POP Archive
Charles

"In 2011, I was attending University of Phoenix in Huntsville, Alabama. On April 27th, a category five tornado hit Huntsville and knocked out all of the power in the city for a week and a half. University of Phoenix bylaws state that if I don't post online for three days, I will be kicked out of school. I had to fill out paperwork to put me back into school. A lady at the school that was handling my paperwork to help me restart school messed up my paperwork.

It took a year to prove that the worker messed up my paperwork. When I was finally able to get back in the school and having a 2.75 GPA, I get a call from a financial aid advisor telling me that my loans are in default so I can't go to school any longer. Come to find out University of Phoenix broke my forbearance. This was in March 2013. The creditors would not listen to my story and would not help me get my loans out of default.

It took up to October 2014 to link with The Education Advent Group. It took 8 months from the time I talked to the Education Advent to get my loans out of default. I started Full Sail University on July of 2015. If it wasn't for the lord pushing me to fight this, I wouldn't have had a chance to go back to school. I would not now have a 3.24 GPA and be working with WWE NXT."

George

“Do you happen to know the WIFI password at Patmos? My 2 year old did a double whammy on my wife and me! He threw mommy's cell phone in toilet then a day later threw daddy's cell in air, cracked it, and now neither phone works. Can we pray? 45 years ago today a woman gave birth to a baby boy with an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. That same baby is now a teacher.

I work at two schools. I had to break up two fights at both schools today. I come to Patmos after work to help tutor students in math. I have friends that are trying to contact me to wish me a happy birthday, but my phone is… well you know. My wife and I are now only able to contact each other by WIFI through Facebook until we get new phones.

What a day! Despite my obstacles this week I thank God because I have overcome so much, but he keeps on making a way for me over and over again. I was still able to make to church to help someone.”

Michael

“I had a bad car accident, totaled my car, and someone else’s. I had no insurance that day. I loaned the insurance payment money to a family emergency. Because I was uninsured I needed $3000 to reinstate my license. My wife and I worked across the street from each other, so we started carpooling to work.

More than a year later I lost my job, but my wife got a new job that required travel. My wife had to work out of town for weeks at a time with our only car. I needed a car to go to interviews for a new job, but it had been over 2 years since I last drove. We did not have the money to reinstate my license. I prayed for an answer.

I decided to call the department of motor vehicles to find out what steps I needed to take to reinstate my license. I got my license reinstated for only $200! My father-in law sold my wife a car for $1! We now own two cars! A month later I started my new job, which I love with all my heart and pays more than my old job! Praise God!”

Alvin & Coco

"I was married to my wife, Coretta Elliott, on July 3, 1999. Six months later, we were separated. Two years after that we were officially divorced. It was a very difficult time for both us and there was very little communication between us during that time. God told me to leave it alone and trust him with the final outcome.

I decided to do that & move on. In 2004, I was in a relationship with another person who was recently divorced from her husband. God began to convict this person and eventually myself that it wasn't His will we'd be together. I was perplexed and confused and began to seek God for answers. God began to move through a mutual friend of my wife and me.

This mutual friend contacted my wife in 2004; after the conversation, my then ex-wife called me. We reconnected in Dec.2004 and remarried June, 2005! The previous ex who was also divorced from her husband remarried him. I learned later that my late grandfather had been praying for our reunification since 1999. Our mutual friend who played a pivotal road in our reunification has now passed.

My wife and I has now been happily married for almost 12 years!"

Crystal

"On January 27, 2012 I went to youth convocation with my father and sister. Unexpectedly got baptized. There were SO many distractions but my heart was being pulled towards this decision. So I did it. I took the plunge.

When I finally got home I was itching to smoke a black and mild or cigarette! I couldn't wait. Finally I got in my car, began driving, and I took the black and mild out of my console. I opened the black and mild. I picked up the lighter and something happened.

I crumbled the black and mild in my hand and threw it along with the lighter out of the window. I couldn't explain how I felt, all I knew is I couldn't do it. I walked away from it, cold turkey. 1 hour turned into 1 day which turned into 1 week, 1 month, and then 1 year.....and those days have multiplied into 5 years. I didn't need a patch, no pill, no gum, just God!!

He has given me so much, He has rewarded me, and He has held my hand thru the process. I am so grateful because I know there are people that have been trying to quit for years and haven't been successful but I am here to tell you, with God anything is possible. With God you are strong, with God all things are made new!!"

River

"I thank God for my sister Deven. We act silly and laugh together, play My Little Pony together, watch cartoons together, and make ballet plays together. I cry every time Deven has to go home. She is my best friend!"

Erytc

"I recently had to present my capstone as the final requirement to obtain my Business Administration Degree and I remember using a quote by C.S Lewis to close my presentation “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” I then explained how this was true in my academic journey but at the time I didn’t share something that happened starting in February of last year. You see in February 2016 I was told that I needed $4000 to graduate and I didn’t have those funds. So under much stress I prayed and I asked God for the $4000. A few days later the school decided to give me a scholarship for $2000 and the remaining they would break it into payments. Praise God! I was so hype that day.

So everything was ok until around November when the school tells me that I will need $1800 for my capstone by January 9 2017 (the day school started). So I prayed to my God again but this time I was a bit more confident that God was going to come through. However, things got complicated very quick. January 9 arrives and not only do I still need $1800 but I also owed them $400 from my previous payment agreement. So here I am in the financial aid office and I break the news to them that I just don’t have the funds.

I was then told that I wouldn’t be able to take my capstone until they receive those funds. About an hour later I receive a phone call from the financial aid office asking me to come in. Since I was still on campus I told them that I would go in right away. I come into the office and I see the Vice President of the school. I sat down and the Vice president says the following: “We are going to give you a scholarship of $2200."

That paid the pending $400 from previous payments and the $1800 for my capstone. On February 2 I successfully presented my capstone. Family and friends attended my capstone and I even recorded the presentation live on Facebook just so those that are far away can see it (like my parents). Therefore, to end my testimony I would have to say…. Isn’t it funny how day by day God doesn’t change, but when you look back He changes everything…. just for you? Blessing!"

Logan

"My name is Logan Josiah Warren. In July 2016 when I was 10 months old, I was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms after my mom noticed that I was exhibiting subtle head nods and clusters of eye deviations during one of our early-morning breastfeeding sessions.

I underwent immediate testing and remained at Arnold Palmer Hospital for over a week where the staff eventually diagnosed me and put me on a heavy steroid and anti-seizure medication. The medications caused me great pain (my parents had to inject me with a long needle twice a day), I gained substantial weight and my motor-skill development was severely delayed.

However, even at my young age, I know my God has a plan for me. See when I was hospitalized, I was surrounded by my loving parents, my older brothers, my grandparents, godparents, an army of Aunts and Uncles, close friends and my Patmos church family who prayed constantly for my recovery. A smile remained on my face at all times. Infantile Spasms only effect about 2,500 children in the US each year, but I refused to ask “Why me?” When my parents cried and asked God for his intervention, I kept a smile on my face, because I knew he was already at work!

I am now 17 months old and with all praises to God, I have not experienced a seizure since my diagnosis! I continue to be evaluated by a pediatric neurologist every 90 days and undergo weekly sessions with a physical therapist to help catch me up to my age-level benchmarks. It was only God that allowed my mom’s keen eye to catch my spasms early enough so that they could be quickly treated. If you see me around Patmos, you will know that I always have a smile on my face because I know that God has a plan for my life and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for me next!"

Stacey

"When I moved to Orlando in 2000, I found myself spiritually drained. I thought fun and entertainment would rekindle my spark but that didn't work, I still felt like something was missing. I recalled a saying, when you feel down, go back to where you last saw the light (paraphrased). That for me was in the house of the Lord. I asked a friend who lived in town to recommend a church that had sound sermons and a strong choir because I was in need to water my soul with the Word and a good song.

He suggested Patmos, even though he wasn't a member. I looked up the church in the telephone directory, and began attending that week. Over the years, like the song says, I've had some ups and some downs, had some disappointments and some learnings, but God has been faithful through it all. He blessed me to also experience spiritual growth, victories, restoration, and the Power of Prayer. Now the Lord is using me to help encourage and pray for others who are spiritually weak, fighting life's battles, and needing a place of refuge.

I thank God for the life lessons over the years that have all resulted in my recommitment to the Lord. I thank God for my wonderful, funny, yet wise husband, whom I met at Patmos. We are both serving as Elders now, which only Jeremiah 29:11 can explain. God has been good to me, though undeserving, and I'm here to testify that whatever walk of life you find yourself in, like the prodigal son story, if you return to Him, He will run to you, embrace you, cover you and restore you as His own child and rejoice over your return (John 3:16,17), because He so loves you."

Dimitri

"My journey began November 29th, 2007, when I thought my life was coming to a point of relaxation and vacations. I had a dream that one day in the future my life is going to be turned around and I am going to be a mother again. I had this dream not once but twice and I thought to myself no, I'm having some crazy nightmare. After all my children are ranging from the ages of 30 years old to 45 years old and grandchildren in their 20's.

Well, it happened when I left South Florida and moved to Central Florida God blessed me with a baby girl I named Irianna Genesis-Rowanda Guthrie born November 29th, 2007. This is the child that has kept me on my knees and gave me a whole new relationship with God that I thought could never happen. I really thought after being in this message all my life married, raised my children, widowed, married again, "I got this". Well, Irianna has a story that is not finished yet and the world's best kept secret for the future. And she will be the one to tell the ending of this journey one day.

But, what it has done for me is that I have a new relationship with God with all the trials and tribulations I am a new woman of God. And this journey that I have been on God has shown me His ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:9). Through my journey only Jesus was my faithful friend, comforter, and father. He showed me just how much I needed to trust Him and allow Him to have control. God has put new sistah-friends in my life, showed me the delete button in my cell phone.

Shake off the users and abusers, pray for those who have accused you and hurt you. Love your enemies, which can sometimes be your flesh and blood as well as those you know. Remember what God has done for you no matter what we have done. The greatest thing that I have learned to do much more now is to FORGIVE and LET GO. Your blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress will go down to zero. In the mean time I give GOD ALL THE GLORY AND THE PRAISE! Irianna's middle name Genesis (In The Beginning) Rowanda (Mommy's middle name), Irianna (Iri - Jamaican/American Girl). My pet name for her as many know "Kooley-Girl" (My baby girl). Thank You Lord for Kooley Girl!"

Thoris

With my 35th birthday around the corner, October 2012, the Master’s Calling was evident and HIS voice was loud and clear. I was not pleased with the direction of my life and my career. The knot in my stomach when it was time to get up and go to work was a struggle daily. I recall being in the shower one morning and hearing the song "I Give Myself Away" and falling to my knees. As this happened, I felt God’s presence and I could hear Him say, "Now that you’ve given it ALL to me, watch what I can do."

In the upcoming weeks and as I celebrated my 1 year anniversary at the company where I was not happy on the job, I received a call from a different company that I was in the final round of interviews the year before. They offered me another position with a compensation package that literally blew my mind. All in the same day, I received my 1 year anniversary award and I handed in my two-week notice. This was just the beginning of what God had in store. My life, marriage, and career went through a transformation.

Soon thereafter, my wife and I signed the contract to have our first home built. Looking back, I kept asking myself why I didn’t do this long before. It took 35 years, but all I can say is when you truly see HIM for yourself, words can’t convey what it feels like.

GOD is Amazing!

Esther

I was 19 years old. I was 25 weeks pregnant. I was not married and I moved back home with my mom. I started to have pain and went to the hospital. When I was checked, they told me I was in labor and needed to stay in the hospital for about 10 weeks on bed rest.

So they started me on medication to try and stop the contractions. After only a few days, I went into full labor. I delivered a 2 pound 26 weeks baby boy. I was in St. Croix at that time and they did not have a NICU. Later the evening after his birth, the doctor came to my room and let me know my son would not live past 12 hours and if he did make it, he would have a lot of respiratory issues. My heart broke.

So I did what my mom taught me to do. I prayed even though I felt that He might not answer because I was a sinner. That evening, I went to the nursery to see him. This 2 pound baby. All 13 inches of him. I was scared.

They put me in a room by myself in a rocking chair so they could care for him. While I was waiting to go back and see him, while I was scared that I will lose my son, while I was thinking that I was unworthy of a miracle, and while my mother prayed, I heard a voice a loud as day say to me, "Be still and know that I am God." I looked around but no one was in the room with me. I started to rock in the chair. I heard it again.

I was startled. It was His voice. God's voice speaking to a sinner like me!! To make a long long story short, my son is now 22 years old with no respiratory issues and healthy. I thank God His grace is sufficient for a sinner like me!!!

Ebony

At 24 years old I had the blessing of being pregnant with my first child. My pregnancy was very uneventful, very normal by most standards. Nearing the end of my pregnancy, my daughter Taura did not want to come out. So, I thought being 3 weeks overdue was the biggest concern and risk of my first birthing experience; sorely mistaken, I endured a very painful 36 hour labor just to find out Taura was in distress. An emergency c-section was quickly initiated by the doctor, and this is when my biggest test of faith would come.

3 weeks overdue, 36 hours of labor, an emergency csection, and almost dying from the anesthesia wasn't enough, as I waited for my baby to be placed in my arms I heard that dreadful "flatline" beep. This happened twice in my daughter's first minutes of life, she was actually on life support and unable to breath for her first 30 minutes. They quickly flew her via helicopter to a bigger NICU facility, and after spending 9 months waiting to meet my first child, I didn't meet her until 5 days later. I saw Taura in a picture for the first time. 5 days passed and I was finally reunited with my baby, one of the most frustrating moments of my life, even after all of this heartache I couldn't even hold her, she was in an incubator.

Taura had fluid in her lungs from aspiration of Meconium which is deadly to babies. A large tube was placed on her side to flush out the liquid, she was on 24/7 monitoring for brain damage and other tests, the stress on me was draining. Instead of growing closer to Christ my heart was angry and I blamed him. It was not until Taura's 6 mo check up that I truly grasped the miracle God performed for us in saving my child. At this check up we had to set up several appointment for neurology, cardiology and others; when we arrived her primary care doctor looked at us in amazement.

I asked him what was wrong, he said all of the appointments were cancelled, they reviewed her scans and they no longer saw any fluid in her lungs, or any signs of long term effects of illness. He was amazed, he told us for a child to make it out of a NICU after 15 days with no damage or effects is very rare. I broke down and praised God and felt humbled by my incredulity and stubbornness. Today the only thing that remains from that horrible time is a scar under Tauras breast, but now we see it as a daily reminder of how God spared our child and has seen her through 2 wonderful fulfilling years. Turning away from the Lord in times of dispare is so tempting, but that experience taught me that it is during those times we need to cling on to the Lord even more.

Hailey
"A lot of people don't know that I've been depressed. At first it was because I was dealing with grief and guilt, but then it turned into the fact that I never felt that I was good enough, or that my life seemed to be falling apart as I knew it, or that I'm not as significant as I thought. I had contemplated suicide a few times, and wrote some notes, but I was never able to do it. Each and every time, God would send someone with either a call or a text. I would be so worried about trying to hide my sadness from them that I would have nothing left in me.

I would cry for hours. I stopped eating regularly. Couldn't sleep. I isolated myself from almost everyone. But God... he didn't bring me this far for me to end my life.

I can finally say that although some days are rough, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm making it. I'm finally able to smile genuinely and to laugh. I'm beyond thankful for the chance that I have to finally be able to experience happiness after so long. To anyone who finds themselves fighting what seems like an uphill battle with depression... DON'T GIVE UP!!

I know it's hard, but God will see you through it. Sometimes it may feel like He's not there, but I promise you, He cares and He's working on your behalf. Hand over your depression and sadness... He will give you a peace that passes what any pill or medication could give you. He wants it all. He loves you and wants to see you happy. God bless ❤️"

Elder & Sister Evans
Celebrating 52 years of marriage this year I asked Elder and Sister Evans what their secret is to their long union then they both replied, “not just one boss.”

Shared Responsibility.

Patmos Family,
We lost Sister Evans last night. Please keep Elder Evans in prayer. Elder & Sister Evans have served their community together for over 50 years. Their relationship was a true example God’s Love. God bless their family.

Maya

$11,309.  That is how much I made in 2009.  I came to Orlando in 2007 as a scientist.  I promised my mother, who had recently retired, that if I got a job opportunity I would leave the great city of New York and come to retirement village Florida.  No sooner than the words came out of my mouth, the email notification buzzed.  So, I gave away most of everything I had, packed up the Toyota Camry that my mom gave me and moved to a bedroom in her home. 

Me, Dr. Maya P. Byfield, went home to live with her mom at 29.  Well, after a year working in neuroscience, I wasn’t happy.  So, I decided as the country was going through the worst economic time since the great depression to quit my secure job.  You can do stuff like that when you are under 30 and living at home… Lol! I tried moving back north. 

The running joke is my goodbye party lasted longer than my move.  I was back in a couple months, but with no job.  When I got back I ditched an interview at the local community college.  Teaching wasn’t for me, I thought. Well, the Dean called me personally and asked if I’m sure. 

So, I decided to adjunct a couple of classes as I looked for another job.  That was 2009.  I was living in a room.  PhD. Below the poverty line.  Was this the great thing God had for me? Hope?  I was lost. Well, not really.  I had God. I had Patmos. 

We started a Joshua and Caleb movement.  And while I didn’t have much.  I gave to Him and watched Him work.  And let’s just say I am no where near the poverty line anymore. God has poured through windows and doors.

He will do the same again.  Romans 5:3-5 says “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

That’s what they call us, the Holy Ghost Headquarters.  Not because we praise, but because we have stories of faith, perseverance, and hope.

Marcel

Marcel traded his rugby jersey #11 for choir robe #11! Click on the SoundCloud button below to hear Marcel's testimony.

Angela
I became a member of Patmos in 1997 when I relocated to Florida, 2 years after my father’s untimely death. Since then, life has taken me through many transitions and I am thankful that I had members of my Patmos church family to see me through those times. I underwent a challenging divorce in 2000 that left me deflated and withdrawn. I always dreamed of starting a family and when the divorce happened, my dreams were shattered. I knew God was watching over me, but back then I did not fully understand His power to restore. In 2002, I met a wonderful man at Patmos who became my husband in 2004.

After we decided to start our family in 2011, our first son was born on August 22, 2012. Some time later as I was cleaning out some paperwork in the house with my husband, I stumbled upon my divorce decree from the year 2000. We both noticed the date stamped on the front: August 22, 2000 and I immediately started praising God! At a time when I was broken and it seemed like all hope was lost; God knew that 12 years later to the day, my dream of starting a family would come to fruition. The number 12 is used numerous times in the Bible to represent completion or perfection. God restores! His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures forever. (Psalm 100:5)

Christopher
It's safe to say that I spent my entire life starved of paternal affection. While people often reject an image of God that corresponds with that from which they have been deprived, that wasn't my response. From a little boy, I wholeheartedly embraced the image of a loving Father God, who watched over me, graciously guided me and provided for my needs and those of my family.

Then, suddenly, miraculously, we were reunited. I met my father just a few months after I graduated from college. We spent the following seven years building a relationship. He was there when I graduated from grad school, and when my son was dedicated. We were growing together. Then he committed suicide.

I felt cheated out of precious time and time lost, yet I was encouraged by the time we had spent and opportunity we had for reconciliation. Furthermore, I was strangely prepared in that I had funeralized a dear parishioner who had committed suicide just four months prior. I had fully processed feelings of guilt and regret. So when my father died, I was ready to face those same challenges.

I spent the following year (and on) grieving, and found in the midst of pain profound divine comfort, and courage to pursue new challenges in an effort to move on. With it, I found insight to write a book and a documentary to help others deal with grief. I am thankful for God's presence and providence in the midst of hardship and pain.

Erin
Often times we get so caught up in the hustle of life, that we don't realize we are slowly allowing life to guide us and not God.

I wanted to be the first in my family to graduate from college and begin a successful career. I've always felt God has shown me favor, simply because I was a 7 (SDA). I worked hard in school and at my job. I worked so hard that I quickly received promotion after promotion. This had always been commonplace for me. I was no stranger to favor. I knew I had it. I was attempting to reach new heights that no one else in my family had ever reached. I was clearly focused and on a path to make a change.

Only, I didn't realize that the changes I was making were not the changes God designed or desired for me. See, I was an arrogant 7. I mismanaged God's favor. I worked so hard at a job that was not enhancing my educational endeavors, and soon my job began to overshadow school. I worked so much overtime because it was easy money, and it showed my superiors that I was a team player and worthy of their praise. I was all about the hustle.

I began skipping classes to work overtime...seeking "their" praise. I worked so hard that I began to get so stressed out from all of the pressure and unrealistic deadlines that "I" had created for myself. I could not count on any of my superiors to understand. They would think I was weak. School was a distant relic. I no longer attended classes, and I did not care. I wasn't eating or sleeping, just working. I was living the good life. I was going to be successful! I was so confused.

In the midst of my pinnacle journey, I forgot the promise God gave to me in Jeremiah 29:11. He said "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I wasn't following God's plans; I had created my own stressful, unhealthy path.

I hit rock bottom faster than all of the years it had taken me to ascend step-by-step to the pinnacle of success. My body, literally, could not function properly. Work was a mess, school was a mess, and I was certainly not achieving my initial goal of changing my family's history. I had, pretty much, dropped out of school. This was not what God had promised me. I was prospering, but it was hurting me. My future looked dim.

One day, as I was sitting at my desk-now a supervisor, I began to pray and call on Jesus's name. I asked him for his plan-his will. Within a matter of seconds, I knew what I needed to do. I got up and walked out, never to return to that place that took so much out of me and derailed my true path to success. God had spoken, and I was finally listening.

Three degrees later, I look back on that time of confusion and shake my head. My current success could have come so much sooner. If only I had consulted God and not been arrogant in my receipt of favor. All of the time I lost was a result of my own will taking over God's will.

We lose so much time when we don't stay in communication with God, the Team Captain...the only one who needs to know that I'm a team player, and He alone is worthy of my praise—not the other way around "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Eloise
There is something special about Patmos. I remember the strength I got within its walls after the death of my husband. The first person coming to my home after his death, was our Pastor. Those Wednesday night prayer meetings. I would travel 90 minutes after working 10 hrs for that fellowship.

That mid week blessing. If there were six members at prayer meeting, the singing sounded like a choir. The simple testimonies. Just thanking God for hearing the birds sing by our departed Dear Brother. The community outreach and involvement.

Just listening to the neighbors testimony of how they were helped by services from the church. How often I had to really acknowledge how Blessed I was, when I heard the testimonies. The high I felt just walking through the doors. The melodious singing. The words in the songs were sermons in their own rights.

The fellowship with my kind Brothers, Sisters, Nieces and Nephews. My Church Family checking on me during the week and my Pastor, the first person I would recognize after surgery in the recovery room. The Elders offering to help when needed. The intercessory prayers. How we gathered around each other, touching and praying for miracles.

How we gave thanks giving for answered prayers. This is the place I would rather be. I am looking forward to continued excellence and Spiritual Experiences. May God continue to BLESS THE MEMBERS OF PATMOS CHAPEL.

Joydel
When your mother goes against the doctor’s advice to abort you because you could cost her her life, but she chooses to have you anyway, and you both survive, you can assume that you’re on this earth for a specific reason. I can’t say I’ve yet found that specific purpose, but I can definitely say that over the years, I’ve met the man behind the purpose. I grew up in an Adventist household and was surrounded by Biblical teachings during my childhood and teenage years. But, like most generational Adventists, there comes a time when one has to decide if he/she believes because they were taught to believe or through personal experience with Jesus.

Decision time came for me during college. I was living in an apartment with my two sisters at the time. We hadn’t been getting into anything unsavory, we attended church regularly, even continued weekly family devotions. But, why did we do all of that? Why did I do all of it?

One day I decided that church sermons and Sabbath lunch conversations could no longer be my main sources of Biblical knowledge. I needed to start studying for myself. I needed to have a better answer to my non-Adventist friends about certain topics besides, “for religious reasons.” So, I started off small — reading my Sabbath School quarterly every day. I felt good about myself.

I was studying to show myself approved. Heaven, here I come! Or, so I thought. I’d never had many notable struggles growing up. My grades were always good.

I had a scholarship for college. I was a lady. Life was normal. Then my senior year of college came and for the first time in my life I didn’t know what was going to happen next. Where was I going to live?

Where was I going to work? Graduation came and I still didn’t have any answers. Finally, I got a job at the eleventh hour. Not, the job, just a job. That job where you’re over-qualified, under-paid and over-worked.

My friends were living the dream and I was stuck, settling.  I was miserable. Why was this happening? I did most things right. Shouldn’t that count for something?

For blessings? Cue Jesus. It wasn’t warm and fuzzy with butterflies at first. I tried to force Him to give me what I wanted the way I used to go on hunger strikes when my mom didn’t cook my favorite meal and then she’d give in and allow me to have a favorable alternative because I was too skinny to skip a meal. Surely, if Jesus saw me suffering, He’d do the same thing.

I didn’t know who I was up against. I’d met Him, but I still didn’t know Him yet. When pity didn’t work, I tried bribery. If you…then I’ll…. That didn’t work.

On to guilt. Study + good works = blessings. That was in the QJV (Queen Joydel Version). “Look at me. I’m reading and quoting Auntie Ellen.

Look at me. I’m doing missionary work. Look at me. I pay tithe AND offering. Regularly. Even when I’m only making peanuts.”

Not only did that guilting not work, it back-fired on me. The more I began to study, the more I got to know Him and the more I got to know Him, the more I saw how all things were working together for my good. The more I saw that, the more I felt ashamed for the pitying, the bullying, and the guilting. We’re cool now. There are definitely still some, “Bruh”, “what are you even talking about?!” and “can you get your daddy, please” moments from me and some “...but did you die though” moments from Him.

I’m still a hot mess and there are some recurring themes from lessons He’s tried to teach me, but I’ve failed to learn. But, He’s my people because in my deepest, darkest moments He never lets me give up. He never takes away hope, even when I try to throw it away just to justify giving up. He tells me the truth. He doesn’t take excuses. And when I’m on my last, He gives me peace.

That’s the Holy Spirit. He’s pretty cool too. Oh, and I found Patmos when I was in college too. I really like it — like used to drive-an-hour-from Daytona Beach-in-a-packed-car-with-no-air-conditioning-with-my-sisters-and-friends like it.”

Jonathan

I had the Midas touch. It seems as though everything I touched was successful. So successful, I forgot what my success was rooted in. When I was pastoring the baptisms and successes were easy to attribute to God because he’s right there in your face...a constant dose of humility. However, in the secular world you don't have as many reminders that it’s not you but Christ in you. The more I accomplished the more accolades I’d receive the easier it was for me to forget where my strength was actually coming from.

I was doing incredibly well on my job and my business was showing serious improvement in it’s second year. Selfishness began to set in and that gave way to Narcissism. Soon I was no longer driven by doing a good work and making a difference, I was obsessed with succeeding. It was insatiable. All I could think about was creating more ways to win.

Soon my family became just another challenge to overcome. My passion to help others was replaced by cost/risk analysis. I became empty, void of a true connection with God. I would siphon off the moments of spiritual growth of others. My family, my business partner and my loved ones all carrying a spiritual burden they were unaware of.

In my arrogance I started getting sloppy, cutting corners, being impatient. At this point God was taking too long and I needed to take my vision into my own hands. I began to do what I wanted when I wanted and anyone that impeded my progress in any way was perceived as insufferable. I pushed and pushed and pushed until I pushed everyone away...including God. My shallow half-hearted prayers were more habitual than to communicate with my creator.

I’m informed I have to make a choice, my business or my job, though we (my business) are doing well, we aren’t doing well enough to completely support me and the other families working with me. I'm dizzy. What am I going to do. I wasn't prepared for this. And because I've pushed everyone away I have no one to lean on.

My wife is disappointed but weirdly supportive. My business partner is excited that I can now focus full time on our logistics company. Everyone else seems to be OK, but I am sick to my stomach. I can't eat I cant sleep. I forgot what it feels like to lose.

I'm afraid, vulnerable and unsure. All I can think to do now is talk to God. I ramble for 20 minutes in prayer and then wait in silence. Psalms 6 pops into my mind. I still feel sick but There is a familiar peace that is moving into me.

I spend the next 48 hours in prayer and communion with God. On the third day I rose.....Hungry. I'm also thankful. I want to shout Daniel 4:37 from the mountain top. I am now ready to face my challenge of starting over.

My future rest in the hands of my creator. I get to work. I purchased a new Box truck for my company and I am going to get back on the road. I can earn a few hundred dollars a day in that until I can get the big bucks rolling in. I am hopeful for the future.

Praise God for my plan B! I sent one of my guys to bring me the box truck and drop it off at my house so I can be ready to run....he crashed it.. I stand in my living room looking out the window at the box truck with half the top ripped off and a familiar verse pops into my head Romans 8:18. I can't help but to smile. I am back in God's will and though the road ahead will be challenging I won't be alone.

Selah.

Dr. Bushner

“I was born into a loving family with 5 siblings and some great parents, (Rupert and Ann Bushner) who loved their children. I am the second to the oldest, Sylvia my oldest sister (who is now deceased) Norman, Doris, Kindra, Karla were younger than me in that order. I thank God for my Aunt Doris Smith who was a Seventh Day Adventist, my Mother‘s sister. She had two boys Stan and Albert who fell in love with their little cousin the day I was born. They would come and get me for the weekends and take me to church, and when school was out for the summer I would stay with them.

I was exposed to Adventism at a very early age. My Aunt and my cousins, would go to church and be there all day. I remember Sabbath school, Divine Worship, AY and Fellowship dinners. Oh yea, there would be no TV from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. When I was home I would attend Antioch Baptist church, Sunday school was an imperative if I was going to play football and that I did.

I started playing at the age of seven, my neighbor who I considered a big brother Steve Reed introduce me to the game I came to love. I was very good and it became obvious that I was gifted in the game of football. I played up until my junior year of High school. You may ask why? One night I was lying on the couch and my mother was reading Steps to Christ out loud.

In the past, whenever she would start talking about God I would find a way out, but this night I stayed there and listened. I had a pillow over my face but I heard every word she read. I was 17 years old. What came next was truly a miracle. I knew Jesus Christ came and died for sinners, I was very familiar with the Bible text “that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

However, this night it was personal. I don’t remember what chapter she was reading all I know I saw for the first time that Christ died for me. Yes it was my sins that nailed Him to the Cross and that crushed me. I only remember going up stairs into the restroom and looking into the mirror and crying like a baby. My mother said I got on my knees before I went upstairs, I don’t remember that.

All I know is that my heart was broken because it was my sins that nailed the King of the Universe to a cross. The irony is the more I cried the cleaner I felt, I felt a burden lifted, I felt forgiven and clean before my maker. Before all of this had happened it was on December 31st I had made a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking Marijuana, long story short January 1st I was smoking weed. I was so hurt and let down because I felt I had no control over my life. Not realizing a few months later, like Paul on the Damascus Road I would encounter Christ. What I did not know was unknown to me, Ellen White points out that any time a person decides to do right unknown to them the Holy Spirit Is working on their heart.

And that He was, that’s why I can pin point the moment I was converted. I was set up for a Holy rendezvous the night my mother read Steps to Christ out loud. And this happen around March in 1977. When I returned downstairs I told my mother I was going to church that coming Sabbath with my Aunt Doris, and she said “I am going too.” On that Sabbath day I took my stand and joined the church and my mother followed my example, the word says “a child shall lead them.” I will never forget that day I went to church with my mind made up to join.

The Preacher made the appeal (Pastor St Clair Phipps) and it felt like I ran down the aisle after sitting there with my face in my hands, I felt someone sit down beside me and it was my mother. When I joined the church I was a junior in High School the football season was over. However, I knew as a senior it would be my break out year! I remember going into the weight room to see the schedule for the upcoming year, when I saw that all the games were on the Sabbath I refused to play. Some people thought I had lost my mind, but I knew I didn’t.

What kept playing in my mind was, “What doth it profit a man to gain the world and loose his soul.” Like the Hebrew boys of old I refused to bow! I went to Oakwood University and graduated with a BA in theology and a minor in psychology in 1983, graduated from Andrews University in 1986 with a Masters of Divinity, graduated from the United Theological Seminary with a doctor of Ministry in 1996. God has truly blessed my journey, a few things I can thank God for;
1. I met my lovely wife JoAnn King at Oakwood
2. He blessed me with a lovely family
3. I am a Seventh Day Adventist Minister sharing the Good News of a Risen Savior around the world.”

Dr. Bryant

"It was Sabbath May 18; I had completed my sermon at the Hernando SDA Mission in Brooksville Florida. While greeting the members, I became extremely hot and dizzy, to the point that I felt as if I was going to faint. After sitting down, and regaining my composure, I went to the car and turn on the air condition to cool off. I didn’t share my situation with anyone, hoping that my body would settle down.  I felt better after the potluck, so I stayed and fellowship for a while.

Later as I left to return to Apopka, I decided to stop by the emergency room at Bayfront Health, in Brooksville Florida for a checkup. My stay there lasted for three and a half days. Under the physician’s assumption that I had had a heart attack. After numerous test and a coronary angiogram, it was discovered that there was not any blockage. One of the tests did show that my body was low in Potassium and Magnesium, that was my only problem.

I begin praising God, for His goodness. The next shocker occurred when I received a bill last month, for over $125,000.00. Again I began to praise God, for His blessings, the bill also stated that my insurance and the hospital adjustments took care of a large portion of the bill, leaving me with a pending balance of $9.37. All that I can say is praise God, from whom all blessing flow. I praise Him for not allowing me to experience a heart attack, secondly, that what I experienced was not life-threatening, and how He handled my hospital expenses.

To God be the glory, for the great things He has done!"

Ezi

“When I think of God’s goodness to me, I honestly do not even know where to begin. I am grateful for my father’s Nigerian-based engineering scholarship that brought him to the United States and for his decision to stay here to raise his family. God has also blessed me with a mother who while always working overtime as a nurse, raised six children in the fear of the Lord. By His grace, I have gone through childhood and now adulthood with five people to laugh, cry and dream with! But we all get to a point in our life where God touches us directly.

This list is long as well. Making long stories short: my college honors advisor questioned if I would graduate on time. I did and went directly into medical school. The same school whose director of admissions told me a few months prior to my matriculation that I would not be admitted. Again, one of my school’s residency program directors was concerned that I would not graduate on time. I did, and with a dual degree.

Throughout my life, He has continued to open doors others said were shut. God has given me so many opportunities educationally, professionally and personally. All things seemingly being in my favor: financial strength, physical vitality, professional growth and a budding relationship. However, deep in my heart, I was not settled. God knowing best, started to clean my slate and I’ve never felt more carefree and alive.

There is always an internal struggle with finding your own peace and living up to the expectations of others. Miraculously, the closer I got to God in His Word, the more fulfilled I became just being me. I no longer need that “next” thing to make me happy, because His love is breathtakingly beautiful all by itself. While I was in training, my frustration was no stranger to tears. What I did not know then, but know now, was that my credentials have never been able to “put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” Psalm 56:8.

Nor has any man ever proclaimed: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 In Our deepest pillowtalk moments, I know exactly why the Psalmist declared “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139: 7-10. With God, I have joy, deep down in my soul.”

Michael, Part 2

“This is what God’s mercy looks like. I am blessed that my daughter was not in the car and to be alive because the airbag did not deploy. My mission continues... thank you Jesus! “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23”

Crystal2

“This past sabbath we had another opportunity to serve at Winter Park Hospital. We go and sing for the patients on every floor and we will even go into rooms when if we are invited. On this day there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit from the beginning to end. We began to sing. We began to pass the room of a young lady that had trouble breathing and she was wearing a machine on her face.

Nevertheless she was enjoying every moment of the song, and in the midst of the song she gestures to me to come in and hug her. And of course I went in and hugged her as she cried, she squeezed me, she released, she held my hand and lifted her other hand in adoration and praise to the Lord!! She began to sign with her hands saying thank you which indicated to me that she could not speak. And as she held my hand and I held hers the entire worship team sang that song with passion and vigor....telling her that she was NOT alone!!!

I just had to insert that! We began to sing the song softly and this lovely lady reaches over, grabs her cellphone and started typing in her notes. “You’ve made my day no one has visited thank god for you.” You never know when you will be that only person to stop by and show who God is thru your actions. It may not be in a hospital.

Maybe a grocery store, a restaurant, or a bookstore. You never know who may need you and what type of blessing the Lord is setting you up to be. What a blessing the Lord trusted Patmos Chapel worship team with this ministry. I am overflowing with His mercy! I am blessed to work with such a selfless group of people and mostly to have met this lady and even if we never meet again I am forever changed.”

Michaelle

“I worked for Orange County Public Schools, but despite my low pay I didn’t have to worry about working on the Sabbath or holidays and the benefits were good. At the end of the school year the principal notified me that due to a budget cut the school will no longer need a licensed nurse. I spent the entire summer looking for schools that needed a nurse, but was unable to find one.

I found a good amount of jobs paid very well, had good benefits, but with a downside that I had to work every Sabbath or work every other weekend. So I decided to pray and to trust in Him. I know the first thing that most Adventist’s usually say is: “If you’re in the health field there’s nothing wrong with working on the Sabbath.”

But, for me personally I had two horrible accidents on my way to work on the Sabbath. I made a vow and promised to God and my mom that I would never work on Sabbath. One interviewer surprisingly told me that they have SDA employees on their staff that worked on Sabbath, why does it have to be different for me? I told them it’s about doing God’s will and my personal relationship with Him. I spent the entire summer on my knees praying for a miracle.

On September 10th, while praying with tears in my eyes I got a call from a company I use to work for. They asked me to come in for an interview. I told them that I want to work mornings, not too far from home, be off on Saturdays due to my religious belief and leave early on Fridays. They told me it might be hard to get morning shift, so I continued praying.

I arrived at the office to complete paper work then the person that interviewed me said: “You must have strong faith in God, I have a miracle to tell you about... you got everything you asked for and more! You will get 4 twelve hour shifts a week, working from Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Fridays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m... not to interfere with your day of worship then you are off Saturday through Monday.” The patient they assigned me lives only 9 miles away from my home while paying almost twice as much as my last job! My God is so amazing! To God be the Glory!!!”

Esther, Part 2

“I am the proud single parent of 5 amazing children. 3 boys ages 23, 21, and 20 and 2 girls ages 18 and 16. I have been divorced for 8 years. Here I was in 2010, divorced with 5 children, scared and lonely. I involved myself and children in every church activity there was.

Thank If the church door was open, I was there. I tried to make up for the missing pieces in my children’s lives while trying to piece together mines. In 2012, it all literally fell apart. January of that year, I lost my mother, my rock, and my foundation. Depression, anxiety, loneliness, and guilt consumed me.

I fell so hard, I thought I would never see up again. But God… I attended classes to better myself, I attended divorce care, which was needed and the beginning of my healing. But no matter what I did, the need to be in a relationship was overwhelming. I continued to parent, but I was so empty, loss, and very angry/bitter. So I went to the Source.

In 2014, I cried out to God from a motel room while dying on the inside. I had nothing left to give. I had no strength. I felt like all hope left this body and I was a shell of a human being. At this very time, I would tell you, I felt like the worst parent. I blamed myself for everything that went wrong in my life.

I had to ask God to cover me and my children because I couldn’t. I let go. He heard this sinner girl’s cry. He fixed my situation and made it even better than before 2012. But I remain single.

Well, this year, I called out to God yet again. “I don’t know if it is in Your plan for me to remain single, but whatever your plan is for that part of my life, please let me be content.” I decided to live instead of waiting for someone so I can live. I decided to honor God while single. I decided that the plans God has for me is greater and more intense/fulfilling than what I can ever imagine or desire.

So today, I celebrate my Singleness. I realize that there is Victory in my Singleness. And if/when God says yes for a suitable mate, it will be a blessing, a testimony, and as victorious as it is being single. I do not believe this is the end of my story, but I wait patiently on God as He continues to perfect me.”

Drew

“February 9th 2017 we had to bring our one year old baby boy Jaylen to the emergency room at Arnold Palmer hospital after he had been sluggish for two days. If anyone knows Jaylen, he is the most active child this world has ever seen, so being sluggish for an hour was cause to be alarmed. They admitted him due to his blood pressure being too high for his age. After further test they found that Jaylen had a scar on his kidney which was causing his blood pressure to shoot up. Of course any parent hearing that anything is wrong with their child causes sever stress.

As a family, 3 year old Jayce included we did all we knew how to do, pray. They played with his medication so his blood pressure would be sustained, and after a week at APH, we were finally discharged. We prayed, we prayed, we prayed, not only to get answers, but for God to heal our baby boy. After multiple trips to the nephrologist we finally found the right amount of dosage to get his blood pressure maintained. We prayed even more, and after a year and a half, August 17th 2018, the nephrologist ran more test and called us in his office.

Not only did they tell us that Jaylen no longer needed medication, but his kidney was functioning normally and could not see the scar on his kidney. “If God before us, who can be against us”. No not one, our baby boy is healed, to God be the glory...”

Sheena

“This path was not that of my conscious choosing. But after persistent subconscious confrontation, I have finally embraced what is, 'souly' for me...and I am thankful, when called upon, to be able to share and give to those who seek their own way of the path.” ― T.F. Hodge

February 27,2014: Ok so I'm sitting in the office waiting for the doctor to come in, tick tock, tick tock, finally she enters and says hi Ms. Ward how are you doing, I say better when you tell me... well it is...BREAST CANCER...so in my head I'm saying wow it found me again...ok I've beat it before and I'll beat it again...No time for tears I must prepare for the battle that the next few weeks, months and maybe year will bring. So I'm a soldier in my army and my orders are to fight, fight, and never give up.

I know this battle is not going to be like the last one, but the I have what it takes and I've accepted my orders with a firm smile on my face... so after having super long talk with GOD I'm ok and will leave it all in his hands. So to those of you on my team we got work to do, and I need to see you all at the end of this mission! Thanking you all in advance for your prayers, words of encouragement etcetera! I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter Dancing through the fire’ Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar Louder, louder than a lion’ Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar!” (Katie Perry)

Now that the dust has settled I am able to see the silver lining in my cloud! I know that I have to keep my eyes on the prize and press on because the end of the storm is just around the corner. The diagnosis is just another speed bump in my life's journey, and Lord knows I've had my share. So now I'll continue to face each day with a POSITIVE attitude and know that this too shall pass, just like each day before and the ones yet to come. I am grateful to have so many people in my life praying and encouraging me daily.

We all will get through this. Tigers don't wear stripes for show-I/we have all been through something. So ROAR, I SAY, ROAR!!! I often wondered many days and nights if I was going to make it through, and being the kind of person I am I had to at times give myself a pep talk and say to myself, suck it up and put your big girl panties on and deal with it, and so I did! So I treat myself the way I would've treated others in this same situation.

I will not sit here and say that it was all peaches and cream, or even indulge in a pity party but the good days truly outweighed the bad ones, although I must admit, that when I was going through it I didn't always see it that way! I am so blessed to know that GOD provided me with his GRACE and MERCY, and his HANDS of HEALING. I am grateful for the people who he put in place for me to help and encourage me throughout this journey in my life, you all were ANGELS on a mission from GOD! For the strangers that were. ANGELS in disguise I give you a million thank you's, because if it weren't for you... humph... WOW!!! Amen somebody!!!

So as I begin the healing process of the physical scars left behind (that's how we TIGERS earn our stripes), I will take each day by the horns and continue to ride the waves of life and fight as a good soldier does, because I've won another battle in the war against CANCER!!! So ROAR my TIGERS ROAR!!!

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