OUTLOOK - July/August 2024

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OUTLOOK (ISSN 0887-977X) July/Aug 2024, Volume 45, Number 7/8. 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 Seventhday 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

“Research shows that people value in-person worship services but also appreciate the opportunity to stay connected remotely and online.” —p. 10




As we enjoy the blessings of summer, we’re still thinking about school ... and particularly Adventist education. Our 2024 Caring Heart Awards are featured on p. 8-9 and there are messages from two conference superintendents on p. 5 and p. 6.



President Gary Thurber


Hubert J. Morel Jr.


David VandeVere

Church Ministries

Tyrone Douglas Communication

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


#SabbathSlowdown outlookmag.org/summersabbaths

AND INSPIRATION Hidden Figures in Medical Cadet Corps outlookmag.org/josephinerose-steinkraus-stone

We hope you will prayerfully consider supporting Adventist education in some way this fall, whether by enrolling your students or offering to help with tuition for someone else’s child. Our teachers also appreciate a helping hand in the classroom from dedicated church members, as the loads teachers carry are often heavy.

May God show His favor on all teachers, students and their families as we work together to make an eternal difference in the world.


Michael W. Campbell presents research aimed toward helping local churches work more effectively.

More on p. 10

Photo by NAD Communication

Exploring Creative, LLC exploringcreative.com



Central States

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

Dakota 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

Minnesota Savannah Carlson scarlson@mnsda.com 763.424.8923 mnsda.com

Rocky Mountain Rajmund Dabrowski rayd@rmcsda.org 303.733.3771 rmcsda.org


UNIVERSITY Scott Cushman news@uau.edu 402.486.2600 x2275 uau.edu


Leadership Series Authentic

How to become an authentic Chistian leader is, I believe, in the heart of each person reading this article. For some of you, it might not have dawned on you that you are indeed a leader! Whether it is at work where team members depend on you, or in the family circle, or as part of a team taking a troop of Pathfinders to Gillette, Wyoming, you are a leader!

In previous articles, I focused on the first two requirements for authentic leadership: self-awareness and transparency. In this article, I want to write about the third tenet of authentic leadership: healthy processes.

Have you ever stood in line at the DMV and said to yourself, “There has got to be a better way to get this done!” We can see quite easily whether or not processes are being handled efficiently. When processes are not being handled well, much stress can come to both the provider and consumer.

Sadly, it is often people who have no control over the process who end up dealing with the frustration and anger that come from the consumer. I was in the Madison, Wisconsin, airport one day waiting to board my flight to Chicago. Suddenly, without any explanation given, the gate agent announced our flight had been canceled. I watched as this poor lady worked with one abusive passenger after another trying to help rearrange their travel plans. The line of disgruntled travelers was long, and the frustration was getting worse by the minute. I thought to myself, “Something is broken in their process for helping stranded passengers.”

Pillar #3

Having healthy operating processes is essential both when things are going smoothly and during times of crises. An authentic leader must always own the need for good, thoughtful processes. To have healthy processes takes time and strategic planning. Good processes rarely happen by accident; they only come through thoughtful and collegial planning.

A healthy process in the way volunteers or employees are dealt with is essential as well. Making sure your people are informed and cared for is a must. If your volunteers or employees are not taken care of, it is more likely your endeavor will run into great difficulty or even fail.

And, of course, a healthy process for initially finding your volunteers or employees is extremely important. Getting the wrong person on your team can be devastating to the overall health of your workforce and your ability to align your values and mission along the way.

In the end, healthy processes come about by having a thoughtful way to make decisions. Here are some reliable steps for making decisions you might find useful in your ministry endeavors.

• Recognize and name the challenges you are facing. Spend time articulating your needs and how they relate to your mission.

• Gather all the data you need for making an informed decision. This is true whether you are talking about a particular function that needs to be more efficient or a personnel decision.

• Put together a list of all your options. This includes even options you know are bad ones. Sometimes compiling a list of every permutation you can think of is a healthy thing to do.

• Consider each option very carefully. Identify your goals, then make sure you understand and prioritize your workplace values. Think about feasibility, acceptability and sustainability.

• Finally, make your decision. The worst decision you could make is no decision. A leader must be willing to take appropriate action.

As the process moves forward, be flexible. You will always have a few curve balls thrown your way so be ready to adjust. Healthy processes can bless everyone. They bless the leader, the team, and especially those whom you are serving. Mission happens at its best when good processes are in place.

I truly marvel at all the tremendous ministry taking place in Mid-America territory, including the many ministries at our schools, churches, camps and institutions. It is a joy to see the leadership at each of these places working to fulfill our mission to help prepare people for Christ’s soon return.

In the last installment about authentic leadership, we will look at including a moral perspective in all we do as leaders.

Adventist Education

A Lived Experience

The first known Adventist church school was opened by Martha Byington in 1853 in Buck’s Bridge, New York.

Since then, Adventist education has grown to become “the second-largest parochial school system in the world, with more than 7,500 schools in nearly 150 countries serving 1.5 million students” (adventisteducation.org). Our mission is “to enable learners to develop a life of faith in God, and to use their knowledge, skills, and understandings to serve God and humanity” (Ibid).

Each of us have been impacted by Adventist education, whether you attended an Adventist school or not. Our individual experiences vary, but you can probably rattle off the top talking points that we use to promote our school system. You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “Educating for Eternity,” or how we desire to educate the whole person, spiritually, physically, intellectually and social-emotionally through our excellent student-to-teacher ratio. ValueGenesis 4 (2022) research continues to demonstrate the effectiveness of our schools and the ever-increasing importance that school plays in the faith development of our young people. While we endeavor to provide the best education possible, I believe it’s important to recognize the wide range of lived experiences. May I take a few sentences to recognize some messy bits?

For all of our tremendous strengths, sometimes our schools have made mistakes. There have been times when our loving God who is full of grace and mercy was taught as a God with unattainable standards and strict judgment. While rules and expectations are necessary, we sometimes failed in our explanations, resulting in many young people developing a skewed picture of God, resulting in the toxic belief that school dress codes or relationship rules impacted their salvation.

For every fabulous friendship and lifelong relationship born within the Adventist education family, there’s also the student who felt lost, excluded, lonely or endured unacceptable hazing or bullying. We are blessed with phenomenal teachers who love their students so much. But even well-meaning teachers can inadvertently cause damage with words spoken and those words are carried for a lifetime.

There are Adventist school alumni who attended small one-teacher schools and have experienced great success, now working in the upper echelons. But for every academic success story, there are also individuals who found themselves behind and struggling academically. Not to mention those with disabilities or special needs who were told that our schools didn’t have enough services available to help them.

Might I Apologize?

The list could go on and on and I don’t want to sound depressing, but I also don’t want our schools to come across as whitewashed tombs. We have each had an experience with Adventist education, some positive, some negative, probably a little of both. I don’t know your unique story, but I’m sure you can resonate. Might I apologize on behalf of Adventist education for the hurt you may carry? If you find bitterness or resentment bubbling up anytime Adventist schools are mentioned, can I ask that you forgive us? I’m truly sorry if our schools fell short or let you down. And I’m especially sorry if your experience with our schools in any way harmed your spiritual walk and personal relationship with God.

In spite of our limitations or difficulties, I stand by Adventist education. I could talk your ear off all day sharing about the amazing things that I see happening in our schools. Every year, I rejoice with heaven as our schools lead students to make personal decisions for Jesus and enter baptismal waters.

The work of education and the work of redemption are one! I truly love Adventist education and believe in its ministry, which includes acknowledging and learning from our mistakes. Please join me in praying for our schools, our teachers, our students and their families. And may we also take time to pray for all our alumni and those we know who may have been hurt by our system. As we prepare for another school year, let’s not shy away from the difficult conversations. Let’s collaboratively brainstorm about how to make our schools better than ever. I’m so glad that God, the Master Teacher, offers us wisdom, inspiration, healing and recon ciliation. 2024-2025 just might be the best school year yet!


is elementary education superintendent for the Dakota Conference.

Changing Careers

It’s no secret that the country is in a national teacher shortage. Education Week recently reported that this past year there were 55,000 vacant teacher positions in the United States. As more teachers are retiring, fewer university students are pursuing a career in teaching. Adventist education is not exempt from this situation. There is a growing need for more individuals who are willing to consider a change in career. As you read the following stories of individuals who have done this very thing, prayerfully consider if the Lord could be leading you to the classroom.

Mr. Andrew Boaz

Sunnydale Adventist Academy

Mr. Andrew Boaz teaches history, government and vocational technology at Sunnydale Adventist Academy. The students in his classroom would probably be surprised to learn that teaching wasn’t Mr. Boaz’s first career. Andrew actually worked as an industrial and commercial electrician and acquired a journeyman electric license long before becoming a teacher. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy working in construction. In fact, he found great satisfaction in his work.

Looking back, Andrew realized there were a series of experiences the Lord used to guide him into teaching. At age 38 he returned to college considering a career in social work or law enforcement, but as God led, Andrew realized he could have a greater impact as a teacher.

Andrew began his teaching journey in the public school system where he worked with second-chance students, the majority of whom had been in trouble with the law. He taught at three Adventist schools before coming to Sunnydale.

When asked about his calling to teaching, Andrew said, “God is using me at Sunnydale Academy, in the same way that He is using all teachers, staff, pastors and individuals who are working for Him. God takes their personality, their skills, their talents and creates in them someone who can draw others to Him.”

Mr. Boaz reminds anyone who is considering changing careers that God can take all the experience and wisdom you learned in your first career and use it in the classroom.

In my first career, I was a neonatal nurse at the University of Iowa. I worked 10 years in this field and really enjoyed it. There were a couple of things that inspired me to make a change. First, there was my dear fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson. She often said I was equipped to be a teacher. I loved teaching my little sisters and would often have “school” for all the neighborhood kids. However, when I went to college I decided on nursing. I was incredibly shy and it was a major where I didn’t have to take speech class!

Fast-forward a few years and I had a family and chose to stay home and raise my four children. When it became necessary for me to go back to work, I knew it would be challenging to have a nurse’s schedule and get them to church school and be with them in the summer. I remembered what my teacher had said and was really impressed to go back to school to complete the courses I needed to be a teacher. Mrs. Anderson was still my greatest cheerleader!

I have just completed my 18th year of teaching. My children have long grown up, and here I am still teaching at Andrews Christian Academy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and loving it!

Our schools are evangelism in action every day. I may not be comfortable doing door-to-door witnessing, but there is nothing I love more than sharing the love of Jesus with my students every day and weaving it throughout our lessons! We don’t have to go far away to be a missionary—God is bringing His dear children to us, especially the immigrant and refugee families we serve.


If you feel God nudging you to be a teacher, know that He will equip you. I even passed speech at 40! I have never regretted following God’s prompting. Being a nurse was right for that time in my life, and as life changed I feel God led me to a career that I enjoyed, that worked well for my family—and it is such a precious ministry.

Melissa Morris is education superintendent for the Iowa-Missouri Conference.

(above) Mr. Boaz teaches at Sunnydale Adventist Academy in Missouri.
(right) Mrs. Olson is principal and upper grades teacher at Andrews Christian Academy in Iowa.
Photos Courtesy Iowa-Missouri Conference
Mrs. Julie Olson Andrews Christian Academy


Fiery Fears Kids Column


I was in third or fourth grade, our school invited some local firemen

to visit and

share with the school about fire safety. We learned to “Stop, Drop, and Roll” if you catch on fire, and then time was spent on what to do if a house ever caught on fire.

They showed an instructional video detailing how you needed to keep your bedroom doors closed at night and could use the back of your hand to test for heat before potentially opening the door to escape. They explained where smoke detectors needed to be placed and how often to check and change the batteries. They emphasized the importance of crawling along the ground because smoke rises, so it’s easier to breathe when you’re close to the ground. They recommended that each family determine an exit plan should a fire occur and practice that exit plan to make sure everyone could safely escape the house.

I have always had a very healthy imagination, and this fire presentation did not help it. I became very scared and anxious about my house catching on fire! My family didn’t have an exit plan—what if our house caught on fire?! One of my friends came over after school and we actually practiced taking the screens off of my bedroom window, climbing out the window, and safely jumping to the ground should there be a fire.

Now, if my house was going to burn down, I needed to have my most precious things collected and ready to take with me. I took a sweatshirt and used it to create a bundle full of my treasures, complete with a heavy rock to break a window if I needed to escape. Every night I would put my glasses in their case and then tuck them into my escape bundle. I didn’t sleep well and would often have nightmares full of fire. I would wake up each morning and be so thankful that my house hadn’t burned down.

I don’t remember how long this went on. A few weeks? A few months? But eventually, I

relaxed and realized my house and family were safe. Yes, accidents can happen and we want to be ready, but we don’t need to live every day afraid of what’s going to happen. The Bible tells us that God gives us a peace that passes all understanding and it guards our hearts and minds in Jesus (Phil. 4:7). Any time I start to get scared or anxious and I don’t understand why, I can ask God for His peace and it will guard me.  Here are some more tips for the next time you find yourself getting scared or anxious.

1. Box Breathing: Count your breaths as you draw a box in the air. Breathe in for 1, 2, 3, 4. Hold it for 1, 2, 3, 4. Breathe out for 1, 2, 3, 4. Hold it for 1, 2, 3, 4.

2. Sing or listen to a song. One of my favorites is the Cares Chorus, #141 in the He Is Our Song songbook. It goes, “I cast all my cares upon You. I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet. And any time that I don’t know what to do, I will cast all my cares upon You.”

3. Go outside in nature. Watch the birds and remember that God knows if a sparrow falls to the ground (Matt. 10:2931). God sees you, loves you and cares about what you’re going through.

Caring Heart


Each school year, senior academies in the North American Division select a junior or senior student with a strong citizenship record, a personal commitment to witnessing and service, and an overall positive influence on their campus to receive a $500 scholarship, a plaque and an engraved Bible.


Sunnydale Adventist Academy Uwera

Campion Academy



There is a young woman with her Bible. She clings to it like her life depends on it. Every interaction she has is infused with Jesus because she spends most of her time with Him. From praying with tired teachers to leading several small group Bible studies, Jolie Uwera speaks God’s love into every room she enters. She often doubts her own abilities, but there is no question—God has gifted her for ministry. Admittedly, Jolie is a powerful preacher. But it’s her generous heart and gentle spirit that gives us the best picture of the Jesus she loves and serves.

Sharon Vasquez reflects God’s love in her dayto-day life. After greeting each person with a smile, she shows her care for peers and teachers by inquiring after them and endeavoring to meet their needs. Sharon is active in her local church as a Sabbath school teacher and Pathfinder leader, and at school as both a Student Association and class officer. In addition, she has been a vital volunteer on Campion’s mission trips. Sharon never seeks accolades for her work, but rather demonstrates her humble attitude and heart for service. Her example is a testimony of God’s love not only for Campion Academy, but also for the community she will reach in the future.

Mile High Adventist Academy

Gwen Loney

From meeting new people on campus to her recent role as student pastor at Newday Adventist Church, Gwen Loney shows a consistent commitment to sharing Christ and serving others. Any time there is an opportunity to serve, Gwen is there.

This year Gwen served as class vice president, led out on multiple fundraising projects, managed the first student-driven yearbook submission, and went on a Belize mission trip. Her involvement in community and service projects shines in everything she does. Gwen is a connector and has exemplified what it means to live a life dedicated to serving others.


Midland Adventist Academy



As a junior, Cody embodies the very essence of compassion, thoughtfulness and selflessness. Kindness is not merely a trait for Cody; it’s a way of life. His genuine warmth and respect toward everyone he encounters create a ripple of positivity throughout the school community. Whether it’s offering a helping hand, lending an empathetic ear, or simply sharing a smile, Cody’s acts of kindness leave a lasting mark on those around him. Beyond his innate kindness, Cody’s dedication and hard work are evident in all aspects of his life. He doesn’t just participate; he fully invests himself in his school and church activities, making meaningful contributions every step of the way.

College View Academy



Giovanna Souza notices those on the fringes. She speaks to every student, teacher and visitor to our campus because she genuinely cares for each person. When she flashes her ready smile, others respond to her warmth. College View Academy celebrates Gio as a reflector of Jesus. Whether it’s offering to pray for a classmate, sharing a word of encouragement, or finishing a job to its completion, Giovanna’s willing and sweet spirit sends ripples of joy through our school. The extra effort to include, encounter and inspire others sets this Christ-centered young woman apart. Gio’s caring heart exemplifies CVA’s mission of compassion for Jesus and service to others.

Dakota Adventist Academy



Maddie came to Dakota Adventist Academy in her sophomore year, and has been a wonderful addition to our student body. She makes her caring heart known by showing concern and help to every student. She has a very creative streak, as evidenced in her photography class where she demonstrates her talent.

Her life has been filled with difficulties, yet she strives to rise above and show the love of Jesus to her fellow students. As a senior, she has made the decision to continue her education in college studying social work and psychology.

Maplewood Academy



NNyadheal Dak is Maplewood Academy’s truly deserving recipient of this year’s Caring Heart Award. She has an unwavering commitment to reflect God’s love to those around her and that influence has had ripple effects on the rest of our campus. Nyadheal’s smile and compassionate spirit have touched the hearts of students and staff alike. Her aspirations to become a physician reflect her commitment to making a lasting impact, and we are incredibly proud of her! Congratulations from your Maplewood family, Nyadheal!

ADVENTIST OUTREACH Shifts and Trends that Impact

Did you know that in 2023, 11% of Millenials (those born between 1981 and 1996) moved?1

This is half as many as a decade ago. But where they are moving and why is quite interesting: 16% are looking for new or better housing, 13% obtained a new job, and 11% are trying to establish their own household (as opposed to living with their parents).

Interestingly, they tend to be leaving large metropolitan areas: New York City (-56%), San Jose, California (-51%), and Los Angeles, California (-40%). They are tending to move to areas with a decrease in the cost of living such as Montana (+95%), Maine (+54%) and warm areas like Tampa, Florida (+95%). This is good news for those living in the Mid-America Union with some especially attractive areas and lower cost of living compared to other parts of the country.

For church leaders in Mid-America, this trend is an opportunity to attract Millennials to your community. Furthermore, people who move are more open to finding a new church home. Let’s also take a look at other metrics driving change with regard to religion that might impact your church.

Fertility Rates and Unaffiliation

Most researchers agree that on average a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is needed to sustain a population.2 In decades past statisticians worried about a global population explosion. Those days are gone. Today nearly all countries around the world have seen a steep fall in fertility rates. Philip Jenkins argues in his book Fertility and Faith that low fertility rates compel major religions to develop new approaches to sexuality, gender and family. He furthermore

argues that declining birth rates have a significant correlation with increased secularization. As families have fewer children, there is a corresponding increase in affluence and social mobility.

Many researchers have noted the rise of the “nones,” or those who no longer affiliate with any form of organized religion. Currently in the United States, 28% of adults see themselves as religiously unaffiliated. While it is significant that in essence the same number of people attend religious services, it has now become more acceptable to no longer identify with a particular denomination. This does not mean people are becoming less religious, but rather, there is a greater distrust of organized religion.

The Religious Landscape

As the American religious landscape becomes more diverse than ever, there are a greater variety of options.3 The 2020 American Religious Landscape Survey offers some insight: four in 10 Americans (44%) identify as white Christian, including white evangelical Protestants (14%), white Catholics (12%), and small percentages who identify as Latter-day Saint (Mormon), Jehovah’s Witness, and Orthodox Christian. Christians of color include Hispanic Catholics (8%), Black Protestants (7%), Hispanic Protestants (4%) and small but growing percentages of Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and other world religions.

What this means for those who want to conduct outreach is that the wide range of religious backgrounds means those who give Bible studies—or attempt to do outreach in any form—should be more prepared than ever for a very wide range of religious backgrounds. It also means there is a general decline of white Christians, even as the number of unaffiliated (“nones”) has somewhat stabilized.

This breakdown also shows a wider range of diversity among younger age groups. Or, to put it another way, the proportion of white Christians increases proportionately with age. For those in the 30-49 age range, 41% are white Christian, while that increases to 50% for those ages 50-64. Among Americans over the age of 65 that number is 59%.

As already pointed out, the decline is offset by the proportionate increase of those religiously unaffiliated the younger a person is in each group. To put it another way, 36% identify as religiously unaffiliated, but that number drops to 25% for those age 30-49, and 18% among those age 50-64, and only 14% for those age 65 or older. Clearly, those who are younger are finding it more difficult to identify with organized religion. This should give church leaders pause to think of ways they can attract and retain young people in churches.

Making Religion Attractive

New research from the Institute of Church Ministry at Andrews University showcases trends about those who choose to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church across our division. Of the respondents, 45% named a religion they identified with; 28% reported being raised Adventist; and 27% said they identified as having no religion.

Of those who joined the Adventist denomination, in the first ranking, 21% identified as being raised an Adventist; 12% cited the influence of relatives other than parents; 12% the influence of friends; 12% evangelistic campaign; 9% personal Bible study, and 5% stated Pathfinders or a youth group.

What this indicates is that there is no one way to reach people with the Adventist message, and one can—and should—cast the net widely because people respond in different ways. One notable feature is that the most effective means, overall, is somehow connected to relational ways of building friendships.

Furthermore, research shows that people value in-person worship services but also appreciate the opportunity to stay connected remotely and online. Church members expect the opportunity to be able to connect with their congregations both in-person and online.

The concept of hybrid options is imperative and is here to stay. Surprisingly, during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, larger churches grew more than smaller churches across a wide range of denominations. This may reflect the fact that larger churches were able to pivot more quickly to a digital environment.

However, smaller churches do have a unique opportunity, if they are willing to utilize it, to highlight and cultivate personal relationships. Larger churches are just as capable of doing this through small groups.

Also of note is that religion surveys about Adventist beliefs showcase less theological alignment. What this means is that local church leaders need to be intentional to help educate members, and especially young people, about Adventist beliefs. This does not mean hammering people over the head with a legalistic approach, which typically does not achieve the desired outcome.

As Bailey Gillespie, who was a key leader in the ValueGenesis survey shared when I was lead pastor of the Wichita South Church, points out that retention tends to

Michael Campbell is an author, scholar and researcher who specializes in helping people understand the practical and spiritual implications of relevant data. This article is adapted from Campbell’s presentation at the NAD 2024 eHuddle event.

revolve in thirds around healthy churches, schools and homes. When all three are vibrant, retention rates hover around 90%; when any two are healthy that rate is about 60%; and finally, if only one is healthy, the retention rate is merely 30%. In other words, the best retention results among young people means cultivating healthy churches, schools and homes.

Final Thought

We live in a constantly changing world. We see demographics shifting as people search for new jobs, homes and points of connection. Whenever people move, they may be searching for a new church home. For those who want the latest profile, I encourage checking out religious demographics easily available, thanks to the U.S. Religion Survey.4 Trends in your county are available for free for every county in the United States.

Let’s seek every opportunity to share God’s love with a world who needs to hear the gospel, and in the most winsome way possible share the beautiful invitation to come to know Jesus and be ready for His soon return.

Michael W. Campbell is director of Archives, Statistics and Research for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

1. For a summary of this research, see: https://blog.hireahelper.com/2024study-half-as-many-millennials-move-as-a-decade-ago-where-are-theygoing/?

2. https://data.oecd.org/pop/fertility-rates.htm

3. https://www.prri.org/research/ american-religious-landscape-christian-religiously-unaffiliated/ 4. https://www.prri.org/research-home/ and https://www.pewresearch.org/ religious-landscape-study/database/

Photo Courtesy NAD Communication

Committed: Reignited by His Spirit

At the beginning of the year 2024, the leadership of the Central States Conference, which includes the administration and departmental directors, met together, deliberated and prayed about what should be the primary message to share with our workers and members this year. And we believe the Lord directed us to the theme, “Committed: Reignited by His Spirit.”   It was birthed from the reality that in the last days of earth’s history there’s a church in Revelation described as Laodicea, who has a reputation of not being cold or hot. And to be very honest we recognized that even within

our great conference, there were some lukewarm and non-committal elements that should be addressed. Introspection is a good thing. But the great news is that there is no issue or element that is too hard for our God to handle.

The word commitment means “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.” Thus, this message of commitment is at the heart of everything we are and should be as followers of Christ. Firstly, we need to be individually committed to Jesus, who is the Rock upon which our church is built. Following Him, loving Him and serving Him is our

first work as disciples. And secondly, because we are His disciples, disciples disciple. That means our calling is not simply to be good workers and faithful members, but it means that everything we do should be about spreading the love of Jesus and His power to save to everyone within our sphere of influence.

What we also recognized from the Bible was that unless a person or a group is reignited by the power of the Holy Spirit, it would be very difficult to remain committed to Christ and the work He has for us to do in the heartland of America. There’s a reason why Jesus told His disciples to wait for the Holy

Spirit before running off to teach and preach the gospel in Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the world. Had His followers simply taken the gospel commission of Matthew 28 and tried to implement it without being Spirit-filled, there would be chaos, confusion, disunity and no power to stay committed to the tasks at hand.

The six areas of emphasis and commitment that our president, Roger Bernard, has laid out before the Central States Conference family this year are as follows: 1. We are committed to telling people about Jesus. 2. We are committed to

healthy and whole pastoral families.

3. We are committed to the spiritual and physical growth and health of our members.

4. We are committed to preparing our youth for leadership.

5. We are committed to quality thriving Christian education.

6. We are committed to debt elimination.

Even though we are only halfway through the year, God has already shown us increased levels of commitment from various members, pastors, teachers, departmental leaders and office staff. We believe that when Jesus said the Father is more willing to send the Holy Spirit to reignite us than we are willing to give good gifts to our children, He was speaking the absolute truth.

We are experiencing a glimpse of being reignited in the present. However, we can’t wait to see how much more God will do through our conference in the future. May we all stay committed, and continually be reignited and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Cryston Josiah is vice president of administration for the Central States Conference.


Covenant Church Celebrates Haitian Flag Day

Haitian Flag Day is a vibrant holiday celebrated worldwide by Haitians as a time to showcase their national pride and honor the country’s rich heritage, resilience and revolutionary spirit. This day offers a fantastic evangelism opportunity for the Covenant Seventh-Day Adventist Church located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Every year, the church hosts an exciting picnic for the Haitian community, transforming this special day into an unforgettable experience. The event is marked by the deaconesses’ culinary skills as they prepare an

Over 300 people participated in highlighting the heritage, resilience and revolutionary spirit of Haitians during this community event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

array of delicious dishes that reflect the rich Haitian culture and heritage.

The youth contribute by playing music that poignantly depicts Haiti’s historical struggles and triumphs. The elders play a crucial role in making the event accessible to all, offering transportation to ensure everyone—regardless of their ability to drive— can partake in the festivities.

This year, the picnic drew

an impressive crowd of over 300 attendees. Church members hope to continue to highlight the importance of this celebration not only for those who migrate to the Cedar Rapids area but also for those who contribute to the community.

Evenson Louis-Jeune pastors the Covenant Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Photos Courtesy Central States Conference


Building Community Through Digital Evangelism

Imoved to a new church in a new town in a new state. Having served in a variety of churches and districts throughout my career, I was accustomed to change; however, this assignment promised to be unlike any other I had experienced. Here, the challenges and opportunities were as new and expansive as the landscape itself.

In Pierre, South Dakota, the Seventh-day Adventist Church sees a regular attendance of roughly 25 each Sabbath. Its district partner, located in Bowdle 100 miles away, also has about 25 people attending.

Around the district are towns with over 1,000 people, some with a few hundred, and numerous little farming towns scattered in between. None of these have Adventist congregations, and it’s unlikely they will, given the current practices and priorities.

Traditional evangelism, even in its more creative forms, tends to be slow, time-consuming and costly, with limited effectiveness in this region. I learned that people here love their lives

and are not anxious for any drastic changes.

Building a community

Before I moved to Pierre, COVID had struck—my church building in California was closed for nine months. At the time, we didn’t have any livestreaming and all I had was an iPhone and a Facebook account. I saw a button for livestreaming and gave it a go.

Over the following weeks and months, I learned a great deal about Zoom, Facebook and YouTube. I learned about switchers, microphones and how to integrate sound and video into my computer for online streaming. I devoted early mornings and late nights to developing our online community.

I remember spending a couple of Fridays in the church parking lot in California, handing out

portable communion juice cups and bread, savoring the in-person interaction with families. Soon, we were allowed to have 10 people in the building for church and livestreaming each Sabbath—high schoolers, college students and some retirees formed quite the production team.

We were not experts, but we had learned the essentials. We aimed to do more than just livestream; we wanted to build a community on our devices

against all odds.

As restrictions eased and we were allowed 25 percent capacity, and later 50 perent capacity, people started returning to the church building. We noticed new faces among the congregation—people we didn’t know, but they knew us.

I met people whom some of my congregation knew, but I had never met. In fact, a couple of them hadn’t attended church in quite a few years.

“I watched you online,” they

(above) People join in the Midweek Blessing by coming early and staying late. Everyone chats a while when the live stream is over. (below far left) Pastor Stephen Eastwood coordinates the live stream.

(below left) Dianna Magginetti, member of the Bowdle Adventist Church, beaming in from Eureka, South Dakota.

(below right, l-r) Scott Johnson, Tammy Johnson, Jon Brotherton, and Pastor Stephen Eastwood

Stephen Eastwood
Courtesy Dakota Conference

shared. I heard comments like, “I left 20 years ago [because of this or that], but after watching you these past months, I realized that the Adventist Church is a bit different now.”

The truth is, despite the challenges of not being able to gather in the church building, which was tough for many, our California congregation actually experienced growth during that difficult time.

The Midweek Blessing

Then I moved to South Dakota with 25 people worshipping on Sabbath 100 miles from the nearest congregation. Our territory is large, but our congregation is small—a church slowly declining in recent years.

Living in the parsonage next to the church, I had my new cameras, lights, switchers, ethernet cables and livestreaming software. I continued the online prayer meeting post-COVID because it was the largest prayer meeting I had seen at any church I had served in. I produced it from my basement, calling it the “Midweek Blessing.” But we had to do

something as a church before it petered out altogether.

For several Sabbath afternoons, church members gathered in my living room. We discussed how to engage our community, what we had tried in the past, and what might work now. We focused on how to share and how to connect.

After extensive conversation about past efforts that hadn’t worked, someone posed the question: “Could we host the Midweek Blessing from the church’s basement and grow an online church family?” That was a pivotal moment. Of course we could!

We envisioned a room that not only connected with the YouTube world but also welcomed physical attendance. We thought about transforming the concept of “church” by introducing comfortable couches, a largescreen TV, and a big table to gather around. We proposed opening the room on Friday and Saturday nights for safe, sober gatherings with games and snacks and hosting new friends—we all recognized that there were many lonely people in our community.

What if we could create a space centered on sharing online? Perhaps evangelism could focus more on building community rather than preaching our beliefs from behind a pulpit.

We proposed naming it

Nick Johnson and Jim Szana producing a remote video with Pastor Darren Purdy from the Sioux Falls Adventist Church.


the “Pierre Underground Church”—a new concept coming out of the basement yet grounded in something very real and tangible.

The church committed half of the estimated funds needed, and we planned to raise the remainder. The required funds were collected on the first Sabbath. While nothing had happened yet, we were all excited about the potential. The basement, long unused, was revitalized with fresh paint and new energy. We sensed the dawn of a new era.

We have plans to host three session meetings focusing on topics that are near and dear to us. Our goal is to live the gospel, not just advertise it. We want people to get to know us, and we want to get to know them—to foster personal connections with people. The gospel of Jesus makes life so much better. Hope is real, and all are welcome to join in.

It’s still an idea and we are just getting started. We are definitely still learning as we go.

Nick Johnson now sits in front of two computer screens on Wednesday evenings, switching cameras and hitting the “go live” button. Jim Szana, who has witnessed decades of change here, has learned the software in case Johnson can’t make it some

week. Claudia Anderson, long a part of our community, brings cookies and joins in from the couch.

Tammy Johnson serves as our “weather girl,” because a South Dakota gathering wouldn’t be complete without a good conversation about the weather. Jon Brotherton, our head elder, consistently leads us in prayer before each livestream.

I continue to watch YouTube videos, striving to make all this as effective as possible. Nowadays, my focus is less on the technical specifications and more on extending the reach of these little “shows” into the small towns and communities scattered throughout our territory. There is still so much to learn.

It is all a far cry from rolling into town with a big tent, but I have a feeling that if our church pioneers were around today, they would be conducting the most fantastic livestreams in the most fascinating ways—all while sharing the most splendid gospel.

In that same missionary spirit, we join the digital realm—striving to create a true community both on and beyond our devices, utilizing the best tools at our disposal.

Stephen Eastwood is pastor of the Bowdle/Pierre church district in South Dakota.

Lillia Johnson

New Beginnings Presents Annual Passion Play for Community

On the Saturday before Easter, the New Beginnings Samoan-English

Church, located in Independence, Missouri, hosts a live interactive

play that tells the story of the greatest sacrifice ever to occur in mankind: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This play is our church’s love story, praise and worship. It is the reason we all breathe life today. Through this play, we try to portray our love and gratitude toward our Lord, hoping to inspire others to realize this fantastic gift.

Through the guidance of our pastor, Dr. Mark Tagaloa, and the hard work of our church members

May Baskets from Students Bring Joy

On May 1, students from Maranatha Adventist School, led by teacher Julie Abrahamson, delivered May Day baskets to some church members and neighbors near our school. The baskets contained a Bible verse, silk flowers and little candies. The students were especially excited to visit the home of our pastor, Fainer Benjamin and his mother, Shami Shami thanked the students

for their visit and shared her testimony about God bringing her through her recent health challenges.

The visits put smiles on the faces of students and adults alike! The staff at Thrive Physical Therapy were delighted to see the students, and they exclaimed, “You really made our day!”

Melissa Morris is education superintendent for the Iowa-Missouri Conference.

and volunteers, we can put together this rendition that attracts crowds of up to 400 people.

This play displays scenes from Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to the Garden of Gethsemane, the Last Supper and, of course, the resurrection. When you come to experience this event, you not only feel the reverence of all that Easter entails, but you also experience a ground-shaking reality check that forces you to repent for your wrongdoings in light of His great sacrifice.

Our church’s mission is to represent our Lord and Savior here in our town and continue to love, pray over and care for our community. Jesus = Life.

Information provided by New Beginnings Samoan-English Church.

Photos Courtesy New Beginnings Samoan-English Church
Courtesy Iowa-Missouri Conference

Conference Hosts Man Camp

The Iowa-Missouri 2024 Man Camp was organized by Elder Lee Rochholz and Pastor Joshua Hester and held at Camp Heritage in Missouri.

(top left) Special guest speaker Mike Lowe from Wilderness Way Adventures shared his testimony on the opening night.

(bottom right) The men learned how to create fires to keep warm in the wilderness when the weather is less than ideal. Everyone learned many other survival tips and tricks.

Courtesy Iowa-Missouri Conference


Hispanic Women’s Retreat Expands to Include Diverse Cultures

Nearly 220 women and teens attended the Hispanic women’s retreat in Junction City, Kansas, last April, including over 20 who were not Adventists.

We were very blessed with biblical and spiritual presentations on mental health. We learned how our emotional health affects our relationship with God and others. We gained tools to

identify emotional issues and know when to address them ourselves and when to seek professional help. The teen speaker presented a very unusual topic for teenagers: stress. She explained that they can have a better life if they learn how to manage stress early. She nailed it, and the teens loved every presentation.

Although we have called

this retreat the Hispanic Women’s Retreat for years, it is now more than that. This year, a group of Haitian church members delighted us with their presence. We had translation devices, and one person translated for them into French. They expressed gratitude and joy in participating in this event. One Haitian lady said that attending this weekend was

Hispanic Members Experience the

the best birthday gift she had ever received.

We also had a parade of nations on Saturday night, with 20 nations represented. Ladies brought their beautiful traditional clothing and paraded with the flags of their countries. We celebrated together a God who made us all with different colors and cultures. During the event, I meditated on Zech. 14:9, which says: “And the Lord will be King over all the earth. On that day, there will be one Lord, and his name alone will be worshiped.”

Soon, there will be no more barriers of language or country because we will all be citizens of a better kingdom.

Miriam Dovald is women’s ministries director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.


of Belief” in Rome

n March, a group of Hispanic members from the Kansas-Nebraska Conference had the opportunity to take a trip to learn about the Protestant Reformation. Many of them were taught in the traditions

of the Catholic Church and had dreamed of taking a trip to Rome and climbing the Scala Santa.

For many Catholics, traveling to Rome and being able to ascend the Scala Santa staircase on their knees is as

essential as for a Muslim to be able to go, at least once in their life, to Mecca or for a Jew to be able to go pray at the Wailing Wall. However, they were there not to climb it on their knees but to thank God for Christ Jesus and the

power in His Word.

Although there is no written documentation, tradition says that Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine and an avid collector of relics of Jesus in the fourth century, had the ladder with 28 steps brought from Jerusalem in the year 326. Tradition says it is the same ladder that Jesus went up on Friday before being condemned by Pilate and crucified.

The marble staircase was covered with wood in 1723 due to the wear and tear on the marble from the number of people who climbed it on their knees daily. In the

Teen Mission Adventure Begins

Iofficially survived my first year as the youth and young adult director in the KansasNebraska Conference! I praise the Lord for that and for the support from my family, our conference leadership and members. I am excited about the possibilities for this ministry to grow across Kansas and Nebraska. Let me share just one example of why I feel this way.

The needs and opportunities for my department are immense and drive me to pray for people to come alongside me and make meaningful ministry a reality.

Crystal Eno is one of the people God sent as an answer to my prayers. As a teen, Eno found fulfillment in an annual mission trip hosted by the Upper Columbia Conference. She said, “Pathfinder Teen Mission Adventure was my favorite trip every year. I enjoyed the travel, building friendships, and serving

alongside my friends. It was fun participating in different projects, where I learned life skills like laying cement and painting. These trips led to lifelong friendships and mentorships that kept me connected with God.”

Inspired by her experiences, Eno wanted to offer the same kind of experience to her local Pathfinder club. She asked if they could volunteer at Broken Arrow Ranch, and I encouraged her to open it up to all the teens in our conference. She prayed about it and agreed. Because of Eno’s willingness to dream

bigger and trust Jesus’ guidance, the Kansas-Nebraska Teen Mission was born.

We rallied together a diverse group of teens, parents and leaders from Kansas and Nebraska to join in service, spiritual growth and friendship at Broken Arrow. We revitalized an outdoor chapel called the Green Cathedral and created new trails. The group worked so fast we had to expand our list of projects!

Eno reflected, “After directing this first KansanNebraska Teen Mission, I realize now how much love

the leaders had for me. So much effort goes into planning and preparing a Teen Mission trip. I loved being with my friends and doing manual labor on various projects. The love and time given to me when I was a teen, now I want to give to all the young people I can. I’m looking forward to next year.”

I’m so glad she feels that way. She did such a great job that I invited her to be an assistant camp director for me at summer camp, and she accepted. Come get to know her and her family this summer!

God has great plans for us all to live activated in service that will bring us joy. Let’s all pray, trust Jesus and see what amazing things He will do through us and others in the territory He has entrusted to us.

Nick Snell is director of youth and young adult ministries for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.

wood, there are small glass windows through which one can see, according to tradition, where drops of Jesus’ blood fell on the marble. People usually kiss these little windows while they ascend on their knees and pray on each of its 28 steps.

In 1510, a young Catholic priest seeking inner peace was sent to Rome. Martin Luther believed it was necessary to follow the customs of pilgrims and, among other things, he climbed the Scala Santa on his knees, praying on each step.

It is said that during his ascension he remembered in

a contradictory way the quote from the apostle Paul: “The righteous will live by faith.” And standing up with shame of his beliefs and confusion, he walked down the stairs and returned to Wittenberg, Germany. There he devoted himself to studying the Holy Scriptures and found the peace he sought.

Luther dedicated all his strength to preaching that peace, summarized in a famous phrase: “When I look at myself, I see it is impossible to save myself; When I look at Christ, I see it is impossible to lose myself.”

Humans naturally look at

ourselves and judge whether we are worthy of entering heaven. And what’s worse, we often compare ourselves to other people to convince ourselves that we are good enough to be saved. We can spend our lives doing this—climb a Scala Santa or pray in some particular place—believing that this puts us in a better position before the Judge. But none of this will give us peace or salvation. That is why Jesus repeated the same thing so many times: TRUST ME. Our

eyes must look to Jesus daily to learn that we can trust Him with everything. When the trip concluded we all returned, like Luther, with the conviction to continue preaching the gospel of peace, the message of Christ: TRUST ME.

Alejandro Dovald is multilingual ministries director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.

Nick Snell

Windom Church Remodel Brings Miracles, Bonding and Community Attention

The small, growing church in Windom is receiving a facelift. Recently, the church decided to step forward in faith with needed updates, repairs and changes to their building.

The church had been trying for a few years to get some needed updates and repairs started. The church hadn’t seen serious work since finishing the basement in the 1990s. However, they had no definite plans and struggled to raise money.

By 2022, many of these repairs and updates were becoming a necessity. A new arrival to the Windom Church, Andy Daum, was a huge help. With experience in building and designing, he was able to give the church specific plans to choose from and detailed material lists.

A budget was agreed on and summer 2023 was set for construction to begin.

The church had $10,000 in January, and by construction time in June, they had $19,000. Going forward in faith, the church came together on a Sunday in June and began tearing off the front of the church.

The construction itself proved to be a blessing and a church-bonding experience. As the members worked together to provide the labor themselves as much as possible, they grew as a team. The more experienced builders have shared their knowledge with the younger generation. All are excited about the project. Josh Matimo got on a shallow rooftop and declared, “I’ve never done this before!”

The project has garnered

attention from the population of Windom and surrounding areas. People slow as they drive by and the small town gossip mill spreads the news to surrounding towns. Coworkers and friends talked to the church members and asked about what is happening.

By winter, the church boasted a new, handicapped-accessible, covered drive-up entrance, new siding on the front and a new door. The real miracle was in the funds raised. Including a matching fund drive and a donation from an out-of-state nonmember, they raised $57,000. They have already purchased the siding to finish the outside next summer. “We thought we would have to borrow to finish the project long before

this,” says Patty Berlin, church treasurer.

Along with the rest of the siding, they will replace windows and trim and make necessary indoor remodels to accommodate the updates. With a promising beginning, they look forward with hope to the coming building season.

As they continue to step forward in faith, they pray about the future and the needs of their growing church and ministry to the surrounding area. They don’t want to lose this fabulous momentum.

Photos: Sarah Little
Sarah Little is a member of the Rochester Church in Minnesota.

New Pastoral Faces Join the Minnesota Conference

Minnesota Conference leaders are thrilled to introduce several new faces on our pastoral team who are bringing a wealth of experience and passion to their respective roles. After months of prayer and searching we are finally almost finished filling our open positions and we are thankful for God’s leading in our conference.

First off, we extend a warm welcome to Pastor Rachel Hyman, who has taken on the responsibility of starting a church plant in Blaine. With over 20 years of experience in preaching, marketing, evangelism and strategic planning, Hyman’s expertise will undoubtedly contribute to the growth of our community, particularly as we continue to strive for multicultural inclusion.

Joining us in the Andover/ Cambridge district is Pastor Ingrid Moon, who boasts two decades of ministry experience and a background in education. Her focus on leadership and discipleship, coupled with her ongoing participation in the Masters in Pastoral Ministry (MapMin) program, promises exciting developments for our congregation.

From Brazil, we’re pleased to introduce Pastor Tony Ferreira, who will be leading the St. Cloud district. With over 30 years of diverse leadership experience spanning church planting, evangelism, pastoral care and academic instruction, Ferreira brings a global perspective and depth of knowledge to his new role.

In the Brainerd district, we welcome Pastor Josh Jeresek and his wife Emily, who together bring 15 years of ministry experience. Their commitment to service, along with their upcoming enrollment in the MapMin program, reflects a dedication to personal and professional growth as they embark on this new chapter.

Since mid-November, Pastor Pete Maldonado has been serving diligently in The Way district, drawing upon over two decades of pastoral

experience. His passion for youth, marriage and families at risk, coupled with his wife Virginia’s invaluable contributions, enriches our community and outreach efforts.

We also extend our gratitude to Pastor Lester Bentley, who has been leading the Bemidji church district since October. A Minnesota native with a strong foundation in scripture and teaching, Pastor Bentley’s presence strengthens our spiritual journey as

(l-r, top-bottom) Rachel Hyman, Ingrid Moon, Tony Ferreira, Josh and Emily Jeresek, Pete and Virginia Maldonado, Lester Bentley

we navigate everyday life.

Additionally, we acknowledge Pastor Daniel Hauck and his family, who have transitioned to the Pipestone church district as of January, and express our appreciation for their ongoing commitment to our conference. Furthermore, we celebrate the growth of our community with the appointment of Pastor Rachan Rittitraiphop, who is serving in the St. Paul area and contributing to the flourishing Hmong congregation.

Lastly, we extend heartfelt thanks to our dedicated conference office staff for their unwavering support during a challenging period of transition. Their resilience and hard work have ensured the smooth operation of our conference, laying the foundation for continued growth and success.

As we move forward, let us embrace the diverse talents and experiences of our pastoral team, united in our shared mission to serve and strengthen our community. Together, we look forward to the journey ahead, guided by faith and fellowship.

Karen Lewis is ministerial director for the Minnesota Conference. Edited by ChatGPT.

Photos Courtesy Minnesota Conference


Mile High Academy Celebrates Diversity, Community and Personal Growth

ile High Academy celebrated its FOCUS Week in April, dedicated to showcasing diversity, fostering community engagement and promoting personal growth among its student body. The school engaged in a series of enriching events, including several special chapel services by guest speaker Carl Wilkens. Wilkens shared gripping tales from his experiences during the Rwandan Genocide. As the sole American who chose to remain in Rwanda during this dark period, Wilkens’ firsthand accounts shed light on the power of compassion and resilience in the face of adversity.

Throughout the week, students participated in activities to encourage empathy, understanding and collaboration. Adding to the cultural richness of the week, Indonesian students took

center stage with several song services, highlighting the diverse tapestry within the school community.

The week culminated in a Parade of Nations during All-School Chapel on April 19. With an outstanding parent turnout, students and staff marched into the gym donned in colorful attire and waving flags representing countries from around the world. Classes showcased their research and creativity, with highlights including the fifth-grade class presenting a dragon dance inspired by their study of Taiwan.

Following the chapel service, and with a nod to personalized learning, the kindergarten through fifthgrade classes were issued individualized passports and embarked on a virtual journey to different countries, receiving stamps along the way. The students also had

Guest speaker Carl Wilkens shares his experiences during the Rwandan Genocide with the Mile High Academy student body.

The fifth-grade class present their study of Taiwan with a dragon dance.

the opportunity to sample diverse cuisines and explore various cultures to enhance their global awareness.

Andrew Carpenter, MHA principal, expressed his pride in the school community’s dedication to embracing diversity and fostering a sense of belonging, stating, “FOCUS

Week exemplified our commitment to providing a holistic educational experience, including nurturing the growth and awareness of our students.”

RD Gallant is Mile High Academy’s upper school Bible teacher and chaplain. Cindy Roldan is registrar and administrative assistant.

The Kingdom of Children Thrives in Montrose

Seven young evangelists from the Aurora First Church in Aurora, Colorado, followed Jesus’ counsel found in Mark 10 and became young evangelists for a weekend. Ranging in age between seven and 15 years old, they preached from an array of

topics within the theme of The Kingdom of Children.

On May 10, four speakers presented the gospel news to the delight of the 60 people in attendance who went home encouraged by their dedication and commitment. The event continued on the May 11 Sabbath service before an almost full house at the church. Three more young evangelists expounded the Word of God at the service and led a special dedication to all the mothers in attendance. A special potluck was also dedicated to them.

Additionally, the praise team was led by the children’s choir, who also performed the special music. Juliette Ombogo, children’s ministries director at Aurora First, remarked, “The childrens’ evangelism was a blessing. Children have a unique way of commanding your attention in such a humble way.”

The weekend event was part of the month-long theme  of Youth Evangelism, which concluded with a Youth Sabbath on May 25 with Rocky Mountain Conference youth director Brandon

Westgate as the guest speaker.

The young evangelists expressed a sense of belonging, just as prophet Jeremiah had expressed: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5, NIV). It is this divine appointment that really makes children and youth feel empowered and an active part of the present church.

Philip Morgan, church elder, stated, “The young

Photos Courtesy Rocky Mountain Conference
Jose R. Alarcon


Vista Ridge Academy EnginEagles Take Home Engineering Excellence Award

The Vista Ridge Academy in Erie, Colorado, middle school EnginEagles Robotic Team traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the First Lego League National Competition hosted by Adventist Robotics on May 5.

As the team arrived in Orlando, anticipation and excitement filled the air. This was Vista Ridge Academy’s first appearance at the national-level competition, a culmination of months of dedication and hard work.

Amidst the bustling atmosphere of the competition venue at Forest Lake Academy in Apopka, Florida, the team remained focused yet nervous, eager to put their skills and innovation to the test along with 29 other talented teams from across the nation.

The team began their competition day presenting their Innovation Project. “It was nerve-wracking going into the innovation project presentation with three judges watching us,” said an eighth-grade EnginEagles team member. “I think we did pretty good.”

The teams’ Innovation Project included a virtual reality travel experience utilizing the Disney inspired halo tile. This experience would be available to anyone regardless

of budget and mobility. Along with the Innovation Project, the competition also included Gracious Professionalism, Robot Design, and the Robot Game. In the Robot Game, the EnginEagles scored 340 in the first round, 350 in the second and 380 in the final round.

While the overall results were eagerly awaited, the true victory lay in the bonds strengthened, the lessons learned and the memories created. Reflecting on their journey, an eighth-grade EnginEagles team member expressed, “Walking into the competition today, we all knew we had a chance at it.”

The Champions Award went to Silver Botz Robotics Team from Silver Creek Adventist School in Morganton, North Carolina.

The Vista Ridge Academy team was excited to receive the Engineering Excellence Award. This award celebrates a team with an efficiently designed robot, an innovative

evangelists were very courageous and bold in speaking up for the Lord. Their messages edified, inspired and challenged us to be willing witnesses for God and His kingdom.”

The Vista Ridge Academy EnginEagles Robotic Team display the culmination of months of dedication. Team sponsors show an award fit for a Lego competition.

product solution that effectively addresses the season challenge, and demonstrates great core values evident in all they do.

As part of their trip, students walked in the footsteps of space pioneers at the Kennedy Space Center. They also attended a local Adventist church, enriching their experience beyond the Robotics competition.

Vista Ridge Academy leadership expressed their gratitude to the teachers, donors and volunteers who helped the Robotics program

There are seven more children already lined up for next year’s Children Evangelism weekend, and the church is also planning a separate weeklong youth evangelistic campaign conducted by the church’s youth.

Jose R. Alarcon is lead pastor for the Aurora First Church.

start this school year, and who have also helped the EnginEagles attend both the regional and national competitions.

In the end, as the team bid farewell to Orlando and traveled home, they carried with them more than their trophy and accolades. They carried the spirit of exploration, teamwork and the memories of an adventure that transcended the boundaries of competition.

Marsha Bartulec is principal at Vista Ridge Academy.

Read the full story at outlookmag. org/childrenmontrose

Photos: Annmarie Duran/Dannelle Stratton


Five Shots and a Second Chance

Rico Cenat lay on the floor of his car by the side of Florida’s I-4 highway. He reached down and felt the blood streaming from the bullet hole in his side. Yeah, I’m going to die. He had known better than to go to a house party on a Friday night. His mother had never let him step out on Sabbath when he was younger. His mind went back to the Haitian church he had attended growing up. What was that song they used to sing? He began singing softly in Creole.

He felt calm now, even in the face of death. Strangely enough, his mind also went back to Union Adventist University. He had spent two years there, and he loved

playing for the Warriors. When the ambulance arrived, the first question he had for the paramedics was not, “Will I live?” The question he asked was, “Will I be able to play basketball again?”

Cenat had first arrived at Union in the fall of 2019, thinking he was there to help a friend from church move into Prescott Hall. But his mother hadn’t booked a return flight for him. Instead, she secretly enrolled him. It was a desperate scheme to get him off the streets of Orlando. “I was using weed and selling weed,” he admits. Determined to break him away from his shady circle of friends, his mom placed him in a Christian environment. The plan might have failed immediately, except for a chance meeting in the dean’s office.

On move-in day, Cenat walked into the office of Daniel Force, associate dean of men, who was talking to Drew Mekelburg, the men’s basketball coach. “Why don’t you come shoot some hoops with us tonight?” Mekelburg asked. That invitation marked the beginning of a tight relationship.

Cenat was quickly

embraced by the men’s basketball team. “I loved it,” he said. “I mean, we weren’t winning games, but I loved the experience. That feeling was just like, Wow. I’m actually playing college basketball!”

He was less enthusiastic about the rest of college life. He certainly didn’t like going to class. Melody Gabbert, his psychology professor, remembers when she first saw him in her Introduction to Psychology class. “He made his way in and took up a comfortable position on the back row, reclined, and got ready for what he intended to do in that class, which was sleep,” she recalls.

“You hope that you’ll be the teacher who sweeps in and lights their eyes up with a love for the subject,” Gabbert said sadly. “That was not the case with Rico.”

Still, campus was an improvement over his old neighborhood. Cenat sometimes opened up to his coach about disturbing events back home. “He told me once that a friend had been shot,” recalls Mekelburg. Other friends were overdosing.

Union was a safer place to be, but it also required

turning in homework. Cenat’s GPA at the time was 0.05, which might be a school record. Consequently, he was sent home.

Back in Florida, Rico fell into old habits. “I just went right back to what I was doing,” he said. “Just trying to make money. Just hustling.”

But his thoughts were often drawn to Union. He would watch Warriors games online. And sometimes he texted his former coach. He wanted to go back to Union again. He wanted a meaningful career. About this time, he accepted an invitation from a cousin to attend an Airbnb party. There was drinking and dancing and drugs in a rented mansion, and it ended like they often do, with the cops being called.

Cenat rushed out of the party with his cousin. They were merging on I-4 when two cars, probably from the same party, raced by on his left. He heard five shots. He swerved off the road and touched his side. “I’ve been shot,” he said.

A helicopter took him to the hospital, and as the trauma team stood around his gurney, he posed the same question, “Will I be able to play basketball again?”

It was a long hospital stay clouded by depression. He wanted something different for his life. He picked up his phone and called Coach Mekelburg. “Hey, coach. I’m really serious about coming back,” he said.

Mekelburg was encouraging, but had to be honest. “It’s a long shot,” he said. School was about to start and Cenat’s previous academic record


A uniquely Union approach to mentorship HeartScan

Last year, occupational therapy assistant major Hailey Erickson took biology from Professor Kelly McWilliams and loved the experience—so much, in fact, that she decided to ask McWilliams to be her Heartscan mentor.

HeartScan is a spiritual mentorship program for Union students and campus employees. Sophomores through seniors can join simply by asking an employee to mentor them in their spiritual journey. Students in the HeartScan program can receive worship credit for meeting with their mentor every week to discuss their goals in four areas: personal devotions, corporate worship, service and life purpose.

“At first I was really nervous to ask Professor McWilliams because it’s taking time out of her day,” said Erickson. “But she was so willing to do it. We’ve been doing it ever since and it’s been the best.”

McWilliams’ favorite part of teaching is the connections

she makes with her students. She said, “The main goal of HeartScan is to walk with students on their faith journey. It is such an amazing privilege to be able to do that, and my students are helping me learn in the process.”

Erickson and McWilliams began by reading a devotional together each week. But eventually Erickson wanted to dig deeper into spirituality. She said, “About halfway through the semester I was trying to figure out my major. I knew I wanted to do occupational therapy, but I wasn’t sure which route I should take. I was praying about it and stressing about

it majorly and I noticed that I turned to the Bible a lot. So, I asked Professor McWilliams if she could be my accountability partner for daily Bible reading.”

“Hailey wanted to read the book of Judges because she had never read a book of the Old Testament before,” said McWilliams. “When she said that, I thought, Okay, there’s some pretty wild stories in there. We learned a lot together. The most important part is that she chose it; she wanted to do that for herself.”

“Before, I would only turn to the Bible when I was under a stressful circumstance or I felt like something didn’t go

Dr. McWilliams and Hailey Erickson meet weekly to discuss the Bible readings they choose together.

the way it was supposed to,” said Erickson. “I would turn to the Bible and it would give me comfort, but I would not do that on a regular basis. By having Professor McWilliams as my accountability partner, I was able to start a habit where I read every day.”

McWilliams believes the freedom for students to develop their own spirituality is the most important part of HeartScan. “HeartScan is something that students choose to do. It needs to be a personal choice, saying ‘I want to know Jesus better.’ As soon as you choose that, then of course Christ is going to show up. And He does, in so many ways.”

Annika Cambigue is a 2024 communication and English graduate from Ohio.

caused many roadblocks, including a suspension of financial aid.

Cenat began praying. Two friends joined him in fasting and Bible study. “My prayer was, God, you’ve opened all these doors,” he said. “If it’s not for me, close all doors.”

The doors stayed open, and Cenat returned to Lincoln. He had to retake classes he had failed, including Intro to Psychology. Dr. Gabbert noticed that Cenat was a

different student this time around. “He started participating, raising his hand, having questions and comments,” she said. “He was tremendously successful.”

Because of his old GPA, Cenat wasn’t allowed on the basketball team for the entire fall semester. But when grades came out, they showed he had lifted his GPA to 3.25. He was back on the team.

If you go to the Student Success Center early in the

morning, you’ll see Cenat doing homework. “The resources that we have here, the fact that they’re so helpful... I felt like if I had a chance to use them, it would benefit me,” he said.

Cenat’s mother is happy. Her boy is focused and doing well in the Business Program. It is easy to think the bullet he still carries in his lower back is the cause of his dramatic transformation. But some of the credit

belongs to the coach, the professors and the friends who welcomed Rico back to school. The five shots in the night certainly changed his life forever. But getting a second shot at Union may have mattered more.

Kim Peckham is director of communication strategy at Union Adventist University in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Courtesy Union Adventist University


Health Equity Matters

At the American Hospital Association’s 2024 Accelerating Health Equity Conference, AdventHealth participated in two breakout sessions.

Beth Palacios, director of health equity at AdventHealth, was part of a panel on Data Fueled Approaches to Driving More Equitable Care. Alric Simmonds, MD, chief equity officer at AdventHealth, participated in a panel on Building Organizational Infrastructures and Cultures to Advance Health Equity. In Dr. Simmonds’ presentation, he shared some of AdventHealth’s systematic approach to health equity starting in 2021 with a clear directive: identify potential inpatient quality health disparities and develop actionable health equity plans to address them, leading to improved patient health outcomes.

In this Clinician’s View by Dr. Simmonds, he shares how AdventHealth is building a “Bridge to Health Equity” in the communities we serve.

In the U.S., black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women, and their breast cancer mortality rate is 40 percent higher.

Sadly, these startling statistics are just two examples of a long list of alarming health disparities in our country. Many population groups experience inferior health outcomes and higher disease incidences across a range of health conditions that extend beyond breast cancer and maternal health, including diabetes, hypertension, asthma, obesity, heart disease and cancer. We have long been plagued with a two-tier healthcare system predicated on the

socioeconomics of the patients.

My first exposure to the breadth and depth of these health disparities came in medical school at The Ohio State University. As part of a volunteer experience with the African American Breast Cancer Survivors Group, promoted through the university, I had the opportunity to attend several breast cancer support group meetings. I heard survivors bravely share their stories and struggles with maintaining employment and holding their families together while gaining access to care and the physical balance of enduring it.

Then, during my clinical


work as a surgeon, I continued to encounter widespread disparities in clinical presentation of many diseases, especially within the AfroCaribbean diaspora and Hispanic communities.

When I began my career as a surgeon, it was important for me to work with a group of practicing providers who pledged to never turn down a patient with a diagnosis of cancer. I’ve had the privilege of caring for hundreds of uninsured and underinsured patients, witnessing firsthand the heartbreaking hardships they experienced due to lack of early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

Many of the women I

cared for tried holistic treatments first because they could not afford evidence-based medical care. Younger patients often didn’t know it was possible to have breast cancer at their age.

Some of my patients waited so long to seek care that by the time I saw them, their cancer was in egregious stages with the tumors eroding through the skin.  We need to do better, and I knew I wanted to do more. In 2020, I took on the role of chief health equity officer with AdventHealth to help transform healthcare delivery to achieve both equity and excellence.

Alric Simmonds, MD, chief equity officer at AdventHealth

A daunting challenge but clear calling

The Centers for Disease Control defines health equity as the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health. If we’re doing healthcare well, health equity is another lens we must use to evaluate our work.

At AdventHealth, our bold mission of “Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ” requires that we deeply understand our patients and their needs—body, mind and spirit. Guided by this mission and the company’s Vision 2030 of providing wholistic care for all people, we are determined to operate as a preeminent, faith-based, consumer-focused clinical care company. To that end, we have made a commitment to ensure that regardless of gender, age, insured status, race or ethnicity, each and every patient in our hospitals and in the communities that use our services will have equal opportunity to achieve equitable health outcomes.

In June 2021, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded AdventHealth a $2 million grant to support this commitment, and we are building a “Bridge to Health Equity” in the communities we serve through three key initiatives:

1. Identifying health disparities

2. Developing targeted, collaborative solutions

3. Providing inclusive environments of care training

Taking a data-based approach to identifying health disparities

As scientists, we use data to drive performance improvement. Identifying and addressing health disparities is no different. Thorough data collection and analysis are paramount to developing effective strategies that advance us toward achieving health equity.

At AdventHealth, we have intentionally taken an inside out approach. Our team developed a validated, statistically sound and replicable methodology to identify potential disparities in inpatient outcomes. We examined three years of retrospective data looking at four clinical outcomes—mortality, readmissions, length of stay and complications—across four health equity dimensions: race, ethnicity, gender and insured status.

We also developed support tools, grounded in data, including a Community Driver Dashboard. It uses regression analysis of hospital, population and geographic information system (GIS) data to identify the top health disparities among our patients along with the drivers of those disparities.

Collaborating to develop effective interventions

Guided by the data revealed in our Community Driver Dashboard, AdventHealth teams have engaged with clinical and

community stakeholders to co-create 65 actionable health equity plans with strategies focused both inside and outside of our hospitals. We have already begun implementing plans that address maternal health, substance abuse, diabetic readmissions, sepsis and heart failure. From identification of the disparities to the design of specific interventions, data guides all our work, including our understanding, analysis, communication, education, execution, evaluation and continual performance improvement.

We know we cannot do any of this work alone. This means acknowledging and meeting people where they are. Patients are our primary partners in these efforts. Additionally, we are closely collaborating with a variety of community partners, including local nonprofit organizations and federally qualified health centers, as well as larger healthcare organizations such as the Health Equity Alliance.

Identifying our personal biases, shifting mindsets and building inclusiveness

American educator, author, businessman and speaker Stephen R. Covey once said, “We think we see the world as it is, when in fact we see the world the way we are.”

The third and final pillar of AdventHealth’s current health equity efforts aims to build a more inclusive care environment by delivering

implicit bias training to both our clinical and non-clinical team members. We have developed and are delivering a tailored curriculum to help them identify their biases and better understand how those biases may affect their behavior toward patients.

Forging a better path forward

As clinicians and citizens, we all want healthier communities. However, this cannot occur without achieving greater health equity amongst our diverse populations. Transformative progress in this space requires courage and commitment. We must all do a better job of listening, learning, measuring, connecting and collaborating. Breaking down health disparities is an essential part of our sacred work. Let’s continue this mission critical work.

Alric Simmonds, MD, is the chief equity officer at AdventHealth.

Learn more about health equity at AdventHealth:


Bissenden, Francis “Frank,” b. April 3, 1931 in Rapid City, SD. d. April 21, 2024 in Rapid City, SD. Member of Rapid City Church. Preceded in death by daughter Nanci Jane; 2 sisters; 1 brother. Survivors include wife Lorene; daughters Nora Veit and Crystal England; son Jeffrey McManus; 1 granddaughter. Served in the U.S. Air Force 1951-1955.

Harr, Cleo (Haynes), b. Nov. 9, 1933 in Pettibone, ND. d. May 3, 2024 in Jamestown, ND. Member of Jamestown Church. Preceded in death by husband Vernon; 1 brother; 1 grandson. Survivors include daughter Teree Rittenbach, Peg Tinker, and Pam Wenzel; son Curt; 1 sister; 8 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild.

Hauck, Erna (Flemmer), b. Nov. 5, 1924 in Napoleon, ND. d. Jan. 22, 2024 in Ft. Collins, CO. Preceded in death by husband Arthur; son Arthur. Survivors include daughter Sharon Reilly; son John; 1 sister; 4 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; many nieces and nephews.

Hennings, Helen (Roesler), b. May 24, 1933 in Logan County, ND. d. April 28, 2024 in Fargo, ND. Member of Jamestown (ND) Church. Preceded in death by husband Keith; 1 sister; 2 brothers. Survivors include 1 sister.

Johnson, Kent Allen, b. Aug. 30, 1954 in Breckenridge, MN. d. April 28, 2024 in Fargo, ND. Member of Wahpeton (ND) Church. Preceded in death by son Jeremy; 1 brother. Survivors include 2 sisters.

Neisner, Edith (Pace), b. Sept. 3, 1934 in Collbran, CO. d. Jan. 23, 2024 in Casper, WY. Member of Hot Springs,

(SD) Church. Preceded in death by husband Marvin; survivors include daughter Coralea Stengel; sons Bruce, Dan, and Carl; 10 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren.

Oster, Jerry “Jim,” b. Sept. 18, 1941 in Boulder, CO. d. Feb. 20, 2024 in Greeley, CO. Member of Greeley Church. Preceded in death by wife Lelia; 1 sister; 2 brothers. Survivors include son Marc; 2 sisters; 2 grandsons.

Roehl, Phyllis, b. Oct. 8, 1928 in Pleasant Valley Township, Foster County, ND. d. Jan. 30, 2024 in Lincoln, NE. Member of College View (NE) Church. Preceded in death by husband Pete; 1 sister; 1 brother. Survivors include children Louie, Rhonda, LouAnn, and Dana; 4 grandchildren; 8 greatgrandchildren.

Russell, Marjorie M. (Holm), b. June 7, 1933 near Torrington, WY. d. April 13, 2024 in Butte, MT. Member of Brainerd (MN) Church. Preceded in death by husband Charles Arlington; son Charles; 3 brothers. Survivors include son Donald E.; 1 granddaughter; 1 great-granddaughter.

Schreck, John, b. Oct. 21, 1936 in St. Louis, MO. d. Feb. 14, 2024 in St. Louis, MO. Member of St. Louis Central Church. Preceded in death by 1 brother. Survivors include sons Steve, David, Terry, and Richard; 3 sisters; 1 brother.

Scott, Winfield J., b. Jan. 21, 1944 in Detroit, MI. d. May 6, 2024 in Ava, MO. Member of Branson East (MO) Church. Preceded in death by 2 half-sisters; 1 brother. Survivors include wife Judi; daughters Patricia Walters and Kristina; stepdaughter Candi Lindsay; stepson Greg Rodgers; 3 half-sisters; 1

half-brother; 7 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren.

Shields, Ruby Aikman, b. Jan. 31, 1924 in Chattanooga, TN. d. Sept. 15, 2022 in Lutz, FL. Member of Minneapolis First (MN) Church. Preceded in death by husband Aubrey; 1 daughter; 1 sister; 2 brothers. Survivors include sons Chaz, Jonathan, and David; 1 brother; 5 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren.

York, Allen, b. April 10, 1940 in Glendive, MT. d. Dec. 12, 2023 in Grand Forks, ND. Member of Grand Forks Church. Preceded in death by 2 sisters; 4 brothers. Survivors include daughters Kim and Krystal Roth; 1 sister; 2 grandchildren.

July 2024

Proclaiming God’s Love for 150 Years

Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration as Pacific Press® Publishing Association marks 150 years of spreading God’s message. This historic event is more than a milestone—it’s a testament to the enduring power of the publishing ministry coupled with the gift of prophetic vision. Invite your loved ones, and join us in Nampa for a Sabbath of unforgettable memories and spiritual renewal.

You are Invited!

Date: Sabbath, August 17, 2024

Location: Brandt Center, Northwest Nazarene University campus

Address: 707 Fern Street, Nampa, Idaho

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Master of Ceremonies: Dan Matthews


Inspiring Speakers


Hear from esteemed leaders, including Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference; and G. Alex Bryant, president of the North American Division. Gain deep insights from Merlin Burt, director of the White Estate; George Knight, church historian; and Stephen Apola, associate publishing director for the General Conference.

Rich Heritage

Connect with Charles White, the great-grandson of Pacific Press’s founders, James and Ellen White, and meet Tom Gott, builder of the current Nampa facility.

Uplifting Music

Experience soul-stirring performances by Christian Edition men’s chorus and the talented Terry and Perry Mace.

Fellowship and Celebration

With a seating capacity of 1,500, the Brandt Center is the perfect place to bring family and friends together for a day of spiritual enrichment and joyous celebration.


Join us for a day that honors our past, celebrates our present, and inspires our



Move with an awardwinning agency. Apex Moving & Storage partners with the General Conference to provide quality moves at a discounted rate. Call us for all your relocation needs! Adventist beliefs uncompromised. Contact Marcy Danté at 800.766.1902 for a free estimate. Visit us at www. apexmoving.com/Adventist

Partner with ASAP Ministries in serving the marginalized and reaching the unreached in Southeast Asia with the wholistic gospel. What you do today can change a life for eternity! To learn more visit asapministries.org. Subscribe to our weekly Mission Matters videos. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: asapministries.

August 2024

Summit Ridge Retirement Village: An Adventist community in a rural setting that offers affordable homes or apartments and caring neighbors with a fellowship you’ll enjoy. On-site church, planned activities and transportation as needed. Also, Wolfe Living Center offering independent living and nursing home. Website: www.summitridgevillage. org or call Bill Norman at 405.208.1289.

Free Digital Cards

LifeTalk Radio has many beautiful free digital sharing cards for all occasions. Let others know: “God Loves You.” Encourage friends and neighbors by sending a hopeful message or Bible promise via email or text. Just visit: LifeTalk.net/eCards

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It Is Written announces a new VBS program: Flight 3:16. During Flight 3:16, children will visit five countries as they prepare for the ultimate destination—heaven! Flight 3:16 is a complete VBS kit that includes supplies for 14 children. Learn more at iiw.us/flight316u or call 888.664.5573.

Shop for new/used Adventist books: TEACH SERVICES offers used Adventist books at www. LNFBOOKS.com or new book releases at your local ABC or www.TEACHServices.com. AUTHORS let us help publish your book with editing, design, marketing, and worldwide distribution. Call 800.367.1844 for a free evaluation.


AdventHealth University seeks a full-time faculty member to teach Introduction to Sociology online and in person and to team teach a graduate course on cultural and ethical considerations in health care. Applicants must have 18 semester hours of graduate-level sociology courses. A doctorate in sociology is preferred; however, a master’s degree will be accepted. For more information, contact Julie Cook at Julie.cook@ahu.edu or go to https://bit.ly/49YNTdp

Andrews University seeks qualified applicants: Andrews University is seeking qualified Adventists who may fill open roles in fulfilling our mission to Seek Knowledge, Affirm Faith, and Change the World. If this is of interest to you, please check out our current openings at: andrews.edu/jobs

Union Adventist University is seeking applicants for a full-time nursing faculty. This individual will function

as lead course instructor of NURS 322 Medical-Surgical II, including performing didactic and clinical instruction as well as recruiting and supervising clinical instructors. Doctoral degree preferred, Master’s degree with desire to continue at the doctoral level required. Full benefits package including healthcare, tuition assistance, retirement plan, and many other benefits. See job description and instructions for application at ucollege.edu/employment

Union Adventist University seeks qualified candidates for an Accountant in Student Accounts. Bachelor’s degree required, prior accounting, finance or collection experience preferred. Responsible for managing all aspects of billing and charges for current and non-current student accounts. Full benefit package including tuition assistance. Visit uau.edu/employment for more details.


Oak Park Academy Alumni Weekend Sept. 27-28, 2024. All alumni, former faculty and staff are invited to this special reunion weekend. Honor Classes are: 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, and 1979. Location: Gates Hall, 825 15th St., Nevada, IA. For more information: Allayne Petersen Martsching, 402.312.7368 or email: allaynemartsching@ gmail.com

Save the Date: Aug. 16-17, 2024. Guthrie Center (Iowa) Adventist Church Centennial Celebration Friday evening vespers, Sabbath program and concert. RSVP requested by June 15. Call 319.361.9648 or email ehaas777@gmail.com.


• Grow closer as a team as you share your faith

• Present ten Christ-centered, ready-to-preach sermons

• No preaching experience or Spanish required

Upcoming Trips

Trips are exclusively for those ages 18-35 from most conferences. You must come with your local pastor.


July 10-22 Santo Domingo, D.R.

July 31-Aug 12 Guápiles, Costa Rica

July 31-Aug 12 Panama City, Panama

Aug 14-26 Bogotá, Colombia

Aug 14-26 La Chorrera, Panama

Aug 28-Sep 9 Quibdó, Colombia

Sep 11-23 Havana, Cuba

Sep 18-30 Juliaca, Peru

Sep 18-30 Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Sep 18-30 Quito, Ecuador

Oct 2-14 Chinandega, Nicaragua

Oct 9-21 Holguín, Cuba

Oct 23-Nov 4 San Juan de la Maguana, D.R. 2025

March 5-17 Jinotepe, Nicaragua

April 9-21 Totonicapán, Guatemala


Turn compassion into a career

“I always knew I wanted to help people,” said Kailey Erkhart, a graduate from Denver, Colorado. “I just didn’t know in what way.”

Halfway through her degree, she switched her major to social work. Her practicum at Jenda Family Services affirmed the change was the right choice. “Working hands-on has helped me learn so much about what I want to do as a social worker,” she said.

If you have the gift of compassion, social work is just one of the paths you can take at Union. You might find the right fit in our twoyear occupational therapy assistant degree, our top-ranked nursing program or any of our 50+ majors, minors and emphases.

At Union Adventist University, you’ll discover careers that match your God-given gifts. Schedule a campus visit, and start exploring your potential.

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