Pastor's Wife Uses DISCOVER Course to Prepare Former Model for Baptism
Victoria VanHager had everything a brilliant husband, two wonderful children, a professional modeling career.
Then things fell apart. Her home broke up, she left her lucrative job, and stress created health problems. She wasn't yet homeless, but she feared she soon would be. When she heard about Adventist Community Services in Ventura, California, she went to check it out one Saturday morning in July 1994.
She had no idea there would be a worship service going on, and when the deacon on duty invited her in, she was sure her casual clothes were inappropriate. But he insisted she was more than welcome, and after one service, she couldn't stay away.
Joyce Mulligan, the pastor's wife, had asked the Lord to lead someone to her with whom she could share Bible studies. Yet she nearly panicked when Victoria accepted her offer of personal study.
Joyce phoned Jeannie Melashenko at the Voice of Prophecy to request any helps she could use.
"Our new DISCOVER guides are ideal," declared Jeannie. "They make Bible truth so easy to understand, and they include neat stories to illustrate each point. They make Jesus approachable."
As each new guide came off the press in late 1994, Joyce was waiting for copies. She and Victoria completed the series together in December. Victoria became the first DISCOVER graduate, Joyce the first instructor.
The joy of knowing Jesus as her personal Savior brought a new sparkle to Victoria's eyes as she was baptized, and Joyce's heart overflowed with the joy of leading someone to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Victoria says, "All I wanted that day when I went to Community Services was food for a meal, but I found spiritual food as well. God gave me every thing!" Yes, much more than she could have imagined she and the head deacon who welcomed her the first day began dating, and they were married on February 12, 1995. Now she is Victoria Rawlings.
Crusade Topics Keyed to DISCOVER
A "Discover the Joy of Life" seminar at the La Mesa SDA Church in Southeastern California used the DISCOVER Bible guides to accompany each topic.
The evangelistic series concluded with a graduation service for 75 persons who completed all 26 guides.
One man laughed at the doctrines being presented during the early meetings, but later became more interested. He was especially impressed by the graduation service, which included a baptism and communion. The next morning, he and his wife requested baptism.
Two dozen persons were baptized as a result of the crusade.
DISCOVER Lessons From VOP Are Basis for Family Home Bible Study Group
"I selected the DISCOVER guides from the VOP for a weekly home Bible study because of their flexibility and comprehensive explanation of Adventist doctrines," says Dan Savino, Jr., associate pastor at Simi Valley, California.
The young pastor and three generations of a local family meet at the home of church elder Bob Donesky and his wife, Martha, each Wednesday for a meal followed by Bible study. While Dan and Bob guide the parents and their grown children through DISCOVER, Martha uses the "Good News for Today" series with the three grandsons.
"Everyone seems to enjoy getting together and studying," says Savino, "and the three boys are having a blast!"
The weekly study was begun after Donesky shared his faith with a coworker at Ventura Estates, an Adventist retirement home near the VOP offices.