Features https://nwadventists.com/ Northwest Adventists in Action en Copyright 2022, North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. All rights reserved. info@nwadventists.com admin@nwadventists.com Sun, 14 Jul 2024 02:45:10 -0700 Sun, 23 Jun 2024 10:30:00 -0700 2024 Caring Heart Awards https://nwadventists.com/feature/2024-caring-heart-awards Fourteen Northwest academy students exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others — received the annual Caring Heart Award scholarship. Get to know these emerging leaders! Education Caring Heart 35181 Sun, 23 Jun 2024 10:30:00 -0700 Features

Fourteen Northwest academy students received the $500 Caring Heart Award scholarship, made possible through three-way funding from North Pacific Union, local conferences and academies.

Students were selected by their schools for exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others. Each student is gifted with a plaque and an engraved Bible, courtesy of North American Division. The scholarship funds may be used toward tuition at an Adventist school or on a short-term mission trip.

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Jared Beaubien

Jared Beaubien

Amazing Grace Academy

Jared Beaubien has been a student at AGA for eight years. In those years, Jared has grown as a leader among his peers and the younger students who look up to him. He has been a student association officer for three years, working with a small team of students and faculty to plan activities and events for students.

His thoughtfulness and leadership shine through as he works with the younger students in his family group, leads worship music for chapel and cleans the halls of the school building.

Jared enjoys arranging music for piano and violin. He's part of the audiovisual team at church and frequently steps in when stations are not filled for a particular worship service. Jared is usually found with a guitar in his hands on Friday mornings as he leads music for school-wide worship. 

This year, Jared was the student coach of the volleyball team and encouraged his teammates to work together and do their best. He is also the captain of his competitive rock climbing team.

Jared’s leadership is not only seen at school but also in the church family and the community. He was very blessed by his attendance at Prayeradigm Prayer Conference this spring and has taken to heart the advice of the speaker to ask God to wake you up to pray. Jared has shared his experience with many people and encouraged them in their walk with God.

AGA looks forward to seeing how God continues to work in Jared’s life and how He will continue to lead him to impact others positively. Jared plans to attend Walla Walla University this fall to study in the engineering field. 

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Melissa Pons

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Lifetouch National School Studios Inc.

Melissa Pons

Auburn Adventist Academy

Melissa Pons, AAA junior, is an example of compassion and diligence. Melissa’s innate sweetness and intelligence became evident to her work supervisor, Mata Ioane. She described Melissa as a very sweet girl who is not only a good worker but also very intelligent.

In academics, Melissa’s commitment to excellence is equally apparent. Kilikina Vega-Richards, AAA English and drama teacher, spoke of her dependability and work ethic. According to Richards, Melissa is “one of the most dependable, hard-working students” she has encountered. Her punctuality, consistent effort and attention to detail make Melissa an exceptional student.

Melissa’s spiritual intuition shines as a member of the campus ministries team. Melissa poured her heart and soul into crafting a week of prayer for Buena Vista Adventist School. The program she planned blended storytelling, interactive activities and music to foster a connection with Jesus.

Her adaptability and dedication to studies and extracurricular activities — particularly drama — highlight her multifaceted talents and commitment. Melissa’s leadership in planning the week of prayer showcases her service-oriented spirit.

AAA faculty and staff proudly select Melissa for the Caring Heart Award, as she embodies the spirit of caring and excellence the award represents.

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Meghan Louise Davis

Meghan Davis

Cascade Christian Academy

If you have spent any time at all with Meghan Davis, you know you will always hear her contagious laughter in the hall before she walks into a classroom. Meghan, CCA senior, is a 2024 Caring Heart Award recipient, and CCA staff could not have chosen a better goodwill ambassador on their campus.

​Not only does Meghan show her care and interest in her classmates in her classes daily, but she also demonstrates her concern through the leadership roles she took on during this final year of her high school career.

​“I was very impressed with Meghan's leadership this year. The senior class president position opened, and Meghan jumped right in and took over seamlessly," said Greg Ringering, CCA history teacher and senior sponsor. "There was no class chaplain, so she took on that responsibility as well. These selfless acts of leadership are just a small example of why she deserves the Caring Heart Award this year."

As president of her senior class, she helped her classmates plan a graduation trip that all could enjoy and will remember for years to come. In addition, her role as chaplain has inspired her to write and deliver sermons to two different churches in the area, sharing God’s love with others.  

​Her care for others led her to Pulcallpa, Peru, with Palisades Christian Academy during spring break. There, she served as one of the VBS directors in the community. Even though she didn’t know any of the students from Palisades, before she left she said, “I’ll know them hopefully by the end of the trip,” and she did.

​“Meghan has been a positive light on our campus for all the 13 years she has been here. Her care towards others creates a contagious culture that is wonderful to watch,” said Stephanie Gates, CCA principal.  “Whatever Meghan pursues will be backed up by her kindness, joy and laughter.”

​Congratulations, Meghan! May you continue to live for Him.

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Ryelle "Eva" Alway

Credit
Scott Knight

Ryelle "Eva" Alway

Columbia Adventist Academy

Bubbly and energizing, Ryelle "Eva" Alway is a diligent student in the classroom, a leader as an officer in her school offices and a team player in her athletics. She is also a quick learner dedicated to her studies, spending more time than most to understand every concept presented. Eva carries this discipline into her spiritual life as well. She is a hesitant, but excellent public speaker with the ability to make you want to cry one minute and break out in laughter the next. 

After coming from a Daoist background, Eva has learned of the love of God, embracing it fully and sharing her experience with others publicly, pointing out how she knows that God has been with her every step of her journey, even when she didn’t know Him. She shares His love with others by making sure everyone within her sphere of influence feels included, and she is the first to find someone in isolation and speak words of encouragement to them. 

She has a heart for service that has grown through her summer experience as a literature evangelist and time spent on mission trips. While on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic last year, when it seemed that everything that could go wrong was indeed going wrong, she had a smile on her face. She was terrified but prayed amidst the uncertainty and trusted in God. 

During the mission trip, as in her daily life, she was a cheerful helper and volunteer. She was always engaging with young students and not allowing the language barrier — something she experienced from moving from Taiwan to the U.S. — to hinder her from communicating her love for them. 

CAA is a better place because of Eva and people around the world will be blessed through her life as she prepares to use her gifts to bless others through a ministry in the field of medicine.

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Brinley Kendall

Brinley Kendall

Gem State Adventist Academy

Brinley Kendall, GSAA junior, embodies the spirit of what it means to have a caring heart. Anyone asked to describe her would say she is genuine, kind and always willing to go the extra mile. Whether in friendships, school or leadership, Brinley is genuine. When asked to do something, she always follows through. She is a responsible and dependable worker and student. She loves her family, is a good friend and is a lot of fun.

Brinley has blessed GSAA students and staff each Christmas with handwritten personal letters. Brinley currently serves as student association president, which makes two years of holding multiple offices, both for her class and for student association. She also enjoys playing on the Jaguars volleyball team, where she is one of the captains and not only plays hard but is motivated to be her best so that she can help others be their best.

Brinley recently responded to an invitation to give her heart to Jesus publicly, choosing to be baptized the same day. Brinley’s journey has already included so much genuine care for others and thoughtfulness in life. With this decision and a continued walk with Jesus, her capacity to share His love will only increase. When she finishes at GSAA, Brinley is looking toward possibly studying nursing or a related medical path where her caring personality can shine.

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Shaina Heinrich

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Lifetouch National School Studios Inc.

Shaina Heinrich

Livingstone Adventist Academy

Shaina Heinrich, LAA junior, makes you feel at home. She brings a warm and caring spirit to those around her, often sharing smiles and jokes. She can be found singing, “Never Gonna Give You Up” just to bring a smile to others’ faces. 

Shaina is secretary-treasurer for the associated students of LAA. This year, she helped the team welcome students on the first day of school, served pancakes after Christmas break and facilitated pen pals between the elementary and high school students. 

She rings in the handbell group and always shows up with vitality and energy when she rings. She often volunteers to help with other parts of the church services like reading, playing piano and more. 

At her home church, Shaina is a greeter and often helps with VBS, helping people feel welcome. She has a generous spirit, sharing freely with everyone around her.

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Karolina Kimbrough

Karolina Kimbrough

Milo Adventist Academy

Karolina Kimbrough, MAA senior, came to MAA her junior year and immediately jumped to work at sharing her skills and desire to serve others through being a class officer and a praise team member. She is always finding ways to connect and help others by listening to and supporting her dorm mates and friends. 

These traits carried over to Karolina’s senior year as she continued serving her class as an officer and taking on the role of dorm chaplain, where she nightly visits girls in the dorm and listens to their needs. She also helped plan Sunday evening dorm worship and inspired the girls with short devotional thoughts.

Karolina’s impact on helping others grew even beyond MAA in summer 2023 when she led a special robotics camp at Big Lake. Karolina was the head of the program, and the campers who went through the program experienced her kind gentleness as she assisted people.

As Karolina finalizes her plans beyond MAA, it appears that WWU is her likely direction, along with physical therapy as her final career goal. MAA is grateful for the lasting impression she has made on our home campus and will always be cheering her along as God ultimately leads in her life.

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Grace Carter

Grace Carter

Mount Ellis Academy

Grace Carter, MEA four-year senior, has an infectious smile and exuberance for life that she can’t help but share with those around her. From the moment she began her high school career at MEA, she has been all-in. 

Through serving young people as ASB president, part of the school chaplaincy group, a class officer, team captain on the soccer field or basketball courts, a friend and on her mission trip to Belize, she demonstrates quiet leadership and a capacity for encouragement and loving others. 

One of her greatest desires is to offer encouragement to those around her. She knows school can be difficult as students navigate the complexities of academics, relationships and figuring out who they are created to be. As a counselor at Camp Paxson, she developed a special relationship with her cabin through their daily devotions together and continued to encourage the girls with phone calls, texts and Bible study long after camp ended.  

Her passion for Jesus and encouraging others was channeled into her senior project, where she created mini-sermons that she has shared on music tours around Montana Conference, a video worship talk that will be shared with Montana elementary schools and a full sermon that she will be preaching at the Mount Ellis Academy Church. Her caring heart brings glory to God and joy to others. 

She plans to attend WWU next year to study theology and continue to share her love of Jesus with the world around her.

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Roger Ortiz

Roger Ortiz

Portland Adventist Academy

In every way, Roger Ortiz lives the Christ-centered and character-driven motto of PAA. Long-time staff note that Roger is one of the happiest and kindest students to walk the halls of PAA. He is always incredibly fun, helpful, positive and enjoyable to be around. 

Roger has contagious joy and is a people magnet. He is genuinely funny and people just want to be around him. He's not only a gifted conversationalist but also a non-judgemental listener. This is part of why he is well-loved and respected by his classmates and teachers. He puts everyone he interacts with at ease and makes them feel important and special. Roger is a friend to everyone. No one is left out when Roger is nearby.

In every area Roger becomes involved in, he is the caretaker. Roger finds ways to serve without ever being asked. He takes on responsibilities that ease the burden of others — teachers and students alike. Day after day, without being asked, he just does. 

Roger’s presence changes everyone’s experience. Difficulty does not deter him at all. Roger exemplifies tenacity and willingness to learn and work through challenges. Deeply intelligent and thoughtful, his comments and contributions to discussions are valued.

Roger lives every day seeking opportunities to connect with others and be Jesus’ hands and feet to lighten their loads. His caring heart means every one of us will tangibly miss his presence and impact when he graduates.

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Vasiliy David Bentsa

Vasiliy Bentsa

Puget Sound Adventist Academy

Vasiliy Bentsa, PSAA senior, was selected by PSAA staff because he exemplifies the requirements for the Caring Heart Award. 

Vasiliy is a respected leader on campus and carries a lot of influence among his peers. He is a thoughtful and reflective person. He is an enjoyable person to be around and takes the opportunity to make others feel welcome. As the ASB president this year, he has been effective at involving other students in the activities that his team is responsible for. You can tell that Vasiliy wants people to feel like they belong. 

Throughout his four years on campus, he has demonstrated a heart of service countless times. Staff and students have often witnessed these acts of service. He takes the initiative to ask staff and students if help is needed. Vasiliy stands out as a student who truly cares about his school and community. He has made a noticeable impact on PSAA, and he will continue to do so wherever he goes. 

For these reasons, PSAA recognizes Vasiliy as this year’s Caring Heart Award recipient.

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Keslyn Bennett

Keslyn Bennett

Rogue Valley Adventist Academy

Keslyn Bennett has been part of RVAA her whole life. With her parents, Brad and Yasmin Bennett, devoting their lives to education, she and her sisters, Madelyn and Lauren, have seen firsthand the importance of helping others. 

Keslyn participated in the RVAA high school mission trip to India during her junior year and has witnessed to others how that experience changed her life. Seeing those with so little be so happy and joyful in Jesus had an amazing impact on her, and she is actively sharing that with others. 

She has spent her summers working at Big Lake Youth Camp and is a part of her church praise team. She often shares her gift of singing during those times. Keslyn has also participated in many community service activities with high school students and helps out at the Medford Adventist Church community service center. 

Keslyn will be missed as she moves on to her college life experiences, but no matter where she ends up, others will be blessed just by being helped by her.

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Taylan Schwarck

Taylan Schwarck

Skagit Adventist Academy

SAA is pleased to select Taylan Schwarck, SAA senior, as the 2024 recipient of the Caring Heart Award. 

Taylan is the person most likely to hold the door open and greet you as you come on campus. He has a heart for service. Any time something needs to be moved or put away, he is the first to offer a hand. During all-school activities, he mixes with the elementary students and encourages their participation. Last year on the 2023 mission trip to Belize, Taylan helped by painting the new lunch room, moving blocks and interacting with the local students.

Another way Taylan shares with staff and students alike is with his cheerful, upbeat spirit. Taylan is a sunny optimist who sees the best in every situation and every person.  

Thank you, Taylan, for your unique leadership and for letting God use you.

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Angie Buursma

Angie Buursma

Upper Columbia Academy

Angie Buursma, UCA senior, is the epitome of kindness and care, with a heart that gives generously to everyone around her. Over her four years at UCA, she has not only shared her incredible vocal and musical talents but has also emerged as a beacon of leadership and compassion. Angie embodies the values of empathy and kindness that define UCA.

In her role as a resident assistant at Lacey Hall, Angie has been a constant source of support for her residents, always ready to lend a listening ear and offer a comforting presence. When asked what she appreciates most about UCA, Angie's answer is simple yet profound: "the people." Her genuine concern for others shines through in every interaction, making her a trusted confidante and friend to her fellow students.

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Clara Isabelle Scully

Clara Scully

Walla Walla Valley Academy

Clara Scully, WVVA four-year senior, attended Rogers Adventist School since kindergarten, so she has spent all of her scholastic endeavors at Walla Walla Valley Adventist Schools. Clara is always found wherever she goes with a smile and a warm greeting to whomever she comes in contact with. 

Clara also has a keen eye to see where she can help others. She has been a bright spot on our campus. She describes herself as enthusiastic, kind, inclusive, loving, fun, strong-willed and a little stubborn.

Clara works at WWVA in the maintenance department. Her beautiful and infectious smile is seen all over campus as she helps to keep the WWVA campus clean and in order. 

Clara plans to attend WWU but doesn’t know yet what plan God has for her. She only knows that it will be something involving people. She wants to be a mover and to make a difference while helping others. 

Clara’s love for people shows in her relationships with her classmates and teachers. One of her teachers describes Clara as one of the most selfless and consistently kind people they have ever known. She is the embodiment of gratitude and strives to show Jesus to everyone she meets. God’s love shows in how Clara treats those around her.

Adventist schools across the Northwest create active opportunities for Christian growth. Find a Northwest Adventist school near you at npuc.org/schools.

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2024 Caring Heart Awards Fourteen Northwest academy students exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others — received the annual Caring Heart Award scholarship. Get to know these emerging leaders!
Stories That Shape Us https://nwadventists.com/feature/stories-shape-us Healthcare is more than prescriptions and procedures, it's about people. Meet seven employees at Adventist Health who dispense hope daily in the way of Jesus, providing great healthcare, a better way to live and hope for a better life. Kim Strobel Health Adventist Health 35212 Tue, 18 Jun 2024 15:30:00 -0700 Features

Healthcare is more than prescriptions, procedures and treatment plans. It’s more than hospitals, clinics, cancer centers, pharmacies and labs. Great healthcare is a team effort. It’s people — everyone from physicians and nurses to chaplains and housekeepers — putting patients first and working together to inspire health, wholeness and hope. Adventist Health celebrates the skills and dedication of each person that helps our mission come to life.

Meet seven individuals representing more than 37,000 employees and volunteers at Adventist Health who dispense hope daily in the way of Jesus, providing great healthcare, a better way to live and hope for a better life.

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Terry Johnsson

Terry Johnsson
Adventist Health Oregon service area
Vice president for community and mission integration
8 years with Adventist Health


When Terry Johnsson, Adventist Health Oregon service area vice president for community and mission integration, was 15, he and a friend both liked the same girl and that girl worked as a candy striper. “I decided I would go and try to be a candy striper so I could hang out with her,” Johnsson said. “As a result, I became the first male candy striper at an Adventist Health hospital.” He didn’t know it then, but Terry’s story at Adventist Health Portland was just beginning. 

Later in high school, he job shadowed Beulah Stevens in the hospital chaplain’s office. When he returned to Portland in the '90s as a youth pastor, Stevens encouraged him to pursue chaplaincy. At her prompting, when Johnsson went to Loma Linda University to complete a master’s degree, he also did chaplaincy training and became a licensed chaplain. Now Johnsson’s role at Adventist Health is twofold. First, he works to connect the hospitals with resources and partnerships in the community to help patients in need. Second, he ensures spiritual care and mission — including chaplaincy — are integrated throughout the hospitals.

Q: What is your best habit?
JOHNSSON: I love to give gifts. I’m the one in the office making sure everyone’s birthday is celebrated.

Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
JOHNSSON: My mom. She moved to Oregon from Louisiana in 1948. She met a lady at a bus stop who told her about this place called Portland, Oregon, and that they were hiring people regardless of their color. On faith, Mom went to Oregon leaving Dad with the five kids. Within six months, she had a job, got a car and brought the entire family. My mother is definitely my hero.

Q: How do you unplug after a hard day?
JOHNSSON: Coming home to my wife and our 3-year-old boxer dog, Lucille Ball, brings me back to reality. Lucy brings lots of fun, and she forces me to exercise because I have to walk her. I also enjoy riding motorcycles. I get on my motorcycle on Sundays and hit country roads, and it’s just a beautiful experience.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or podcast?
JOHNSSON: My favorite book is The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I was flunking English class at Portland Adventist Academy, and there was a teacher named Thelma Winters. She saw potential in me. I had to pass the class or I wouldn’t graduate. Winters said, “Terry, I’m going to give you a book to read, and I want you to write a report after every chapter.” That book changed my life.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
JOHNSSON: Never give up. Just keep moving forward.

Q: What do you do when you’re creatively stuck?
JOHNSSON: My leadership style is like King Arthur and the Round Table. If we can’t figure something out, I bring in people, sit around a table, bounce around ideas and say, “We’re not leaving here until we think of a creative way to deal with this.”

Q: What one word describes your experience at Adventist Health?
JOHNSSON: Hope, because that’s what we deliver. The mere fact that a person came to a hospital shows there’s some bit of hope that their situation is going to change.

Q: Do you have a favorite Bible character?
JOHNSSON: Blind Bartimaeus. When everyone was telling him to give up and not bother Jesus, scripture says he cried all the more. Bartimaeus never gave up until he received his blessings.

Q: What motivates you?
JOHNSSON: Remembering that every day of life is a gift. When I work with patients who are dying, when I go through the ICU, even on our worst days, those ICU patients would do anything to change places with you.

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Haley Pacholec

Haley Pacholec 
Adventist Health Portland
Interventional cardiology nurse practitioner
8 years with Adventist Health

Haley Pacholec, Adventist Health Portland interventional cardiology nurse practitioner, knows firsthand about heart problems. During college, she had a pacemaker placed after experiencing complete heart block. The electrical signals controlling her heart were disrupted, and her heart rate fell to the 30-beats-per-minute range. Her heart could have stopped completely at any moment. Now, Pacholec’s pacemaker helps her heart’s electrical system work properly.

“When I was in the hospital, I saw how much time nurses spend with patients, and I did a 180 on my major and changed to nursing,” she said. While working in the ICU after nursing school, Pacholec realized she was seeing patients after many things had already gone wrong with their health. “I wanted to focus more on preventing those situations and on improving health and trying to keep people out of the hospital,” she said. Now, as an interventional cardiology nurse practitioner at Adventist Health Portland, Pacholec is giving hope to heart patients she can relate to from personal experience.

Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
PACHOLEC: My mother. She showed me what being a working mother looks like. She was a great role model as far as finding something you’re passionate about, pursuing it and then balancing that with having a family.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
PACHOLEC: Be patient. When you’re young, there’s this big push to figure out what you want to do and what direction to go. We have more time than we realize at the moment. I didn’t figure out what I wanted to do until I was almost through college. To figure out what you’re passionate about and what you really want to do, just be patient and let things unfold. When you’re in your early 20s, you have a lot more time than you think.

Q: What brought you to Adventist Health?
PACHOLEC: I went to nursing school at Walla Walla University and we did a lot of our clinical rotations in Portland. Doing clinicals here and seeing the hospital and the staff — especially staff members who have been at Adventist Health Portland for many years and still enjoyed working here — pointed me in this direction. Once I came here, I never wanted to leave.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?
PACHOLEC: There are a lot of aspects I really enjoy, but I would say getting to see the same patients, establishing professional relationships with them and then helping them manage their conditions over time. I enjoy being able to do a lot of education and deep dive into whatever they have going on and being able to help in as many aspects as I can.

Q: How do you unplug after a hard day?
PACHOLEC: I have a wonderful husband and a German shepherd at home, so I spend time with them and the rest of my family, and I do outdoor activities as well.

Q: What gives you hope?
PACHOLEC: A lot of things. Seeing patients do better over time always gives me hope, especially when it's someone I've seen for a long time, and I have really worked with them. Maybe they’ve had a stent placed and they come back to see me and their symptoms are so much better, and they are just so thankful and have a new outlook on life. Having that perspective of hope is very helpful, especially when you typically are dealing with people who aren’t doing super well.

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Treshawna "Tre" Turner

Treshawna "Tre" Turner
Adventist Health Portland
General manager for environmental services
6 years with Adventist Health

“I never thought I would live to see 21,” said Treshawna "Tre" Turner, Adventist Health Portland general manager for environmental services. “My life hasn’t always been easy, but when I started working and just kept working, I knew I was doing the right thing.” 

Turner now manages a team of 50 people. “Fifty different attitudes, 50 different emotions, 50 different characteristics,” she said. “I always tell my team our differences are what make everyone in the world unique and amazing. There is only one you and only one me.”

Q: What is your best habit?
TURNER: I love hiking and anything peaceful — being outdoors with trees, waterfalls, trails, beaches — anything that brings me a breath of fresh air. I started horseback riding two years ago. It’s one of my favorite things because you get to ride on the beach and smell the fresh air and, depending on the timing, you may catch the sunset.

Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
TURNER: The biggest influence on my life has been my daughter. I want to show her what a positive, active, working parent is like. The moment I knew I was bringing a little person into this world, I knew I had to make some changes in my life. I knew it was no longer about me but about Za’Niyah. Having my daughter in my life, I know I have someone to live for. I have someone to nurture, to grow with and, most of all, to love. I thank God for our journey together.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
TURNER: You are worthy, worthy of being loved. Don’t let anyone influence you. Hard work really does pay off. Just keep going. God gives His battles to His strongest soldiers.

Q: What brought you to Adventist Health?
TURNER: I love that we can talk about God at Adventist Health and you can be comfortable enough to be you. You can be comfortable enough to acknowledge and speak up when something’s not right. We have an amazing team here at Adventist Health. They support you, and we all try to live up to our mission of living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.

Q: Do you have an Adventist Health colleague you admire in particular?
TURNER: I admire our president, Kyle King. I don’t just admire him; I have faith in him that he’s going to lead this organization to success. I’ve seen him in action. I’ve spoken to him one-on-one.

He’s the reason I’m in this seat today because he believed in me when I was unsure of myself. He leads an organization of thousands of people, and I’ve never seen him in an uproar. I’ve always seen him handle things with dignity, care and compassion. He loves us and cares for us and goes above and beyond for our organization. I’ve never seen someone in leadership who cares with such respect for others and respect for himself.

Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
TURNER: My favorite part about my job is leading a team of individuals who depend on me and look to me for advice. I also really like giving my patients a clean environment, because a clean environment is a healing environment.

Q: Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
TURNER: Isaiah 54:17. “‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the Lord.” Even when it’s dark or I feel bad, no weapon formed against me shall prosper. That’s one of my favorite things.

Q: Why do you choose to work in healthcare?
TURNER: I was born to be one of God’s servants. I’m here to take care of His children. We all have a job we were born to do. I feel my calling in this life is to serve others, take care of others, be healing for others, do God’s work and do His mission — which is to never judge but to love His children as He loves us.

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Larry Hamilton

Larry Hamilton
Adventist Health Tillamook
Employee health and case manager
41 years with Adventist Health

Larry Hamilton, Adventist Health Tillamook employee health and case manager, is the Swiss Army knife friend you don’t want to leave home without. Whether helping subdue an unruly patient or teaching someone recently diagnosed with diabetes how to use an insulin pen, he is one of those people who always seems to know how to solve a problem. At one point during the pandemic, he administered a COVID-19 vaccine every 3 1/2 minutes for 10 hours straight. His life is full of adventure, and he has all the amazing stories to tell that come with those adventures. He’s the person you want to sit around a campfire with and just talk for hours. And he’s a registered nurse, too.

Q: What is your best habit?
HAMILTON: I enjoy cabinet work, so my habit when I go home from work is to chat with my wife, enjoy dinner and then spend the rest of the evening in my wood shop.

Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
HAMILTON: A man in this community named George Hodgin started an organization called Men for Christ. That organization helped expand my religious and spiritual experience. With that group, I’ve worked on building projects in Mexico many times. I’ve also been a member of medical teams around the world including in Honduras, Uganda, Congo, Indonesia, Haiti and Mozambique.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
HAMILTON: Don’t wait until some devastating thing comes along to go on that vacation or do all those other things you want to do. Do it now. God says, “I’ll give you life and I’ll give it to you more abundantly if you’ll just trust in Me.”

Q: What brought you to Adventist Health?
HAMILTON: I was working as a builder and doing odd jobs in the '80s when all building just stopped. We had no money, and my son had just been born. A couple from the Latter-day Saints church in Colorado hired me to work on their farm. One day, the wife said to me, “Larry, pick a college, any college, and we will make sure you graduate.” So my wife and I talked about all the options. My parents had both been nurses, and I thought, why not get a nursing degree. After I graduated as a nurse, we drew a circle on the map of everywhere we could drive a U-Haul truck, and Tillamook was right on the edge.

Q: What do you love about working at Adventist Health?
HAMILTON: I appreciate the culture here. You can share your faith and you can practice your faith. Since becoming a nurse, I’ve never worked anywhere else.

Q: What motivates you?
HAMILTON: I went on a medical mission trip to Mozambique. One day, I met a woman who came in for help with athlete’s foot. I was talking with her and gave her gummy bears, like we did all the patients — so they could taste the sweetness of what it feels like to be a friend of Jesus. When I first met that woman, she didn’t want to hear anything about Jesus, but, by the time we left, she had given her heart to Him. That is the kind of thing that motivates me.

Q: What gives you hope?
HAMILTON: I’ve heard the voice of God enough to know there’s a future beyond this world. My goal is to get out of bed every morning and say, “OK Lord, here I am. Point the way.” And He points the way and takes care of every little detail.

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Jasmine Huila Flores

Jasmin Huila Flores
Adventist Health Columbia Gorge
Program manager for diversity, equity and inclusion 
2 years with Adventist Health

For people who've never had healthcare benefits, it can be difficult to navigate the complexity of the healthcare system. What does health insurance cover? What providers can I see? Can I get vision care? Can I get dental care? At the new Adventist Health location in The Dalles, Jasmin Huila Flores, Adventist Health Columbia Gorge program manager for diversity, equity and inclusion, is part of a team helping patients know how to access and use healthcare resources. Her team also works with community partners to implement strategies for addressing community health needs and identify opportunities for access to healthcare for people who haven’t traditionally had options.

Q: What is your best habit?
FLORES: Listening and remembering what people tell me. The small details matter, like a childhood memory or what someone did over the weekend. People are sometimes taken aback that I remember, but when you’re a good listener and when you care about the person, it’s really easy to do.

Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
FLORES: My dad. He has been a farm worker for more than 30 years in the Columbia Gorge region. When I think about him getting up for work every morning, it makes me feel very dedicated to my job. I want to put quality into what I do, whether at work or outside of work.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
FLORES: Don't sell yourself short. When you have an opportunity, take it and create opportunities for yourself by networking and asking questions. I was the first one who went to college in my family, to a four-year university, and I didn’t even think I would make it. Sometimes I sold myself short. I don’t want people to feel like they’re not good enough to do something or to try something new or have them be their own barrier to doing what they want to do.

Q: What brought you to Adventist Health?
FLORES: I was born and raised in The Dalles. I could see the fear in my community of going to the hospital or emergency room. I wanted to influence change. That’s what brought me here. I wanted to make care more accessible and equitable and help my community navigate our healthcare system.

Q: How do you unplug after a hard day?
FLORES: I talk to my family and parents, and just be around people and talk about random stuff. That helps me not think about a hard day.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or podcast?
FLORES: Lately I’ve been learning about financial literacy. I recommend the book Cultura and Cash by Giovanna Gonzalez.

Q: What do you do when you’re creatively stuck?
FLORES: When you see your parents, specifically your dad, working every day, you don’t realize that taking time off is needed. I’m learning to take time off, even if it is just a day to do whatever I want. It helps because it makes me do something I would normally not do and it refreshes me.

Q: Why do you choose to work in healthcare?
FLORES: There is so much that goes into health care, and sometimes specific populations get missed. I don’t want those populations to be missed. Who will ask the questions that people don’t think about? For example, in our area, we have a lot of people who come from Mexico or South America to work in agriculture. Would they qualify for financial assistance? If not, why not? I get to ask those questions and influence change.

Q: What gives you hope?
FLORES: When I see that my work is fruitful, that gives me hope. Even if it’s small and not to the extent I wish it was, when somebody tells me, “I’m really happy I found you. You’re helping me,” that gives me hope things will be better.

Q: What one word describes your experience at Adventist Health Columbia Gorge?
FLORES: Growth.

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Pam Strachan

Pam Strachan
Adventist Health Tillamook
Mission and spiritual care leader
18 years with Adventist Health

Pam Strachan, Adventist Health Tillamook mission and spiritual care leader, had just completed training to be a respiratory therapist when she felt God calling her to ministry. She left her home in Syracuse, New York, and headed to Andrews University. 

It was after her seminary training that the doors began to open for clinical chaplaincy. An interview with Adventist Health Portland led to an in-person visit. “When I visited Portland, it rained so hard I said, ‘Lord, close this door, but let Your will be done,” she said. Strachan worked in Portland for 14 years and now leads chaplaincy and hospice services for Adventist Health Tillamook.

Q: What is your best habit?
STRACHAN: My best habit is being in the kitchen. I love to take raw materials, put them together and create something delightful and tasty. The kitchen is a happy place for me.

Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your life?
STRACHAN: The biggest influence on my life has been God. I’m in awe every time He brings something to me. Every week I come up with a theme, and this week my theme is “Taller” from the experience of Samuel who grew taller in the presence of God. I’m inspired to grow taller and not just stay where I am.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
STRACHAN: Take it easy, girl. Breathe. Stop rushing. Things will work out.

Q: What do you love about working at Adventist Health?
STRACHAN: The people. It fills my soul to listen to people, to provide space for them to share their story and to be a supportive presence.

Q: How do you unplug after a hard day?
STRACHAN: I have a big dog named PeeNutt and a little dog named Gizmo. I unplug by playing with them. I go in my backyard with them and walk and breathe.

Q: What do you do when you’re creatively stuck?
STRACHAN: When I find myself stuck, I hang out with being stuck — just stop and sit in that space of being stuck. I journal: What’s the challenge here for me? Why am I stuck? Why can’t I get through this? When I write what I’m feeling, I’m able to move through it.

Q: Why do you work in healthcare?
STRACHAN: When God called me to ministry, I didn’t know exactly what He was calling me to. When He guided me to chaplaincy, it started to make sense why He moved me out of respiratory therapy. The calling makes sense now as I look back.

Q: What one word describes your experience at Adventist Health?
STRACHAN: Transformation. I have been transformed by the service I provide people. I have discovered the value in humanity — the God-spark within all of us. I have grown taller mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Q: What motivates you?
STRACHAN: Hope. Hope for myself and hope for others. No matter how dark things may look or seem, there is always hope. What gives me hope is love — loving people, loving the unlovable, bringing God’s love to people who don’t feel love. I also receive hope from translating that love into a message for myself when at times I don’t feel loved. I am indeed loved — God loves me and He’s the God of my hope.

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Adam Lee

Adam Lee
Adventist Health Portland
Operations executive
13 years with Adventist Health

From rehabilitation to laboratory services to volunteer staffing to organizational strategy, Adam Lee, Adventist Health Portland operations executive, works to ensure that departments at Adventist Health Portland have what they need to do their jobs well. “There are a million day-to-day things that come up at a hospital,” he said, “things you can’t really predict.” When he isn’t helping manage those unexpected situations, Lee works with his team to provide a clear picture of organizational goals and what needs to happen to be successful. “The way to make strategy successful,” he said, “is to help everybody in the organization understand their part in that strategy. Everyone in the organization needs to understand why our role is so critical to what we do.”

Q: What is your best habit?
LEE: My best habit is regular check-ins with my team, making sure I’m staying connected to the leaders I support so they have what they need and I know when issues start to come up.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
LEE: Don’t worry so much about each career choice. Don’t stress about it. Early on we tend to stress about the choices we’re making, like picking a major in college and our first job out of college — or at least I certainly did. You don’t get locked in if you’re excited about what you’re doing. If you work hard and build good relationships, then you get to go wherever you want to go.

Q: What do you love about working at Adventist Health?
LEE: I love the people and the culture. There is a certain culture at Adventist Health Portland — I’ve heard it described as a small-town feel. People know each other. It’s small enough that you feel like you know the people around you, but it’s not so small that you can’t do some really interesting things in healthcare. It’s an easy place to want to be.

Q: Do you have an Adventist Health colleague you admire?
LEE: There is something about Terry Johnsson and the way he builds relationships and gets things done that is so impressive to me. As an introvert, I am amazed at his ability to form connections with the people around him. He’s so great at doing interesting and difficult work while building these deep and meaningful connections.

Q: How do you unplug after a hard day?
LEE: I have a commute, which sometimes is a bad thing, but a lot of days it’s kind of nice to sit and listen to an audiobook or podcast. By the time I get home, I’m ready to hang out with my wife and kids and put work behind me.

Q: What do you do when you’re creatively stuck?
LEE: I usually find it’s best to just step away. Whether that’s just calling it quits for the day or going out and rounding and talking to people or going for a walk, there’s no one answer except for maybe just separating myself from whatever it is I’m stuck on. I don’t try to force myself through it most of the time because that doesn’t usually work for me.

Q: What one word describes your experience working at Adventist Health Portland?
LEE: Fulfilling.

Q: Why do you choose to work in healthcare?
LEE: I feel that every day in some way I’m contributing to helping the community around me. Healthcare is super hard, and there’s something appealing about that to me. I don’t like easy. So it’s that combination of just really hard work but getting to do it for all the right reasons.

Q: What gives you hope?
LEE: When I hear stories and see firsthand patients who have an experience here that is unique to the way we’re providing care and the culture we have here, that gives me hope. It gives me hope knowing that experiences are being created here that are special and unique to the work we’re doing — because it’s healthcare, but also because there is something special here at Adventist Health Portland.

Find more Adventist Health stories at AdventistHealthStory.org.

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Kim Strobel Stories That Shape Us Healthcare is more than prescriptions and procedures, it's about people. Meet seven employees at Adventist Health who dispense hope daily in the way of Jesus, providing great healthcare, a better way to live and hope for a better life.
Authentic Engagement: Ministry in the Third Space https://nwadventists.com/feature/authentic-engagement-ministry-third-space A recent study found that 66% of young adults stopped attending church regularly after graduating high school. The primary reason wasn’t a difference in theology, worship style or culture; it was a lack of relational connection. Caleb Foss Youth Mission and Outreach 35046 Wed, 08 May 2024 15:30:00 -0700 Features

In the 21st century, the concept of a third space — a place between work and home where people build community and foster connections — is increasingly elusive, with nearly 50% of Americans reportedly feeling alone.1

Historically, the church served as a cornerstone of third spaces and fulfilled an important role in community building. But as people step away from religious settings, a need for determining a new third space has presented itself.

These trends highlight the need for the church to rethink the typical forms of ministry and engage in meaningful social and spiritual interactions outside the third spaces generally accepted as part of the Adventist norm.

As we minister to people outside our normal circles of life, it is crucial to first understand our identity and value in Christ so we can see each person we encounter as a cherished child of God.

This perspective enables us to shift our focus from being interesting to being interested, allowing us to authentically listen and minister in unique ways.

As you read these stories about Northwest third spaces of ministry, ask yourself, “What third space in my life is God calling me to minister in?”

 

After my first year of college, some friends and I decided to go on an adventure. We spent the week in Florida learning to surf, eating fast food and sleeping in a nearby field.

When the weekend arrived, we decided to perform a social experiment, which involved attending one of the local churches and seeing how they responded to our shaggy crew. None of us had brought any church attire, and we arrived with matted hair, T-shirts, board shorts and flip-flops.

The service was already underway, and the greeters were gone when we walked in the front door. Upon opening the next set of double doors, we found ourselves standing in the center aisle at the back of a crowded sanctuary. The room was filled with gray hair, fancy dresses and three-piece suits.

As it happened, our entry coincided with the end of opening prayer. As if on cue, every head turned to look, and then gawk, at the newcomers at the back of the room. The only empty seats were in the front row, and we gleefully, in the name of science, walked down and planted our board-shorts-covered behinds right in front of the pastor.

During the service, it was hard to tell exactly what the response behind us was without being too conspicuous, so we had to wait until the end to truly assess our impact on the local congregation.

Small groups of dignified men and women huddled together, casting occasional glances in our direction as we stood in the lobby.

Eventually, a group sent a couple of emissaries to engage us in awkward conversation. Once they found out we were on a surf trip, they found what seemed to be the one youngish person in attendance who had some surfing experience to pass us off to. We stuck around until most of the members had cleared out before the pastor took pity on us and invited us home for lunch.

Have you ever wondered why making new connections is so difficult? Why is it that when new people walk into a church environment, most of us avoid interacting or even making eye contact with them? And why is this especially true if they are young or look different from us?

We know we should be welcoming to people who walk through our church’s doors. Pastors regularly preach sermons about the importance of reaching out to the people around us.

A study by Lifeway Research2 found that 66% of young adults stopped attending church regularly after graduating high school. The primary reason wasn’t a difference in theology, worship style or culture; it was a lack of relational connection.

The church had never connected with them in a way that made them miss it when anything else came along. What keeps us from reaching out?

I think many of us are afraid to make new connections with younger — and honestly all — generations because we struggle with our own sense of identity and value.

Most of us base our identity on what we believe are our valuable traits. Work, recreation, appearance, organizational skills, leadership, money, wisdom, influence, righteousness, self-discipline, etc. all are sources of value. Yours may not be on this list, but all of us have areas where we are tempted to find our self-worth.

The problem is all of these attributes will eventually let us down. Athletics and looks fade. Influence diminishes. People retire or are fired.

If our identity is based on these assets, we will eventually be let down. This leads to depression, midlife crisis, loneliness, loss of purpose and more. It also causes us to judge others based on the same criteria.

Biblically, we're reminded that our identity is based in Christ. 1 John 3:1 says, “The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children.”

Our identity isn’t in our earthly works or what we deem valuable. Our identity is that we are all children of God.

Furthermore, the gospel tells us that our value doesn’t come from anything we produce — see Eph. 2:8–9. Instead, we are valuable simply because God says we are.

Think about it. The most powerful being in the entire universe chose to become one of us and suffer simply for the chance to establish a friendship with you.

It is ludicrous if you take the time to actually process the concept. This isn’t something you earned. Your good works and positive characteristics did nothing to make you more worthy. Instead, they are simply the things people do and have when they've truly experienced grace in their lives.

Conversely, the bad things you've done don’t make you any less valuable to God. You are an important part of God’s family. Even if you decide to opt out, you are still loved and God waits for your return with open arms. See the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11–32 for a key example.

The beautiful part about understanding where our value comes from is that we don’t have to spend our lives trying to prove our worth to others. Instead, we can focus on helping others understand their identity in Christ and how valuable they are. We don’t have to prove we are awesome so others will listen to us talk about Jesus.

This is what 2 Cor. 5:17 refers to when it says we are a “new creation.” Now that we know every person on this earth is a child of God and we are all valuable because He simply says we are, we can see people the way that God sees people. They are incredibly valuable, and the best way to show someone they are valuable is to listen to their story.

Everyone is looking for a safe place to be known for who they really are and valued. There are very few places in this world where that can be found.

So where do we start? First, we immerse ourselves in the good news of God’s love every day.

Instead of focusing on producing more, focus on experiencing the love and grace Jesus offers so fully in your life that it naturally flows out of you. Allow God to teach you how valuable you are so you can better recognize the value of the people around you.

Take time to learn their story instead of telling yours. Ask questions. Focus on being interested instead of interesting. Invite others to do the same.

Through listening, we will become a meaningful part of someone’s journey and earn the right to be a voice of truth in their life. When we do, our communities and churches will never be the same.

Reflection Questions

  1. Have you ever felt alone or unseen, whether within your faith community or one you were visiting? What emotions did that produce? What did you do to deal with the situation?
  2. In what ways do you seek to make yourself valuable to others? Have any of these ever let you down?
  3. What are some steps you can take to spread the gospel of grace you have been given to the people around you?

Caleb Foss is the author of A Way Forward, a book focused on helping Christians better understand their own identity and build meaningful connections across generational divides. Foss also serves as Camp MiVoden director of programming and staff mentorship.

Sources:

[1] The Week Staff. “An Epidemic of Loneliness.” theweek, January 6, 2019. theweek.com/articles/815518/epidemic-loneliness.
[2] Earls, Aaron. “Most Teenagers Drop Out of Church When They Become Young Adults,” Lifeway Research, Lifeway, 2019. 

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Caleb Foss Authentic Engagement: Ministry in the Third Space A recent study found that 66% of young adults stopped attending church regularly after graduating high school. The primary reason wasn’t a difference in theology, worship style or culture; it was a lack of relational connection.
A CLEAN Community Connection https://nwadventists.com/feature/clean-community-connection If you haven’t heard of CLEAN yet, the best way to describe it might be a combination of nonprofit addiction recovery ministries, small group meetings and a public-facing urban center of influence — all of which coalesce into the CLEAN ministry. Kaleb Eisele Missions and Outreach 35078 Thu, 25 Apr 2024 15:00:00 -0700 Features

"What if we’ve been going about evangelism all wrong?" That’s the question William "Billy" Hungate, a pastor who previously served at Sunnyside Adventist Church, posed as he wrote, “Believe, Become, Belong, Bless” in a vertical stack on a large sheet of paper in front of him.

“Traditionally, our evangelism starts with an evangelistic series that asks people to believe the things we do,” Hungate said, pointing to the first word. “Then you can become a Seventh-day Adventist through baptism. Once you’re baptized, you belong to our group. Then, after some trust is built and background checks come through, you can now bless people alongside us. That’s the basic trajectory we’ve had for people.”

Hungate next pointed to a particular and well-known passage from Ellen White’s Ministry of Healing, p. 143, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”

“This was the way Jesus did ministry,” said Hungate. “Belonging came first. Then we see He blessed people. He healed them. After that, He asked them to believe and follow Him, which for us is the process of becoming a disciple of Jesus. That’s the trajectory we want to use at CLEAN.”

If you haven’t heard of CLEAN yet, the best way to describe it might be a combination of nonprofit addiction recovery ministries, small group meetings and a public-facing urban center of influence — all of which coalesce into the CLEAN ministry.

Its focus is small, intentional community groups aimed at helping people recover from addiction and connect deeply with a community that cares about them. Hungate, his wife, Chelsea, and several other individuals, many of whom have gone through the recovery process themselves, founded this initiative, where Hungate now serves full time. 

“One of the common misnomers is that the opposite of addiction is sobriety, but that’s not really it. It’s community. And not a community like we might think of in a church, but a community of people who really know your deepest, darkest secrets and accept you anyway,” said Hungate.

“It's a group of people that can empower you to grow in your relationship with Christ. That’s one of the best things about recovery groups. People’s stories who have gone through this are basically the same at their core — they believed some lie about themselves like, ‘I’m not worthy of love’ or, ‘I’ll never be good enough,’” Hungate continued.

“Then Satan utilizes that and says, ‘This is what you need to do to cope with this psychologically.’ Whatever addiction someone is dealing with, they need to be fully known by people who understand what they’re going through,” said Hungate.

“We have to remember that addiction isn’t the problem,” Hungate said. “Addiction is a coping mechanism and a behavior connected to deeper things — things we often don’t talk about.”

According to Hungate, addiction can always be traced back to trauma, but that can look different from person to person.

“There are two types of trauma,” he said. “There are the big ‘T’ Traumas like divorces, deaths, things like that. But then there are the little ‘t’ traumas that are really hard to uproot. They become these negative scripts in our heads.”

The "little t traumas" are an integral part of Hungate’s own story. He recounted one of the ways they began to take hold in his life at a young age. His mother dreamed he would become a professional baseball player so he could “rescue” their family. If he played poorly, he had a massive hole in his heart because he thought, “I'm a failure. I didn’t do the one thing I was supposed to do — the thing I was created for.”

“We don’t have enough help overcoming the lies Satan plants in us or in seeing what God really says about us. That’s where real transformation takes place,” Hungate pointed out. “We pastors can preach all we want from the pulpit, but transformation doesn't happen until you have a few people around you who you can tell, ‘I acted this way,’ or, ‘I believe this thing,’ and can have them speak God’s life into you.”

One of the greatest obstacles to addiction recovery is isolation, and CLEAN exists to replace the feelings of hopelessness and isolation with those of connection and trust.

To do that, you need a space that doesn’t alienate people who aren’t ready to step through the doors of a church. A space that isn’t their workplace or their home. A third space.

“Before World War II the most popular third space was church. But after that, there was a lot of cultural and legislative change in the way we started designing communities and building houses and all of that. The number one 'third space' after World War II was the bar. With bars came a vice — more alcoholism. Two in every five people in the state of Oregon suffer from what some would call alcoholism,” said Hungate.

With this in mind, CLEAN began making plans for a unique ministry: a sober bar, which serves a wide variety of familiar drinks in a familiar setting — minus the alcohol. 

In addition to pop-up events, micro church groups and recovery programs, CLEAN is laying the groundwork to open a permanent brick-and-mortar nonprofit location in the heart of Portland. As a nonprofit entity, the CLEAN sober bar’s proceeds will all be reinvested in creating recovery initiatives and spaces.

In discussing the look and feel of the place, Hungate shared they are not shying away from some of the traditional bar aesthetic.

“One thing we’ve done as Christians is look at things and said, ‘That’s not good,’ and avoided associating with it at all costs,” he said. “But what ends up happening is we lose our influence with people instead of doing anything that might pique their interest. If you pick up one of our bottles, it might look like alcohol, but if you read the ingredients, it’s good stuff instead.”

“We’re trying to make recovery cool,” said Hungate. “When we ask someone to come to church, we’re often asking them to cross so many cultural barriers to be there. If we’re asking people to cross more cultural barriers than we are willing to cross ourselves, then who’s really being the missionary? I believe it’s actually our job to cross more of those cultural barriers ourselves.”

CLEAN is launching a YouTube channel for their sober bar where they'll post stories and recipes. Visit @CLEANBARPDX to watch their first recipe demonstration of their original Busy Bee non-alcoholic drink. “The best part of CLEAN is we don’t just do juice,” commented Hungate.

Learn more about the CLEAN ministry by visiting their parent website at thecleanlife.org or by watching their sober bar come together at clean-bar.com.

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Kaleb Eisele A CLEAN Community Connection If you haven’t heard of CLEAN yet, the best way to describe it might be a combination of nonprofit addiction recovery ministries, small group meetings and a public-facing urban center of influence — all of which coalesce into the CLEAN ministry.
Deconstructing Digital Evangelism https://nwadventists.com/feature/deconstructing-digital-evangelism Digital evangelism is a two-part phrase: digital — or anything that has internet — and evangelism — meaning sharing the gospel and the good news with my community. The question becomes: "How can I share the good news in this interconnected space?" Heidi Baumgartner Missions and Outreach Digital Evangelism 35074 Thu, 25 Apr 2024 10:00:00 -0700 Features

North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists is embarking on an ambitious mission to cultivate a network of 10,000 digital disciples. Whether you're already sharing your faith online or curious about getting started, this initiative has something for you.

As a media strategist, Ernesto Hernandez, Washington Conference media director, actively works in a faith-based digital environment and serves as a frequent coach to pastors, creatives and churches. Hernandez brings a forward-thinking, innovative mindset to his role. He is passionate about empowering individuals of all ages and stages — especially those active on social media — to leverage their platforms for good.

In this conversation, Hernandez shares how individuals can make a meaningful impact through their online presence.

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Ernesto Hernandez, Washington Conference media director, frequently coaches pastors, creators and churches on how to take their digital engagement to the next level.

Q: What is the basic definition of digital evangelism?

HERNANDEZ: Digital evangelism is a two-part phrase: you have evangelism — meaning sharing the gospel and the good news with my community — and then you have digital — anything that is internet-connected. Digital disciples or evangelists find creative ways online to share their faith.

Evangelism is something we've done face-to-face for so many years. Digital is a space that was created in the last 20 years. So, then, the question becomes: “How can I share the good news in this interconnected space?”

Q: What are some examples of digital platforms that have been effectively used for evangelism that you're seeing?

HERNANDEZ: I'll share three of my favorite ones I've seen recently.

My dad does digital evangelism through WhatsApp. He sends a little devotional audio every morning to a list of 500 people that he’s collected through his travels. Through WhatsApp, he's able to stay in touch with them, even if they're remote, and he can continue sharing the gospel through that platform.

Here’s another one that I really love: There’s a teenager I met about two years ago. He started a blog in Spanish called Un Joven Jota — An Adventist Teen — and he shares little quotes or small devotionals that he hears from preachers. He’s gained so much traction. He has a following now in the thousands.

I have a friend with a Bible Minecraft ministry. He invites young people, usually 10- to 22-year-olds, to play in a safe environment and build Bible scenes together. He will give a prompt and 30–50 people in this video game environment will collectively build Noah’s Ark, for example.

Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges with using digital tools for evangelism, and how can they be overcome?

HERNANDEZ: One of the biggest challenges that I see is people trying to go into digital evangelism but not understanding the platforms.

Let’s say I'm going to go into construction because there's a lot of need for houses and I just start building. Well, I have to know my tools. I have to know what type of housing is allowed. I have to learn a little bit of code. It's the same way with digital evangelism.

The next huge obstacle I see is that sometimes people don't understand who they're trying to reach. People are going to say, “I want to reach everyone.” Define your niche and then your people will find you.

Q: How do you believe churches can leverage social media to reach a broader audience?

HERNANDEZ: First, do not spread yourself too thin in the digital space because it’s a huge space. Once you understand your platform and your audience, you're at a good point to get started as a church. Then you can start creating a strategy and establishing a social media team.

I know about a church that has chosen to do Instagram and WhatsApp community groups — two opposite platforms. Yet, the team works well to maintain a sense of community and to reach others who are looking for community. They’ve trained their team in what’s effective in posting, using hashtags, understanding the platform and working with the algorithm.

Q: In your experience, what type of content resonates on different platforms with audiences, especially for sharing messages of faith?

HERNANDEZ: It depends on who you are trying to reach. If you're trying to reach a newcomer audience, you have to lead with a basic message of hope. I like to check myself on content creation by asking, “Can my neighbor relate to this?” Many of us are waiting for the Second Coming of Christ, yet many haven't even heard of the First Coming.

After you have your target audience, you will start introducing them to this story. The next question is, which technology? Some people are going to say, "Oh, podcasts are effective, or YouTube's effective, or TikTok's effective," but it's an ever-evolving world.

Remember my dad? He said, “I don’t understand YouTube or Facebook that well. I’m really good on WhatsApp and this is what’s working for me.” He shares a lot of Christ-centered messages with an introduction to Christianity.

Q: What additional advice would you give to someone who's new in this space?

HERNANDEZ: First of all, it's scary. You're walking into an unknown space. We like our comfort. We like what we know and it's very hard to walk into a space we don't know.

These platforms were built to be addicting. You have to be careful and create a proper strategy. You have to be intentional with your usage of social media and the amount of time you’re investing into this ministry.

There are a lot of people out there doing a lot of great things with digital evangelism. There are a lot of us coaching. I think the fact that if someone is reading this, or if someone is listening to this, it means God has already placed that seed in your heart to be here. It’s up to us to take that first step or next step.

Start with doing inventory of what digital tools you're good at and see what God’s calling you to share. We can be a light in a very dark space. That is the digital space.

Watch the full 30-minute conversation below:

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Ernesto Hernandez, Washington Conference media director, frequently coaches pastors, creators and churches on how to take their digital engagement to the next level. Here he talks with Heidi Baumgartner, NPUC communication director and Gleaner editor, how digital disciples and evangelists can light up a dark digital space. [30 minutes]
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Heidi Baumgartner Deconstructing Digital Evangelism Digital evangelism is a two-part phrase: digital — or anything that has internet — and evangelism — meaning sharing the gospel and the good news with my community. The question becomes: "How can I share the good news in this interconnected space?"
Befriending Your Muslim Neighbor https://nwadventists.com/feature/befriending-your-muslim-neighbor There are 2.35 million Muslims in the U.S., 58% of which are immigrants. Chances are, if you live in a larger city, one of your neighbors is Muslim. Branka Vukshich, Adventist attorney, shares insights and ideas of befriending your neighbor. Branka Vukshich Missions and Outreach 35056 Mon, 25 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 Features

Jesus commissioned His people to reach the whole world with the good news that God is love. What a beautiful message to share worldwide. However, many of us cannot go to the mission field, so what a blessing it is that God is sending the mission field to us.

There are 2.35 million Muslims spread across the U.S., 58% of which are immigrants. Chances are, if you live in a larger city, one of your neighbors is Muslim, your children go to school with Muslims, one of your co-workers is Muslim or perhaps your doctor is a Muslim.

My interest in Islam was sparked by my family’s connection with the Balkans, namely Serbia and Montenegro, ruled by the Ottoman Empire from roughly the 1300s to World War I.

Today there remains a legacy of bitter religious animosity as well as, in a lighter vein, a national addiction to Turkish coffee, and the language is heavily sprinkled with Turkish words. Though at odds with each other, our cultures and history are intertwined.

The years after World War I saw the total demise of the Ottoman Empire. The Western world by and large ignored Islam as a force in international politics except for Middle Eastern oil until Islamic terrorism affected it — then Islam caught the West’s attention politically.

Spiritually, as Christians, we cannot ignore the salvation of the 2 billion people who follow Islam worldwide. This article focuses on being able to intelligently dialogue with the Muslims we meet.

Islam is not a monolithic whole; there is a wide range of Muslim beliefs stretching from the very secular to the highly religious. But in common with all people, Muslims desire to understand who God is and what He is like. Islam pictures God as vengeful and severe — hateful to His enemies. We know our God as kind and self-sacrificing, doing whatever He can to restore and draw all people to Himself. 

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Family time at the front door

Jesus commissioned His people to reach the whole world with the good news that God is love. What a beautiful message to share worldwide! However, many of us cannot go to the mission field so what a blessing that God is sending the mission field to us. 

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Getty Images / Rifka Hayati

History of Islam

According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad — an Arabic pagan trader from Mecca born 570 A.D. and died 632 A.D. —  began receiving visions from God through the angel Gabriel around 610.

Gabriel told Muhammad to recite the messages given to him because Muhammad could not read or write. The first people to believe that Muhammad was a prophet were his first wife, Khadija, and Abu Bakr, a close associate. Muhammad continued to gain followers in Mecca, many of whom followed him in 622 to Medina.

By 629, Muhammad gained control of his birthplace, Mecca, through armed conflict and political maneuver. Muhammad died soon after in 632 which precipitated a crisis of succession. Abu Bakr became the first caliph — meaning successor — of Muhammad as the chief Muslim civil and religious ruler.

Islam spread throughout the Middle East by conversion and largely by military power. By 750, Islam had spread to present-day Spain and northwest Africa along the Mediterranean basin into Egypt, Syria, Persia and Afghanistan. By 1250, Islam had spread to large parts of Africa, India and into Greece, the Balkans and significant parts of today’s Russia.

This, of course, put Islam into direct confrontation with the Eastern Christian Roman Empire with its capital in Constantinople. The Ottoman Turks rose as a conquering power in the 1300s. They overran the Balkans and Greece and captured Constantinople in 1453.

In the west, the Spanish monarchy slowly expelled the Muslims from 1492 to 1610. During the Ottoman conquests, its head of state held the title of caliph until the title was abolished by Ataturk in 1924. Isis was a modern-day attempt to re-establish an Islamic caliphate. 

Quran, Koran or Qur'an 

Quran, Koran or Qur’an are all variant English spellings for the same Muslim holy book. Traditionally, it is believed that the revelations given to Muhammad were written down by his followers beginning in the year after his death. 

The Quran is divided into 114 chapters, called surahs, with each surah comprised of numbered verses. Muslims believe the Quran is the literal word of God, dictated by God, given in Arabic — the language of heaven — and therefore translations can never be adequate. 

Some scholars dispute that the surahs were collected shortly after Muhammad’s death. Some scholars even dispute the existence of Muhammad as a historic figure. See the work of Jay Smith, Christian apologist, available on YouTube and in his course books called Radical Evangelism to Muslims if you would like to learn more.

Arabic is the only language in which Muslims are allowed to recite the Quran in their mosques, even though many followers of Islam are not Arabic speakers. There are, however, translations of the Quran into other languages. In fact, one can even get a free English Quran at this website.

In addition to the Quran, there are the hadiths — writings about the life of Muhammad that Muslims believe are authoritative. Some of the hadith are considered reliable and some less so, but all of them describe Muhammad as the model man, even though he did some pretty outlandish things according to understanding.

For example, according to the hadith Sahih Bukhari 5:58:236, Muhammad married Abu Bakr’s daughter, Aisha, when she was 6 or 7 and consummated the marriage when she was 9 years old. Muhammad was also given divine permission to marry his adopted son’s wife (Surah 33:36–38). Though Muslim men may only have four wives (Surah 4:3), Muhammad was given divine permission to have more than four (Surah 33:50).

Muhammad is revered as a prophet and believed by his followers to be the final prophet given to the world whose revelations supersede the revelations in the Old and New Testaments. Muslims believe the Old and New Testaments are authoritative but were corrupted.

For those challenged by a Muslim regarding the reliability of scripture, the study of how the Jewish Masoretic text compares to the second-century Dead Sea Scrolls is a fruitful study as well as the works of Dan Wallace, Dallas School of Theology textural critic. 

Western readers will most likely find the Quran a strange amalgam of sometimes rather disjointed and sometimes absurd sayings such as God causing those who broke the Sabbath to become apes as referenced in Surah 2:65; 4:47; 5:60; 7:163–166.

In addition to some far-fetched sayings, there are many surahs from borrowed sources that show up in the Quran — some of them very absurd sounding, such as the story of Jesus speaking from the cradle and then later molding a bird out of clay and bringing it to life. This story can be found in apocryphal Christian writing: The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ (fifth century A.D.) and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (second century A.D.). 

Sunni, Shia, Sufi or Ahmadi

During the life of Muhammad, great strides were made in taking over territory by conversion or more likely by conquest. After Muhammad’s death, there was a crisis of succession. Sunni Muslims, the present-day majority, believe that legitimate succession should be by Muslim choice, while Shia Muslims believe that rightful succession belongs to the line of Mohammed.

Two large sects you may encounter are the Sufi and Ahmadi. Sufis try to reach oneness with God through physically active meditation such as swirling and repetition.

Ahmadi Muslims believe their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a prophet, thus a direct contradiction of one of the major tenets of Islam that Muhammad is the final prophet. Ahmadis are also proponents of the peaceful spreading of Islam and are often persecuted in the Islamic world.  

Jesus, Abraham and Ishmael

There is significant overlap between Muslim and Christian beliefs but some distinct differences. Muslims accept Jesus — Isa in Arabic — as a venerated prophet. They believe in His virgin birth, performance of miracles, that He was brought to Heaven and that He will return to the earth before Judgment Day. However, Muslims do not believe Jesus actually died on the cross and do not accept Jesus as God.          

Muslims accept Abraham as a prophet and a progenitor of the Arabs. Muslims agree that Abraham and Sarah were husband and wife. They also acknowledge that Ishmael was the son of Abraham through Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian handmaid but believe that Abraham was directed by God to sacrifice Ishmael, not Isaac.

Muslims agree that Hagar and Ishmael were sent away. A distinctive Muslim belief is that, after Hagar and Ishmael arrived in Mecca, at some point Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt the Kaaba — Islam’s holy place in Mecca — together. Muslims believe the Kaaba is the house of God, and they direct their prayers to the Kaaba five times a day. 

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A group of diverse teenagers

Islam stretches from its birthplace in present-day Saudi Arabia through Africa, to India, Pakistan, the Far East, Indonesia and the Philippines to name just a few countries. Islam is not a monolithic whole; there is a wide range of Muslim beliefs stretching from the very secular to the highly religious. But in common with all people, Muslims desire to understand who God is and what He is like. 

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Getty Images/iStockphoto/Rawpixel

Pillars of Islamic Belief

Islam means submission. A Muslim is one who submits his will to God. There are 5 pillars of Islam:

  1. Reciting the Shahadah with conviction. “I bear witness that there is no god, but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” Reciting the Shahadah makes one a Muslim.
  2. Salat or prayer. Five times a day, a devout Muslim prays toward Mecca. The prayers begin with the Exordium in the first Sura of the Quran: "Praise be to God, Lord of the Creation, the Compassionate, the Merciful, King of the Last Judgment! You alone we worship, and to You alone we pray for help. Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You have favored, not of those who have incurred Your wrath, nor of those who have gone astray.”  Unfortunately to many Muslims, Jews have incurred the wrath of God and Christians have gone astray. They are reminded of this wrath of God against Jews five times a day. A quick search of the internet will convince readers that many Muslims believe Jews have incurred the wrath of God and that Christians have gone astray. 
  3. Alms. A prescribed portion of income is donated to needy community members or designated for worthy projects such as hospitals, schools and mosques.
  4. Fasting. Fasting is obligatory for all healthy adults during the daylight hours during the month of Ramadan. After sundown, food is allowed. 
  5. Pilgrimage known as the hajj. Every healthy Muslim who can afford the trip must make at least one visit to Mecca lasting five days. Most walk around the Kaaba seven times and participate in other traditions while in Mecca.

Theology of Islam

Islam does not have a central religious authority such as the pope for the Catholic Church. Teaching power is centered in the local mosque, and an imam is generally the person in the local leadership position. Islam theology looks to the Quran and the hadiths for its teachings.

In the Quran, God is described as an all-knowing, all-powerful, creator of all. However, God seems to delight in war and fighting. Sura 2:216 for example says, “Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. God knows, but you know not.”

While an understanding of the Great Controversy between God and Satan is central to Seventh-day Adventist theology, the Quran has a widely different explanation of the subject.

Surah 15:23-41: “We created man from dry clay, from black moulded loam, and before him Satan from smokeless fire. Your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am creating man from dry clay, from black moulded loam. When I have fashioned him and breathed of My spirit into him, kneel down and prostrate yourself before him.’ 

The angels, one and all, prostrated themselves, except Satan. He refused to prostrate himself with the others.

‘Satan,’ said God, ‘why do you not prostrate yourself?

He replied: ‘I will not bow to a mortal whom You created of dry clay, of black moulded loam.’

‘Begone,’ said God, ‘you are accursed. My curse shall be on you till Judgment day.’

‘Lord,’ said Satan, ‘since You have thus seduced me, I will tempt mankind on earth: I will seduce them all, except those of them who are your faithful servants.’"

Other profoundly different practices are that Muslims gather at their mosque on Friday afternoon for prayers but do not appear to have a 24-hour day of weekly rest (Sura 62:9).

All quotes from the Quran are from the translation by N.J. Dawood and published by Penguin Books in 1995.

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A beautiful Muslim adult female in her 30's is wearing a hijab and spending time with an older non-Muslim woman.

There are 2.35 million Muslims spread across the U.S., 58% of which are immigrants. Chances are, if you live in a larger city one of your neighbors is Muslim, your children go to school with Muslims, co-workers are Muslims or perhaps your doctor is a Muslim. 

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Getty Images / Fly View Productions

Traditions You Should Know About 

Islam stretches from its birthplace in present-day Saudi Arabia through Africa, to India, Pakistan, the Far East, Indonesia and the Philippines to name just a few countries.

Islam does not generally treat women as equal partners although considering its vast geographic and cultural spread, there are differences among the various groups. Horror stories about women being murdered by family members to maintain the honor of the family abound. Marriages are generally arranged, sometimes without female consent.

Domestic violence is condoned by the Quran as seen in Sura 4:34-35: “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.”

One of the most horrific treatment of women deals with female genital mutilation, a practice found in some communities in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Somalia, Sudan and Egypt. Though outlawed in some countries, female genital mutilation is still practiced. See hrw.org and fgmcri.org for full information on female genital mutilation.  

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An Asian female talks with a Muslim friend while standing in backyard outdoors.

Perhaps because they believe they have God’s final word on religion and perhaps because they have never been challenged, devout Muslims are generally open to talking about their faith. This is certainly one of the best avenues to religious discourse. The primary thing is not to be reticent in presenting the gospel to a Muslim.

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Getty Images / South_agency

Reaching Out

Perhaps because they believe they have God’s final word on religion and perhaps because they have never been challenged, devout Muslims are generally open to talking about their faith. This is certainly one of the best avenues to religious discourse. The primary thing is not to be reticent in presenting the gospel to a Muslim.

On a very practical level, newly immigrated Muslims in the U.S. may need physical help and honest advice about how to navigate this new culture. Some may need help learning English via ESL classes, some children may need tutoring and some may need help accessing the legal system to escape an abusive relationship.

A dear faithful Christian man once gave me some sterling advice: If your friend lives in a dilapidated house, there is no need to point it out; start building a beautiful house next to her dilapidated one and soon your friend will leave the dilapidated house and move into your beautiful house.

(However, should it be absolutely necessary to point out the cracks in her house there is abundant help available — See advice below for “How to be respectful to a Muslim.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born into a Muslim family in Somali Muslim and subjected to female genital mutilation at a young age, fled to Holland in 1992 to avoid an arranged marriage.

In Holland, the 23-year-old Ali had a new world opened up to her, a world where women were of equal value to men and women could have the advantage of an education.

Though at one time a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ali disavowed Islam and embraced atheism. In 2004, to represent the experience of Muslim women, Ali wrote the script for a short movie directed by Theo Van Gogh called Submission.

Angered by the film, Mohamed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan, murdered Van Gogh. One can see why Ali turned from Islam to atheism. However, in a recent interview on Unherd, Ali explained she now identified as a Christian.

Amid a personal crisis, she saw a number of therapists but with no final resolution to her crisis. A new therapist challenged Ali to consider whether she was having a spiritual crisis and whether she would be willing to explore her issue spiritually. Ali agreed. Knowing that Ali had a terrible view of God, the therapist asked her to describe what God would be like if she, Ali, were to design God’s character in the way that she would like Him to be. Ali went through the exercise and then realized that she had described Jesus. Watch as Ayaan Hirsi Ali explains during an interview how she accepted Christianity.

Many Muslims have a picture of God that is extremely unlike the God that we know and love. Let’s challenge ourselves to respectfully convey a picture of our loving God to the people around us — including our Muslim neighbors.

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Multi-racial friends having a heart to heart conversation outdoors.

Many Muslims have a picture of God that is extremely unlike the God that we know and love. Let’s challenge ourselves to respectfully convey a picture of our loving God to the people around us — including our Muslim neighbors. 

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Getty Images / JimmyFam

How to Be Respectful to a Muslim

Islam is a way of life that is very rule-oriented. If we are to reach Muslims, we don’t want to break any of the rules that are so dear to their culture.

NEVER

  • NEVER shake hands with your left hand.
  • NEVER sit with crossed legs while talking to a Muslim.
  • NEVER inscribe a name that should be respected or reverenced on the floor where it can be stepped on. (Some churches used floor mats with the church name inscribed on them.)
  • NEVER use Muhammad’s name without using “prophet” in front of it. Using “your” prophet would probably be non-offensive to either a Christian or Muslim.
  • NEVER put the Quran or the Bible on the floor or under other books.
  • NEVER allow your Muslim visitors to stand at your door without being immediately welcomed into the home.

ALWAYS

  • ALWAYS greet a Muslim friend with these words: As-salamu alaykum (the peace be upon you).
  • ALWAYS use a respectful title when speaking with an elderly person.
  • ALWAYS take off your shoes when visiting a mosque.
  • ALWAYS attempt to invite a Muslim person to your home in order to show friendship.
  • ALWAYS smile and welcome your Muslim visitors when they come to visit you — make them feel especially welcome.
  • ALWAYS offer your Muslim guests something to drink as soon as they arrive.
  • ALWAYS introduce yourself as a part of the People of the Book, a non-drinker, non-smoker, non-eater of unclean meat.

Continued Learning

Learning About Muslims:

Outreach to Muslims:

  • Jesus Film Project — Many former Muslims attribute their conversion to watching the Jesus movie in their own language — 2095 languages are listed.
  • Refugee Assimilation Project — Paradise Valley Adventist Church has ESL programs, community gardens and a thrift store in San Diego, California.
  • World Bibles — Help your new friend find a Bible in his or her own language.

Arabic Resources Online:

Islam and Prophecy:

  • Daniel 11 Seminar — Dan. 11 yearly seminars held in Berrien Springs, Michigan
  • Islam and Christianity Seminar — Tim Roosenberg, Adventist evangelist, has a series of videos on Dan. 11 explaining his understanding of the role of Islam in prophecy. 
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Branka Vukshich Befriending Your Muslim Neighbor There are 2.35 million Muslims in the U.S., 58% of which are immigrants. Chances are, if you live in a larger city, one of your neighbors is Muslim. Branka Vukshich, Adventist attorney, shares insights and ideas of befriending your neighbor.
Empowering Change-Makers https://nwadventists.com/feature/empowering-change-makers From bioengineering breakthroughs to pastoral mentorship, hands-on learning at Walla Walla University provides a holistic education. Danae Grisby Education Walla Walla University 34940 Fri, 16 Feb 2024 08:00:00 -0800 Features

From bioengineering breakthroughs to pastoral mentorship, hands-on learning at Walla Walla University provides a holistic education.

In a world marked by constant change, seemingly more turbulent than ever before, preparation for our future leaders transcends beyond a simple retention of facts. As Ellen White said, “Let students be directed to the sources of truth, to the vast fields opened for research in nature and revelation.”1 

WWU recognizes the importance of career preparedness combined with critical thinking and soft skills earned through a liberal arts education. Through increased hands-on opportunities like projects, labs and clinicals, WWU presents a comprehensive educational experience with both knowledge acquisition and practical training. This dual focus prepares students to enter the job market and make a profound Christian difference in our world.

Anilce Castillo Osejo

Bioengineering graduate, 2023

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Portrait of Anilce Castillo Osejo.

Anilce Castillo Osejo

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Chris Drake

Improving women’s health is a life goal for Anilce Castillo Osejo, WWU 2023 bioengineering graduate currently in her first year of medical school at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. “Women are a major part of our population, and their health is continually underfunded,” said Castillo Osejo. 

While Castillo Osejo is very passionate about women’s healthcare and reproductive health, determining a focus for her capstone research project at WWU was challenging. After many discussions with Janice McKenzie, WWU bioengineering professor, Castillo Osejo recognized a gap in the field of female tissue engineering she felt she could explore. She is grateful the Edward F. Cross School of Engineering was able to fund her project and allow her to contribute to a cause she feels so strongly about. 

Castillo Osejo dove into the current literature about tissue engineering and its use in women’s healthcare. She was fascinated to find an idea presented about how tissue engineering could be used to support ovarian tissue and potentially restore fertility. One application for the technique would be to replace damaged ovarian tissue in women who have undergone cancer treatment. 

Completing her project gave Castillo Osejo a renewed respect for researchers and an appreciation for building good connections in the scientific community. With the help of a few classmates and professors, she believes the project taught her many skills she wouldn’t have been able to gain otherwise. “I had a wonderful experience during my project and was also able to build a great connection with McKenzie,” said Castillo Osejo. 

Using her talents to aid others was a theme that stretched beyond Castillo Osejo’s research work. During her time as a WWU student, she worked as a project specialist for the Center for Humanitarian Engagement, leading a program focused on practicing kindness and community-building. She also served as co-leader of Hispanic Ministries, a campus ministry with the goal of creating a welcoming worship space for Hispanic and non-Hispanic students. An outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusion, Castillo worked directly with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at WWU as a champion for various initiatives. 

While Castillo Osejo’s academic and research work taught her invaluable skills for her future, it's perhaps her clear commitment to Jesus and helping others that best equip her for an impactful career in medicine.

Isaac Peterson

Senior theology major

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Portrait of Isaac Peterson among church pews.

Isaac Peterson

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Chris Drake

Isaac Peterson, WWU senior, didn’t follow a straightforward path to WWU, working a variety of jobs in several states. Being trained as an EMT with intentions to join the military, he decided to study theology to find a practical way to share the gospel. “I wanted a further understanding of biblical knowledge to implement it well in the service of my community,” he explained. 

As a theology student, thanks in part to generous support from NPUC's NextGen scholarship, Peterson is jumping into that call to serve his community. Last year, he participated in the WWU Pastoral Mentorship Program, a graduation requirement for theology majors that matches students with seasoned pastoral staff and immerses them in ministry experiences.

Peterson was assigned to Eastgate Adventist Church. The internship requires a commitment of at least eight hours a week, but he quickly found a love for the work and would often spend significantly more time at the church. The most impactful hours were the weekly meetings with his mentor, Eric Saylar, Eastgate Church pastor, who provided immediate feedback on Peterson’s own experiences in ministry. 

Much of his work with the multigenerational church was new to Peterson. Before the internship, his ministry expertise was limited to working with youth. So, while the internship did initially challenge him, Peterson appreciated the opportunity to expand his ability to minister to all age groups.

“Listening to the wisdom and insight of the older members has given me a whole new perspective,” he said. “The connections I was able to make during my time were the greatest things to come out of the experience.”

Recently, Peterson interviewed with Upper Columbia Conference and has been offered a full-time pastor position at Eastgate Church. He said being a student pastor, seeing the many components of pastoral ministry and having that hour every week with an experienced mentor like Saylar solidified his decision to work in pastoral ministry. “Soon, without the restriction of school and homework, I am looking forward to seeing what I will be able to accomplish," said Peterson.

Nicole Price

Sophomore nursing major

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Portrait of Nicole Price in hospital simulation lab.

Nicole Price

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Chris Drake

The medical field holds a special place in the heart of Nicole Price, WWU sophomore. “I always knew I wanted to go into the field early on, and being a nurse seemed like a better option than becoming a doctor,” she explained. With a mother who is a nurse practitioner and a father and brother who are both firefighters, Price’s curative calling stemmed from watching her family make a palpable difference in people’s well-being.

Nursing is a unique opportunity to care for those who are vulnerable, but the learning process can be challenging. WWU’s School of Nursing is transitioning to competency-based programs and continues to focus on hands-on learning opportunities. 

Price noted, “The new sim labs from grants are set up like real hospital rooms with mannequins that talk to you.” In these labs, students spend around four hours a week learning skills, which are followed up on the next week. Additionally, students complete around 20 independent practice hours outside of lab hours. This repeated practice has helped Price retain the skills she learns more so than learning about them in a classroom setting, especially when “the instructor explains the reasoning besides just showing them.”

Because of this comprehensive program, Price feels confident in dealing with real-life medical situations. She said, “When I am able to physically practice and then have my procedures checked off by an instructor, I know that I did it correctly … I can safely say that I am more prepared for real life when I am able to perform hands-on practice under the supervision of our instructors.” 

Her confidence extends to her ability to connect with her patients. She said, “[I have learned to] understand other cultures and how to interact with people with fewer privileges than we have, and how important it is to reach out to other people as teachers and educators.” 

While Price will get the opportunity to try different disciplines of nursing during her rotations in her junior and senior years, pediatric oncology is one of the specialties she would like to explore. However, it is evident that no matter what discipline she pursues, her experiences at WWU have provided her with the tools needed to help heal her community.

Garret Thorn

Senior business major

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Portrait of Garret Thorn in front of stock ticker.

Garret Thorn

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Chris Drake

Garret Thorn, WWU senior, affirms that combining an internship with a liberal arts education is extremely valuable. “You get to see the tangible results of the skills you learned in the classroom come to life and apply to real-world situations,” he explained.

This past summer, the business administration student applied his skills to team projects through an internship with Whitman Group, a small asset management firm focused primarily on real estate. Thorn’s work there allowed him to do what fills his cup most — take initiative to support others.

​Thorn’s internship, under the chief operating officer of AXCS Investments LLC, included extensive use of Power BI, a business analytics software. Mastering the logistics of Power BI offered him a chance to put his skills to work in a new, meaningful way and to contribute to larger ventures. Using Power BI, Thorn was able to pull large amounts of data from different sources and format it coherently. 

Navigating Power BI wasn’t always smooth sailing. “My internship taught me how to adapt and persevere,” Thorn said. “I learned to not become discouraged when problems come up, but to put in the work to find solutions.” Thorn developed a strong tenacity that helped him excel in solving problems as they arose. This perseverance will serve him well as he adapts to future changes in business technology.

​Thorn’s desire to be a dependable contributor, no matter the challenges, began in part during his military service. Merging his passion for problem-solving with his commitment to serving his country, Thorn is passionate about cybersecurity and hopes to enter the field of defense contracting. He believes his internship laid the technology groundwork he needs to pursue his goals in cybersecurity, where he hopes to protect organizations from attacks on privacy and security. 

​Thorn’s advice for students pursuing an internship is to choose a position that truly interests them rather than just the first option to come along. An internship can be so much more than checking off a box. “You are definitely there to learn, but really push to make yourself an asset,” said Thorn. “Challenge yourself to contribute as much as you can.”

Ryan Smith

Junior film and marketing double major

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Portrait of Ryan Price in film studio.

Ryan Price

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Aaron Nakamura

The world of film is a way to connect with people by communicating messages and emotions beyond language for Ryan Smith, WWU junior. Beginning as a marketing major, Smith added film as his second major last winter. He expressed why he chose to go into film and take on the task of a double major, and said, “My uncle would make short films with us. It’s universal. You can communicate a lot of emotions through film.”

Since joining the film program, Smith has already begun helping with student productions, but Smith’s first serious round of practical training came in the form of a summer project in 2023, which involved two weeks of around-the-clock dedication as a production assistant with a close-knit team.

“Walkies were one of my things,” Smith said, describing how he aided crew communication and collaboration. “It was a bonding experience. We’d go to work, go home, sleep. My family didn’t see me that much.” With this type of experience, Smith said, “I learned more than I thought I would. I think I had a different view of production. It was really good to see what it is in real life.”

Smith believes classroom learning and practical training should go hand-in-hand. Because Smith joined the major a little later in his academic career, he thinks people who started in the film major most likely got even more out of the summer project because they were better able to put their knowledge into practice. 

“For a career like film, it’s very important to have hands-on experience, a lot more than any other majors,” Smith shared. Smith gained confidence in himself from his time on set. He said, “If something challenging comes up, it’s like, oh, I can do this because I remember how we did it in the project.”

During the past year in the film department, Smith believes he has gained the knowledge and skills to use film in tandem with his marketing major. His film project has provided a distinct perspective on the planning and project management behind the art, which Smith believes is useful as film has become more prevalent in marketing and promotional projects. As Smith moves forward in the program, more hands-on projects will continue to help him learn to communicate emotions through the visual language of film.

1White, Ellen G. True Education (Nampa: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2000), 8.

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Danae Grisby Emmalani Dodds Hailey Werner Empowering Change-Makers From bioengineering breakthroughs to pastoral mentorship, hands-on learning at Walla Walla University provides a holistic education.
Understanding the Black and White Divide in the Adventist Church https://nwadventists.com/feature/understanding-black-and-white-divide-adventist-church After the American Civil War, some Adventists refocused their energy from the abolition of slavery to the Southern work, which, in part, meant ministering to the now free Black population. Kaleb Eisele Church 32948 Sat, 27 Jan 2024 13:00:00 -0800 Features

After the American Civil War, some Adventists refocused their energy from the abolition of slavery to the Southern work, which, in part, meant ministering to the now-free Black population.

Although the church did not initially have a cohesive strategy for the Southern work, there were soon many Black Adventists.

The first ordained Black Adventist pastor was Charles Marshall Kinny, who had been born into slavery in 1855 and heard Ellen White and J.N. Loughborough speak in Reno, Nevada, in 1878. Kinny became an Adventist later that year and attended what is now Pacific Union College in the 1880s. In 1888, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, preaching and ministering to the Black community.

There was one Adventist Church there at the time, and as Kinny was successful in evangelizing the Adventist message to the Black community, the demographics of the church began to change.

The Adventist Church in St. Louis, unsettled by the changing demographics of the congregation, reacted negatively toward Black people who tried to attend. Kinny left to continue his ministry in Kentucky, but carried with him the sting of the racism he had experienced.

Ellen White herself visited the church after Kinny left and was so disturbed by the racism she witnessed there that she was compelled to write to the General Conference leadership, “Our Duty to the Colored People,” which sternly called on churches and leaders to treat Black attendees with dignity and respect.

Similar tensions were growing across America, with white congregants separating themselves to form churches apart from their Black fellow Adventists.

In the aftermath of a failed reconstruction, the Adventist Church struggled as it filled not only with recently freed Black congregants and abolitionists, but also with white people from both the North and South who were entrenched in racist cultural norms.

Integrated Adventist churches became increasingly rare, and they also became more dangerous. Churches were threatened by angry mobs, and Black congregants could not worship without facing risks to their safety or experiencing prejudice from within the pews.

Adventist missionaries in the South faced increased danger to the point where some decided to return to the North for their own safety. Others began to be swayed by Southern rhetoric and racism themselves.

This is why, just four years after Ellen White admonished GC leaders that Black Adventists should not be excluded from places of worship, she wrote this: “In regard to white and colored people worshiping in the same building, this cannot be followed as a general custom with profit to either party — especially in the South. The best thing will be to provide the colored people who accept the truth with places of worship of their own, in which they can carry on their services by themselves. Let them understand that this plan is to be followed until the Lord shows us a better way.”

Unfortunately, as Calvin B. Rock, Ph.D., stated, the meaning of “a better way” changed from “when we figure out a safer approach” to “when Jesus returns.” The church quickly shifted from taking an active role in dismantling systems of oppression to distancing itself from issues of justice and worse, perpetuating the injustice of the world in its own spaces.

Michael Campbell, an Adventist historian, wrote during his time as professor of religion at Southwestern Adventist University, “Adventism goes from being a church that's abolitionist and very activist ... many of our pioneers were participants on the underground railroad. But we get to the point in the early 20th century, by the early 1940s, where we have to have separate Black and white conferences. We have Black and white sections of the cafeteria at the GC, most of our schools became Black and white.”

So how did this happen? If Adventism was originally so closely tied with the abolitionist movement, how did it become one of the very last Christian denominations to desegregate in the 1960s?

As the Adventist Church became more institutional and drifted closer to its fundamentalist Christian neighbors in the early and mid-20th century — who had not only not been abolitionists but had upheld slavery as a God-given institution — it became slower and slower to act in support of the pleas for equity from its Black membership.

Years of requests for a specific department in the GC that would provide support and resources for Black Adventist ministers finally resulted in the “Negro Department,” which itself took another nine years before it got its first Black director.

Before that, the department was led by a succession of three white men. The department’s first Black director, W.H. Green, died of exhaustion after only 10 years due to his intense travel schedule and being one of the only official leaders for Black Adventism’s growing congregations.

After the death of Ellen White, amid the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the deadly Red Summer of 1919, the Adventist Church failed to adequately address the issues of their day. Instead of continuing its radical, activist roots in the area of racial equity, it fell in line with America’s discriminatory laws.

When Lucy Byard, a Black Adventist seeking life-saving medical attention from an Adventist Sanitarium in Maryland, was turned away based on her race and ultimately died because of it in 1943, the dam finally broke.

With all other avenues already exhausted, a powerful protest movement broke out and North American Division was finally pushed into the creation of Black-administered conferences, known today as regional conferences.

Finally empowered to lead and minister from their own experiences, gifts and perspectives, the church blossomed in new areas thanks to the administration of its Black leadership. Though they began as a support system for Black Adventist ministry, regional conferences today lead a diverse array of Adventists, churches and ministries, and they function as the architects of indigenous leadership models globally.

Many Adventists in the Pacific Northwest may be aware of the fact that in our territory we do not have separate “regional” and “state” conferences. Regional ministry, however, continues to be a powerful force for ministry in our region.

As Byron Dulan, North Pacific Union vice president for regional affairs, shared in his recent article, “Black Roots Run Deep,” “Black Northwest Adventists trace their spiritual roots back more than 100 years. Adventist gospel ministry first began among African Americans on the Pacific Coast around 1907.”

With racism still thriving in the U.S. and, in many cases, in our church today, regional ministries remain vital trailblazers in a wide spectrum of communities.

As recently as the late 1990s, Black Adventist leaders in Southeastern California pushed for the creation of new regional conferences in their area, revealing yet again that the needs of a large group of Adventists were not being heard, understood or adequately met.

Still today, in 2024, there is a desperate need for church administration and the greater Adventist community to listen when a group voices concerns that they are not being supported or heard by their church.

If we are to avoid perpetuating the sins of our past, our challenge today is to rediscover Adventism’s radical roots in social equity and to support those living leaders who have taken up the standard of their foremothers and forefathers in ministry.

_________________________

This article was adapted from episodes 5 and 6 of How the Church Works, a podcast written and produced by Heather Moor, Nina Vallado and Kaleb Eisele and sponsored by the Adventist Learning Community. To listen to both episodes on Adventist regional conferences or learn more about the podcast, visit howthechurchworks.com. Written adaptation by Kaleb Eisele in partnership with North Pacific Union of Seventh-day Adventists.

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Kaleb Eisele Understanding the Black and White Divide in the Adventist Church After the American Civil War, some Adventists refocused their energy from the abolition of slavery to the Southern work, which, in part, meant ministering to the now free Black population.
Lighting Our World: Inspiring Each Generation to Reach One More https://nwadventists.com/feature/lighting-our-world-inspiring-each-generation-reach-one-more Each person, like each pane in the stained-glass window, has a unique role in illuminating the world with the love of Jesus. Together, we create an enduring narrative of faith and grace in our shared mission to brighten our world for Jesus. Dick Duerksen Mission and Outreach Faith 34580 Wed, 13 Dec 2023 12:35:00 -0800 Features

Stained-glass windows are living stories of faith and grace, connecting generations through vibrant hues and enduring narratives. Each person, like each pane in the stained-glass window, has a unique role in illuminating the world with the love of Jesus. Together, we create enduring narratives of faith and grace, connecting us in our shared mission to brighten our world with His love.

We invite you to explore the journey of stained-glass artists Clinton Conley and Monte Church and reflect on how you, too, can make your own unique difference in your community.

Angels, stars, ʻiʻiwi birds and nail-scarred hands crafted in light-shattering, inch-thick glass have textures and colors so brilliant your eyes forget to blink.

Place the masterpiece in the wall behind a pulpit or at the top of a long staircase. Illuminate it during the day with full-on sunlight, and light it at night from inside the building with the brightest LED lights you can afford.

Now, stand nearby and watch as worshipers of all ages bow in awe or stare in wonder.

Many churches across North America have stained-glass windows conceived and created by Oregon artists Clinton Conley of Cottage Grove and Monte Church of Boring.

They are the artists associated with Church Glassworks. Conley does most of the original artwork. Church turns the design into glass. Not only are these windows a thrill to view, but they are also a satisfying legacy for the artists.

“It’s not about the glass or even the design,” Conley smiled from above his crystal-white worktable, “it’s all about giving light a chance to sing.”

Conley has spent his life making windows for God and placing them where people will see God’s stories etched in light for years to come. It’s a many-step process that often starts with a call from the chairperson of a building committee.

People ask:

  • “We’d like to tell the story of creation on the wall of our new summer camp nature center. Could you help us with that?”
  • “When we built our new church 13 years ago, we put a clear glass window behind the pulpit. But we always wanted a huge stained-glass window that tells the story of God’s grace. We finally have the funds and would like you to give us some design options. How soon could you work on this with us?”
  • “We need your help with a very special project. We're building a new union office and would like a giant stained-glass window at the top of the stairs — a window that shows how God is working in each of our conferences.”
  • “This church needs a window that speaks clearly of how God loves America’s Native people. Monte, you have Native blood. What would you include in the design?”

Conley loves to draw the “possible,” and often starts work before the phone call ends. Once he has the basic details — horizontal and vertical dimensions and theme colors — he begins to dream and draw.

Then he calls Church and the men begin putting the details together. Conley draws and gives Church full-sized plan sheets. Church orders the glass dowels, cuts the colors to match the design and sets them in place. Then Conley and a handful of helpers come to Church’s workshop for days of mixing, pouring and sanding the cement that will hold the design in the window.

There’s much more, including multiple conversations with the building committee to make sure everyone is in love with the design, colors and message. Don’t forget the wonderfully long hours of chipping facets out of the glass so light will fracture into mini rainbows.

“My favorite part of this work is watching as people walk into the room and see their dreams come to life in living color for the first time,” said Church.

Their most recent Oregon masterpiece is the story of Christ’s Second Coming, which shines behind the pulpit in the Seventh-day Adventist church in Brookings, Oregon. The lower frames of the window show the ocean rocks at nearby Natural Bridges and the colors draw you to the face of Christ who is coming to bring His children home.

“We waited 13 years for this window,” said the chair of the building committee, “and now it’s here, promising the return of Jesus, brilliantly! We are so pleased!”

The light story currently on Church’s workshop table uses green leaves, a waterfall, bright flowers and joyful angels to tell the story of God’s creation and love. This window is being crafted for a church on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

“I love each of the windows we’ve created,” said Conley. “When I see them, my eyes fill with tears. It’s just God’s light shining through colored glass, but I love the stories they tell.”

God’s presence often shows up in unexpected ways — beyond Sabbath sermons, food banks, special music, Pathfinders and special church events. His voice also speaks through your church building’s architecture, the quality of your church’s landscaping and the cleanliness of your parking lot.

Just as light refracts through the intricate beauty of stained glass, God's love is clearest when we come together to create a tapestry of light, guiding us toward a shared future filled with His grace and truth.

Reflection Questions

  1. How can each generation in your church community find ways to let their light shine for Jesus?
  2. What are the unique gifts and talents that each generation brings to the table?
  3. How can the different generations in your church community collaborate to ensure that the timeless message of Christ is communicated effectively and creatively to a rapidly changing world?
  4. What innovative approaches can your church use to bridge generational gaps as you seek to share God's light?
  5. How can your church encourage each generation to find their unique voice and role in advancing the Kingdom of God? With your family, small group or Sabbath School class, share practical ideas for fostering a sense of purpose and belonging among all age groups.
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Dick Duerksen Lighting Our World: Inspiring Each Generation to Reach One More Each person, like each pane in the stained-glass window, has a unique role in illuminating the world with the love of Jesus. Together, we create an enduring narrative of faith and grace in our shared mission to brighten our world for Jesus.
Understanding Generational Differences https://nwadventists.com/feature/understanding-generational-differences Within North Pacific Union’s theme to “Reach One More,” it’s important to understand the audience we are seeking to reach — and this includes understanding generational differences. Heidi Baumgartner Church Youth Mission & Outreach 34564 Wed, 13 Dec 2023 12:33:00 -0800 Features

When thinking about North Pacific Union’s current theme, “Reach One More,” it’s important to understand the audience we are seeking to reach — and this includes understanding generational differences.

Right here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a local expert in intergenerational ministry. Jason Canfield, from Puyallup, Washington, is the first Adventist pastor to complete his intergenerational doctoral studies through Andrews University. He shares here the vital concept of intergenerational ministry.

Why is it important for church leaders and members to understand generations in our mission to reach one more?

Canfield: In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about the body of Christ. If you look at the body parts in light of generations, what happens to the body when you only have one arm and try to make everybody an arm? We are decapitating and mutilating the body of Christ when we kick out the generations. So, we have to figure out how to bring generations together.

Each generation responds to things within their context. In his book, Generational IQ, Haydn Shaw writes, “To fulfill God’s purposes in our congregations, we will need to figure out how to speak the languages of different generations. The real God is amazing, so we need to be able to explain Him to the next generation.”

What are some examples of generational differences within the church?

Canfield: Consider John 3:16, one of the most well-known Bible verses. The Silent Generation reads this as “Jesus is the only Son of God.” Baby Boomers view this as, “Was Jesus a liar, lunatic or Lord? I need to know the options and analyze them myself.”

Generation X says, “I need more proof that the historical Jesus is the biblical Jesus.” Millennials say, “Would you consider that Jesus might be God’s only son?” Generation Z then says, “Jesus is the friend you’ve never had and will never lose.”

Here’s another application: offering appeals. Someone from the Silent Generation is likely to say, “It’s time to give God what He is due.” Baby Boomers will say, “Giving is a part of worship, isn’t it?” Gen Xers will share statistics and testimonies on the benefits of giving.

Millennials will focus on generosity as a value of Jesus that impacted everything He did and said. Gen Zers will share a message about how “Jesus values you and me more than anything we could give to Him.”

One of the reasons we have conflict between generations in the church is that we don’t understand why other members want what they want and do what they do. There is no clear understanding and no black-and-white answers. It’s about preferences. This is one reason why we can’t agree upon music, for example.

What is the core idea behind intergenerational ministry and its approach to fostering connections between different age groups in the church community?

Canfield: Intergenerational ministry addresses the interplay and intercommunication between generations, versus just having multiple generations present.

Here's the thing about intergenerational ministry: It’s not just about the older generations expressing interest in the younger generations. It’s the younger generations also expressing interest in older generations, too. It goes in all directions.

Most people are scared that you are going to prioritize one generation over the other. Many people, when they hear “intergenerational,” perceive that there is a high prioritization on young people and that it means old people should be quiet and go away. It was never supposed to be about prioritizing one over another. It’s supposed to be about the benefits of being interconnected.

What is the scriptural significance of intergenerational ministry?

Canfield: One of our big challenges is how to transmit faith without requiring it to look identical and how to allow each generation to contextualize the message.

In the Old Testament, you will find the first Elijah with a message for his generation. John the Baptist is referred to in the New Testament as the second Elijah who prepared the way for Jesus.

The Old Testament ends with a message about turning the hearts of fathers and children. This is generational reconciliation that Ellen White and others wrote about as preparing the way for the Second Coming of Jesus.

The generational reconciliation didn’t happen in the times of Jesus. Consider how the disciples shooed away the children.

The Elijah message comes together at the end of time and fits into something specific the remnant is supposed to do. If we don’t take action, conflicts and divisions are going to further disease the body of Christ.

What are some best practices for churches that want to be more intentional about engaging generations?

Canfield: It’s important to have fun together. Church socials are a good place to start because it’s not confrontational or intimidating. Intergenerational worship committees help evaluate how to present worship services that speak to all generations. Small groups are helpful.

Some churches will host progressive dinners, guess-who-is-coming-to-dinner or opportunities to “share the table.” This all helps people get to know those they normally wouldn’t and starts spiritual conversations.

Speed conversations are one of my favorite generational activities. With this activity, you give everyone a generational name tag and a clipboard with one question (at a time). You place people within two circles that rotate every minute. The participants ask each other a question like, “What do you think is more important in church: reverence or engagement?”

As the answers come in, the participants will quickly realize how we all think differently and notice trends within the local context.

What is your prayer for the church?

Canfield: My prayer is that we can truly be a united church that creates an intergenerational culture attractive to all generations outside the church.

I spent six years as a missionary in Asia. If you didn’t study the people, you didn’t know their customs, culture and language. The same applies to the church. As practitioners of faith, we have to get to know the languages, cultures and customs of the generations in our church.

In the last year in my church here in Puyallup, Washington, we’ve had 30 baptisms of multiple ages and another 15 people preparing for baptism. When you address the needs of all generations in the church, people will keep coming back, asking more questions and growing in faith.

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Heidi Baumgartner Understanding Generational Differences Within North Pacific Union’s theme to “Reach One More,” it’s important to understand the audience we are seeking to reach — and this includes understanding generational differences.
Stepping Forward in Faith https://nwadventists.com/feature/stepping-forward-faith In countless meetings, I've encountered the recurring phrases: "We don't do it like that," "We've never done it this way before" and "We prefer the old approach." These sentiments are all too familiar within the realm of leadership. Doug Bing Mission and Outreach 34595 Wed, 13 Dec 2023 12:32:00 -0800 Features

In countless meetings, I've encountered the recurring phrases: "We don't do it like that," "We've never done it this way before" and "We prefer the old approach." These sentiments are all too familiar within the realm of leadership.

This resistance to change isn’t a new phenomenon. Even Joshua grappled with such attitudes among the Israelites as they stood on the edge of entering the Promised Land.

Israel was preparing to cross the Jordan River. Spies had already scoped out Jericho. The people were in great anticipation of exiting the desert and finding their new home in the Promised Land. They had been holding out hope for an entire generation as they dreamed of greater things.

Joshua rose early to commune with God and then led the Israelites to the banks of the Jordan where they camped for three days.

Officers wandered through camp with specific instructions to the people. The Israelites were supposed to keep a defined amount of space between them and the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant. The specific instruction was not to come near the ark, but to follow it, as “you have not passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4).

The river, however, was at flood stage and the obstacle of getting to greater things was huge. The Lord gave the Israelites a specific instruction through Joshua to sanctify themselves so they could see the Lord’s wonders.

As we are on the edge of eternity, we, too, have similar obstacles and challenges in our world through generational divides, family challenges, political tensions, wars and rumors of wars, pandemics, endemics and so much more.

God had a lesson for the Israelites that applies to us too. God wants us to be right with Him, to have a devoted state of mind and to follow where He is about to take us.

As Moses started closing his chapter of leadership, he reminded the Israelites, on this side of the Jordan, that God had said they'd dwelled long enough at Mount Horeb. It was time to turn and take the journey to greater things for them and for their descendants (Deut. 1:1–8).

Frankly, it’s time for God’s last-day church to quit wandering in the wilderness as well. It’s time for us to seek those greater things and to see where God is leading us.

For many years, we’ve talked about the changing demographics of our church. Since the pandemic, this conversation intensified with topics of churches that are multiplying, growing, plateauing or declining.

Churches need to be gospel-oriented and gospel-sharing. They need to be Spirit-filled places that are seeking out and doing God’s will to nurture the faith of each generation in relevant ways.

As the Israelites passed through a new pathway, Joshua encouraged his people to embrace the new thing that was about to come. New isn’t bad. Even in heaven, we are going to sing a new song and we will be learning it from the angels.

Even Jesus used new or different methods to heal people while communicating the same message of His love and saving grace. In His healing miracles, for some He spoke, for others He mixed up clay and still others He touched or was touched.

Jesus is the personification of doing things in a new way. He waltzed into the temple and kicked out people who didn’t belong there and invited people to sit down in His Father’s house to learn about the Father.

He invited children to come and be blessed. He lifted up the role of women in a depressed time. He was always doing things that set the establishment on edge because it was new and out of the ordinary.

Joshua is telling the people that they are headed into new territory. New paths are going to be followed. New paths are going to be made. The Israelites needed to sanctify themselves so they would be ready and willing to discern God’s leading.

As God’s last-day people, we will move forward expecting greater things. We need to move forward with God as our leader. We need effective biblical change to help all churches revitalize and grow.

There should be some lead time of prayer between us starting on the path so we can allow God to go ahead of us. If you see change ahead and don’t see God, slow down. Let God show up first and take the lead.

The Israelites, like us, wanted to see their new homeland. On the banks of the Jordan, an entire nation was watching to see what God would do. They committed themselves to prayer and a covenant relationship with God.

As they stepped into the water, the miracle took some time to get there. They had to wait a bit for the miracle of the water to stand still 15 miles upstream. The Israelites had to let go of the past with a step of faith so they could accept the future.

God made their pathway forward clear so they could move forward toward the greater promised gifts of their homeland.

Let us not be bound by the traditions of yesterday, clinging to the old ways. The message is eternal, but the methods may change. Our faith, like a radiant array of colors, should adapt and shine through different lenses and generations. The diversity within the family of God is our strength, not our division.

As we look to the future, let us stand united in the knowledge that God will continue to work in His time and His way through every generation of the church. Our mission remains constant, but our strategies may differ. Let us step boldly into the future, ready to share His light and inspire each generation to reach one more soul for Christ.

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Doug Bing Stepping Forward in Faith In countless meetings, I've encountered the recurring phrases: "We don't do it like that," "We've never done it this way before" and "We prefer the old approach." These sentiments are all too familiar within the realm of leadership.
Your Words https://nwadventists.com/content/your-words What life lesson have you learned from the oldest person at your church? 34645 Wed, 13 Dec 2023 12:21:00 -0800 Features

What life lesson have you learned from the oldest person at your church?

Trust God, and LIVE! — David Candler

I am the oldest. I’ve learned to love and respect all people and keep a positive attitude! — Ramona Seath-Lubke

Faith, regardless of the difficulties life throws your way. — Ryan Ryan

The power of prayer and wisdom. — Erik Sweitzer

No matter your age or ability, God still adds purpose to your life. — Carrie Ferguson

God our Father will leave you in “total awe” — Sabreehna S. Essien

Next question: What inspires you the most when seeing the world through a child's eyes?

Respond on Facebook or email talk@nwadventists.com.

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Your Words What life lesson have you learned from the oldest person at your church?
Intergenerational Reading List https://nwadventists.com/content/intergenerational-reading-list From fostering connections to nurturing a sense of unity within the family of God, these books offer insights, strategies and inspiration from a variety of Christian and/or Adventist authors. 34644 Wed, 13 Dec 2023 12:21:00 -0800 Features
Further Reading on Intergenerational Ministry

It's no longer sufficient to merely coexist within separate age groups, but to thrive by engaging in meaningful relationships across generations. From fostering connections to nurturing a sense of unity within the family of God, these books — as recommended by Jason Canfield — offer insights, strategies and inspiration from a variety of Christian and/or Adventist authors for embracing the full potential of intergenerational ministry within the church.

  1. Generational IQ by Haydn Shaw — Offers an overview of generational differences
  2. Growing Young and Growing With by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin — Pivotal intergenerational books from Barna researchers
  3. One Church, Four Generations by Gary L. McIntosh — Helpful summaries of generational characteristics
  4. All Ages Becoming by Valerie M. Grissom — Provides "Theology in Practice" questions and ideas
  5. Intergenerational Christian Formation by Holly Catterton Allen and Christine Lawton Ross — an approachable and theoretical look at generations
  6. From Holy Hell to Hallelujah Again! by Everton A. Ennis — A story about how a Black Adventist church found new growth
  7. Speaking Across Generations by Darrell E Hall — Gives insights for preaching and teaching
  8. Sticking Points by Haydn Shaw — Insights for the church and workplace
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Intergenerational Reading List From fostering connections to nurturing a sense of unity within the family of God, these books offer insights, strategies and inspiration from a variety of Christian and/or Adventist authors.
Getting to Know Generations https://nwadventists.com/content/getting-know-generations Adventists have great interest in seeing the passage of faith from one generation. 34643 Wed, 13 Dec 2023 12:21:00 -0800 Features

Adventists have great interest in seeing the passage of faith from one generation to the next so "future generations will be told about the Lord" (Psalm 22:30–31). We are on the cusp of adding a new generation to our mix.

Overview of Generations (with age range in 2024)
  • Greatest Generation: 1901–1924, ages 100–123
  • Silent Generation: 1925–1945, ages 79–99
  • Baby Boomers: 1946–1964, ages 60–79
  • Generation X: 1965–1980, ages 44–59
  • Generation Y (Millennials): 1981–1996, ages 28–43
  • Generation Z: 1997–2012, ages 12–27
  • Generation Alpha: 2013–2025, ages 0–11
  • Generation Beta: 2025–2039, not yet born
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Getting to Know Generations Adventists have great interest in seeing the passage of faith from one generation.
Made for More: Love Without Limits https://nwadventists.com/feature/made-more-love-without-limits In the midst of economic insecurity, political division and societal problems, Adventist Health employees and healthcare providers are living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope. Kim Strobel Adventist Health 34425 Tue, 24 Oct 2023 12:00:00 -0700 Features

Many Americans believe the next decade will be marked by significant societal problems.

A majority say they are worried about economic insecurity, political division, environmental imbalance, a sense of a lack of personal safety, the limits of healthcare systems and other serious challenges (Pew Research Center, 2019). We need more hope, more nurturing of our deep human identity as God’s children and more love in action.

In the midst of these challenges, Adventist Health employees and healthcare providers are living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.

The work of healthcare is deeply ingrained in Adventism. Our church founders — Ellen White, Joseph Bates, James White, William Miller and others — spoke widely and often in public spheres about the need for health reform at a time when the state of public health in the U.S. was grim. Their work — our work today — is deeply embedded in the transformational humanitarian movement of Jesus who “healed every disease" and "had compassion” (Matt. 9:35–36).

Adventist Health provides healthcare for human beings within the context of their ultimate identity as creatures made in the image of God. Each executive, physician and hospital employee is mobilized to carry out this mission, but hospital chaplains carry heavy responsibilities to support the emotional and spiritual needs of patients, their family members, caregivers and healthcare employees.

As spiritual care providers, chaplains play an important role in the story of Adventist healthcare and loving in the way of Jesus. We invite you into a glimpse of their work to carry forward our healing ministry.

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Kim Strobel Made for More: Love Without Limits In the midst of economic insecurity, political division and societal problems, Adventist Health employees and healthcare providers are living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.
CPE Training Prepares Chaplains to Provide Specialized Care https://nwadventists.com/feature/cpe-training-prepares-chaplains-provide-specialized-care Hospital chaplains provide care for patients and their loved ones during seasons of life that can be scary and full of unknowns. Clinical Pastoral Education helps equip hospital chaplains for their important job. Kim Strobel Adventist Health 34430 Tue, 24 Oct 2023 10:00:00 -0700 Features

Hospital chaplains provide care for patients and their loved ones during seasons of life that can be scary and full of unknowns. Chaplains pray with patients and perform meaningful religious services, but they also receive specialized clinical pastoral education training to bring together health considerations and pastoral conversations as part of the larger healthcare team.

CPE is an important part of preparing chaplains for their work. This rigorous training program for spiritual care providers from all faith traditions is offered across the country by a variety of educational entities.

Adventist Health operates four nationally accredited CPE training centers on the West Coast — in Portland, Oregon, and in Bakersfield, Mendocino and Los Angeles, California. CPE training includes study of ethics, psychology and sociology; understanding and articulating research; facilitating trauma response; managing crises and more. All Adventist Health chaplains are required to complete CPE training.

“The mindset behind CPE is to develop a clinical identity alongside a pastoral identity,” said Leo Zakhariya, Adventist Health Portland CPE clinical supervisor. “As a clinical chaplain, you analyze each interaction with patients until you develop a clinical mindset focused on best outcomes. This is the difference between traditional chaplaincy and clinically informed chaplaincy.”

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Kim Strobel CPE Training Prepares Chaplains to Provide Specialized Care Hospital chaplains provide care for patients and their loved ones during seasons of life that can be scary and full of unknowns. Clinical Pastoral Education helps equip hospital chaplains for their important job.
Adventist Health Chaplains Practice Whole-Person Care https://nwadventists.com/feature/adventist-health-chaplains-practice-whole-person-care A trip to the ER or admission to the hospital can bring anxiety. Adventist Health provides spiritual care alongside their physical care to ease those fears. Kim Strobel Adventist Health 34426 Mon, 23 Oct 2023 16:00:00 -0700 Features

A trip to the ER or admission to the hospital can bring anxiety and fear — even when you’re confident you’re receiving the best possible care. Patients may face unfamiliar procedures, surgery, bad news, difficult decisions and worries about family members. Many begin thinking about their beliefs and values in ways they haven’t considered for a long time, or possibly ever.

It's reassuring for patients to know they’re being cared for by knowledgeable, skillful, careful physicians and nurses. It can be equally reassuring — and clinically beneficial — for patients to talk through their worries and fears with a skilled spiritual care provider and to feel supported emotionally. Hope is healing.

Adventist Health provides spiritual care in clinical settings with the highest standards of training and practice. Here are a few stats from 2022 about spiritual care at Adventist Health:

  • 48 full-time spiritual care providers
  • 57 associate chaplains
  • Annual week-long Mission Week events at each hospital
  • 2 new mission leadership residents (started in 2023)
  • 2 mission leadership residents in six-year clinical chaplain residency
  • 22 students enrolled in clinical pastoral education training
  • Top decile Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores for spiritual care
  • 6 visits to Adventist colleges and universities to build a pipeline of new mission leaders
  • 2 undergraduate students starting in the mission leadership internship program
  • 80% of full-time chaplains have CPE board certification (on track for 100% by 2025)
  • 4 accredited CPE centers: Kern County, Mendocino County, Portland and Los Angeles
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Kim Strobel Adventist Health Chaplains Practice Whole-Person Care A trip to the ER or admission to the hospital can bring anxiety. Adventist Health provides spiritual care alongside their physical care to ease those fears.
Hospital Chaplains Help Take Patients From Distress to Rest https://nwadventists.com/feature/hospital-chaplains-help-take-patients-distress-rest Tony Andrews, Adventist Health Mission and Spiritual Care director, shared insight into the ministry of hospital chaplaincy. Kim Strobel Adventist Health 34427 Mon, 23 Oct 2023 10:00:00 -0700 Features

Tony Andrews, Adventist Health mission and spiritual care director, has more than 16 years of experience as a hospital chaplain. He, like all full-time spiritual care providers at Adventist Health, is an ordained minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In addition to his work as a chaplain, Andrews is the director of one of Adventist Health’s four clinical pastoral education programs where he provides training for new chaplains.

In a recent interview, Andrews shared insight into the ministry of hospital chaplaincy, including the question he asks all patients, things that still surprise him about caring for patients and the most beautiful thing about his work.

Adventist Health: What is a typical day like for a hospital chaplain?

Andrews: It depends on the needs of the patients and the nursing staff. We may see patients who are experiencing anxiety about their hospitalization or treatment plan or uncertainty about their diagnosis. Those patients take priority. We have to prioritize who needs us and who needs us more.

A nontypical day may include all critical incidents or all referrals from the nursing staff. When that happens, we may never get to rounding, which is a traditional approach to chaplaincy where we go to see all patients.

AH: How do you provide spiritual care for non-religious people?

Andrews: Each hospital chaplain has a slightly different approach, but typically we don’t ask patients if they would like prayer. Instead, we ask, “How are you? What is bothering you?” As clinical chaplains, we want to assess how patients are coping during their hospitalization so we can provide the most appropriate interventions that meet the immediate needs of patients and their family members.

Most of our visits are not religious based. There might be some religious subtext to a patient’s story, but generally we’re caring for any anxiety related to a patient’s hospitalization. Does God come up in conversations? Yes, and that is generally during end-of-life conversations or when there is a new diagnosis with something very serious like cancer.

At times like that, people start thinking about how they could be closer to God or get their life right. But in general, most of our visits are about addressing their fears, stresses and anxieties about their hospitalization or while they wait for test results or a diagnosis. Anxiety often comes from not being in control or from feeling uncertain about the future.

Sometimes patients decline medical care because of fear about treatment or surgery. A clinical chaplain tries to understand what those fears are about, then we work with that fear to help them come to a manageable resolution so they can relax. At times, when people have faith, we help them remember that God is in control and to hand things over to him. For those who have faith, it’s a reminder that God promised he’s here taking care of us.

AH: Hospital chaplains today are often called “clinical chaplains.” What does the term “clinical chaplain” mean?

Andrews: The term “clinical chaplain” has roots in the Latin word clinicus, meaning in a sick-bed, alongside a sick-bed or at the bedside. So, we come alongside the patient as they go through their experience in the hospital. In that role, we’ll ask the patient, “How are you coping today?”

There is more of a psychodynamic assessment of the patient’s condition, and we provide the care and interventions that are most needed. That’s where you may think a pastor would have prayer or read scripture to relieve the patient or provide comfort. I'm not saying clinical chaplains don’t do this, but we try to understand the cause of the problem.

For instance, people may ask for prayer, and we will say, “Certainly! Let’s talk about the need for prayer first. What is bothering you? What is causing you distress?” A lot can be discovered in that need for prayer.

Once we know more, we can provide more customized care to address specific anxiety rather than praying for the patient but having no idea what specifically to pray for. The prayers and rituals become more meaningful and richer when we have done that prework.

AH: What has surprised you about being a hospital chaplain?

Andrews: One thing that has surprised me is the amount of emotional, sexual and physical abuse within families. I hear it too often. There is so much hurt and pain out there in private homes that you think are happy and good.

Most of the worries or issues we face are nonreligious. That’s where the tension is. We hear the term “spiritual needs” all the time, but what is the need? It is human relationships.

Human relationships are the foundation of spirituality. If you take a 30,000-foot view of the Bible, it’s all about restoring relationships — restoring our relationship with God, each other, our communities, and with ourselves. So spiritual care is the restoration of the soul, connecting relationships and building and keeping those relationships. Whenever our spirit is broken, it’s due to broken relationships.

When we talk about religion, we often talk about religious acts or rituals, praying this or doing that. There is a place for rituals — they are symbols full of meaning. God gives us symbols to practice and remind us of something.

Of course, prayer is important as we build, mend, restore and keep relationships, but when patients want to talk at length it really isn’t religiously based. The hospital is not a church. People come to the hospital because of a physical problem. What is most on their mind is getting better.

AH: How religiously diverse are the people you care for? Why is it important to honor those religious beliefs within an Adventist healthcare system?

Andrews: We care for people from all religions and walks of life — Muslim, Hindu, atheist. It doesn’t matter who you are. We care for the human condition.

Some patients think we’re coming in to talk religion to them, but converting people is not the role of clinical chaplaincy. Within the ethics of chaplaincy, it is not our role to proselytize or convert, but rather for patients to feel cared for and comforted.

When possible and appropriate, when patients from other religions have special needs, we ensure their religious needs are met whether or not we can perform them as Adventist chaplains. We will call in a religious leader from another faith tradition.

I’ve cared for and trained people from all religious backgrounds, and one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that we have this in common: We all need to be heard, loved and understood. Period. That’s universal no matter where you go.

AH: What is the most joyful part of your work?

Andrews: The most joyful part is seeing a patient light up in discovery. It is a transformation and healing. In that moment, it is the most wonderful, satisfying thing. It’s seeing someone go from distress to rest. The rest comes from the patient understanding why they are feeling a certain way or why they are scared about something. It’s beautiful.

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Tony Andrews, Adventist Health chaplain

Tony Andrews, Adventist Health mission and spiritual care director

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Kim Strobel Hospital Chaplains Help Take Patients From Distress to Rest Tony Andrews, Adventist Health Mission and Spiritual Care director, shared insight into the ministry of hospital chaplaincy.
Meet Leo Zakhariya, Adventist Health 'Hope Giver' https://nwadventists.com/feature/meet-leo-zakhariya-adventist-health-hope-giver Leo Zakhariya, Adventist Health Portland chaplain, recognized the need for Clinical Pastoral Education in the Portland, Oregon area and brought it to the Adventist Health Portland campus. He now serves as Adventist Health Portland CPE supervisor. Kim Strobel Adventist Health 34429 Sun, 22 Oct 2023 16:00:00 -0700 Features

Leo Zakhariya is a familiar face at Adventist Health Portland, where he is known as a “hope giver.”

Zakhariya was a pastor in Russia before he and his family moved to the U.S. in 2002. It took several years for Leo’s pastoral credentials to arrive, so while he waited, he took a job in environmental services at Adventist Health Portland.

During his five years in environmental services, Zakhariya's contagious smile, prayers with patients and inspiring conversations with hospital staff members attracted the attention of the hospital spiritual care director.

Soon, Zakhariya accepted a position as an on-call chaplain and began work on a Master of Divinity degree with an eye toward becoming a full-time chaplain. After finishing his master’s degree in 2008, Zakhariya completed clinical pastoral education at Oregon State Hospital in Salem. In 2011, he was hired as a full-time chaplain at Adventist Health Portland.

During his work as a chaplain, Zakhariya quickly saw the need for a CPE training program in the Portland area. So, with the support of Adventist Health, he started a CPE program at Adventist Health Portland. Zakhariya is now the CPE clinical supervisor at Adventist Health Portland, and the CPE program he started has graduated more than 60 students.

People who know Zakhariya say he is an out-of-the-box-thinker, selfless listener and a spirit-filled healthcare provider. Most of all, Zakhariya is known as a teacher of hope and a presence of healing. As a result of Zakhariya’s work and vision, Adventist Health Portland now has one of the largest CPE training programs in the Portland metro area.

Sandraneta Hall, one of the chaplains at Adventist Health Portland, said the CPE program transformed how she relates to patients. “I’m here to be with them and walk beside them as they’re going through their challenges and their joys. My job is to love, and CPE has taught me how to love in a way that I understand God loves me and wants me to love other people,” said Hall.

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Leo Zakhariyah, Adventist Health Portland CPE supervisor

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Kim Strobel Meet Leo Zakhariya, Adventist Health 'Hope Giver' Leo Zakhariya, Adventist Health Portland chaplain, recognized the need for Clinical Pastoral Education in the Portland, Oregon area and brought it to the Adventist Health Portland campus. He now serves as Adventist Health Portland CPE supervisor.
A Day in the Life of a Hospital Chaplain https://nwadventists.com/feature/day-life-hospital-chaplain Adventist Health invites you to look inside a day in the life of three Adventist Health chaplains as they provide strength, hope and support to patients, families and hospital staff. Kim Strobel Adventist Health Health 34461 Sun, 22 Oct 2023 10:00:00 -0700 Features

During a stay or short-term visit to the hospital, patients and their family members may need support to maintain their sense of strength and hope. The Adventist Health Spiritual Care team is there to help provide that support.

The team of chaplains tends to the well-being of hospital staff members as well. They sit on committees, lead out in devotional messages throughout the hospital and are involved in a variety of community initiatives.

We invite you to follow along as we take a look inside a day in the life of three Adventist Health chaplains — Kelly Kessinger, Adventist Health Glendale chaplain; John King, Adventist Health Bakersfield chaplain; and Sidany Barclay, Adventist Health Portland chaplain.

8:00 a.m. — Prepping for the Day

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Kelly Kessinger, Adventist Health chaplain (center), arrives at the hospital and begins preparing “the census” for the day.

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Adventist Health

Kelly Kessinger, Adventist Health Glendale chaplain (center), arrives at the hospital and begins preparing the census for the day. This involves identifying newly admitted patients she and the team of chaplains will visit, taking note of patients who have requested a visit from a chaplain and identifying patients the chaplains have seen before who may benefit from a follow-up visit.

8:30 a.m. — Starting With Prayer

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The Spiritual Care team meets to discuss plans for the day and to pray about the work ahead.

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Adventist Health

Kessinger and the rest of the Adventist Health Glendale spiritual care team meet to discuss plans for the day and pray about the work ahead.

9:30 a.m. — Sharing a Good Word

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John King, Adventist Health chaplain, writes a daily devotional thought for the hospital staff. 

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Adventist Health

John King, Adventist Health Bakersfield chaplain, writes a daily devotional thought for the hospital staff. King’s devotions are based on the mission and values of Adventist Health blended with events that happen at the hospital.

9:45 a.m. — Meeting With Colleagues 

Kessinger and the Adventist Health Glendale spiritual care team join the daily safety huddle with the hospital executive team and department directors where they share a devotional thought and prayer and discuss the day ahead, including the number of patients, planned procedures and surgeries, and any patient safety concerns.

10:00 a.m. — Supporting Hospital Staff

Chaplains at Adventist Health Glendale begin meeting with patients. As they make rounds, they also check on hospital staff. Supporting the well-being of nurses and other care providers is an important part of chaplaincy and a key element in helping healthcare providers bring the best possible care to patients.

Through interactions with the spiritual care team, nurses and other staff members also learn about ways chaplains can help patients and family members who are struggling. The majority of a chaplain’s day is focused on providing spiritual care and helping patients work through fears and anxieties so they can receive the medical care they need.

10:00 a.m. — Keeping Morale High

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Sidany Barclay, Adventist Health chaplain, delivers donuts and a card from the family birth center team to the ICU team.

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Adventist Health

Sidany Barclay, Adventist Health Portland chaplain, delivers donuts and a card from the family birth center team to the ICU team, which was having a particularly difficult time. Barclay started this gift-giving initiative and facilitates all the details to help boost staff morale.

It’s a win-win-win: The unit doing the giving feels good about making a difference for another team, the unit receiving the gift feels supported and the spiritual care team knows that hospital staff are being cared for.

Noon — A Little Self-Care

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Chaplains take time midday to unwind, chat with fellow spiritual care providers and rejuvenate.

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Adventist Health

Chaplains at Adventist Health Glendale take time midday to unwind, chat with fellow spiritual care providers and rejuvenate. Conversations range from lighthearted topics to deep theological issues or helping one another process a difficult patient visit.

After a break, chaplains are back on the floors visiting patients and talking with hospital staff. Chaplains chart all patient visits immediately after they take place.

1:00 p.m. — Part of Jesus’ Healing Ministry

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Sidany Barclay, Adventist Health chaplain, leads out in the Blessing of Hands, a ceremony for new graduate residents as they begin their careers in caregiving.

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Adventist Health

Barclay leads out in the Blessing of Hands at Adventist Health Portland, a ceremony for new graduate residents as they begin their careers in caregiving. The service reminds them of their call to be part of the healing ministry of Jesus.

1:45 p.m. — Making Difficult Decisions

A meeting of the healthcare decision-making team is called at Adventist Health Portland. The team includes the physician who is the chair of the hospital ethics committee, the physician who asked for the meeting, representatives from risk management, social work and the spiritual care department, and a community member.

An HDT meeting is called when a patient’s care requires a medical decision, such as a necessary procedure, removal of life support, etc., when the patient is unable to make the decision themselves due to their condition, and when there is no family member or legal power of attorney to make the decision for them.

2:00 p.m. — Cross-Sectional Expertise

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John King, Adventist Health chaplain, participates in an interdisciplinary meeting with the palliative care and social work teams to discuss changes in a patient’s care.

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Adventist Health

King participates in an interdisciplinary meeting with the palliative care and social work teams at Adventist Health Bakersfield to discuss changes in a patient’s care. Interdisciplinary meetings may also address any spiritual or religious needs of a patient that are important to providing the best medical support.

2:00 p.m. — Nurturing the Next Generation

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Sidany Barclay, Adventist Health chaplain, presents a devotional message for a group of students focused on living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope — the mission of Adventist Health.

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Adventist Health

Barclay presents a devotional message for a group of students at Adventist Health Portland focused on living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope — the mission of Adventist Health.

3:30 p.m. — Alleviating Fears

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John King, Adventist Health chaplain, takes part in interdisciplinary ICU rounds along with teams from other hospital disciplines.

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Adventist Health

King takes part in interdisciplinary ICU rounds along with other hospital teams at Adventist Health Bakersfield. His role is to contribute to the whole-person care of patients and family members by providing pastoral support, such as prayer and comfort, but also to help assess and meet spiritual needs that can impact medical care. These include refusal of treatment based on fears and anxieties, which King works to alleviate.

4:00 p.m. — Focusing on the Heart of Mission

Chaplains sit on various hospital committees, and today Kessinger meets with the employee well-being committee at Adventist Health Glendale. At committee meetings, chaplains provide input from a mission and spiritual care perspective and often open meetings with prayer.

4:00 p.m. — Supporting One Another

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Sidnay Barclay, Adventist Health chaplain, prays with a local priest who stopped by the chaplain’s office just to talk about the difficulties and joys of ministry.

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Adventist Health

Back at Adventist Health Portland, Barclay prays with a local priest. “This was the most moving for me,” said Barclay. "The local priest stopped by the chaplain’s office just to talk about the difficulties and joys of ministry. Then he asked us to pray for him."

5:00 p.m. — Finding Meaning and Hope

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The mission story board helps keep the spiritual care team engaged in the practical ways they impact medical outcomes.

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Adventist Health

The mission story board helps keep the spiritual care team at Adventist Health Bakersfield engaged in the practical ways they impact medical outcomes.

While chaplains support, comfort and pray for patients daily, this board records the ways they have helped improve care specifically by improving communication, preventing departures against medical advice and supporting what they call “transformational experiences” — times when they help patients reconnect to their faith and find new meaning and hope.

7:00 p.m. — Meeting for Inspiration

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Sidany Barclay, Adventist Health chaplain, participates in First Friday, an inspirational community event lead by a local church partner on the first Friday of every month.

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Adventist Health

Barclay participates in First Friday, an inspirational community event led by a local church partner of Adventist Health Portland on the first Friday of every month. Barclay said, “It is so good to see people just show up to be inspired with no strings attached.”

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Kim Strobel A Day in the Life of a Hospital Chaplain Adventist Health invites you to look inside a day in the life of three Adventist Health chaplains as they provide strength, hope and support to patients, families and hospital staff.
Stories of Growth https://nwadventists.com/content/stories-growth Evangelism is transforming three church communities in Idaho. 34301 Wed, 30 Aug 2023 12:00:00 -0700 Features

Three churches in Idaho shared how evangelism is transforming their church communities.

Idaho Falls

Idaho Conference had already made a collaborative decision to invest in public evangelism across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon before the arrival of Peter Simpson, Idaho Falls district pastor.

Idaho Falls Church hadn’t signed up to be part of The Great ReSet meetings planned across the conference because they didn’t know what was possible or even available.

Simpson brought his head elder to a pastors’ retreat where they heard an announcement that there might be one last opportunity to participate.

“When those words were uttered, we looked at one another, nodded in consent and signed up,” Simpson said. “We promoted the idea to our board, got together teams, hung banners, picked up materials and anxiously awaited the drop of ads in our area.”

Simpson reported how the first online registration was received with much joy. The church welcomed 60 people on opening night. “This was a great series and a wonderful way for a new district pastor to get an interest list going,” he said.

Cloverdale

Cloverdale Church held a traditional evangelism campaign in 2022 with Tyler Long, an evangelist from Washington Conference. The experience was positive overall, yet the church particularly struggled to find volunteers toward the end of the meetings.

When it came time to consider their next evangelism involvement, Cloverdale Church decided to host an intensive week-long effort and then transition to weekly small groups to finish The Great ReSet topics.

The weekly small groups attract about 40 participants including 10 people who are not members, reported Marlon Seifert, Cloverdale Church pastor.

“The Great ReSet meetings have served as a revival for our members,” Seifert said. “One member organized a visitation team that included members who were baptized during last year’s evangelistic meetings. They were so excited to receive training and go door-to-door inviting others to come to our meetings. This experience caused their faith to grow!”

Meridian

“What do you say when you've seen the Holy Spirit do things in your church that were hopes and dreams only a few months ago? Amen, and amen!” wrote Michael Gee, Meridian Church pastor, in an evangelism report.

Meridian Adventist Church recently concluded meetings with Eric Flickinger, It Is Written associate speaker.

“Leading up to our meetings, we met every Friday evening for a prayer vespers to ask God to bring revival and reformation to our church, as well as to our community. And that's exactly what God did,” Gee said.

“I usually don't like to use the word 'revival' very often because it isn't something I've often seen on a grander scale, but that is what happened in my congregation,” Gee reported. “Prior to these meetings we had a low team morale, a weakened focus on our purpose and a distant memory of what the fruit of evangelism tastes like. That has all changed!”

The final weekend of meetings ended with nine baptisms and nine re-baptisms, with more coming up soon. Gee shared how the church feels like a family, the focus is on Christ and His mission and the people have tasted and seen that the Lord is good!

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Stories of Growth Evangelism is transforming three church communities in Idaho.
Reenergizing Evangelism Growth: Finding a Roadmap for Growing Small Conferences https://nwadventists.com/feature/reenergizing-evangelism-growth-finding-roadmap-growing-small-conferences The Pacific Northwest has a unique ministry partnership between large and small conferences. This investment is reenergizing evangelism growth in Idaho, Montana and Alaska ministry territories. Heidi Baumgartner Missions and Outreach Church Evangelism 34300 Wed, 30 Aug 2023 10:00:00 -0700 Features

The Pacific Northwest has a unique ministry partnership between large and small conferences. The large conferences — Oregon, Upper Columbia and Washington — each give a half percent of their annual tithe to help Idaho, Montana and Alaska Conferences.

The concept of “larger helping smaller” is present throughout the entire church organizational structure. For example, the North American Division makes an appropriation — an extra allowance — to financially help small and mid-sized conferences which have a smaller donor tithe base. Mission offerings, investment offerings and 13th Sabbath offerings are additional examples of providing extra funding to smaller church entities (classified as less than 15,000 members).

Each year, North Pacific Union leadership talks with each of the six conferences about their ministry needs and requests for the following year. It’s a quality time to check in and find ways to better serve a conference no matter its size.

Two years ago, the presidents of the large conferences talked about how their ministry support needs were minimal in comparison to the greater needs of small and mid-sized conferences.

“The presidents told us, ‘We want to see small conferences grow,’ and suggested the Union could focus more of our attention and resources on small conference growth,” said Bill McClendon, NPUC vice president for administration. “Through these conversations, we adopted a growth initiative in which we offered an additional $150,000, needed personnel access or training to small conferences for a specific year of evangelism, church growth and revitalization projects.”

Idaho Conference was on the verge of growth to the 7,000 member mark, and the extra funding and emphasis provided additional momentum for this mid-sized conference. Alaska and Montana, as the two conferences with the smallest memberships in the NPUC territory, had new opportunities to dream and implement evangelism plans.

"We like seeing what God is doing already," McClendon said.

As you'll see in the following stories, this investment is reenergizing evangelism growth in Idaho, Montana and Alaska ministry territories through public evangelism, church revitalization and friendship evangelism.

 

Celebrating Growth

When Idaho Conference leaders heard the NPUC’s offer of a 12- to 18-month evangelism partnership along with a $150,000, they prayerfully jumped at the opportunity.

“One evangelist can make a real dent in our evangelism budget for the year,” explained Don Klinger, Idaho Conference assistant to the president who oversees evangelism activities. “I’ve worked in small conferences throughout my 50-year career; this [funding and resource offer] helped us feel like we were part of a bigger conference.”

“In a small conference most of our churches are multi-church districts, we have a smaller pastoral team and we have limited budgets,” said David Prest, Idaho Conference president. “This partnership meant we had an infusion of $150,000 to equip and empower our members, our pastors and our church leaders to be able to better fulfill the mission.”

Idaho Conference embarked on Operation Exponential Growth in 2021, a plan to involve every interested church in evangelism through broadcasted meetings presented by McClendon and Tyler Long, an evangelist from Washington Conference. Then in 2023, Idaho partnered with It Is Written for The Great ReSet.

“We haven’t required our pastors or churches to do soul-winning and evangelism,” said Prest. "We've invited them to do anything that’s ethical and biblical to reach their community for Jesus Christ.”

Idaho Conference’s territory spans southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. The largest concentration of Adventists are in the Treasure Valley, encompassing Boise, Caldwell, Eagle, Emmett, Kuna, Meridian, Middleton and Nampa. South of the 45th parallel in Idaho, the conference is also responsible for six eastern counties of Oregon (Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Union and Wallowa).

“Our geography is one of our greatest challenges,” Klinger said. “We have a widespread territory with rather large districts and very small communities. Outside of the Treasure Valley, there aren’t a lot of large communities to reach, and the smaller communities have their own unique challenges. With the meetings we had with John Bradshaw, Wes Peppers and others, even small churches could participate in the livestream.”

“When you look at all the churches in the Idaho Conference and those involved in The Great ReSet, we had just under 50% of our churches engaged,” Prest added. “This hasn’t ever been done, at least in recent history, in Idaho Conference.”

The eight Hispanic churches in Idaho Conference territory also worked together to be involved in evangelism and found a new sense of unity. Boise Hispanic Church notably had ten professions of faith. Typically, baptisms at the eight Hispanic churches account for 25% of baptisms within the conference.

Through the process of Operation Exponential Growth, Idaho Conference’s membership grew to more than 7,000.

“The growth to 7,000 members wasn’t our focus or our mission,” said Prest. “Our focus and mission is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. Operation Exponential Growth gave us resources to help us [do that].

Prest continued, “While we feel blessed and are thrilled with 7,000 members, by God’s grace we are on our way to 8,000! It’s not that numbers are important, but they do represent people we have reached for God’s Kingdom.”

Idaho Conference has a vision — which comes from the biblical teaching about the priesthood of all believers — for churches to be pastor-coached and lay-led to have members equipped for soul-winning. To encourage this process, Idaho Conference offered SALT — Soul-winning And Leadership Training offered in partnership with the evangelistic ministry of It Is Written — for 17 interested members to receive Bible worker training.

“We have people who are able to do things [as a Bible worker] that they weren’t able to do before,” Klinger said. “It’s a lot more effective [in] evangelism when you have lay people who are on fire and are supportive. They can say things that maybe the pastor can’t say and urge people in a way the pastor can’t urge them.”

So what’s next for Idaho Conference? More evangelism! Operation Exponential Growth and The Great ReSet gave Idaho Conference a foundation for future growth as a now mid-sized conference.

“My prayer is: ‘Lord, show us how to keep moving forward,’” Prest said. “We can’t do one-and-done evangelism; we need a cycle of evangelism. By God’s grace, we’ve demonstrated that public evangelism does work. However, we also recognize that we can’t just do public evangelism because there are segments of our population we aren’t reaching."

Prest continued, "We need to diversify our approach and find some creative methods. We’ve got to pray about this, experiment and learn from others about reaching a variety of generations and cultures.”

Revitalizing Evangelism

When Ken Norton and Jim Jenkins began their leadership roles in Montana Conference just over two years ago, there were seven pastoral districts filled and eight districts without a pastor.

The focus for the last two years has been getting to know the 38 — now 40 — churches in 15 districts across Montana, filling pastoral roles, building trust and casting a vision for renewing faith (revival) and restoring hope (evangelism).

The infusion of evangelism monies from NPUC came at the right time to kickstart a Grow Montana initiative.

“I’d like to say thank you from Montana Conference to the larger conferences,” Norton said. “We know they are the ones who helped fund this evangelism initiative for Alaska, Idaho and Montana. We recognize this is a sacrifice from other people to help grow the work that isn’t even in their territory, and it is much appreciated.”

“We turned [this evangelism funding opportunity] over to our pastors, and told them, ‘Dream big, this is a special year. Dream it, and we’ll fund it,’” Norton added.

“We’ve had fun turning our pastors loose with evangelism and watching churches come up with ideas,” Jenkins said. “For this particular season, this is the first time the whole state — every district — is involved in evangelism in a real way. They’ve talked with their boards and made plans.”

Jenkins continued, “In the past, we could maybe afford two series. This time, every district is planning some form of evangelism. This is a first for Montana.”

“When you can tell pastors money isn’t an object, it’s fun to approve the requests,” Norton said. “We’ve added our stash of evangelism funds to the mix for a total budget of about $350,000. We’re fueling their dreams.”

All across Montana, Adventist churches are making evangelism plans to help revitalize their church and community. These plans include gym nights, county fair outreach, financial literacy training, single parent ministry, elder care, podcast ministries, young adult church plants, Discover Bible Schools, Bible workers, mission trips, Christian concerts and low-powered radio ministry.

One of the biggest needs within Montana was to simply connect the congregations with one another. After listening and brainstorming, the conference put together a media package with a Mac Mini, a television stand and a 75-inch television for each church. NPUC helped with half the expense.

“This allows us to do major trainings and preparations,” Norton shared. “We can now do a Friday night training across the conference, and we’re 80–90% done setting up these systems. We are so spread out that technology is a key piece for connecting us.”

Sometimes, outreach isn’t so much about securing funding, but about being available to God’s leading.

In one unique opportunity, a pastor was invited to preach each Sunday at a local Methodist church after they lost their pastor. After nine months, the church asked him to teach them about Bible prophecy. The pastor held an evangelistic series in their church and the entire church now meets on Sabbath only. Several members have become Seventh-day Adventists with more studying for baptism.

“We’re on the front side of Grow Montana,” said Norton. “We don’t know the exact impact of it all yet.”

The Montana Conference office team, consisting of five full-time staff and one part-time staff, is praying about the future impact.

“We’ve started praying for one new family to join each of our 40 churches,” Jenkins said. “If you have an average attendance of 20-30, and they have just one new family who starts coming to church, it can make a tremendous difference to that church community. It will be a cool thing to see how God answers what we’ve been praying for.”

Montana leaders have an extra prayer: “We’re praying for God to raise up workers for His harvest.”

With 15 pastors to cover 40 churches, Montana Conference is trying test groups where the pastor serves as pastor-evangelist and the elders serve as church managers so ministry can continue to grow and thrive even if the pastor is not present.

One gentleman in eastern Montana began demonstrating the possibilities of this ministry model years ago. He started by popping in a sermon video to stand in for a church service by himself. He did this for years — he would watch and pray. Today, there are 20-plus people in attendance.

“My prayer is that this will be a new start; an encouragement to get back to doing what God’s called us to do,” Jenkins said. “I’m praying that God blesses in a way that encourages districts to keep doing evangelism, that this isn’t a one-time deal, that’s fun and a direction we want to keep going with evangelism and ministry.”

Finding Friendships

Everything in Alaska is an adventure — the geography, the boat-or-plane-only access to some areas, the rhythm of life, the extreme cost of living and the diversity of culture. Even ministry and evangelism are an adventure for the 36 congregations in this territory.

“We have to play a longer game here in Alaska,” said Kevin Miller, Alaska Conference president. “It’s not that we can’t do public evangelism, we just have to approach it differently. We have to look at evangelism in an integrated, long-term kind of way.”

Alaska leaders find the best ministry response when missionary-minded people enter a village of 500-800 people to live, be present, make friends and share their faith.

“Christ’s method alone is our mission in the bush,” said Tandi Perkins, Alaska Conference development director. “We try really hard to have people integrate into the village, who live there and are generally bi-vocational which provides an opportunity for friendships to develop and networks to be made.”

“You’re not going to come in, set up shop, present a Bible prophecy seminar and leave,” Miller said. “They want to know who you are and that you care about the community.”

One of the ways Daniel Jean-Francois, Alaska Conference ministerial director, and his wife, Laura, are investing in their neighborhood is by baking cakes to share with neighbors. Now their neighbors are giving back acts of kindness.

Jean-Francois, who additionally serves as pastor of Community Church and Northside Church in Anchorage, tells his church members to find simple, creative ways to interact with people they see on a regular basis.

“Those who are closest to you are who you are going to connect with ahead of an evangelism series,” he said. “We want to show the love of Christ and let people see who we are as Christians.”

On St. Lawrence Island, a mere 35 miles from Russia, the high levels of war- and family life-related anxieties are providing an opportunity to speak peace into anxious minds worried about alcoholism, harassment, abuse and more.

Ryan Rogers, Palmer Adventist Church pastor, was invited last fall to visit Gambell on the northern tip of St. Lawrence Island. Among other activities, he ended up playing basketball at the public school and hanging out with students.

“They just really wanted to talk with someone about how to have confidence when things are really scary,” Rogers said. “You couldn’t put a soft answer on it. It really challenged me to apply the gospel.”

On the same island, the church presence in the village of Savoonga just celebrated 10 baptisms after 10 years of ministry outreach.

“I don’t sense a big barrier to Adventists in general,” Rogers said. “Even though they may not be asking for it, with their deeply independent culture, we find people are starving for community. In the villages, if the church does something positive, the whole community feels it.”

Yet there is one large drawback in community building: Alaska’s transient nature fuels a lack of trust.

“People don’t expect me to stay,” Rogers said. “Evangelism doesn’t work well without good culture. When you go to villages, they don’t think you’re staying — and you don’t. There’s this mindset that you’re just going to leave them. We’re trying to build a culture where we are here to stay.”

Friendship evangelism is the strategic basis for NPUC-funded evangelism activities. Alaska Conference is providing virtual evangelism training to churches, hosting church revitalization trainings, and preparing for the arrival of the It Is Written ministry team in 2024. Nearly every church is connected for monthly Zoom training sessions.

"Pray, Plan and Prepare is the new Alaska conference evangelism strategy and motto, as we look forward to our 2024 Revelation Today spring evangelism series with John Bradshaw and It is Written," shared Ashwin Somasundram, Alaska Conference vice president for administration. "It will be both a conference-wide and statewide event and our hope is for over 100 new souls to be won for God’s kingdom."

This is an unusual opportunity in more than one way, and one which takes great preparation, Alaska leaders noted.

“Most of Alaska is off the grid,” Perkins said. “Much of our internet stability is questionable in the bush.”

With the introduction of Starlink internet service, this will be the first time every Adventist church in Alaska will be connected online. This growing infrastructure is already allowing nearly every church in the conference to connect for monthly Zoom trainings.

“Our people up here want to do good things for Jesus, so the response to evangelism training has been healthy and robust. They want to be a blessing to Alaska,” Miller said.

“We would be incredibly challenged to be out in the villages doing what we’re doing without the support of the Union, the North American Division and the General Conference,” Perkins said. "There are benefits to being a small conference and there are certainly challenges. One of them is that we cannot do it all ourselves. We need mission-minded people.”

“We still have 200 villages we’ve got to bring the three angels' message to,” Miller continued. “We have to grow in our innovative thinking. We have to be in the moment, in the present, looking to the future and not dragging our feet in the past.”

“My prayer going forward is to remain faithful to God and what He is doing,” Miller concluded. “Our tithe is growing, our ministries are growing, our schools are growing, the Arctic Mission is growing. There are a lot of things happening here and the Lord is telling us we’re moving in the right direction.”

5 Steps to Revitalizing Church Growth

Wherever your church is located and whatever size your congregation, there are opportunities to invest in church growth and revitalization. Here are five steps for getting started:

  1. Start with Prayer. Begin with a dedicated season of prayer, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance and blessing for the church's growth and revitalization. Engage in a prayer session lasting 10, 21, 30, 40 or 100 days, fostering a deep reliance on God's wisdom and power. You and your church could also engage in prayer-walking in specific neighborhoods.
  2. Survey Your Community's Needs. Conduct a community interest survey to better understand the needs and aspirations of the community. Utilize various methods such as door-to-door interviews, public events, online surveys, windshield surveys, driving through the community or arranging conversations with city and community leaders. Pray through the results.
  3. Create a Missional Vision: Formulate a clear vision which incorporates the insights gained from the community survey. Engage the leadership and congregation in prayerful dialogue to develop a compelling vision which aligns with the community's needs and inspires a collective commitment to growth.
  4. Develop an Action Plan: Based on the community survey findings and the church's vision, create a detailed action plan outlining specific steps, initiatives and measurable goals. This plan should encompass strategic outreach, relevant programming, community engagement, discipleship opportunities and empowerment of leaders to carry out the plan effectively.
  5. Invest in Long-Term Discipleship: Empowering leaders, utilizing spiritual gifts, cultivating passionate spirituality, establishing effective structures, inspiring worship, fostering holistic small groups, engaging in need-oriented evangelism and nurturing loving relationships are all components of nurturing a healthy, thriving and impactful church community.
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Heidi Baumgartner Reenergizing Evangelism Growth: Finding a Roadmap for Growing Small Conferences The Pacific Northwest has a unique ministry partnership between large and small conferences. This investment is reenergizing evangelism growth in Idaho, Montana and Alaska ministry territories.
Empowering the Next Generation: Creating Space for Young Adults in Ministry https://nwadventists.com/feature/empowering-next-generation-creating-space-young-adults-ministry While the Seventh-day Adventist Church was once a large group of multi-generational families attending church and doing community outreach, the membership numbers are decreasing, due in part to the lack of engagement with young adults. Makena Horton Church 34006 Wed, 28 Jun 2023 12:00:00 -0700 Features

While the Seventh-day Adventist Church was once a large group of multi-generational families attending church and doing community outreach, the membership numbers are decreasing, due in part to the lack of engagement with young adults.

Between 1965 and 2022, approximately 17.6 million people left the Adventist Church.1 According to data from a 2014 statistics report2 from David Trim, General Conference director of archives, statistics and research, 63.5% of those leaving the church are young adults. Taking that into account, that equates to approximately 11.18 million young adults leaving the church within a 57-year period. 

“While young adults are attracted to Jesus, they are not seeing the church as relevant to the issues in their lives and the world they are living in,” said Rob Lang, North Pacific Union youth and young adult ministries director.

“Young adults in ministry are vitally important for both the young adults and for the church,” continued Lang. “When they use their gifts in the body of Christ, they grow and the church grows. When young adults are involved with ministry, the church thrives and so do they!”

When young people are provided with a supportive church environment and given the chance to lead out in ministry, it creates an opportunity not only for the individual to grow, but for the church to thrive through the continued effort and engagement of those young people.

“The Bible is filled with stories of instrumental, vibrant young adults, and it is no different today,” shared A. Allan Martin, teaching pastor at Younger Generation Church in Arlington, Texas, and Growing Young Adventists point person for the North American Division. “It was the fervor and faithfulness of young adults who sparked the Adventist movement. Without young adults, ministry perishes.”

There are many young people in our conferences who continue to be involved in ministry and advance the mission of the Adventist Church. Read on as six young adult Adventists in the Northwest — Sergio Vasquez, Matthew Kontra, Matthew Leffler, Eliezer Martinez-Palafox, Lauren Larson and Kenneth Martinez — share their stories, approaches to ministry and perspectives on the importance of young adults in the church.

 

1. https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Statistics/Other/ACRep2022-Text.pdf
2. https://www.adventistresearch.info/wp-content/uploads/Revised-Leaving-the-Church-combined.pdf

 

Alaska: Sergio Vasquez

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Sergio Vasquez

Sergio Vasquez, youth pastor at Hillside O’Malley Adventist Church in Anchorage, Alaska, shared that being a young adult in ministry has allowed him to relate to other young adults in a special way.

Vasquez, who originally grew up in Georgia, began attending church regularly at the age of 12, and decided to be rebaptized and grow in his walk with God at the age of 17. While attending Southern Adventist University, Vasquez heard many powerful testimonies, which inspired his continuous prayer for God to make him into someone who inspires others.

“I accepted the call to ministry because the Lord saw that only through serving would I be saved,” shared Vasquez. “When I got the call to Alaska, it was my prayer to learn complete dependence on God. Being far from my family and friends has been challenging, but I’ve had to depend much more on prayer and His word. The result has been a more intimate walk with God.”

In addition to leaning on God for support while away from his loved ones, Vasquez has been able to build relationships with the young adults in his church. “I am able to listen to their stories and share with them biblical counseling, thus creating great friendships,” he said. “The young adults in Alaska are enthusiastic and have a great desire to serve.”

Anchorage hosts an active chapter of Adventist Young Professionals, a Christ-centered community of young adults seeking to engage and form connections. “Adventist Young Professionals is a ministry that is growing here in Alaska. It gives young adults a space where they can make friendships and worship God together,” said Vasquez. “The young adults lead this ministry, and as a pastor I support and motivate my churches to become involved in this ministry.”

The importance of young adults in ministry is something Vasquez works to emphasize. “It is important for young adults to be involved in ministry because they are the present church,” said Vasquez. “They are the ones who will finish the work the Lord bestowed to us so long ago.”

Vasquez went on to say that young adults are leaving the church at large because of the failure to make the church a home for them. “The older generation, many times, fears change within the church,” he said. “They are unwilling to pass down the leadership positions to the ones who should be leading at this point. There is a great need for mentoring and genuine relationships. If every member was intentional about developing a real friendship with a young adult, then we would find consistent attendance from them.”

Idaho: Matthew Kontra

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Matthew Kontra

While Matthew Kontra currently serves as a pastor in Idaho Conference, he didn’t initially see himself in a pastoral role. “I still often wonder why He called me, but I think those who are the least qualified have to take the job most seriously,” said Kontra.

Kontra grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, and spent summers working at Camp Ida-Haven as waterfront director and a counselor. He later went on to study religion at Walla Walla University and minored in global development with the intention of doing charity work overseas. However, God had other plans. “I felt confident that God was calling me here, and instead of fighting it, I allowed my heart to listen,” he said.

In his current position, Kontra serves a district of two churches. He works as associate pastor at Caldwell Adventist Church alongside Lou Fitting, senior pastor. Additionally, as the sole pastor at Gem State Adventist Academy Church, Kontra focuses on mentoring and engaging with high school students.

“Young adults bring life and new ideas to all areas of ministry,” reflected Kontra. “They are the bridge. They’re youthful enough to be connected to today’s world and open to new trends, yet mature and tactful enough to implement them reverently.”

As churches expand and their members grow older, young adults are often pushed to the sidelines and not given opportunities to be involved. Kontra emphasized that having young adults take part in ministry gives the church a future.

“It’s hard to care for something if you haven’t invested anything in it. A young adult is the perfect age to start taking on big responsibilities,” shared Kontra. “If we are willing to invest in our young adults and put them in places of leadership, they will naturally make it a place more inviting for everyone.”

“Many people are worried they will mess things up or make mistakes,” he added, “but it’s for this very reason that we need so desperately to get them involved. Let them make mistakes while wise mentors are still around to help.”

Montana: Matthew Leffler

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Matthew Leffler

While some individuals have been called to serve within their conference borders, God led Montana Conference member Matthew Leffler to serve as a missionary in Thailand.

“Although I was active in my local church and conference, as I learned about the tremendous spiritual needs in Asia, I became convinced that more workers were needed there,” shared Leffler.

In Leffler’s many roles at his local church — Sabbath School teacher and superintendent, deacon and elder — he sought out to provide a young adult’s influence and perspective. This goal carried through during his time served on both the Montana Conference board of directors and the NAD executive committee as well.

“As young adults, we can influence people no one else can, and we have greater agency over the direction of our lives than almost any other time,” said Leffler. “It was young adults who started the Adventist Church, and the work will not be finished without young adults in active service for God.”

The province Leffler and his family are serving in central Thailand has approximately the same population as the state of Montana, yet has no Adventist pastors, churches or schools. In his efforts to establish a church, Leffler is actively learning Thai to communicate with the local people. Additionally, he shares Thai literature whenever possible to touch their hearts and begin growing the Adventist community.

“Faith is caught more than taught. Service for Christ is the spirit of the gospel,” shared Leffler. “I don’t think I would be an active Adventist today if my parents hadn’t left their comfortable life to church plant in a dark county in Illinois when I was a kid.”

“I saw God provide for our needs; I saw people who wanted something better find hope; I saw the beautiful consistency of our Adventist message; I saw the joy of people loving Jesus,” he continued. “There was no question in my mind that this was real and it was valuable.”

Leffler’s call to minister in Thailand makes it evident that young adults are willing to serve and share the gospel if given the opportunity and support. “Put us to work,” Leffler advised. “Give us opportunities to learn faith by practical experience. Show the power of the gospel over addictions, fear and selfishness. Help us find joy in service.”

Oregon: Eliezer Martinez-Palafox

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Eliezer Martinez-Palafox

Eliezer Martinez-Palafox’s involvement in Forest Grove Spanish Church began when his family moved from Arizona in the spring of 2005. As a second-generation Adventist, Martinez-Palafox’s parents instilled a sense of leadership within him.

Martinez-Palafox said his first involvement with ministry was back in Arizona when he participated in a child preaching event in Phoenix. “I suppose I was not unfamiliar with ministry, but it has always been a sort of performance,” he said.

He continued to be drawn to ministry within Oregon Conference, and was eventually called upon by Saul Wade, who was then serving as Forrest Grove Spanish Church media director, to learn and run EasyWorship, a software used to present church media. This sparked his initial interest in media ministry.

During his teenage years, Martinez-Palafox was mentored by Tracy Wood, former Oregon Conference pastor and current NAD youth and young adult ministries director, and Gary McLain, former Oregon Conference communication director. They invited Martinez-Palafox to attend, participate in and assist with events like Pathfinder fairs, education conferences and camp meetings.

Martinez-Palafox shared that Les Zollbrecht, Oregon Conference youth ministries and Big Lake Youth Camp director, and Benjamin Lundquist, Oregon Conference young adult ministries director, both impacted the way he does media ministry today. “During my college years, I spent four wonderful summers teaching children how media can be a storytelling tool that allows us to paint wonderful stories with light,” said Martinez-Palafox. “That was the dream job. Not necessarily because I didn’t have to do the hard labor of the kitchen, but because I saw how media can be used as a tool to communicate the intangible feelings that we hold so dear.”

As media director of Forest Grove Spanish Church for the past four years, Martinez-Palafox has continued to grow in his passion for media ministry by directing the live stream and scripted productions and leading social media outreach. Additionally, he does contract work with Oregon Conference as a video producer for camp meeting and other events.

“My work with ministry is not the primary function of my work, it is simply the result of various communities that embraced me and fostered my skills at every turn,” shared Martinez-Palafox. “In short, I was seen for what was valuable in me and so I felt loved by people who cared to see me. I believe that we are not lacking workers for ministry, but we lack mentors who are willing to see the value in young adults.”

“Young adults don’t stay because of the music, programs, food or even the sermons,” he continued. “Young adults stay because they see Jesus in the people they meet. If a church wants to see more young adults, they need to see more young adults. This is the reason I stayed.”

Upper Columbia: Lauren Larson

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Lauren Larson

While Lauren Larson grew up attending Adventist schools and church, she didn’t recognize God’s impact on lives until she was in junior high.

After seeing God transform the life of a close friend, Larson began a journey that led her to becoming a student missionary, doing community outreach, touching lives at Camp MiVoden and ultimately deciding to pursue a degree in education. “I decided I wanted to teach so I could show daily love for and confidence in my students in hope that they will know they are not alone,” shared Larson.

Larson’s love for Camp MiVoden started when she attended as a camper. She went every summer and shared that the camp staff and their kindness made MiVoden feel like a home away from home, later leading to her wanting to be involved in a new capacity.

“I felt intense spiritual highs there and through every experience I knew I wanted to be part of camp as much as possible,” she said. “As I've grown, I now recognize camp as a deeper ministry and I continue to go back because I want to create a space that embraces all people like camp embraced me, no matter the challenge they're facing, their background or their identity.”

When Larson was in high school, she attended the returning missionary vespers program at Walla Walla University. “I felt the call to go experience more, to stretch my limits and to put myself in a more direct form of service,” said Larson. After three years of twists and turns, she ended up serving as a missionary in Yap, Micronesia, teaching ninth grade.

“I truly think ministry is the act of planting seeds you may never see grow,” she said. “Much of the time I've spent at camp and as a student missionary has felt that way — I've worked with campers and students and I've loved them the best I know, but I don't always see the result.”

Larson noted that churches and young adults can benefit from each other in a symbiotic nature. “There are countless reasons why being a part of a church community is beneficial, especially when you see God through the process and feel fulfilled through service,” she said. “However, it is just as impactful and important for the church to have active young adults and to protect that involvement.”

“It's hard to stay in a place where you constantly feel accused, inadequate or just plain judged and unwanted,” she continued. “When young adults are respected, are actively cherished and are invited to be a part of the church in the ways that they feel called, there is no greater blessing to a community than the fresh wind Jesus blows through them.”

Washington: Kenneth Martinez

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Kenneth Martinez

Kenneth Martinez grew up in a Christian home in Mexico and decided to follow Jesus at the age of 14 — a decision he says changed his life forever.

“I found purpose, hope and friendship in Him,” shared Martinez. “Since that age, I knew I wanted my friends to come to know the Jesus I loved.”

Despite the call he felt toward ministry, Martinez instead pursued a degree in computer science. That said, he still became actively involved as a lay person in young adult ministry.

When he began working for Microsoft as a software engineer in 2011, Martinez also followed his passion for ministry on the side by working with youth and young adults at a local church plant. This passion led Martinez to obtain a master’s degree in theology.

In 2017, Martinez submitted a proposal for a church plant to Washington Conference, outlining a plan to bring his peers in tech to learn more about Christ. The plant was approved, and Martinez came on board as a lay pastor. In May 2023, the plant, now known as Refuge Church, celebrated their five-year anniversary and obtained church status.

Martinez began working toward a doctorate of ministry degree, and was later called by Washington Conference to become a full-time pastor. He felt God was calling him to minister full time to those his age and younger, and he resigned from his position at Microsoft to expand his role at Refuge Church and extend his efforts to Triumph Church.

“Both my churches are big on community, since they are young,” shared Martinez. “Young adults crave Jesus, even if they don’t know it. They crave community, purpose, hope, impacting their community; Jesus is the way to all those.”

“Young adults and youth have been taught to love values such as inclusion, diversity, social justice and authenticity,” he continued. “To the extent our local ministries can inform or leverage such values, young adults will find familiarity in the church.”

“Doing effective ministry for young adults is not so much about being creative and innovative,” said Martinez. “Instead, it's about getting out of the way, and letting them come to Christ unhindered, coming to Christ in their context, cultural milieu and generation-specific form.”

Young adults are not only the future of the Adventist Church, they are also the present. Providing young people with a safe space to grow in ministry and connect with others will help them build a long-lasting relationship with the church and additionally assist in the guarantee of the church’s longevity.

These six Northwest young people are prime examples of what can happen if young Adventists are given the opportunities and guidance to grow in ministry. By providing a young adult with a chance to lead, other young adults will follow, in turn building and enriching the church community.

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Makena Horton Empowering the Next Generation: Creating Space for Young Adults in Ministry While the Seventh-day Adventist Church was once a large group of multi-generational families attending church and doing community outreach, the membership numbers are decreasing, due in part to the lack of engagement with young adults.
2023 Caring Heart Awards https://nwadventists.com/feature/2023-caring-heart-awards Fifteen academy students exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others — received the Caring Heart Award scholarship. Education Caring Heart 34180 Tue, 20 Jun 2023 10:00:00 -0700 Features

Fifteen Northwest academy students received the $500 Caring Heart Award scholarship, made possible through three-way funding from the North Pacific Union, local conferences and academies.

Students were selected by their schools for exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others. Each student is gifted with a plaque and an engraved Bible, courtesy of the North American Division. The scholarship funds may be used toward tuition at an Adventist school or on a short-term mission trip.

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Jared Beaubien

Jared Beaubien

Amazing Grace Academy

Jared Beaubien has been a student at AGA for seven years. In those years, Jared has grown as a leader among his peers and the younger students who look up to him. He has been a student association officer for two years, working with a small team of students to plan activities and events.  

Jared’s thoughtfulness and leadership shine through as he’s working with the younger students in his family group or cleaning the halls of the school building.  

Jared is typically found with a guitar in his hands on Friday mornings as he leads out in music for school-wide worship. This year, he was the captain of the volleyball team and encouraged his teammates to work together and do their best.  

Jared’s leadership is not only seen at school, but also in his church family and community. He went to Ica, Peru, on a mission trip and helped build a church and school. He has helped with Vacation Bible School, is part of the music leadership team at church, is consistently helping with the audiovisual and sound needs at church and school, and is the captain of a local competition rock climbing team. He recently placed third in the intermediate level Alaska Piano Competition.  

We are looking forward to seeing how God continues to work in Jared’s life and how He will continue to lead him to impact others positively.

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Natalia Pons

Natalia Pons

Auburn Adventist Academy

Natalia Pons, AAA junior, is a thoughtful, diligent and responsible spiritual leader on campus. As the Project Unity coordinator, she uses her leadership qualities to promote the amazing cultural diversity found at Auburn.

Kilikina Vega Richards, AAA English teacher, said, "Natalia is always willing to do anything I ask with a cheerful and willing spirit. She finishes everything with her best effort.” Other teachers have noted her strong core values and high ethics. Eddy Darisme, AAA chaplain, said, “She is a leader that I never worry or stress about because she is so dependable.”

Natalia has many other strengths, such as kindness, genuineness and open-mindedness. “Her heart is big and she is kindness personified,” said Nikki Kiger, SEEKToday president. The genuineness and open-mindedness she displays has been deeply felt through her influence and leadership this school year.

Natalia strives for excellence, pushing herself in whatever comes her way, whether it be drama club, Campus Ministries, her class office or her on-campus job. The faculty and staff are honored to be a part of her journey and celebrate Natalia as the recipient of the Caring Heart Award.

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Madeline Jokela

Madeline Jokela

Columbia Adventist Academy

If you come early to CAA or stay late after most students have left, you’ll meet someone with a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes. She will say “hi,” ask you how you’re doing and if there’s anything she can do to help. From sharing dark chocolate to running SA senate, Madi Jokela is looking for ways to make CAA and anyplace she goes a little better.

Madi is a strong voice for those who have lots of friends and those who have few. She has a love for understanding psychology and how the brain works, and this underlies her desire to understand and help others. She is a solution-seeker having care, compassion and integrity. 

Madi’s life reflects Christ’s. Well-balanced socially and emotionally, she has an optimistic attitude, finding the best in every situation and person. Her work ethic is excellent, exhibited in both schoolwork and jobs, including class and SA offices, National Honor Society and volunteer projects.

One project she recently volunteered for was CAA’s fundraising to make the music tour to Washington, D.C., a reality. She helped, outside of school hours, with all phases of planning, which allowed more than 70 students to bless the lives of many.

Madi has a caring heart that blesses others and brings glory to God. We are proud to have her represent CAA for the Caring Heart Award.

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LuzYaneth Silverman

Cascade Christian Academy

God used Google Maps to lead Luz Silverman to CCA. She and her family had recently moved from California to Wenatchee, Washington, and Luz was enrolled at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. A teacher there told Luz’s parents that she would have to find a different school to attend the following year, since St. Joseph’s only went through the fifth grade. She recommended a school in the valley that Luz and her parents had never seen.

One day, Luz and her parents decided to use their phone to try to find the school. Luz put in the name of the school on their cell phone and they started out on their adventure. However, they lost the connection several times and ended up in the middle of nowhere. They kept driving around until finally they got a connection and continued on their way with Google Maps.

When they finally drove up to the school, they realized it was not the school the teacher told them about or that Luz had entered into Google Maps. Instead, it was CCA. Luz’s parents felt impressed that this was the school she should go to. A few days later, with help from Julie Savino, registrar and vice principal, she was enrolled at CCA for the following school year. Luz later said she believes God led her to CCA for a reason.

Now, Luz is a senior preparing to graduate. A dedicated student, she not only excels academically, but also is always willing to help and encourage her classmates. In addition, during a recent health crisis in her family, she served as their interpreter, even moving with them to be closer to the hospital. During that difficult time, she continued her studies online with CCA for almost a full quarter.

Back in person on the CCA campus, she stays busy with her family, classes and church. Each week, she does community service and cares for the children entrusted to her through the church community. She says that in her confirmation classes, she has learned helping others is being a messenger of God. There is no doubt that Luz will continue to live her life as one of God’s messengers.

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Everrett Stone

Everett Stone

Gem State Adventist Academy

Every day, you can hear Everett Stone ask, “Do you need help?” He is a junior at GSAA, possessing a huge heart that he willingly shares with his family, classmates and teachers. He went the extra mile this year, hosting an early morning worship that is open to all students and staff.  

He knows prayer is vital for not only his spiritual life, but for that of the school. Everett works hard academically, on the basketball court and on the baseball field. He has served as historian all three years at GSAA, contributing wholeheartedly as a class officer.  

During spring break 2022, Everett participated in a mission trip to Alaska. While on the trip, he gained a new appreciation for giving to others and growing closer to the other participants. He enjoyed the children who attended VBS and was an appreciated part of the team helping with the puppet shows, music and the program’s overall success. He loves making special meals for his family and also working at Camp Ida-Haven, where he plans to share Jesus for many more summers.

Everett is considering attending Walla Walla University to become a secondary history teacher, so he can witness daily in the classroom and make service a continued extension of his life. 

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Alexander Dryden

Alexander Dryden

Livingstone Adventist Academy

Alexander Dryden, LAA junior, serves as the junior class president and student body athletic director. He is a servant leader and can be found helping students with homework and even carrying bags and backpacks for fellow students.

Whenever there is a big task to be done, Alexander is the first to jump in and help. He notices when someone could use a hand, never complains and always sees a job through to the end.

Athletics are a huge part of Alexander's life, and he can be found participating in any activity on campus, including soccer and basketball. He enjoys planning events for students, including helping with track and field day.

Alexander is a person who perseveres. He can be found working hard no matter the task given to him. He is always willing to help with a smile. His reliability and kindness have been felt by the entire school.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him”  (James 1:12).

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Luke Alder

Luke Alder

Milo Adventist Academy

As the recipient of Milo’s 2023 Caring Heart Award, Luke Alder models a Christ-like character with his quiet and observant ways over situations and people, looking for how he can help and be a team player in getting a job done.

With a heart of service for others, a strong work ethic and a love of the outdoors, he is known for his hard work and dedication to any task at hand. He will often step up and go above and beyond his own responsibilities to help others by volunteering to lighten their load.

One example is that he has been known to fill the sawdust bin at the boiler during home leaves when everyone else is busy or away. He sees it as an opportunity to help out the staff who would usually be responsible for it. When someone in the community needs help with yard work or other outdoor tasks, Luke is eagerly sought after and called.

Even before Luke moved to Milo with his family from Palmer, Alaska, he was active with mission work and helping others at a young age. He participated in mission trips to Bolivia with his grandparents, as well as to Colorado and Arizona with Milo.

Over his four years of high school, Luke has developed his leadership skills by holding a class leadership position each year, including his current role of senior class president. Whether in the classroom, on the basketball court, taking a group for a horse trail ride, working in the auto shop or running machinery for the Academy’s heavy equipment class, Luke’s classmates know they can count on him to always be there for them.

This summer he is looking forward to fishing in Alaska and then spending the end of his summer working at Big Lake Youth Camp for bonus weeks before heading to Walla Walla University in the fall to take aviation classes to get his pilot’s license. He plans to let God lead him in his next steps of life.

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Jim Hanson

Jim Hanson

Mount Ellis Academy

Jim Hanson goes about life with a rare sense of earnesty. It is true that not all dictionaries include the word earnesty, but I think we should use the word more often. Maybe the word is so rare because those who demonstrate the value of earnesty in their lives are similarly rare. Earnesty is a good value, and it is worth recognizing Jim in light of this rare trait.

At first, Jim stressed a lot about how he would do in high school and about his grades. In the intervening years, Jim repeatedly harnesses his sincerity and drive to improve himself and greatly benefit the lives of others.

Whether playing a game of capture the flag or running the sound system, he is all in. The way he learns, interacts with classmates and approaches life in general is all in earnest. It’s a credit to his choices and sense of values that his talents are used effectively for Christ. It’s a fine way to live. 

If you want someone on your team who you can trust to commit at the highest level, Jim is your man. 

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OCS YEARBOOK PHOTOS - SCHOOL ALBUM

Sadie Kongorski

Credit
Katie Harvey Photography

Sadie Kongorski

Orcas Christian School

Sadie Kongorski lives with her family on Lopez Island. She is probably the only student who commutes by ferry to school on Orcas Island and to church on San Juan Island.

Sadie has a big heart for service throughout all the islands, especially at school. She has a heart for God and strives to be an example of Jesus’ grace and compassion. For the last two years, she has taken leadership in the school praise band and has been a genuine friend and mentor to younger students in the band. She is always willing to travel on weekends to other churches with the band.

In addition to her leadership in the praise band, Sadie is an example to the other students by her willingness to wholeheartedly throw herself into any service project that the school puts in front of her. This year our school and church put on a community dinner and fed more than 300 people. Sadie not only invited friends and family, but made arrangements to spend the night so she could work until the last dish was washed and the last table cleaned and put away.

Sadie is looking forward to studying music and business at Walla Walla University next year and she will be a positive addition to campus life there

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Lindsey Monterroso

Lindsey Monterroso

Portland Adventist Academy

From the moment Lindsey Monterroso stepped onto campus as a freshman, she has lived out the Christ-centered and character-driven motto of PAA.

As a freshman, she quickly showed a true desire to know God and connect with her classmates. Not only was she an active participant in discussions about God and Christianity, but was also clearly living out her beliefs. Even during distance learning during the pandemic, Lindsey was actively connected and involved with Campus Ministries, helping with Zoom chapels.  

Lindsey is a spiritual leader on campus, boldly, transparently and vulnerably sharing her testimony. Her comments consistently serve as a warm invitation to lean deeply into the love of Jesus. On occasion, she brings a worship thought to read at the beginning of a class or volunteers to read a prepared one. She loves to make insightful comments about worship. It seems to be her favorite part of class.

Even in a school project, Lindsey's heart of care for others is evident. For her senior project, she created a podcast called Living Abundantly in which she skillfully interviewed professionals with the goal of helping high school students live healthier and happier lives.

Lindsey is a beam of sunshine. Her peers trust her as a leader, as evidenced by her serving as the president of her class for three years. She is a skilled musician who leads worship music at school and church, but she doesn't just lead in the public sphere. Her interactions with individuals are genuine and real. She actively listens, and students and staff alike leave conversations with Lindsey feeling encouraged and valued.

Her caring heart leads her to pursue a dream to become an elementary school teacher.

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Samuel Mesfin

Samuel Mesfin

Puget Sound Adventist Academy

Samuel Mesfin was selected by the staff of PSAA because he has often been proactive to help staff and other students. Sam is known to smile and joke often on our campus. He is a fun person to be around and takes the opportunity to make others feel welcome.

Throughout his four years on campus, he has demonstrated this heart of service countless times. Staff and students have witnessed these acts of service. Many times he has taken the initiative to ask staff and students if help is needed on a current project they are working on.

His desire and dependability to take initiative is a key reason for his nomination. Sam stands out as a student who truly cares about his school and community. He has made a noticeable impact on PSAA, and we know that he will continue to do so wherever he goes. For these reasons, we are pleased to recognize Sam as this year’s Caring Heart Award recipient.

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Hannah Caldwell

Hannah Caldwell

Rogue Valley Adventist Academy

Hannah Caldwell is a senior at RVAA. She joined the RVAA community at the beginning of her junior year and made quite an impact. She gives wholeheartedly in everything she pursues, whether it be in sports, academics, art or student association.

As this year's senior class president, she has worked hard to make sure this class will have a year to remember. Hannah has also taken on the task of being the elementary art teacher for all the students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. With her mother assisting her, she has made art fun for so many of our youngest learners.  

Hannah enjoys rock climbing with her dad and all sorts of outdoor activities. She is quite the gifted artist and took it upon herself to add some beauty to the walls of our art classroom. Hannah currently plans to attend University of Oregon next year. We are confident that whichever road Hannah chooses she will master her goals with confidence and kindness.

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Damion Countryman

Damion Countryman

Skagit Adventist Academy

SAA is pleased to nominate Damion Countryman as the 2023 recipient of the Caring Heart Award. Damion is a junior and serves his fellow students as an ASB and class officer.  

Damion has a heart for the gospel. He shares this love by regularly sharing sermons in his home and surrounding churches. He has a unique story and looks for ways to share his connection with God with others. He has participated as a presenter in our student-led week of worship and will be traveling with SAA to Belize this spring to take part in the school mission trip.

SAA staff and students look forward to one more year with Damion sharing his spiritual gifts before he graduates in June 2024. Thank you, Damion, for your unique leadership and for letting God use your voice.

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Asher Mack

Asher Mack

Upper Columbia Academy

Asher Mack is a real-life definition of caring. He has been at UCA for four years and has been a blessing every step of the way. During his time at UCA, Asher has consistently been a person others seek to relate to. The way he carries himself makes people feel comfortable approaching him whenever they need a listening ear.

One of Asher’s gifts is kindness. Whether hanging out with friends or checking in on someone to encourage them, Asher approaches his interactions sincerely and carefully. He is often found darting at full speed all around campus, dashing to class, work or to check on someone who may need him. He is in constant motion.  

Whatever he finds to do, he puts his all into it. Giving his all during work, planning a Sabbath hike or grabbing his backpack of golf discs and playing the course at UCA, he is interested in making every opportunity count and not wasting a moment.

Students and staff appreciate Asher; his can-do spirit and readiness to help in any situation or task is a jewel of blessing to all. Asher daily lives his faith, and Jesus shines brightly out from him to others. His servant spirit is a treasure that he shares warmly with others.

UCA is proud to share this year's Caring Heart Award with Asher. His walking influence has made our campus a better place.

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Juan-Manuel Lopez

Juan-Manuel Lopez

Walla Walla Valley Academy

Juan-Manuel Lopez is a four-year senior at WWVA. He is a lifelong Pendleton, Oregon, resident who travels to Walla Walla daily to attend school.

Although he describes himself as shy, Juan's remarkable voice is a gift that he loves to raise in song, and he has anchored the bass section of the school choir since his freshman year. He says he may want to pursue a music career.

Juan works at WWVA in the maintenance department. His beautiful voice can be heard practicing a choir song as he works, ensuring he gets it just right. Juan has been a reliable and dedicated asset to the department.

Juan frequently helps out at Pendleton Christian School, where his mother teaches. He helps with cleaning or doing whatever the school or his mother needs help with. He is very family-oriented, and it shows in his relationships with his classmates and teachers. His willingness to help and his kindest makes him endeared to all the faculty and staff at WWVA.

One of Juan's teachers describes him as "among the kindest, sweetest students any of us have ever been around."

Adventist schools across the Northwest create active opportunities for Christian growth. Find a Northwest Adventist school near you at npuc.org/schools.

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2023 Caring Heart Awards Fifteen academy students exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others — received the Caring Heart Award scholarship.
From Decline to Renewal https://nwadventists.com/feature/decline-renewal The Adventist Church has experienced dwindling growth and is making an intentional effort to revitalize struggling churches through church planting and a multifaceted strategy of Reaching One More. Anthony White Mission and Outreach 34086 Wed, 26 Apr 2023 15:10:00 -0700 Features

Here in the Northwest, our conferences have adopted a multifaceted strategy of Reaching One More. The goal over the next few years is an intentional effort to bring about a revival and renewal in missional outreach and engagement. This ambitious strategy will forward North Pacific Union’s mission to reach all people within the territory and world with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Adventist message of hope and wholeness. This effort of Reaching One More for Jesus begins in our churches with revitalization.

Dwindling Growth

The Adventist Church originated as a church planting movement. The church had significant and sustained growth until about 30 years ago. In the past decade, the growth rate of our global church has averaged about 2.3%, with the average since 2019 being 0.77%. This alarming drop in growth has resulted in 75% of our churches having either plateaued or declined in the last few decades, with many church closures.

This means there is a need for the church to develop innovative ways to revive these struggling churches in our communities. It seems like a monumental task, but looking back at our history, we see the potential growth and impact we can have.

Planting Potential

Statistically, church planting has been very effective in reaching people where there is no Adventist presence. This transcends languages, with exceptional growth and church planting in Spanish language churches across North America in recent years. These church plants are growing faster than our existing churches.

While church planting has slowed in recent years, there is a concerted effort in the Northwest — and North America — to stop and turn the tide.

To help combat this decline and grow the future, the North American Division has developed Plant 1,000, a vision to have at least one church for every 25,000 people across North America.

This planting plan seeks to help churches by providing $10,000 — combined from the General Conference, division, union and conference — for three years. In NPUC, appropriations for church planting have more than doubled in the last few years.

Transforming Churches

This revitalization plan will require intentional efforts from both church leaders and members. It will necessitate creating welcoming and inclusive environments; being intentional with outreach programs in our neighborhoods to foster a sense of community; adopting and implementing modern technologies in our rapidly advancing digital world to reach those who are seeking; and reevaluating worship services to make them more engaging and relevant to our local area.

These, and more, will help to revitalize our existing church congregations while also attracting new members.

Revitalizing the Northwest

Our Northwest conferences and churches are already developing and practicing innovative ways to help our local churches grow, thrive and become vibrant in their communities.

In the coming pages of this feature, you will read about these transformations and plans from some of our local conferences. We hope that this will serve as an inspiration and ignite a fire within you to impact your community, and the world, by Reaching One More.

  • Revitalize Churches 
  • Engage Youth and Young Adults 
  • Advance Adventist Education 
  • Cultivate Excellence in Leadership 
  • Herald the Mission 
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Anthony White From Decline to Renewal The Adventist Church has experienced dwindling growth and is making an intentional effort to revitalize struggling churches through church planting and a multifaceted strategy of Reaching One More.
Oregon Fosters Innovative Church Plants to Reach Communities https://nwadventists.com/feature/oregon-fosters-innovative-church-plants-reach-communities Oregon Conference's mission is to plant churches throughout its territory, with a focus on leaders who can create a church experience that caters to the needs and values of their neighbors. Jonathan Russell Mission and Outreach 34089 Wed, 26 Apr 2023 15:09:00 -0700 Features

Innovative church plants have long been a vital part of Oregon Conference's mission. If you've spent any time there, you've likely heard our motto, It's All About Jesus.

For Oregon laypeople and leaders, this mission statement of knowing, loving, serving and sharing Jesus is more than a slogan. It's a way of life. Holistic, discipleship-focused mission is what drives the key strategic focus of planting churches throughout Oregon Conference's territory. Many unique church plants are already up and running, but over the next five years our goal is to plant 20 more. More significantly, this plan calls for leaders who know their communities well and can craft a church experience that specifically grows out of the needs and values of their neighbors. When leaders deeply reflect on the place of a faith community in the lives of people not traditionally attracted by church buildings, groups like Common Ground emerge.

Common Ground is an outdoor-based church plant based in the Bend, Oregon, area. Randy Folkenberg, Common Ground pastor, tells their story this way:

"The journey of this new faith community, now called Common Ground, started a little over a year ago with a series of conversations on what it might look like to form a local body of Christ intentionally structured to engage in the reflecting of Jesus to the post-religious outdoor community of Central Oregon. This demographic consists of people of various ages who center much of their life around one or more outdoor pursuits. For a host of reasons, these individuals, while often interested in intentional spirituality, do not look to traditional systems or structures of 'religion' as spaces conducive to spiritual growth, processing through life's deepest matters, and finding a life-giving community. Common Ground's mission statement is, 'To grow a movement of Jesus followers who reflect His heart in the outdoor community of Central Oregon.' We do this through weekly house-churches and Bible study groups, monthly worship programs, monthly service opportunities in the local outdoor community and several annual retreats focused around specific outdoor pursuits. We continue to celebrate and be awed by how God is using Common Ground to bless and reflect His love to people who have never before encountered the good news of a God that looks like Jesus. Additionally, it has been encouraging and truly miraculous to see people re-engage in the body of Christ through Common Ground after being completely disconnected for many years."

It's important to note that in Central Oregon outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hiking, biking and many others are a major uniting factor in the population at large — and have often served as an unofficial place of worship and finding community. But the circumstances and needs around each church plant vary greatly.

In Oregon City, a very different type of church plant emerged in the midst of the pandemic, and now meets every Sabbath in Oregon City Elks Lodge.

"Unofficially we started in a backyard in mid-2020 after COVID-19 shut down churches," said Jim Reynolds, a lay leader for the group. "Our goal has been to reach people that are not connected to a church. So far we have several members that had either dropped out of a church or had never been a part of one at all. There was a breakfast for the un-housed under the bridge by the church. Multiple times I had talked to the people and invited them to church with no response. One Sabbath I started pouring out my heart to Jesus, I wanted badly for our church to be full. A big homeless man walked into our building and asked, 'Is this a church?' I said 'Yes, welcome friend.' He turned to go and said, 'I will be back with friends.' A few minutes later he came back with six people from the breakfast."

In Fairview, Oregon, Crosswalk PDX has partnered with another local Christian church to share a building, and, after several pop-up services, officially launched their weekly program in October 2021. "We are open to all, but our initial target group includes those that have disconnected or walked away from church, for whatever reason," shared Paddy McCoy, Crosswalk PDX pastor.

Many church plants from the past several years have already begun to blossom, including second-generation English-speaking church plants supported by the Oregon Conference Hispanic ministries department.

Vivid Adventist Church began as a church plant in the Salem/Keizer area led by Sam Moreno, pastor, and is now in its seventh year.

"A lot of young people in the Hispanic and Latino communities need people who understand where they're coming from," said Pochy Montes, current Vivid Church pastor. "They often can disconnect when sermons and Sabbath school don't feel relatable to their experiences, and they don't always understand the expectations that come with church. We offer a safe space to listen to them and have honest conversations. They can be themselves and still learn about our faith without losing their culture."

Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president, has a high commitment to church planting. As a pastor, he has been an effective church planter, and through the years has been a church planting trainer with the NAD SEEDS church planting movement and a church plant coach. Linrud is helping to personally spearheading the conference church planting initiative, working with pastors and lay persons who sense God's calling to plant new churches and ministries in our territory. The conference has a strong passion for multiplying churches across our field.

Linrud often references Jesus' teaching on wineskins in Matt. 9 and Mark 2, making the point that while existing churches are able to effectively reach people with religious backgrounds, "new wineskins" are needed — in the form of new churches and ministries — to reach the vast population of those from irreligious backgrounds.

"The church is called to help people from all backgrounds come into relationship with Jesus now and for eternity," shared Linrud. "This requires new modalities to share the timeless message of relationship with Jesus."

In the coming five years, church planting will be an increasingly major priority in Oregon Conference. This bold vision necessitates building a strong church planting system and structure for recruiting, training, resourcing and coaching church planters.

Linrud shared that the real goal is not multiplying church plants, but multiplying trained church planters. Church planters, plant new churches.

The conference is engaging with the NAD Evangelism Institute to implement their ACTS system. The first cohort for this begins April 17–19, 2023, and will consist of those who have already planted churches/ministries to focus on collaborating as trainers and coaches for future planters.

"It's always thrilling to respond to the Holy Spirit's calling to be in the middle of God's will to create as many pathways as possible to sharing abundant life in Jesus!" said Linrud. "That's what church planting is about."

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Jonathan Russell Kaleb Eisele Oregon Fosters Innovative Church Plants to Reach Communities Oregon Conference's mission is to plant churches throughout its territory, with a focus on leaders who can create a church experience that caters to the needs and values of their neighbors.
Church Planting Takes Root in Washington https://nwadventists.com/feature/church-planting-takes-root-washington Washington Conference has successfully planted 18 churches with a 95% success rate. They plan to plant four more churches in 2023 and believe that new churches should love people regardless of their baggage. Tyler Long Mission and Outreach 34088 Wed, 26 Apr 2023 15:09:00 -0700 Features

"Do you know the fastest way to grow the Seventh-day Adventist Church?" asked my conference president in 2017.

If I asked you this question, what would your answer be? Would you say small groups or evangelistic meetings? Perhaps you would say children's ministry or community action.

While all of these are good answers, the fastest way to grow the church has been through church planting. The Great Commission calls us to make disciples and baptize — and church planting provides the framework that focuses on making disciples and baptizing.

Fast-forward six years and 18 church plants later, God is doing something incredible in Washington Conference. The 18 new churches represent six different language groups, and many are made up of young adults.

Out of all the churches we planted, we have a 95% success rate, which includes each of the churches going through the worst global pandemic in a generation.

I hope you are convinced that church planting is one of the fastest and most effective forms of evangelism as it reaches new generations, new residents and new people groups.

You may be wondering how we planted 18 churches over six years. I hope to share some best practices in this article and inspire you to go out and plant.

If you want to win at anything, you must follow the winning formula for success: prayer + Holy Spirit + intentionality + faith-based optimism = success.

Have you ever considered that your church started as a church plant? There was a time when the church you currently attend did not exist, and then the Holy Spirit moved someone's heart and your church was born. Those who planted your church followed this winning formula.

In every conference, there are what we call "dark territories." These are the territories where there is a sizable population and no church. We started our journey by writing down all the "dark territories" within Washington Conference where we would like to see a church, and we began to pray over those areas. In our prayers, we asked the Lord if we could join the work that He is doing in the "dark territories."

Washington Conference, located in the western part of the state, has around 5 million people living within its borders, and we want to see one church for every 25,000 people. We need 200 churches to accomplish this; we are about 80 churches short. At the time of this article, we have one church for every 40,000 people that reside within Washington Conference's territory.

After mapping our "dark territories," we started bringing pastors and lay members to the North American Division Church Planters Bootcamp. These boot camps have been held on the East and West Coasts and feature some of the best church planting coaches.

In fall 2021, Washington Conference hosted West Coast Church Planters Bootcamp at Sunset Lake Camp with more than 100 in attendance. It was here that many of our pastors and lay leaders were inspired and received practical tools that they would need to begin planting.

When our pastors returned from attending the boot camps, we created a church planting launch plan for Washington Conference.

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Church planting takes money, so we knew we'd have to invest to help these new churches grow. To know what's important, consider what you pray for and where the money goes. We have intentionally funded each church plant at $10,000 annually for three years.

If you have ever given to support evangelism within Washington Conference, then you have played a part in helping these 18 church plants.

In 2023, the Washington Conference teamed up with North American Division Evangelism Institute. We are coaching 15 pastors and lay leaders to be church planters and to coach others to plant churches.

In fall 2023, we will be hosting a Church Planting SEEDS Conference, which will help to inspire future church planters.

We believe the local church is the world's hope, and our greatest resources are pastors and lay leaders who are on fire for God. We believe everything rises and falls with leadership. Therefore, we want to invest in our local leaders.

Studies show new churches gain 60–80% of members from people not attending an Adventist church. Older, already established churches gain 80–90% of their new members by transfers from other congregations. Many of our church plants are made up of young professionals.

I recently held a mental health seminar at LifeBridge in Tacoma, and although I am in my mid-40s, about 90% of those at church were younger than me.

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Washington Conference ACTS

We see the same thing happening in our different language churches. Second and third-generation young adult professionals want to reach other young adults, so they have church services in English rather than their native tongue.

Our goal in 2023 is to start four new churches in Washington Conference, and by God's grace, we believe we can accomplish this. With our church plants, we are not looking for another church in the community but a church with and for the community.

In Washington Conference, churches need to grow in quantity and quality. People love Jesus because Jesus loved people! Our goal is to plant churches that love people regardless of their baggage. All of us carry baggage, and we all need Jesus.

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Tyler Long Church Planting Takes Root in Washington Washington Conference has successfully planted 18 churches with a 95% success rate. They plan to plant four more churches in 2023 and believe that new churches should love people regardless of their baggage.
Church Planting is Still Essential for God's Mission in UCC https://nwadventists.com/feature/church-planting-still-essential-gods-mission-ucc Upper Columbia Conference plans to plant nine more churches by the end of 2025, including Spanish, Russian and English-speaking churches. Eric Brown Mission and Outreach 34087 Wed, 26 Apr 2023 15:09:00 -0700 Features

Church planting has always been a key part of how Seventh-day Adventists have forged into new territory with the good news of Jesus' soon return. It hasn't always occurred with consistent effort, however. Church planting throughout the years tends to ebb and flow like waves washing over our territories.

The most recent church planting wave to wash through Upper Columbia Conference began in the 1990s. With the support of the North Pacific Union, UCC began a church planting focus that has started more than 50 churches since 1993. Dozens of communities have been impacted as hundreds of new members found spaces to participate and become leaders. 

Some of the successes have been extraordinary. One church began planting "daughter" churches in the late 1990s. By 2005, they had planted three churches. Twelve years later, the "mother" church had returned to its previous attendance numbers. Two of the three "daughter" churches were approaching an average attendance of 200, and total tithe giving for all the churches had more than quadrupled. One of the "daughter" churches even planted another church nearby.

Our Spanish-speaking churches have also experienced phenomenal growth. Almost 50% of the church plants in the last 30 years have been for Spanish-speaking ministry, with one planted to serve second generation Hispanics in both English and Spanish.

Of course, not every church plant has succeeded. Some struggled for several years before finally closing. Others have never grown much beyond their initial core group. Differing priorities began to fill the gap as the wave moved on. In the last 10 years, the only new churches planted in UCC have been within our Hispanic ministries. English-speaking church plants have come to a halt. 

Was church planting just a fad? Does it make sense to add more church groups when we struggle to fill the ones we have? Or is there room for another wave of church planting to wash over UCC?

The answer: No, it's not a fad that has faded away. UCC still believes in church planting for all people groups. We believe that planting new churches is essential to completing God's mission in our territory. 

As UCC approached 2023, its administrative team initiated a conference-wide visioning process. Churches chose representatives from around the conference to vision and dream of where God is leading UCC. More than 55 initiatives were identified, and three directly addressed church planting. We believe God is calling us to plant nine churches by the end of 2025.

Seven of those churches will be Spanish-speaking churches. This will continue the trend of church planting UCC has experienced among our Hispanic ministries. Additionally, we plan to double our
churches reaching out to our Russian-speaking population as we minister to those displaced by the war in Ukraine. We also see a new wave beginning with another English-speaking church plant as well.

Our partnership with NPUC has been key to the previous successes we've seen in church planting, and it will continue to be an essential part of future church plants. The North American Division and the union have invested both leadership and significant financial resources to help new churches get started. 

Even with all the planning and financial support, this vision seems overwhelming. Though the challenges are too great for us to accomplish on our own, God is the One who has called us to this task, and we believe He has the strength and resources to make it happen. 

A new wave of church planting is building in UCC, and we can't wait to see where God takes us!

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Eric Brown Church Planting is Still Essential for God's Mission in UCC Upper Columbia Conference plans to plant nine more churches by the end of 2025, including Spanish, Russian and English-speaking churches.
One Small Word: Six Women Who Said "Yes" to God https://nwadventists.com/feature/one-small-word-six-women-who-said-yes-god The six women highlighted live in different states and serve different populations in very different ways, but at the heart of it all, they have the most important thing in common: Spirit-led ministry in the NPUC. Becky St. Clair Church 33936 Wed, 01 Mar 2023 10:30:00 -0800 Features

Celesta Babb knows exactly what she’s been called to do as an Alaska pastor: build relationships. Introducing small native communities to an unfamiliar faith isn’t easy, but she’s committed, determined and making headway.

Kindness and compassion waft from Jill Cornforth in calming waves. You’d never know it was from her own feelings of hopelessness and discouragement that she built a thriving center of service to her community.

All Kebrina Vinglas has ever sought to do is follow where God leads, and though sometimes her journey has surprised her, she has never hesitated — even when it meant walking away from her career to volunteer full time.

Kara Johnsson welcomes conversation and talks easily with strangers. Moving frequently as a child taught her this skill, and it also taught her what it’s like to be left on the outside, a pain she has dedicated her life to alleviating for others.

Natashia McVay knows college students are flexing their muscles as independent adults finding their faith footing. As pastor of a rural Idaho church, she makes herself available to local students as both guide and fellow traveler.

La-Dana Manhertz-Smith has a gift for creating spaces where asking for help is normalized and authenticity is key, providing tools to empower Auburn Adventist Academy’s young people to become their best selves.

The women you are about to meet live in different states and serve different populations in very different ways — policymaking, marketing, soup nights and ski trips, food pantry work, church-building, mental health education — but at the heart of it all, they have the most important thing in common: Spirit-led ministry.

Alaska Conference

Celesta Babb: Putting in the Work

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Nadia Diaz of ArtHead Creations

Utqiagvik Church in Alaska is the northernmost Adventist church in the world. Though Adventists have been present in this small native village for over three decades, other denominations have been there longer, and Adventism is not very well known.

Celesta Babb, pastor of the Utqiagvik, North Pole and Delta Junction churches, has worked with her churches to expand local understanding and awareness of who Adventists are. For Utqiagvik Church, this included acquiring an actual church building, no small feat in an area where property is almost never for sale.

Delta Junction Church started Ministry Sabbath, a monthly event where members walk through the community, engaging with their neighbors, giving away baked treats or flowers and offering to pray with those they meet.

Another of Babb's churches also began hosting Blue Christmas events, an opportunity for the community to come together and share their grief over those lost during the year and ask for God’s healing in a season when losses are particularly keen.

“This focus is not about converting the community,” Babb clarified, “it’s about following Christ’s method of showing care.”

Even before Babb arrived, church members had begun developing friendships and were getting to know the people of the community, laying the groundwork for introducing them to Christ and the church. This active engagement is key.

“How are we going to minister to our community if we’re not in it?” Babb said. “It’s hard work, yes, but every time I second guess or doubt our efforts, God clarifies and reinstates the peace. We’re on the right path as long as we’re following Him, and I look forward to seeing where He takes these churches next.”

Idaho Conference

Jill Cornforth: Meeting the Needs of the People

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Nadia Diaz of ArtHead Creations

One day during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jill Cornforth, Cloverdale Church member in Boise, Idaho, helped a church member carry items to their car. When they opened the trunk, she noticed a large box of food from a local food pantry.

“I had no idea we had food insecurity in our own church,” Cornforth remembered. “This weighed on me heavily.”

After some research, Cornforth discovered Cloverdale Church’s location was in the middle of a food desert. She launched into action, rallying fellow church volunteers to open what was, at the time, the only operating food pantry and thrift store, which remains thriving today.

This spring, the church hopes to open the doors to their new community center, which will not only house the shop and pantry, but also a large kitchen, meeting rooms and a set of bathrooms with showers. They’ve dubbed the 11,000-square-foot building HUB 365. They hope to soon start a meal program, health classes, health screenings, cooking classes and after-school tutoring.

“We don’t know what the community needs are going to be,” Cornforth said, “but God helped us come up with this building plan, so we trust He knows.”

Cornforth points out that she and other Cloverdale Church members were not immune to the feelings of depression, anxiety and hopelessness that accompanied the pandemic.

“This ministry has truly saved us,” said Cornforth. “It gave us purpose in such a dark time. We are called to serve our fellow humans, and in doing that, we are transformed, as well.”

Montana Conference

Kebrina Vinglas: Filling the Gaps

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Nadia Diaz of ArtHead Creations

As a board member at Mount Ellis Academy, Kebrina Vinglas knew the school staff and faculty were “a stellar group of individuals who are incredibly like-minded in their sense of purpose and ministry.” She also knew there just simply weren’t enough of them, and she wanted to help.

“I remember thinking, ‘If this is what the Lord wants, someone will ask me to help,’” she said. “I finally realized I had to be the one to speak up.”

After much discussion and prayer, Vinglas and her husband decided she could volunteer 20 hours per week at the school. After approaching the principal, right away she was given a list of development projects needing followup, and it didn’t take long for her to realize there was far more work to be done.

In February 2020, Vinglas quit her physical therapy career of 21 years and became a full time volunteer staff member at the academy. She put together a group of teachers and staff who met weekly to brainstorm marketing ideas and took a more active role in the marketing and development efforts of the school.

“It took a lot of faith to walk this path,” Vinglas admited, “but I truly believe this is exactly what I need to be doing, when I need to be doing it.”

Last year, the academy board voted to fully fund the position, and, as of July 2022, Vinglas is officially serving as the paid director for development and alumni relations at MEA.

“Anything that happens here is not a result of anything I have done, but what God has done through my prayers and willingness to follow His leading in my life,” she said. “Having the opportunity to participate in part of God’s greater plan for the academy and future generations is incredibly humbling, and, I feel, one of the greatest things I could possibly do.”

Oregon Conference

Kara Johnsson: Making Space at the Table

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Nadia Diaz of ArtHead Creations

“Growing up, I moved a lot, and I know what it’s like to be on the outside,” said Kara Johnsson, Oregon Conference vice president for administration. “I experienced being invited to the table, and sometimes I experienced not being invited to the table. I’ve felt both acutely, and this has driven my passion for hospitality.”

Despite her proclivity for organization and her previous experience as a teacher and pastor, Johnsson never saw herself in church administration.

“As a woman in ministry, I was grateful for the opportunity to pastor and absolutely loved serving my congregations,” she said. Even when she knew her name was being considered, she didn’t expect to be named for the position. There had never before been a female in an administrative role at Oregon Conference, so Johnsson felt like she was in an “unexpectant zone.”

After a pause, she added, “The flip side is that when I was asked, it felt like a God thing.”

The brilliant part is that within her new role there is plenty of opportunity for Johnsson to utilize her passion for hospitality — what she points out is, from a biblical perspective, simply “loving the other.”

“I want to utilize the influence God has given me to create space at the table for all in His kingdom,” Johnsson said. “My primary goal in this role is to serve with excellence, mindfully allowing God to work through me. To be intentionally in tune with God, rather than doing my own thing. That is, I feel, the absolute best I can do.”

Upper Columbia Conference

Natashia McVay: Connecting Church and Campus

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Nadia Diaz of ArtHead Creations

If you were to visit Natashia McVay, Moscow Church pastor in Idaho, and her husband, Marshall, at home on a Friday evening, you would enjoy a meal and Bible study with a group of local college students. On another day, you might find them in the middle of a game night or out skiing with a group of students.

“Over the six years we’ve been here, we’ve had well over 400 different kids come through our home,” McVay said. “We try to create a safe space for them, especially during Sabbath hours, as most have no options for God-focused activities available to them.”

Moscow is home to the University of Idaho, a campus of 25,000, and is 15 minutes away from Washington State University, a campus twice as large. McVay was specifically hired to reach out to the students in the area, which she has done by establishing Adventist Christian Fellowship as an official club on each campus. Through ACF they can hold campus events, hang posters and generally establish a visible presence.

“We can’t make people do things they don’t want to do,” she pointed out, “but if we provide opportunities for them to be involved and meet other young people their age interested in spiritual things, we give them a chance to continue or start a relationship with them and with God.”

"These efforts, completely funded by the church, have impacted the congregation, as well, who have become more open to new things such as guitars up front and young people involved in the service — a significant shift for a smaller, more rural church," said McVay.

“It has been incredible to see church members talk to every student who comes on Sabbath, instead of just letting them sit in the back, unseen,” McVay said. “We love seeing older generations not just acknowledging the importance of this ministry, but loving it and being excited about what’s happening. We want to see that continue well into the future.”

Washington Conference

La-Dana Manhertz Smith: Equipping and Empowering Young People

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Nadia Diaz of ArtHead Creations

LD, as she is called on campus, fills a unique role as well-being coordinator at Auburn Adventist Academy, a position cultivated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To best serve the diverse needs of our students, we knew we had to nurture an environment which makes seeking help a priority and taking care of ourselves a way of life,” she explained.

Some of this is as simple as providing snacks and comfortable seating. She has space for games and other activities, displays a selection of live-cam feeds of various animals and nature scenes, and plays music.

In addition to curating this “wellbeing space” for rest, relaxation and refocusing between classes, Manhertz–Smith makes herself available for short-term crisis management.

“I use the term ‘crisis’ because for the teen, that’s how it feels, no matter how ‘small’ we as adults may think it is,” she explained. “Here they can talk it through and get tools and strategies to navigate not only whatever they may be facing at the moment, but in all of school and life.”

Manhertz–Smith channels her own teen years when talking with students, imagining what could have been helpful for her at that age, and then proactively filling those gaps for her students. She coordinates Mental Health Mondays with freshmen, visits with senior classes to reduce their fear of life after high school, educates parents on mental health, provides resources and tools for faculty, and teaches students how to advocate for themselves. Manhertz–Smith has also created a mental health referral network for students who need additional support.

“The whole point of my job is to create equipped and empowered young people,” she said. “God has given us the tools to take care of ourselves and each other, and the more we equip leadership with the skills to hand these tools to our kids, we broaden the support we can offer — that is an overwhelming win.”

They may come from different angles, but their focus is the same: service, love, inclusion and ministry.

These women are inspiring; the work they do is powerful. And they are only a small sampling of those serving in various ways and places across NPUC and beyond, impacting their world for Christ. If you haven’t stepped up yet, consider this your invitation. Use your gifts, your skills, your opportunities to serve, to love, to minister. All it takes is one small word: Yes!

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10).

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people” (Gal. 6:10).

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Becky St. Clair One Small Word: Six Women Who Said "Yes" to God The six women highlighted live in different states and serve different populations in very different ways, but at the heart of it all, they have the most important thing in common: Spirit-led ministry in the NPUC.
Food As Medicine https://nwadventists.com/feature/food-medicine Adventist Health shares how to trend your way toward better health and longevity. Dexter Shurney Health Adventist Health 33564 Mon, 09 Jan 2023 10:30:00 -0800 Features

As the leading cause of death in America, poor diet is driving development of chronic diseases, 80% of which are preventable. Today, the concept of food as medicine has an avid fan base going all the way to the White House. What is “food as medicine?" Why should the average person care? Why is it especially important now — despite being a concept that has been around a very long time?

Everyone loves good food. But “good food” often means junk food to Americans loyal to fast food, fries and milkshakes.

Such food may be cheap — both in dollars and nutritional value — but its long-term price is incredibly high. A shocking 80% of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and obesity are diet-related and, thus, preventable. The problem is so bad that diet has surpassed tobacco use as the nation’s leading cause of death.

Enter the concept of “food as medicine." Using diet to prevent, treat and even cure health conditions can be traced as far back as early-day practices of indigenous tribes, Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) and Seventh-day Adventists. Adventist heritage is steeped in a general health message and in the biblical principles of how we should treat our bodies through proper diet.   

Today, though, only 2.7% of Americans live a healthy lifestyle, concludes a Mayo Clinic study. “Healthy lifestyle” is defined as a diet score in the top 40% on the Healthy Eating Index, body fat under 20% for men and 30% for women, seven hours of sleep each night and consistent moderate to vigorous exercise for 150 minutes a week.

Instead, the standard American diet — appropriately known as SAD — fuels our bodies into a constant, dangerous state of quiet inflammation, setting the stage for chronic disease development. The combination of high-sugar, impoverished-flour, ultra-processed meals and snacks — ubiquitous in our modern diet — raises insulin levels and inflates blood sugar.

We also consume large amounts of artificial and highly inflammatory foods — dyes, hydrogenated oils, trans fat and artificial sweeteners. Often, food is cooked or overcooked at high temperatures, destroying nutrients that would be beneficial if consumed raw and producing changes to protein structure that can spark even more inflammation.

People routinely overestimate how healthy their diets are, but data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that only 10% of adults eat the recommended servings of vegetables, while 12.3% eat that of fruit.

These realities contribute to the fact that Type 2 diabetes, found in 1 in 20 people 30 years ago, now strikes 1 in 7 Americans today. Sadly, a growing number of these patients are as young as teenagers, 40% of whom will develop the disease in their lifetimes, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

The Shift in Food Attitudes

Attitudes about food are changing. According to one study, the primary foods marketed online by grocery stores are of poor nutritional value and resemble candy and treats rather than fresh or highly nutritious foods.

Moreover, ingredient labels can confuse consumers that are more familiar with teaspoons than grams. And manufacturers often “hide” ingredients such as sugar and salt in unsuspected foods such as spaghetti sauce to appeal to — and thus support — America’s renowned sweet tooth and salt cravings.   

Portion sizes are wildly out of whack, especially in restaurants and fast-food outlets, resulting in excessive calories even when the food — such as monster salads loaded with dressing, cheese and bacon bits — may be viewed as a healthy choice by consumers. 

Increasingly, though, consumers are connecting diet to health and realizing that food affects their energy, mood, performance and productivity. Generation Z, in particular, has embraced FAM. Nearly 80% of those born between 1997 and 2012 go meatless at least one day a week, and 65% want a more plant-slanted diet. For demographics overall, 62% of U.S. households buy plant-based products, with just under half (42%) purchasing plant-generated milk. Food industry leaders note that “flexitarian” with a heavy emphasis on plant-based products is a growing trend versus vegan or vegetarian.

In addition, a September 2022 survey revealed that 80% of respondents think fresh foods are better for you than packaged or processed “healthy” foods. Most respondents also agreed that certain foods bring “functional wellness benefits such as boosting mental or physical performance (79%), providing preventive (78%) or therapeutic health properties (76%) or serving as the best medicine (75%).”

Those surveyed reported they made food choices around their goals of building immunity (35%), losing or maintaining weight (43%), managing medical conditions (32%), preventing diseases (39%), improving emotional or mental health (34%), protecting brain health (21%) and improving sport performance (13%). Those are high expectations while walking an average grocery aisle.

In response, the mainstream grocery industry has been transforming. Sales of plant-based foods — especially milk and plant-based “meat” — totaled a record $7.4 billion in 2021, the fastest of any grocery category, according to the Plant-Based Foods Association, The Good Food Institute and data company SPINS.

With such high demand, grocers are committing more shelf space to plant-based foods, testing and adding new products and offering in-store education about plant-based options such as almond milk, baked chickpeas and vegetable-infused pasta.

Simultaneously, grocers have found a heartier customer appetite for local sourcing from nearby farms, agricultural facilities, beekeepers and other healthy-food vendors, thus strengthening the local economy. Large grocers such as Kroger have partnered with farmers to create “locally grown” displays throughout their produce sections; added calorie and nutritional information to on-floor signage, websites and apps; and established staffed kiosks so customers can sample unfamiliar produce and ask questions about proper preparation.

Farmers markets have exploded to 8,000-plus nationwide, growing by 63% from 1994 to 2000, according to 2019 National Farmers Market Managers research and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, respectively. Such markets connect rural to urban communities and increasingly serve people in “food desert” zones where access to grocery stores with affordable, healthy options is minimal or nonexistent.

Another trend is that some folks are “micro-farming” themselves. Spurred by 24/7 Food Network programs and health podcasts, they’re creating budget-friendly, container-based “porch gardens” to grow herbs on kitchen counters and tucking indoor horizontal greenhouses into corners or onto balconies. These are great ways to grow high-value foods such as tomatoes, rosemary and microgreens.

Innovations in food access also are opening new paths for FAM adopters. Online grocery ordering, for example, skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to double in the next five years. Cook-at-home meal subscription companies such as Hello Fresh and Blue Zones offer healthy meals delivered straight to consumers’ doorsteps with instructions and chef hotlines.

Even food pantries have adopted food-as-medicine strategies. Working with corporate sponsors, hunger nonprofits and government agencies, food banks are encouraging healthier food donations, distributing client education on healthy eating and adding color-coded labels to products based on nutritional value.

They’re also getting creative about partnerships to reach vulnerable, often minority populations with information about the most prevalent diet-based chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

DoorDash, for instance, recently announced it would donate $1 million in gift cards to food banks in 18 cities and pay dashers to deliver nutritional food to low-income communities in food deserts. Food banks subsidize costs, but the company foots most of the bill.

Amazon, meanwhile, has given major donations to school-based pantries in communities where it has offices or facilities. The goal is to ensure children can access healthy food and produce during the weekends when they are away from free meal programs at schools.

Many such corporate employers also are looking internally to improve the health and, increasingly, the diets of their own employees. As the largest private provider of healthcare insurance in America, companies are revising worker wellness programs to expand nutritional coaching, discount weight management programs, offer fruits and vegetables onsite and share nutrition education through their communications.

Research shows these types of investments yield positive health and financial outcomes for both the employer and worker by nudging and empowering the latter to adopt and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Recognition is growing that health is produced at home, the office or in school — not in an hour or two at a physician’s office.

Technology is playing a role in advancing FAM, too. Many employer wellness programs offer apps or wearable devices that can track food and water intake, nutritional values, sleep and movement. These wearables combine convenience, education and even gamification as reinforcement and motivation for healthy choice-making each day.

One barrier to more widespread adoption of FAM, though, is lack of training around food preparation. People won’t buy food they don’t know what to do with; they must learn how to prepare it correctly to optimize taste and nutrition. The pandemic jolted many people stuck at home into experimenting with cooking, often relying on YouTube or TikTok to inspire and teach.

With COVID-19 increasingly manageable, in-person cooking classes have proliferated, and “teaching kitchens” have gone mainstream at entities ranging from large companies to universities, community centers to online health channels, community colleges to local culinary shops and grocery stores.

All of these trends solidify the need for government, healthcare providers, employers and individuals to commit to widespread adoption of FAM. Our nation cannot sustain high-cost, low-result healthcare systems, nor can companies. Families already pay an average one-third of their median household income for employer-sponsored healthcare insurance ($22,221 in 2021). 

The country also cannot allow health disparities to go unchecked in terms of dollars and lives. America’s most common (and expensive) chronic diseases are each experienced more prevalently by communities of color, people in rural areas and low-resource individuals. This is due to social determinants of health — barriers such as poverty, poor diet and food access, inadequate medical access and care, and lack of education

Worse, the expensive status quo is unnecessary. While 45 medications treat Type 2 diabetes, for instance, not one is a cure. However, if you’re one of the 12% of Americans with this disease or among the 27% of adults with hypertension, adopting FAM habits such as a plant-slanted diet can stall progression, reduce complications and even move it to remission.

Almost 60% of America’s adult population experiences at least one chronic health condition. Imagine the impact if FAM is adopted and supported by them and their providers. Now imagine it as a disease prevention tool for all Americans. The potential is mind-boggling — and, as President Joe Biden said recently, achievable. 

We won’t get healthier collectively or individually unless we change our lifestyles, policies and practices that support good health. Adopting a FAM approach to everyday eating choices will improve the quality and length of your life.

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Dexter Shurney Food As Medicine Adventist Health shares how to trend your way toward better health and longevity.
Let's Go: Explore, Serve and Share — NPUC Camporee 2022 https://nwadventists.com/feature/lets-go-explore-serve-and-share-npuc-camporee-2022 The 2022 NPUC Camporee hosted 1,653 Pathfinders in Kalispell, Montana. Eve Rusk Youth Pathfinder Camporee Pathfinders NWPathfinders 33541 Thu, 29 Sep 2022 13:50:00 -0700 Features

The North Pacific Union Pathfinder Camporee was held in Kalispell, Montana, at the Northwest Montana Fairgrounds Sept. 21-25, 2022. 1,653 Pathfinders, Adventurers, Master Guides and parent volunteers from all six conferences represented by the NPUC came to explore, serve and share.

Day one was rainy and cold, but that didn’t phase any of the Pathfinders, Adventurers or staff, who roll with whatever weather is thrown their way.

The rainfall was the heaviest in the morning when the activities were designed to be indoors. The Adventurers learned fire safety, made their own bear paw print makers out of flip-flops, crafted ornaments from clay and learned about bears.

Several Adventurers were busy filling Adventist Community Services Disaster Clean Up buckets. Gabriele Laub, Montana Conference Adventist Community Services coordinator, said they hoped to fill 120 buckets to replenish their supply. Recently, they distributed more than 150 buckets to people in eastern Montana who were affected by flooding. She said that having laundry detergent, dish detergent, gloves, brushes, wipes and clothesline with clothespins gave them an initial boost to help them get back on their feet.

Pathfinders entering the honors building were greeted by two larger-than-life inflatable Pathfinders wearing full Class A uniforms. Pathfinders had 25 choices of honors to work on including Sand, Mosaic Tiles, Basic Rescue and Hot Air Balloon. Several new honors were being piloted: Dams and Hydroelectricity, Wildfire Preparation and Prevention, Land Surveying, Search and Rescue, and Glaciers. The room was filled with the sound of pounding nails from those working towards their String Art honor, while other Pathfinders concentrated on learning the various details needed for each honor. One club was working on their third honor by the time 10 a.m. rolled around.

For many clubs, the fun began even before they arrived at the fairground. Several had many hours of driving, some starting their journey on Tuesday. One club visited a hot spring and did a service project in Salmon, Idaho, at the Sacajawea Visitors Center.

Luke, from Apple Valley Pathfinder Club, was looking forward to the Gold Panning honor. He said that he got a little wet in the tent Wednesday night because he was right on the edge of the tent, but his things dried the next day.

Addie, from Golden Eagle Pathfinder Club, said her favorite thing about the camporee is the people. Julisa, from Meadow Glade Pathfinder Club, said the best thing is seeing people and doing the honors! Alynna, from Meadow Glade Pathfinder Club, said her favorite thing about Pathfinders is that she gets to go places she probably never would have gone.

It’s not just kids who enjoy Pathfinders. Imogene, member of Upper Columbia Conference, is currently the event coordinator. She has been involved with Pathfinders since becoming one herself  56 years ago. Imogene only missed one camporee — the Friendship Camporee in 1989.

The afternoon brought a little less rain, which was good because there were many activities outside. The Mountain Man Village introduced Pathfinders to a trapper, an Indian arrowhead maker and a leather worker and gave them a chance to throw a tomahawk at a tree stump. Pathfinders also learned that the men who brought supplies to the forts would charge 1,000% markup. The journey was long and arduous, often taking up to three months, yet the fur traders generally made more money.

There were additional activities outside, including an air-filled maze race, a volleyball toss into barrels, ladder ball and a blow-up hatchet throwing game.

Inside, Danielle Oyler from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks department taught Pathfinders the differences between black bears and grizzly bears. She also shared how to stay safe around bears of any kind. One fact they learned turned into a safety lesson: bears can run up to 35 mph, so don't try to run from them! Oyler also advised the Pathfinders to keep their food and supplies in bear safes or hanging appropriately in trees over 100 yards from where they sleep. 

Stan Hudson, NPUC creation ministries director, shared the reasoning for creation in his presentation. He provided facts, including that dinosaurs were real. He believes God created dinosaurs and mankind bred some to be aggressive to use as hunters or warriors.

Another inside activity was archery. First, Pathfinders had to discover if they were left-eyed or right-eyed. Even if they were left-handed, they could be right-eyed. That determined which bow they used and how they stood.

The Pathfinder Museum opened in the expo building at the south end of the fairground. Dixie Plata has been running the museum for over 40 years. Her husband, Arnold Plata, used to make all the display cases. Dixie was excited because a young Pathfinder gave her a Montana pin for this year’s camporee exhibit.

The evening program had music, a story by a mountain man, prayer and a talk by Ron Whitehead, executive director of the International Pathfinder Camporee. Sierra and Anniston, from Puyallup Pioneers Pathfinder Club, both enjoyed the music from the meeting. It was lively and the songs were ones they were familiar with. They also thought the Mountain Man was hilarious! However, they were concerned about what happened to the bear in his story. They didn’t want it to get hurt.

Whitehead talked about Abraham’s friendship and journey with God. Did you know that God has friends? James 2:23 says that Abraham was a friend of God. Did you know that it’s OK to struggle with your friendship with God? He won’t give up on you just because you might be embarrassed to talk about Him.

Whitehead shared a personal story of when he began attending boarding school. His parents, particularly his mom, taught him that Jesus was his best friend. He had a picture of Jesus at the foot of his bed. Every morning and every night he saw Jesus. Suddenly, he began to question whether he wanted everyone to know that Jesus was his best friend. He said it’s OK to struggle and to question. God’s not going to give up on you. He’ll work it out with you.

Overall, Pathfinders and Adventurers enjoyed day one despite the rain. However, they were looking forward to warm and dry weather during the remaining days.

Day two started out very foggy, but the fog burned off as the sun rose higher, and Pathfinders and Adventurers walked with more bounce in their step.

The Adventurers had a surprise guest during their morning program. Smokey Bear and a ranger showed up! Smokey Bear high-fived several of the kids. The ranger asked questions about fire safety because the Adventurers are learning to be Junior Rangers. One of the boys responded to the question, “What do you do with your fire when you’re all done roasting marshmallows?” with the correct response: pour water on it until it’s completely out.

Honor rotations continued, with many Pathfinders pursuing the self-guided ones, allowing them to earn several honors in a short period of time. Each honor had a monitor or teacher who checked answers.

One of the new honors being piloted was created by Kelly Jones. He has worked with dams for the past six years and was encouraged by Luke Torquato to develop an honor on dams and hydroelectricity. The honor took a few years to develop, and this camporee finally gave him the opportunity to pilot it. While Jones didn’t grow up in Pathfinders, he has been involved with them as a staff member.

Aubrey, from St. Maries Seekers Pathfinder Club, did the Search and Rescue honor. She said she was doing all the pilot honors to make sure that there was enough participation for them to be considered as new honors in the North American Division. Sierra, from Salem Pioneers Pathfinder Club, also did the Search and Rescue honor and found it interesting that she could help determine someone’s condition (if that person were lost or injured). She learned to check if she could help or if she should call for emergency services.

Janelle, from Fort Vancouver Pathfinder Club, took the Creationism honor. She said she learned that after the flood, all the animals and fish left the ark once the water went away.

Bradley and Zach, from Sandpoint Northern Lights Pathfinder Club, took the Land Survey pilot honor. Once they complete it and it gets accepted as a new honor, they will get a special patch for being part of the piloting process.

The Tombstones honor is another being piloted at the camporee. Emma, from Cascade Eagles Pathfinder Club, said it was interesting to learn about the different materials used to make tombstones and see the variety of epitaphs engraved on them.

While many clubs were working on their honors, Sandpoint Northern Lights Pathfinder Club went to Lawrence Park and spread mulch on the trails as a service project. They did their part to leave Kalispell better than they found it, an unofficial motto of Pathfinders. Several other clubs left their mark on Kalispell as well.

Afternoon activities included the indoor venues: Wildlife Bear Show, Creation Show, the Pathfinder Museum and the Camporee Store. Mr. Dillon from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks department came to share about bears and bear safety for day two. Sam, from Wheatland Coyotes Pathfinder Club, said he really enjoyed the bear spray video and thought the grizzly bear skull on the table was interesting as it could open. While he already knew a lot about bears, he was interested in learning the differences between black bears and grizzly bears.

Wendy Wolfswinkel da Silva began a project of having every club sign or be listed on Pathfinder flags back in 2004. She is now up to three flags. Her flags were displayed first in the expo building, and then moved into the nightly program building for the weekend. Many Pathfinders tried to find their club name on one of the flags.

Outside activities continued with the addition of a dunk tank. A long line of Pathfinders and staff waited to dunk the latest victim. An obstacle course included a tire run, large round bales of hay to climb and run across, a log walk and a tube to crawl through.

Two other popular activities were human foosball and the cave maze. During human foosball, players held onto a PVC pipe on a rope. They had to try to help their team make a goal without letting go of the pipe. The cave maze was brought by Oregon Conference, who converted their semi-truck trailer into four mazes, ranging in skill level from easy to very difficult. Most of the kids were lined up for the two more difficult mazes.

Malea, from a local 4-H club, brought animals to show the Pathfinders. Her two sheep, horse named Ranji, Nigerian/Alpine hybrid milking goat named Peaches, and Peaches' two kids all met the Pathfinders inside a fenced area and were happy to be pet or pose for a photo.

The Big Show, which had been canceled due to rain on day one, was rescheduled for day two. Bert and Frannie Davis and The Muttley Crew presented a dog show and rodeo. They showed how they taught their dogs to barrel race. Four dogs ran, two at a time.

Bert then invited two boys and two girls to run the barrels. The corral was quite muddy and thick, and while it was not soupy, it did make it difficult to run. Malachi, from Wheatland Coyotes Pathfinder club, was the fastest. Bert then pitted Malachi against Glory, one of the dogs. It was close, and they both turned the last barrel about the same time. Glory looked over to see how close Malachi was on her tail as he kicked it into high gear right across the finish line.

The Grand Parade began at the south end of the fairground. Every club marched in the parade toward the nightly program building. They marched in their Class A uniforms and, if they didn’t have those uniforms yet, in their field uniforms. It was a great way to welcome the Sabbath. More singing, more Mountain Man and more on God’s friendship with Abraham engaged the Pathfinders on Friday evening.

Growing a friendship with your best buddies is the work of a lifetime, just as a friendship with God takes a lifetime. Friends work on doing good or nice things for each other. Whitehead talked about traps to avoid in developing friendships, and shared that avoiding those traps applies equally to friendship with God.

Day three of the camporee started bright and early for the clubs that wanted to go to Glacier National Park. It was National Park Day and entrance into the park was free.

Golden Eagles Pathfinder Club were among the clubs that left at 5 a.m. with sack breakfasts and lunches packed.

Nampa Zephyrs Pathfinder Club had a more reasonable time of 7:30 a.m. set for their departure from the Northwest Montana Fairgrounds. They stopped at the Glacier National Park sign for an obligatory photo.

Their first planned stop was the Logan Pass Visitor Center. The parking lot was full, so drivers dropped off kids and staff at the center. The three vehicles that brought the club ended up finding parking two off-road parking areas away.

Golden Eagles and Sandpoint Northern Lights Pathfinder Clubs had already finished their hikes when Nampa Zephyrs Pathfinder Club arrived. Golden Eagles Pathfinder Club was headed to St. Mary Lake, and Sandpoint Northern Lights Pathfinder Club headed up to the Continental Divide sign for a group photo.

Once everyone was assembled, some of the group decided to hike to the Hidden Lake Outlook, a 1.5-mile one-way hike, mostly uphill on wooden boardwalks. Along the way, other clubs passed by. Sunnyside Spanish Exploradores de Jesus Pathfinder Club hiked all the way to the outlook sporting their bright orange hoodies.

Cascadia Eagles Pathfinder Club also made the trek to the outlook and said the view was fantastic. Wheatland Coyotes Pathfinder Club also made the hike. Puyallup Pioneers Pathfinder Club went to Flathead Lake. They enjoyed kayaking and swimming. Of course, since kids had paddles in hand, a splash war ensued.

Otis Orchards Pathfinder Club went to Glacier and saw a grizzly bear. They even had video to prove it! Members of Boise Ponderosa Pathfinder Club also saw the grizzly bear.

Tacoma Central God’s Northern Lights Club also went to Glacier. They had a great time, skipped stones on one of the lakes, hiked and had lunch.

One very special thing that happened in Glacier was the baptism of two Pathfinders. That’s what Pathfinder Camporees are all about!

Back at the fairgrounds, Montana Wild Wings gave a demonstration on birds. They showed a variety of falcons, hawks and owls. The volunteers shared that the birds they brought with them were on loan from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and are unable to be released into the wild due to the injuries sustained. According to the presentation, 90% of the birds brought to them are injured due to being struck by a vehicle.

Clubs gathered for supper and then prepared to come to the nightly program. Idaho clubs assisted with a flag burning. When a flag has become too worn to be flown, the special ceremony is initiated to respectfully retire the flag. Pathfinders joined in singing “God Bless America” as the flag was being burned.

Whitehead extended an invitation to the Pathfinders to choose Jesus to be their friend, just like Abraham. Some recommitted to Jesus, and 236 made decisions for baptism.

While Pathfinders is a lot of fun, that fun wraps around experiencing Jesus. Without that emphasis, Pathfinders would be just another youth group. Pathfinders is all about giving youth opportunities to experience and choose Jesus as their friend.

Some clubs packed up and left after the nightly program, especially those with a long way to travel. Others plan to leave Sunday morning.

Even though day one’s weather was a total washout, the "Let’s Go" NPUC Pathfinder Camporee was a great experience. Looking back, Pathfinders and Adventurers were able to learn a lot, earn honors and awards and get to know kids from other clubs and conferences. Many staff and Pathfinders were able to experience Glacier National Park for the first time as well.

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Eve Rusk Let's Go: Explore, Serve and Share — NPUC Camporee 2022 The 2022 NPUC Camporee hosted 1,653 Pathfinders in Kalispell, Montana.
NPUC Constituency Session Delegates Elect Officers https://nwadventists.com/feature/npuc-constituency-session-delegates-elect-officers Delegates overwhelmingly affirm the NPUC leadership team. Mark Bond Church constituency session 33384 Thu, 11 Aug 2022 10:38:41 -0700 Features

Delegates Met for the 29th NPUC Constituency Session

The North Pacific Union convened for its 29th Constituency Session on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, at the Adventist Community Church of Vancouver in Washington. 274 delegates from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Upper Columbia and Washington conferences re-elected five NPUC officers, each by more than 90% of the vote.

Officers Reelected

Reelected officers included John Freedman, president; Bill McClendon, executive vice president for administration; Mark Remboldt, chief financial officer; César De León, vice president for Hispanic ministries; and Byron Dulan, vice president for regional ministries for the 2021 through 2026 term. Prior to affirmation, each officer gave a presentation.

Keynote Presentation

The session included a keynote address by G. Alexander Bryant, North American Division president, encouraging the church to take an offensive posture rather than a defensive one.

Bryant’s presentation was followed by a report by Freedman, who recounted Desmond Doss’s passionate prayer, “Lord, give me one more,” while saving the lives of wounded soldiers on Hacksaw Ridge during World War II. That plea inspired the theme chosen for the final four years of the coming quinquennium: Reaching One More. A song by that same title, written especially for the session, was performed by Zach Parks, Journey Church associate pastor in Kelso, Washington.

New Executive Committee Members Chosen

After the morning’s presentations, the delegates divided into individual conferences for a working lunch to caucus names for new executive committee members to serve the remainder of the 2021–2026 quinquennium. Those new members were also affirmed.

The executive committee will elect departmental directors at its October meeting.

NPUC Bylaw Changes

Bill McClendon suggested changes to the bylaws on behalf of the bylaws committee, presenting them for a vote in three separate sections.

  1. The first section included provisions to:

    • Accommodate virtual meetings when extraordinary circumstances arise
.
    • Change the notification process for upcoming meetings
.
    • Allow the executive committee to delay a session for up to a year due to exigent circumstances. It also included language allowing termination of officers “for cause.”


  2. The second section clarified the availability of performance evaluations to the executive committee, as well as to the nominating committee as necessary. 

The delegates overwhelmingly affirmed both the first and second proposals.


  3. The third section would have required the nominating committee to consider gender, race and ethnicity in the nomination of officers and executive committee members. Due to concern among the delegates about specific wording in that section, it was returned to the bylaws committee for further revision and will be reconsidered in the future.

 Despite the initial rejection of the diversity provisions, bylaws committee member and Montana delegate Steve Kreitner said, “It was obvious to me from both the diversity in the room and the spirit of the discussion that diversity of representation is a goal for everyone who attended the meetings.”

Adventist Health

Three Adventist Health administrators shared how God is working in and through the medical teams and staff in the hospital system.

Walla Walla University

Adventist Health’s presentation was followed by a report by leaders from Walla Walla University on the university’s status in the wake of the pandemic.

John McVay, WWU president, laid out a vision for campus improvements, including a new student life and ministry center. Prakash Ramoutar, newly-appointed WWU vice president for financial administration, shared that the university is in a financially secure position with recent, significant reductions in liabilities and steady growth in assets.

Leadership Change for Education

Dennis Plubell was celebrated for his 45 years of service in Adventist education. The constituency session marked the day of his retirement as vice president for education. He gave a particularly moving presentation and tearful goodbye to the delegates.

To fill the impending vacancy in the education department, the nominating committee identified Keith Hallam as the nominee to follow in Plubell’s footsteps. Hallam has served as vice president for education for the Southern Union since 2017. He is returning to the NPUC having previously served as principal of Auburn Adventist Academy from 1995–2009. His nomination was quickly affirmed.

Association Report

Jay Graham, NPUC association treasurer, gave the final report outlining the positive financial position the union is in due to the blessings of providence and solid financial management.

________________

Constituency sessions typically occur every five years. The 29th session was postponed by one year due to the pandemic. The Aug. 7 meetings covered the same five-year period that would have been covered in 2021. The next session, scheduled for 2026, will return to the regular rotation.

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Mark Bond NPUC Constituency Session Delegates Elect Officers Delegates overwhelmingly affirm the NPUC leadership team.
Love vs. Self https://nwadventists.com/feature/love-vs-self Jesus said people will know we are Christians by our love. If we really believe these divine words, we have some work to do when it comes to disagreeing in love. Becky St. Clair Church 33168 Thu, 21 Jul 2022 12:05:00 -0700 Features

Jesus saw the world differently than a lot of people. He argued with the Pharisees about how to keep the Sabbath1, called out their hypocrisy on a regular basisand spent time with people with whom it wasn’t socially acceptable to associate3. He even regularly took quite a different approach than His own disciples — pretty much any time He tried to teach them something. And, of course, we all know what happened when Jesus discovered the temple being used as a market4.

So if we are to follow Christ’s example, what does that mean when it comes to disagreements?

The key to understanding and emulating Christ’s example is noting the motivation behind His contrary behavior and beliefs. His actions didn’t come from a place of pride, greed, cruelty or control; they had roots in His deep love for all of humanity and His desire to see them accept the grace and love of God the Father. And, generally speaking, Jesus was a peaceful protester, but He also knew how to read the room.

Ellen White used the phrase "cruel kindness" (Christian Education, p. 10), says Alden Thompson, professor of biblical studies at Walla Walla University. "There are times when we think that if we’re going to disagree in love we have to be flexible and kind, but at some point, if you don’t have enough muscle in it, you’re not being helpful and may in fact be enabling further harm."

Sometimes that “muscle” is simply having courage enough to confront someone for whom you care deeply.

“Love is not always dressed in ‘nice,’” said Carolann De León, North Pacific Union Hispanic, family ministries and ministerial associate director. “Nice can actually be unloving because ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ are not the same thing. The person being confronted may not see it as nice, but it is a loving action from those who care. The real issue is motivation. Is it love, or is it self?”

A Willingness to Question

Katelyn Weakley, Mount Tabor Church pastor in Portland, met Steven* while sitting in a cafe a few years ago.

“He was reading at the table next to me, and the title of the book caught my attention,” Weakley said. “I told him it sounded like an interesting read, and we spent the next two hours talking.”

Over the next several months, Weakley and her husband met Steven — who identifies as a "post-anarchist, anti-feminist tribalist” — many times for conversation on a variety of topics. Though Weakley and her husband don’t necessarily identify with the same markers Steven does, “the dialogue is fantastic,” Weakley said.

“It’s because we all value relationships over being right,” she added. “Like my husband and I, Steven has a willingness and excitement to question, and coming into the conversation with curiosity rather than defense makes disagreeing in love a lot easier.”

The Weakleys and Steven consider each other friends, despite their differences, which is why Weakley felt comfortable confronting Steven about some destructive behaviors he was engaging in.

“Because I love him, I absolutely wanted to bring this up with him,” she said, “but I only felt comfortable broaching the subject because we have established a positive relationship, and together we can recognize that what I say comes from a place of love.”

"It's Not About Rightness"

In her book The Ministry of Healing, Ellen White wrote: “Every association of life calls for the exercise of self-control, forbearance and sympathy. We differ so widely in disposition, habits, education, that our ways of looking at things vary. ... Our understanding of truth, our ideas in regard to the conduct of life, are not in all respects the same. There are no two whose experience is alike in every particular. ... Each [person] should be careful in the estimate [they place] upon another” (p. 483).

Diversity and disagreement are a guarantee in most parts of our lives, but that doesn’t have to mean conflict and contempt. It starts with removing assumptions from the situation and approaching interactions with curiosity — a willingness to listen and humility.

“If we think, ‘It’s my way or the highway,’ we won’t make any progress whatsoever,” said Thompson. “If we are to disagree in love, we must make it clear they don’t have to see it our way, but we do need to allow each other’s views to be on the table at the same time. It’s not about rightness; it’s about relationship.”

This is the very definition of love, as outlined in what we know as “The Love Chapter” of the Bible, 1 Cor. 13: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful” (Cor. 13:4–5, emphasis added).

While not all interactions and associations are completely within our control — like: work colleagues, fellow church members, the people you run into at the DMV, classmates, extended family — developing and maintaining relationships are completely by choice. And that choice is simple, though not always easy: to love or not to love.

“On an everyday personal level, we experience this regularly,” said De León. “People share their own perspectives, and we are faced with a choice: Do we cut them off or ignore them? Or do we choose to remain in a loving relationship with people we know we disagree with fundamentally?”

Switching Glasses

To successfully navigate these waters, we have to be willing to consider that the window through which we see the world does not offer the same view as the window through which others see it. We may also need to reevaluate the window through which we see ourselves. 

“In love, there is a lot of room for humility,” said George Knight, Adventist historian, author and educator. “When we take ourselves too seriously, there is no room for growth or discovering and acknowledging that we don’t in fact have it all right every time. Disagreeing is an educational experience.”  

Love is, in fact, the litmus test for Christians, as De León pointed out. One of the key elements of discipleship is how we deal with those who don’t share our views. It doesn’t mean we have to concede right-of-way in every discussion, but it does mean taking a step back from our pride and allowing something more positive to fill that space.

In his book Beyond Common Ground, Thompson uses the analogy of a woman who visited her optometrist. As she peered into the instruments, the doctor asked her questions and made adjustments accordingly: “Is it clearer this way, with John, or this way, with Paul? What does a touch of Matthew do? Help or hinder? How about a little bit of Proverbs? Better or worse? Lamentations? Too much Lamentations? Philippians? How about a psalm? Does that help?” (p. 254).

When he concluded his exam, the optometrist was able to prescribe a set of lenses that fit the woman’s needs perfectly. The analogy continues: “Sometimes they would switch glasses—not in order to see more clearly, but to remind each other that their eyes really were quite different. Then they would both be grateful for their own. And with very different glasses they would gaze together at the distant mountains, rejoicing that they could both see them so clearly” (p. 254).

“Disagreeing in love doesn’t mean abandoning my own beliefs and thoughts,” Weakley stated. “It means I’m positioning myself in such a way that I can more humbly engage with someone. If I’m never in disagreement with anyone, I’m never giving myself opportunities to learn and grow. I need to be in those positions. We all do. To disagree in love is to allow space for discovering truth.”

Different By Design

In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians we read Paul’s words to the people of the church of Corinth, whom he had heard were divided. They were choosing sides behind their favorite preachers: Apollos, Paul, Cephas or Christ. “Is Christ divided?” Paul writes (1 Cor. 1:13). He implores them to “be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

But what does it mean to “be united?” 

“Unity is not uniformity,” Knight stated. “If you want uniformity, you’re probably going to destroy whatever of value you have. That’s an autocracy, and that never works in any relationship. If you want to be unified in principle, that’s a whole other thing. True unity is letting people be themselves within the framework of authority and mutual understanding of the fact that we’re individuals. We’re not clones.”

This individuality seems to be intentional. While humanity could have been designed uniformly, we were in fact given unique skills, abilities, interests, feelings and desires. We are different by design.

“Diversity is not an accident; it was created by God,” De León said. “Encountering people who are different from us challenges us to be respectful and makes us better people when we learn to honor diversity instead of repelling it. It’s God’s way of transforming us into agents of love and respect.”

It’s also the only way to have a functional organism. Life itself rejects uniformity; every leaf on a tree, every snowflake, the pattern on every cheetah, the shading of each feather on every bird — each is unique, even if they serve the same purpose as another. 

If we are to truly be the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12–27), we must become comfortable with differences and disagreements, knowing that despite our lack of uniformity, we are united as an effective instrument in the hands of a loving and gracious God. Whether this means flexing our muscles of loving confrontation or simply learning to listen without assumption or anger, we must honor and value diversity — not just in ethnicity or culture, but also in thought.

Ellen White points out "the Creator of all ideas may impress different minds with the same thought, but each may express it in a different way, yet without contradiction. The fact that this difference exists should not perplex or confuse us. It is seldom that two persons will view and express truth in the very same way. Each dwells on particular points which [their] constitution and education have fitted [them] to appreciate” (15 Letters and Manuscripts, Letter 53).

The True Mark of a Christian

Once we have acknowledged and accepted the value of diversity of thought, what is our response to be when we find ourselves at odds with someone on an issue about which we both feel passionately? How can we acknowledge their different perspectives and not sacrifice our own? What does a loving disagreement look like?

For De León, it starts with prayer. “If I know a conversation is going to be heated, I ask if we can pray before we begin,” she explained. “I invite the Spirit into the conversation and ask for ears to hear each other and the ability to empathize with each other’s differentness.”

It also helps to keep in mind that everyone has a reason they think and believe how they do, Weakley asserted. Just because their thoughts and beliefs don’t match our own doesn’t make the other person wrong, and if we aren’t taking ourselves too seriously, as Knight suggests we ought not, there is plenty of room for listening and understanding. Plenty of room for love.

“We all bring our background and experiences into our opinions and beliefs,” Weakley added. “Implementing the golden rule is crucial here — to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I don’t want to be convinced I’m wrong, and I don’t want to be treated like I’m stupid for holding a particular idea. The person I disagree with doesn’t want those things either, which is why a loving approach is so integral for profitable disagreements.”

The reality is that, much like parents and teachers learn that every child requires a different disciplinary style, disagreeing in love will look different in nearly every scenario. There is no step-by-step instruction manual, no formula to follow to get the same results every time, because love looks different to everyone. Seeing the situation and relationship through the other person’s eyes can guide our response and help us determine what a loving disagreement would look like in a given situation.

“Life has been likened to a stream in which you never have exactly the same situation twice,” Knight said. “Every one of us is changed by every interaction we have with someone else. So my wife and I, for example, can argue on the same topic several months apart, but it’s not exactly the same dynamic. We should have learned something in the meantime and should be able to handle the disagreement better, or at least differently, than we did the first time.”

However, as Knight also points out, not everyone is equally flexible in their ability to shift gears or adopt new perspectives. And not everyone involved in a disagreeable conversation is prepared or able to do so in love. So, regardless of how lovingly we enter into a disagreement, there is never a guarantee that the response will be positive or the result desirable. The only reasonable approach, therefore, is to follow the example of Christ and do it in love anyway. For love is the true mark of a Christian.

White wrote, “It is not earthly rank, nor birth, nor nationality, nor religious privilege, which proves that we are members of the family of God; it is love, a love that embraces all humanity” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p. 75).

“Anywhere we go we’ll be in a diverse group of people with diverse opinions and perspectives, and that is God-ordained,” De León said. “We will celebrate eternity with a diverse group of people, and we will all have one thing in common: Love.”

*name has been changed

 

1 (Matt. 12:1–14, Mark 2:23–28)

2 (Matt. 23:1–39, Luke 11:37–52)

3 (Luke 8:43–48, Matt. 8:1–3, John 4:4–42)

4 (John 2:13–16)

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Becky St. Clair Love vs. Self Jesus said people will know we are Christians by our love. If we really believe these divine words, we have some work to do when it comes to disagreeing in love.
2022 Caring Heart Awards https://nwadventists.com/feature/2022-caring-heart-awards 15 academy students exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others — received the Caring Heart Award scholarship. Adventist Education Caring Heart Education 33208 Thu, 21 Jul 2022 11:50:00 -0700 Features

Fifteen Northwest academy students received the $500 Caring Heart Award scholarship, made possible through three-way funding from the North Pacific Union Conference, local conferences and academies. Students were selected by their schools for exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others. The North American Division provided each student with a plaque and an engraved Bible. The scholarships may be used toward tuition at an Adventist school or on a short-term mission trip.

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Isaac Hammond

Isaac Hammond, Amazing Grace Academy

Isaac Hammond

Amazing Grace Academy

Isaac Hammond joined the Amazing Grace Academy family this year and has actively sought out ways to be kind to others and be a positive leader. He has a love of music and has led out in our daily morning worship. His music leadership has extended to the Palmer Church as well, where he shares worship music frequently.   

When Isaac came to AGA this year, he immediately started setting an example of being kind to others and being careful about what he says about others. When working with younger students in family groups, he is patient and gentle with the young students while helping them follow directions and work together. 

Isaac’s positive sportsmanship has been a great asset to the volleyball team and any intramural activities he’s involved in. Isaac has shown thoughtful leadership as the spiritual vice president of the student association.

We are looking forward to seeing how God continues to work in Isaac’s life and how He will continue to lead Issac to positively impact others.

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Isabella Branson

Isabella Branson, Auburn Adventist Academy

Isabella Branson

Auburn Adventist Academy

Isabella Branson, a junior at Auburn Adventist Academy, is a kind, motivated, hard-working leader. As the associated student body social vice president, she uses her leadership qualities to help create activities that bring the student body together.

Isabella was instrumental in bringing back an all-school banquet, which had not taken place since 2019 due to COVID-19. Stephanie Brito, assistant girls’ dean, shared this about Isabella. “She was very self-sufficient and proactive. She could see what needed to be done and would do a great job doing it.”

Joy Fackenthall, Spanish teacher said, “Isabella Branson always strives for excellence! She is also willing to use her understanding [of a subject] to help any student around her who needs extra support.”

Her kindness toward others who need extra support resulted in her co-founding a student mentorship club on campus. Isabella was described by Eddy Darisme, AAA chaplain, as a “strong critical thinker in the classroom and loves to debate. She is respectful of perspectives that are different from hers and strives to do her best.”

These qualities are also evident in her work ethic as a student employee. Bryce Sampsel, science and math teacher, said, "She is responsible and helps a lot with organization. I appreciate her willingness to do any classroom task without complaining — from cleaning to data entry. She is also kind and works well with co-workers."

Her cheerfulness, willingness to take on new challenges, strength, creativity and a great attitude are her many attributes. For these reasons, the faculty and staff at AAA are honored to recognize Isabella Branson as the recipient of the 2022 Caring Hearts Award.

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Josué Mendez

Josué Mendez, Columbia Adventist Academy

Josué Mendez

Columbia Adventist Academy

From a very young age, the desire to know God has played an integral part in directing the path Josué has chosen. His desire to know God leads to caring for and blessing others and glorifying God. With a heart for God, family and friends, and a great admiration for his mother as his first spiritual mentor, he has taken advantage of every opportunity to develop his devotional life and become a humble, earnest student of Scripture with Spirit-led depth.

Always anxious to do what is right, this desire is exhibited wherever he goes, whether in a church leading worship in singing and speaking, in his community helping and caring for others or on the field playing soccer. Quick to offer friendship, he is uplifting, encouraging and a role model and mentor to all. He has been the student chaplain for three years at CAA, taking initiative and ownership beyond most.

Aaron Payne, mentor and CAA chaplain said, “Not only does Josué have a heart for Jesus, but he ‘gets’ ministry and is always searching for ways to grow: watching sermons, talking with pastors and reading books.”

Some might be surprised that a high school senior is such a great leader. But as a family friend once said, “If you’ve ever heard his mom pray for him, it's no surprise.”

His internship with Crosswalk Church this summer will continue to shape him. And while we will miss his presence and friendship on our campus, his influence and spirit will continue. For that, we thank him and give praise to God.

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Stuart McPherson

Stuart McPherson, Cascade Christian Academy

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Stuart McPherson

Stuart McPherson

Cascade Christian Academy

Caring and committed are two words that describe Stuart McPherson, Cascade Christian Academy senior and Caring Heart Award winner. Stuart is a student who is always ready to help out.

Quiet and hardworking, Stuart shows his love for Jesus more through his actions than through his words. Recently, Stuart spent 10 days on a school mission trip laying pipe, pouring foundations, staining wood, and doing yard work and repairs at Camp Waianae in Oahu, Hawaii. When he returned, he was one of the student speakers for the K–12 week of worship.

A member of cross-country and track, he is always on the run. He is a French horn player in the advanced band and a part of the high school hand bell choir. He is also the photo editor for the yearbook.

“Stuart puts his heart and soul into everything he does,” said Kyle Pepple, senior sponsor and math teacher. “He leads by example and is respected by all students and staff. Whether he is speaking for week of worship, attacking the hurdles at a track meet or leading a work crew on our mission trip to Camp Waianae, Stuart brings a fearless, can-do attitude to the table."

Next year, he plans to attend Walla Walla University and study engineering. Pepple said, "Good luck at Walla Walla, Stuart. The engineering department is lucky to have you."

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Ivy Baltazar

Ivy Baltazar, Gem State Adventist Academy

Ivy Baltazar

Gem State Adventist Academy

Ivy Baltazar, a junior at Gem State Adventist Academy, has a big heart and would do anything for her family and friends. She is very artistic and a hard worker in class, always doing her part and never too busy to assist and inspire others. This year, Ivy is the spiritual vice president for her class and has served well in that position planning vespers, Sabbath School programs and giving a sermon during student week of prayer.

During spring break 2022, Ivy participated in a mission trip to Alaska. To help raise funds for the trip, she put her artistic talent to work and sold commissioned original artwork. While on the trip, group leaders appreciated her quiet care for everyone around her, from phoning home every day to talk to her little sister to sharing food with her teammates and caring for them all. In addition, she interacted well with the local children attending the Vacation Bible School and was an appreciated part of the team.

Ivy believes that missionary work may be part of her future after finishing academy. She is prayerfully considering the paths on which God may lead her.

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Rachael Littman

Rachael Littman, Livingstone Adventist Academy

Rachael Littman

Livingstone Adventist Academy

Rachael Littman is a junior at Livingstone Adventist Academy in Salem, Oregon.

As a class officer, a spiritual leader and a music leader, Rachael is very involved in campus leadership. She is a dedicated student, and she helps her class stay organized and on task. She is frequently seen encouraging students in all classes. She was also instrumental in helping plan week of prayer activities on campus.

At her home church in Eugene, Rachael plays piano for Sabbath School and helps lead music with a praise team once a month. She also plays piano at school and works to include others in music-making endeavors.

Rachael is a person who can always be counted on to get things done. No matter who needs help, she is always one of the first to step up and provide assistance. She is very organized and accomplishes challenging tasks with the spirit of Col. 3:23: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."

Thank you, Rachael, for your godly spirit and caring heart.

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Zechariah Heston

Zechariah Heston, Milo Adventist Academy

Zechariah Heston

Milo Adventist Academy

With his infectious laugh, energetic attitude and a bounce in his steps, Zechariah Ethan Montgomery Heston, a Milo Adventist Academy senior, has made a lasting impression on the entire staff and student body during his three years at Milo. He has shown himself to be a loyal friend and strong supporter of his peers with his listening ear. He has earned the trust and confidence of so many through his concern for their well-being.

Zech’s care and concern for others have especially been felt through his role as a student chaplain. His enthusiasm and advice for living a life of meaning and purpose for others can best be summed up in his own words. During a talk to his fellow students earlier this year, he said, “Vibe as who you are, which means to be a cool kid, be a genuine person.”

Putting his own advice into practice each week, Zech prepares and sets up the tools and vehicles for Milo’s weekly service-day outreach. The program serves the local community every Friday morning. It is not uncommon to hear Zech cheerfully whistling or singing down the hallway as he prepares and organizes everything needed to run the program smoothly.

Zech's mission to help people while also utilizing his artistic talents and skills are attributes Zech hopes to use in a future career in art and computer animation. He is anxiously awaiting the doors God opens for his educational path. His parents are Mark and Lydia Heston from Stites, Idaho.

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Shelby Waller

Shelby Waller, Mount Ellis Academy

Shelby Waller

Mount Ellis Academy

Shelby Waller was born in Washington and grew up in Montana and Colorado. Shelby enjoys family, the great outdoors, horses, music, and helping friends and classmates with class work or issues they might be dealing with. 

Shelby completed her first three years of high school at Campion Academy in Colorado. There, she excelled academically, was involved in a small worship group and became a Teen Leader in Training (TLT) in the Loveland Pathfinder troop. Shelby met friends who challenged her to grow in her relationship with God and to begin her thought process of a life in ministry.

Shelby transferred to Mount Ellis Academy her senior year. She joined with other students from each grade level to take on chaplaincy duties for the school in the absence of a staff chaplain. As the senior class chaplain, she assisted in starting small group Bible studies, she organized and presented for week of prayer — both at the academy and elementary school — and preached when needed.

After graduation, Shelby plans to continue leading as a TLT. She will also continue to cultivate her desire for ministry, with a focus on foreign missions. She looks forward to a future of working for Jesus wherever that may take her. "Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go," she says.

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Alexander Diego Rivera

Alexander Diego Rivera, Orcas Christian School

Alexander Diego Rivera

Orcas Christian School

Whether you are looking for help running a station at a school event, serving food at a community dinner, playing worship music at chapel or moving the contents of a classroom across campus after a pipe bursts, Alexander Diego Rivera will be there ready and willing to help. His quiet strength, confidence and natural affinity for leadership have made him an asset to Orcas Christian School. For four years, OCS has been blessed to have him in the classroom, on the basketball court and at church.  

Not only does Diego work hard to serve others, he is also a member of the National Honors Society, first in his graduating class and is pursuing his private pilot certificate. In the classroom, he is engaged, inquisitive and ready to help support others’ learning.

Most recently, Diego showed his caring heart by attending the school’s mission trip to San Pedro, Belize. Despite having no prior building experience, Diego was not deterred from helping expand the roof of the school’s pavilion. He jumped into the project without hesitation, eager to help and eager to learn.  

It has been OCS's privilege to teach and encourage Diego for four years. The OCS teachers and staff pray that God continues to use Diego’s hands to bless others.

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Shamara Daniels

Shamara Daniels, Portland Adventist Academy

Shamara Daniels

Portland Adventist Academy

Shamara Daniels is a self-sacrificing, humble and dedicated Christian. Shamara has made a strong impression during her four years at Portland Adventist Academy.  

She is a compassionate listener who provides unwavering support to other students. Shamara has exemplified the loving character of her Creator. She seeks to find the best in others and can pull out the hidden strengths found in those around her.

In a school community where students are encouraged to make a difference in the lives of others, Shamara has provided support to her family, her church community, and the students and staff of Portland Adventist Academy. Shamara’s core foundation is to live a life filled with a gentle spirit, which shines with the light of Christ. She is an outspoken witness to her walk with God and is loyal to Him above all else.

Shamara is a caretaker to her peers. She seeks to lift up those who are hurting. She celebrates those who are striving to reach a goal. She brings out the best in others. Shamara lives her life like the widow who put her money quietly into the collection plate. She seeks no reward or accolades for her actions or service, and she works for the Lord unapologetically. Shamara leaves a legacy at PAA for others to follow. It is a legacy of strength in the foundation of her salvation-seeking joy, a loyalty to her peers and Christ-centered compassion, offered to all.

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Tyler Sin

Tyler Sin, Puget Sound Adventist Academy

Tyler Sing

Puget Sound Adventist Academy

Because Tyler Sing is eager to help his fellow students and the staff at Puget Sound Adventist Academy, he was selected, by teachers and staff, to receive this year's Caring Heart Award. Throughout his four years on our campus, he has demonstrated this heart of service countless times. Staff have often witnessed these acts of service and have noted how he does so quietly, showing no desire for congratulations. Many times, he has taken initiative to ask staff and students if help is needed on a project they are working on. 

Tyler stands out as a student who truly cares about his school and community. His desire and dependability to take initiative have made a noticeable impact on PSAA, and we know that he will continue to do so wherever he goes. For these reasons, PSAA is pleased to recognize Tyler Sing as this year’s Caring Heart Award recipient.

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Jeremy Haddad

Jeremy Haddad, Rogue Valley Adventist Academy

Jeremy Haddad

Rogue Valley Adventist Academy

Jeremy Haddad is a believer in community service. He recognizes and responds to those in need, whether it be on a school-sponsored mission trip, in his local community or in his daily interactions with others.

The Rogue Valley Adventist Academy staff can always rely on Jeremy to lend a helping hand. The community service coordinator appreciates Jeremy for seeking him out to ask if there is anything he can help with.

Jeremy is the son of Dr. Haitham and Sheila Haddad. He has an older sister, Jasmine, and a twin brother, David. Jeremy has lived most of his life in Grants Pass, Oregon, where he also attended Grants Pass Adventist School throughout his elementary years. He joined Rogue Valley Adventist Academy his freshman year. Currently, he plans to attend Walla Walla University this fall.

Being kind is a quality Jeremy extends to everyone he meets. It is easy to recognize his caring heart because of his desire to serve, care and help those in need. It is for these reasons the staff and teachers at RVAA are privileged to extend the Caring Heart Award to Jeremy Haddad.

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Shayla Mountain

Shayla Mountain, Skagit Adventist Academy

Shayla Mountain

Skagit Adventist Academy

Skagit Adventist Academy is pleased to nominate senior, Shayla Mountain, as this year’s Caring Heart Award recipient. Shayla’s caring and thoughtful spirit is seen during outreach activities at her local church. She is known for helping at Vacation Bible School and Children’s Church, joining the youth to invite the local community to meetings at the church and doing yard work and cleanup for housebound seniors. 

SAA has been blessed with Shayla’s creativity as a two-year member of the yearbook staff. She shared her artistic talents last year by designing the 2020–2021 yearbook cover. During the pandemic days of distance-learning, Shayla used watercolors to illustrate encouraging Bible verses that brightened the lives of others who were stuck inside. In addition to her creativity, Shayla has been involved in intramural activities and the school’s football team. She was a part of football tournaments in 2019 and 2020. 

Her career goal is to be an art teacher. Shayla is contemplating starting at her local community college to fulfill her prerequisite classes and then finishing her four-year degree at Walla Walla University. Her parents are Aaron and Rachel Mountain.

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Calina Prouty

Calina Prouty, Upper Columbia Academy

Calina Prouty

Upper Columbia Academy

Calina Prouty is a shining example of Christ-like character and genuine kindness. Within her large family, she is a pillar of positivity as she cares for five younger siblings as well as her parents and grandparents. At school, she is always full of joy and will go out of her way to serve anyone around her that needs help or a word of encouragement.

Calina grew up in a variety of different faiths as her family moved around. It wasn’t until they spent some time living with her grandparents that she was introduced to the Adventist Church and found peace and a closer walk with God. She has grown in her shining witness of Christian values and authenticity and often talks about her relationship with God and how much her faith has supported herself and her family through challenging life experiences.

It has been an absolute pleasure to have Calina as a student at Upper Columbia Academy. Her soft-spoken nature impacts her volunteer work. She actively helps staff and students alike with any task or emotional support that might be needed. Even on hard days, Calina sacrifices her time and resources to improve the day of those around her.

UCA is proud to share this year's Caring Heart Award with Calina Prouty. May everyone learn to love like Calina and Jesus!

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Ray Trees III

Ray Trees III, Walla Walla Valley Academy

Raymond Trees III

Walla Walla Valley Academy

Raymond Trees III, Walla Walla Valley Academy graduating senior, loves airplanes. You will always find him looking up whenever one flies over. He plans to become a pilot and learn how to do some repairs if needed.

Ray is also a very talented trumpet player. He started playing trumpet during his 5th-grade year at Rogers Adventist School, following in his fraternal grandmother's footsteps — a trumpet player in school and beyond. He has been the leading musician in the trumpet section since junior high, and all four years in high school. Ray is involved in the community by playing with the Walla Walla Valley Bands and the Inland Northwest Musicians, under the direction of Lee Friese. As a leader in the school band, Ray has encouraged and helped his peers to always strive to do their best and give one hundred percent. 

Ray is always willing to help out whenever asked. He has used his talents with audio/visual and computers for the many plays and events held at WWVA. Throughout the pandemic, Ray helped with the live-streaming of classes and various events.

Ray is also a member of the National Honors Society, and volunteers in community outreach with his peers. Ray joins local food drives, helping with sandbags during the flooding of 2020 and various sporting events. Ray has participated in baseball all four years of high school, was a senator for his class as a sophomore and junior, and is currently the senior class president.

Ray's life has exemplified Walla Walla Valley Academy's mission — Spiritual Awakening, Academic Distinction, Teamwork and Collaboration, Community Connection and Service and a Culture of Gratitude. WWVA will miss Ray, but knows he will be doing great things in the future.

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2022 Caring Heart Awards 15 academy students exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others — received the Caring Heart Award scholarship.
President's Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/presidents-report-20162020 Another North Pacific Union constituency session is just around the corner. While it is hard to believe it’s been more than five years since we last gathered, much has changed since 2016. John Freedman Church constituency session Mission and Outreach president 32938 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:46:00 -0700 Features

Focus on Mission

Another North Pacific Union constituency session is just around the corner. While it is hard to believe it’s been more than five years since we last gathered, much has changed since 2016. Today, our country seems more divided than ever in the wake of the polarizing events we’ve come through. 

As a church, we have important work to do. Our mission is to reach all people within the North Pacific Union and the world with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.

When we gather for our constituency session in August, we’re going to do four things to help us remain focused on our mission of reaching one more. We will remember, renew, refocus and act. 

Just as we will do in person, in the next few pages, I want to remember how God has led us. I want to encourage spiritual renewal and invite the Holy Spirit to continue leading us. I want to refocus our attention on the future and outline upcoming plans. And finally, as Northwest members, I want to look at the ways we can take action to continue carrying out our mission.

Our mission is to reach all people within the North Pacific Union and the world with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.

Mission

Priorities:

  • Youth and Young Adult Involvement
  • Adventist Education Support
  • Cutting-edge Evangelism Emphasis 
  • Small Conference Collaboration
  • Leadership Development

Our Special Role

Headquartered in Ridgefield, Washington, the NPUC facilitates the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church throughout Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. We provide services and resources for more than 100,000 church members in more than 500 churches and companies throughout our territory, as well as 125 elementary and secondary schools, one university, eight summer camps and many community outreach ministries.

Since becoming the North Pacific Union president, I've worked with our executive committee to hone our purpose. Our vision to live out our mission is this: As Christians looking for Jesus soon return, we will reflect His character, show His unconditional love for all people and passionately share the gospel. 

There is power in God’s unconditional love. That stands in stark contrast to how the world views power. The world has a love of power, and it is tightly grasped to control others.

Unlike the world, Jesus laid out a different example for us in the form of service. A servant’s heart can harness untold power when we love the way God loves. Here at the union, our special role is to serve our six conferences in ways that enable our ministry to thrive and grow in the local church. We have placed a strong emphasis on the value of servant leadership and collaboration with our local conferences.

In our efforts to lead and collaborate, we’ve trimmed our operations to allocate as many resources as possible to the local conference. We’ve accomplished this while still fulfilling the vital duties assigned to unions in our interconnected church structure.

I’m very proud of our efficient team. Tasks like pastor and teacher credentialing, curriculum development, member and public communications, legal review and financial oversight and training are performed with excellence. We are the smallest team of any union in North America, even though we represent more members than several other unions.

As Christians looking for Jesus soon return, we will reflect His character, show His unconditional love for all people and passionately share the gospel.

Vision

Remembering His Leading

I’m grateful for the many ways I have seen God at work since 2016. Even though we’ve been through some very challenging times, remembering God's blessings and leadership gives us the courage to move forward in faith.

In early 2020, COVID-19 thundered across the Northwest, causing one of the most dramatic ministry shifts in the past century. I was preaching evangelistic meetings at the time. It was so painful to make the decision to cancel meetings and close the church doors just when people were engaged and excited about all they were learning from the Bible. 

My meetings were not the only ones affected by the pandemic. Dozens of churches were forced to shut down. Churches and schools faced significant challenges to alter their ministries. It was a discouraging time.

Despite the radical overnight shift our churches and schools faced, God provided strength, wisdom and resilience to enable education and church community to continue. I am incredibly proud of our pastors, teachers and church leaders across the union who made heroic contributions to ensure ongoing ministry. 

At the union, we quickly retooled and began regular remote meetings with conference leaders. Our staff found new ways to encourage and support those we serve. In-person training events shifted to virtual conferences. The 2020 Children’s Ministries Convention, Urban Ministries Convention and several other online conferences supporting pastoral staff, provided valuable resources to our members both in English and Spanish. These virtual platforms enabled more attendees than ever to access this training.

I’m grateful we were able to partner with the North American Division to provide additional financial support to our conferences during the pandemic.

Another pandemic blessing was the continued faithful giving by members across the Northwest. We experienced strong tithe gains despite the shutdowns. Many took greater advantage of online giving options to share their tithe and offerings with the local church and conference. Today, approximately 60% of members give online.  

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Pandemic Conference Support

Pandemic Conference Support

  • Alaska Conference: $84,284.33
  • Idaho Conference: $95,289.18
  • Montana Conference: $84,156.14
  • Oregon Conference: $298,958.74
  • Upper Columbia Conference: $246,984.76
  • Washington Conference: $217,003.95
  • Total: $1,026,677.11

A Time of Renewal

God’s faithfulness and leading have been so evident. He has empowered our faith community through some very challenging times. Just like Jehoshaphat in 2 Chron. 20:21, I invite you to praise God for His enduring love and faithfulness. We have so much to be thankful for.  

While I am awed by God’s leading, I feel an urgency. The world, in turmoil around us, is looking for answers and meaning. Now more than ever, I feel the need to reflect God’s love. A focus on Jesus and His matchless love opens our hearts to receive the anointing of the Spirit. 

We desperately need the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The outpouring of God's Spirit is what will empower us to overcome the challenges our church faces as we emerge from the pandemic.

Refocusing on the Future

As churches and schools find a new normal, it is vital to refocus on the future and the opportunities for outreach ahead. As we look to the future, there are several main areas the NPUC plans to prioritize.

First, we plan to continue placing priority on youth and young adult engagement. Our church needs strong committed leadership today and tomorrow. Priority must be given to finding, equipping and mentoring young leaders. 

Our work with the Growing Together initiative across the union during the past quinquennium specifically targets this vital need. It brings members of all ages together to build a thriving multi-generation church ministry team.

In addition to the Growing Together work, we’re continuing to fund education opportunities at Walla Walla University for NPUC students not currently attending Adventist schools. We’ve already committed $1 million for this cause with more to come. 

In addition to young adult engagement and mentorship, the NPUC plans to continue working to build up the outreach efforts of our three small conferences. We began this work in Idaho with exciting results. In 2020, plans were made to begin a major evangelistic effort in Idaho in 2021. Dozens of meeting sites were selected and speakers booked. 

In the final days of 2021, Idaho led the union in baptisms for the year and celebrated its second-highest number of baptisms on record. This outstanding effort was successful due to the collaboration between the union and our large conferences. The Oregon, Upper Columbia and Washington conferences not only share a portion of their tithe to support growth in the smaller conferences, but they also have committed their evangelist teams to provide one campaign a year in each of the three conferences. 

Evangelism is not the only place we’re working to build and focus on the future. Every year, the NPUC works with our conference leadership to provide customized leadership development to officers, directors and pastors. We provide coaching, training and resources to equip and grow our leadership team. We’ve worked with the North American Division by using some of their resources as well as developing some of our own.

Acting Through Faith

Here’s where things get real. This is where you and I talk about what’s going to take our faith community beyond serving ourselves and into the realm of truly making a tangible impact for Christ. 

We can make all the plans in the world, but they won’t achieve any lasting results unless we’re intentional. The Internet and social media have enabled people to spot fake news faster than ever before. You know what? That's exactly what they'll see in us unless we actively seek Jesus.

Let’s intentionally seek to know Jesus and reflect His love in all our interactions with others. We have to choose the things that He wants in order to be more than a hollow Christian. When we daily seek to learn about Jesus and study how He lived out God’s love here on earth, that’s when people will begin to notice. 

Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32, ESV).

When people see Jesus, and when they see God’s love lived out through us, that’s when real power will begin to flow through the church. That’s a goal worth working toward. Won’t you join me?

It has been a real honor to serve you this past quinquennium. I look forward to seeing how God will lead and guide the NPUC as we move forward together in His power and might!

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John Freedman President's Report 2016–2020 Another North Pacific Union constituency session is just around the corner. While it is hard to believe it’s been more than five years since we last gathered, much has changed since 2016.
Secretariat Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/secretariat-report-20162020 Secretariat provides administrative leadership, strategic planning and support to Adventist leaders throughout the North Pacific Union as we work together to reach our population with the distinctive Christ-centered message of hope and wholeness. Bill McClendon Church constituency session Secretariat 32931 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:45:00 -0700 Features

The secretariat office ensures smooth administrative operations of the North Pacific Union and its associated entities. The secretariat functions as the custodian of records and policies while overseeing the implementation of the executive committee actions. 

The secretariat helps provide oversight of union office operations and functions; maintains and distributes official minutes, policies and resolutions of the North Pacific Union Executive Committee; and ensures that the union, its conferences and entities abide by their respective constitutions and bylaws.

In addition, our office is responsible for the maintenance of personnel records and the issuing of appropriate credentials and licenses to North Pacific Union workers and retirees. 

To provide administrative leadership, strategic planning and support to Adventist leaders throughout the North Pacific Union as we work together to reach our population with the distinctive Christ-centered message of hope and wholeness.

Mission

Fast Facts

  • For the first time in our history, the membership of NPUC crossed the 100,000 mark in 2016. NPUC currently ranks 6th in size among the nine unions that make up the North American Division.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 experienced a net loss of membership for the first time in almost 100 years.
  • Six conferences make up the NPUC territory: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Upper Columbia and Washington. Oregon is the largest conference with 36,589 members, while Alaska is the smallest with 3,870 members.
  • While Washington is geographically the smallest conference, it is the fastest-growing.
  • In June 2019, the NPUC hosted and helped sponsor a meeting with 13 General Conference Division Secretaries from around the world in hopes of better understanding how we are carrying out the mission in NPUC.
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North Pacific Union membership ranking against the other unions in the North American Division (based on 2020 membership).

North Pacific Union membership ranking against the other unions in the North American Division (based on 2020 membership).

Ranking of NPUC among NAD Unions

(Based on membership for 2020)

  • Southern: 308,337
  • Pacific: 220,791
  • Columbia: 148,963
  • Atlantic: 127,771
  • Southwestern: 124,722
  • North Pacific: 102,579
  • Lake: 88,505
  • Canada: 73,471
  • Mid-America: 64,787

Accomplishments:

  • Leadership Transitions: This quinquennium has brought an unusually large number of conference leadership transitions. The NPUC administration has worked with local executive committees and standing nominating committees to provide an efficient and smooth officer selection process to fill these vacancies.  
  • Leadership Development: We have developed and performed comprehensive midterm and end of term performance evaluations for conference officers and departmental directors. 
  • Church Attendance: Accurate attendance figures have been taken for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 in all six conferences in the North Pacific Union (see graph below). The total average church attendance figures on any given Sabbath for the four years combined is 39.68 percent of NPUC church membership. Due to the pandemic, we did not take church attendance in 2020.
  • Union Operations: We have made significant changes in ministry and support services throughout this quinquennium, resulting in inefficiencies that have allowed us to reduce the number of full-time employees by nearly 15%.
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North Pacific Union church attendance for 2016–2020.

North Pacific Union church attendance for 2016–2020.

Attendance

  • 2020: None was taken due to the pandemic
  • 2019: 39%
  • 2018: 40.6%
  • 2017: 40.6%
  • 2016: 40.8%

Opportunities:

  • We have an opportunity to focus on renewing membership growth.
  • Attendance is waning. What are the ways we can rebuild member participation?
  • We must continue to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.
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North Pacific Union membership for 2016–2020.

North Pacific Union membership for 2016–2020.

Membership

  • 2020: 102,579
  • 2019: 102,814
  • 2018: 102,450
  • 2017: 101,909
  • 2016: 100,801
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Bill McClendon Secretariat Report 2016–2020 Secretariat provides administrative leadership, strategic planning and support to Adventist leaders throughout the North Pacific Union as we work together to reach our population with the distinctive Christ-centered message of hope and wholeness.
Treasury Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/treasury-report-20162020 The treasury department seeks to be honest and accountable stewards of the funds God provides for the fulfilling of His mission through this church. Mark Remboldt Church constituency session Treasury 32928 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:45:00 -0700 Features

The Treasurer and the entire treasury department ensure that financial policies and practices of the North Pacific Union are consistent with general church guidelines and the four basic principles in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP): cost, revenue, matching and disclosure. The treasurer provides monthly financial statements and reports to the Executive Committee members and departmental directors. Yearly budgets are developed by the treasurer and presented to various committees. The treasurer also acts as a counselor to local conference, university and academy treasurers. Department staff take care of human resource benefits and issues, personnel records, payroll and health benefits.

To be honest and accountable stewards of the funds God provides for the fulfilling of His mission through this church.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • The North Pacific Union received a clean, unqualified audit opinion by the General Conference Auditing Service each year during this quinquennium.
  • From 2016–2020, a total of $21,114,273 was given to Walla Walla University by the NPUC and its conferences.
  • During the past five years, $7,656,949 was expensed and appropriated for Evangelism by the Union office.
  • $946,800 was given by the NPUC for Hispanic Scholarships within the K–12 educational program — a 40% increase compared from the previous five years.
  • Tithe received in 2016 through 2020 amounted to $484,152,106. The Union office retained 9% for operations.

Accomplishments:

  • During the past years, we have assisted all six local conferences in the use and development of our accounting and payroll software package from the North American Division office. Annually, we conducted a treasury council for all conference treasury personnel and academy vice presidents for finance. In this setting, we have discussed changes and developments of church accounting practices and policies, and we created a forum for interactive training. The NPUC mentors its local financial leaders in communicating financial data clearly and distinctly to its constituents.  
  • Each month, we provide a monthly financial statement and report highlighting key indicators and provide tools for financial analysis to our executive board members and departments.  
  • Every year, finance and audit review committees met two or more times to review current finances, audits and budgets, and to make financial recommendations to the executive board.
  • Despite the pandemic years (2020–2022), we maintained operations as well as office hours. Contingencies were developed in preparation for a financial downturn due to pandemic challenges. With the decline of travel and meetings, we were able to use a virtual platform for communications. This has reduced travel and meeting expenses.  
  • Budgets have been developed and provided in a timely fashion each year and month. Participation with the development of the budget is enhanced by officers and department directors. Each department gives input regarding income and expense items for the year.   

Opportunities:

  •  Additional funding is needed to help meet the growing diversity in our church. There are capital needs to update and/or provide a place of worship for our growing ethnic groups and companies. Many of our ethnic families cannot afford to send their children to Adventist schools. Changes need to be made to provide elementary and secondary education for all of our members’ children.
  • There is a growing need to increase our funding for internships in all areas of the church. There is a decline of students wishing to enter the ministry or other church employment, such as treasury.
  • Capital Improvements — How do we provide funding for aging physical plants, within areas of ever-increasing costs and property values?
  • Economics — We must prayerfully find ways to decrease expenditures without undermining essential programs and supportive services.
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Mark Remboldt Treasury Report 2016–2020 The treasury department seeks to be honest and accountable stewards of the funds God provides for the fulfilling of His mission through this church.
Education Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/education-report-2016%E2%80%932020 Adventist education is an essential partner in ministry to bring Faith, Hope and Wholeness to students and families of the North Pacific Union. Educators lead students to encounter Jesus, find evidence for faith, engage the distinctive Adventist worl Dennis Plubell Church constituency session Education 32924 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:44:00 -0700 Features

Churches provide the place (school facilities), and the conference employs personnel and oversees program administration for all Adventist schools. So, what is the role and function of the North Pacific Union Conference Office of Education? Our NPUC team of educational leaders collaborates with conference and school leaders to ensure that:

  • The clear purpose and foundational philosophy of Adventist education is focused on leading students to encounter Jesus and experience excellence in learning. 
  • We facilitate professional conferences, research perspectives and trends, facilitate strategic planning by schools and conferences and consult and counsel with various boards and committees to meet this sacred goal.
  • Core curricular programs in Adventist schools have appropriate top-quality, faith-based products and resources to support learning excellence. 
  • We lead curriculum development committees and provide funding (grants and matching funds) for the adoption of learning materials that support instruction embedded in an Adventist Christian worldview.
  • Coherent policies are developed and maintained to effectively guide the programs and operations of northwest Adventist schools. 
  • We lead in the research, development and adoption of policies that represent education best-practices and ensure alignment with denominational policies, as well as applicable state and national regulations.
  • Competent personnel in Adventist schools (teachers and administrators) have access to effective professional development. 
  • We fund continuing education and convention attendance, and we connect with conference and school leaders in planning and implementing new professional growth initiatives.
  • Consistent accountability for programs and personnel is administered to ensure quality Adventist education. 
  • We lead, facilitate and/or participate in school accreditation visits (program accountability). We manage all aspects of the denominational educator certification program (personnel accountability).

Adventist education is an essential partner in ministry to bring Faith, Hope and Wholeness to students and families of the North Pacific Union. Educators lead students to encounter Jesus, find evidence for faith, engage the distinctive Adventist worldview for life and experience excellence in learning.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • 6,608 students were reported in the opening K–12 enrollment for last school year (2021–2022), the highest student enrollment in twelve years (since 2009).
  • 731 children on average over the last five years have been educated and cared for in 41 NPUC Early Childhood programs/centers.
  • 524 educators have NAD Educator certificates issued/maintained by the NPUC Office of Education Registrar.
  • 70% increase in funding for teacher affirmation and appreciation activities was provided during the last two pandemic school years.
  • $1.12 million is provided in direct operating subsidies to senior academies and small remote schools annually in an NPUC-unique funding program.

Accomplishments:

  • Provided guidance and support for the recognition of the first senior academy in the Alaska Conference, Amazing Grace Academy (K–12) in Palmer, Alaska.
  • Collaborated with WWU in sending a joint academy-university marketing mailer to highlight the value of Adventist education to early teen (junior high) students.
  • Led in the training and implementation of the new ENCOUNTER Bible course curriculum across all grades K–12.
  • Chaired curriculum committees each summer writing and editing learning standards in various subject areas across the grades.
  • Facilitated the adoption, training and implementation of a new annual student assessment program.
  • Participated in the redevelopment and publication of NAD Handbooks for school boards, conference superintendents, principals and teacher certification.
  • Collaborated in the strategic development and led early implementation steps for standards-referenced student learning and assessment.
  • Supported a teacher coaching program and established curriculum coaching to assist in the implementation of a standards-referenced learning program.
  • Reviewed, revised and updated the complete NPUC Education Code (updated for the first time in 30 years).
  • Funded a major portion of the expenses for all available NPUC educators (450+) to attend the August 2018 NAD Teachers Convention in Chicago, Illinois, and a virtual denominational leadership conference with the Association of Seventh-day Adventist School Administrators (ASDASA) in February 2020.
  • Introduced CoreStrengths assessment and training and other leadership programs for conference and school administrators.
  • Increased coordination and leadership of an emerging collaboration of Early Childhood Education programs (quarterly newsletters, biennial workshops, consultations on governmental regulations, curriculum development, etc.).
  • Hosted and facilitated Zoom leadership conversations as conferences and schools transitioned to virtual learning and responded to new pandemic protocols.
  • Increased funding for annual teacher affirmation events during the pandemic and highlighted social/emotional health resources for students and teachers.
  • Implemented a completely digital school accreditation protocol and reporting process across all schools.
  • Led and facilitated in the transition and requisite training for a new regional accrediting partnership with The National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA) and Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS).

Opportunities:

  • Significantly reduced interest and availability of qualified educators.
  • Increasing government intrusion into operations via health/safety and employment regulations/statutes.
  • Responding to a chaotic educational landscape that is requiring more of teachers' personal, social-emotional and spiritual reserves.
  • Funding needs for programs and personnel that exceed projected income from regular operating sources.
  • Clearly communicating the value proposition of Adventist education to Millennial and GenX parents.
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Dennis Plubell Education Report 2016–2020 Adventist education is an essential partner in ministry to bring Faith, Hope and Wholeness to students and families of the North Pacific Union. Educators lead students to encounter Jesus, find evidence for faith, engage the distinctive Adventist worl
Regional Ministries Departmental Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/regional-ministries-departmental-report-20162020 To reach all peoples with the Adventist message of hope and wholeness. Byron Dulan Church constituency session Regional 32920 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:44:00 -0700 Features

Focus:

African Americans, African diaspora and any who can benefit from ministries by Regional churches.

To reach all peoples with the Adventist message of hope and wholeness.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • Churches and Groups: 11
  • Membership: 3018
  • Tithe: $ unknown
  • Pastors (full and part-time): 10
  • K–12 Teachers: 6

Development Initiatives:

With the collaboration of pastors, lay leaders, conference and union leaders, several targeted organizational changes and programmatic initiatives have been instituted to support new growth and stop membership decline.

  • The Union Regional Advisory Committee (which meets twice yearly) is composed of representatives from each conference and includes gender and cultural diversity and persons representing important institutions such as K–12 Education, Walla Walla University and Adventist Health, as well as auxiliary organizations such as the Northwest Adventist African American Local Elders Federation and Daughters of Zion.
  • Local Conference Regional Advisory Committees are active in the larger conferences.
  • Regional Growth funding is available to conferences that have Regional churches.
  • A union-wide strategic plan has been developed, highlighting 5 Elements: Major Reaping Evangelistic Meetings, Church Planting, Congregational Revitalization, Church Building (construction) and K–12 Education.

Operational Leadership:

  • Volunteer Coordinators have been recruited to focus on specific ministries including: Youth Ministry, Young Adults, K–12 Adventist Education, African American Health, Regional Development Fund, Evangelism, Church Planting and Church Building.

Accomplishments:

  • Major reaping evangelism scheduled for the Seattle and Portland 2022–2023.
  • Fall 2021, local church reaping evangelism involving 6 churches netted 24 baptisms.
  • COVID response activities: Community food distribution increased at churches in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Seattle churches hosted vaccination and testing activities.
  • Church plants in progress, now or in the near future: Seattle Ghanaian; Missoula Community; Walla Walla Valley; Ethiopian Oromo Group and Boise, Idaho.
  • Church Buildings in progress: Portland Oromo Church and Anchorage Community Church
  • 46th Annual Regional Convocation theme and focus: “I Will Go – Mission Together” 
  • A weekend Youth Ministry Spiritual Revival was held with 72 youth and leaders in attendance.
  • Pastoral Transitions due to retirements and moves: 10 churches affected
  • Visitation of NPUC students at Oakwood and Walla Walla Universities.

Alignment:

We have worked to strengthen the collaboration and engagement with the following:

  • NPUC Ministries: K–12 Education, Youth and Walla Walla University 
  • NAD ministries: Evangelism, Adult Ministries, Health Ministries
  • Office of Regional Conference Ministry resulted in:
    • Enhanced funding for Church Building and Educational Scholarships
    • Collaboration on funding summer Business and Ministerial Internships for 2023 and 2023.
    • Sharing of personnel for reaping evangelism.
  • West Coast Black Administrator’s Caucus resulting in:
    • Planning for the West Coast Youth Conference scheduled August 9–13, 2023
    • Planning the West Coast Pastor’s Conference
    • Summit to develop new ideas to improve ministry among West Coast conferences.

Opportunities:

  • Support major evangelistic meetings in Portland and Seattle.
  • Growing four church plants to church status.
  • Completing the construction of two new church buildings.
  • Growing the Regional Development fund and the initiatives it supports.
  • Recruiting more Black students and teachers to Adventist K–12 schools.
  • Building connection and engagement with young adults in our colleges and churches.
  • Support over 100 Northwest youth to attend the West Coast Youth Conference.
  • Document the history of Regional Ministries in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Support the recruitment of faculty and students at Walla Walla University.
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Byron Dulan Regional Ministries Departmental Report 2016–2020 To reach all peoples with the Adventist message of hope and wholeness.
Hispanic Ministries Departmental Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/hispanic-ministries-departmental-report-20162020 The Hispanic ministries department supports local conferences and their Hispanic pastors in fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. César De León Church constituency session Hispanic Hispanic Ministries 32918 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:44:00 -0700 Features

Our department works directly with our Hispanic conference directors to coordinate, consult, assist and provide resources for mission-focused ministry programs.

To support local conferences and their Hispanic pastors in fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • There are 105 Hispanic churches & companies being served by 40 Hispanic pastors
  • Provided evangelistic appropriations for the Hispanic work in the amount of $200,000
  • Hispanic Capital Funding has assisted several churches in acquiring and remodeling church buildings in the amount of $310,000

Baptisms

  • 2016: 13,731
  • 2017: 14,257
  • 2018: 14,627
  • 2019: 15,144
  • 2020: 15,271

Churches:

  New Groups Total Churches
Alaska 0 1
Idaho 3 10
Oregon 7 34
Upper Columbia 6 34
Washington 10 26

Accomplishments:

  • Baptisms — Membership grew from 12,456 to 15,271 in this quinquennium, with 2,815 baptisms during this period. Presently Hispanic members represent 15.3% of the NPUC membership.
  • New Work — 26 new companies and churches were established
  • Real Estate — Seven church buildings were purchased with the assistance of the union capital funds
  • Stewardship — Tithe grew to $4,784,400.08 in the last five years
  • Marriage Retreat — A marriage retreat took place in Portland with 225 couples in attendance 
  • Advisory — Aided conferences in the process of vetting and hiring pastors and church workers — Mentorship and counseling was provided to pastors and family members

Opportunities:

  • Plant 40 new churches in the next five years
  • Increase by 50% lay participation in preaching, training and baptisms
  • The new matrix for evangelism growth is mission-focused disciples who are involved in fulfilling Christ’s commission
  • Purchase of 10 new church buildings

Challenges Ahead:

  • Purchase of Buildings — Acquire resources to purchase new places of worship in a frenzied market
  • Adventist Education — Identify resources to facilitate Christian education for children and young people so they can adopt the vision and mission of our Adventist movement
  • Mission Focused Disciples — Implement practical methods to train and equip mission-focused pastors and laity
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César De León Hispanic Ministries Departmental Report 2016–2020 The Hispanic ministries department supports local conferences and their Hispanic pastors in fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
Auditors Explained https://nwadventists.com/feature/auditors-explained Every Northwest Adventist institution has an obligation to carry out its mission with an honest regard for financial accountability. Part of that accountability comes in the form of regular audits. Audit Church constituency session 32940 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

Every Northwest Adventist institution has an obligation to carry out its mission with an honest regard for financial accountability. Part of that accountability comes in the form of regular audits of financial records — many of which are done by the staff from the regional office of the General Conference Auditing Services. Here's a quick overview of the typical auditing process and why it matters.

What are the main duties of an auditor who audits the finances of a church/school or conference?

The auditors' main responsibility is to report whether church entities (academies, Adventist Book Centers, conferences, the union, etc.) have prepared their financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and complied with denominational policies. Auitors examine the financial records of each organization and determine if their financial statements are compliant. In addition, we perform a review of core policies. These are a specific list of financial policies compiled by the General Conference and adopted by the North American Division. Each church entity is required to follow the working policies of the church/NAD.

Once an audit is complete, a report is issued to that institution’s operating board on whether its financial statements are presented fairly and if they comply with generally accepted accounting principles as accepted by the denomination. A report is included on the evaluation of the organization’s internal controls.

The GCAS only audits institutions that are included in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Local churches, junior academies and elementary schools have reviews done by the local conference. 

What limitations or guarantees do audits provide?

Even though auditors are employed by and perform their duties on behalf of the General Conference, their work is performed in accordance with the same standards as if they were in public practice. 

What does a typical school or conference audit NOT do?

A financial audit does not make a final determination on whether an organization is financially healthy, although auditors do evaluate whether the organization will be able to operate at least 12 months after the end of the fiscal year. The goal is to ensure that the financial statements are fairly, accurately and honestly stated so the organization’s management and governing board can make informed decisions regarding its direction.

What specific kinds of anomalies do auditors watch for?

Auditors look carefully at the internal controls of the organization. Does the provided documentation adequately support the record of balances and transactions in the financial statements? Or are there gaps in that documentation that leave the records open to question?

What process is in place to deal with fraud if it is found by a GCAS auditor?

Fraud is not a common occurrence in GCAS audit work; however, it does unfortunately happen at times. If fraud is discovered or suspected, the auditor will discuss the findings with their regional manager. Then the issue will be discussed with the officers of the organization and, depending on the nature of the item, the next higher organization. Auditors will also include this in their report to the local organization’s board. It is up to the management and/or the board to determine the actions the organization will take. 

What does an audit cost? Who pays for the school or conference audits?

The NAD pays for 50 percent of the cost of the audit. Within the Northwest, the North Pacific Union Conference pays 25 percent, and the remaining 25 percent is passed on to the local conference where the audited institution is based. The billing structure is on a cost-recovery basis. There is no profit margin based into GCAS rates. The goal is to provide excellent audit services to the Seventh-day Adventist Church at the best value possible.

How often are institutional audits performed?

GCAS performs a financial audit for each organization on their list annually. They also do a review of each local conference trust program once every three years. So, each year GCAS generally has 26 financial audits and a couple of conference trust reviews.

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Auditors Explained Every Northwest Adventist institution has an obligation to carry out its mission with an honest regard for financial accountability. Part of that accountability comes in the form of regular audits.
Women's Ministries Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/womens-ministries-report-20162020 Women's ministries seeks to model Jesus Christ in our sphere of influence through meaningful relationships and effective ministries. Sue Patzer Church constituency session Women's Ministries 32932 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

What a privilege it is to serve as a "liaison" for women’s ministry in the North Pacific Union. I remember way back to the late 1980s when women’s ministry was not a department of the GC, NAD, unions or conferences. I remember when a group of Northwest women (Ruthie Jacobson, Ginny Allen, Barbara Nelson, … ), concerned by the direction of the feminist movement, prayerfully considered the ways in which God's desire for women could be supported by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

That was the beginning, a grassroots movement that quickly spread throughout the NPUC, then eastward. Eventually, women's ministry had roots around the globe. It is now a department at the General Conference, in every division, each union and every conference around the world. But the action is still where it has always been: at the grassroots. Its purpose was, and still is, to call women — especially those who have not yet put their spiritual gifts to use — to rise out of their comfort zones and become “pew fillers” instead of “pew warmers.” In women's ministry, there is a ministry for EVERY woman, and I am honored and blessed to serve with them.

To model Jesus Christ in our sphere of influence through meaningful relationships and effective ministries.

Mission

Objectives:

  • Provide opportunities for women to deepen their faith through spiritual growth and renewal
  • Address concerns unique to women 
  • Build networks of meaningful relationships among women
  • Provide servant-leadership lifestyle training to inspire women to recognize their spiritual gifts and actively use them in the home, church and community.
  • Promote and provide service opportunities
  • Mentor young women

To see pew “warmers” become pew “fillers.”

Vision

Accomplishments

  • Small group Bible studies, conference and church spiritual retreats, women’s Sabbath School classes and an annual women’s devotional book
  • Annual Summit on Abuse, seminars targeting specific needs (i.e. single moms, widows, women’s health, etc.)
  • Retreats, local church activities, support of deaf women’s ministries, NAD, NPUC and conference women’s ministry websites
  • Leadership workshops, directors’ advisories, NAD ministries convention and NAD women’s ministry convention
  • Camp meeting “God in Shoes” activities, retreat outreach opportunities and community-impact opportunities
  • Gorgeous2God Instagram & Facebook pages, young women’s retreats, Adventist university scholarship program

Opportunities:

  • COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to grow in ways we did not foresee. Virtual seminars and retreats have allowed us to reach far beyond our NW borders, and the numbers of “attendees” have far surpassed expectations. But of course, nothing can replace in-person fellowship. In the future, our objective will be to provide both. 
  • Sadly, there are still small voices who believe that women’s ministry is all about tea parties, dividing families, ordaining women, husband-bashing or belaboring the woes of the woman’s plight. They have not yet recognized the beauty in seeing a woman finally “get" that she was created in God’s image, and to be like Him is to live a lifestyle of servant-leadership, as Christ did. We want to continue to inspire, educate and motivate!
  • More can be done to mentor and involve young women. We will continue to broaden our focus.
  • We want to be open to and watch for new possibilities — to see a “shut door” as God’s opportunity.
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Sue Patzer Women's Ministries Report 2016–2020 Women's ministries seeks to model Jesus Christ in our sphere of influence through meaningful relationships and effective ministries.
Native Ministries Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/native-ministries-report-20162020 Native Ministry exists to bring the gospel of hope and wholeness to our Native American people throughout the North Pacific Union in collaboration with our constituent conferences and the North American Division Native Ministry Council. Steve Huey Church constituency session Native Ministries 32930 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

We oversee 17 Native congregations/church groups involved in ministry to Native people. We collaborate with NPUC conferences and the North American Division in finding, recommending and training workers for Native villages/reservations. We hold cross-cultural training seminars for possible workers and churches interested in Native ministry. We promote outreach among Native people and develop resources for workers to use in their ministry.

To bring the gospel of hope and wholeness to our Native American people throughout the North Pacific Union and in collaboration with our constituent conferences and the North American Division Native Ministry Council.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • Each conference in the NPUC is now giving attention to Native people groups within its territory.
  • In addition to the 17 Native church groups, focus is being given to planting two more groups, one in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and one on the Warm Springs Reservation near Madras, Oregon.
  • We now have three full-time active Native workers, two are in Alaska and one in Oregon.
  • We have developed a Voice of Prophecy correspondence Bible school with a husband and wife team in Minnesota. They are averaging 70 Bible Studies per week.
  • We are more than halfway to reaching our goal of producing a 26 DVD discipleship Bible study series called Native New Life. These are seen not only in the NW, but across the North American Division and in many places around the world (Australia, Ukraine, Mongolia, China, Germany, France and now in Africa).

Accomplishments:

  • Ministry/cross-cultural seminars have been conducted for interested churches such as Poulsbo, WA and Plummer, ID. Another example was a weekend seminar for those working with Native people at Upper Columbia Conference. Other Unions have requested our services.
  • We established a relationship with ARISE Bible training program, formerly in Jasper, OregonR, to enable interested long-distance workers to take the ARISE course online to strengthen our workers’ ministries. The course is now globally available online.
  • We have established a relationship with Adventist Frontier Missions in Berrien Springs, Michigan. They voted to help us reach the Assiniboine and Sioux Nations in Poplar, MontanaT. A couple has just begun their ministry there. A Memorandum of Understanding with Washington and Montana conferences is in place with AFM. This is the first project for AFM in America, helping us reach remote and unreached Native people. They have allowed us to send prospective workers to their yearly, three-month summer missionary training program. Five people from the NW graduated in the fall of 2021.
  • A leadership weekend is held annually in Anchorage, Alaska. It brings in Arctic Mission Adventures leaders for training in various areas of church life, such as how to care for members, addiction recovery, how to lead a church and more.
  • Nine Native camp meetings throughout the Northwest territory are held each year.
  • After the first Bible study DVD series — with matching guides on coming to Jesus and learning His great truths — we have been developing and filming a second series called Native New Life. This series focuses on how to live a vibrant life daily with Christ. We are ready to film #19 in the series. Between the two series, our films have won three Grammy Awards and five Telly Awards.
  • Annually, we hold one evangelistic series/revival series in such places as Bethel, Alaska where there were eight baptisms, and Barrow, Alaska where there were 13 baptisms.
  • The Baptist Conference of the Midwest has reached out to our department for speaking and training their pastors. Three of the pastors are now keeping the Sabbath. The Native Baptists and Native Adventists have met together for several camp meetings featuring special speaker, Monte Church.
  • The State of Alaska and the Presbyterian Church of America invited Monte Church to speak in Alaska for their reconciliation ceremony to encourage healing from painful treatment. 

Opportunities:

  • There are deep cultural misunderstandings between White Americans and Native Americans.
  • While we have a presence in 11 of the 220 Native villages in Alaska, we have plans to reach additional villages. But plans can only be realized with the help of balanced, willing members who answer the call, as well as financial gifts to reach the Arctic Mission Adventures goal.
  • We need more trained Native pastors. 
  • In the lower states of the NW, there are 49 federally recognized reservations and there is an Adventist presence in 12 of them. The opportunities for service abound.
  • We support the Alaska Conference’s push to plant more Adventist radio stations in Native villages. In addition, we desire to plant low-power radio stations on reservations in the lower states of the NW.
  • From time to time, we face challenges with offshoot groups and imbalanced influences. We are quick to confront them as we protect the Adventist message and ministry.

Too daunting of a task? Absolutely not — for we have a God on the move with His leadership and resources! The gospel breaks down every barrier! 

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Steve Huey Native Ministries Report 2016–2020 Native Ministry exists to bring the gospel of hope and wholeness to our Native American people throughout the North Pacific Union in collaboration with our constituent conferences and the North American Division Native Ministry Council.
Youth and Young Adult Ministries Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/youth-and-young-adult-ministries-report-20162020 The youth and young adult ministries department seeks to disciple our young people to the love of Jesus in order for them to reach people within the North Pacific Union and the world for Jesus. Rob Lang Church constituency session young adults Youth 32929 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

The scope of work is to provide support, training, leadership and inspiration to the following ministries throughout our territory:  Children’s Ministries, Adventurer Ministries, Pathfinder Ministries, Teen Leadership Training, Master Guide Ministries, Sabbath School, Youth Ministries, Camp Ministries, Young Adult Ministries, Public Campus Ministries — Adventist Christian Fellowships, National Serviceman’s Organization and Growing Together Cohorts for churches.

Our mission is to disciple our young people to the love of Jesus in order for them to reach people within the North Pacific Union and the world with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • More than 3,500 campers served each year at six ACA accredited camps across the Northwest
  • 750+ Pathfinders and staff attended the 2019 Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee 
  • More than 100 churches are involved in Growing Together 
  • Annual NPUC Leadership/Discipleship Summit trains and equips young people
  • Three Northwest summer camps offer DiscipleTrek spiritual training programs

Accomplishments:

  • DiscipleTrek
  • Sabbath School Training
  • Children’s Ministries Convention
  • Adventurer training and club growth
  • Pathfinder training and club expansion
  • Growing Together

Opportunities:

  1. Engaging churches in the Growing Together cohort learning journey to bring about positive Christ centered culture change for all generations.
  2. To engage young adults in the life and mission of the church
  3. Focusing on intentionally fulfilling the Gospel commission of discipleship by collaborative efforts in all ministries and developing discipleship opportunities for deeper growth to fill gaps — example DiscipleTrek.
  4. Adapting and thriving in the midst of COVID losses while rebuilding ministries that have fragmented
  5. Developing thriving youth Sabbath schools
  6. Establishing more Adventist Christian Fellowships to support and disciple Adventists who are attending secular universities in our territory
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Rob Lang Youth and Young Adult Ministries Report 2016–2020 The youth and young adult ministries department seeks to disciple our young people to the love of Jesus in order for them to reach people within the North Pacific Union and the world for Jesus.
Public Affairs & Religious Liberty Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/public-affairs-religious-liberty-report-20162020 The public affairs and religious liberty department champions the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all people of faith in its government relations and workplace mediation services. André Wang Church constituency session Religious Liberty 32926 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

The North Pacific Union continues to champion the principles of religious liberty in the public arena as a ministry for its members and to all people of faith. The NRLA provides legislative advocacy as well as legal guidance, mediation, advocacy and referral services in the workplace, home, schools, prisons and military. It provides noncombatant letters connected to United States naturalization applications.

To champion the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all people of faith in its government relations and workplace mediation services.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • Established in 1906, the Northwest Religious Liberty Association (NRLA) serves as the office of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty for the NPUC, and is the oldest religious freedom advocacy organization in the northwest.
  • NRLA works in the areas of legislative, civic, judicial, academic, interfaith and corporate arenas on behalf of the church and all people and institutions of faith.
  • Since the last constituency session (September 2016), NRLA has mediated and/or advocated on behalf of 492 individuals in the corporate workplace and other public venues.

Accomplishments:

  • Mediation Cases — Workplace issues, Sabbath accommodation, labor unions, US citizenship, prison and school sports.
  • Government Relations — Federal, state, county and municipal levels, with legislative advocacy among our team of capitol pastors.
  • Educational Advocacy — Preaching assignments and presentations to churches, camp meetings, civic groups, academic symposiums and radio/podcast appearances. 
  • Liberty Campaign — Subscription processing, mailing, donor letters and fundraising.

Opportunities:

  • Government Overreach — Monitoring and, when necessary, advocating on matters impacting the church and its members.
  • Executive Actions and Judicial Decisions Monitoring regulatory actions and court rulings in the five states within the NPUC territory.
  • Engaging Government Agencies — Maintaining connections with elected officials and agency directors.
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André Wang Public Affairs & Religious Liberty Report 2016–2020 The public affairs and religious liberty department champions the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all people of faith in its government relations and workplace mediation services.
General Counsel Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/general-counsel-report-20162020 The NPUC Office of General Counsel provides guidance and support to the NPUC as well as the six conferences in the territory for compliance with federal, state and local laws and denominational policies. André Wang Church constituency session General Counsel Legal 32925 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

The NPUC Office of General Counsel provides guidance with the overall goal of minimizing legal exposure and liability. It supplies a unique and valuable perspective because of its close association and understanding of the structure and operation of the church.

To provide effective and ongoing access to legal counsel to church leadership at the NPUC, conference and local church/school levels and to minimize legal risks and distractions in order to permit the church to actively focus on fulfilling its mission.

Mission

Fast Facts:

The NPUC Office of General Counsel provides guidance and support to the NPUC as well as the six conferences in the territory for compliance with federal, state and local laws and denominational policies.

Topic areas include: COVID-related regulations, private education, contracts, disability accommodation, employment matters and premises liability.

Who is André Wang?

  • Wang has served as NPUC General Counsel since 2015.
  • He is an alumnus of Portland Adventist Elementary School, Auburn Academy and Pacific Union College.
  • He is principal second violinist of the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra at Sunnyside Church in Portland Oregon.
  • He is an adjunct instructor at Walla Walla University and Mt. Hood Community College teaching education law and business law, respectively.

Accomplishments:

  • COVID Response — Daily COVID briefings with leaders and administrators at the height of the pandemic to advise on latest restrictions, regulations and mandates relating to churches and schools.
  • Human Resources Support — Assembled an advisory team comprised of the HR directors of the local conferences to navigate complicated employment rules and workplace regulations. 
  • Government Relations — Established connections with government officials and staff and brought voice to the interests of the Adventist Church in the northwest.
  • Communication Updates — Regular communiqués to conference leaders and Gleaner articles to church membership on issues of legal importance.
  • Risk and Liability Assessment — Assisted local administrators, pastors and principals in finding the proper balance between legal compliance and advancing ministry in their churches and schools.

Opportunities:

  • Monitoring COVID Regulations and Mandates — The rules are constantly changing and are unique to every county and from state to state.
  • Monitoring Court Decisions — Courts in each state, as well as federal courts, issue rulings that impact churches and private schools.
  • Engaging Government Agencies — Maintaining connections with elected officials and agency directors.
  • Emerging Legal Issues — Staying current of legal developments in the areas of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII religious exemptions, and growing liability exposure for churches and schools.
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André Wang General Counsel Report 2016–2020 The NPUC Office of General Counsel provides guidance and support to the NPUC as well as the six conferences in the territory for compliance with federal, state and local laws and denominational policies.
Creation Study Center Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/creation-study-center-report-20162020 The NPUC Creation Study Center exists to share our Christ-centered hope found in our origins and God’s ultimate purpose in creating and saving the world. Stan Hudson Church constituency session Creation Study Center 32923 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

We provide resources to churches, schools, pastors, teachers and laymen that support a Biblical view of creation, contrasted to the hopeless and speculative nature of the theory of evolution. The resources include a hands-on museum, videos and a website, as well as in-person presentations meant to share scientific and scriptural support for the Genesis account.

Specifically, we offer tours of the museum, videos and books that can be checked out, articles on related subjects via the website and physical samples of minerals and fossils that are given out to school children. Plus, Stan Hudson goes to churches for creation seminars and to schools for weeks of prayer that are focused on creation. This is done in the territory of the North Pacific Union.

To promote aspects of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s mission of sharing our Christ-centered hope that pertain to origins and God’s ultimate purpose in creating and saving the world.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • No other union conference has such a resource
  • This department regularly visits more churches and schools than any other NPUC department
  • The museum contains a number of world-class fossils and mineral specimens, like a giant camarasaurus leg bone, as well as a leg bone of an adult mammoth
  • We sponsor teachers and students annually to participate in a “DinoDig” where they are able to excavate dinosaur bones in one of the richest fossil beds in the world. 
  • We have distributed books and videos on creationism to every pastor in the NPUC

Accomplishments:

  • Constructed and furnished the creation museum
  • Produced and distributed a creation lecture series on DVD to every NPUC pastor
  • Raised grant money for the production of an advanced website: creationstudycenter.com
  • Joined forces and funding with the Geoscience Research Institute to operate a huge booth at the Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee, educating over one thousand visitors on creation; we also taught hundreds of Pathfinders honors in geology, rocks, meteorites, the Biblical flood and more.
  • Began work on the first Adventist-produced for-Adventist churches origins seminar, complete with PowerPoint slides, full scripts, instructions and videos of interviews with experts.

Opportunities:

  • Continuing and expanding resource production as science discoveries develop
  • Replacing Stan Hudson as he retires/or reduces his involvement
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Stan Hudson Creation Study Center Report 2016–2020 The NPUC Creation Study Center exists to share our Christ-centered hope found in our origins and God’s ultimate purpose in creating and saving the world.
Association Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/association-report-20162020 The association provides funds to purchase, build, expand or renovate the facilities in our Union so that people in the North Pacific Union can be reached with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness. Jay Graham Association Church constituency session 32922 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

We are a depository for North Pacific Union's members, churches and institutions who have entrusted us as an investment vehicle. In return, they receive interest on their funds on a quarterly basis. They have deposited these funds with us so that church-related entities can borrow funding to purchase, build, expand or renovate their facilities.  

We provide these funds to the church-related entities at competitive rates but without the collateral that a commercial institution might require. To compensate for that collateral, each conference guarantees the payment of the loans within their conference should the church-related entity default on their loan.  It is called a revolving fund because once loans are paid off, these funds are then available to loan out again.

To provide funds to purchase, build, expand or renovate the facilities in our Union so that people in the North Pacific Union can be reached with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • Manage approximately 100 loans totaling approximately $25 million.
  • Manage approximately 500 depository accounts totaling approximately $40 million.
  • Loan amounts have ranged from $6,000 to $2.57 million.
  • Over half of the depository funds have come from churches, conferences and schools.
  • The Revolving Fund opened in January 1978.

Accomplishments:

  • Transferred the administration of our Trusts to Western Adventist Foundation as of January, 2020.  With this transfer and retirements and relocations, staffing has been reduced in the department.
  • Initiated the availability of paperless statements for both loans and deposit accounts for those that choose to receive them that way.
  • Changed our investment advisor to a local firm.
  • Mandated all new loans to entities, as of 2018, to be paid via ACH. Encouraged pre-2018 loan holders to sign up for ACH payments as well. Currently, approximately 65% of loans are paid via ACH monthly.
  • Encouraged depositors to receive their quarterly interest payments via direct deposit. This resulted in approximately 93% of quarterly interest payments paid to depositors via direct deposit.
  • Loaned over $14.6 million to churches, conferences and schools within the North Pacific Union.

Opportunities:

  • Investing non-loaned funds to get the highest possible returns while still following investment policy the guidelines.
  • Managing the balance between loans and deposits to avoid too many excess deposits while still having enough to service loan requests as needed.
  • Signing up more loan holders to remit their monthly payments via ACH.
  • Getting more account holders to go to paperless statements. 
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Jay Graham Association Report 2016–2020 The association provides funds to purchase, build, expand or renovate the facilities in our Union so that people in the North Pacific Union can be reached with the distinctive, Christ-centered, Seventh-day Adventist message of hope and wholeness.
Ministerial Departmental Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/ministerial-departmental-report-20162020 The NPUC ministerial department is committed to encouraging and empowering mission-focused, member-equipping leaders and pastors. César De León Church constituency session Ministerial 32919 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

The North Pacific Union facilitates the professional and spiritual growth of our ministerial directors, pastors, evangelists, Bible workers and their families. It also helps implement the NAD Seven Core Ministerial Qualities: Leadership, relationship, worship, character, evangelism, scholarship and management.

The NPUC ministerial department is committed to encouraging and empowering mission-focused, member-equipping leaders and pastors. 

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • There are 349 pastors in six conferences tending to a membership that spreads through five states and six conferences.
  • Ministry modality has shifted from pulpit dependence to the establishment of organic relationships in search of meaningful spirituality.
  • People are seeking spiritual development in many other places except our churches.

Accomplishments:

  • Leadership Development — Assisted conference counterparts in designing and conducting continuing education programs and events for pastors, including the support and promotion of the Andrews University off-campus intensives, held at our NPUC office, for the educational advancement of ministerial workers through the MAPM degree (in both Spanish and English).
  • Partnership with WWU — The ministerial department collaborated and financially assisted Walla Walla University School of Theology and worked closely with professors to coordinate the functions and training for the junior class internship program.
  • Summer Ministerial Internship — Establishment of a summer ministerial internship program for WWU theology students, exposing them to 10 weeks of ministry mentorship and hands-on experiences in the areas of church administration, church liturgies, youth programming and soul-winning.
  • Ministerial Retreats — Facilitated training and continuing education for conference ministerial directors, evangelism directors and evangelists during the annual Ministerial Networking Retreat. This retreat facilitates interfacing experiences of several conference departments and administrators.
  • Ministerial Services — Mentoring and advising administrators, department directors and pastors in the areas of leadership, family, ministerial, finances etc. Encouraging cards are sent to conference administrators, NPUC staff, Hispanic Coordinators and their pastors and spouses for BD and wedding anniversaries.
  • Leadership Newsletter & Gleaner — The department was responsible to manage, write, and provide monthly articles for the NPUC Leadership Newsletter and the Gleaner magazine.
  • Evangelistic Mission Trip — The department organized a mission trip to Guatemala for WWU theology students, newly hired pastors and conference administrators to hold an evangelistic series in different churches in the Southern Guatemala.

Opportunities:

  • Mission Focused, Equipping Pastors — Pastors and the churches they serve will benefit exponentially by being intentional about training and equipping every church member to become a mission-focused disciple that makes mission-focused disciples.
  • Emotionally Healthy Spirituality — It is critical that we assist and empower our pastors to stay mentally healthy and spiritually strong as they face the post-pandemic lethargic condition of many and the drastic decline in regular church attendance.
  • Social Media Outreach — Our pastors will need to adapt to the new rules of ministry engagement. They will need to become increasingly savvy and creative in the use of social media platforms, the latest streaming software and realize the church needs to leave the four walls of our buildings and go to the marketplace where people are living their lives.
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César De León Ministerial Departmental Report 2016–2020 The NPUC ministerial department is committed to encouraging and empowering mission-focused, member-equipping leaders and pastors.
Family Life and Men's Ministries Report 2016–2020 https://nwadventists.com/feature/family-life-and-mens-ministries-report-20162020 The family ministries department works to provide resources, training and networking opportunities to foment healthy, hope-filled and mission-focused families in our North Pacific territory. César De León Church constituency session Family men's ministry 32917 Thu, 16 Jun 2022 01:42:00 -0700 Features

Through intentional planning, training and relevant resources, we strive to empower conference Family Life & Men’s Ministry directors as they coach and empower local church-appointed Family Ministry & Men’s Ministry directors to provide resources for parents and families in church and community in areas of emotionally healthy parenting that results in mission-focused parents, children and families sharing Christ’s Good News Gospel.

To provide resources, training and networking opportunities to foment healthy, hope-filled and mission-focused families in our North Pacific territory.

Mission

Fast Facts:

  • Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention​ shows one in five Americans was sexually molested as a child; one in four was beaten by a parent to the point that a mark was left on their body; one in three couples engage in physical violence; a quarter of Americans grew up with alcoholic relatives; one of eight witnessed their mother being beaten or hit.
  • Parents exhibiting emotionally-healthy spiritual lives are more successful at raising mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy children who will remain rooted in Christ when they transition into adulthood and begin their own families.
  • Empowering parents to become mission-focused disciples will change the way they live out their marriages and the way they parent and disciple their own children.

Accomplishments:

  • Family evangelism — Christ on Display seminars have been presented around the NPUC to train and empower parents to intentionally disciple their children into a transformational relationship with Jesus.
  • Men’s Ministry Leaders Training — the first NPUC Men’s Ministry Leaders Training Weekend has been scheduled to empower men from the ages of 18–99 to better reflect Christ in their roles as sons, husbands, fathers and grandfathers. 
  • Resources, support and empowerment have been provided to Conference Family Life Ministry Directors.
  • Funding was provided for mission-focused family evangelism meetings offered to the community .
  • Marriage Festival Weekend, an NPUC mission-focused event in Portland with the goal of strengthening families, was attended by 220 couples.
  • Coaching and mentoring to ministry couples and families — when emotionally broken spiritual leaders (professional and lay) seek emotional and spiritual healing, they are better prepared to effectively disciple their own family, their church and the families in their community.

Opportunities:

  • Appoint mission-focused, family life and men’s ministry leaders in all six NPUC conferences.
  • Provide on-demand training and resources to our conference family life and men’s leaders.
  • Reach those experiencing hurt and oppression. Increasing social turmoil is causing higher levels of stress and trauma in families. Children and teens are absorbing the stress and experiencing increasing rates of anxiety, loneliness, depression, suicide and addictive behaviors. These realities must be addressed more openly and more frequently in our spiritual communities, so we can provide the hope and healing found in the center of the Good News Jesus lived and preached.
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César De León Family Life and Men's Ministries Report 2016–2020 The family ministries department works to provide resources, training and networking opportunities to foment healthy, hope-filled and mission-focused families in our North Pacific territory.