RC (Third back on left) attended my TAA baptism class last year. This year RC is in my 5th and 6th grade Bible chain referencing class, where he has been enthusiastically chain referencing his Bible so he can share his faith with others.
I wanted to be baptized and give my life to Jesus, because He gave His life for me, and offers me a better life thank I could live for myself.
A couple of years ago, while Ashley was in the 6th grade she wanted to have personal Bible studies with me. She had also been studying with her grandmother and family, and enjoys studying the Bible with anybody she can.
I want to be baptized because I want to give my heart to Jesus. Baptism to me means to die to your old self and to become a new person, a person of God. I love to learn more about God. I always learn new things when I read the Bible and I always have questions I ask also. I am very curious when it comes to the Bible and I love doing Bible studies. When I get baptized I will feel more accepted in the church like I belong. I want to give my whole life to Jesus Christ. I want Him to lead me on the right path. I want to be an example of God and want to Change. I want God to be proud of me. I am so very excited to get baptized and I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me.
Today, August 22 Ashley was baptized by her great grandfather Pastor Obed Graham. Pastor Graham served as pastor of the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church when the church our present church was built. After serving as president of the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Graham as retired, and is still in the Florida area. Ashley was very happy that her grandfather was available to baptize her today!
Please don’t let the sun go down on your life before you give yourself to the One who gave Himself for you. If you are in the Tampa Bay area I would love to talk to you and study with you as you make this decision. If you are in another corner of the world I would like to help you find a Bible based church in your neck of the woods. Either way feel free to contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net
(A letter has been mailed out to all my contributors, but for those who can’t wait on snail mail here it is.)
Dear Faithful contributors,
I wanted to take a moment and thank each and every one of you, first for believing in me and my ministry, and for your sacrificial giving to enable my ministry to continue both at home and abroad. I would like to share just a little of how your offerings have helped.
Beyond Tampa Bay: After many months of hard work, Mike Rempfer has helped me develop the In Light of the Cross Bible study app! This app is different from all others, as you can, but do not need to connect to Wi Fi to be able to access the study guides. The format is also unique from other apps in that each presentation is presented with questions and supplied verses like the “Bible Readings for the Home” format. Now wherever you are in the world you can download this app, and at any given time and place you have a prepared Bible study presentation you can share with anyone who is interested. You can also access my blog site http://InLightOfTheCross.com and find even more resources at your fingertips on your phone or tablet. You may find the app in the Google play store by searching inlightofthecross. You may also find it on my blog linked above.
The blog continues to be accessed everyday by over 173 countries. I have received e-mails as far away as Madagascar and Red Deer Canada, north of Calgary telling me how they have used the In Light of the Cross lessons and devotionals in their churches. The blog allows you to download the lessons for free and print them out, which is very valuable in areas where money and resources are scarce. Almost every day there are several downloads from the blog where people are printing out lessons to share in their homes and churches. Pastor Glenn Aguirre of the New Port Richey Florida Seventh-day Adventist Church, has shared from his pulpit how the In Light of the Cross study guides are the only lessons he uses now.
A church in Florida beyond Tampa Bay, and a church in southeast Oklahoma are arranging for me to conduct soul winning meetings and workshops this fall. I pray this is only the beginning.
Tampa Bay: I have several current small group studies in the Tampa area. On Friday nights I have been studying with 8 to 11 previously unchurched people who have just recently began attending Tampa First SDA Church. Nani Corujo, one of the members, writes:
“Bible studies has been a wonderful God learning experience. We always start with our week’s highs and lows (high good, low bad). Pastor William then asks us a question about a certain experience we have lived and from there he leads us to what the class will read and talk about. Pastor William has taught my family and iI how to look up verses in the bible and not just read through what it says but also explain what it means. My kids, nephews, husband, bro-in-law, sis-in-law and myself have learn and still learning so much from what Pastor William has been teaching us from God’s work and words. Now we attend Saturday Sabbath in search more from our lord and savior. Thank you pastor William for being a awesome teacher and helping us understand more clearly and fully the word of our lord, and our God.”
In one of my other small groups, I am studying with three previously unchurched teenagers who are now wanting to be baptized in the near future. I also have a few personal studies looking at baptism and we even have a date, October 24 for one of them at Tampa First.
As well as giving Bible studies in Tampa, I am also training others to give studies. I recently baptized Cindy Reyes a couple of years ago, and she is now leading out in a Bible study I connected her with near her home.
The teachers at Tampa Adventist Academy are looking forward to me coming back to teach Bible chain referencing classes and baptism and after school Bible study classes. I am also continuing my New Believer’s Sabbath School class at Tampa First.
Plant City: While I love being able to continue being a part of Tampa First, I also love being a member, elder and local Bible Worker of the Plant City SDA Church. While I love Tampa and Florida very much, Plant City also reminds me of smaller towns and areas I have worked in the past, though Plant City actually turns out to be much bigger than I realized and holds so much potential.
We have a Wednesday night youth group where several youth from the community as well as the church enjoy Bible studies, games and fellowship. I have been taking young people door to door in the community where we now have several Bible studies and hopefully more to come.
I have always enjoyed working with several churches together and the Plant City SDA Church enjoys teaming up with the regional SDA and Spanish SDA churches in our town for community and evangelism projects. I also enjoy bringing in people from other area churches to help us in door to door evangelism as well as small Bible study groups. I am currently working with a family who lives in Plant City but attends a larger church in East Pasco County, to have a group Bible study in their home in Plant City. I believe we can all think outside the box and work together for Jesus even while being members of different churches.
I am also preaching twice a month at Plant City as well as other churches far and near.
Thank you for taking the time to let me share just a few of the many things I am excited about this summer and fall. Too keep up with me and my ministry on a day to day basis, please friend me on Facebook!
For years, I would leave a Bible study where someone had just given their heart to Jesus, and would get in my car praying, “Lord I will keep giving Bible studies and leading people to you as long as you keep making it possible.” I thank God He is using you to keep making this possible!
Your Christian Servant,
Plant City SDA Church
PO Box 5379
Plant City, FL 33563
(Please mark contributions “Bible Worker Fund” thank you!)
June 20, 2015 was a very special Sabbath at the Iglesias Adventista Hispana de Efeso in Miami and in heaven as Estefania gave all of herself to Jesus, because He gave all of Himself for her.
Estefania and her brother really enjoyed their first year at Tampa Adventist Academy, where they both joined my baptism classes. Estefania was also in my Bible class, where she eagerly participated in choosing to have a close, real and personal relationship with Christ.
After attending my baptism classes at Tampa Adventist Academy Estefania shared a desire to be baptized in the summer at the church in Miami that is very dear to her heart. You can see she is very dear to their hearts too.
Estefania was baptized by Pastor Samuel Diaz.
Estefania writes of her baptism:
It meant that I was a new person and that God had forgave me for all my sins. That also meant was I can be with God when he comes back to save us so we can go to heaven with him. Also I feel a new person in Jesus Christ.
Don’t let the sun set on you before you decide to give your life to the One Who gave His life for you. I would love to help you in this decision. You may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net
When I first came to the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, 11 years ago, Ailyn (left) and Alexander’s (Middle) mother asked me to have baptism studies with Ailyn, who was about 12 at the time. Shortly after Ailyn’s baptism her mother introduced me to another family in the neighborhood that wanted to have Bible studies. And thus begun my longest continuous study group ever, lasting 9 years!
Gus, Ana, Eneida, Natalie, Stephanie and Kimberly are the family Ailyn and Alexander’s family introduced me to. This picture was taken back in 2007. Kimberly, the youngest did not know how to read when we first began studying, and would bring her picture Bible to our studies. When I would have everyone turn to a verse, Kimberly would ask me to show her the verse in her picture Bible. Of course the verse was not in her picture Bible but I would find a suitable picture and tell her that was the verse, and she would be satisfied. Kimberly recently turned 16. She still talks about her picture Bible and me helping her find the right “verses.”
Over 9 years our study group had many other members, and venues. Here you can see Natalie, who was just recently baptized, in blue, enjoying my enchiladas at my apartment after one of our Bible studies back in 2008.
Occasionally our group would take advantage of the Florida scenery for our Bible study venues. This picture was taken in 2007. While Natalie already has found the verse, you can see Stephanie helping Kimberly find the right verse in her picture Bible.
On November 8, 2014, Natalie, her friend Leo, and family went to Chilis to celebrate Natalie’s sister Enedia’s birthday. The fact that Eneida was actually 1,400 miles away in Texas, serving for us in the military did not keep us from still celebrating her birthday. During our 9 years of having our study group together, there would be short periods of times that members would get distracted and we would stop studying together for a while. Were will still family though, and would keep hanging out together. Eventually Natalie’s family would tell me while we were hanging out that they wanted to start the Bible studies back up and again and we would.
Once, after Natalie and Leo graduated high school I met them for lunch at Taco Bell. Being the “grownup” I assumed I was paying. I was used to always paying when hanging out with the youth unless their parents paid. I was very impressed when Natalie and Leo insisted on buying lunch that day. I appreciated the fact that they valued their time with me, and saw me as a friend. They were hanging out with me because they treasured our friendship and not because I was “paying.”
Natalie is already quite mature and responsible. Last year when we were celebrating her sister Stephanie’s graduation, their mother told the waitress to put all her kids on her ticket. Natalie, said, “No. I am twenty. I pay for my own food.” I told her, “Don’t tell my parents about that rule!”
Even at an early stage of her adult life, Natalie has learned financial responsibility, and has a mature and sincere appreciation for family and friends.
When this picture was taken above, after 9 years of Bible studies, Natalie’s family was coming to church. It was at this dinner, while we were hanging out that Natalie asked to be baptized. This is why friendships and relationships are so important. It was not during a Bible study that she asked to be baptized, but while we were just enjoying our friendship hanging out together.
I want to thank William for baptizing me and for being my friend the past nine years. He was not only a friend but a follower of Christ who brought me closer to the Lord. He influenced my decision to live the rest of my life for Christ who died for our sins. Before meeting William, I did not know too much about what it meant to be a seventh day Adventist and how important it is to seek God for every situation but now I know how important those two things are. One day at Chili’s with my family and William, I decided to become baptized and I told William about it. Every Thursday morning after that, William and I studied many important concepts in the bible such as death, salvation, stewardship, and etc. These study guides were tremendously helpful and I learned lot from reading and studying it with William. After we were done studying the study guides, I was ready to complete my commitment to Jesus. On April 11th on a Saturday morning, I was baptized and it feels amazing to know that I had accepted Jesus into my heart and that I have a brand new family, the church.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. Galatians 3:26-27 NLT
When we first began our study group with Ailyn and Alexander’s family, Natalie was 11 years old. When Natalie was baptized this April she was 20 years old. I thank God for the privilege of being a part of Natalie’s family for these 9 years and the joy it has given me to see her grow up making such wise and mature decisions all the time. I think this was her best decision ever!
The story does not end here. My Bible study and friendship with Ailyn and her family led me to meet and begin a 9 year Bible study group with Natalie and her family. After studying for several years with Natalie and her family, they introduced me to their cousins, and we have now been studying on Friday nights for two years now. We have up to 11 members in our study group and a few of them have just recently started coming to church on Sabbath!
If you are in the Tampa Bay area and would like to start a study group like the ones you have just read about I would be glad to help you. Just email me at laypastor@TampaAdventist.net. If you are not in the Tampa Bay area still contact me. I can find a study group for you in your neck of the woods!
Nicholas was in my Baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy. During the course of the class, I had a devotional skit for the Adventurers Club. I needed Nicholas to play the part of Peter when he denied Jesus. Nicholas told me he would do it, when he understood the reason for the skit, but he let it be known, he totally detested having anything to do with denying Jesus! He told me, “I don’t want to deny Jesus!”
Nicholas definitely did NOT deny Jesus, but professed his love and loyalty to Jesus by his public baptism.
A couple years ago I had Bible studies with Mark, Marian, and their daughter Cecilia before they got baptized. Last fall Cecilia’s family and I started a group Bible study. We invited Emily and her mother Doris who enjoyed coming. Emily greatly enjoyed the studies and told us she wanted to be baptized. Her aunt told me, every morning after the Bible studies, while she drove Emily to school, Emily would share with her all the wonderful things she was learning as we studied God’s Word.
The night before her baptism, I told Emily about a young married couple who gave their hearts to Jesus one night at a tent meeting long ago in North Carolina. They were so in love with Jesus that they decided to become missionaries in Africa. While in Africa the wife caught malaria and died. The husband faithfully finished his term before returning to the states. When he got home his family and friends comforted him, by telling him how proud he should be of his wife who gave her life to God and died in Africa. The husband corrected them. “She did not die in Africa” he said. “She died in the baptism tank in North Carolina.” It was there that she gave up her own life and said goodbye to her self, and Jesus started living His life in her. I asked Emily if she was ready to say goodbye to herself and live for Jesus. She said that she definitely was!
Please don’t let the sun go down on your life before you give your life to the One who gave His life for you. I would love to talk to you about giving your life to Jesus. You can contact me at 813-933-7505 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year Elaiza faithfully attended my after school Bible studies at Tampa Adventist Academy. This year she attends a different school, so her mother, Janice, invited me to have studies in her home. Elaiza did an excellent job completing her baptism workbook, and shared thoughtful ideas and questions from each lesson. Elaiza would mention how important Bible study and prayer time are, and in my after school Bible studies, would always be praying for her friends and family.
Elaiza shared her testimony with everyone that she had written out a few days before. When she shared it this morning she got a lot of “amens” and I believed it touched several hearts, and will lead to even more people giving their lives to Jesus.
Elaiza writes: “The reason why I am here today is because I want to give myself to God and go to heaven. It’s just not to just frolic on the streets of gold. It’s because I love him and want to have a relationship with him. It says in Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” So, I want to encourage all you kids to be baptized not because your parents tell you to but, because you love Him and want to give yourself to God. Accept God in your life and He will come into your life.”
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. 1 peter 1:18-20 NLT
Don’t let the sun go down on you before you take Elaiza’s advice and accept God in your life so you can go to heaven to be with Jesus too! I would be very happy to help you take this step. You may contact me at email@example.com or 813-933-7505.
After 11 wonderful years, serving the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, as full time Bible Worker and lay pastor, my tenure has come to an end. Well, so to speak.There is a plan for me to continue. The Tampa First church has faithfully supported my ministry for 11 years, and I can’t thank them enough for all the opportunities and memories. While I have been giving Bible studies, training seminars and evangelism seminars, working with the church, school, community and out of state and country mission projects in some many various ways over the years, the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church has faithfully supported all my endeavors both local and abroad. They can no longer do this due to their own operating expenses. At the same time God is currently using my ministry to touch more lives than ever before! In just one of my weekly Bible study groups 8-11 un-churched souls attend every week. Others are currently preparing for baptism in my other study groups. We are having baptisms march 7, 28, and April 11 just in the immediate future.
My salary at the Plant City SDA Church will be supported strictly by donations. We need $5,000.00 a month. (This amount covers the employer’s part of social security as well as my part, and health and retirement benefits and workman’s comp as well as my modest salary.) As of right now we have just over $2,000.00 in pledges. And we have only just begun so this is very doable with God’s grace and generous giving. Under this plan, I will still be able to continue my work with Tampa First. Many people were hugging me last Sabbath, telling me how sorry they were that I was leaving. How ever, under this plan I won’t leave! I will continue my ministry at Tampa First as well as Plant City and the area schools and communities and around the world. I will continue
personal Bible studies and baptisms. Did you know in the last 11 years God has blessed me with around 300 baptisms? over 200 of those at Tampa First and others as far away as Peru? My Website reaches thousands around the world as well as my ministry with the Sabbath School Network.
I will continue giving prophecy seminars as well as preaching and training others to preach and teach as well.
Your support to help me continue God’s ministry is greatly appreciated. So far, some have pledged $500.00 a month, while others have pledged $50.00 a month. One time gifts are also appreciated to help get the ministry started.