By Araya Moss
Everyone has a story to tell—even if we don’t realize it. When news from churches and schools within the Southern California Conference (SCC) is shared, one might wonder who the individuals behind these ministries are. What trials have they recently overcome, and what struggles are they currently experiencing? What has happened in their lives that may be inspirational to others? In other words, what are their stories?
SCC is dedicated to sharing these stories through an ongoing social media campaign called Say Hello, which aims to highlight the unique perspectives of members from local churches.
“Many of us have been experiencing anxiety, loneliness, and separation,” said Lauren Lacson, SCC communication director. “We launched the Say Hello campaign as a way to bring our SCC family together, which is more important than ever during these isolating times. These spotlights offer connection as we get to see familiar faces and share in each other’s personal stories.”
Through the pandemic, Joshua O’Balles, member of All Nations church, has been reminded of the importance of living a life fully dependent on God. Olivia Chae, member of Rolling Hills church, has spent more time with God during COVID-19 through daily devotion, along with a small group of friends who refer to themselves as The Bible Buddies.
Earlier this year, Bob Cañete, member of Light Above company, began sharing his passion for music by teaching children and youth how to play the guitar. Caitlin Lopez, member of Long Beach church, is working to pour more love into the body of Christ through Sidekicks, an inclusive ministry for kids and teens with disabilities.
Marco Topete, member of Sunland-Tujunga church, invited Jesus into his life at his lowest point—alone in a jail cell at 21 years old. Topete now knows God has a purpose and plan for his life. Though Michelle Noland, member of Temple City church, was raised in the Adventist faith, she never fully understood what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus until she was 15 years old.
These are just a few of the stories that have been shared through the Say Hello campaign.
“I appreciate what our conference communication and digital ministry does by publishing your stories on our SCC social media platforms,” said Velino A. Salazar, SCC president. “Please share your story. Each story is appreciated and valued; I’m sure it will inspire others.”