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Pastor of the week: August 22, 2012

caines | 8/23/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Overcoming obstacles Two young women gave their lives to Christ last Sunday at the Church of God of North Dade in Miami Gardens. Although the entire church rejoiced and the young women cried tears of joy, that doesnt mean that their lives will be problem-free now.Being a Christian isnt easy, Rev. Michael Hill, 51, said. The enemy of our souls is against us. Hill, who has presided over the church for 17 years, focuses on saving souls and helping members endure hardships to become victorious. Hill prepares his congregation of about 80 members for lifes obstacles each year through Vocational Bible Boot Camp, a weeklong summer class where each day members are prepared for different hardships that occur in life. The class occurred right in time to prepare the youth for going back to school, but Boot Camp wasnt only for the youth, there were also parenting and young adult classes. The youth classes were divided by kindergarten, primary school, and middle school through 10th grade. On the first day, the congregation focused on resisting temptation. Other topics they focused on were dealing with troubles, enduring pain and affliction, and being faithful until the end. Church members werent only taught spiritual lessons, they also did exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and played sports. We ran it as a boot camp so that they could go through obstacles, he said. Although it may be difficult, they can overcome it. Even though Pastor Hill, who was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, grew up in a church and his grandmother, Grace Irby was a pastor; it wasnt until after his last year in the army that he became saved. I was living a different lifestyle when I was in the military, he said. I was far from God. After getting in trouble while in the military, he realized the only one that could turn it around or make that difference in his life was Christ, he said. In 1995, he started preaching at the Church of God of North Dade. Hills church members also overcome hardships through testimonies. Each Sunday several church members stand and give their testimonies. Hill said the testimonies give other church members hope. It makes the members who are going through hardships feel that if God has bought the testifier through obstacles, he can bring others through, too. By Malika A. WrightMaw3c89@gmail.com