This March, Canoga Park Community church and Whittier church hosted month-long evangelistic series. In preparing for the series, the churches hosted health cooking classes. Whittier church also held a 24-hour prayer vigil. Throughout the series, topics presented included salvation, the blessing of the Sabbath, what happens when we die and is there hope after death. Before and during both series, church members worked together with Bible workers from SOULS West who were completing a ten-week practicum.
During the series, Bible workers built relationships and gave Bible studies to community members. As a result of each series, souls were added to the Kingdom. The relationships and Bible studies are today being fostered by church members.
8 decisions for baptism
11 ongoing Bible studies
Canoga Park Community church
1 decision for baptism
9 ongoing Bible studies
“The Big Picture: Seeing Jesus Christ in the Details” at Canoga Park Community church was presented by Jason Whitley, Camarillo church associate pastor. Taylor Ligan, SCC CROSS Trainer, and Meena Chong and Pamela Vanegas, SOULS West students, studied the Bible with community members and invited them to the series.
Chong was visiting an attendee from the church’s cooking class when she met a woman named Anusche. It was a social outing to go running and get pizza together, but as Chong puts it, "God had an even greater plan!" "When Anusche and I started talking, we talked about various topics during our run, and built a common ground on fitness, health, and the importance we both saw in converting to a plant-based diet," Chong recalled. "Then, when she asked what I do, I told her that I was a student at a Bible college, and that's when she began to show signs of interest in my spirituality and asked questions about God, faith, and how to connect with Him. We had some great spiritual conversation over pizza and salad, and she finally asked where I went to church. Then, she said she wanted to come to the Big Picture Series that Friday, and she came! I’m so grateful for the powerful experience of God’s special appointments that awaited me,” Chong said, “and how I had the chance to witness her come to church and share the experience with her.”
Marco Topete, SCC Literature Ministries assistant coordinator, presented the “Discover Hope in a World of Uncertainty” series at Whittier church. “It’s important for us to have events like this because, even more than what it does in the community, it really unites the church as they tackle a mission together,” Topete said. “It also really excites the church members to see people come in from their backyard who, if it wasn’t for events like this, they wouldn’t know are there.”
Ryan Lacson and Aidan Wu, SOULS West students, partnered with the Whittier church evangelism team. When Lacson and Wu knocked on Pegah’s door during their first week at the church, she thought they were social workers coming to take her son away. "When the next day her son did get taken away, she was devastated," Lacson said. "However, we encouraged and prayed for her to trust in God. During the next study we had, she told us that she had been praying and trusting in God, and we could tell that she wasn’t the same person that we met during week 1. She was at peace with her family situation and kept texting us when the next Bible study would be. She is a precious soul who just wants to be in a relationship with Jesus, even though she doesn’t know how yet. She ended up going to the evangelistic series, only missing one night, and stood up for baptism. As our time at Whittier came to close, she thanked us for knocking on her door, saying her life will never be the same again. She ended up being a blessing to us, because her just proves how people can be changed by God if they are willing."
“It is always a blessing to be part of a series because it reminds me how much Jesus can be found in our doctrines,” Lacson continued. “It revives my faith and really solidifies me as a Seventh-day Adventist. Seeing people give their life to Christ is a feeling like no other, and giving Bible studies to people, seeing their eyes widen to truth, makes it all worth it.”