News 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 Wed, 22 May 2024 20:45:19 -0700 Wed, 22 May 2024 14:30:00 -0700 Whitehead Named UCC Associate Director for Young Adult, Youth and Club Ministries https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/05/whitehead-named-ucc-associate-director-young-adult-youth-and-club-ministries After an exhaustive search, Ryan Whitehead has been selected as the new associate director for UCC young adult, youth and club ministries. Whitehead is currently serving as the associate pastor for Adventist Community Church in Vancouver, Washington. Dustin Jones Youth 35248 Wed, 22 May 2024 14:30:00 -0700 News

After an exhaustive search, Ryan Whitehead has been selected as the new Upper Columbia Conference associate director for young adult, youth and club ministries. Whitehead is currently serving as the associate pastor for Adventist Community Church in Vancouver, Washington.

“Over the last few months as I have gotten to know Whitehead and his wife, Bridget, I have been more and more impressed,” said Jeff Wines, UCC director of young adult, youth and club ministries. “It is evident that Whitehead is passionate about young people knowing Jesus, and his excitement to be part of the youth and young adult team is wonderful!”

Whitehead has more than seven years of experience working on a church team with young people and three years of experience as a district pastor in Washington Conference. He has recently graduated from Andrews University with a doctoral degree in ministry with a focus on discipleship. His master’s degree in divinity is also from Andrews University, with his undergraduate degree from Southern Adventist University.

Prior to his work at the three-church district in Washington, Whitehead was assistant pastor at Auburn Adventist Academy Church. Whitehead and his wife, Bridget, have one young daughter, Brynna.

“The value I bring to this position, in addition to a life lived in ministry to youth and young adults, is my full-time ministry experience involved with this same age group,” said Whitehead. “My ability to connect with youth and adults allows me to support both well as we journey together toward the kingdom.”

Whitehead replaces Richie Brower, who served in the position for several years. Late last year, Brower was named as associate director of the new Serve One More initiative.

Wines is already looking ahead to see what kinds of plans Whitehead will be initiating. “Both Whitehead and Bridget are kind and engaging people,” said Wines. “Our department can’t wait for his family to move to the Inland Northwest. We are very much looking forward to seeing what they will do in this conference.”

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Dustin Jones Whitehead Named UCC Associate Director for Young Adult, Youth and Club Ministries After an exhaustive search, Ryan Whitehead has been selected as the new associate director for UCC young adult, youth and club ministries. Whitehead is currently serving as the associate pastor for Adventist Community Church in Vancouver, Washington.
Mission Blessings Highlight Washington Constituency Session https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/05/mission-blessings-highlight-washington-constituency-session Living through and emerging from a global pandemic era influenced a great time of ministry innovation, creativity and collaboration along with a deeper calling for praying to God for Greater Things, as Washington Conference discovered. Heidi Baumgartner Church 35219 Wed, 22 May 2024 10:30:00 -0700 News

Washington Conference’s 61st constituency session on May 5, 2024 served as a day of reflecting on God’s blessings from the last five years and fittingly began with 280 delegates singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Constituency sessions are important times for church representatives to gather. They're a time to listen to ministry reports, observe trends, ask good questions, elect leaders, select committee representatives, process church business decisions and reflect on ministry and mission milestones.

Financial Blessings

Living through and emerging from a global pandemic era influenced a great time of ministry innovation, creativity and collaboration, along with a deeper calling to pray to God for "Greater Things."

Washington Conference leaders, like many other entities, prepared for worst-case scenarios in the initial days of the pandemic. With church doors closed for a time, donations for tithe and offerings were expected to go down significantly.

They didn’t. In fact, they grew.

“We didn’t have to lay off a single employee for financial hardship reasons during the pandemic,” said Jerry Russell, Washington Conference vice president for finance. “Thank you for your incredible generosity to the cause of Christ.”

Tithe over a 10-year time span increased by 18.9% in just the last five years. Tithe per capita in the last five years averaged out to $1,153.70.

Russell shared, “Because of your generosity in the last five years, we have 2,321 new members; 1,284 students enrolled (on average); $3.5 million in subsidy for Walla Walla University and Oakwood University; 32,500 church services in more than 120 locations; and 2,573 Sunset Lake campers where 1,292 young people accepted Jesus for the first time.”

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Follow along with ministry reports and stories of transformation in Washington Conference's 61st constituency session video report.

Ministry Investments

Washington Conference’s leadership team decided in the pandemic era to intentionally invest in ministry and grow the mission, particularly through children’s ministry, media ministry, health ministry, outreach ministries and most recently with the launch of public campus ministries.

“God uses different methods to reach people,” said Doug Bing, Washington Conference president. “We planted 12 new churches in five languages in the last five years, and we saw a 24% increase in attendance at our revitalization churches. Yet, we are still asking God for victories as 47% of our churches are still in declining growth.”

Washington’s focus on church planting and church revitalization led to the seating of eight new churches at the session: Auburn Hispanic, Everson Spanish, Gig Harbor, LifeBridge, Lynnwood Spanish, New Life Samoan Puyallup, Refuge and Ukrainian churches.

Membership in this quinquennium surpassed 24,000. Baptisms between pre-pandemic and post-pandemic times grew from 509 baptisms in 2018 to 598 baptisms in 2023. 

In 2023, 13 churches had 12 or more baptisms; 4 churches had 9–11 baptisms; 15 churches had 6–8 baptisms; 29 churches had 3–5 baptisms; 21 churches had 1–2 baptisms; and 34 churches had zero baptisms.

“We are not too concerned with the churches with zero baptisms because we see many are involved in an evangelism cycle,” said Randy Maxwell, Washington Conference vice president for administration. “We are more concerned about getting churches out of decline.”

Additional ministry reports highlighted how Washington’s education system is growing and experiencing a six-year enrollment increase. Most schools in the conference now have waitlists, and the system has hired 10 new teachers to accommodate more students. Auburn Adventist Academy’s enrollment is now 260 students, with a population of 49% male and 51% female students.

Sunset Lake Camp received national recognition from Newsweek as one of the top 500 camps in 2023. Camp leaders are continuing to prepare for long-needed infrastructure updates for renovated hillside cabins, a new dining hall and a new family village — investments that are expected to cost $4–5 million long-term and that will require significant fundraising.

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Washington Conference's education system keeps growing through increased enrollment, professional learning communities, teacher retention activities and more.

Church Business

Delegates processed constitution and bylaw updates such as virtual attendance and proxy voting provisions. Multiple clarifications were added to governing documents, including further definition of “for cause” related to the removal of committee members; type of officer duties; and two typos in an article reference and in a word meaning.

Delegates voted for the disbandment of North Creek Christian Fellowship, a church in Snohomish that experienced good community engagement for many years before facing decline.

With a focused and fast-paced agenda, Washington Conference’s 61st constituency session concluded at 1:14 p.m. Delegates represented a nearly equal number of first-time delegates (49.6%) vs. returning delegates (50.4%).

Earlier in the day, session delegates honored a key local leader, Bob Paulsen, who served multiple terms on many levels of executive committees, by singing his favorite song “Blessed Assurance.” Paulsen died in his sleep the Thursday night before the 61st session.

Electing Leaders

Delegates expressed strong support for the leadership team with John Freedman, North Pacific Union president and nominating committee chair, noting how this was one of his best nominating committee experiences. “God has really blessed this team,” he said.

Washington’s re-elected executive team members are Douglas L. Bing, president; Randyle S. Maxwell, vice president for administration; Gerald S. Russell, vice president for finance; and Michelle D. Wachter, vice president for education.

Delegates also re-elected the following ministry directors and associates: Wilma Bing, associate superintendent; Pam Scott, associate treasurer; José Jerez, trust services and planned giving director; Bob Moore, trust services associate and stewardship director; Abishai Aiolupotea, human resources director; Heather Brueske, human resources associate director; Derek Lane, Adventist Community Services and outreach ministries director; Bill Roberts, ministerial director; David Yeagley, Sunset Lake and young adult ministry director; Nestor Osman, youth ministries director; John Leis, public campus ministries director; Elida Jerez, health ministries director; and Ernesto Hernandez, media ministries director.

“God’s mission for His church is always more,” said Bing. “Our mission is huge to take the gospel to all the world. Greater Things come as we are faithful in oppressive times. Greater Things happen when we stay the course to the end.”

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Heidi Baumgartner Mission Blessings Highlight Washington Constituency Session Living through and emerging from a global pandemic era influenced a great time of ministry innovation, creativity and collaboration along with a deeper calling for praying to God for Greater Things, as Washington Conference discovered.
WWU Students Gain Experience at Sonscreen Film Festival https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/05/wwu-students-gain-experience-sonscreen-film-festival In early April 2024, 16 Walla Walla University film students attended the Sonscreen Film Festival, a connection hub for students and young professionals to meet with peers and established Christian filmmakers. Hailey Werner Education 35190 Thu, 16 May 2024 10:30:00 -0700 News

In early April 2024, 16 Walla Walla University film students attended Sonscreen Film Festival in Loma Linda, California. The annual film festival is sponsored by North American Division and serves as a connection hub where students and young professionals can meet with peers and established filmmakers.

Krista VanHook, senior film, TV and media major, had her dramatic short film, Taste, screened Saturday evening, followed by an audience Q&A. She said much of her preparation was spent in prayer: “I wanted to make sure I was opening myself up fully to being used by God and not letting my ego get in the way of that when I got on stage.”

Friday evening included a film premiere of Color of Threads, a WWU short film written by Josie Henderson, WWU alumna. The film was made possible through the collaboration of several film professionals and WWU students. Samantha Hodges, junior film, TV and media major who worked on the film, said, “My absolute favorite part of the festival was watching the final product on the big screen. Seeing how it touched so many people truly inspired me.”

Hodges said the trip showed her the diverse job opportunities within film and was a great networking opportunity. She connected with Kristina Daley, The Chosen assistant director, while Vanhook met John Quinn, The Chosen head editor, who agreed to be a guest speaker on her podcast, Creative by Design. VanHook and Hodges also built relationships with other Adventist university film students.

“Sonscreen is so valuable to me as a Christian because being a person of faith who wants to enter into a largely secular industry can feel so isolating at times,” said VanHook. She appreciated how the festival serves as a gathering place for people who are both Christians and creatives. She recalled her favorite part was the opportunity to be surrounded by so much art made by such wonderful artists. VanHook added that Sonscreen is an event that never disappoints.

To see clips from the Sonscreen trip and hear more from Samantha Hodges, visit WWU’s Instagram page

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Hailey Werner WWU Students Gain Experience at Sonscreen Film Festival In early April 2024, 16 Walla Walla University film students attended the Sonscreen Film Festival, a connection hub for students and young professionals to meet with peers and established Christian filmmakers.
Renton Church Brings Clean Water to Thousands in Ghana https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/05/renton-church-brings-clean-water-thousands-ghana The Clean Water Project hosted by Renton Adventist Church brought two boreholes to Ghana and opened doors to new conversations. Renton Church Mission and Outreach 35211 Wed, 15 May 2024 15:30:00 -0700 News

In a world where access to clean water remains a pressing issue for millions, Renton Adventist Church's international ministries department has made a difference through sponsoring wells. 

Partnering with local Adventist conferences, churches and community leaders in Ghana, Renton Church supported the drilling of two boreholes in Primproase and Asikasu with the Clean Water Project. Through their unwavering commitment to service and collaboration, Renton Church's international ministries brought clean, safe water to more than 5,000 people in Ghana.

The project was spearheaded by Jack Barrow III, Renton Church elder, who spent time in Ghana. “In many places, men and women travel 5–7 miles to fetch water from brackish ponds or foul streams,” Barrow said. The idea of working to bring clean water to people quickly materialized.

Renton Church created the Clean Water Project to raise money to build boreholes in the area. Clean water plays a pivotal role in people's health, education and overall well-being. With fervent prayers and generous donations from members and non-members, they set out to address the pressing water scarcity in Ghana.

Collaboration was key to the success of the Clean Water Project. By partnering with local Adventist conferences and churches and engaging with community leaders and chiefs, Renton Church's international ministries' efforts ensured the borehole installations were carried out in a manner that aligned with the needs and priorities of the residents. 

This approach fostered a sense of ownership and empowerment within the communities and facilitated sustainable solutions that will have a lasting impact for generations to come. Additionally, non-Christian residents — in largely Muslim areas like Pong Tamale — were reached by local church members and clergy through the simple act of caring for needs first. The project has increased trust and opened conversations where barriers previously existed.

The installation of the boreholes has been met with overwhelming gratitude and joy from the residents of Primproase and Asikasu. For many, access to clean water was once a distant dream. With boreholes in place, that dream is a reality. People no longer have to walk long distances or rely on contaminated water sources. Instead, they can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that clean, safe water is readily available in their own communities.

The impact of this initiative extends far beyond the physical provision of water. It's a testament to the transformative power of faith-led efforts, compassion and collective action. God's hand has been evident every step of the way through the generosity of donors and the dedication of volunteers.

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Renton Church Renton Church Brings Clean Water to Thousands in Ghana The Clean Water Project hosted by Renton Adventist Church brought two boreholes to Ghana and opened doors to new conversations.
Harris to Lead Northwest Secondary Education https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/05/harris-lead-northwest-secondary-education North Pacific Union is welcoming a new leader for secondary education. Brian Harris accepted the invitation to serve as the next director of secondary education and will replace Keith Waters who plans to retire. Dustin Jones Education 35202 Tue, 14 May 2024 15:30:00 -0700 News

Brian Harris accepted an invitation from North Pacific Union to serve as the next director of secondary education. He will be replacing Keith Waters, who plans to retire this summer.

Harris has been serving as vice president for education at Upper Columbia Conference in Spokane, Washington, since 2019. He was instrumental in developing a strategic plan for the UCC education department and has a passion for bringing teachers together to learn from each other and advance education throughout the conference. Harris has also invested in future educators through higher education instruction at Walla Walla University.

Prior to his time in conference leadership, Harris served as principal of Walla Walla Valley Academy from 2012 to 2019. During his tenure, his tireless efforts to build a mission of empowering students for Christ renewed the school’s commitment to students, family and alumni.

“Brian Harris is well skilled for his role on our Northwest leadership team with his many years of successful leadership in secondary schools and at the conference level,” said Keith Hallam, NPUC vice president for education. “His passion for Adventist education is vital to helping us fulfill our vision for every Seventh-day Adventist early childhood through grade 12 program and school to be a valued asset to the ministry of the local church.”

Harris has a Master of Education, with endorsements in administration, physical education and history. He is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and The National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Harris began his career as an athletic director and physical education teacher for Rio Lindo Academy, in Healdsburg, California, in 1997. He then served as principal at Palisades Christian Academy in Spokane and Cascade Christian Academy in Wenatchee.

Harris and his wife, Ayrin, met at Pacific Union College and married in 1996. They live in Walla Walla with their children, JT and Ellie. The family enjoys backpacking, camping, golf, baseball and their two dogs, Molly and Moses.

“I am humbled and excited for this new ministry opportunity,” said Harris, who will be joining the NPUC education team in summer 2024. “I love Seventh-day Adventist education and feel so blessed to be able to continue to contribute to the educational mission in NPUC. God is good!”

NPUC serves more than 7,500 students and 680 teachers and administrators in 125 schools and early childhood programs with the intent purpose to lead students to encounter Jesus, accept His gift of salvation and follow Him.

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Dustin Jones Heidi Baumgartner Harris to Lead Northwest Secondary Education North Pacific Union is welcoming a new leader for secondary education. Brian Harris accepted the invitation to serve as the next director of secondary education and will replace Keith Waters who plans to retire.
Northwest Leaders Prepare to Launch Public Campus Ministries https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/05/northwest-leaders-prepare-launch-public-campus-ministries North Pacific Union is unveiling a plan for establishing Adventist Collegiate Fellowships on secular campuses, supporting spiritual growth for Northwest Adventist higher education students. Heidi Baumgartner Education Youth young adults Mission and Outreach 35203 Mon, 13 May 2024 17:55:00 -0700 News

Even with a robust Adventist education system, many young Adventists are choosing to pursue their education outside traditional Adventist institutions.

To bridge this gap, North Pacific Union has unveiled a visionary plan to establish Adventist Collegiate Fellowships on secular campuses, offering support and spiritual growth opportunities for Adventist students and their friends in the Pacific Northwest.

“This is an exciting frontier ministry for our territory,” said Rob Lang, NPUC youth and young adult director. “With more than half of our young people choosing to pursue their education on non-Adventist campuses, the church is seeking to provide leadership opportunities, support, fellowship and spiritual growth programs for them. We want these young people to know we are with them, we are for them and we believe in them.”

NPUC leaders are prayerfully working to establish at least one ACF on a secular campus in each of the six conferences over the next 18 months.

To help lead this effort on a local and regional level, John Leis recently joined Washington Conference’s team to serve as public campus ministries director. He is also serving as NPUC coordinator of public campus ministries and will be working closely with Lang to establish a public campus ministries network.

The official launch of this initiative will be at the NPUC ACF institute being held at the University of Washington, June 27–30, 2024.

Pastors, lay members and college students are encouraged to form a team and come to ACFi to receive training, resources and inspiration to launch their own church-based ministry at a campus near their church.

“Good news, there is grant funding available to assist a local church when a new ACF has been officially established,” Lang said. “This is an exciting mission field. Let’s meet our collegiates where they are and give them training and support to conduct a collegiate-led ministry on their campus, sponsored by their church.”

For more information and to register, click here, or visit npuc.org/ministries/young-adult. North American Division and NPUC are subsidizing this training opportunity and the cost is only $95 per person for three nights' lodging, six meals, all programs and resources. 

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Heidi Baumgartner Rob Lang Northwest Leaders Prepare to Launch Public Campus Ministries North Pacific Union is unveiling a plan for establishing Adventist Collegiate Fellowships on secular campuses, supporting spiritual growth for Northwest Adventist higher education students.
Alaska Conference 19th Consistency Session Announced https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/05/alaska-conference-19th-consistency-session-announced The 19th Regular Constituency Session of the Alaska Conference will be held Sept. 22, 2024 Brenda Campbell-Johnson Church Church Business constituency session 35191 Thu, 09 May 2024 11:30:00 -0700 News

ALASKA CONFERENCE LEGAL NOTICE 19TH REGULAR CONSTITUENCY SESSION

Notice is hereby given that the 19th Regular Constituency Session of the Alaska Conference will be held in the Palmer Church located at 2238 Inner Springer Loop, Palmer, Alaska, on Sept. 22, 2024 at 8:30 a.m.

The purpose of the constituency session is to receive reports of conference activities for the quadrennial ending Sept. 22, 2024, to elect officers, departmental directors, conference executive committee, constitution and bylaws committee; to conduct strategic planning and to transact any other business that may properly come before the delegates in session.

Kevin Miller, president 
Ashwin Somasundram, vice president of administration

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Brenda Campbell-Johnson Alaska Conference 19th Consistency Session Announced The 19th Regular Constituency Session of the Alaska Conference will be held Sept. 22, 2024
Bryan Named Next WWU President https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/05/bryan-named-next-wwu-president The Walla Walla University board of trustees is excited to announce that Alex Bryan has been unanimously appointed as the university’s 24th president. Walla Walla University university relations department Education 35195 Tue, 07 May 2024 14:30:00 -0700 News

On Monday, May 6, 2024, the Walla Walla University board of trustees unanimously appointed Alex Bryan to become WWU's 24th president.

“We are excited that Bryan accepted our invitation to serve as WWU president,” said John Freedman, North Pacific Union president, who also serves as WWU board of trustees chair. “He has a deep love for and walk with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, which will bless our university students, faculty and staff. He is committed to our Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and mission, and I and our church members across the Pacific Northwest will lift him up in prayer as he takes this responsibility at WWU.”

For 13 years, Bryan served as a pastor in Georgia and Tennessee before joining Walla Walla University Church in College Place, Washington, as senior pastor in 2009. In 2013, he became president of Kettering College in Ohio for one year, and then returned to Walla Walla University Church to serve as senior pastor for another four years.

In 2018, Bryan joined Adventist Health in Roseville, California, where he currently serves as senior vice president and chief mission officer, leading strategy and discourse about ethics, alignment to mission, spiritual care, relationship to faith communities, global mission, theological foundations of healthcare, and also overseeing philanthropy and grants initiatives.

Over the past 16 years, Bryan has served as adjunct professor teaching theology, business, communication and honors studies at numerous Adventist universities. He has served as a member of the North American Division executive committee, Upper Columbia Conference executive committee, Adventist Bioethics Consortium, SonBridge Community Center board, Rogers Adventist School board and Walla Walla Valley Academy board. He currently chairs the Walla Walla Valley Adventist Schools board.

“I am honored to be called to serve such a special place — one that is dedicated to God and to His glory and to His purposes in the world,” Bryan said. “Our family has called College Place home for 15 years, and we’ve been deeply blessed by the peerless mission of WWU and its people. I believe the Christ-centered university is the hope of the world, and we are excited to contribute to this bold venture.”

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Bryan preaches to a group.

“I am honored to be called to serve such a special place — one that is dedicated to God and to His glory and to His purposes in the world,” Bryan said about his new role as WWU president.

Bryan earned bachelor of arts degrees in history and religion from Southern Adventist University, a master of divinity degree from Andrews University, a doctor of ministry degree from George Fox University and a master of science degree in bioethics from Albany Medical College.

His wife, Nicole, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from WWU, and, as a student, served as president of the Associated Students of Walla Walla University. She holds a master’s degree in education from Georgia State University and works in the health and physical education department at WWU. They have two children.

Bryan will replace John McVay, who is retiring after serving as WWU president for 18 years.

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The Bryan family serving on an Adventist mission trip to Kenya.

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Walla Walla University university relations department Bryan Named Next WWU President The Walla Walla University board of trustees is excited to announce that Alex Bryan has been unanimously appointed as the university’s 24th president.
It Is Written Conducts Alaska Evangelism and Mission Trip https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/it-written-conducts-alaska-evangelism-and-mission-trip This spring, 70 volunteers at pop-up free health clinics in Anchorage and Bethel invited residents to find hope for their physical and spiritual needs ahead of Revelation Today: Hope for Humanity. Christine Magnuson Mission and Outreach 35145 Tue, 30 Apr 2024 13:00:00 -0700 News

In spring 2024, It Is Written conducted a mission trip and evangelistic campaign in Alaska, culminating in the Revelation Today: Hope for Humanity series. 

In late March 2024, a mission team of 70 volunteers served in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, and Bethel, the largest rural community, ahead of the evangelistic series that began on April 5. The events were held in partnership with the Adventist Medical Evangelism Network and Alaska Conference.

John Bradshaw, It Is Written president, shared his excitement for the campaign and said, "It Is Written exists for the purpose of sharing the gospel. We're thrilled to be collaborating with the churches in Alaska. We have met many pastors and church members who are enthusiastic about what is taking place. The two mission teams are going to do great work for God, and we are trusting that the evangelistic meetings will reach many souls with the message for this time.”

The Revelation Today: Hope for Humanity series, held April 5 through May 4, is a Christ-centered Bible prophecy series led by Bradshaw and Wes Peppers, It Is Written evangelism director. Eight churches in Anchorage are working together to host the series, with a live stream being offered to more churches across the state.

In preparation for the series, It Is Written has held training events for local churches, teaching pastors and members how to effectively reach their community. 

“We've been helping to shape the culture there for mission and evangelism for more than a year,” said Peppers. “The evangelistic meetings are the culmination of that. As a result of our long-term training, the churches will be better equipped to continue the work that's been started."

The Revelation Today campaign followed a large-scale mission effort in Anchorage and Bethel to offer free medical, vision and dental care to the community. 

“AMEN has a well-established clinical process but wanted to scale up its evangelistic efforts. We’ve been wanting to increase our medical footprint, so this was a natural partnership,” said Peppers.

The Anchorage clinic offered medical, vision and dental care. The Bethel clinic offered medical care, but primarily focused on mental health, including consultations, depression and anxiety education, and professional counseling. Each clinic visitor was invited to attend the series and receive Bible studies.

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Christine Magnuson Cassie Matchim Hernandez It Is Written Conducts Alaska Evangelism and Mission Trip This spring, 70 volunteers at pop-up free health clinics in Anchorage and Bethel invited residents to find hope for their physical and spiritual needs ahead of Revelation Today: Hope for Humanity.
WWU Team Creates Affordable Aquarium Controller https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/wwu-team-creates-affordable-aquarium-controller Walla Walla University computer science, biology and engineering professors and students created a new device controller for aquarium tanks that helps to measure ocean acidification. Their work is now featured in a peer-reviewed scientific report. Hailey Werner Education 35168 Tue, 30 Apr 2024 12:30:00 -0700 News

In his 2023 sabbatical report, James Foster, Walla Walla University assistant professor of computer science, published a detailed description of a new aquarium tank controller, describing the design, construction and customization of the device. 

Foster helped write the software for this device, along with John Foster, associate professor of mathematics, and several senior computer science majors. Additional contributions to the device's physical build were made by other WWU professors from the biology and engineering departments.

This new controller makes studying the effects of ocean acidification on marine life more affordable. The original idea and design for this device came from Kirt Onthank, associate professor of biology. While planning for his ocean acidification research, Onthank found that the necessary equipment was about $7,500 per tank. With help from WWU engineering professors, Onthank built a more cost-effective prototype, which he took to the computer science department for help with perfecting the software. 

Now, the device can manipulate a tank's pH and temperature, provide a user interface for setting configuration values and observing current values, record configurations and observations to a micro-SD card, and allow web-based management and reporting. It is capable of all of these tasks thanks to the software programming expertise of WWU professors and senior computer science majors.

Every year, senior computer science majors are required to work on a project of their choosing, but this was a special opportunity for those involved. Since the tank controller project had been ongoing for almost four years, the long-running nature of the project meant participants could learn how to use software written by someone else. Working outside of your own code is an important skill in the computer science field. The significant cross-departmental collaboration allowed students to work and communicate with peers from other disciplines. 

Foster said another unique appeal this project presented was its global influence and relevance. Students enjoy "playing a part in something that has significance beyond oneself." The design and construction specifications, described by Foster, were published to HardwareX — a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal. Now, anyone can freely access and copy the design files for the device, and this affordable technology could make ocean acidification research more available beyond WWU, bringing the scientific world closer to understanding the impacts of ocean acidification. 

While this was not the first instance of cross-departmental collaboration for the computer science department, it has been the most impactful — having a greater amount of both professor and student involvement, with a more global influence. 

WWU's small class sizes offer excellent opportunities for close collaboration with expert professors and lots of interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students. Foster said he looks forward to similar computer science projects in the future. 

To learn more about the WWU computer science department, go to wallawalla.edu/cs. To read the full published work on the ocean acidification tank controller, go to hardware-x.com.
 

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Hailey Werner WWU Team Creates Affordable Aquarium Controller Walla Walla University computer science, biology and engineering professors and students created a new device controller for aquarium tanks that helps to measure ocean acidification. Their work is now featured in a peer-reviewed scientific report.
SonBridge Shares the Healing Power of Touch https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/sonbridge-shares-healing-power-touch SonBridge Center for Better Living is impacting lives in College Place, Washington. Victoria Smith Alvarez Mission and Outreach 35178 Tue, 30 Apr 2024 11:15:00 -0700 News

Each day, a person is touched and helped at SonBridge Center for Better Living in College Place, Washington. Whether it’s through the Thrift and Gift Store, the Helpline@Sonbridge resource assistance office or the dental clinic, SonBridge is impacting lives. Currently, it seems the importance of the service at SonBridge has been highlighted by the word "touch."

Samuel, a recent patient of the dental clinic, arrived for his appointment visibly nervous. In the dental chair, he couldn’t calm down enough to stop shaking and sweating. The dental manager sat with him and held his hand, promising to be patient and gentle with him and to work at his pace. 

When Samuel left, the dental manager doubted he would ever return. However, a week later, the clinic received a call from him to set up another appointment. Samuel was still comforted by the gentle hand of the dental manager during his second and third appointments. 

By his fourth visit a month later, he fell asleep in the chair for two and a half hours! When the dental manager asked him how he could sleep through a full dental procedure, Samuel simply said, “I felt safe.”

Mara, Thrift and Gift Store employee, has been working at the store for seven years. She came broken after several terrible life experiences and needed healing. Although she first arrived at SonBridge needing help, she now extends the touch of healing to others. 

“I’ve learned so much at SonBridge,” Mara said. “I’ve grown into who I am today because of the people I’ve met and the work I’ve done here. It has touched me in unbelievable ways.”

In late February 2024, SonBridge held its annual constituency meeting, where members of eight constituent churches gathered to learn about and vote on decisions for the year to come. David Jamieson, Upper Columbia Conference president, opened the meeting with a devotional thought. 

Jamieson shared how Jesus never let go of those who needed Him. He reached out to those whom society had marginalized, like lepers and tax collectors, and reawakened their humanity by touching them — both physically and spiritually. Jesus was even aware of the financial state of those He served, by healing those who were sick and allowing them to provide for themselves and their families once again. 

In continuing to illustrate this message, Jamieson took the hand of Kitty Haney, SonBridge executive assistant, to show how tenaciously Jesus holds on to us, His sinners in need of healing and His sheep in need of finding.

Every day, people walk into SonBridge in need of restoration — sometimes financial, sometimes material, sometimes physical, but always spiritual. The mission of SonBridge is to restore hope and wholeness, while sharing God’s love, to all who are broken. 

Whether it’s through the calming, appropriate touch of a hand, a hug between friends, the touch of hope for a struggling family or a spiritual touch through prayer, SonBridge is daily touching the hearts, hands and lives of those they serve.

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Victoria Smith Alvarez SonBridge Shares the Healing Power of Touch SonBridge Center for Better Living is impacting lives in College Place, Washington.
WWU to Celebrate Togetherness at Homecoming 2024 https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/wwu-celebrate-togetherness-homecoming-2024 Walla Walla University invites alumni to campus to celebrate homecoming weekend. The weekend is full of events, many of which are free to attend. Seminars, concerts, class reunions and more offer a chance to gather and reflect on God's leading. Emily Wical Walla Walla University 35167 Thu, 25 Apr 2024 06:00:00 -0700 News

On April 26–28, 2024, Walla Walla University is welcoming alumni back to campus for Homecoming Weekend 2024. A plethora of exciting activities are available, many for free, throughout the weekend, such as golfing and PRISM vespers. This is a precious time to reconnect with old friends and see what's new.

John McVay, WWU president, said, “We are delighted … to join in sharing memories, reflecting on the ways God has led in our lives and celebrating the value of education at WWU — a distinctive experience.”

This year, during homecoming weekend, WWU will celebrate several anniversaries, including the 100th anniversary of Bowers Hall, 50 years of the social work program which includes social work majors and sociology minors, all pre-professional alumni and the 50th anniversary of Harris Art Gallery. 

An award ceremony will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. highlighting faculty achievement and student scholarships. Several seminars will be held throughout the rest of the day featuring speakers Hilary Dickerson ’02, Pamela Bing Perry, and Tammi Thomas ’83. Friday afternoon will also feature a screening of a short film called The Color of Threads, written by Josie Henderson ’18 and ’20 and produced by WWU Center for Media Ministry.

Honor class reunions and photos will be available for alumni in the years 2014, 2009, 2004, 1999, 1994, 1989, 1984, 1979, 1974, 1969 and 1964 on Sabbath afternoon, 2–6 p.m.

The second-to-last event of the weekend is the Eugene Winter Golf Classic on Sunday at 8 a.m. The final event of the weekend, the 24th annual car show, will occur at 10 a.m. on Sunday in the Havstad Alumni Center parking lot.

Register for free and see a full schedule of events at wallawalla.edu/homecoming or call 509-527-2631.

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Emily Wical WWU to Celebrate Togetherness at Homecoming 2024 Walla Walla University invites alumni to campus to celebrate homecoming weekend. The weekend is full of events, many of which are free to attend. Seminars, concerts, class reunions and more offer a chance to gather and reflect on God's leading.
Bible Readings for May 2024 https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/bible-readings-may-2024 Follow the daily reading plan and you will read the entire Bible in a year. Bible Reading Plan 34791 Wed, 24 Apr 2024 05:00:00 -0700 News

Follow the daily reading plan and you will read the entire Bible in a year.

May 1: Num. 14–15
May 2: Num. 16–17
May 3: Num. 18–22

May 5: Num. 23–25
May 6: Num. 26–27
May 7: Num. 28–30
May 8: Num. 31–32
May 9: Num. 33–34
May 10: Num. 35–36

May 12: Deut. 1–4
May 13: Deut. 5–7
May 14: Deut. 8–10
May 15: Deut. 11–13
May 16: Deut. 14–16
May 17: Deut. 17–23

May 19: Deut. 24–27
May 20: Deut. 28–29
May 21: Deut. 30–34
May 22: Psalm 90–91
May 23: Joshua 1–4
May 24: Joshua 5–11

May 26: Joshua 12–15
May 27: Joshua 16–18
May 28: Joshua 19–21
May 29: Joshua 22–24
May 30: Judges 1–2
May 31: Judges 3–7

Our Bible reading plan leaves Sabbath as a time to share and reflect on your readings for the week. Find creative ways each Sabbath to share your reflections with others on what God is teaching you from your Bible reading time!

Follow us @NWAdventists on Instagram and Facebook.

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Bible Readings for May 2024 Follow the daily reading plan and you will read the entire Bible in a year.
99 Students Gather for UCC Youth Prayer Conference https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/99-students-gather-ucc-youth-prayer-conference 99 high school students from eight schools and one home school co-op in NPUC gathered at Camp MiVoden in Hayden, Idaho, to participate in a prayer retreat for youth. Sara Maniscalco Youth 35122 Mon, 15 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

In February 2024, 99 high school students from eight schools and one home school co-op in North Pacific Union gathered at Camp MiVoden in Hayden, Idaho, to participate in a prayer retreat for youth. 

This prayer-nurturing event was planned by the Upper Columbia Conference education department in partnership with Prayeradigm Shift ministry team. The retreat focused on teaching principles of prayer, helping youth grow in prayer in their lives and empowering them to share what they learned.

“This event sparked a new relationship and a new connection with God,” shared Tyler, student attendee. “I was not as serious about my prayer life before. Now I’ve been praying every morning with God, something I would have never done before.”

Students were challenged to know God more and desire a deeper relationship with Him. Pavel Goia, Ministry Magazine editor and General Conference associate ministerial secretary, shared many stories about the power of prayer and how he has experienced God’s presence. Goia talked about what it means to live a life of total commitment to God and full surrender of ourselves.

“Goia inspired us all and showed us that God is not just a person to ask things from but a friend,” explained Sydney, another student participant.

The weekend was filled with opportunities for students to get to know each other and pray together. Every morning started with one hour of prayer time in which the entire group met to sing, focus on scripture and pray together.

“Being around people your age where you don’t feel a single bit of shame to talk about God is just the most fulfilling thing ever,” said Clara.

After each presentation, students circled up in small groups to talk and pray about what most impacted them. From this, they created a list of 105 “Prayer Principles” that they had learned.

“My whole perspective on prayer is completely flipped, and I'm so excited to start applying some of the prayer principles to my life,” shared Joanna.

The Prayeradigm Shift weekend was a tremendous blessing and changed many lives. The last evening of the retreat included a powerful testimony time where students shared how God showed up and impacted their lives personally.

“I used to be intimidated to pray; now I can’t wait to pray,” said Jonathan.

Before leaving, students met together as school groups and spent an hour answering the question, “Where do we go from here?” The enthusiasm of the weekend was channeled into having a prayer partner, committing to regular group prayer times back home and planning intentional next steps to grow prayer in their lives and on their campuses.

“It was extremely exciting to see the moving of the Holy Spirit in the lives of students who were there,” shared John Spano, Prayeradigm Shift team member. “Our prayer is that God’s Holy Spirit will fan the flames that were started this weekend and that we will see the power of what God can do when youth pray.”

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Sara Maniscalco 99 Students Gather for UCC Youth Prayer Conference 99 high school students from eight schools and one home school co-op in NPUC gathered at Camp MiVoden in Hayden, Idaho, to participate in a prayer retreat for youth.
How to Reach Generation Z for Christ https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/how-reach-generation-z-christ Generation Z has so many things vying for their attention, so how can we get through the noise and minister to them? Explore these practical ways to reach Gen Z. LaVonne Long perspective 35127 Sat, 13 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

What a time to be parenting a Generation Z kid! 

There are so many things vying for my children’s attention. I want to be doing intentional things in my parenting journey that show them who Christ is, but, I am not going to lie, it’s hard. I am always reading books, articles and blog posts. I want to impact my kids' lives — a positive impact for Christ. Here's what I'm learning:

A recent Barna study1 shows that more than half of Gen Z are motivated to learn about Christ. Parents are the most influential and important people in kids’ lives.

What Do We Know About Gen Z?

There are many definitions of who Gen Z is, but many consider them kids born approximately between 1997 and 2012. According to Pew Research,2 Gen Z is the most diverse generation, and they are also on track to be the most educated. 

Gen Zers lean more progressive on social/political issues. They are more inclusive, open-minded and sensitive to people’s feelings. They have almost no memory of a world before smartphone technology. They are often referred to as Digital Natives. Some researchers have linked the use of smartphones with the growth of anxiety and depression in this group. Values and authentic commitment are important to Gen Zers. 

Knowing what we do about Gen Z, it is important as parents and adults in the church to provide an authentic Christian experience for this group. We learned from a Gleaner article on Gen Z3 last year written by Carolann De León: “Our kids, youth and young adults are desperately longing for peace and joy. As we disciple them into a relationship with the only fountain of sustainable life, they will find the strength and peace to move beyond their debilitating mental health symptoms and the courage to accept mental health support without shame.”

Practical Ways to Reach Gen Z for Christ

Utilize Technology

Gen Z learns with a multisensory experience, often with technology involved. We need to provide ways for them to learn about the Bible and Christ in the ways they learn best. Let them ask questions, eat/drink, fidget and move when talking with them about Christ and Christianity. They want to actively participate in discussions at home, school and church.

Genuine Relationships

Gen Zers want authentic, real relationships based on trust. They want parents, teachers, pastors and family friends who will walk beside them. So get to know this generation better. Engage with the kids in your home, school and church. Provide a judgment-free zone where they are comfortable asking questions and grappling together over issues.

“When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the good news and share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:23–24).

Get Involved in Community Outreach

Gen Z wants to see your faith be lived out in the community. So bring your kids to community events, outreach opportunities and bridge events. They want to see Christianity in action. If your church or school isn’t actively involved in outreach to the local community, then it’s time for you to help plan those events. Better yet, let the young people plan them. They love having actual leadership roles in the church.

These are just three practical ways to reach Gen Z for Christ as we help to nurture peace, real relationships and a sense of belonging. Gen Z needs authentic mentors. Don’t be afraid to talk openly about mental health issues with Gen Z. Ask them real questions and get to know them. This generation can change the world for Christ — it’s daunting and exciting to be parenting this generation of young people.

John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

 

Sources:

  1. “Over Half of Gen Z Teens Feel Motivated to Learn More about Jesus.” Barna Group, June 27, 2023. https://www.barna.com/research/teens-and-jesus/.

  2. Parker, Kim. “On the Cusp of Adulthood and Facing an Uncertain Future: What We Know about Gen Z so Far.” Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, May 14, 2020. https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/05/14/on-the-cusp-of-adulthood-and-facing-an-uncertain-future-what-we-know-about-gen-z-so-far-2/.

  3. De León, Carolann. “Trauma-Responsive Discipleship.” Northwest Adventists, November 15, 2023. https://nwadventists.com/news/2023/06/trauma-responsive-discipleship.

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LaVonne Long How to Reach Generation Z for Christ Generation Z has so many things vying for their attention, so how can we get through the noise and minister to them? Explore these practical ways to reach Gen Z.
Young Adult LIFE Tour Comes to Portland https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/young-adult-life-tour-comes-portland Many of our local churches love their young adults but are at a loss for where to begin a thriving ministry with them. The Young Adult LIFE Tour intends to bring insights and relevant, doable steps toward building young adult ministry now. Church young adults Growing Together Youth 35164 Thu, 11 Apr 2024 15:32:00 -0700 News

The North Pacific Union Young Adult LIFE Tour will be held April 19–20, 2024, at Pleasant Valley Adventist Church, 11125 SE 172nd Ave, Happy Valley, Oregon 97086. The Friday check-in will begin at 6:15 p.m. (Pacific). Steven Argue will be the featured presenter, with special guest worship leader, Robert Leslie Jr. Registration is free and now open at youngadultlife.com.

Argue, Young Adult Ministry Now author, is Fuller Theological Seminary associate professor of youth, family and culture and Fuller Youth Institute applied research strategist. He has worked in multiple ministry contexts as a youth pastor, parachurch leader and pastoral team leader.

Leslie Jr. is a worship leader and vocalist who has been leading worship for the last 15 years. Growing up, he felt the calling from God on his life to create authentic spaces where people could have intentional encounters with Jesus. As a Union College graduate, he currently serves as a worship leader for various churches in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska.

Church leaders, pastors and young adults are invited to attend this free young adult ministry training event sponsored by North American Division youth and young adult ministry, NPUC youth and young adult ministries, Oregon Conference young adult ministry, AdventSource and Pleasant Valley Church.

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For in-person registrants, the tour stop will include practical training, exclusive resources, inspirational worship, ministry networking, Sabbath meals and much more. Online registration is also available. Both in-person and online registration are free at youngadultlife.com.

Many local churches love their young adults but are at a loss about where to begin a thriving ministry with them. The Young Adult LIFE Tour intends to bring insights and relevant, doable steps toward building young adult ministries now.

Wanting to be more than an instructional event, the Young Adult LIFE Tour intends to be experiential and interactive, seeking to hold tour stops in local Adventist churches across the division where vibrant young adult ministry is thriving and bringing vitality to the whole congregation. Following the NPUC tour stop, plans are being laid for tour stops in Lake Union and Canada.

For more information on Young Adult LIFE and the Young Adult LIFE Tour, visit youngadultlife.com

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How would you finish the sentence, "Young adults are ...?" Come dialogue at the Young Adult LIFE Tour on April 19–20 at Pleasant Valley Church in the Portland, Oregon, area. Attend in person or online. Visit youngadultlife.com.
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Young Adult LIFE Tour Comes to Portland Many of our local churches love their young adults but are at a loss for where to begin a thriving ministry with them. The Young Adult LIFE Tour intends to bring insights and relevant, doable steps toward building young adult ministry now.
UCC Ordains Two Pastors https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/ucc-ordains-two-pastors Ordination or commissioning is a significant milestone in a pastor’s professional development. Upper Columbia Conference recently affirmed two pastors in their ministry. Autumn Dunzweiler Church 35121 Thu, 11 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Upper Columbia Conference recently ordained two pastors, James Ash and Jake Wilkinson, into the ministry.

“Ordination or commissioning is a significant milestone in a pastor’s professional development and it’s wonderful to see the church affirm these men in their ministry,” shared Eric Brown, UCC ministerial director.

Ash, Stateline Adventist Church and Dayton Adventist Church pastor, was ordained on Nov. 18, 2023, at Stateline Church. Rodney Mills, UCC vice president for administration, presented Ash as a candidate into the ministry and gave the homily. At the end of the service, Brown presented the certificate of ordination.

“Receiving a certificate is nice, but being ordained isn’t at all like receiving an achievement award,” shared Brown. “When we pray over a pastor like James, it’s a symbol of the trust and responsibility we as a church are placing in him as a spiritual leader.”

Ash was born to missionary parents in Taipei, Taiwan. He attended Far Eastern Academy for three years in Singapore and finished his senior year at Upper Columbia Academy.

From there, Ash went to Walla Walla College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theology and minors in biblical languages and history. Ash then attended Andrews University, where he met his wife, Joy, and graduated with a master’s degree in divinity. 

While Joy attended classes to become a nurse practitioner in Loma Linda, California, Ash did literature evangelism and focused heavily on becoming a certified pilot.

When Joy graduated, they moved to Guyana to become a missionary pilot family. For more than 11 years, Ash served Guyana Conference as a school administrator, project leader and chief pilot. During this time, they were blessed with two daughters, Julianna and Jenna.

In 2021, feeling the calling of God, Ash accepted a call from Upper Columbia Conference to pastor the Stateline/Dayton district.

Wilkinson, Ellensburg and Cle Elum district pastor, was ordained on Dec. 2, 2023, at Ellensburg Adventist Church. Mills presented Wilkinson as a candidate into the ministry. Cary Fry, Kennewick Adventist Church pastor, gave the homily, and Brown presented the ordination certificate.

“Sometimes ordinations can seem very formal and stiff, but not Jake’s,” shared Brown. “His service matched his love for people and his sense of humor perfectly.”

Wilkinson was born and raised in Soldotna, Alaska. He graduated from Walla Walla University with a degree in theology and served for two years as an intern pastor at Spokane Valley Adventist Church. After completing his internship, Wilkinson spent two and a half years in seminary at Andrews University and has spent the last three and a half years in the Ellensburg and Cle Elum district. He and his wife, Crystal, currently live in Ellensburg with their two dogs and fish.

“God has blessed us in UCC with an incredible team of dedicated pastors,” shared Brown. “I am so grateful to have these two men as a part of it and to welcome them to the ranks of ordained pastors in the Adventist Church.”

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Autumn Dunzweiler UCC Ordains Two Pastors Ordination or commissioning is a significant milestone in a pastor’s professional development. Upper Columbia Conference recently affirmed two pastors in their ministry.
Oregon Conference Education Team Welcomes New Associate Superintendent https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/oregon-conference-education-team-welcomes-new-associate-superintendent Jennifer Schmidt recently joined the Oregon Conference education department as a new associate superintendent of education. Kaleb Eisele Education 35110 Wed, 10 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Jennifer Schmidt recently joined Oregon Conference as a new associate superintendent of education. No stranger to the Oregon Conference education field, Schmidt made the transition from her role as Columbia Adventist Academy vice principal and teacher in Battle Ground, Washington. 

In an interview with the Oregon Conference communication team, Schmidt shared that she recognizes the struggles and hardships teachers have faced in recent years and wants to do all she can to support them. 

“In my [job] interview, we talked a lot about supporting teachers,” said Schmidt, “and that’s really what I want to do — support our teachers. I want to know their stories and classrooms and to understand what they need. Coming out of the pandemic has been so tough for so many, and our teachers are really on the front lines. They’re doing such good work, but at the same time, I know they’re tired. I just want to do everything I can to help support the teachers in this conference.”

Schmidt has been serving in educational spaces since her youth and has worked in classrooms internationally. “My mom worked as a teacher, and I would go to her school to help her," said Schmidt. "That was probably when I started to really think about working in education. I was also a student missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I think it was those things that led to me wanting to find some way to work with kids and help them — not only in achieving good academic outcomes but also in bringing them to Jesus.”

Ron Jacaban, Oregon Conference vice president for education, shared, “Jennifer’s knowledge and expertise in all areas of Standards Based Learning make her a major asset to Oregon Conference. She has been on the cutting edge for years and was practicing SBL before it became a focus in Adventist Education.”

One of Schmidt’s top priorities, she said, is making teachers’ jobs easier. “I would like to be an instructional leader,” she said, “and to provide support as we map out our path for the future. I want to help provide those things teachers need to be the best they can be — to go from good to great. I want to be part of helping them do well.”

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Kaleb Eisele Oregon Conference Education Team Welcomes New Associate Superintendent Jennifer Schmidt recently joined the Oregon Conference education department as a new associate superintendent of education.
Wenatchee Spanish Church Saves Souls https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/wenatchee-spanish-church-saves-souls God's influence has been evident at Wenatchee Spanish Adventist Church as He blessed them with in-person and virtual visitors. Antonio Ix Rosique Mission and Outreach 35131 Tue, 09 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

God has demonstrated His love and kindness powerfully in Wenatchee Spanish Adventist Church in Upper Columbia Conference during the latter part of 2023 and the early months of 2024.

Each Sabbath, we have rejoiced in having 10–20 visitors attend our worship services. During the week of Oct. 1–7, 2023, approximately 50 people visited the church. 

During Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, many identified with the church, formed friendships and have continued to visit. It's worth noting that some, in their testimonies, have expressed coming to us on their own seeking Bible studies.

During last year's fall evangelism period, we held Friends Day accompanied by a concert prior to the evangelism week. It was interesting to see how our guests expressed their need for God and how the congregation actively invited their friends, family, neighbors and coworkers.

2024 began with high expectations for the church, as a mission-focused spirit has been growing among church families. In January, we continued sharing the message through our radio program on one of the city's most popular stations and on social media through our virtual church coordinated by the UCC Hispanic ministries department. 

Our virtual church has many followers — or what we call "members of our borderless virtual church” — which operates every weekday at 7 a.m. on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

We began planning our eagerly awaited evangelism week — scheduled Feb. 24 through March 2 — with our committees, the evangelist and the entire church service team’s collaboration. 

A week before our event, we organized a family-focused weekend with Mike and Laura Rosario, a couple who were a great blessing to the church. The number of visitors prior to our evangelism week continued to rise. Daily attendance reached an unprecedented 215 people worshiping in our sanctuary.

We conducted our week of evangelistic meetings and the Holy Spirit moved powerfully! Thirty-three individuals were accepted as new church members: 24 through baptism and nine through profession of faith.

We continue to provide follow-up care and support to our new church family members through our discipleship class held on Sabbaths at 10 a.m. We continue to prayerfully plan to plant three new congregations in our area and surrounding communities with our new members and guests. 

We thank God for His blessings, the support of the entire church and supportive church leaders. We continue to serve and work joyfully for Christ.

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Antonio Ix Rosique Wenatchee Spanish Church Saves Souls God's influence has been evident at Wenatchee Spanish Adventist Church as He blessed them with in-person and virtual visitors.
Cinema Evangelism Sparks New Conversations https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/cinema-evangelism-sparks-new-conversations Visionary filmmaker Kyle Portbury’s intentionality is evident in the way he crafted The Hopeful, not just as a film, but as a tool for personal evangelism and community engagement. Heidi Baumgartner Missions and Outreach 35069 Mon, 08 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Kyle Portbury, filmmaker, has a gift to share with the world, and you have an active part in sharing this gift.

Portbury is the writer, director and producer behind The Hopeful, a 90-minute film that shares the Adventist Church origin story. The Hopeful will be released to more than 1,000 theaters on April 17 and 18, 2024.

If you’ve watched the six-part Tell the World miniseries, the storylines and a few scenes may seem familiar to you.

“You couldn't have The Hopeful without Tell the World,” Portbury said during a screening conversation with Pacific Northwest leaders in March. The two projects were filmed at the same time and edited to present distinct narratives. “Now, in 2024, The Hopeful is one Adventist giving his love letter to his roots.”

Cinema evangelism is a unique avenue for community engagement and outreach, using films to spark meaningful conversations about faith and life.

Portbury’s intentionality is evident in the way he crafted The Hopeful, not just as a film, but as a tool for personal evangelism and community engagement.

“Imagine you've known a friend for years, but you've never really talked about your faith with them. It can feel awkward to suddenly bring it up. Cinema evangelism offers a unique chance to change that,” he said. “Who wouldn't want to say yes to a movie and dinner with friends?”

The Hopeful offers a platform for discussing disappointment, pain, loss, grief, mental health, community building and grace in grief. It presents real people and emotions that resonate with viewers, sparking introspection and deeper conversations.

“You will be able to have these wonderful engagements because people aren't seeing something that's trying to teach or preach to them in The Hopeful,” Portbury said. “They will be seeing real people in a storyline who are really experiencing the same things that they do in life. And they will be asking, 'How can I work past the disappointments in my life?'”

Hope Studios, a new cinematic arm of Hope Channel International, is investing in film projects to increase awareness and understanding of the Adventist faith through creative storytelling. An upcoming project, in partnership with Walla Walla University Center for Media Ministry, will be a 10-part series with personal stories of resilience.

“I’m very happy to see where Hope Studios is taking cinematic evangelism,” said Matt Webster, WWU Center for Media Ministry producer and director of studio operations.

Already, Portbury is personally seeing the impact beyond the storyline through his interactions with the cast, crew, investors and industry partners.

The diverse crew of more than 200 included individuals, like a Buddhist editor or atheist assistant director, who respectfully challenged Portbury on different aspects of the story, making the project stronger.

"When the crew is asking you to tell them about the Sabbath just as you’re sitting there working on the scene, you become an evangelist without even realizing it," Portbury reflected. "It was very natural and organic and not weird at all. The concept of the Sabbath was very appealing to them."

Tickets are now available at fathomevents.com where you can purchase individual or group tickets in sets of 25.

The Hopeful aims to keep audiences engaged through local church or school screens and additional faith-sharing assets, such as a new Steps to Christ audio recording, all available via thehopefulmovie.com.

"The film is a perfect excuse to engage with your community," Portbury concluded. “It's an opportunity for you as an individual church member to engage with people in your community who are already in your sphere of influence and then share with them on a deeper level.”

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Heidi Baumgartner Cinema Evangelism Sparks New Conversations Visionary filmmaker Kyle Portbury’s intentionality is evident in the way he crafted The Hopeful, not just as a film, but as a tool for personal evangelism and community engagement.
Iceberg Ahead https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/iceberg-ahead Only 10% of an iceberg is visible above water. Let's not be like icebergs — showing our best 10% and hiding the rest — instead let's surrender to Jesus daily so we can become all He wants us to be, without having to hide. Natashia McVay perspective 35119 Sat, 06 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

On April 15, 1912, one of the most luxurious and technologically advanced ships of its time sank. Why did it sink? The Titanic sank because they underestimated the dangers of icebergs. The portion of the iceberg you see only constitutes about 10% of its overall mass. What is hidden is much more dangerous than what is visible. 

As human beings, we often struggle with inconsistency. It's frightfully easy to slip into the practice of saying to people, "Do as I say, not as I do." In many ways, we can become a human embodiment of the iceberg principle — showing people our best 10% and hiding the rest below the surface. Sometimes we fall into this trap for all the “right” reasons. We want to be — or feel we have to be — a better example than we actually are.

Jeremiah proclaimed, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Is your religion a true religion, or a performative event in which you take part? True Christians will talk the talk and walk the walk, empowered and enabled by God. Instead of using ourselves or others as an example to be followed, we should always point people towards Jesus. Jesus and Jesus alone is the one we should seek to emulate and imitate. In Christ, there is safety from the stormiest of seas.

Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John are useful here, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). There is a tug of war that occurs in even the most converted of human hearts. Now, more than ever, faithfulness to God’s law of love and authenticity matter. 

On our own, we are incapable of living a truly transformed Christian life. It's only through a daily surrendering of self, a wholehearted submission of selfish desires and gain, that we can be truly genuine and devoted Christians. 

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1–3).

Jesus promises that He will be with the true seeker, and He will help our words and actions match. He wants us to be truly transformed by Him living in us. He wants to make us new in Him — not just knowers of the "right" but livers of the truth, Jesus Christ, that has transformed our whole being.

How is this accomplished in our lives? It's accomplished through daily submission to Jesus and through reading the Bible — not just to check off a box for the day or to have an advantage over others. Read the Bible to get to know who Jesus is and what He desires to do in our lives. Pray to be like Jesus and that His ways become our ways.

“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved” (Rom. 10:10).

If we truly seek Jesus, the Holy Spirit will enable us to live out our faith. With Jesus in our lives and the working of the Holy Spirit we will more fully embody the true nature of Jesus. We can be authentic Christians who strive to submit our lives more fully each day to Jesus. Then our actions will display this transformation in our lives. This is to be the goal of a Christian’s life.

I appreciate Ellen White’s statement on this principle in The Acts of the Apostles: “Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ."

God doesn't want icebergs — people who say one thing but, in private or in the secret of their home, act in a completely different way. Rather God wants mountains. 

He wants our actions to match our hearts; to truly be transformed by a relationship with Him and have our actions be a true representation of that relationship.

Stand tall and proud because what you have learned about God has changed you; what you say is what you truly believe and live. Stand like a mountain, pointing ever upward to God as the true light and leader of your life.

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Natashia McVay Iceberg Ahead Only 10% of an iceberg is visible above water. Let's not be like icebergs — showing our best 10% and hiding the rest — instead let's surrender to Jesus daily so we can become all He wants us to be, without having to hide.
LCA Robotics Team Advances to Championship https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/lca-robotics-team-advances-championship Lake City Academy learns programming, problem solving, presentation preparation and much more in the field of science and technology through their robotics program. Autumn Dunzweiler Education 35124 Fri, 05 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Lake City Academy in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, began its robotics program three years ago with just eight students. Now, three years later, they have two teams with 16 total students participating.

“The group learns programming, problem solving, presentation preparation and much more in the field of science and technology,” shared Anne Blech, LCA robotics coach. “Core values are an important part of robotics. Everyone on the team must learn how to work together and share ideas. We learn about gracious professionalism and cooperation.”

In February 2024, LCA represented two of the 10 participating teams in the NPUC robotics regionals at Auburn Adventist Academy. Students from fifth through eighth grade participated by presenting their projects to a panel of judges, which evaluated the projects based on the theme, core value and robot engineering.

“Having two teams in our program at LCA can be a challenge, but the teams learn together and help each other,” said Blech. “Our group meets once a week after school for a couple of hours. Sometimes students will go to the robotics lab at a recess to finish programming a mission on their robot.”

During regionals, each team was given a 30-minute judging in front of a panel of judges to present their projects. Then the robot games began with each team having two-and-a-half-minute robot runs to score as many points as possible while completing missions on the table.

Awards are given in each of the categories that are judged. This year, Eagle Studios, one of LCA’s teams, won the award for core values. The other team, Abstract Eagles, placed third and are advancing to the First LEGO League Championship that will be taking place at Forest Lake Academy in Florida. 

Now comes the challenge of fine-tuning the robot programming and getting everything ready to go to Florida.

“I’m looking forward to the robot runs at the FLL Championship,” said Caleb Whalen, Abstract Eagles team captain and LCA seventh-grader. “It’s the best part!”

“Our team is excited to represent our school, conference and union at the FLL Championship. Robotics is a great way to enhance our science programs,” shared Blech. “I'm excited for the students getting to meet other students from around the country who share the same interests in science. It’s fun to see how each team approaches their team projects and how they design their robots.”

Visit adventistrobotics.net for more information about Adventist robotics and how to watch the championships.

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Autumn Dunzweiler LCA Robotics Team Advances to Championship Lake City Academy learns programming, problem solving, presentation preparation and much more in the field of science and technology through their robotics program.
Walla Walla Education Programs Enhanced for K–12 Teachers https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/walla-walla-education-programs-enhanced-k12-teachers Walla Walla University is updating its continuing education program to better serve K–12 teachers pursuing Adventist teaching certification or renewal. It is also adding a new science education major for the next generation of teachers. Kelsi Dos Santos Education 35115 Thu, 04 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Walla Walla University is updating its continuing education program to better serve K–12 teachers pursuing Adventist certification or renewal. The School of Education and Psychology is also adding a bachelor’s degree in science education, which will provide more well-rounded preparation for those interested in teaching the sciences. These program updates are part of a concerted effort to meet the demand for qualified, Christ-loving teachers.

Updated Adventist Certification Courses

The restructured continuing education program consists of online, self-paced courses that are flexible and convenient for teachers. The asynchronous courses are designed to be finished within six months and are centered around job-embedded coursework, making it easier for teachers to complete the courses while teaching.

“Job-embedded assignments allow teachers to implement what they’re learning in their classrooms immediately. Instead of creating lesson plans for a hypothetical class or students, they’re doing that work for their current classroom,” said Maria Bastien Valenca, WWU School of Education and Psychology dean.

Perhaps most importantly, the program is embedded in the Adventist worldview, providing a context of faith for teachers. As they learn about curriculum or literature choices for their classrooms, they’re examining those practices in relation to Adventist beliefs. “Other programs might allow similar flexibility, but we’re really unique in offering high-level education for teachers in the context of Adventist faith,” said Bastien Valenca.

Interested in learning more once this program launches? Visit wallawalla.edu/cont-ed.

New Science Education Degree

The new bachelor’s degree aims to make it easier for undergraduate students to prepare to teach the sciences, especially in smaller schools that require endorsements in multiple areas. The program allows students to concentrate in either physics, chemistry or physics, while allowing time to add a minor in a second science area.

“We are trying to encourage students to think about science teaching as a major,” said Brian Hartman, associate professor of education, “and provide a way for them to be more marketable and flexible, without having to take extra time to complete their degree.”

The new degree will be available this fall, pending final accreditor approval. Learn more about the School of Education and Psychology at wallawalla.edu/ed-psych.

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Kelsi Dos Santos Walla Walla Education Programs Enhanced for K–12 Teachers Walla Walla University is updating its continuing education program to better serve K–12 teachers pursuing Adventist teaching certification or renewal. It is also adding a new science education major for the next generation of teachers.
Brower to Lead UCC Serve One More Initiative https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/brower-lead-ucc-serve-one-more-initiative After a recruiting search of more than three months, Richie Brower has been tapped to oversee the new Serve One More initiative throughout Upper Columbia Conference. Dustin Jones Church 35120 Wed, 03 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

After a recruiting search lasting more than three months, Richie Brower has been tapped to oversee the new Serve One More initiative throughout Upper Columbia Conference. 

Currently serving as associate director for club ministries, youth, young adult ministry and Camp MiVoden, Brower will begin transitioning to his new role as associate director for Serve One More effective immediately. However, due to major club ministries events, the transition will not be complete until Sept. 1, 2024. 

“Brower has a passion for service and an incredible knack for connecting with people,” said David Jamieson, UCC president. “This initiative is a critical piece of our strategic plan to reach every man, woman, boy and girl in the Inland Northwest.”

The Serve One More initiative was established as part of the 2023–2025 strategic plan with the goal of focusing lay people, pastors, teachers, and students who are in schools, churches, Pathfinder clubs, Adventist Community Services agencies and other UCC entities on Christ’s method of mingling with, ministering to and serving others in our local communities. 

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Richie Brower

Brower’s new role will help direct Serve One More funds to new community service initiatives, as well as provide much-needed training and resources to encourage innovative community engagement. Brower has already demonstrated a keen passion for community engagement in his previous role as Pathfinder leader for the conference.

“I am very excited to help our churches, schools, Adventist Community Services groups and clubs effectively connect with their local communities and understand how we can serve them best,” Brower said.

Brower will be instrumental in encouraging pastors, members, teachers and students to engage in community activities and events that will bring the presence of Jesus into the life of the communities throughout the conference.

“As this exciting initiative unfolds, it will encourage our members to effectively engage with their local communities, and we believe each person they interact with will learn more about Jesus and fall in love with Him,” said Jamieson.

Brower has spent his career at UCC, as a pastor and chaplain, and more recently focusing on youth and young adults. Brower and his wife, Timi, have three boys and love to speak as a team on topics related to marriage and relationships. They live on a small farm in the Palouse.

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Dustin Jones Brower to Lead UCC Serve One More Initiative After a recruiting search of more than three months, Richie Brower has been tapped to oversee the new Serve One More initiative throughout Upper Columbia Conference.
Alaska Young Adults Find Common Ground https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/alaska-young-adults-find-common-ground The next generation of Alaskan church leaders gather for connection and fellowship. Along the way, they discover a special sense of purpose that unites their diverse backgrounds and experiences. John Winslow Youth 35134 Tue, 02 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

On a fine sunny weekend in February 2024, young adults from southcentral Alaska gathered together to grow their faith, enjoy delicious food and foster wonderful fellowship. 

The weekend kicked off on Friday evening with the Anchorage chapter of Adventist Young Professionals leading the evening program, sharing music, giving insights about AYP and emphasizing the value of connecting with friends and God. 

On Sabbath, Tyler Drumm, pastor and young adult from southeast Alaska, explored the theme, “To be like Jesus ... Making Christianity Practical.” Drumm also made sure to include easy and practical resources he has developed or found to maintain a strong connection with our loving Heavenly Father and to share the message of Jesus’ love with others.

During the weekend, the young adult group also took time to experience the sights and trails found in the Anchorage area, which included a great evening at a local entertainment center playing games like nearly life-sized hungry, hungry hippos.

Alaska Conference is blessed and thankful for the exceptional young adults who are taking the lead in many ways in local churches and young adult ministries. The conference stands ready to support young adults as they serve within their congregations and participate in special events, such as the young adult weekend. Plans are underway for an annual young adult weekend focusing on faith, food and fellowship, with additional smaller events throughout the year. 

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John Winslow Alaska Young Adults Find Common Ground The next generation of Alaskan church leaders gather for connection and fellowship. Along the way, they discover a special sense of purpose that unites their diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Oromo Pastor Praises God for Growth and Progress https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/04/oromo-pastor-praises-god-growth-and-progress Oromo Adventist Church's pastor is praising God for His multiple blessings through the years and is looking ahead to God's future blessings with building a new church home. Gemedi Geleto Church 34823 Mon, 01 Apr 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Reviewing the abundant blessings the Lord bestowed on their church in 2022 and 2023 has filled the members of Oromo Adventist Church with gratitude, joy and praise to God.

As a result of baptisms held in 2022, the Oromo congregation welcomed 24 new souls into their faith-filled fellowship. And, even as they rejoiced over those who have already given their lives to Jesus, they continued to actively reach out, inviting others to personally know and love the Lord. Doing so resulted in more souls accepting Jesus as their personal Savior in 2023.

Oromo Church partnered with It Is Written and other churches to visit Ethiopia on a mission trip, which included doctors, pastors, clinicians and support staff in 2022. Medical professionals performed almost 2,000 cataract surgeries and 15,000 other medical procedures, taking time to pray with every patient. Over the course of the trip, almost 3,000 people were baptized!

In response to their long-held desires, careful fiscal management and fervently faithful prayers, God has provided the means for the Oromo congregation to purchase land on which to build their own church home. Crediting God’s guidance, the congregation managed to successfully navigate the long and arduous building application process of the City of Gresham, Oregon, and has received final approval from the city for their church building plans.

Having a designated plot of land for their future church home has already proven to be an enormous blessing to the congregation. When the facility they had been renting for worship services became unavailable, Oromo members pitched a tent on their newly purchased property, and, instead, worshiped there. Oromo Church’s ultimate goal is to transition to worshiping in their own permanent structure, but with a projected cost in the millions, they need the prayers and the financial support of others to help make this goal a reality.

As they look towards the construction of their new church home, Oromo church members are planning an expansive vision of ministry, not only for their local church members but also for their wider community. They dream of providing a dedicated place of worship and discipleship training for their own rapidly growing congregation of families, young adults and seniors. They are especially proud of their growing Pathfinder club and can’t wait for space to accommodate the club’s various activities.

Additionally, the congregation aims to be a service center, providing refugee/immigrant orientation classes, health education classes and at-risk youth mentoring. And, they desire to be considered a safe gathering place for seniors, those with disabilities and the immigrant/refugee community.

Your partnership with Oromo Church — through your prayers and financial support — will go a long way toward helping them realize these goals. Visit oromosdachurch.org to contribute or learn more.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Oromo Church at sdaoromo7@gmail.com or 503-501-9937.

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Gemedi Geleto Oromo Pastor Praises God for Growth and Progress Oromo Adventist Church's pastor is praising God for His multiple blessings through the years and is looking ahead to God's future blessings with building a new church home.
What's In Your Hand? https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/whats-your-hand When we desire to be a blessing to God and others, the first place to look is at what God has placed in our hands already. John Freedman Mission and Outreach 35140 Sun, 31 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

As a young adult, several friends invited me to attend church with them. I was searching for God and truth. This led me to study the Bible.

Soon I was born again of the Holy Spirit and baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist with a new heart devoted to God. My habits and priorities began to change.

The Holy Spirit planted in my heart a desire to tell others about how God had changed my life. The gospel of Jesus Christ has power. I could not shake the desire to share my newfound faith with friends and family.

The conference where I lived held a witnessing training weekend. Someone at the event preached a sermon based on Exod. 4:2.

There, we find the call of God to Moses when he was in Midian, just after he turned to explore the burning bush. Moses heard the call and listened to God call him to do something for Him.

However, Moses did not believe he could accomplish anything significant for God. I don’t remember much about the message except for how the pastor pressed the question, “What is that in your hand?”

This was a powerful question. It still is.

For Moses, his hand held a shepherd’s rod.

The Creator God has given gifts and talents to all humankind — to all nations, peoples and tongues — male and female, young and old, poor and rich.

When we desire to be a blessing to God and others, the first place to look is at what God has placed in our hands already.

What talent has He given you? What spiritual gift has He given you? What education has He blessed you with? What career or vocation has He given you? What skills have you learned in your work? What hobbies have you learned and enjoy? What friends has He given you? What family members need God’s transforming power?

The North American Division is talking about a new evangelism initiative called Pentecost 2025. The goal is to hold 3,000 evangelistic proclamation events in North America during 2025.

The NAD is working to raise funds to assist each local church that volunteers to hold an event. North Pacific Union is also going to provide funding for churches that hold evangelistic proclamation events.

The Voice of Prophecy is providing training and resources to assist churches and pastors. In fact, all the NAD media ministries are actively looking for ways to assist local churches for this evangelism initiative.

To prepare for Pentecost 2025, we must use the rest of 2024 for preparation. How? Start where you are. Evaluate what is in your hand.

God will bless anyone who will partner with Him to win souls. Look around you at what God has provided already.

After I heard God’s call, I found a stack of invitations to a prophecy presentation in my hand. Sharing those with family and friends, as well as explaining how my life had changed, resulted in my two brothers attending the meetings. Both were baptized.

This Gleaner issue features a plenitude of stories — in both traditional and unusual third spaces — about how Northwest Adventists are using God’s gifts in their hands to creatively build community, share the Good News of Jesus and reach just one more person. As you read and reflect, listen to how God is prompting you to respond to His question, “What is that in your hand?”

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John Freedman What's In Your Hand? When we desire to be a blessing to God and others, the first place to look is at what God has placed in our hands already.
God's Errands https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/gods-errands When we go on God's errands, He always brings people into our path to interact with and potentially influence for a moment or for eternity. Heidi Baumgartner Mission and Outreach Faith 35071 Sat, 30 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

I often live out my life through mental narratives about what’s likely to happen next. Yet, life doesn’t have a perfect playbook.

When recently I parked my car and stepped out to start my workday, I realized three things very quickly: 1. I uncharacteristically forgot my computer bag; 2. There was a hissing sound coming from my car; and 3. My day was taking a very different turn.

God had a surprise in store for me for His heavenly playbook for my life.

I soon found a protruding object in my car’s back tire that I likely picked up from an accidentally discovered pothole.

With a quick call of confirmation back home, I mapped out and then carefully drove to the nearest tire shop where technicians assessed the situation and promised to take care of it.

With unexpected time on my hands, I settled in the waiting room with a copy of A Way Forward, by Caleb Foss where I learned more about the art of being interested versus interesting.

This approach to thinking and living is about understanding your identity in Christ first, and then showing increased interest in other people’s lives. It truly does make life more interesting!

After a productive morning of waiting, I headed to lunch where I noticed an older man approach the car parked next to mine. I instantly recognized the university name emblazoned on his sweatshirt.

As a fellow master’s graduate, I had to say something and stepped out of my car to greet him. I soon learned his name is Scotty and we had a great conversation in the parking lot that quickly turned to faith and common connections between our faith traditions and our lived experiences.

“Those of us who believe in Jesus need to stick together,” Scotty proclaimed. “Signs of the end are all around and Bible prophecy is evident. We need each other.”

Sometimes I hear people say how hard it is to share their faith or make new friends. Sometimes I have thoughts like this, too. My mental narrative tells me I’m not enough in some way, shape or form.

However, I keep finding experiences where God is orchestrating various interactions where a simple curiosity, kindness or willingness to be interested turns into a divine appointment. God just asks me to be willing to go on His errands, and He takes care of the rest.

These encounters remind me God works through the seemingly mundane aspects of life to connect us with others in profound ways. Sometimes our world is right in front of us, waiting for us to show up; to not shirk our word, calling or responsibilities; to make a difference in someone’s life for a moment or for eternity; to cultivate joy, peace and grace on the journey toward heaven. That’s the best playbook for life!

Table Talk Prompt

What divine appointments has God set up for you recently? How do divine appointments in your life recalibrate your spiritual walk and your relationship with others?

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Heidi Baumgartner God's Errands When we go on God's errands, He always brings people into our path to interact with and potentially influence for a moment or for eternity.
UCC Launches Digital Prayer Ministry Pilot Program https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/ucc-launches-digital-prayer-ministry-pilot-program Upper Columbia Conference has put significant focus on prayer since 2021 and God has answered prayers to grow this ministry with the digital prayer ministry initiative. Autumn Dunzweiler Mission and Outreach 35123 Fri, 29 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Since 2021, Upper Columbia Conference has put significant focus on prayer. In 2022, UCC began holding many prayer-focused events, including 40 Days of Prayer, Zoom rooms with special guest speakers and an annual prayer summit. In addition to these events, prayer ministries has been praying for more ways to expand and reach people through prayer, and God answered with the digital prayer ministry initiative.

David Jamieson, UCC president, attended the North American Division year-end meeting last year when he heard a story from Justin Kim, Central California Conference digital evangelism director, about digital prayer ministry. It grabbed his attention, so Jamieson shared it with Kathy Marson, UCC prayer ministries coordinator.

“I found the video from Kim’s presentation and after watching it I was so inspired,” explained Marson. “Several churches in CCC partnered with NAD Adventist Information Ministry to offer prayer in their communities through social media. The outcome was amazing! They had so many requests that they had to stop advertising their prayer posts in order to handle the requests that already came in.”

Marson shared the video with several others and a committee was formed to make this ministry a reality. In early January, Jamieson; Marson; Art Lenz, UCC IT director; and Dustin Jones, UCC communications director, met with Brent Hardinge, AIM director, to talk about digital prayer ministry in UCC. During the meeting, AIM and UCC finalized plans to form a partnership to provide a pilot program in UCC to begin this year.

“The program works like this: The church records a video ad offering to pray with and for people in their community,” shared Marson. “The ad is delivered on social media to anyone within a 6-mile radius of the church. AIM employs student chaplains to respond to messages from call centers located at Andrews University and Walla Walla University. Students handle all of the interests in a timely fashion and turn the contact over to the church as soon as they have shown an interest in a local prayer contact.”

Following the committee meeting, six churches in UCC were invited to participate with the prerequisite that the churches currently have a presence on Facebook and/or Instagram.

“It is the hope and prayer that this will be successful and can be implemented in many more churches in the future,” shared Marson. “God’s timing and miracles are evident. Thank you for your prayers for digital prayer ministry.”

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Autumn Dunzweiler UCC Launches Digital Prayer Ministry Pilot Program Upper Columbia Conference has put significant focus on prayer since 2021 and God has answered prayers to grow this ministry with the digital prayer ministry initiative.
Keizer Friends Find Faith Together https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/keizer-friends-find-faith-together Renato Torres and Edmundo “Epe” Selvas are best friends whose journey began with a simple invitation to a gathering where young adults from diverse backgrounds dig into the Bible and engage in meaningful conversations. Pochy Montes Mission and Outreach 35107 Thu, 28 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

In the heart of Keizer, Oregon, amidst the bustling routines of daily life, a remarkable story of faith and friendship recently unfolded.

Renato Torres and Edmundo “Epe” Selvas are best friends whose journey began with a simple invitation to the Keizer Hub from Vivid Adventist Church, a gathering where young adults from all backgrounds dig into the Bible and engage in meaningful conversations. 

Over time, Torres and Selvas became fixtures in this community, forging deep friendships and embracing the teachings of the Bible. Both young men are dedicated to personal growth and sharing the joy they've found with others. While working with their study group, they have extended invitations to friends and siblings to join, fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome to participate and share their unique perspectives.

As they dived into the book of Romans, Torres and Selvas felt a profound transformation taking place within them. They took to heart the words found in Rom. 8:1–2, ”Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."

Together, they embarked on a journey of reflection and discernment, leading them to make life-altering decisions rooted in their newfound faith. Their commitment to spiritual growth didn't stop at weekly study sessions. Torres and Selvas hungered for more knowledge and connection with Jesus, leading them to join Friday night studies and house study groups with their church community. Despite the demands of their business, they made the decision to honor the Sabbath, dedicating it to worship, rest and acts of service.

This dedication will culminate in a significant milestone as Torres and Selvas prepare for their baptism alongside two other friends. Their journey is not just one of personal faith, but a testament to the transformative power of the community and the unwavering support of those who walk alongside them. 

As they take this profound step of faith, lift them up in prayer and ask for blessings upon their lives. May their journey inspire others to seek a deeper relationship with God and may they continue to be beacons of light in their community, spreading love, hope and the message of salvation to all they encounter.

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Pochy Montes Keizer Friends Find Faith Together Renato Torres and Edmundo “Epe” Selvas are best friends whose journey began with a simple invitation to a gathering where young adults from diverse backgrounds dig into the Bible and engage in meaningful conversations.
Walla Walla Symphony Orchestra Performs at Kennedy Center https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/walla-walla-symphony-orchestra-performs-kennedy-center Walla Walla University's symphony orchestra traveled to the East Coast for a unique chance to perform at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Emily Wical Education 35126 Wed, 27 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

The Walla Walla University Symphony Orchestra traveled to the East Coast for a unique chance to perform at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The orchestra performed pieces including Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 2" and "Finale" and Saint-Saëns' "Third Symphony" with organ.

The invitation to play on the main stage of Kennedy Center came after the orchestra's memorable performance at Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2019. The concert at Kennedy Center was part of the 2024 Capital Orchestra Festival, and WWU's orchestra was one of only four invited to participate.

This rare opportunity was greatly appreciated by all the orchestra members, including Lisa Luzyl Wa-Mbaleka, WWU sophomore health science major, who said, “I was ecstatic to be on the same stage as many great musicians who had performed before me. It was a beautiful experience that I will never forget and it ignited my passion even further for music.”

Beyond the performance at Kennedy Center, orchestra students also participated in a workshop with a famous conductor, explored Washington, D.C., monuments and memorial sites, and visited museums. The multi-day tour also included a performance at an Adventist church.

Cristina Showalter, sophomore bioengineering major and first chair cellist, said, “The trip was a total blast. I came into it not really being close to or even friends with anyone on the trip, but by the end, I can genuinely say that I could call basically everyone in the orchestra a friend. I am so thrilled to share amazing memories with all the cool people in the orchestra.”

Providing opportunities for students to play at significant venues is a way to support their love for music. The dedicated practice required to be invited to these concert halls is a testament to the quality of WWU's music program. Ensembles like the Symphony Orchestra are open to all students, not just music majors. With 10 ensembles offered each year, university students have countless ways to hone their musical talents and participate in rich musical experiences.

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Emily Wical Walla Walla Symphony Orchestra Performs at Kennedy Center Walla Walla University's symphony orchestra traveled to the East Coast for a unique chance to perform at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Bible Readings for April 2024 https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/bible-readings-april-2024 Follow the daily reading plan and you will read the entire Bible in a year. Bible Reading Plan 34790 Wed, 27 Mar 2024 05:00:00 -0700 News

Follow the daily reading plan and you will read the entire Bible in a year.

April 1: James
April 2: Acts 17
April 3: Galatians 
April 4: Acts 18:1–18
April 5: 1 Thessalonians

April 7: Mark 10–11
April 8: Luke 19
April 9: Matt. 22–23
April 10: Mark 12–13
April 11: Matt. 20–21
April 12: Luke 18

April 14: Luke 20–24
April 15: John 14–17
April 16: Matt. 27–28
April 17: 2 Thessalonians
April 18: Matt. 24–26
April 19: Mark 14–16

April 21: Acts 5–8
April 22: Acts 9–10
April 23: Acts 11–14
April 24: Acts 15–16
April 25: John 18–21
April 26: Acts 1–4

April 28: John 11–13
April 29: Luke 17:11–37
April 30: Matt. 19

Our Bible reading plan leaves Sabbath as a time to share and reflect on your readings for the week. Find creative ways each Sabbath to share your reflections with others on what God is teaching you from your Bible reading time!

Follow us @NWAdventists on Instagram and Facebook.

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Bible Readings for April 2024 Follow the daily reading plan and you will read the entire Bible in a year.
Simpson to Serve as NPUC VP for Hispanic Ministries https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/simpson-serve-npuc-vp-hispanic-ministries Peter Simpson will be joining the NPUC team in early summer 2024 to serve as vice president for Hispanic ministries and ministerial director. Heidi Baumgartner Church 35139 Tue, 26 Mar 2024 12:00:00 -0700 News

Peter Simpson will be joining the North Pacific Union team early this summer as vice president for Hispanic ministries and ministerial director.

Simpson is coming to the Pacific Northwest from Ohio Conference where he served as multilingual ministries coordinator as well as church planting and evangelism director for 10 years.

“Through ministry, I love to touch people's hearts with a Christ-centered message, as well as to prepare and equip the church members to share their faith with others to welcome as many as possible in God's kingdom,” Simpson said.

His 33 years of ministry experience includes multiple capacities in different countries as district pastor, professor and department leader at a seminary and at conference and union levels. He also served as a conference president for Atlantic Honduras Conference and South Central Conference of Costa Rica.

Notably, at the beginning of his career in 1990, Simpson served as a district pastor to 26 congregations among indigenous people in the remotest areas of Nicaragua. His seven years in missional pastoral service resulted in thousands of baptisms.

Simpson has a previous connection with the Pacific Northwest. When Jere Patzer, former NPUC president, led the Guatemala for Christ campaign where 500 people were baptized in 2000, Simpson pastored the largest church in Guatemala Central Conference.

Simpson credits his passion for mission and his clear vision for evangelism to his Cuban missionary parents who served God in Managua, Nicaragua. The whole family considers themselves to be missionaries.

Simpson and his wife, Carolina, enjoy sharing in the joy of service to God and His church. The family has two adult sons: one is a financial administrator for Ohio Conference and the other founded Stereo Adventista International, with four local radio production studios in Ohio and thousands of worldwide listeners.

Carolina will also be joining the NPUC team as a part-time administrative assistant for Hispanic ministries.

“We feel God has led us to the Pacific Northwest and are curious to discover and enjoy the many blessings He has stored for us all as we work together,” Simpson said.

Simpson holds a bachelor’s degree in theology, a master’s degree in missiology and a doctoral degree in pastoral ministry. He is a frequent presenter for camp meetings, evangelistic series and ministry training sessions.

“Peter's extensive experience in ministry, church planting, small groups, church revitalization and evangelism will provide invaluable support and encouragement to our administrative and pastoral teams in the Pacific Northwest,” said John Freedman, NPUC president. “We warmly welcome both Peter and Carolina to our ministry team and pray for God's blessings as they transition to this new ministry territory. I am confident you will find their presence enriching and inspiring as you get to know them better.”

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Peter and Carolina Simpson are coming from Ohio Conference to join in the mission to Reach One More in the Pacific Northwest. Peter will be serving as NPUC vice president for Hispanic ministries and ministerial director and Carolina will be serving as a part-time administrative assistant for Hispanic ministries.

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Heidi Baumgartner Simpson to Serve as NPUC VP for Hispanic Ministries Peter Simpson will be joining the NPUC team in early summer 2024 to serve as vice president for Hispanic ministries and ministerial director.
Idaho Conference Offers Mountaintop Camp Meeting https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/idaho-conference-offers-mountaintop-camp-meeting God has a plan for you, a plan to give you purpose and fulfillment. Find it on your mountaintop. Eve Rusk Church 35111 Tue, 26 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Inspiration for event themes comes from a variety of places. For this year's Idaho Conference camp meeting, the theme, "Mountaintop Silence to Life-Changing Mission," came from a feedback segment during the conference's first-ever young adult retreat. 

What is mountaintop silence? It’s the attitude of being in a spiritual retreat with God, where one’s thoughts are focused on Him. It might include reading scripture, listening to music that lifts one’s heart to God, focused periods of prayer that include a significant silent time or listening for God’s voice. It can be somewhere on a mountain, beside a quiet stream, a quiet corner at home or even in one’s car — wherever that solitude can be experienced.

The purpose of mountaintop silence is to discover who God is in your life and what His plans are for you. While it's an escape of sorts, it's much more. It's a time to receive what will be a life-changing mission to share with someone else the great things God has done in your life. 

Mountaintop silence draws one’s thoughts to the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness after receiving His Father’s spirit at His baptism in the Jordan River. Those 40 days in communication with His Father helped Jesus cement the relationship He would need to fulfill His task of redeeming the world He created. His faith was tested multiple times. 

Knowing His hunger, Satan tempted Jesus with the words, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread” (Luke 4:3). Jesus responded with scripture. 

Next, the devil brought Jesus to a high place, showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and promising to give Jesus their authority and splendor, if He would just worship Satan. Jesus again quoted scripture. 

Yet again, when the devil tempted Jesus to throw Himself down from the highest point of the temple by quoting scripture to Jesus, intimating that the angels wouldn’t let any harm come to Him, Jesus quoted scripture.

This year’s camp meeting is designed to bring you to your mountaintop, where you can experience silence with God and move into a life-changing mission for Him. Please join the programming on the campus of Gem State Adventist Academy or join online via the Idaho Conference Communication YouTube channel for livestreamed evening and Sabbath morning meetings. Both the English language and Spanish language camp meetings begin Tuesday evening, June 11 and go through the Sabbath hours of June 15.

Derek Morris, Hope Channel, Inc. field representative, is the main speaker, with support during the daytime hours from Don Klinger, well-known Idaho Conference spiritual leader; Brant Berglin, Walla Walla University associate professor of theology; John Kelly, Oak Haven Health and Country Life Natural Foods president and medical director; and Heidi Baumgartner, North Pacific Union communication director. Benjamin Carballo is the speaker for the Spanish language camp meeting.

Children’s divisions, Beginners through Youth, begin on Wednesday. Luis La Porte, Christian recording artist, is providing a Sabbath afternoon concert. Introduce yourself to his music here: https://bit.ly/3x042Sb.

You can find more information on our website link here: https://bit.ly/43pz9Tj

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Eve Rusk Idaho Conference Offers Mountaintop Camp Meeting God has a plan for you, a plan to give you purpose and fulfillment. Find it on your mountaintop.
RED 2024 Builds a Unified Future for Oregon Conference Hispanic Churches https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/red-2024-builds-unified-future-oregon-conference-hispanic-churches This year’s RED strategic meeting for Oregon Conference Hispanic ministries was not just a meeting; it was a catalyst for positive change to further embrace the call to redeem, train and disciple. David Paczka Church 35108 Mon, 25 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

RED 2024, the annual board members meeting in January, marked a significant milestone for Hispanic churches in Oregon Conference. With an attendance of 250 church board members, this event became a pivotal space for reflection, challenge and strategic planning.

The curtain of RED 2024 rose with an emotion-filled communion service, led by Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president; Ben Lundquist, Oregon Conference young adult director; and Jonathan Russell, Oregon Conference assistant to the president. This sacred moment set the tone for what would be a meeting full of inspiration and purpose. The congregation shared communion while immersing themselves in an atmosphere of unity and commitment.

The core of RED is based on the motto, "Redeeming, Training — Entrenando in Spanish — and Discipling." This triad of concepts became the fundamental pillar of discussions and presentations marking the event. Seven key topics were presented by specialists in specific areas related to redeeming, training and discipling youth, addressing contemporary challenges and effective strategies. Participants engaged in deep and strategic discussions led by expert leaders who shared their knowledge and experiences in guiding youth.

A distinctive feature of RED 2024 was the dedicated time for planning. After each presentation, board members joined their pastors in one-hour sessions to discuss and design concrete plans to implement in their respective communities. This practical approach ensured that the discussed ideas translated into tangible actions, thereby strengthening the impact of the meeting on the ground.

The choice of meeting in January for RED 2024 was not accidental; the third week of that month has become a strategic moment for churches to gather and chart their plans for the year. This temporal consistency has allowed RED to position itself as an annual beacon, guiding Hispanic churches in Oregon toward a future filled with hope and purpose.

The event not only provided a space for reflection and planning but also fostered a strong network among participating churches. Collaboration and the exchange of ideas among leaders strengthened community ties, creating a vital support network to address current and future challenges.

This year’s RED was not just a meeting; it was a catalyst for positive change in Hispanic churches in Oregon Conference. Embracing the call to redeem, train and disciple, participants embarked on a joint journey to build a solid and hopeful future for youth in their communities. 

This annual event continues to underscore the importance of strategic collaboration and long-term planning in the growth and development of Oregon Conference Hispanic churches.

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David Paczka RED 2024 Builds a Unified Future for Oregon Conference Hispanic Churches This year’s RED strategic meeting for Oregon Conference Hispanic ministries was not just a meeting; it was a catalyst for positive change to further embrace the call to redeem, train and disciple.
Heart Health Myths and Facts https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/heart-health-myths-and-facts When you think of heart disease, you may picture an older man with a previous heart attack, high blood pressure and years of smoking history — but that’s not the whole story! Adventist Health breaks down the common misconceptions about heart health. C.J. Anderson Health 35118 Sun, 24 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

When you think of heart disease, you may picture an older man with a previous heart attack, high blood pressure and years of smoking history — but that's not the whole story. Even people who seem to be in perfect health can be affected by heart disease. By understanding common misconceptions, you can be better informed about your risk and ready to live heart healthy.

MYTH: HEART DISEASE IS A MAN'S DISEASE.

FACT: Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women.

One in three women die from heart disease, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, according to the American Heart Association.

Women become more at risk for heart disease and heart attacks during menopause. Why? Estrogen helps reduce “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and relaxes blood vessels for better blood flow. In menopause, women's bodies produce less of this protective hormone.

Women also live about five years longer than men, and the likelihood of experiencing heart conditions grows as they age.

MYTH: I'M NOT OLD ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT HEART CONDITIONS.

FACT: Heart attacks are striking more young people than ever, especially women, according to the American Heart Association.

Heart disease can affect all of us, regardless of age, weight or activity level. Factors that increase heart disease risk include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • History of preeclampsia
  • Family history

MYTH: I'LL NEVER RECOVER FROM A HEART ATTACK.

FACT: Your recovery largely depends on quick treatment and your commitment to necessary lifestyle adjustments.

The sooner you get treatment, the better. Most heart damage happens within the first two hours of an attack — that's why it's so important to get to a hospital quickly. Your physician will treat your blockage with clot-dissolving drugs, surgery or a balloon angioplasty, a procedure that involves inserting a small balloon into the artery to expand it and allow blood flow to resume.

Once you're home, your medical team will outline helpful lifestyle changes, such as ways to improve your diet and manage stress.

MYTH: HEART DISEASE IS UNPREDICTABLE; THERE'S NO WAY TO KNOW MY RISK.

FACT: Family health history, personal health history and lifestyle all play into your risk of heart disease.

While we can't predict the future, we can look at specific risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease. Start with our free, quick online risk assessment from Adventist Health Portland Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular. You'll receive a report detailing your risk level, which can guide the discussion with your provider about what screening and prevention is right for you.

MYTH: IF I HAVE RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE, THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO.

FACT: It's never too late to take steps for a heart-healthy future!

Talk to your healthcare provider about your particular risk factors and to get the support you need to eat healthier, stop smoking, start exercising, get more rest and manage stress. Even simple changes can have a big impact on your heart health, not to mention your overall feeling of well-being.

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C.J. Anderson Heart Health Myths and Facts When you think of heart disease, you may picture an older man with a previous heart attack, high blood pressure and years of smoking history — but that’s not the whole story! Adventist Health breaks down the common misconceptions about heart health.
A Place for You https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/place-you The music we like, the preachers we listen to and the way we interpret life varies. We are different, and that's okay. What's not okay is thinking that our church would be better if we could just make everyone speak and think exactly the same. Kevin McGill perspective 35135 Sat, 23 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

One summer in Walla Walla, I had the opportunity to tour University Church with Kraig Scott, Walla Walla University music professor. He taught us about the inner workings of the church organ and demonstrated all the different notes the magnificent instrument can play.

A moment I will never forget is when Scott surprised us all by holding the lowest note for an uncomfortably long time. It sounded like a sledgehammer and made everyone cover their ears.

In isolation, it appeared to be an unnecessary key — something that should come with a warning, "Do not touch!"

Yet, when Scott included that note as a compliment to all the keys in his repertoire, it took on a powerful quality that made the music come to life.

The symphony of majestic sound would not have been possible without the “sledgehammer” note. It was a powerful reminder that the best music comes through harmony, not uniformity.

Perhaps this is what the apostle Paul was thinking of when he talked about the church being the body of Christ. Each part of the body works to complement the other parts. It’s not about competition; it's about integration.

Paul makes the point, “The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don’t need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don’t need you!' On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.”

It is tempting to dismiss those we disagree with as “unnecessary.” I confess I have scratched my head, laughed and cried at comments fellow believers have made at church business sessions.

The music we like, the preachers we listen to and the way we interpret life varies. We are different, and that is okay. What is not okay is thinking that our church would be better if we could just make everyone speak and think exactly the same.

There is a folk song that plays through my head when people start disagreeing at church. It’s called, "All of God’s Creatures Have a Place in the Choir," and it speaks to how our diversity can actually be our strength. If interested, go to YouTube and check out the A Place in the Choir Lyric Video.

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While there is nothing funny about church arguments, having this song play through my head, while being baffled by the way some saint is vocalizing their opinion, reminds me to make room at the table of opinions.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh or cry. The church would be a boring place if we all thought the same way about everything.

We need conservatives and liberals. We need those who are serious as well as those who are silly. We need people who like contemporary music, and we need those who value the tradition of liturgical hymns. The truth is all of God’s creatures have a place in the choir.

In being curious instead of judgmental, we become wise. We become open to the weird and the whimsical. We can laugh at our strangeness instead of being threatened by it.

Beware of those who commodify fear and demonize those who see things differently. Make space for those who dare to disagree. Value those who stress love above judgment. And don't be afraid to listen for the harmony when the sledgehammer noise is driving you insane.

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Kevin McGill A Place for You The music we like, the preachers we listen to and the way we interpret life varies. We are different, and that's okay. What's not okay is thinking that our church would be better if we could just make everyone speak and think exactly the same.
AAA '$10 For Them' Program Fundraises for Eternity https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/aaa-10-them-program-fundraises-eternity After a lot of prayer and many discussions, the Auburn Adventist Academy development department felt impressed to establish $10 for Them, a foundational fundraising program designed for donors to give a recurring monthly donation of $10 or more. AAA Growth and Development Education 35117 Fri, 22 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

At the beginning of the 2023–2024 academic year, Auburn Adventist Academy was blessed with an enrollment of more than 250 students. In January 2024, enrollment jumped to 260.

For many students, AAA is more than just a school. “AAA has not only been a school for me and many; it has been a place that has become a home filled with an amazing family that God has gifted to us,” said Kelsy Zacarias, AAA senior.

Of course, AAA has its challenges. High enrollment means a higher need for student aid. Having been in existence for almost 105 years, the campus is showing its age and requires not only more day-to-day upkeep and maintenance but also some expensive, large-scale repairs and much more.

In response to those challenges, some faculty and staff at AAA sought answers through prayer. For a long time, the school has needed a strong, simple and flexible program for building funds, as opposed to the typical one-time or once-per-year campaign. 

After a lot of prayer and many discussions, the development department felt impressed to establish $10 for Them, a foundational fundraising program designed for donors to give a recurring monthly donation of $10 or more. While it is designed to be monthly, it can be set up for an amount and timeline that works best for the donor.

“Our prayer is that the simplicity and flexibility of the program will drive its success,” said Kellie Nunley, AAA director of development. “Of course, the success of this program depends on a large number of donors willing to invest in the mission of Adventist education.”

The funds raised through $10 for Them will go toward the unrestricted annual fund, which supports the overall needs of the school, including student aid and day-to-day operations. AAA will still have various campaigns and events throughout the year, but this is an ongoing program on which the school will continue to build.

“Year after year, God puts these precious souls in our care,” Nunley stated. “He has given us a mission, which will not be complete until Jesus comes. We take the Great Commission of Matt. 28:19–20 very seriously. To those of us here at AAA and all of us in the ministry of our churches and schools, we are not raising funds — we are raising hearts for eternity.” 

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AAA Growth and Development AAA '$10 For Them' Program Fundraises for Eternity After a lot of prayer and many discussions, the Auburn Adventist Academy development department felt impressed to establish $10 for Them, a foundational fundraising program designed for donors to give a recurring monthly donation of $10 or more.
Parks Announces Retirement from Oregon Conference Ministry https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/parks-announces-retirement-oregon-conference-ministry In late January 2024 Gary Parks announced his departure from Adventist ministry after approximately 38 years. Jonathan Russell Church 35112 Thu, 21 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

In January 2024, Gary Parks, Oregon Conference relational ministries director, announced his departure from Adventist ministry after approximately 38 years. 

“I’ve dedicated my entire ministry to helping people understand how the gospel of Jesus impacts us practically through improving our ability to love well through relational and emotional wholeness,” he shared. “I’m amazed that I have an opportunity to take this ministry passion and serve others in a broader context.”

Parks came to Oregon Conference in 1998 to lead East Salem Adventist Church. Since then, he served as a trust officer before spending the last few years in the relational ministries department.

Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president, noted, “It’s always exciting to see how the Holy Spirit directs our paths. When it comes to Parks, the Spirit led to the development of the new relational ministries department, walking with churches, ministries and members in growing healthy, loving relationships."

"Parks' ministry has helped churches to turn around, by addressing ways in which they were previously relationally stuck," continued Linrud. "I will always be grateful to Parks for pioneering this ministry in Oregon Conference. He has also served a long and distinguished career in pastoral ministry, pouring into youth and young adults, as well as being a beloved lead pastor. Parks will be greatly missed by our conference team and by our field. We wish him God’s abundant blessings as he retires from vocational denominational ministry and moves forward into the next things God has called him to.”

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Jonathan Russell Parks Announces Retirement from Oregon Conference Ministry In late January 2024 Gary Parks announced his departure from Adventist ministry after approximately 38 years.
Young Joins NPUC Education Team https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/young-joins-npuc-education-team Renae Young from Montana is joining the North Pacific Union education team to provide support for new teachers and early childhood educators. Heidi Baumgartner Education 35128 Wed, 20 Mar 2024 13:00:00 -0700 News

New teachers and early childhood educators in the Pacific Northwest have a new leader joining their ranks, bringing both experience and a valuable perspective to the North Pacific Union education team.

Renae Young, currently serving as Montana Conference education superintendent and youth/club ministries director, will begin her new role as director of early childhood education and instructional coaching on May 1, 2024. She will also be serving as K-12 projects coordinator.

Having witnessed the transformative power of Adventist education firsthand, Young is passionate about its impact on students' and parents' lives.

She finds great humility in the testimonials from parents who credit Adventist schools with shaping their children's character and future. Despite the challenges educators face and the inevitability of mistakes, Young believes in the redemptive nature of God's work in their lives and in the lives of their students.

“God is continually at work in our lives and in our students' lives,” Young said.

Young's journey in education has been diverse, including teaching in homeschool, public and private school settings, as well as serving in administrative roles.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and Spanish from Walla Walla College — now Walla Walla University — and a master’s degree in education from Washington State University.

As she prepares to embark on this new chapter, Young is eager to connect with colleagues in the ECE programs, seeking to understand their needs and how she can best support them through training and collaboration. She is excited to build on the foundation of the new teacher support program, aiming to strengthen and empower new teachers as they embark on their careers.

“I’m looking forward to getting better acquainted [with everyone] and hearing what type of support would be most beneficial,” she said.

Beyond her professional life, Young enjoys reading, hiking, working in the yard and paper quilling. Young and her husband, Joe, enjoy traveling to unique destinations where they can enjoy nature. The couple have three grown children — Nate, Sydnee and Josiah — who are settling into their young adult lives and careers.

“Renae Young's dedication to education and her commitment to supporting educators makes her a valuable addition to the North Pacific Union education team,” said Keith Hallam, NPUC vice president for education. “Her wealth of experience and passion for Adventist Education will undoubtedly inspire and uplift those she works with.”

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Heidi Baumgartner Young Joins NPUC Education Team Renae Young from Montana is joining the North Pacific Union education team to provide support for new teachers and early childhood educators.
New Radio Station Expands Reach Across Alaska https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/new-radio-station-expands-reach-across-alaska Meeting the challenges of sharing the good news across Alaska, radio has become an effective way to connect. Janet Fairchild Hamilton Mission and Outreach 35105 Wed, 20 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Christian radio broadcasting serves as a vital tool through which God reaches people in rural Alaska, with its reach steadily expanding. Thanks to the efforts of Alaska Adventist Radio Network and Craig Adventist Church, Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska now boasts a new radio station, KPWI, broadcasting on 94.9 FM, which began airing on Oct. 20, 2023. 

After years of prayer, planning, obtaining permits and acquiring equipment, the new station is a welcome voice of hope and encouragement for the island's residents. The project was abundantly blessed by God. Initially estimated to cover a 5-mile radius around the city of Craig, the station reaches a radius of approximately 15 miles, which includes the city of Klawock, touching about half of the residents living on the island.

The radio station provides the community with around-the-clock Christian music and messaging. Your Story Hour is a beloved program for all ages. Residents enjoy gospel bluegrass, country music and Alaska Native language singing, alongside engaging programs like Bible Answers Live, It Is Written and Amazing Facts, igniting a growing interest in the Word of God. 

Craig Church leveraged the station to promote the 2024 Hope For Humanity statewide evangelistic series with plans to introduce local programming soon. While KPWI has already been a significant blessing to the community, prayer warriors are invited to join Craig Church in praying God will use the station to win souls to Christ for many years to come.

Craig Church extends special thanks to Ryan Woehler, Alaska Adventist Radio Network general manager, and his son, Thomas, for traveling from Nome to establish the connections. Craig Church also thanks Tyler Rental Company for providing the necessary heavy equipment for the installation and Jeremy Crew, Craig Church of God pastor, and Dwaine Vaughan, Craig Church elder, for their efforts in erecting and securing the tower.

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Janet Fairchild Hamilton New Radio Station Expands Reach Across Alaska Meeting the challenges of sharing the good news across Alaska, radio has become an effective way to connect.
Montana Plans Practical Camp Meeting https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/montana-plans-practical-camp-meeting From one-of-a-kind, wholistic living workshops to great speakers and music, this year’s Montana Camp Meeting will be bursting with faith, fellowship, food and fun. Ken Norton Church 35104 Tue, 19 Mar 2024 12:00:00 -0700 News

Where can you go this summer and attend “how-to” workshops for making stone arrowheads, leading small group Bible studies, making sourdough bread, fly-fishing, crocheting, social media witnessing, sermon preparation, metal detecting, natural remedies, watercolor painting, plant-based cooking, CPR certification and much more? 

If your answer is Montana Camp Meeting, you are correct! From one-of-a-kind, wholistic living workshops to great speakers and music, this year’s camp meeting will be bursting with faith, fellowship, food and fun. Montana leaders invite you to come and experience it. John Bradshaw, It Is Written president, will be the evening and Sabbath morning keynote speaker. 

The children and youth divisions are planning special activities to inspire your kids and grandkids to love Jesus more and serve God faithfully. Terry Johnsson, special guest, will share his testimony, “From Schoolroom Failure to White House Honor Guard.” Prayers for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are being lifted as the community gathers on July 10–13 at Mount Ellis Academy to worship God and deepen in love for Him and others.

This year won’t just be camp meeting. It will be camp meeting — Montana style.

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Ken Norton Montana Plans Practical Camp Meeting From one-of-a-kind, wholistic living workshops to great speakers and music, this year’s Montana Camp Meeting will be bursting with faith, fellowship, food and fun.
A Savior in the Storm https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/savior-storm Experience the story of Peter walking on water with Jesus come alive with a fun activity. Sienna Hubin Just For Kids Children kids 35037 Fri, 15 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Peter was one of Jesus’ close friends. He watched Jesus heal the sick, and He listened to all of Jesus’ teachings.

One day, after feeding the 5,000, Jesus told Peter and the disciples to cross the lake in a boat while He sent the people home and had alone time to pray.

During the night, the disciples on the boat were in the middle of the lake and it started to get stormy. The wind was blowing hard and big waves splashed against the boat.

In the darkness, the disciples saw a figure walking towards them. They were terrified because they thought it was a ghost.

It was Jesus walking on the water. He said to them, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Peter said, “Lord, if it’s really You, tell me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus invited Peter to join him. “Come,” He said.

Peter cautiously climbed out of the boat to test if he could really walk on the water. As he put his feet down, they miraculously stayed on top of the water. Peter started walking towards Jesus. He was amazed and couldn’t believe he was walking on water.

Walking further away from the boat, Peter’s excitement turned to fear as he suddenly remembered the storm. He could feel the strong wind on his face and the big waves splashing on his legs. Peter began to sink and called out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately, Jesus reached out and caught Peter. “Your faith is small,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt?”

Jesus invites you to walk with Him too, and He will help you do amazing things. We know Jesus’ power, but sometimes this world makes us afraid and doubtful. Jesus doesn’t get upset at us for getting scared or losing faith. Instead, Jesus catches us and pulls us out of the storm when we call on Him.

Oobleck Science Experiment

Oobleck is a strange substance between a solid and a liquid. If you punch it, it feels solid, but if you scoop some into your hand, it will soften and pour out like a liquid. In the story, the water was solid when Peter had faith in Jesus. But when Peter focused on the storm instead, he sank into the water. Play around with your oobleck while thinking of Peter’s experience and how you can grow your faith.

Tools and Ingredients

  • Container
  • Fork
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Combine cornstarch and water in a container. 

  2. Mix with a fork until well combined. If your oobleck seems too watery, add a little more cornstarch.

  3. Have fun playing with your oobleck!

Finished With This Experiment?

Use a funnel to pour the oobleck into a balloon to make a mini stress ball. Make sure there’s no air in the balloon before tying it tight.

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Sienna Hubin A Savior in the Storm Experience the story of Peter walking on water with Jesus come alive with a fun activity.
New Montana Lay Ministry Leaders Step Up to Serve https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/new-montana-lay-ministry-leaders-step-serve Get to know the newest leaders who are stepping up to enhance the spiritual fabric of Montana Conference. Renae Young Youth 35095 Thu, 14 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

In an exciting development for its statewide community, Montana Conference welcomes three outstanding individuals to new lay ministry positions. Each bringing a unique set of skills and a passion for service, Lizbeth Geary, Oceana Munsey and Shelby Waller are set to play pivotal roles in enhancing the spiritual fabric of Montana Conference.

Lizbeth Geary

Nurturing the Young Hearts

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Lizbeth Geary

Lizbeth Geary, from Bozeman, steps into the role of children's ministries with a vision to nurture and inspire the youngest members of our congregation. Geary has already demonstrated her commitment by actively contributing to the planning of camp meeting and lending her expertise to her local church's children's Sabbath School division. Her energy and creativity promise a fresh and engaging approach to children's ministry.

Oceana Munsey

Empowering Young Adults

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For the North Pacific Union young adult action team advisory position, Oceana Munsey, from Hamilton, steps into this role. Munsey's extensive involvement in youth and young adult ministry speaks volumes about her dedication. She was a driving force behind the creation of an online outreach ministry targeting young people, showcasing her innovative spirit. As the leader of the youth division at camp meeting and the featured speaker at the conference fall Pathfinder camporee, Munsey is poised to empower and inspire youth and young adults.

Shelby Waller

Reaching Students

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Credit
Robert Norton Photography

In the NPUC Adventist Christian Fellowship institute position, Shelby Waller, from Bozeman, steps into the role with a passion for bridging faith and academia. Waller, a current pre-nursing student at Montana State University, has already been active on campus engaging with students. Her roles of working in the conference office and at Camp Paxson exemplify her dedication to both education and ministry. Waller brings a unique perspective that will enrich the ACFi position.

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Renae Young New Montana Lay Ministry Leaders Step Up to Serve Get to know the newest leaders who are stepping up to enhance the spiritual fabric of Montana Conference.
Northwest Leaders See Uptick in Church Vitality https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/northwest-leaders-see-uptick-church-vitality The church vitality markers hold true across North America where there is a reduction in the number of declining churches and an increase in the number of growing churches after the pandemic. Heidi Baumgartner Church Mission and Outreach 35073 Wed, 13 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Elected representatives for North Pacific Union heard energizing reports about church vitality at the most recent executive committee meeting on March 6, 2024.

“NPUC is seeing an uptick in multiplying churches, and we celebrate this,” said Bill McClendon, NPUC vice president for administration. “Our growing churches are growing, our plateauing churches are decreasing in number and our declining churches are finding new life. These are good numbers. God is revitalizing our churches.”

McClendon also noted how it doesn’t take much to move from one category of church growth to the next. “For some churches, it only takes one baptism to move the congregation to its next growth level,” he said.

In all, NPUC is reporting 1,995 baptisms for 2023 representing a 20% growth over 2022. The baptism levels for 2022 also saw a 20% growth from 2021. This number of annual baptisms and professions of faith is approaching pre-pandemic levels, McClendon reported. Notably, small conferences are seeing large gains in membership through baptism growth.

The church vitality markers hold true across North America where there is a reduction in the number of declining churches and an increase in the number of growing churches after the pandemic.

Yet, there is still a concern within membership data — even when reporting churches are providing both in-person and online attendance numbers.

“We believe discipleship happens best in a local church,” McClendon said. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing across our union attendance numbers going down.”

Attendance level among reporting churches in the Pacific Northwest is now 34%. This is down a point from last year. Ten years ago, in 2013, Northwest churches had 43% attendance.

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Initial Results from Baptism Study

McClendon reached out to the six Northwest conferences — Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Upper Columbia, Oregon and Washington — to conduct what’s believed to be the first-of-its-kind baptism survey.

“This is the first time we are aware of who we are baptizing,” McClendon said. “Who are we reaching? How did they connect with the church? What led to the decision to be baptized?”

The survey was conducted at pastors’ meetings in or around January 2024 about the previous years’ baptisms. Five of the six conferences have submitted their surveys. Alaska Conference is still surveying pastors about their baptisms; as such, Alaska data is not yet included in the initial results.

The initial data highlights the baptism journey of 1,126 people in 2023.

  • 52% of baptisms came from Adventist families.
  • 48% of baptisms came from non-Adventist families.

There are four primary ways people connected with the church:

  • 46.3% were invited by a member.
  • 15.6% attended on their own.
  • 11.6% connected through an evangelistic seminar.
  • 6.4% connected through Bible study.

There are four leading encounters that resulted in decisions for baptism:

  • 32% — Bible studies with pastor or church member
  • 22.9% — Evangelistic seminar
  • 19.7% — Church service
  • 6.8% — Special event

“We’re excited by the data we are seeing,” McClendon said. “Our people continue to be our most evangelistic resource. These people are excited about their church!”

Nampa Multiplies

Chris Evenson, Nampa Adventist Church pastor, leads one of the growing and multiplying church examples. Nampa Church has also been a targeted focus for evangelism growth investments. As the newest member of the NPUC executive committee, he provided stories during worship about how his church in Idaho is experiencing significant growth.

Nampa leaders and prayer warriors participated in 40 days of prayer before an evangelistic series in 2021. Their sanctuary seats 180 people, and they were praying about hosting double sessions with a meal in between for 360 people.

“This was bigger than anything we had conceptualized before,” Evenson shared.

The church launched into a second 40 days of prayer for God to fill their church for both sessions.

“Opening night, we saw folks showing up 45 minutes early,” Evenson reported. “God heard and answered our prayer, and we can’t praise Him enough.”

With new family members, the church facility started maxing out. Church leaders started discussing the need for a new facility, adding a third service, starting a satellite site and/or planting a new church.

Evenson said the leadership team then recognized: “We’re going to continue to evangelize, host bridge events and build the kingdom of God, and let God take care of the space issues and challenges. We will continue to follow God’s lead.”

“It’s fun to hear stories about pastors and churches that believe in the power of prayer. It gives us great hope that God is alive and well in NPUC,” said John Freedman, NPUC president, as Evenson concluded his story.

More Reasons for Thankfulness

Finance Report

Each conference in NPUC had a tithe increase in 2023. NPUC received $116.4 million in tithe in 2023, representing an 8.85% increase from the previous year, according to Mark Remboldt, NPUC chief financial officer. Adventist Giving, an online giving portal, processes 62% of tithe and offering.

Walla Walla University Report

Walla Walla University is celebrating God’s faithfulness in providing new grants, nurturing spiritual growth and making academic strides.

The School of Nursing secured a $105,231 grant from Washington Student Achievement Council to upgrade nursing simulation labs on the Portland campus. This is the third significant grant awarded to the School of Nursing in the past year, continuing to support high-level nursing education at WWU.

Spiritual growth is thriving at WWU, exemplified by recent student engagement during Week of Worship. Student speakers explored the theme of blessings in disguise, highlighting the university's dedication to holistic student development.

Efforts to enhance programs at Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory are underway, including classroom and lab renovations, securing grant funding and organizing a Spring Tide environmental theology training.

The search for WWU's new president is progressing, with candidate nominations encouraged by March 15.

“The generations coming through are amazing,” said John McVay, WWU president, in his next-to-last report to the executive committee before his retirement. 

Ordinations

President’s Council recommended six names for ordination with five of the six candidates from Washington Conference: Daniel Bennett (All Nations and Highline Churches); Abner Campos (Volunteer Park); Vidal Mendoza (Enumclaw); Ruslan Spitsyn (Russian Center for Spiritual Enrichment); and Jordan Stephan (North Cascade). The sixth candidate, Alex Portillo (Hockinson Heights), represents Oregon Conference.

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Heidi Baumgartner Northwest Leaders See Uptick in Church Vitality The church vitality markers hold true across North America where there is a reduction in the number of declining churches and an increase in the number of growing churches after the pandemic.
Arts Fest Lets Students Shine https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/arts-fest-lets-students-shine Washington Conference's annual Arts Fest encouraged nearly 400 participants to be so filled with Christ's light that they shine in the darkness of the world. Lacey Stecker Education 35066 Wed, 13 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

On March 1, 2024 around 400 participants from across Washington Conference gathered at Auburn Adventist Academy to shine at Arts Fest.

At 9 a.m., the campus began to buzz with energy as participants embarked on a day of rehearsals, all leading up to a vespers concert later in the evening. Rainier Auditorium became a gallery of creativity, showcasing an array of artwork while the stage came alive with performances by band, choir, handbells and orchestra.

This year's theme was "Shine." “We wanted our students to be so filled with Christ’s light that they shine in the darkness,” said Wilma Bing, Washington Conference associate superintendent. 

The theme served as a guiding light for participants, urging them to illuminate the world with their unique talents. Artwork and musical renditions of uplifting songs such as "This Little Light of Mine" and "(You Are) Amazing" echoed the theme, inspiring both performers and audience alike.

Capturing the essence of the day, a video featuring students was filmed and edited. Students shared whether they were a morning bird or night owl and how they see others shine Jesus’ light.

Arts Fest, hosted annually by the Washington Conference education department, holds a special place in the hearts of participants. Michelle Wachter, Washington Conference vice president for education, stated, “Arts Fest is not just another event on the calendar; it's a celebration of creativity, camaraderie and community. It provides an opportunity for students to come together in a shared space where their artistic talents can shine.”

Beyond nurturing creativity, Arts Fest fosters connections and forges new friendships among students. “Students can be seen practicing for the evening vespers concert and practicing their skills under the guidance of the clinician," said Watcher. "But beyond the rehearsals, there's an atmosphere of joy and camaraderie as students reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Smiles abound as they share their love for music and art, creating memories that will last a lifetime.”

Arts Fest at AAA not only celebrates the artistic talents of students but also serves as a testament to the power of community and the transformative potential of creativity. In a world often fraught with challenges, events like Arts Fest remind us of the enduring light of Jesus that resides within each of us, waiting to be shared with the world.

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Lacey Stecker Arts Fest Lets Students Shine Washington Conference's annual Arts Fest encouraged nearly 400 participants to be so filled with Christ's light that they shine in the darkness of the world.
ADRA Continues Humanitarian Efforts in Ukraine https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/adra-continues-humanitarian-efforts-ukraine ADRA has been at the forefront in Ukraine and neighboring countries providing critical assistance to the most vulnerable populations affected by the hostilities, including food, shelter, psychological support and medical care. Iris Argueta Mission and Outreach Ukraine 35060 Tue, 12 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

Adventist Development and Relief Agency continues humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, two years after the armed conflict erupted. ADRA has been at the forefront in Ukraine and neighboring countries providing critical assistance to the most vulnerable populations affected by the hostilities, including food, shelter, psychological support and medical care. 

Within hours of the conflict beginning on Feb. 24, 2022, ADRA mobilized its global network of emergency response teams, thousands of Adventist Church volunteers and massive resources to assist children, women, families and individuals who fled their homes to avoid shelling and seek refuge across the border in other countries.

As the situation enters its third year, ADRA remains committed to providing life-saving humanitarian aid to children, women and families who have been internally displaced, as well as millions of refugees fleeing to neighboring countries. 

"We keep everyone whose lives have been irreversibly changed as a result of the ongoing Ukraine conflict in our prayers," said Imad Madanat, ADRA International vice president for humanitarian affairs. "We are deeply thankful to the numerous partner organizations that have joined forces with ADRA in the relief efforts. ADRA is also profoundly grateful to thousands of Adventist Church volunteers in Ukraine, from Europe and throughout the world who have offered resources and hope to Ukrainians since the crisis began. In particular, we are indebted to our donors for their contributions that enable ADRA to continue serving as the hands and feet of Jesus to the people of Ukraine."

According to United Nations Refugee Agency, the fighting in Ukraine has internally displaced about 4 million people and forced more than 6.4 million to seek shelter in Europe and other countries around the world, with more than 14 million needing humanitarian assistance in 2024.

ADRA contributed an estimated $40 million in humanitarian aid over the last two years to support emergency response operations and development projects in communities affected by the current crisis. Since the onset of the hostilities, its network relief efforts have assisted over 2.6 million people in Ukraine and hundreds of thousands of refugees who are now residing in various European countries and around the world. 

ADRA has supplied more than 100 tons of food, countless truckloads of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment, as well as shelter to over 2.1 million people, transported and evacuated over 100,000, and offered psychological, legal and protection assistance to nearly 500,000 Ukrainians, including children.

"We stood on the border between Slovakia and Ukraine when thousands of refugees passed the gate, just with their basic belongings like small suitcases of backpacks, women holding the children in their hands or their arms, elderly supporting each other, all tired, exhausted, freezing because of the minus temperatures, but happy to reach the place of safety," said Thomas Petracek, ADRA Europe head of programs. "We have invited them into the ADRA tent and provided them with a warm space, food, blankets and a place to rest."

Petracek continued, "This was the beginning of a long odyssey for the refugees but also for hundreds of ADRA workers and volunteers protecting and supporting them daily. There were many challenges, but also nice stories giving hope to all. Let us never forget that we are humans and need each other on good and difficult days. And this journey continues."

ADRA's crucial Ukraine response enhanced its capacities in disaster management, refugee and displaced person protection, psycho-social support and multipurpose cash transfer implementation. ADRA network offices throughout Europe have created or revised National Emergency Response Plans to better prepare for future emergencies and respond more quickly. The agency has also increased engagement with Adventist churches and volunteers and reinforced connections with governments, community groups and non-profit organizations.

Multi-Faceted Humanitarian Efforts

ADRA carries out humanitarian relief operations in Ukraine and European nations hosting refugees, with the help of partners such as the World Food Programme, UNICEF, United Nations Refugee Agency, Adventist Church and other faith-based organizations. ADRA programs addressing both immediate needs and long-term solutions for rebuilding and restoring internally displaced people and refugees in other nations involve:

  • Food vouchers and nutrition kits
  • Clothing, shoes and blankets
  • Shelter and materials vouchers for hope repairs
  • Children's summer camps and educational activities
  • Legal aid and protection
  • Psychological support
  • Winterization kits, generators, stoves and heating systems
  • Employment centers to train Ukrainians for new labor markets
  • Language classes to integrate refugees into new communities
  • Evacuation from conflict zones
  • Transportation for bedridden patients, elderly people, persons with disabilities and orphans
  • Financial assistance for the most vulnerable populations
  • Medical supplies, equipment, hospital power generators and wheelchairs
  • Medical check-ups for refugees and internally displaced persons
  • Access to clean water, hygiene products, restorations to water treatment systems and improvements of sanitary conditions

Steadfast Commitment

ADRA Ukraine is actively working to ensure the Ukrainian population has the humanitarian assistance and protection it needs under the current crisis. It offers food kits, bread and food vouchers, cash assistance, shelter, non-food items, clothing and blankets, evacuation services from conflict zones, transportation for the elderly and people with special needs, legal aid, psycho-social support and children's summer camps. 

ADRA Ukraine organizes large-scale programs that include home repairs, weatherization kits, heaters, solid fuel, stoves and heating systems. The country office supports the healthcare sector by delivering medical equipment, supplies and power generators to hospitals and clinics. Additionally, it offers wheelchairs for people with disabilities, provides access to drinkable water and needed hygiene items, and improves sewage and water treatment systems.

Other ADRA offices that have supported initiatives for Ukraine include the U.S., Canada, China, Great Britain, Italy, Korea, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, Brazil, Taiwan and the Philippines. In total, ADRA cooperates with government entities, non-profit institutions and faith-based organizations from 35 countries.

"We are ready to face the most challenging humanitarian crises, helping internally displaced people not only to survive but also to restore and rebuild their lives. We firmly believe that every person deserves to live a fulfilling life, and we spare no effort to make this vision come true," said Loenid Rutkovskyi, ADRA Ukraine country director. "Even as public attention wanes, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide ongoing assistance to families struggling with the most difficult circumstances for as long as our help is needed."

Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA's purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended. For more information, visit ADRA.org.

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Iris Argueta ADRA Continues Humanitarian Efforts in Ukraine ADRA has been at the forefront in Ukraine and neighboring countries providing critical assistance to the most vulnerable populations affected by the hostilities, including food, shelter, psychological support and medical care.
Boardsmanship & Governance: No Surprises https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/boardsmanship-governance-no-surprises Discover why preparation is important for effective board leadership. Learn how to mitigate negative surprises and build trust for a brighter organizational future. Dive deeper into the art of governance and strategic decision-making. André Wang Church Church Business 35053 Mon, 11 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0700 News

One of the best pieces of advice to new board members and administrators of an organization is to avoid surprises. An organization and its leaders should mitigate surprises by being timely and transparent if they're going to work together effectively.

Advance preparation can minimize negative surprises. Being familiar with the institution's risk factors, paying attention, preparing for board meetings in advance, getting more information before the meeting if needed and asking questions — especially the "dumb" ones — are deceptively simple strategies.

Why it Matters

Negative surprises shock everyone within and beyond the institution. Its reputation, confidence in its leaders and its future, and its access to resources take a hit. Bad news often divides boards and staff, and it compromises trust. It's easy to forget that preventing or preparing for what might happen is as important as deciding what will happen, and it could go beyond what risk management and insurance coverage may cover.

The Bottom Line

Board members who prepare, pay attention and develop a solid sense of their organization's reality are well-positioned for any potential surprise. They can think on multiple tracks — logical and imaginative, or analytical and hypothetical — instead of scrambling to catch up on essential information. They can focus on future ramifications and alternative options that help the board make better decisions. The foundation of a great board is members who know the institution, its environment and good governance.

If you serve on a board or committee at any level, keep informed and stay engaged. The future of the organization depends on it.

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André Wang Boardsmanship & Governance: No Surprises Discover why preparation is important for effective board leadership. Learn how to mitigate negative surprises and build trust for a brighter organizational future. Dive deeper into the art of governance and strategic decision-making.
Author Illuminates Life's Trials and Triumphs https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/author-illuminates-lifes-trials-and-triumphs Author Dorothy Knight Marsh invited Walla Walla Valley students in three presentations into the remarkable and resilient journey of her great aunt Anna Knight's life in the cotton fields of the South. Holley Bryant Education Mission and Outreach 35062 Fri, 08 Mar 2024 08:00:00 -0800 News

In three presentations for grades K–12, Dorothy Knight Marsh, author, captivated Walla Walla Valley Adventist Schools students as she shared the remarkable journey of her great aunt’s life, chronicled in her book, From Cotton Fields to Mission Fields: the Anna Knight Story. Marsh's presence illuminated the auditorium as she recounted Knight's life's trials and triumphs.

Marsh, a Mississippi native and celebrated figure known for her dedication to humanitarian efforts and her unwavering faith, recounted Knight’s upbringing in the cotton fields of the South, where she experienced the harsh realities of racial segregation and economic hardship. Knight’s father was a Confederate soldier. Her mother was biracial. 

As Marsh described it, “Knight was too Black to go to the white schools and too white to go to the Black schools.” She eventually learned to read from her cousins, whom she bargained with by doing their chores in payment for teaching her how to read. Despite her challenges, Knight found solace and strength in her faith, which ultimately propelled her towards a life of service and mission.

Knight fought for her right to an education and eventually graduated in 1898 with a nursing degree from Battle Creek Sanitarium. After graduation, she started a school in Gitano, Mississippi, where she taught students from primary age to adult. 

Her school was met with prejudice and hatred. At one point, it was even burned to the ground. She built it again, determined to educate Black students in Mississippi. Knight went on to become a missionary in India, the founder of many more schools and even the founder of the first Black Young Women's Christian Association in Mississippi.

From Cotton Fields to Mission Fields serves as a testament to Knight's resilience and her commitment to making a difference in the world. The book offers a timely reflection on her journey from humble beginnings to becoming a beacon of hope for countless individuals around the globe.

During her presentation, Marsh emphasized the importance of education and empowerment in overcoming adversity. She spoke passionately about the transformative power of faith and community, urging the audience to embrace their potential to effect positive change in the world.

Tricia Lofthouse, WWVAS counselor, was touched by the event. “This is a story of tragedy and racism turned into moments that exhibited Knight’s remarkable fearlessness," said Lofthouse. "Nothing could stop her. Need a church? She’ll build it. Need a school? She’ll start it. School is destroyed? She’ll build it again. Nothing could stop her.”

The event, which was attended by students, faculty and community members, served as an inspiring reminder of the impact that one individual can have on the world. Marsh's message resonated deeply with the audience, sparking conversations about social justice, compassion and the enduring power of the human spirit.

In addition to sharing her aunt’s personal story, Marsh took the opportunity to engage with attendees, answering questions and offering words of encouragement to those seeking guidance in their own journeys. Her warmth and authenticity left a lasting impression on all who had the privilege of hearing her speak.

As WWVAS continues its mission to educate and empower future generations, Marsh’s visit served as a powerful reminder of the importance of faith, perseverance and service in shaping a brighter tomorrow.

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Holley Bryant Author Illuminates Life's Trials and Triumphs Author Dorothy Knight Marsh invited Walla Walla Valley students in three presentations into the remarkable and resilient journey of her great aunt Anna Knight's life in the cotton fields of the South.
McMinnville Greets Airshow Guests https://nwadventists.com/news/2024/03/mcminnville-greets-airshow-guests Twenty McMinnville Church members volunteered for the Oregon International Air Show McMinnville and greeted guests at the gate with many positive conversations and interactions. Glen Westlund Mission and Outreach 34986 Thu, 07 Mar 2024 12:00:00 -0800 News

A deep, loud varoom with a trailing swoosh descended from the sky. I reached up to cover my ears but could not remain long in that position. A Blue Angel streaked by as I returned my focus to the job at hand.

I was one of 20 McMinnville Adventist Church members helping at an entry gate for the Oregon International Air Show McMinnville the last Friday in September and first Sunday in October 2023.

We had an easy job: check tickets with a hand scanner and make people feel welcome while checking to make sure they did not carry in food, drinks or explosives.

Full water bottles had the request, “Please take a sip from your water bottle.” Whole families would line up with their bottles and demonstrate they were not afraid of the water.

The other question we had to ask of everyone was, “Did you leave your gun and knife in the car?” Most of the time we got a laugh. They had been to enough public events to know it was for their safety. It was surprising the amount of pocket knives that we had to label for them to pick up on their way out.

We chose to get involved with the international air show because they respected us in asking us to help on Friday and Sunday only, and it was an opportunity to show we are a part of the community. It was a silent witness where our t-shirts did the speaking and led to conversations.

We talked to members of other churches, got asked if we knew a neighbor who was Adventist and told about children attending Walla Walla University. I think these people felt a connection to the Adventist Church even though they were not members. They wanted to acknowledge they knew who we were and bond in a moment of friendship.

From our gate, we could see a portion of the airfield. We were given short breaks to explore the booths. When a plane buzzed the field, we would get a brief glimpse.

Most of the time we didn’t notice what was going on until the sound of the engines echoed in our ears. The people were our main focus and making sure everyone was safe and didn’t feel their privacy was violated. We wanted them to be ready to have a positive experience.

We had all age groups from young adults to seniors involved. Everyone had a place and job. Those comfortable with portable technology began checking tickets. Later, they taught and encouraged those of us less tech-savvy to take over while we changed places and they inspected bags.

The Oregon International Air Show McMinnville acknowledged our church’s involvement with a Group Collaboration Influencer Award on Jan. 9, 2024 at the Hillsboro Airport. They had heard nothing but praise for our group and asked us if we would come back next year at McMinnville and consider Hillsboro as well.

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Glen Westlund McMinnville Greets Airshow Guests Twenty McMinnville Church members volunteered for the Oregon International Air Show McMinnville and greeted guests at the gate with many positive conversations and interactions.