by Tamyra Horst
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The forecast called for rain. And a lot of it. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 1,120 people who spent the afternoon going door-to-door across Philadelphia and Reading for the Pennsylvania Conference’s “Faith for Families” event earlier this fall. Church members and friends gathered at thirteen churches, along with the entire pastoral team, most of the teachers and students from Conference Adventist schools, the student body of Blue Mountain Academy (BMA), Hamburg, Pa., along with a number of staff members, and Conference leaders.
While it rained in the communities all around Philadelphia, the storms held off in the city itself until after teams returned from leaving door hangers, giving out literature, praying with people, and meeting people in the neighborhoods around their churches. Materials were printed in English and Spanish. A website listed on the door hangers, faithforfamily.org, offers resources in English, Spanish and Korean.
In Reading, more than 120 people went out in torrential downpours, determined to not let the weather prevent them from connecting with people. “More than 300 hundred people who did not go out on our Faith for Families day because of the rain went out the following Sabbath,” states Tim Bailey, director of Leadership and Spiritual Growth. His office planned the event, coordinating with the pastoral team who created the website, designed the logo and door hanger, and filmed a video to share with churches. “People were excited. Several said they had never seen anything like this happen in Pennsylvania before.”
People returned to churches with stories of how God had used them—many sharing that those they talked with indicated that they were an answer to prayer. Others were excited about those who signed up for Bible studies. Several students from BMA told how God led them to talk to people who were interested and wanted to know more about what they were doing.
Elder Lonnie Melashenko, former speaker/director of the Voice of Prophecy, spoke for a city-wide prayer and praise session at Huntingdon Valley Christian Academy, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., two weeks later, giving members an opportunity to continue to pray together for the contacts they had made.
All interests generated from the day were invited to evangelistic meetings or seminars held at area churches. People were also invited to join one of the more than 100 small groups designed to begin building relationships with those interested in studying and knowing more.
“We’re expecting 100 baptisms,” shares Bailey. The Conference is sponsoring two evangelistic series in November with pastors Alejandro Bullón, author and evangelist, (in Spanish) and Carlton Byrd, speaker and director for Breath of Life Ministries (in English.) Bailey is already working with the pastoral team to plan next year’s Faith for Families event. “We want to see this be an ongoing part of our evangelism efforts.”
— Tamyra Horst is the Communication Director for the Pennsylvania Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
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