OUTLOOK - April 2024

Page 1

NAD Treasurer

Judy R. Glass

shares personal insights on her new role p. 6

The Transformative Power of Gratitude p. 8

“The call to embrace the Word of God and have fellowship with Jesus Christ is a call to the stewardship of our time, talents, treasures and our body temples.” —p. 15
MAGAZINE APRIL 2024 PERSPECTIVES FEATURES NEWS WHY I FINANCIALLY SUPPORT THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH —Dave VandeVere NAD TREASURER JUDY GLASS SHARES PERSONAL INSIGHTS ON HER NEW ROLE KIDS COLUMN: FIERY PEANUTS CENTRAL STATES DAKOTA IOWA-MISSOURI KANSAS-NEBRASKA MINNESOTA ROCKY MOUNTAIN UNION COLLEGE ADVENTHEALTH FAREWELL INFOMARKET THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF GRATITUDE 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 29 OUTLOOK (ISSN 0887-977X) April 2024, Volume 45, Number 4. OUTLOOK is published monthly (10 months per year) by the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 8307 Pine Lake Road, Lincoln, NE 68516. Printed at Pacific Press Publishing Association, Periodical postage paid at Lincoln, NE and additional offices. USPS number 006-245. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS. Free for Mid-America church members and $12 per year for subscribers. ©2024 Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Unless otherwise credited, all images are iStock. Adventist® and Seventh-day Adventist® are registered trademarks of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. CONTACT us by email: info@maucsda.org or phone: 402.484.3000 13 20 18




Mid-America Hosts Young Adult LIFE Tour Stop #4 outlookmag.org/mau-hosts-yalife-tour4

Throw Me to the Fish outlookmag.org/throw-me-tothe-fish


Everything in the world belongs to God. He loans certain things to certain people for certain amounts of time. He teaches us how to be wise stewards of our time, talents, health, wealth and the good earth He created for us. God wants us to live abundantly, graciously and generously. At the second coming of Jesus, everything on Earth will be destroyed and at the proper time restored to the beauty of Eden. Right now, as we wait, the unseen is more real and more eternally valuable than that which is seen.

Let us consider the many choices of everyday living that are before us. And let us always choose generous gratitude. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 135:1).


Judy R. Glass is the CFO/Treasurer of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

More on p. 6

Photo by Pieter Damsteegt/NAD




Gary Thurber


Hubert J. Morel Jr.


David VandeVere

Church Ministries

Tyrone Douglas


Brenda Dickerson


LouAnn Howard

Hispanic Ministries

Roberto Correa

Human Resources

Raylene Jones


Craig Carr

Religious Liberty

Darrel Huenergardt Women’s Ministries

Nancy Buxton




Brenda Dickerson

Managing Editor: Barb Engquist

Digital Media Manager: Hugh Davis outlookmag.org


Exploring Creative, LLC exploringcreative.com



Central States

Cryston Josiah josiah.c@central-states.org 913.371.1071 central-states.org


Jodi Dossenko communication@ dakotasda.org

701.751.6177 dakotaadventist.org


Caleb Durant communication@imsda.org 515.223.1197 imsda.org


Saul Dominguez sdominguez@ks-ne.org 785.478.4726 ks-ne.org


Savannah Carlson scarlson@mnsda.com 763.424.8923 mnsda.com

Rocky Mountain

Rajmund Dabrowski rayd@rmcsda.org

303.733.3771 rmcsda.org


Ryan Teller ryteller@ucollege.edu 402.486.2538 ucollege.edu


Why I Financially Support the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Last year I wrote an editorial in which I set forth my conviction that returning a faithful tithe was all about grace—learning to trust God to provide for my material needs, and when He did so, seeing evidence that His grace was all-sufficient for my great spiritual need. “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”

I received positive responses to the article. What I did not receive—but I know exists—was the response: “Yeah, that’s well and good, but why should I support the church organization with my tithe? The conference can’t even supply my church a full-time pastor! We have to share with another congregation or two. And when the pastor is present, well, the sermon isn’t very good. I think the money is just wasted or spent frivolously. In fact, it seems all the church cares about is money, money, money! I will just give my tithe to _____ ministry. They are doing God’s work and my pastor isn’t doing anything—hasn’t even come to visit me!”

Doubt this response? Don’t! Just spend some time on various social media and special interest church-related websites reading editorials and comments. This is a common and, I dare say, growing sentiment. So, let’s spend some time with an event in Jesus’ ministry that Mark recorded.

“Jesus sat down near the collection box in the temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.

“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on’” (Mark 12:41-44).

Why did Jesus highlight this widow who gave literally everything she had to support a religious/church structure that in many cases was corrupt and even preyed on individuals such as herself? Jesus knew this and even registered His disapproval of it:

“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love personal greetings in the marketplaces, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive all the more condemnation” (Luke 20:46-47).

Yet Jesus does not condemn the widow for supporting a very imperfect system. How can this be? Maybe He should have urged her to redirect her offering as a protest, a cry

for justice, or at least a plea to receive her just due of service and support from “the church.”

But instead Jesus celebrated her! He drew a sharp contrast between her sacrifice and apparent humility and those who gave very large (but not sacrificial) gifts, and again, with an apparent lack of humility. Additionally, it seems that Jesus loved her sincere heart. In line with what I wrote previously, the widow was completely committed to experiencing God’s grace— His provision for her very real needs—through the practice of giving to support God’s organized system of worship, marred as it was in human hands. Because Jesus called her out as a shining example, we are still retelling this story thousands of years later.

God works through humans

But what about the “lousy” organization? Well, it was originated by God Himself.  Aaron (Moses’ brother) and his family would be the priests. The Levite tribe was to serve as religious ministers. Then God set up a financial structure of tithes and offerings to support the priests and Levites in their religious ministry. Interestingly, he instructed the Levites who received the tithe to participate themselves through the practice of tithing (Numbers 18).

God puts forth a strong ethic: if a leader receives support from a system they must also participate in supporting the system.

How did this work out? Often, not very well. The divine record reveals that many times the Levites and priests failed in their leadership responsibilities (example: Hophni and Phineas). We wouldn’t say the Levitical system was “efficient,” at least according to our current culture. There were literally thousands of Levites. Only a handful at a time could serve in the sanctuary services. Those not serving lived in specific towns designated for them. There is no record of them being spread out evenly, providing direct spiritual leadership in every town and village. So what did they do? It’s not entirely clear, and certainly not very accountable by today’s standards. Not all tithe and offerings were for “frontline workers,” as there


were certainly administrative layers in the system to organize the daily temple services, annual festivals and, later, the local synagogues.

There were some excellent, godly priest leaders, of course. Samuel, Joshua and the father of John the Baptist come to mind. And God did provide accountability. He intervened directly when two of the first priests drunkenly profaned their religious duties (Numbers 3). He sent prophetic warnings to Eli regarding his sons (1 Samuel 2). Inspired by a copy of the Book of the Law, King Hezekiah called the Levites together and held them accountable to rectify temple worship abuses and neglect, as part of his reform efforts (2 Chronicles 29). Finally, God plainly warned the religious leaders through Jeremiah of dire punishment that would fall; partly because the religious leaders had turned their backs on Him (Jer. 32:28-33).

Was it a perfect, organized religious system for mission and governance? No ... because God chooses to work through weak and sinful human beings. And it’s the same for the Adventist Church today.

Following God’s example, the Adventist Church, called into being by His prophetic word, has organized itself with similar principles. Men and women, called by God, are employed and asked to lead in the making of disciples—the calling of individuals to new and/or deeper relationships with Jesus Christ. This includes preaching, teaching, administrating and coordinating with fellow church leaders around the world. And the financial system of tithes and offerings is used to support those called both in our local mission territories as well as in world regions where

there has been little penetration by the message God has given the church to proclaim.

Higher standards of accountability

Does all go well? Not always. We do hear of—and sometimes witness—misguided decisions, misuse of funds, unprofessional leadership and occasionally even wicked behavior and attitudes. But God has also led us to higher and higher standards of accountability.

Regular ministry reports and financial statements are presented at church boards, conference executive committees and constituency meetings. Audit and compensation committees carefully review important financial and employment records. And when misdeeds or immoral actions come to light, they are dealt with appropriately. Finally, following King Hezekiah’s example, we call for ever increasing levels of spiritual, professional and ethical behavior on the part of our leaders (pastors, teachers, administrators, etc.).

Are we a perfect, organized religious system for mission and governance? No. But we are one led by imperfect human beings who God, in His incredible love and grace, chooses to work through.

Here’s why I give tithes and offerings to the Seventh-day Adventist Church:

• Jesus Christ died for me and adopted me as God’s beloved child.

• I must learn to trust the reality of God’s grace; He will provide for me.

• God has invited me to test Him with this specific practice.

• He has fulfilled His promise to bless me when I have tested Him with this practice.

• As a leader in the Adventist Church I have an ethical, as well as spiritual, duty to participate in the system that provides my livelihood.

• God has chosen and called the Seventh-day Adventist Church, even though led by sometimes erring men and women, to proclaim a last message to this world.

I urge you, dear reader, to prayerfully do the same.


NAD Treasurer Judy R. Glass Shares

Personal Insights on her New Role

"It's the little things that can make a big difference."

Since August 2023 Judy R. Glass has been serving as treasurer/CFO of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. Glass is well known across the Mid-America territory for her service in academies and at AdventSource. During the NAD Educators Convention LouAnn Howard, MAUC director of education, sat down with Glass for a short conversation.

LouAnn Howard: It’s good to be able to talk to people from “home.” That’s the best. So what are three words to describe Judy Glass?

Judy R. Glass: Three words is not very much, but I think three words I would use are helpful, caring and hardworking. I think those are three important words. I like to help people; I want to help them with their budgets, their financial needs. I just find great joy here in doing that. And I care about the people I work with and those we’re serving.

What does it mean to you to be the treasurer of the North American Division?

This is a big responsibility ... to be the treasurer for the North American Division and to care for the funds that God has entrusted to our church to serve and to minister. So I feel the responsibility for that. I also see the potential and the things that we can do to work better and work smarter.

I believe strongly in women in ministry. So I’m excited to be able to be in a leadership role. And I’m hoping it will open the doors for other positions and other women within the church. And I think also of the women who have come before me and on whose shoulders I stand. I think of Debra Brill. I think of Elaine Hagele who was the Mid-America Union treasurer for a number of years—the things that I’ve learned from them and the influence they’ve been on my life as mentors.

What excites you most about what’s happening financially in the North American Division?

It is amazing how God has blessed us with our tithe and our faithful donors through the years. Even during COVID when we weren’t sure if we were going to have a downturn. God didn’t let that happen. We had more money coming in.

And I think the exciting thing about that is that we can look for more possibilities of how we can do ministry and how we can share and reach the different people through evangelism, through our schools, through all the different channels that we have going. Different departments are doing so many exciting projects. It’s great to see that happening and to have the resources to do that and figure out how to use them best so we can make our dollars go further. And we’re very thankful for the generosity of the believers in our churches.

What are some of the challenges you’re facing?

We are facing challenges finding people to come and work for the church—finding treasurers for our different conferences, finding pastors, finding teachers. You are aware, as the education superintendent in Mid-America, how difficult sometimes it is to fill some of those vacancies.

And, you know, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a long history of service and ministering, and it is a great organization to work for. But somehow our college students, our academy students, are not currently seeing that. I’m hoping we can help them see that this is a viable career and it is a valuable career. You know, it’s not all about the dollars and cents. It’s about what you do and how you serve and how you make a difference in people’s lives. It’s the little things that really make a big difference in people’s lives.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us right now? I’ve got a lot to learn and I’m very appreciative of the support of our division team, our unions and conferences, and the members. I’ve talked with so many people and everyone has been so supportive of me and this journey. I’m very appreciative of this and I covet their prayers.

This is not something I could do on my own. I need the support of everyone and your prayers.

Thank you for taking a few minutes with us. We pray that God will bless your ministry abundantly.

Watch the full interview: bit.ly/3T0FL5L

Funding the Seventh-day Adventist Worldwide Movement

Excerpted from an article by Randy Robinson, former NAD treasurer, in the December 2023 issue of Adventist Journey.

here does all that money go?”

“WAs a church employee I have heard that question more times than any other. It is a profoundly legitimate question.

Tithe is the financial lifeblood of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Adventist Church embraces the theology of tithing, and nearly 1.3 million members in the NAD demonstrate that by their generous giving. But let me make two points before continuing. First, there is no question that the theology of tithe is biblical. In many places in both the Old and New Testaments, that mandate is clear, most notably in Malachi 3, where God requires us to bring the tithe into the storehouse.

While this and other texts hint at what the storehouse might be, it really is not specifically defined in Scripture. Which brings me to the second point: the Adventist Church defines the storehouse within its own structure as the local conference. That definition is not a theological requirement, nor is the subsequent flow of tithe through the organization. It is a polity decision we have simply agreed on collectively.

Local conference level

The local conference is the main employer in church structure. It employs frontline workers, comprised mostly of pastors, schoolteachers, and support staff. They pastor our churches, teach in our schools, operate daycare centers, Adventist Book Center book/food stores and more. It also resources its nonemployee members through training programs, camp meetings and other services designed to benefit church members.

Because the conference is the “boots on the ground” level of the structure, it has rightfully demanded and receives the largest share of tithe resources.

Just over 65 percent stays at the local conference, a share that has increased over time as needs have changed

That is correct, but not complete. After considering all the outflow and backflow of tithe funds, in the end, on average (each conference is a little different because of different needs), the local conference ends up benefiting from about 83 percent of the original tithe dollar, and the union, division, and GC end up sharing about 17 percent.

Now that we understand how much tithe remains at the conference and generally what it is used for, how does the wider organization use the remaining 17 percent? While the following is in no way an exhaustive list, it is representative of what is provided using those dollars: Missionary Deployment, Religious Liberty, Legal Services, Capital Borrowing, Accounting/Auditing, Data Services, Education Curriculum Development, Insurance Services

Two core philosophies

After the main purpose of church structure being to support the global proclamation of the gospel message, it is designed to follow two long-held philosophies: first, the more financially able help the less financially able; and second, we are stronger doing things together than each doing our own thing. These two philosophies are integral to the entire financial structure of the world church.

No individual entity can provide for itself all that this organization, working together, provides. Even though the benefits are tremendous, there is still room to improve efficiency, transparency, communication, and services.

Randy Robinson, former NAD treasurer, retired on July 31, 2023.

Read the full article: www.nadadventist.org/news/divinegenius-funding-seventh-day-adventist-worldwide-movement

What's the Difference Between Tithes and Offerings?

Tithe means 1/10 and tithe money is used as described in this article.

Offerings can be any amount, large or small, and are entirely used however the donor specifies—whether for a local church or conference project or fund, or for something half way around the world.

How Can I Get Involved in “Church Work?”

Are you currently working as an accountant, financial planner or IT support person? Or recently retired from such a position? There is likely a place for you to serve in your local conference, academy, church or elementary school, either as a paid professional or a part-time volunteer. To learn more about the possibilities, please contact your local pastor, school principal or conference office for a job description and current openings.

The biblical account of the 10 lepers in Luke 17:1119 unfolds a powerful narrative, showcasing the life-changing potential of a thankful heart. While nine of the lepers remain ambivalent, it is the foreigner—a Samaritan—who exemplifies true gratitude. This story, a launchpad for personal discovery, has led to a conviction that gratitude is not just a virtue but an essential spiritual discipline.

Gratitude as a Health Benefit

Gratitude is not just an emotion; it is an essential component of good health. “Feeling it is only half the equation,” said Philip Watkins, a professor of psychology at Eastern Washington University and the author of Gratitude and the Good Life. Watkins emphasizes that both feeling and expressing gratitude are integral to reaping its full benefits.

Studies show that gratitude reduces depression, lessens anxiety, lowers the risk of heart disease, relieves stress and improves sleep. Harvard happiness researcher Shawn Acor even considers gratitude as the number one ingredient in happiness.

Gratitude in Spirituality

Beyond its health benefits, gratitude is deeply intertwined with spirituality. The book of Psalms is packed with distinct life circumstances where gratitude is owed to God. In chapter 100, we are told to “Enter His gates with Thanksgiving.” The very act of thanksgiving is woven into the fabric of heaven’s culture, and gratitude is viewed as an act of worship.

Ellen White highlights the communal impact of one leper’s gratitude: “For the sake of this one man, who would make a right use of the blessing of health, Jesus healed the whole ten.”1 This is wonderful news, as when one makes the right use of their blessings Jesus can expand them tenfold! Consider the exponential impact of fostering gratitude within our church congregations and school classrooms. Gratitude becomes a catalyst for relational development, enriching marriages and fostering a positive community spirit. Have you ever tried to be critical of someone you are grateful for?


Danger of Ingratitude

Notice in Rom. 1:20-23 how gratitude to God is a theological kingpin and cornerstone. Remove gratitude and the spiritual Jenga tower collapses and comes crashing down. Gratitude and pride are inversely proportionate, and ingratitude is linked directly to the rise of pride.

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary states, “unwillingness to give thanks to God for His love and goodness toward men is one of the causes of corruption and idolatry. Ingratitude hardens the heart and leads men to forget the Being to whom they are unwilling to express thankfulness.”2

Gratitude as a Moral Imperative

The narrative of the 10 lepers is regarded as a historical event, distinct from a parable. The ratio of ingratitude to gratitude stood at 9:1, a fact that sends shivers down the spine. The realization that 100 percent of “God’s faithful people” were ungrateful is both astonishing and disconcerting. Remarkably, it was a Samaritan who demonstrated gratitude during this historical account.

Neuroscientist Glenn Fox has dedicated his life to studying gratitude—how it improves our resilience, lowers stress and boosts overall health. He is an expert on the ability of gratitude to help us through tough times. His studies state, “The researchers found that grateful brains showed enhanced activity in two primary regions: the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). These areas have been previously associated with emotional processing, interpersonal bonding, and rewarding social interactions, moral judgment, and the ability to understand the mental states of others.” Fox goes on to explain that gratitude is connected with morality and human dignity.3

Gratitude becomes a guardrail against apostasy and

idolatry, as seen in Deuteronomy 8. Acknowledging that everything is a gift becomes an antidote to pride, fostering humility and gratitude.

A Call to Embrace Gratitude

In a world fraught with challenges, the benefits of gratitude are clear: increased happiness, better health and improved spirituality. The call to embrace gratitude is not just a personal journey but a communal responsibility. As individuals, communities and even church leaders, the challenge is to foster and express gratitude liberally. In doing so, we fulfill a divine desire for healthier, happier and more faithful interactions. Gratitude, as a transformative force, is an invitation to a more enriched and purposeful life.

1. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 180

2. Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 479

3. https://inside-the-brain. com/2018/11/22/ this-is-your-brain-on-gratitude-2/

Cultivating Gratitude in Daily Life

Practical ways to cultivate gratitude include:

• maintaining a gratitude journal

• counting blessings

• writing thank-you cards

• and engaging in prayer meetings with dedicated praise time

Fiery Peanuts Kids Column

Let’s discover how energy is stored in food!


• Variety of nuts (peanut, walnut, almond, cashew)

• Paper clip

• Play-Doh clay or pliers

• Lighter or match

• Ruler

• Timer

• An adult’s assistance and supervision


Place a mound of clay on your counter and flatten it slightly to make a stand for your paper clip.

Bend one end of the paper clip straight out so it’s a tiny “spear.” Use that end to carefully attach a peanut. Push the round end of the paper clip into the clay.

Have an adult use a lighter or match and hold it under the end of the peanut until it successfully lights.

Start a timer to measure how long the peanut burns and a ruler to measure the height of the flame. Record your results and other observations.

Repeat this process with other nuts and compare your results. Help clean up afterward.

What Happened

Peanuts have a lot of oil (fat) stored inside. When you set the oil on fire (combustion), it results in light and heat. This is a great example of the transfer of energy. The process of combustion converts the energy from potential energy to heat—a form of

Scan the QR code (or search in YouTube “Dakota SDA Kids


Peanuts”) to join me in my kitchen for this experiment. We’ll also dive deeper into the story of Daniel and his friends being witnesses in Babylon.

kinetic (moving) energy.

Your body does a great job of changing food energy (calories) into an energy form you can use. Within your body, calories are converted into all kinds of energy: the warmth of your body (thermal energy), your brain signaling your muscles (electrical energy) and your muscles moving to perform work (mechanical energy).

Food contains energy. Your body converts food into the energy forms we need for life, but some foods work better for this process than others. Peanuts are full of tasty calories that come in the form of oil (fat). This oil is what makes the peanut burn so well. In contrast, fruits and vegetables are made up mostly of water, but they also fuel our bodies with important vitamins and nutrients our bodies need. We never want to run out of fuel—whether it’s calories for your body, gas for a car or the spiritual fuel that comes from spending time with Jesus.


How high did your flame get? How long did your peanut burn? Compare a peanut with another nut like a walnut, almond or cashew. How do the results vary?

In terms of energy production, how is burning a peanut similar to eating a peanut? How are they different? How do foods we eat affect how our bodies feel and the amount of energy we have?

What are some ways you can use your health and energy to share the love of Jesus?

Bible Lesson

Daniel 1:6-17 records the story of Daniel and his friends making a decision about what type of food they will eat to fuel their bodies. Through this unique diet request, they became witnesses whom God used in amazing ways. Daniel and his friends grew strong and stood out from the other teenagers, which made the king take notice!

King Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed with Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that they were given import ant jobs in Babylon. They stood up for God over and over again and let their light shine for all of Babylon to see (Matt. 5:16). Fueled by the Holy Spirit, God used them to show His love, and He wants to do the same through us today.

KELLI WASEMILLER is elementary education superintendent for the Dakota Conference.

Courtesy Dakota Conference
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Two Experienced Pastors Return to “the Battlefield”

There is a song that has been sung in Black churches for decades called I Am on the Battlefield for My Lord. One line of the chorus says, “I’ll promise him that I will serve Him till I die ...”

The Central States Conference has one of the highest percentages of young pastors in the North American Division. However, on Jan. 6, 2024, two seasoned pastors who said yes to the

call of the Lord through the Central States Conference Executive Committee were installed as part-time pastors in our vineyard.

Pastor George Bryant, former assistant to the president for evangelism for Central States, and Pastor Gil Webb, former executive secretary for the Mid-America Union, are the new pastors of the Cornerstone Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kansas,

and the Emmanuel Seventhday Adventist Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, respectively.

Pastor Bryant and Pastor Webb are two of the most humble servant leaders one could ever come across. Moses was approximately 80 years old when he humbly accepted the call to the ministry of leading the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. Likewise, there is something to be said for these pastors who could be enjoying the leisure of retirement travel, golf days and enjoying their children and grandchildren, but decided instead to re-engage with preaching the gospel, conducting church board and business meetings, visiting members and creating strategies to reach the lost in their communities.

In order to say yes to the call of pastoral ministry at this time, I believe they must have heard that same voice Moses heard at the burning bush. They must have had a similar encounter with God like Isaiah. When the question was asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Pastors Bryant and Webb both answered like Isaiah: “Here am I! Send me.”

We cannot be more pleased and excited about them and their wives, Pearl and Pat, responding in the affirmative to the call to lead these churches and minister to the needs of the members

and the community during this season.

From a broader perspective, I think sometimes we forget the words of God Himself from Joel 2:28, which tells us that the Spirit of the Lord in the last days will be poured out on all flesh, where “your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” What this simply means is that the Holy Spirit in the last days—of which we are a part—will use all genders and all age groups to finish the work of preaching and spreading the everlasting gospel. Pastors Webb and Bryant have the wisdom and humility to lead and disciple people. And they also have the passion to preach, give Bible studies and grow the kingdom of God in 2024.

What a blessing it is to witness the young and the seasoned ministers working together in this part of the vineyard. The young pastors bringing the vision, new methods and creativity, and the seasoned pastors bringing the experience and wisdom, together become a force to be reckoned with. We welcome Pastor Webb and Pastor Bryant back onto the battlefield for the Lord.

Stories on these pages were written by Cryston Josiah, vice president of administration for the Central States Conference.

Photos Courtesy Central States Conference Pastor George Bryant (top) serves the Cornerstone Church in Kansas. Pastor Gil Webb serves the Emmanuel Church in Missouri.

2024 Pastors’ Meeting Focuses on “Committed:

Reignited by His Spirit”

On Feb. 11-13 the pastors of the Central States Conference came together for their Winter Workers Meeting at the conference headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas, to be inspired, educated and energized for their task of spreading the everlasting gospel in the heartland of America in 2024.

The pastors were able to come together for a time of fun and fellowship on Sunday evening, where they watched the Kansas City Chiefs become back-to-back Super Bowl champions. The come-from-behind victory of the Chiefs led by Patrick Mahomes was inspiring. It reminded us that regardless of the challenges and obstacles we may have experienced in the past, God is able to reignite our passions and commitments to be effective pastors in our churches and communities.

Pastors Keith Hackle and Elijah Johnson shared powerful devotional messages on the Central States Conference theme for 2024, “Committed: Reignited by His Spirit.”

In addition to being inspired, the pastors were blessed to have Pastor Daniel Hall from the South Atlantic Conference with them, as he shared strategies for soul winning and evangelism based on his Compassion Ministry paradigm. He testified and taught that when we literally engage in “Christ’s Method Alone,” mingling with and meeting the needs of our community, winning

their confidence and then inviting them to follow Jesus, it literally results in people accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Pastor Hall had been blessed to see about 150 souls come to Christ in two years in his two-church district by using this biblical method. He also shared more information on how to retain new members, giving examples of fellowship, belonging and discipleship that will help new members not just stay in the church, but also contribute to the mission of the church.

Another major highlight of the pastors’ time together was the presence and presentations of James Winegardner, Esq., president of Adventist Risk Management. As he shared the many ways pastors can be prudent managers of God’s people and properties, everyone came away more knowledgeable regarding how we can be the best stewards of what God has entrusted to us.

One of the best ways of learning is listening to the pitfalls of others so that one does not have to experience

those pitfalls for oneself. Our pastors are certainly committed—as the Marvin Sapp song says—to becoming stronger, better and wiser.

Dr. William Cox, executive director for the Regional Conference Retirement Plan, was another presenter who was able to affirm the blessing and stability of the plan, and allow the pastors to do basic estimates of how much they would be eligible to receive upon retirement. Of course, many young pastors do not get excited about retirement, as they are in the beginning stages of this ministry journey. However, the reality that they have the potential to retire and receive approximately two-thirds of their highest three years average salary (and when social security is added, they could

retire and be able to maintain the identical income and standard of living) had all ears, young and senior alike, paying rapt attention. There were other shorter presentations on minister’s taxes and Adventist Disaster Relief Agency by Pastors George Bryant and Rich Carlson

The two full days flew by quickly, but the intent of the conference administration was to pour in to the pastors as much as possible within that time frame; and then send the pastors back to their spouses before the next day— Valentine’s Day.

The conference leadership team highly values healthy marriages and families. Thus, although it was great for them to learn how to create healthy and growing churches, the health of their first church, family, is always the number one priority.

Pastor Craig Carr, ministerial director for the MidAmerica Union, cemented the conference’s commitment to healthy pastoral families by attending the meeting and announcing the upcoming pastors and families retreat in July 2024 that will be sponsored by the Mid-America Union. We can’t wait. Thank you, MAUC!

Photos: Gerson Pancorbo

Answered Prayers:

A Journey of Faith and Transformation

One early Sabbath morning, I received a phone call from a church member. “Pastor, there is a man here who wants to talk to you. He seems agitated and insists on speaking with the pastor.” I hurried to church to meet with the man. I silently prayed for guidance and sat down.

The gentleman looked me over, verified I was the pastor and then asked if I would help him with his problems. I listened intently as the man, who told me his name is Daniel Dant, began disclosing his marital and psychological struggles. I told him, “My brother, God can help you. Let me share with you my favorite text, which has helped me over the years.”

I opened my iPad and read Jer. 29:11-14: “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me ... you will find me.”

Then I added, “God brought you here for a purpose. God has a plan for you, your wife and your whole family’s future.”

It was nearly time for church to start, so I prayed with him and invited him to stay for church. I also suggested we meet together with his wife to address their marital concerns. Before leaving, Daniel gave me a bear hug and said, “Pastor, I have a very good feeling!” Although Daniel did not attend church that Sabbath, he began attending regularly thereafter

Daniel Dant is a 14year active-duty Army veteran with several tours in Afghanistan.

with his family.

Shortly after I had begun pastoring in Rapid City, South Dakota, I began prayer walking, asking for God’s help in reaching people in my new mission field. However, it wasn’t until I met Daniel and heard his story that I realized I had been failing to recognize God’s response to my prayers.

Before discovering the Rapid City Adventist Church, Daniel had been watching religious television programs. During this period, he developed an overwhelming urge to transform his life, seek greater fulfillment in his marriage, achieve better health and reconcile with God. He discovered God’s call to observe the seventh-day Sabbath and sought out a Sabbath-keeping church. This led him to our Adventist church that fateful morning.

He told me, “Pastor, the Holy Spirit led me to this church.” I realized that God actively invites people into His church to join His divine mission, and it struck me that His work of salvation persists regardless of my response.

When I finally realized what God was doing in my city, I began praying even more earnestly. I was convinced that if God found us worthy to bring someone off the streets into our church to learn more about Him,


then I should pray that God would make the Rapid City Church a working reflection of His character. God called the Adventist Church to provide a safe haven for all to worship Him. I firmly believe that if our Rapid City Church is such a place, then those who walk in will be willing to spread the Word.

I started praying for God to lead more men and women to encounter Jesus Christ in the lives of our members. I can testify that I’ve had a number of people walk in—Adventists transferring in and people off the street desiring church fellowship. Experience has shown me that sometimes we aren’t the nicest of people, and it scares me.

“I will listen and do what He says.”

I gave Daniel and his wife reading materials and stayed in contact. He said, “Being a part of the church has been a blessing. I think God calls us to be members of a church. I still haven’t figured out what our Father wants me to do, but I will listen and I will do what He says.” After discussing the importance and significance of baptism, he and his whole family decided to be baptized.

Two weeks before the scheduled date of baptism, I got a

text from Daniel, “I’m at the ER now. I finally saw the pain clinic and they are recommending surgery.” I grappled with whether he would physically be eligible for baptism by immersion. I prayed about the matter, and his subsequent text brought relief: “I didn’t get admitted. Thank God.” Despite Daniel’s evident physical discomfort at his baptism, he wanted to proceed.

On that day in December 2023, I baptized four candidates including Daniel, Amber (Daniel’s wife), and Emmett (their son) as a public testimony of their faith. I challenged them to prioritize daily prayer and Bible study to nurture their newfound faith in their journey ahead.

These candidates were saved by God’s grace. They, like all of us, need to let our faith be evidenced by our lives as we demonstrate that faith. The call to embrace the Word of God and have fellowship with Jesus Christ is a call to the stewardship of our time, talents, treasures and our body temples as we grow and develop a closer relationship with God and in our service to man.

Brian Mungandi is pastor at the Rapid City Church in South Dakota. Stephen Wasemiller Courtesy Daniel Dant



Church Members Utilize Spiritual Gifts

Have you ever wondered how so many wonderful things we see at church are accomplished? We hadn’t either! That is, until this past Christmas. The church had beautiful decorations at the front of the sanctuary and throughout the building. Week by week, all those attending church online and in person enjoyed the lovely, creative and inspiring design.

While at the church midweek, just before Christmas, we discovered the artist who created the display. She was carefully touching up the delightful arrangements. It was then we realized that the wonderful things we may often take for granted resulted from a church member’s devotion, and from their spiritual gifts.

Think of the time you (or a loved one) was baptized. Consider all that went into making that moment even more special. Each baptism and commitment to Christ is a celebratory experience. Church family members worked behind the scenes to make the moment exactly right.

Who drew the water for the baptistry? Who prepared the garment you wore and made sure it was ready for the next baptism? Someone arranged the audio so the entire congregation could hear the pastor share about your commitment to Christ.

Our sanctuaries are well lit. An observant worker replaces burned out light bulbs. The furnace runs in winter, and we are comfortable as we worship. So many spiritual

gifts come together in service to the Lord. Consider the preparation of our Sabbath school teachers. We all have opportunities to share and witness, offer Bible studies and more.

Did you enjoy a potluck recently? Maybe a kind friend invited you to their home for Sabbath dinner. What a blessing!

Our sanctuary decorator, Marcia McSweeny, said, “I’ve always loved beautiful things. I know our Creator does also because He created such a variety of beautiful things— flowers, trees, animals, stars, everything! My talents have developed over the years; I think that’s because I opened myself up to using them. Lately, I thought, whatever I do I should try to do it to the best of my ability. So that has been my motto, and I think that’s what God expects of us.”

Gratitude and spiritual gifts

As we contemplate all the blessings we experience as a Christian family, let’s take the time to recognize and be grateful for the little and the big things. We can encourage each other and express our appreciation. The kindnesses, hard work and gifts expressed by our church families is endless!

Each of us should ask How can I best serve the Lord? We are encouraged to discern our spiritual gifts. The Bible tells us in 1 Cor. 12:4-6 that “there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different

kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (NIV).

As we learn and employ our God-given spiritual gifts,

the generous, gift-giving spirit of Christmas will be enjoyed all year long.

Carol Bradley is a member of the Cedar Rapids Church in Iowa.

Marcia McSweeny uses her gifts to create holiday decorations in the sanctuary of the Cedar Rapids Church. Carol Bradley

Omaha Memorial Adventist School

Undertakes Transformative Journey

There’s a story unfolding within the walls of Omaha Memorial Adventist School, a tale of transformation, resilience and a shared commitment to nurturing young minds.

“You can place a group of people in a boat, and it will drift to somewhere,” says Michael Hoyt, chairman of the OMAS school board. “If you give those same people oars and a destination, they will make waves. OMAS has placed a firm grip on its oars.

Watch for the waves!” That’s precisely what’s happening at OMAS—a tale of collective effort and focused direction.

Marilyn Caughlin, a member of the OMAS community, resonates with passion: “We’re a tight-knit family of educators, staff, parents and church, all dedicated to fostering our students’ faith.” This shared dedication has sparked a sense of unity driving the school’s resurgence.

The school’s halls now echo with more laughter and bustling energy. Chad Dungan, OMAS lead teacher, smiles as he shares that “Student

enrollment has surged from a modest 21 to a vibrant 33. This isn’t just a statistic; it’s a testament to the growing faith and trust the community has in OMAS’s transformative journey.”

Over the summer, the school underwent a metamorphosis. Its facilities were remodeled, marking the commencement of a three-stage evolution. These changes weren’t merely cosmetic; they were a dedication to creating an environment conducive to holistic growth and learning.

Integral to this revival is the presence and support of the Omaha Memorial Church members and leadership. Their involvement underscores a deeper commitment to not just education but also the spiritual well-being of each student. This spiritual touch infuses the learning environment with warmth and guidance.

In the midst of this transformation, first grade student Sebastian’s heartfelt sentiment adds a touch of innocence and joy to the narrative: “I love my school. It is fun and even

smells great.” It’s a simple yet profound acknowledgment of the joy and care that the school brings to its students—a place that’s not just about learning but about showing our

children they belong, and they are deeply loved.

Kansas-Nebraska Conference education superintendent Dr. Jeff Bovee’s words encapsulate the

Photos: Sandro D. Sandoval

essence of OMAS’s transformation: “OMAS has become a mission-driven school.” The decisions and actions at OMAS are not just about education, but are guided by a profound sense of purpose.

This year Ana Chong and Janette Lopez joined our team, and we are currently operating at full capacity.

OMAS is placing its trust in God and His guidance.

The school board has made the decision to create a new full-time position and is considering becoming a junior academy soon. It’s an emblem of the institution’s commitment to welcoming and supporting an expanding community of students and families.

This is a story of change, not just in structures but in mindset and approach.

OMAS’s revitalization isn’t just about numbers; it’s a story of people—teachers, staff, volunteers, parents and students— coming together to craft an environment where holistic growth can take place.

The school stands as a symbol of hope and inspiration, reaching beyond its walls and setting an example for other institutions. It’s a beacon of purposeful education guided by human dedication and dependance in the steadfast influence of the Holy Spirit.

In essence, Omaha Memorial School is writing a story of rediscovery— embracing growth and change while anchoring itself in trust, faith and a shared journey toward nurturing young hearts and minds. Join us!


Four New Pastors Join Conference’s Pastoral Team

Pastor Ben Sosa was recently welcomed by his new congregations in northeast Nebraska (Columbus, Neligh, Norfolk). “Pastor Ben, an ordained pastor of experience, is joining us from the Minnesota Conference and loves sharing the gospel with others,” says Virgil Covel, KansasNebraska ministerial director. Being bilingual, he will be able to minister to even more people in that part of our conference.

Mike and Lori Bremer were welcomed on a Sabbath morning to their new district in western Kansas (Bazine, Hays, La Crosse). Coming from Waterloo, Iowa, they are committed to working alongside each congregation. Mike loves visiting and doing Bible studies. Lori is passionate about serving children and women.

Pastor Brayan and Yenny Maldonado were welcomed by their Liberal and Garden City congregations in Kansas last January. Alejandro Dovald, conference multilingual ministries director, was there to offer a special prayer of dedication.

Brayan is passionate about young people and equipping church leaders. Yenny loves working alongside Brayan and sharing on social media.

Pastor Augusto and Lilly Sanmiguel along with their two daughters, Isabella and Ana Sofia, were presented to the Wichita Hispanic churches in January. Alejandro Dovald, multilingual ministries director, and church elders prayed over Augusto and his family as they began ministry in Wichita. Pastor Augusto will minister to the two Hispanic churches in Wichita and Arkansas City, Kansas.

Saul Dominguez is communication director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference. Photos Courtesy Kansas-Nebraska Conference Sandro D. Sandoval is lead pastor for the Omaha Memorial Church.

Removing Our Boundaries Before Our Savior

Lessons from a dolphin

ince my childhood I dreamed about learning to interact with dolphins. I knew they were among the smartest animals on the planet. Finally, a few years ago such an opportunity arose. My wife and I bought tickets to the dolphin encounter in Hawaii. The trainer who led this tour made the dolphin swim toward him on his back with his belly up.

He told us that this is how dolphins come to trainers for medical checkups so that trainers are able to draw blood samples and conduct other research. However, while dolphins are indeed intelligent animals, I don’t think they get the concept of what a medical checkup really is. Instead, it takes a trainer multiple weeks of day and night interaction with a dolphin before an animal starts trusting its trainer enough to allow a blood sample to be drawn.

In Psalm 139:1, David begins by saying: “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me” (NIV). In the original Hebrew the verb “search” (KHaQaR) occurs 38 times throughout the Old Testament, appearing for the first time in Deut.

13:15 where the command is given to conduct thorough investigation of a crime. In the modern Hebrew, Israelis use this verb in reference to scientific research.

Speaking the modern language, we could say that David begins his psalm by acknowledging to be God’s research subject. And since God is the perfect researcher, He knows everything about David. He possesses knowledge not only about his sitting down and getting up, but also about his utmost intimate thoughts.

Typically, to express the concept of thoughts, Hebrew uses the noun makhshav, which occurs frequently in the Old Testament. However, in Psalm 139:2 David uses the noun reah, which is a very rare ancient Hebrew word similar to the word friend.

Our Creator has wonderfully designed people to be free-thinking beings capable of making decisions, having emotions and being able to dream. Our thoughts comprise what we are: our personality and our character originates from our way of thinking. Sometimes our thoughts can be understood by other people through our gestures, demeanor or facial

expressions. And at times we wish other people would understand what we are thinking.

But there are some thoughts we keep close to ourselves and do not want them to be known by others. Such thoughts are called friends in Hebrew and they comprise our intimate inner world.

There are only selected people whom we allow to know and be a part of our personal inner world. This all depends on how we choose to build our boundaries.

Genesis 2:24-25 teaches us about the ideal marriage experience. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

The last words of this passage indicate the level of trust the first couple had for each other. This means that between the first spouses there were very few barriers. One of the greatest attributes of a true loving marital relationship is the removal of boundaries—the creation of mutual trust.

On the other hand, if a

stranger breaks your privacy, this can feel terrifying and cause trauma. But God, who really knows everything about us, is not a stranger. He is closer to us than our parents or our spouse because He has such intimate knowledge of us beyond our understanding! Unlike a stranger who can use that kind of knowledge to bring us harm, our God, Creator and Redeemer desires only the best for us. This is why David writes:

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Ps. 139:5-6, NIV).

For David, divine knowledge of his intimate world was a benefit rather than a detriment. God uses His knowledge of us to guide us on our paths as long as we are willing to drop our boundaries before Him and let Him into our intimate inner world. We can absolutely trust our Lord in everything because our Creator will never hurt us. What a wonderful God we serve!

Pastor Sasha Bolotnikov is pastor of The Edge Christian Worship Center and Pathways Fellowship in the Minnesota Conference.


Ali’s Baptism Story

“Pastor, could we break the ice?”

For the members of The Way Church, Nov. 25, 2023 is a day that will be remembered for years to come. It was a cold Sabbath day, especially for a lake baptism, as the temperature was only 28 degrees Fahrenheit! But that was not the biggest challenge of the day. Not only was the air frigid, but so was the water, as the church was soon to find out.

The previous Monday, Pastor Jared Little received a phone call from Allison McDonald, expressing her desire to be baptized. She had been attending the church for about three years and had studied the Bible extensively. Pastor Little was excited to see that, after asking several questions and reviewing biblical truth, it was clear she

had a deep love for Jesus and a thorough understanding of the Bible. Pastor Little asked her when she would like to be baptized. “As soon as possible!” McDonald responded.

Naturally, the question of where the baptism would take place was next. To Pastor Little’s surprise, McDonald wanted to be baptized in a lake near the church.

He said, “I have never baptized someone in a lake this late in the year, but I’m willing to give it a try. If the lake is frozen over, what do you want me to do?”

McDonald responded, “Pastor, could we break the ice?”

Her love of Jesus and nature fueled her desire to be in creation for this special event. Pastor Little could not

refuse such a sincere request.

That Sabbath afternoon, Pastor Little arrived at the lake early. Yes, it was indeed frozen over. Wearing chest waders and several layers, he walked halfway down the pier and broke through an inch or two of ice. He jumped in to test the depth and threw several chunks of ice out to clear the area, being careful not to get wet until it was necessary.

McDonald arrived wearing several layers and some protective clothing. Church members stood nearby with blankets and towels and made sure a car was at hand. Another friend, wearing chest waders, got in as well in case of emergencies. As the bundled congregation watched, McDonald was

buried in the icy waters of baptism. Later, she declared she barely felt the cold because she was so excited.

Allison McDonald’s commitment and desire to follow Jesus is inspiring and a challenge for each of us to follow Him no matter what.

Sarah Little is married to Jared Little, who is pastor of the Rochester Church. (left) Allison McDonald is baptized in a frozen lake near the Rochester Church. (above) Pastor Jared Little and Allison celebrate her commitment to God through baptism. Photos: Sarah Little

Mom Heart Bible Study Supports Moms

Lisa Venteicher, a member at LifeSource Adventist Fellowship in Denver, Colorado, has had

a growing desire to support and bless moms in their motherhood journey. It has been her goal to create a

space for moms that offers encouragement, community and connection in the middle of their busy lives.

These desires and goals have come to fruition in the LifeSource Mom Heart community. Every Wednesday, moms gather to enjoy tea and Bible study focusing on raising our children to know and love Jesus personally. “As we grow and learn together

Members of the LifeSource Mom Heart community share in fellowship and Bible study.

through the ups and downs of motherhood, we’re seeking to raise our kids for God’s glory,” shared Venteicher.

Ashley Radu, LifeSource member and hardworking mom of two, shared these thoughts about her time at Mom Heart: “I’ve really enjoyed the fellowship of Mom Heart Bible study! The discussions that we have are so relevant to me as a mother, and it reminds me that there are other moms working through the same challenges as me!”

Karene Watts, group member and mom of three, shared this when asked how Mom Heart has been a blessing in her life: “It’s a

Arvada Church Supports Venezuela Refugees

It’s been four months now since Arvada Church in Arvada, Colorado, started providing weekly aid to Venezuelan refugees in the way of food, clothes, hygiene products, hugs and prayers.

As the refugee crisis grows

in the city of Denver, these


the worst “collateral damage” in a highly politicized

humanitarian struggle involving immigrants. Even the followers of Christ have not been immune to falling victims to such a mentality and succumbing to not offering a helping hand because of the way these people are being portrayed in the media.

Members of the congregation had an opportunity and the privilege to get to know some of these immigrants. And guess what—they are just like us. They want to raise their kids in the safety of freedom; they want to make enough money to sustain their families.

They just want to live. They don’t want handouts. They want to work. Many of them don’t understand our immigration system or our laws. All they knew when they left their homes was that there is

(top) Food, clothing and toys are brought weekly to aid the unhoused immigrants in Denver, Colorado. families turned out to Photos Courtesy Rocky Mountain Conference

reset! There are days when I struggle to parent God’s way. It helps me remember my purpose as a mom and how I should guide my kids. I love hearing the experiences of other moms in the group. It really helps me feel capable in this parenting journey.”

Heidi Carpenter is the LifeCycle Coordinator at LifeSource Adventist Fellowship.

Any mom is welcome to join Mom Heart for connection and growth. For more information, contact Heidi Carpenter at heidi@lafdenver. org.

hope ahead and not behind them. And now they are here, and we must not sit idle.

Obviously, they need help. If you would like to be involved and donate, we are in need of children’s clothes, hygiene products, and adult work clothes suited for winter. The kids get excited about receiving a winter jacket and gloves. There are small things that make a difference, and you can witness a big smile on a child’s face when they receive a doll or a toy car.

As Jesus embraced a small child, so can we. Please reach out to me (Miloš Tomić at Milos@aachurch.org) to see how you can help.


Cold Weather Did Not Stop Greater Summit

The Rocky Mountain Conference Greater Summit teen prayer retreat took place at Glacier View Ranch in Ward, Colorado, Jan. 12-14.

Jonathan Carlson, RMC director of camp ministries at GVR, commented, “Youth summit was exactly what GVR was designed for; a place for young people to meet and experience the love of Jesus Christ. That is exactly what happened.”

Eighty-five participants came from as far away as Grand Junction, Colorado; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Lincoln, Nebraska. While the weather was snowy, windy and cold, our teens had an absolute blast.

Jade Teal, RMC youth department assistant director, planned the event and did a fantastic job facilitating and directing participants so everyone knew what was happening and when and where those things were taking place.

Greater Summit is focused on three areas

2. Engage: This was when the teens wrestled with real questions about life and faith with their adult sponsors. Many great conversations took place, and the teens were invested in this time with one another.

3. Enjoy: This was the time our teens spent in activities. Some of the outdoor activities included snowshoeing, hiking, snow tubing, making snow forts and more. Other teens were more interested in indoor activities like swimming, making crafts, filling out cards for shut-ins or just enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with new friends.

Carlos Santana, Campion Academy chaplain, said, “The Greater Summit was an amazing experience for our Campion students as well as for myself. The spiritual programing was on point for what

the youth may struggle with during this time in their lives.

“The breakout Engage sessions were a highlight of the spiritual programing,” he continued. “Giving students the opportunity to share their testimonies and thoughts on the various topics we covered was such a blessing for us! The activities were well planned and fun, and even though weather didn’t cooperate, there was always something to do for our kids.”

Santana finished by saying he was certain that “... all of our students would benefit from attending Greater Summit.”

RMC staff members are already planning for next year’s Greater Summit, and they are certain it will be just as epic as this one!

Brandon Westgate is the RMC Youth Department director.

A chilly winter sunrise at Glacier View Ranch in Ward, Colorado

Arvada Adventist Church.

1. Encounter: This was the worship time with praise music, prayer and opening the Word. The speaker for the weekend was Virgil Covel, ministerial director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference, who shared relevant stories to both challenge and encourage the teens.

Miloš Tomić is associate pastor at the Courtesy Rocky Mountain Conference

Digging up the Past

Union religion professor brings the Bible to life for her students through an archeological perspective

Walking into assistant professor of religion

Dr. Trisha Broy’s office is like entering a miniature museum of archeology. She has trays of ancient ceramic shards, a stone ax head and even a mostly intact clay jar, all of which she found at various archaeological dig sites. But Broy’s favorite thing to show is a 3D-printed replica of a mysterious Egyptian statue.

“This is the coolest thing we’ve ever found,” said Broy. “This statue came from the late Middle Kingdom of Egypt, but was found in a much later deposit in Jordan in a non-Egyptian settlement.

He’s made of dark stone and worn, as if he’s been touched a lot particularly in the feet and face. It’s a mystery how he got there. It’s such a unique artifact that the original went to a museum in Amman, Jordan.”

Over the last 25 years, Broy has excavated in Jordan, Sicily and Tennessee. However, with her master’s in Egyptology and doctorate in biblical archeology, her favorite digs are those in Jordan. She’s spent the last few summers at Khirbet Safra, an archaeological site with ruins dating back to the 13th century B.C.

Religion professor Trisha Broy shows off her favorite archeological find—a statue from the late Middle Kingdom of Egypt she found in Jordan. This is a 3-D printed replica of the original, which is on display in a museum in Amman, Jordan.

“I get so fascinated by the artifacts we find there,” said Broy. “Thousands of years ago, somebody was making the jars we find with their hands in the clay. It’s such a connection with the ancient people.”

At the moment, Broy is focusing her archaeological research on finding clarity on ancient Egyptian interactions in Jordan, inspired by the discovery of the Egyptian statue and other artifacts at Khirbet Saftra. She said, “To put it in perspective, these are the only artifacts that have ever been found in Jordan originating from this time period that come from Egypt like this. We have a lot of knowledge on what happened on the west side of the Jordan river, but not as much about the east side. We’re working to better understand why we have this Egyptian material, especially since Khirbet Saftra is very small and out of the way. There’s no reason why it was a big site in antiquity.”

Broy’s passion for biblical archaeology brings the scriptures alive for her students at Union College. She said, “A lot of my students have heard the stories in the Bible since they were little children, and sometimes they lose connection with them in the real world. What archeology

does for me, and hopefully for my students, is bring the Bible back into perspective. These are real people and real events that happened in real space and real time. Archeology brings tangibleness to the stories. It gives you that sensory experience with the past, which makes it more real.”

This semester, Broy is teaching Pentateuch, Biblical Hebrew I, and Introduction to Christian Faith and Adventism. “All my classes are fun to teach,” she said. “I can’t pick a favorite, but I have favorite aspects of each of them. It’s like trying to pick your favorite child.”

“My Pentateuch class covers the first five books of the Bible. My Egyptology background bubbles up there as we talk about the Exodus. Hebrew is primarily taken by junior and senior theology majors, so it’s just a great group of students who are dedicated to the ministry and want to dig deeper into Biblical language.

“I love teaching Introduction to Christian Faith and Adventism, because for a lot of the students these topics are new. It’s like going to Disney World with someone who’s never been there before and seeing the wonder

Steve Nazario/Union College

The Secret Prayers of College Students

Union religion professor Pierre Steenburg tried a new way to connect with his students—and it led to some surprising truths about the needs of today’s college students. If you’re interested in connecting with young people, check out this video about his prayer crusade that turned into a research project.

Scan the QR code to watch the video.

Answering the Call to Pastoral Ministry

Jacob Pittinger, now serving as a pastor in Bismarck, North Dakota, shares the story of how God led him to full-time pastoral ministry and how Union College helped equip him to be successful.

Scan the QR code to watch the video.

in their eyes, only better. Even though I’m revisiting these biblical topics such as salvation, exploring them with students for the first time is always exciting.”

Annika Cambigue is a senior English and communication major from Dayton, Ohio.

Every summer, Union religion professor Trisha Broy conducts archeological digs around the world. She uses her finds and her perspective on the ancient world to help her students better understand the people of the Bible.

Photos Courtesy Trisha Broy Courtesy Union College Courtesy Union College

AdventHealth Shawnee Mission Represented in 2024 Rose Parade®

For more than 20 years, the OneLegacy Donate Life Rose Parade® float has inspired people across the country to save and enhance lives with the powerful message of organ, eye and tissue donation. The 2024 Rose Parade® theme, “Celebrating a World of Music: The Universal Language,” illustrates how in a world of different cultures, beliefs, hopes and dreams, one language unites us all—music.

AdventHealth Shawnee Mission proudly partnered with Midwest Transplant Network in dedicating a rose vial that was featured on the OneLegacy Donate Life Rose Parade float. Each vial features a rose with a message of love to honor organ, eye and tissue donors and recipients as well as their family members.

All Rose Parade floats must be covered with flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds or bark. The OneLegacy Donate Life Rose Parade float features each year numerous “floragraphs,” which replicate photographs but are made entirely of organic materials, remembering donors from around the country.

This year, parade co-sponsor Midwest Transplant Network’s floragraph float honored Jayme Sue Louque, a 14-year-old

organ, eye and tissue donor from Olathe, Kansas.

In addition to Louque’s floragraph and that of many others made in memory of other donor heroes from around the country, the float featured many individual roses with unique messages from some of Midwest Transplant Network’s hospital and community partners.

AdventHealth Shawnee Mission works closely with Midwest Transplant Network to facilitate organ, eye and tissue donation, and the hospital staff was honored to dedicate a rose vial to donor heroes.

“Being a part of the OneLegacy Donate Life Rose Parade float is an honor and a privilege,” said Lisa Hays, MD, chief medical officer at AdventHealth Shawnee

Mission. “It is our chance to say thank you to all the donor heroes who have provided more than 28,000 lifesaving transplants since Midwest Transplant Network’s inception in 1973.”

Although this was the first year that AdventHealth Shawnee Mission was represented in the Rose Parade, the hospital partners with Midwest Transplant Network to honor donors annually in the Kansas City area through their Wall of Heroes program. Each April during Donate Life Month, AdventHealth adds donor names to the Wall of Heroes, a plaque located on the campus of AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. Hospital staff provide special remembrance gifts to family members and

Wendy Louque (Jayme Sue's mom) on the left and her grandma Susan Dye

also honor donors through a prayer ceremony.

“The Wall of Heroes honors the sacrifice donors and donor families make and celebrates the gifts of life presented to recipients,” said Abbie Weatherley, clinical nurse specialist in the emergency department at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. “The event is a true representation of sorrow, remembrance, healing, hope and human capacity for generosity and compassion.”  Nicole Fowler is director of communications at AdventHealth in Kansas City.

Learn more about AdventHealth

Shawnee Mission or Midwest Transplant Network at AdventHealthKC. com or mwtn.org.

Taylor Brookins, MTN Family Services Manager

AdventHealth Avista Nurse Donates Kidney to Give Teen Greater Odds at Finding Perfect Match

Caring for others has always been second nature for Carly Decker, a nurse at AdventHealth Avista’s surgery center. Decker’s family friend, 15-year-old Asia, suffers from an autoimmune disease which creates antibodies that attack her kidneys and have the potential to attack other organs as well. Asia has gone through many surgeries, including a kidney transplant from a deceased donor, which her body unfortunately rejected years ago.

In hopes of giving her kidney to Asia, Decker began going through testing to see if she could be a match for Asia. Although the results looked promising at first, additional test results showed that Asia’s body would likely reject Decker’s donation.

Even though she couldn’t give Asia her kidney, she donated her kidney to someone else in need on behalf of Asia, putting Asia at the top of the recipient list when her perfect match became available. Because of Asia’s autoimmune disease, finding a match would be very difficult. “A kidney from a living donor would be life changing for her,” said Decker.

Decker quickly recovered from the surgery and felt completely back to normal.  “I was pleasantly surprised to learn how safe and

straightforward the donation was,” said Decker. “Donors and recipients are screened so thoroughly that if there is even one red flag, they won’t move forward pairing the donor and recipient, keeping the safety of both at the forefront.”

Though the original wish for her kidney to go to Asia fell through, Decker is pleased that her kidney was a perfect match for someone in Pennsylvania. Along with the kidney they received, they were also provided with Decker’s contact information if they wanted to connect with her in the future.

“As a mom of three young boys I thought, What if one of them was in Asia’s shoes in 10 years? If my boys needed something and another person could help, I would do anything for that gift,” said Decker.

Her message to others from this experience is simple: “Ordinary moms and nurses can make a big difference— you can change people’s lives.

If you’re interested in organ donation, I wholeheartedly want to encourage you to learn more about how you can help. Everyone can play a role, whether it’s donating a kidney or just spreading awareness. You might be surprised by how many people in your life have been affected by organ donation.”

In early January, Asia found out she had been matched with a donor and received her new kidney a week later. Thanks to this amazing gift, Asia and her family are optimistic that she will enjoy her teenage years and live the rest of her life to the fullest.

National Donate Life Month is observed every year in April to help spread awareness and education about organ, eye and tissue donation. It is also a time to celebrate those who have selflessly donated to change or save the lives of others. There are more than 100,000

patients currently waiting for a transplant. One donor can impact up to 85 lives; 75 lives from tissue donation, eight lives from solid organ and two lives from cornea donation.

Chloe Dean is manager of communications and public relations for AdventHealth in the Rocky Mountain Region.

Learn more about organ donation and the variety of ways to get involved at donatelife.net.

(right) Carly Decker donated her kidney to someone else in need on behalf of Asia. (far right) Asia with Carly Decker Photos Courtesy Carly Decker

Andrews, Donald F., b. Aug. 7, 1946 in Chicago, IL. d. Jan. 16, 2024 in Milford, IA. Member of Spencer (IA) Church. Preceded in death by 1 grandson. Survivors include wife Camille; daughter Lorisa Smith; son David; 1 sister; 5 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren.

Barstad, Cynthia (Bruington), b. Oct. 4, 1933 in Flasher, ND. d. Jan. 5, 2024 in Mandan, ND. Member of Mandan Church. Preceded in death by son Kevin. Survivors include husband Obert; sons Kim and Trent; 1 sister; 1 brother.

Eschliman, Patricia, b. Nov. 19, 1945. d. Jan. 28, 2024 in Grand Junction, CO.

Fandrich, LaVonne “Bonnie” Mavis (Sivertson), b. Dec. 8, 1940 in Watford City, ND. d. Jan. 29, 2024 in Harvey, ND. Member of Manfred (ND) Church. Preceded in death by 2 sisters; 2 brothers. Survivors include husband James; daughters Kathleen Brown and Kristi Griffith; son Larry; 5 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren.

Honstein, Janet Wreed, b. Dec. 18, 1941 in Omaha, NE. d. Aug. 18, 2023. Member of Campion (CO) Church. Preceded in death by 2 sisters; 2 brothers. Survivors include husband Larry; daughter Lisa; step-daughter Sara; son Brian; step-son Loren; 1 sister; 4 step-grandchildren.

Horst, Rose (Dockter), b. March 18, 1925 in Streeter, ND. d. Jan. 27, 2024 in Bismarck, ND. Member of Bismarck Church. Preceded in death by husband Percy; son Stanley; 1 sister; 4 brothers. Survivors include sons Gary, Glenn, and Virgil; 9 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Horst, Stanley Dean, b. Feb. 17, 1946 in Jamestown, ND.

d. April 30, 2023 in Valley City, ND. Member of Dakota Conference (ND) Church. Preceded in death by wife Judy. Survivors include mother; daughters Shelley Schmidt, JoDee Horst Hausmann, and Tonya Horst Lorentz; son Shannon; 3 brothers; 10 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren.

Jakstis, David, b. May 1, 1952. d. Sept. 13, 2023. Member of Wichita Cornerstone (KS) Church. Survivors include wife Pamela.

Miller, Delores Margaret (Liebelt), b. April 29, 1931 in Cleveland, ND. d. Jan. 12, 2024 in Wishek, ND. Member of Lehr (ND) Church. Preceded in death by husband Jehu “Jay”; 1 sister; 5 brothers. Survivors include daughter Sheri Vliet; son Wayne; 5 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren.

Moser, Gladys May (Oster), b. Aug. 9, 1937 in Java, SD. d. Jan. 26, 2024 in Aberdeen, SD. Member of Aberdeen Church. Preceded in death by husband Dean; 1 sister; 2 brothers. Survivors include sons Greg, Dick, and Kevin; 3 sisters; 1 brother; 3 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild.

Parks, Otis W., b. July 17, 1933 in Diamond, WA. d. Jan. 28, 2024 in Deary, ID. Survivors include wife Ann; 4 daughters; 2 sons; 14 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren. Retired minister.

Schoonover, Karon L., b. Jan. 26, 1951 in Westbrook, MN. d. Dec. 19, 2023 in Cherokee, IA. Member of Spencer (IA) Church. Preceded in death by 1 brother. Survivors include husband William; daughter Naomi; stepdaughter Emilee; sons Brandon and Ryan; stepson Joshua; 3 grandchildren; 4 step-grandchildren.

Uecker, Judy (Person), b. Sept. 24, 1941 in Valley City, ND. d. May 24, 2023 in Fargo,

ND. Member of Dakota Conference (ND) Church. Preceded in death by 1 brother. Survivors include daughters Kim Sandbothe, Pamela Mowl, Jacqueline Heinemann, and Leslie; son Shawn; 1 sister; 11 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren.

Wehtje, Steven Robert, b. Aug. 2, 1959 in Walla Walla, WA. d. Jan. 16, 2024 in Hemingford, NE. Member of Hemingford Church. Preceded in death by father Robert; first wife Cindee; 1 sister. Survivors include wife Lisa; mother Marcia; children Brandi Downs, Lawrence, Heather, Zachery and Nicholas Callahan; 3 siblings; 8 grandchildren.

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