Around the New Year people come up with many lofty ambitions: lose weight, study harder, or save money. But there's a group of students on campus that didn't wait for the New Year to launch their resolutions. These young people are on fire for God, and not about to let anything stop them.
Service and Love Together
Under the leadership of Eric Camarillo, 24-year-old member of the Orlando Filipino Adventist Church, Adventist University students are actively involved in a new ministry aimed at leading young people to Christ.
"As a new Christian, I realized the best way to witness is by first creating a relationship," Camarillo says. "I was thinking, man, I have a lot of Adventist friends, but I don't have a lot of friends in other denominations."
As Camarillo started attending other churches to get to know the young people, an idea formed in his head. That idea became Service and Love Together (SALT), an effort to unite Christian youth in Central Florida.
"Before I became a Christian I had a goal to make a million dollars by the time I was thirty and then continue that each year. After I became a Christian I changed the goal to win a million people for God in my lifetime," Camarillo says.
Through SALT, he and his friends are achieving that goal. Their first meeting drew more than 150 youth. At the next, the number nearly doubled. The leaders are anticipating close to 500 attendees at the third event.
Rodney Balmes, first-year nursing major and praise team leader, says he's "blown away" by the attendance. "It allowed me to realize how if you just continue to ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you, he will lead you."
Back to the Bible
The bi-monthly worship service features a message presented by a young person. The goal every time is to lead youth back to their Bibles. Often, visitors from other denominations tell the leaders how amazed they are at the amount of scripture used in the message. Many sign up to receive Bible studies or learn more about the Adventist Church.
Following each message, the youth are encouraged to sign up for a ministry so they can stay on-fire and use their talents to serve God. The response is overwhelming. One ministry alone recruited 65 volunteers to wake up at 4:30 a.m. and distribute winter clothing to the homeless.
"To be in a place filled with young adults who are passionate about being a change in society and in the Orlando area, that to me was impressive," says Charlene Morrobel, a recent Florida Hospital College graduate.
A Need for Prayer
In the few months since SALT started, the combination of worship, study, and service has strengthened many young Christians and led several non-believers to surrender their lives to Christ.
"It's so exciting," Camarillo says. "I just hope whoever hears about this will keep it in prayer for souls to be won."
Photo credit: Mario Hayden