Jeffrey Thompson, Ph.D.
Barry and Carol Hill were honored by Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Church for being model spiritual guardians. For more than 20 years, this couple, who has roots in Jamaica and Costa Rica, took particular care and interest in new converts to their church. Several times each year, they would open the doors of their lovely home to all new believers after the worship church service on a typical Sabbath day. The new converts would enjoy nicely seasoned Jamaican and Costa Rican food and, more importantly, fellowship.
“I have attended several of these Sabbath luncheons and observed new believers telling their conversion stories with joy and enthusiasm,” said Jeffrey Thompson, Ph.D., senior pastor. “Can you imagine what the retention rate of the new believers would be like if every family in the Adventist Church would emulate Barry and Carol Hill?”
The Hills started this mission of caring for new believers when they were members of the Mount of Olives Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the mid-1980s. “We noticed that new members were not given enough hospitality, so we decided to welcome the newly baptized members to lunch at our home, so they could feel loved, wanted, and appreciated,” said Barry Hill. “We don’t do this for show. God impressed us to do it.”
Evangelism is alive at Fort Lauderdale Church. During the pandemic years, 2020-2022, more than 20 new believers joined the Church by baptism and profession of faith. Barry Hill provided an excellent example because he held a Bible study with Debbie Spencer Dacosta, his next-door neighbor, which spanned about 12 months and culminated in her baptism. “One day, I received a telephone call from Barry Hill saying, ‘Pastor, I am happy to inform you that I have one candidate ready for baptism,’” said Thompson.
Fort Lauderdale Church also honored Linda Fraser, a veteran Bible worker, and Fay Reynolds, who have worked as a team for more than a decade in evangelism. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Linda Fraser and Fay Reynolds for their amazing evangelistic work. We can never pay them for their Herculean efforts,” said Thompson.
Florida | September 2023