity to lead during the week and to see the youth participate actively,” said Juan Del Cid, a member of the Takoma Park (Md.) Spanish church.

At the time of this article’s publication, hundreds of young people who attended the youth-led meetings made commitments to serve Jesus, and 37 were baptized. Young people are pictured praying at the Langley Park (Md.) Spanish church.


Reuniones Evangelistas dirigidas por Jóvenes de la Potomac

A principios de año, jóvenes hispanos de la Asociación de Potomac recibieron un CD repleta de sermones, carteles, y otros materiales para ayudar a prepararlos para convertirles en evangelistas. Nueve meses despues, los que aceptaron el reto, se pusieron de pie frente a sus amigos y familia predicando recientemente sobre Jesús durante una semana de evangelismo juvenil en sus Iglesias. Alrededor de 27 Iglesias participaron, incluyendo a los jóvenes de Bealeton (VA), Oxon Hill (Maryland) y el Distrito de Columbia.

“Somos muy bendecidos en tener la oportunidad de dirigir durante la semana y ver a los jóvenes participando activamente,” dice Juan Del Cid, miembro de la iglesia hispana de Takoma Park (Md). Danissa Calderon y Zuleyma Alvares (en la foto) cantan en la Iglesia Hispana de Langley Park (Md.).


West Wilmington Health Fair Attracts Neighbors

Chesapeake Conference’s West Wilmington (Del.) church recently combined a health fair with the Wilmington Junior Academy (WJA) open house and attracted both members and neighbors. Attendees were encouraged to tour the school and day care and meet the faculty.

More than 80 participants had their cholesterol and blood sugar checked by medical professionals, who conducted a variety of health screenings. In addition, vegan cooking demonstrations, food samples, exercise tips and seminars on health topics such as child obesity, were popular. Visitors collected stickers at each booth and entered a drawing for prizes, such as gift cards, cookbooks and pedometers. The congregation has plans to host a similar event again next year. West Wilmington member Tracy Konieczny is pictured sharing free samples to entice visitors to her vegan cooking demonstration.—Story by Ellen Soire

Sudanese Refugee Shares Testimony With Spring Valley Students

During a school-wide community service day, students at Spring Valley Academy (SVA) in Centerville, Ohio, witnessed the power of divine providence. Shannon Velasco, substitute teacher, and her group of students, were assigned to work at the Hospice of Dayton where they met Santino Lukaalmuraka, one of the grounds workers. One of the students, junior Victor Nyachieo, speaks Lukaalmuraka’s native Swahili language and was able to interpret for him.

Lukaalmuraka told the group that when he was 15 years old, his village in Sudan was invaded and he fled to a refugee camp in Kenya. While there he met Seventh-day Adventist missionaries who taught him from the Bible. He came to the United States with nothing but the clothes on his back and one pair of shoes. “Our hearts went out to Santino … so, over the next few weeks the students and staff at SVA gathered clothing and supplies to help set up his home,” shared Velasco.

Lukaalmuraka hopes to become a nurse and find his family someday, but is grateful for his reunion with his Adventist family!

Want to Find out About Upcoming Columbia Union Events?

Want to find out about upcoming events around the Columbia Union Conference? Then check out our Upcoming Events page on our website. Only a handful of events end up in this newsletter each week. We post a more detailed calendar on our website.

Send us your church-related events and we’ll post it on our website. You may also add those events to our calendar on Facebook. Send us your stories or events by noon each Tuesday, and be certain to send it as text, not as a PDF or picture ad.

Click here for a complete listing of upcoming events around the Columbia Union Conference.

September 15: Adventist Recovery Ministries presents “Regeneration 12-Steps Christ-centered Fellowships” at the Aberdeen church located at 16 North Philadelphia Boulevard, #2, in Aberdeen, Md. The daylong event includes a 12-step Sabbath School, divine service, afternoon seminars, testimony from those in recovery and a victory concert and drama presentation. All are welcomed. For more information, call (443) 567-3440 or visit

September 16: The Wayne (N.J.) church’s second annual "Let's Move!" Day 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for September 16 beginning at 8 a.m. Early registration ends September 1 with a fee of $15. Regular and race day registration is $20. Click here to register. If you register with two other people who are not Wayne church members, you are eligible to receive a technical shirt. The church is located at 218 Ratzer Road.

September 22: The Ohio Conference is hosting a gathering at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington featuring Elizabeth Talbot. Talbot has been an associate speaker for Voice of Prophecy broadcasts, is the founder of the Jesus 101 Biblical Institute and has authored numerous books. The daylong service, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is themed “A New Song: The Mega Joy of the Redeemed Heart.” The program will feature inspirational praise and worship music, four sessions on the Gospel of Luke, a gift copy of Elizabeth Talbot's book, Luke: Salvation for All, and dynamic age-appropriate programs for children. This program will have strong appeal to your friends and family who are not Adventists. Register for your free lunch online by September 13 at or call (740) 397-4665, ext. 111. 

September 23: The Campostella Heights church is hosting a free "Let’s Move! Day" Community Walk and Health Fair. The walk starts at 12 p.m. and the health fair goes until 5 p.m. For more information, or to pre-register, contact Lynette Moore, MD, at or (757) 641-2129. The church is located at 1006 Oakwood Street in Norfolk, Va.


September 15:  Capitol Hill Back in the Day Concert.  
This annual concert, directed by Michael Wright, will feature the Reunion Choir, and songs originally recorded by the Georgia Mass Choir, Mississippi Mass Choir, New Jersey Mass Choir, Florida Mass Choir and Colorado Mass Choir.  This promises to be an uplifting worship experience!  The program will begin at 6 p.m. at the Capitol Hill church located at 914 Massachusetts Avenue, NE.  For more information, call (202) 543-1344.

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Taashi Rowe, Visitor News Bulletin Editor 
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