Born in Miami, Florida, Jeffrey Rosario became a Christian in 1999 at age 17. For the past eight years he has been committed to full-time evangelism, and is presently a member of the Radiant Living Team, www.radiantlivingteam.org, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Adventist Review intern Alexis A. Goring attended the General Youth Conference (GYC) in December 2006, was inspired by Rosario’s Sabbath morning sermon, and ultimately interviewed him about his remarkable life story.
You were “tricked into Christianity,” a remarkable testimony that you briefly shared at GYC. Explain what you meant by that.
It all started one late night at my brother’s apartment. It was about midnight and we had some friends over. Somehow, during a game of Monopoly, I found myself arguing with a Christian girl about religion. We argued about the Bible and the Sabbath. I couldn’t have cared less about the Bible, and the only thing I could think of to prove her wrong was to use her own medicine against her. So I decided to read the Bible and look for arguments that would help me win the debate. I began to read through the Bible and write down those texts that would help me. The whole time I was thinking, She’ll never get out of this one! However, the more I read the more my eye caught those God-inspired words and Bible stories, and I sensed the mighty hand of God working. I didn’t even realize that something was changing inside my heart. I was converted by “accident.” I thought I was reading the Bible to win an argument with a Christian girl. But the Lord won the argument, and life has never been the same.
What convicted you to become an Adventist?
I’m a Seventh-day Adventist Christian because I have found that this message presents the clearest picture of the character of God and the character of humanity.
What was your life like before the Lord won you over?
Before my encounter with the Lord I was your typical unconverted, world-loving, city-slicker, Hispanic teenager. Music had a huge influence in my life. I was really into the hip-hop scene. Most of my time was spent in sports, music, movies, and in company with like-minded friends.
How has God changed your life since you’ve become a Christian?
My life has drastically changed. Now there’s purpose to life. I’m not just breathing. There’s something to aim for.There are many young people out there living fake lives, trying to be something they’re not. I was stuck in that maze of confusion trying to find myself. Jesus’ words became potent: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Today, a sense of accountability and influence affects my decisions and attitudes about life. Opportunities, gifts, and talents are to be used for the cause of God and for His glory.
Tell me about how you prepared for ministry.
I went to school at the Mission College of Evangelism in South Dakota. After nine months of study, I began in ministry as a Bible worker. I worked on an evangelistic team for a few years, and then I started to preach for evangelistic meetings. I was also involved in youth ministry.
What motivated you to commit yourself to full-time ministry?
I was motivated to dedicate my life to ministry from the conviction that I could not be satisfied doing anything else. Shortly after my conversion I asked an evangelist, “How does a young man know if God has called him to preach?” He replied, “If you cannot do anything else.”
What are you passionate about in ministry?
My passion is to allow God to use my life as an example of what He can do with what the world would call “unqualified.” I want to be instrumental in helping young people tap into the vision, into their potential. My ministry entails both public evangelism and youth ministry. I found my niche in ministry by virtue of necessity because I sensed an overwhelming need in the church. I had a burden to make myself available to God in these areas.
What would you say to youth who are turned off by Adventist Christianity?
I’ve seldom met a young person who hasn’t referred to the familiar “too many hypocrites in the church” argument. Many of them have been burned by misrepresentations of Adventism. Others are just rebellious and looking for an exit door. In either case, what they need is an opportunity to grasp the message and to see it testified to by real Adventist examples that can show what it means to live the three angels messages in real life. The power of that witness, I believe, is irresistible.
What is Radiant Living and how are you involved?
I’m an evangelist with Radiant Living, a youth-led evangelistic team based outside of Vancouver. Our work involves evangelism and church discipleship. We do community outreach programs, including Christian apologetics seminars, Bible prophecy seminars, small group and personal one-on-one Bible studies, healthful cooking classes, smoking-cessation programs, natural remedies classes, health and wellness expos, depression recovery seminars, stress management workshops, etc.
Is there anything else on your heart to say to young adults?
The spotlight is on us. The church is in need of a mighty revival. What we do with our time and opportunities will hasten or delay it. We can’t be entertaining this idea of an “ordinary” life. The Lord has a unique calling for every one of us. We need mission-driven lawyers, teachers, mechanics, doctors, computer programmers, etc.
Priority, priority, priority. The cause of God must be our priority! We need to engrave that message on our hearts.