Brandon Moor (1983-2005)
Nominated by: Phyllis Beaven, Griffin, Georgia
On January 31, 2005, Georgia Cumberland Academy (GCA) volunteer assistant chaplain, Brandon Moor, died in an automobile accident en route back to the GCA campus in Calhoun, Georgia, from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was 21. Those who personally knew him or about him, such as Phyllis Beaven and her sons, all testified of his profound love for the Lord, exemplified in his life.
“The day Brandon Moor walked onto the Georgia Cumberland Academy campus, he changed not just my life, but the lives of everyone here,” says Michael Beaven, a student at GCA when Brandon Moor served as volunteer chaplain.
Michael’s twin brother, Gabriel, shares similar sentiments: “Everything he did was what Jesus Christ would have done. He was a caring person who, through words and actions, showed us what Christ is all about—and that is love.”
Phyllis Beaven shares: “As a parent, I love who Brandon was and what he did for my sons, who miss him terribly. Brandon was a son any parent would be proud to have. I am so thankful that my sons knew him.”
Nominated by: Gary Bennett, Bayfield, Colorado
“I met Sonrisa Roberts in the remote mountains of Honduras near Peña Blanca in December 2000, while she was working with Pan American Health Services in an orphanage,” says Gary Bennett.
Sonrisa Roberts, at just 25, has spent a significant amount of her time ministering to less-privileged children in orphanages a long way from her Colorado home. As a future nurse, she has long felt the calling to care for others. “I feel that life is a special gift from God,” says Sonrisa. “I feel that God has a plan for my life, just as He has a special purpose for everyone, and I feel that He has put a burden on my heart to help people.”
Tanya McCreery Bradford
Nominated by: Kirstin Bolander Rich, Sumner, Washington
“I can’t help but think of Tanya McCreery Bradford as a young adult who lets Christ shine through her in her roles as musician, wife, and mother,” says Kirstin Bolander Rich. Tanya teaches piano at Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA). As wife to AAA band director, Wes, mother to two small boys, a piano instructor, and church worship pianist, Tanya’s days are pretty full. But she has a heart for modeling her life after the Creator. “I endeavor to be Christlike, to mirror His character. I want others to see Jesus in me, and through me. It is my desire that others will experience compassion, understanding, patience, and wisdom that is beyond my own.”
Nominated by: Michael Mackenzie, Devon, United Kingdom
“Filled with fun, love, faith, and family, Paul never turned his back on those who took a different route. He simply carried on as usual—there to help whenever called upon, he never condoned or condescended, but simply and quietly set an example,” writes Michael Mackenzie.
“Before meeting Paul, my son was heading to very bad places. He smoked and drank, skipped school, and refused to take any kind of responsibility in the home. But in just three weeks on vacation with Paul, my son changed. Six years later, my son is “clean” and hardworking with his whole life ahead of him. I thank the Lord daily for the change in my son and for the example that was set by a devoted Christian who happened to be the same age.”
Paul’s take on things is pretty simple. The avid outdoors enthusiast asserts that he tries to project Christ through his life through kindness to others and a positive outlook on life.
Nominated by: Rhoda M. Lapp, Stone Mountain, Georgia
When asked how she would best describe her life, Persida Ambarus offered the following simple response: “My life is about knowing God and making Him known to others—building relationships with people and helping them to know God.”
The Romanian-born, budding guitar player with a gift for music has been active in the Stone Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Church, and was instrumental in the start-up of a new church plant—Change Point Community Cell Church. “Our body grew with the efforts of Persida sharing her faith at her job, and through her friendships from all her social contacts,” shares Rhoda Lapp.
Persida says, “I truly hope people can see Christ changing me into His image. I hope others will be able to see in me a love for God that is contagious.”
Nominated by: Jeanne Henriksen, Pleasant Hill, Oregon
Lindsey Henriksen is a recent graduate of Yale University, having earned a master’s degree in organ performance. While at Yale, she was instrumental in organizing a Friday night meeting for young Adventists in the New Haven area—no easy task on the world-famous campus.
Jeanne Henriksen says, “Lindsey is not afraid to ‘be a thinker of her own thoughts, not merely reflecting others,’ to paraphrase Ellen White. She has managed a wonderful balance in being supportive of her church, but also in asking and searching for answers that challenge all thinking young people.”
Lindsey says: “I’d like people to see me as a thoughtful and creative young woman who is aware of the needs in the world around her, and is prepared to respond to them. In short, I’d like others to see me as a woman who loves God deeply, and her neighbors warmly.”
Nominated by: Antoinette Maltseff, Lodi, California
As a 6-year-old, Kristi Tungesvik already knew what she wanted to be—an attorney. Today, as Sacramento County’s Deputy District Attorney, Kristi has clearly made good on her childhood aspirations.
Kristi still finds time to be actively involved in church and community service pursuits. She currently serves as head greeter, adult Sabbath school chorister, chair of the nominating committee, earliteen Sabbath school leader, and participates on the social committee.
Kristi says: “My life is about making the most of every situation and putting my heart and soul into everything I do. I want people to know I am a Christian from just the way I live my life, without having to say a word.”
“I try to project Christ by example, although I stumble at times. It is my goal to be ready to do whatever God wants me to do, whenever He wants me to do it,” she adds.
Nominated by: Katie Longo, Auburn, California, and Ramona Wesson, Baldwinsville, New York
“When I think of a young man who represents Jesus, I think of Jonathan Chitwood,” says Katie Longo. “I realize that there is nothing flashy or flamboyant being said about Jonathan, but that shows the mark of a truly godly person who serves in the background, doesn’t get much credit, recognition, or praise, and still continues to be a humble, responsible, and consistent person,” she adds.
Ramona Wesson adds, “I have seen Jonathan take the time to talk to young and old alike, and encourage young people to sell Christian literature. He is levelheaded, responsible, and a good example to all.”
Nominated by: Brenda Spitler, Lebanon, Pennsylvania
“Matt is a blessing to our family in so many ways,” writes Brenda Spitler.
At the age of 16, just a few weeks after getting his driver’s license, Matt’s life changed forever. Driving home from a school function one winter night with his best friend, Patrick, Matt’s car struck black ice and spun out of control. The vehicle hit a tree, and Patrick died at the scene. A period of deep grief and depression engulfed Matt. Friends invited him to attend meetings with his church’s local youth group, and there he found a setting for healing. He has been a devoted Christian ever since.
Matt and his older brother, members of Pennsylvania’s National Guard, were both called to active duty in Iraq. “Although initially stunned by the news of being taken out of college and going so far from home, Matt said, ‘Mom, I am going to think of this as just being on a paid mission to help spread God’s Word,’” says Brenda.
Today, Matt is enrolled in his local police academy, training to be a Pennsylvania state trooper. For someone just in his early 20s, “Matt has been through a lot,” says Brenda. “With God’s grace he has made lemonade out of the lemons he has been given in his life.”
Nominated by: Ida Hiday, Mountain Home, Arkansas
“This young woman has a love for life, and she is committed to serving in her school and church, while continuing her studies,” says Ida Hiday. Indeed, Jamie Hiday has a passion for service through teaching. In her very young life, this passion has led her to Bangladesh, Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Russia on teaching and service missions.
Currently in a master’s program in geology at Loma Linda University, Jamie says, “My goal is to learn a lot that will help me become a better teacher and make me more knowledgeable about some of the origin questions that our church struggles to defend against a society that thinks we’re crazy.”
As a busy student and educator, what does Jamie hope others see in her life? “I hope others see a person who doesn’t have all the answers, but is actively looking for them. I want others to see someone who is peaceful because I know who controls my life. I know He controls it much better than I do.”