Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza’
Today, as then, angels are leading and guiding those who will be led and guided. The angel sent to Philip could himself have done the work for the Ethiopian, but this was not God's way of working. As God's instruments, men must work for others
During 2022, the Central California Conference (CCC) is using the theme “Arise & Go: The Story Begins” to inspire both leadership and members to finish the harvest work in this generation.
While there are others, the Bible story that often comes to mind is that of Philip and the Ethiopian official in Acts 8. Whatever it was that Philip was doing in Samaria when directed by a heavenly messenger to go to the desert, Ellen White tells us that, “He did not question the call, nor did he hesitate to obey; for he had learned the lesson of conformity to God’s will” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 107). As she notes in her comments about the story, “Not upon the ordained minister only rests the responsibility of going forth to fulfill this commission. Everyone who has received Christ is called to work for the salvation of his fellow men” (p. 110). That “everyone” means you and me.
We often pray that God will bring people into the store and that we can put in their hands just what they need to know Him better. That prayer God has answered many times, and we praise Him every time it happens.
Because this theme will be used again and again to inspire us to action in conference events and in our stories and testimonies on these pages, you might find it beneficial to read the entire chapter, entitled “The Gospel in Samaria,” in The Acts of the Apostles. Pages 107 to 111 are specifically a call to action regarding the story of Philip. Certainly, we cannot be idle when it comes to sharing the gospel.
With that in mind, here are just a few stories and testimonies that demonstrate what happens when people answer God’s call to “Arise & Go.”
Templeton Hills Adventist School
Children can also follow the command to “Arise & Go”—and what a joy it is when they do. Did you happen to see the Pacific Union’s “All God’s People” bulletin or video in January about the students at Templeton Hills Adventist Elementary School? Or maybe you saw it as a news item on KSBY, the local TV station for the California Central Coast in December of 2021. Their reporter, Claudia Buccio, shared how the students had been sewing special gifts for the homeless. Beginning in November, Carmen Collins, principal, and Peggy David, sewing instructor, decided that skills and service could be combined and taught to the students from ages seven to eleven. Their project was to sew 100 beanie hats for the homeless before Christmas vacation. As Gunner Giese, one of the students, would explain, “The homeless usually don’t get anything for Christmas, so it’s a very big treat for them.” Students kept those sewing machines stitching, and they even finished one week early.
On the KSBY news segment, students showed Buccio just what they do to create the hats. There is a whole lot of folding and stitching, and then Tristen Sorenson, another student, showed the reporter, “I go through all the threads to see if there are any hangouts and then I cut them off.” David explained, “By reinforcing their stitches and switching from a straight stitch to a zig zag, we were strengthening their skills.” The last step was to wrap the gift. Student Elizabeth Bonilla demonstrated how to do that, “You grab one of these cards to write a Christmas message and, if you want, sign it with your name and grade. Then you put in the beanie.” The gift bag also included a GLOW tract.
It was a group effort as church members and parents donated the fleece for the hats. This was even more evident when it came time to distribute them at the 40 Prado Homeless Shelter in San Luis Obispo on December 14. Kids, parents, and teachers also decorated the cafeteria at the shelter for Christmas. As Collins said, “The season is about giving, and the joy of giving is priceless. We told the parents that this was a school assignment, and everybody signed up.” However, students commented that it really did not feel like one. As Tristen remarked, “It’s an amazing feeling just to know that someone can wear our beanies and be warm and feel more safe.”
If you would like to see the news segments, please scan the QR codes below for the KSBY station and/or the one for "All God’s People”.
CCC Adventist Book Center
As you “Arise & Go,” you may wish to find some useful sharing materials as well as informative guides
on how to give Bible studies. It is for that reason the CCC provides an important ministry, both locally and online, to its members. As Trevor Louw, manager of the Clovis Adventist Book Center (ABC), will tell you, “We seek to provide spiritually uplifting materials that will contribute to the spiritual growth and health of our members and our communities. We want to provide spiritual resources that enable every member to be a soul winner and thereby hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ.”
However, there is another interesting sidelight to this ministry that we may not often realize. “Many people, who might not even be members, come looking for something to answer their questions or wanting something spiritually encouraging,” Louw explained. “They may have discovered the ABC by doing a Google search (clovisabc.com), or when driving by, or even by word of mouth. They come seeking to know God better—and then God plants a seed in their hearts and minds.” He goes on to say, “We often pray that God will bring people into the store and that we can put in their hands just what they need to know Him better. That prayer God has answered many times, and we praise Him every time it happens.”
Louw shared a number of examples to illustrate what God has done. Following are three short stories; look for others in the months to come.
Needing comfort: A woman came into the store and shared that her husband had been in the ICU for three months due to COVID. Although he was now off the ventilator, he was basically nonresponsive. We had the wonderful opportunity of praying with her. She expressed that it was so significant to her that we were there for her at this time.
Looking for answers: A woman in her forties came in for the first time. Although now a Christian, she
shared that her religious background was in the Asian culture. We talked with her a long time. She had many questions and shared the thoughts and struggles that were on her mind. Toward the end of the conversation, she commented that she realized she needed to focus on God and that she was much encouraged by her time in the ABC. She accepted our recommendations and left with a Steps to Christ and The Desire of Ages. It was a happy surprise when, a little later that same day, she returned to pick up a Bible as well.
Searching for the way back: “Please, can you show me something to read that will help me find my way?” This searching and sincere request came from a man in his thirties. He shared that he was a Seventh-day Adventist who had drifted away and wanted to come back to God and the church again.
We give thanks to the Lord for bringing His people to the Clovis ABC store! Please continue to pray for this ministry.
First time Bible study
How exciting it is to “Arise & Go” and give your first Bible study! Dneiper Vega, pastor of the Tulare church, sent the following message to his members: “I’m excited to report to you that Roman gave his first Bible study today. He invited two of his friends, and I shadowed/instructed him. Please pray for his training and
the Bible students.” And, Vega added, “If anyone else would like to learn how to give a Bible study, let me know.”
Pastor Dan on Facebook
If you would like some ideas of what you could do to “Arise & Go,” you might like to ask our president, Dan Serns, if you could be his Facebook friend (already with almost 5,000, so ask quickly) or check his public post. He often posts how he interacts with people in day-to-day situations, and he shares stories that others send to him. As Ellen White shared in that story about Philip, “Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability” (The Acts of Apostles, p. 111). As Jesus would say, “Go ye also into the vineyard” (Matthew 20:4, KJV).
By Deloris Trujillo