OUTLOOK - May 2024

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PERSPECTIVES NEWS DEBATE DISASTER —Lori Peckham CENTRAL STATES DAKOTA IOWA-MISSOURI KANSAS-NEBRASKA MINNESOTA ROCKY MOUNTAIN ADVENTHEALTH FAREWELL INFOMARKET 4 FEATURES CONNECTING THROUGH BUILDING COMMUNITY THE LONELINESS OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS CONNECTING THROUGH PRAYER OUR BRIDGE TO GOD CONNECTING THROUGH THE ARTS IS ART SPIRITUAL? CONNECTING VIRTUALLY AND IN PERSON 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 29 OUTLOOK (ISSN 0887-977X) May 2024, Volume 45, Number 5. OUTLOOK is published monthly (10 months per year) by the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 8307 Pine Lake Road, Lincoln, NE 68516. Printed at Pacific Press Publishing Association, Periodical postage paid at Lincoln, NE and additional offices. USPS number 006-245. Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS. Free for Mid-America church members and $12 per year for subscribers. ©2024 Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Unless otherwise credited, all images are iStock. Adventist® and Seventh-day Adventist® are registered trademarks of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. CONTACT us by email: info@maucsda.org or phone: 402.484.3000 15 27 20
them to work together as much as you can. Have them help each other.” —p. 4 22




This issue, featuring Union Adventist University (formerly Union College) student writers, focuses on ways of connecting and building community— through prayer, through the arts, across cultures, in-person and virtually.

As Professor Lori Peckham points out in her story on p. 4, there is more power in cooperation than competition. The words of wisdom shared with her to “have them help each other” ring true not only for students but for all types of people in every area of life.




Gary Thurber Secretary

Hubert J. Morel Jr. Treasurer

David VandeVere

Church Ministries

Tyrone Douglas Communication

Brenda Dickerson Education

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

Don Reeder Retires



Next month’s OUTLOOK will be a special issue from Union Adventist University where we will be helping them tell their story around the school’s name change, the new president arriving this summer, and the opening of the new Wellness Center on campus. Please join us in helping to spread all this good news with those you know!


Union Adventist University students in Magazine Writing class explore the theme of “connecting.”

More on p. 4

DESIGN 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




Caleb Durant communication@imsda.org




Saul Dominguez sdominguez@ks-ne.org




Savannah Carlson scarlson@mnsda.com

763.424.8923 mnsda.com

Rocky Mountain Rajmund Dabrowski rayd@rmcsda.org

303.733.3771 rmcsda.org UNION

COLLEGE Ryan Teller
ryteller@ucollege.edu 402.486.2538 ucollege.edu STAY CONNECTED mag.org NEWS
A Hidden Figure in the Story of the Adventist Medical Cadet Corps outlookmag.org/kathryn-luella-
BRENDA DICKERSON editor Photo by Steve Nazario/Union Adventist University

Debate Disaster

My 19 college freshmen filed into the classroom, primed for their debate. At least I hoped they were primed.

It was very important to me that they debate well. Not only because I’d spent the past week teaching them principles of logic and argumentation. Not only because I cared about their grades, which were barely passing at this point. But also because Dr. Briggs, my supervising professor, had left me a message that morning saying he’d be making his quarterly visit to evaluate my pedagogy.

As a teaching assistant in graduate school, I got a classroom of live students, and this quarter almost all of them claimed English as their second or third language. A veritable “small world” of nationalities faced me each class period and

is communication program director and a professor of communication and English at Union Adventist University (formerly Union College).

challenged me, while I challenged them.

“Slow down, please,” came desperate cries. “Could you write that word on the board, ma’am?”

Once we’d established a reasonable lecture pace and could pronounce one another’s names, I began to thoroughly enjoy the group. But their debate—how would they do with that assignment?

Nearly all the students had arrived when Dr. Briggs entered and took a seat. The class stared at him for his obvious intrusion. I smiled and introduced him.

Then I reviewed the debate format and called up the first team. They had selected the topic: Should women be drafted into the military?

Side 1 represented those calling for the drafting of women. The first student began. I became more and more appalled at his arguments. They were not only models of faulty logic, but an affront to the females present. I stopped him promptly when his allotted two minutes ended.

The second speaker on Side 1 had two minutes to present key ideas and arguments. His logic was worse (if possible), and given in a louder, more heavily accented voice. I think I may have cut his time a little short.

Speaker 1 on Side 2 then had a chance to refute their opponents’ main points. This shouldn’t be too difficult, I thought.

The speaker began. “I could not understand what they were saying. They cannot speak properly and do not know about women.” Defamations of character followed.

I glanced nervously at Dr. Briggs as the Tower of Babel loomed before me.

Finally the debate ceased when the bell rang.

Dr. Briggs waited until the last student had filed out. He turned to me. “You organized this debate very well.” He pointed to the sheet I’d given each student, explaining their position and role. “You’ve mastered this format. But I don’t think you’ve ever had such a diverse class before. It presents challenges.”

He smiled warmly. “With so many ethnic and cultural backgrounds, a debate will almost never work.” He paused. “Get them to work together as much as you can. Have them help each other.”

I didn’t have long to wait for an opportunity. The English Department had a twice-a-quarter event called holistic grading in which students from all freshmen English classes turned in their essays (by student number, not name) and were graded by all the English professors and graduate assistants. Two teachers graded each paper to ensure greater objectivity.

Though the system worked well, the idea that someone from outside the classroom, someone they didn’t even know,


would grade their essay terrified the students. So before the next holistic grading session, I divided the class into small groups. Each student would read their essay to their group while the rest offered advice for improvement.

I wandered from group to group, amazed at how they helped one another. And that’s when I realized the power of cooperation over competition, interdependence over independence.

In this issue you’ll read about international students craving

connection, of a young woman’s discovery that cell phones can both connect and isolate, of the power of art and of prayer to connect us to God and to one another. We’re all better when we connect rather than compete. There’s no debate about that.

Back to front, left to right: Gabriel Sanders, Fortune Ogulere, Professor Lori Peckham, Shanti Slater, Katie Tahay-Martinez

The loneliness of international students Through Building Community

“C Connecting

ulture shock shoved the loneliness into me,” Dureti Olana expressed with a distant look in her eyes. Her winter-blitzed lips annunciated vague sadness as she uttered those words to me. Loneliness plagued her, and she wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Several others did. Those called “international students.”

No one really talks about loneliness, especially among Union Adventist University students. It’s already hard enough to be individuals from different walks of life trying to navigate the four walls of a university. But what more do students feel who traveled thousands of miles across oceans to a country where they had to start afresh? That itself is terrifying.

International students studying abroad in the United States is nothing new. In fact, exchange students have been around since the origin of the word “school,” but recent years have seen a significant influx of students from all over the globe into the United States for study.

According to research conducted last year by Statista for Higher Education, international students make up 5.6 percent of the total U.S. student population. At Union, they make up 5.87 percent.

Once in the host country, these students face a new way of life, different ideologies, and oftentimes no community to fall back on. One might ask what makes loneliness for an international student different from the average college student. I’ll answer that: the sudden transfiguration of a once controlled life to a fast-paced society with no foundation in the culture.

For students like Dureti, the culture shock that comes with arriving in a liberal country such as

the U.S. is enough to make one feel singled out and backed into a corner. Used to a communal life in her faraway home of Ethiopia, where neighbors were secondary caretakers of her property and welfare, she was surprised to discover the “individualistic” mentality of her new host country.

In her words, “In America it is out of sight, out of mind.” She explained that people don’t think about you when they don’t see you.

Culture shock isn’t the only harbinger of loneliness for international students. Tracy, an aspiring occupational therapy assistant from Kenya, has been a student at Union for two years. In that duration of time she suffered recurring mental breakdowns. Her stumbling blocks were the severity of her workload and homesickness with no one to run to. Over time she has gotten past that loneliness or has learned how to hide it better. Most international students rarely speak of loneliness and the boring routine of their lives for a single reason: the fear of sounding ungrateful.

In a perfect world with no injustice, hunger or marginalization, most international students would rarely step off the shores of their country, save for personal interests and curiosity. But the quest for greener pastures and a chance to earn a place at the table has propelled these students into the bigger unknown with their fates and the fates of their loved ones back home in their palms.

To complain would be a travesty of providence. A quote from the Igbo people of Nigeria says, “Those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.” This is the mantra of many international students like Tracy, and as a result of self-silence, they back themselves into the cold arms of loneliness.


iNot every international student, however, experiences loneliness to the same magnitude. For Elvin, a Union computer science major from Rwanda, loneliness visited only when he was away from the gym, video games and arcade games. “You just have to find your tribe, especially people who will motivate you to keep pushing,” he stated over a game of checkers.

Finding like-minded individuals and a warm community might sound easy, but it is a daunting task, especially to students who are more reserved in nature. This is where the already existing community can take the reins to spread warmth and welcome international students into the fold of belonging foremost as humans and essentially as Christians.

Many times I have received help, guidance and assistance from wonderful individuals who made sure I settled in quite well the first few months after I arrived in the United States. So on days when loneliness would rock my boat, I remained steadfast from the single assurance of a community, no matter how small.

There are various ways to spread warmth to international students. Care packages addressed to them, Thanksgiving dinner invites, and even a single note

of reassurance and kindness would be a monumental display of connectedness. This encourages togetherness and the type of fellowship spoken of in Rom. 12:5: “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (NKJV). Through connectedness and community, loneliness is vanquished. A true act of goodwill sparks another.

Fortune ogulere

is a sophomore English major from Imo State, Nigeria. With a pen dipped in creativity, he weaves prose, poetry and thought-provoking pieces. He enjoys painting, singing and eating ice cream. His debut novel is currently in the works.

(l-r) Jailly Sanchez, Jaime Dominguez and Abigail Condado enjoy an International Club event at Union Adventist University. Courtesy Fortune Ogulere

Connecting Connecting

Through Prayer

Our Bridge To God

Prayer looks different for each person and in each setting.

We have prayer around the dinner table, at church kneeling, during personal early-morning devotions, or in a group gathering with a popcorn prayer, going around in a circle speaking to God about worries and requests. Prayer is so many things—but what does it really mean?

A few Union Adventist University students recently answered questions about what prayer means to them. Mayah Evans, a senior nursing student, said, “Prayer is a way for us to connect with God. A way we can go to Him with any burdens that lay on our hearts and a way that He can be more present in our lives every day.”

Even Jesus went to God with His burdens. He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and gave His heavenly Father His worries and let Him take the wheel. We too can rely on God for

our worries and doubts. He provided us, His children, a way to communicate with Him any time we feel the need.

Ellen G. White says on page 85 of Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing: “By maintaining a connection with God, we shall be enabled to diffuse to others, through our association with them, the light, the peace, the serenity, that rule in our hearts. The strength acquired in prayer to God, united with persevering effort in training the mind in thoughtfulness and care-taking, prepares one for daily duties and keeps the spirit in peace under all circumstances.” Prayer is our link to heaven and our way to talk and communicate with the One we read about in the texts.

Chala Gemeda, a senior theology major, related to this, stating, “In Revelation, it tells us the angels take our prayers to heaven, directly to the Father. For He listens to each of our prayers. Prayer is a special request to the Father. We know that He listens, and it’s important to connect with God and build your relationship with Him.” We talk to Him for

gabriel sanders

is a senior English major at Union Adventist University. He is from Eagle Point, Oregon, and enjoys creative writing, hiking and skiing in his spare time.

many reasons—for requests, to ease our troubles and to maintain a relationship with our Father in heaven.

Building a relationship with God can be a difficult task. Many students like Chala mentioned that prayer is one of the most important disciplines in maintaining a relationship with God. But we should not rely solely on it. We must both pray and read Scripture to keep that connection strong.

Elizabeth Campbell, a freshman at Union, said, “Prayer is the foundation of my relationship with God. It provides me with a way to always speak with Him. It is a peaceful time that I can spend one-on-one with Him.” Just as Jesus spent countless hours praying to God by Himself, we too should spend time talking to Him, using Jesus as our daily example of how to continue our relationship with God.

A person at Union who not only prays every day but surrounds himself in prayer


is theology professor Pierre Steenberg. He told me in an interview, “I pray when I’m driving and when I’m exercising. I am constantly praying.”

He also started a routine of prayer for his students in the fall semester of 2023 that involves having his students write down their requests to God. Then he takes time outside of class and office hours to individually pray for them and their special requests. “All together, I have a stack of index cards with prayer requests just from one semester,” Steenberg shared.

His testimony brought a drastically different perspective to my eyes. Jesus too surrounded Himself with prayer (Mark 1:35), and we are to surround ourselves with prayer and be forever connected to God through prayer, Scripture and worship.

Prayer is many things. It’s a way to communicate, a form of invocation and for some a lifestyle. Jesus went to prayer for many things, including thanks (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21), protection (John 17:11), and His believers (John 17:20). We go to God in prayer for many things, including comfort, thanks, safety and His love. I grew up thinking there was a right and wrong way to pray, but no one but God can dictate that.

Prayer At Work

When Pierre Steenberg finished his degree through Andrews University, he and his wife decided it was time to start a family. It wasn’t an easy start because the baby came sooner than expected. Their son, Elmer, was only 31 weeks old at birth, three weeks earlier than his due date. According to Utah University of Health, if a baby is around 32 weeks old, there is a 95 percent chance of survival.1 Unfortunately, Elmer was completely septic when he entered this world.

Steenberg recalls, “With only machines keeping him with us, through surgery after surgery, he fought to stay alive. Throughout all of this, I was praying. I wanted my son to stay alive, and I had prayer to be with me.”

With the mortality rate at 21 percent,2 Elmer beat the odds and is now a P.E. and history teacher at Armona Union Academy in the San Joaquin Valley of California.

How would Steenberg have handled a different outcome? “I would have handled it roughly the same,” he shares. “Just as Daniel and his friends stood in that furnace, they didn’t know what God was going to do, but they had trust that He would take care of them. I think I would have to trust God and know that in the end I will get to see Elmer in heaven one day. No matter the outcome, my trust in God will never waver.”

For more about Pierre Steenberg’s prayer ministry, check out this video: bit.ly/3VtiRqx


1. https://healthcare.utah.edu/womens-health/pregnancy-birth/preterm-birth/when-is-it-safe-todeliver#:~:text=Health%20Problems%20%26%20Outcomes%20for%2024,usually%20less%20than%20 50%20percent

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2891980

Dr. Pierre Steenberg regularly encourages his students to share prayer requests with him. He fervently prays over each one outside of office hours.

Gabriel Sanders


Is Art Spiritual? Thoughts From Two University Professors

suzanne ÓCsai: assistant Professor

oF art and Design

Suzanne Ócsai was three years old when she told her mother she wanted to be an artist. Since her father was a mechanical engineer, the house was always stocked with pencils and paper.

Ócsai had just finished teaching a computer design class when I walked into her office. She’s been a professor of Art and Design at Union Adventist University since 2022.

Ócsai offered two comments on what she believes makes art spiritual. “The entire process of creating art is spiritual. From the ideation process to even the practice.” She believes that in order to create something that will really have a profound effect on the viewer, the artist has to put themself into the piece. “That requires opening up their soul, which makes it a spiritual experience.”

Her second response was, “I think that honesty is the spiritual journey. You must be honest to even have a spiritual journey. Art, in its true sense, makes us question things. It makes us feel and confront what makes us uncomfortable.” She identified this as impacting people in either drawing them toward their journey or pushing them away.

Dealing with things honestly can be uncomfortable. “Artists choose to live in that uncomfortable space of grappling with difficult topics and being vulnerable. They’re judged a lot. It means to show parts of yourself that, oftentimes, people try to hide.”

When I asked what art means to her, Ócsai laughed, telling me no artist wants to sound cliché. For her, art is about connecting with her heritage and meeting parts of herself that she’s never known. It connects her to God, as she stated, “I’m continuing to learn new things about myself every day, and it’s the same in my relationship with God. For me, art is how I process what I’m learning, whether that’s about myself or God.”

In some ways, she’s found the closest connection to God has been through art. “Living as an artist is to look at the world differently.” It gives her the opportunity to be a part of a community that takes an idea and makes it into something tangible. She expressed how it’s something extremely special and validating to see a thought materialize.

Ócsai rose from where she was sitting at her desk and pointed to two art pieces depicting Jesus. They were pieces acquired from former art professors she regards dearly. Both contained dark imagery. One was of Christ on the cross, with dark clouds looming above. The other, a somber portrait. She studied them, stating that they were images of suffering, and she identified suffering as being a driving force behind why many artists create. She began explaining that “when you are an artist tapping into those parts of yourself that are dark and suffering, you can feel very alone and isolated. But when you’ve created something from that, there’s somebody who can relate.” Looking at the two paintings, Ócsai understands that on the cross, Jesus felt that suffering, and art is a way for her to connect to Him.


arts T hrough T he

alan orrison: art and Design Program Director

When Alan Orrison was seven years old, he began taking photos on a little Mickey Mouse camera. However, it wasn’t until he was in undergraduate school that he created something he would consider art. For Orrison, his creativity is ignited by the process of solving and exploring solutions to problems, from the personal and small-scale things to the societal and bigger-level issues.

“God has given us art as one of the best tools to process this world and its challenges,” Orrison responded when I asked what art means to him. “God does amazing work through His church and other community organizations, but art has an often-overlooked ability to cut right to the heart of hard issues, raising awareness and lifting each other up. Sometimes as an individual artist you’re more free to speak truth into situations around you. If you see something, you can say something, and that is witnessing.”

The spiritual nature of art has been a complex conversation

for years. Orrison related how the history of art has evolved over time. “Looking back at art history, art was primarily a religious practice. Art was done for the church; it was religious and had to be done with a certain formula, which made it religious art. But I think it’s limiting God, in what we can and cannot talk about, when we have to abide by those set rules. Art is here to help us process all the things around us, the things we care about. There are other things that Christian artists can and should be portraying, talking about, and introducing to people that may be difficult and peculiar.”

I was curious to know if Orrison has done any particular art that was especially impactful to him. He said there is an abstract series he created, highlighting the various and sometimes weird feelings a person gets at the ocean. He recalls feeling successful about this piece when a viewer told him that looking at that abstract art made them feel scared.

Orrison felt content with this response because his goal in creating art is to give people the space to feel, question or think about something, especially in regard to nature. He stated that most of his work “is an attempt to help people think about their relationship to the natural world or the environment.”

Orrison passionately spoke of how God uses artists to highlight the beauty of His creation in places unexpected or in the small and mundane aspects of life—those facets that aren’t the beautiful sunsets and peaks of mountains commonly associated with God’s creation.

His views about art having a place within spirituality are very inclusive. “Good art gives space for everybody to experience it, regardless of background. You can come to a work of art with all your baggage and enter into a dialogue.” This is the beauty that art has. As he explained it, “It allows for people to have open and necessary conversations.”

shanti slater

is a junior studying English at Union Adventist University. She is from Forbestown, California.

Photos: Shanti Slater

Conne Virtually And In Person

Cell phones have revolutionized the way we connect with those around the world and opened the doors to instant communication. We can make a video call to Mom and Dad from miles away or text someone who is on a different continent.

Cell phones have made us a digital society, and we do almost everything with our phones. With the passage of time, however, we have come to realize that by connecting digitally new challenges were created regarding how we understand one another.

Before the existence of phones, we connected with people face-to-face. We met up with friends, family, co-workers or significant others to catch up with them. When we connect face-to-face, we can analyze facial expressions, tone of voice and posture. These things are essential to know if the person we are talking to is paying attention and is interested in what we are saying.

Connecting digitally took away the visual aspect of seeing how the person we spoke to reacted—unless we made a video call, but it still isn’t the same. Liberty University, one of the largest private universities in the U.S., states that “Online interactions as convenient, advanced, and as helpful as they have been during this time, have also sometimes left us feeling more drained than energized.”



If we go back to 2020 when we were in quarantine, we can remember the Zoom calls we made. Whether it was to attend school, work or see family members we all agreed that a video call wasn’t the same as being in that specific place in person. There were moments when we weren’t mentally present in that Zoom call. It was easy to open other tabs on the computer and play games, read an article or do other work on the side.

When I came to Union College, I remember how excited I was to be on campus and that I would be attending in-person classes. I was tired of Zoom calls and being home all day. I realized how important it was to me to be outside and see other people. Attending gatherings began to look exciting after being told that I could only stay home.

I appreciate that we live in a world where technology has advanced to help us connect from wherever we are, but I can say that an online class isn’t the same as an in-person class. When I am in a classroom I get to interact with my classmates and do group projects. We can laugh and argue about topics that are talked about in class. Attending school in person allows us to create memories that we can look back on years down the road.

Mental health has also been impacted now that we connect digitally more often. Psychiatrist Alan Teo observes that “[People] who regularly met in person with family and friends were less likely to report symptoms of depression.” When we stop connecting with people face-toface, we become more attached to a digital connection. We could be afraid to meet new people and may wonder how to talk to them.

Some of us may question how important social connections are to us. Dr. Stephen Braren, a researcher in developmental psychology, states that “Loneliness is a vital warning signal that tells us that our basic need for social connection is not met.” We may feel lonely when we move away from our family, or we travel to a new area to go to school or work. This leads us to attend events that happen around us such as small groups or gatherings. If we haven’t made connections yet we search for places that will create those connections for us. Maybe we don’t want to physically participate in an event, so we turn to digital communities. Facebook offers communities that are about a well-known individual, hobbies such as art or photography, or a variety of careers. We can join these groups and relate to others because of a common interest.

Being part of a virtual society isn’t a bad thing. Through cell phones we have many different avenues to connect with people in some way. I am not saying we should get rid of our cell phones and forget about phone and video calls or text messaging. Yet we must take time to reflect on how much time we spend on our cell phones and the way we connect with those online.

We should always remember the importance of having face-to-face connections as well. Through whatever channels, we are meant to connect with others and to have meaningful relationships.

is a senior at Union Adventist University in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is majoring in Language Arts Secondary Education to teach high school students.

How to Have Great In-person Conversations

Starting a meaningful conversation with someone you don’t know well can feel daunting, but with a few simple tips, you can foster genuine connections and meaningful interactions.

• Begin with a friendly greeting and a warm smile to create a welcoming atmosphere.

• Introduce yourself and repeat your name and their name.

• Give a compliment about what they’re wearing or an achievement they had if there are any you know about.

• Listen attentively and show interest in the conversation you are having.

• Ask open-ended questions about their family, work, hobbies or other things.


Resetting for the future CSC Votes New Personnel Responsibilities

In March the Central States Conference Executive Committee made three dynamic personnel decisions that will be a blessing to the conference as it resets for future ministry in this territory. In a small conference, it is common for some of the pastors to have dual responsibilities. And when someone is doing something they are passionate about, it benefits both the entity and the person who is engaged in something they love.

Pastor Trevor Barnes,

current pastor of the Northside Church in St. Louis, Missouri, was tapped to serve as the communication director for the CSC. Pastor Barnes has a great work ethic and has a wonderful personality. But more importantly he has developed excellent skills in the area of communications, which in this era includes live streaming, audio and visual technology and digital content. Pastor Barnes was able to lead and complete a full overhaul of everything

mentioned above at his local church and we have no doubt he can do that for the entire conference.

Pastor Byron Wright , current pastor of the New Beginnings Church in Wichita, Kansas, was asked to serve as the associate youth director for the CSC. Pastor Wright, himself a young adult, has always worked closely with the youth and young adults in our conference territory. He is from the St. Louis area and has an inside track in his relationships with the youth and young adults in our conference.

In addition, he has worked closely with this demographic under the leadership of former CSC youth directors. He is excited to work with and for our youth and young adults in this capacity, and help them fall in love with Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

The unique circumstance of some of our CSC pastors being in conference departmental leadership is that the ones who do it well must be committed, dedicated pastors to their members and communities first, but then have the discipline and administrative skills to lead the conference in their areas of giftedness.

Not every pastor can pull this off successfully, but we believe these types of moves are beneficial to the growth of the conference entity, as it does save financially, while the ministry to the entire conference is positively impacted. And at the same time, the pastor is able to thrive and

experience fulfillment in their specific area of giftedness.

Finally, Pastor Rodney Valentine is excited to be coming to CSC from the South Atlantic Conference to serve as pastor of the Palace of Peace Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Pastor Valentine is a dynamic preacher and evangelist, but even more, is a humble and loving person who enjoys being connected with his members.

With his winning personality, he does a great job ministering to church members of all ages, from youth and young adults to the seasoned saints alike. More importantly he has spent time in the military, which makes him a perfect fit for doing ministry in Colorado Springs, a city with many military bases and personnel.

As a conference, we are excited about these personnel resets. We believe the best is yet to come in the areas that have been filled. But we do have other ministries that need leadership. Thus, we solicit your prayers and support as we seek to find individuals whom God has already pre-ordained and set aside for our conference territory.

May we all work diligently to finish the work of spreading the everlasting gospel while it is still day, because night is coming when we won’t be able to work. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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

Central States Member’s Book to Become Community Theatre Production in June

Gary Wilkinson Sr. is a quiet, “get things done” kind of person who holds a B.S. in Organizational Management and Leadership from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.

Wilkinson has extensive community involvement in his repertoire of service in the areas where he resides and previously resided. In University City, Missouri, he served as Superintendent of Streets. In Tarkio, Missouri, he served as athletic director for Youth Services International. And in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he presently resides, he served as the executive director of East Side Human Resource Center, founded by John Lucas Jr.

Also in St. Joseph, Wilkinson was elected to the City Charter Commission, changing the form of government from mayor-council to council-manager. For three terms he was elected to City Council, serving one term as Deputy Mayor. The community knows him, and also the church he attends as a member. Wilkinson has quietly served his community and his church with distinction and dedication.

As a member of the

Walk on Water, authored by Gary Wilkinson Sr., chronicles events in the lives of his enslaved great-greatgrandparents.

Emmanuel Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Joseph, he has been a player coach for the men’s basketball team, served as church treasurer and worked with many other church auxiliaries. Presently, he is serving as the head elder.

In 2017 Gary Wilkinson Sr. was inducted into the Black Archives Hall of Fame in St. Joseph. Wilkinson’s picture hangs on a wall in the museum along with other family members, notably John Lucas Sr. (known as big John) and John Lucas Jr. The story of his great-grandfather and great-grandmother on his father’s side, Mr. and Mrs. Amos Stillman, is a special feature in the museum.

Today, Wilkinson serves as president of the Midtown Initiative Economic/ Community Development

Organization. In January, Wilkinson was also voted to be president of St. Joseph Museums, Inc., being the first African American to receive that designation.

Just recently during the Hall of Fame Induction service of two prominent individuals of the city of St. Joseph, a book authored by Wilkinson titled Walk On Water was introduced. The book chronicles events in the lives of the family of Charles and Charlotte Harvey (enslaved great-great-grandparents of Wilkinson) leading up to the Civil War.

Living in north-central Missouri, their story details the epic struggle to be free, embodying the strength and resilience of the human spirit. There will be a theatrical production of the book at the Missouri Theater, 717

Edmond Street in St. Joseph, on Wednesday, June 19 and Thursday, June 20.

Several individuals have auditioned for the theatrical performance and two members of the Emmanuel Church will have parts: Elder Donna Brown and Brother Kevin Angandja

Carter Goodwin, who also auditioned for a part, writes: “Coming away from the audition last night I realized that this is the most important show I’ve ever been in. It will be transformative, personally and for the community. There was a spirit of reverence in the room that can’t be faked. It is a piece that illustrates one of the greatest powers of our art—the power to heal broken hearts and spirits.”

Gil Webb pastors the Emmanuel Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. Courtesy Central States Conference

Alyna Ratliff is a student at Invitation Hill Adventist Elementary in Dickinson, North Dakota.

What Jesus Did for Me

Once a little bunny  who hopped many places  went to a place where he saw many faces.

The little bunny was scared at first  then he thought, “What fun things  can I do on this earth?”

The bunny hopped to a farmer’s ground, and suddenly away went the bunny’s frown,  as he stuffed carrots in his mouth and kept on chewing as he headed south.

The little bunny loved to explore,  and see many beauties made by the Lord.  Beauties like the lofty trees  or like the flowing mighty seas.

The little bunny always looked quite dirty,   then came a nice lady washing him all clean,  “Wait a second,” thought the bunny, “That’s what Jesus did for me!”

The little bunny began to think, Lord Jesus always cared about me. How lucky I am to have a Father like God, He always leads through the worldly fog. The little bunny wanted so badly to thank Jesus,  just because He is the one who saved us!

Creative via ChatGPT
Nikki Erickson

Dakota Adventist Academy Offers Disaster Response Class

On Sunday, Nov. 19, around 40 students and adults from Dakota Adventist Academy attended a Disaster Response class taught by Pastor Bob Forbes, Dakota Conference disaster director. The class covered information on donation operations and how Adventist Community Services operates during disasters. ACS Disaster Response is responsible for managing both solicited and non-solicited donated goods. During the class, participants learned about the chain of command within the ACS Disaster Response and its relationship with other non-governmental and governmental organizations.

A hands-on exercise involved black bags filled with various items. Participants had to decide what to distribute and what to discard, discovering that most donated items were (and are) essentially trash. The bags contained damaged

dolls, stuffed animals and cans of food—some in good condition and others dented and unlabeled. Items such as hairbrushes containing hair, opened and used toothpaste tubes, new tubes of toothpaste, and previously opened boxes of food that had been taped shut represented commonly donated items.

One challenging decision involved a very tempting plate of home-baked cookies. While some students thought they were safe to distribute, most realized that homemade and home-canned foods cannot be accepted. The class further learned that used shoes, socks and underwear are also not accepted, offering an eye-opening experience for many students.

The bulk of the class time was dedicated to studying the manual and learning about collection centers, multi-agency warehouses, distribution centers and mobile distribution. The class

learned how to set up, where to set up and how to operate each of these centers.

The class emphasized the importance of being trained before a disaster occurs.

Volunteers cannot be effectively trained on-site due to limited manpower and time during an actual disaster. Just as one would prefer a trained and experienced surgeon before surgery, volunteers need training in advance during quieter times before a disaster.

With that in mind, the Dakota Conference is seeking groups interested in receiving training. You can encourage and promote the idea within your local church and assemble a group of at least six individuals willing to undergo training. Then, contact Pastor Bob through the conference to discuss his availability for teaching the class and certifying the participants as trained volunteers. Once arrangements are made, classes can

be scheduled and announcements released.

This proactive approach may inspire others to join as well. Therefore, take the initiative to form groups, get in touch with Pastor Bob, and strategize to be well-prepared for any future disasters. This level of preparedness mirrors the readiness demonstrated by the 40 individuals in the class at DAA.

A “big shoutout” to the academy for the invitation, with particular appreciation to recruiter Darla Reed for facilitating the event. The students’ attentiveness and respect throughout the six hours of class time were commendable, showcasing their enthusiasm and energy.

Nearly 40 students completed ACS Readiness Training at DAA last fall.
Bob Forbes


Mexico Church in Missouri Celebrates the Birth of Christ in a Practical Way

The Mexico Seventh-day Adventist Church hosted a unique Christmas program on Sabbath, Dec. 23. The program was planned by Joella Davis, Kathy Harmon, Alicia Mills and Marcia Mills Pastor Ric Meyerpeter spoke during the church service, sharing how important Jesus’ birth is to our salvation.  The Christmas program included several readings, hymns related to the birth of Christ, and the combined hair bell choir of the Mexico Church and the Antioch Baptist Church of Centralia,


Pastor and Mrs. Collins made special envelopes where attendees could give an offering, write a prayer request or praise and place them on the giving tree. The offering totaled $200 and was given to Room at the Inn, a ministry to people experiencing homelessness in Mexico, Missouri.

All enjoyed a chili fellowship luncheon at the end of the service.

Joe Allison is head elder at the Mexico Church in Missouri.

Cedar Rapids Celebrates and Salutes Veterans

Andrews Christian Academy recently shared an entire evening during a jubilant and rousing salute to local veterans. Young people from our congregation and all students in grades K-8

participated—the whole school! The school’s three teachers, their staff and the many people in attendance expressed warm appreciation for the tremendous dedication of our veterans.

This appreciation came to life via song, musical performance, accompaniment and recitation. So many hands came together to decorate, provide the sound system with an accompanying slide show and serve amazing refreshments. It was a beautiful and heartwarming night that no one will soon forget.

An exceptional perspective on freedom

All young people, our schools and their students are unique in their own way. And Andrews Christian Academy’s student body is no exception. What you may not know, however, is how ACA is so unique.

The school’s student body includes many children whose families are refugees or have immigrated to the

United States. Their appreciation for our veterans is particularly significant because of the extreme tragedies they have witnessed.

These dear families cherish freedom. Mrs. Olson, principal of Andrews Christian Academy, stated during the program, “We are a mixture of many cultures here today. For many refugees and immigrants, it is freedom ... and a part of your story too! Liberty and freedom. That has a whole new meaning for those who came from oppressed countries who have been through dictatorship, genocide and war. You also have witnessed horrors we can’t even comprehend and I know the freedoms we sometimes take for granted mean so much to you.”

Courtesy Joe Allison Carl Bradley

New President Chosen for Iowa-Missouri Conference

On March 3, 2024, the Iowa-Missouri Conference Executive Committee, chaired by Mid-America Union president Gary Thurber and also attended by Mid-America Union vice president for administration Hubert J. Morel Jr., met with much prayer and discussion to select the next president for the conference.

Afterward, Lee Rochholz accepted the invitation to become the president of the Iowa-Missouri Conference. “Pastor Lee loves the IowaMissouri Conference and the conference loves him! Along with his gracious spirit, he will bring a great set of skills

Freedom isn’t free

May we each pause and contemplate those brave and selfless men and women who valiantly served and continue to serve our great United States of America. When you hear a patriotic song, see an American flag waving in the

which will bless this field,” said Thurber.

Pastor Rochholz, currently serving as ministerial director for the conference, said, “It is with great humility that Jessica and I accept this new role in ministry. From the time God called me from my previous career into full-time pastoral ministry, with each assignment we felt God was leading. God started laying on our hearts about a month ago that change was coming and preparing us for this transition. Please pray for the office team as we move forward in Christ.” Rochholz will officially start as president on July 1, 2024, following the retirement of current

president Dean Coridan Lee Rochholz has been a pastor in this conference since 2007 and has been serving as ministerial director since 2017. Lee is married to his wonderful wife, Jessica. They have two children, Grayce (13) and Luke (11).

We express gratitude for the guidance of the Lord throughout this journey, and we extend our appreciation to all of you for your commitment and prayers. Let’s pray for Elder Rochholz, his family and the conference as we look forward to the next chapter in our journey.

breeze, or even when you attend a sporting event and stand to sing the national anthem, consider reflecting for a moment. Pray for those currently serving in our military. Pray for those who have served and for their families, especially for the families of

those who paid the ultimate price for our precious freedoms.

As we read in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

When we consider the sacrifices our veterans and their

families made, we are moved by their selfless contributions. Thank you to our veterans!

Caleb Durant is communication director for the Iowa-Missouri Conference. Courtesy Rochholz Family Carl Bradley is communication leader for the Cedar Rapids Church in Iowa. Photos: Carl Bradley


Kansas City and Wichita Convocations Inspire Youth and Young Adults

February’s convocations in Kansas City and Wichita offered memorable weekends for the youth and young adults. The events “Convo at Commons” and “Convo in Wichita” featured inspiring speakers J-Fiah Reeves and David Solomon Hall Sr., whose messages captivated the audience with incredible storytelling and pointed them to Jesus. The music was a highlight, with Alden Valenzuela leading worship at Commons and local Hispanic worship teams leading in Wichita.

These worship services were complemented by innovative panel discussions, facilitated by Makenzy Jean and Nick Snell, which fostered dialogues between the youth, young adults and church leaders. Discussions delved into generational understandings and misunderstandings, culminating in a commitment to enhance intergenerational support. The panels concluded with intergenerational prayer partners joining together to lift each other up to Jesus. This refreshing initiative encouraged ongoing dialogue and

emphasized the importance of inquiry and active listening over assumptions. We truly enjoyed each other’s company and grew in hope for what the future can be as we pursue our callings together.

Recreational activities provided a fun ending to our time together. In Kansas City, attendees enjoyed an evening at Taco Bell and Urban Air or the Midland Academy gymnasium, depending on if they were youth or young adults. In Wichita, all participants engaged in trampoline and obstacle course fun at Urban Air. These activities not only added joy to the weekend,

but also strengthened the community bond and anticipation for the next time we join together for convocation. The hope is these gatherings will be launch pads inspiring local communities to unite in

spreading the beautiful love of Jesus all the more through worship, connection and play.

Information provided by Nick Snell, youth and young adult director for the KansasNebraska Conference. Photos Courtesy Kansas-Nebraska Conference

Jim Jensen Joins Kansas-Nebraska Conference Administrative Team

After dedicating over a decade of service as the treasurer of the Alaska Conference, Jim Jensen brings a wealth of experience in treasury work to the Kansas-Nebraska Conference. His journey in finance has spanned several regions, from the Rocky Mountain Conference to the Potomac and Columbia Union Conferences, underscoring a career fully committed to financial stewardship within the Adventist Church community.

Alongside him, his wife Teresa and their two youngest children, Nadia and Alex, are embarking on this new chapter, leaving behind the beautiful landscapes of Alaska for the warm

welcomes and new adventures in the Kansas-Nebraska Conference. With a family of five, including Wendell, Wayne and Ivan, with the youngest now 21, the transition marks a significant move not only for Jim but for his

entire family.

Jim has an interesting connection to the KansasNebraska Conference territory. Marysville, Kansas, holds a special place in his heart as the site where his grandparents were


Melvin Santos, vp of administration; Ron Carlson, president; Jim Jensen, vp for finance

married. Similarly, Hastings, Nebraska, is the birthplace of his mother.

As we welcome Jim Jensen and his family, we look forward to the expertise and leadership they bring. We welcome Jim and his family to our conference!

Saul Dominguez is communication director for the KansasNebraska Conference.

Courtesy Kansas-Nebraska Conference

Maplewood Academy Update

As we near the completion of the 2023-2024 school year, there is so much to say about how God has blessed Maplewood Academy.

Without our students, staff and volunteers, each school year would not be possible. From the music department to week of prayers and outreach activities, this school year has shown us that, time and time again, God always makes a way.

At the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, we were faced with the dilemma of our new music teacher, Dianne Ferry, not being able to arrive on time. With our alumni weekend and Ring Festival quickly approaching, we were short on time and had no one to teach the students. But God quickly provided us with the time and sacrifice of volunteers and our retired music teacher Clinton Anderson

When our new teacher arrived in late September, it was quickly evident to us that God had given us a talented and godly teacher. Her skill has grown the music department and has sparked students’ interest in joining the various music classes. With her help, Maplewood was able to film a promotional video of the choraliers singing one of the songs from our Christmas concert repertoire.

We also had the opportunity to do Christmas caroling in the community and visit different nursing homes sharing the love of Christ with others. Ferry has many big goals for the music department and what she hopes to accomplish will help Maplewood Academy grow both musically and spiritually.

Another area that

(l-r) Dianne Ferry, music teacher at Maplewood, leads the choir during church. Maplewood students play games during an activity with the Hutchinson Church.

Furii Berisso at Feed my Starving Children

Maplewood heavily focuses on is outreach. Some of the main things we do each year are can-collecting, Operation Christmas Child and Feed

My Starving Children. Our school also puts together multiple Thanksgiving baskets every year for the surrounding community. Students go out to collect food in the neighborhoods around campus, and sort food into baskets which are then donated to families in need in coordination with social services. This activity gives students the opportunity to help make an immediate difference in the lives of families close to our school.

Students also thoroughly enjoy Operation Christmas Child and Feed

My Starving Children, as they are hands-on activities that give us the opportunity to serve people around the world. Maplewood Academy has been a major drop off location for Operation Christmas Child for the last 20 years and it is a privilege every year for students to help package boxes.

Serving others is a very

lives we have to put forth effort to build and grow our relationship. God offers to let us be rid of any burdens and just let Him into our lives.

important part of building our relationship with God and learning to live more like Him, which plays a large role in what Maplewood Academy teaches us through the example of the staff and students alike.

Each year, Maplewood Academy has three weeks of prayer. This year, for our winter week of prayer we had multiple students leading out and sharing about how Christ has worked in their lives. Having students share their personal testimonies is always something both staff and students look forward to. God always works in our lives whether we see it or not, and having students realize just how much God loves them shows other students that they can also accept God’s love and forgiveness in their lives.

One of our students who spoke for student week of prayer was Iosif Dubrueze He spoke about the different characteristics that were necessary to have a relationship, whether that be with a person or with God. God wants to get to know us, but just like any other relationship in our

Iosif showed how much God has transformed his life and closed his testimony with a familiar verse found in Matt. 11:28-30. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For your yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”

Maplewood Academy strives to help us grow, learn and connect with Christ and through our staff, students and volunteers. God shines through each of us as we also shows others God’s love.

Aiyana Ybarra is a senior at Maplewood Academy.

For more information about Maplewood Academy call 320.587.2830 or visit maplewoodacademy.org.

Photos: Kara Aguilar

Hutchinson Adventist Church Shares Blessings and Faith

The saying, “There’s Much in Hutch” definitely applies to the Hutchinson Adventist Church, as well as the community at large. The commitment to Christian education stands out prominently in the array of Hutchinson church ministries. With a thriving K-8 elementary school and the presence of Maplewood Academy on campus, the community is truly blessed. Hutchinson church members not only recognize this as a significant dynamic but also generously contribute their time and resources to support these schools.

Historically, many families have moved to Hutchinson expressly for the purpose of making Christian education possible for their children.  This tradition persists, remaining a constant and overarching consideration for many Hutchinson church members including those with generations of history in the community.

This sentiment is proven by the actions of church members who are frequently seen coaching, mentoring and supporting students in activities such as music and sports. Members of all ages are blessed by the energy, consecration and creativity as both students and adult

church members participate side by side in the weekly worship service.

Often, new members are struck by the helpfulness and friendliness of the church family they have joined. All members have an opportunity to engage in a variety of ministries. Bible study groups are held weekly. A Bible study group for Spanish speakers has been meeting for more than a year now every Sabbath afternoon, and sometimes continuing into the evening with a potluckstyle meal afterward.

Over 30 people—families with children and others coming by word of mouth— have been enjoying Bible studies with Pastor Abner. Additionally, a couple of members have started a Sabbath school class for the children.

This exciting new ministry began from the ashes of tragedy at the bilingual funeral of beloved church and academy staff member Alan Garcia. This so profoundly impacted Garcia’s family and friends that they expressed an interest in attending services at the Hutchinson Church.  Clearly God has been at work. Academy students have endeared themselves to the local community through

activities like Adopt a Highway, helping rake and pick up litter for city parks and public spaces, and collecting non-perishable food items for the food shelf. Church members play a crucial role by facilitating these activities, creating a bond between generations and fostering a shared sense of purpose in serving others.

The MWA family also spends time every year packaging meals for Feed My Starving Children as well as being the community dropoff location for Operation Christmas Child. This is where some 20,000 boxes of Christmas gifts—toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement for needy children anywhere in the world—are donated.  Laura Cummings, who has coordinated this ministry for the past 20 years, recently accepted an award from the organization for many years of dedication to this outreach.  It is a joy to watch students and adults bond together and develop a sense of higher purpose in service to others.

Numerous other ministries contribute to the Hutchinson Church’s outreach efforts, including an addictions recovery group, a vegetarian cooking school, Pathfinders, Kids VBS

and the thriving Twice Is Nice thrift store. Twice Is Nice— which accepts donations of used clothing, dishes and small household items, then organizes and resells them at minimal prices—has been very successful and is able to give back thousands of dollars every year to community nonprofits and worthy causes.

Another touching initiative is a quilt ministry where volunteers get together a couple of days a week to lovingly create handmade quilts and pray over them. These quilts, delivered with personal notes, serve as tangible expressions of care to those who are sick or in hospice care. Nearly 1,000 quilts have been delivered or mailed to people to let them know they are being prayed for and loved.

We are thankful for all the opportunities God has given Hutchinson church members to volunteer to spread His love. May His light shine through every endeavor and continue to bless in every ministry.

Evie Swanson is a long-time member of the Hutchinson Church and is active on the social committee and elementary school board.

(right) Maplewood Academy students practice for church. (far right) Quilt ministry is an active part of the Hutchinson Church. Photos: Kara Aguilar


Campion Schools and Church Join to Celebrate International Cultures

Campion Academy, HMS Richards Adventist School, and the Campion

Seventh-day Adventist Church in Loveland, Colorado, came together to celebrate the diversity in our community with an International Sabbath last February.

Students from both schools started off the program by wearing clothes from the countries they were representing and carrying flags from all over the world. The students also greeted church members in different languages.

Afterward, the praise team presented songs in other languages that had different translations. They sang songs in English,

Portuguese, Spanish and Indonesian. Natan Fogaca, Campion Academy student, commented, “It was a good experience. I got to sing and praise God.”

Students shared special performances, scriptures and prayers in different languages. Campion Academy students

Julia Santiago and Beatriz Moraes sang a special music called “Alem” in Portuguese.  Moraes shared, “This song is important to me because it shows me that I always have someone I can trust and always do what’s best for me. God showed me in this song that He is always with us,

even in the storms. Believe and trust in Him that He will do what is best.”

“It was beautiful to see so many countries represented throughout the church,” said Campion Academy student Euan O’Keeffe. “It really painted the church as what it should be—a great unifier, unrelated to language and culture.”

Vashty Segovia Santos works for the Campion Student News Team.

HMS Implements Big Brother, Big Sister Prayer Program

In the letter of Apostle Paul to the Philippians (Phil. 4:6-7), we’re reminded to bring everything to God in prayer, with the promise that His peace will guard our hearts and minds. It’s a powerful encouragement, but what if we could take it further? What if we could create a culture where our children regularly pray with and for each other?

After careful planning, HMS Richards Adventist School in Loveland, Colorado, introduced a new tradition: a deliberate effort to end every Friday chapel with the Big Brother, Big Sister prayer time.

Following the ACTS acronym—Adoration,

Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication—students of varying ages come together in pairs, purposefully bridging generational gaps to engage in intentional prayer. During this special time, students express adoration for God, share personal confessions, extend gratitude and earnestly

present heartfelt requests.

To facilitate this exchange, partners have prayer books to jot down their requests and track answered prayers. As the Friday prayer time concludes, students and teachers sing the short but beautiful song “Into My Heart” as a signal to end their prayer session and return

to their classrooms to wrap up the week.

This new tradition not only deepens students’ spiritual connections but also cultivates empathy and understanding among peers. It’s a precious opportunity to spend intentional time in prayer with and for one another.

But this is just the beginning. The plan for next year is to expand the community of prayer to include the older students on the Campion Academy campus because the HMS Richards students and staff believe it is our mission to pray for each other.

Carey Jordan is principal at HMS Richards Adventist School in Loveland, Colorado. Photos Courtesy Rocky Mountain Conference Photos Courtesy Rocky Mountain Conference

Commentary: Tips to Grow Your Relationship with God

God is the most important relationship in our life. It should be a priority for us to find ways to grow closer to Him. You can’t expect to know Him better if you aren’t constantly putting in time and effort. While there are numerous ways to do this, these are the five that I have found to work in my own personal life.

Consistently spend time in His word

The Bible is God’s direct way of speaking to us. It teaches us about His character and gives us the most beneficial way to live. When we apply these biblical instructions to our lives, we will see a noticeable, positive change. We need to open our hearts up and give God the chance to speak to us.

Another helpful thing is to memorize scripture. That way, when we are put into certain situations, God can put that scripture into our mind and help lead us.

Pray in everything

When we go throughout our day talking to God, we invite God into our hearts, and we learn to trust Him more. Just like in any human relationship, it takes time and communication to build a bond. The same applies to our relationship with Jesus. Praying to God helps us fight temptations and get through trials because He will strengthen us.

He tells us this in Phil. 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Lastly, when we pray we should also praise God for all the blessings He gives us. Prayer journals are a great way we can look back and see the prayers God has answered.

Ask God to free you from sins

See what temptations are holding you back from drawing closer to Him. Sin is

anything that can separate us from God. When we choose to deny our fleshly desires, we will see progress in our choices and lifestyle.

We can’t fight sin on our own, so we must call upon God to ask for help. By His grace and mercy, He will forgive us of our sins, but that doesn’t mean we should take advantage of it.

Serve others

Jesus came to serve us, and we should do the same. Serving is our way of putting others before ourselves and recognizing that people are in need of help.

Humbly serving others can also open our eyes to things God has done in our life. It is another form of gratitude. Serving can be done through multiple ways such as encouraging the people around you, volunteering at your church or elsewhere, or spreading the gospel.

Live in the Spirit

While doing all these

things will help us grow with God, living and inviting the Spirit into our lives is ultimately one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Walking in accordance with the Spirit will help us create that intimacy with God. Setting our minds on things above this world and trusting God will provide is how we can truly be followers of Jesus.

Carlos Santana, Campion Academy chaplain, encourages us to “have God lead our lives in everything that we do. Before we even try to take that step, we should have God lead that step. That’s what living in the Spirit is.”

God is so good to us and wants to have a relationship with us. Trust in Him and He will bless you even through life’s challenges.

Catie Fairfield is part of the Campion Academy Student News Team.

Catie Fairfield via Leonardo.AI

Vickie and Dan’s Story: The Importance of Life-saving Hands-only CPR

Vickie Franck knows what to do in a cardiac emergency. As a cardiac nurse who is now the regional executive director for Heart & Vascular Services at AdventHealth in Kansas City, she has administered CPR many times within the hospital on patients of various ages.

She was also the first responder on the scene of someone in cardiac arrest outside of the hospital in three different occasions. The first was a man on the side of a highway; the second was a young woman; and the third was Vickie’s husband. She never expected to perform CPR on a loved one.

Until it happened.

Franck’s husband, Dan, is a musician who records different music genres, including contemporary Christian, blues and most recently Jimmy Buffett-style music. Dan was traveling to Springfield, Missouri, to a recording studio, something he did on occasion. Although Franck normally didn’t go along on these trips, this time she decided to go to enjoy some time with her grandchildren.

It was early morning and Franck heard a noise in the hotel bathroom. She found her husband leaning over the counter. He was conscious and told Franck he thought he passed out. Franck saw he was extremely pale. As she grasped his face with her hands, he suddenly slumped over and was in full cardiac arrest.

“I guided him to the floor

the best I could,” said Franck. “His color was gray, and his eyes were fixed and glazed over. I quickly assessed that he wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. In that moment, I threw open the hotel door hoping someone was in the hall to call for help. But there was no one, so I flipped open the door latch, dialed 911 and started CPR. It was the scariest moment in my life.”

Franck started hands-only CPR, administering compressions for about three to five minutes. Then, she started rescue breathing.

“Honestly, it was like God breathed life into his lungs,” said Franck. “He became responsive just as the paramedics showed up. We had a very good outcome. Had I not been with him or did not know how to perform CPR, my husband would have died and my grandkids would not have Grandpa Dan or, as one granddaughter calls him, ‘her Papa’, and his mom would have lost another son.”

Learn hands-only CPR

According to the American Heart Association, more than 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes and about 40 percent of those who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the help needed before emergency professionals arrive. Knowing hands-only CPR can make a life-or-death difference for those you love.

So, what exactly is handsonly CPR? Simply put,

hands-only CPR is chest compressions. Hands-only CPR is easy for anyone to learn and has proven to be as effective as traditional CPR in those first few minutes during a cardiac arrest emergency.

The AHA explains handsonly CPR as two simple steps. First, call 911 if you see someone suddenly collapse. Second, start chest compressions. Push hard and fast in the center of the person’s chest at the rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute.

One way to maintain the correct compression rate is to use a familiar song, such as “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, as a guide.

According to the AHA, only one in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, so increasing the amount of people who know hands-only CPR is critical.   “Hands-only CPR can double survival odds,” said Franck. “As scary as the situation may be, knowing

how to do CPR may make the difference in someone living or dying.”

Although many know the importance of learning how to administer CPR, some people are still not trained. In fact, four out of 10 adults are reluctant to use CPR in an emergency.

Franck believes there are many reasons why more people are not trained in handsonly CPR. It may be due to lack of access to training or concerns about performing CPR incorrectly.

“The reality is you are not going to hurt an individual who is lifeless or clinically deceased,” said Franck. “But you can save their life by learning this simple, easy skill that you will remember for a lifetime.”

You can make a difference in someone’s life by learning handsonly CPR. For more information or to find a class near you, visit CPR.


Jackie Woods is a marketing project manager for AdventHealth. Courtesy Franck Family

Signs of Love and Support

eople will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was common to see poster board signs hung in patient windows or held up by loved ones from the parking lot to share greetings, love and sympathy during a time of separation. While that reality is becoming a distant memory at AdventHealth Porter, team members were delighted to see signs of support hung around the hospital recently.

Sid Ead first came to AdventHealth Porter for a biopsy in his chest September 2023 and was discharged home in mid-October. When he faced some unforeseen complications, including a persistent cough, he came back to the hospital.

One day, Stephanie Gannon, a speech pathologist at AdventHealth Porter, stopped by Ead’s room to check in on him. She quickly realized his incision had opened, and he was bleeding profusely. Gannon jumped into action, applying and holding pressure while she raced Ead up to the intensive care unit. “Stephanie is our angel,” said Rachel Klarner, Ead’s wife. “She saved his life.”

Ead was ultimately diagnosed with cancer and remained at the hospital. Through many highs and lows over nearly four months, he and Klarner built special relationships with many of the team members at the hospital.

“People from transport,

speech, ultrasound and nurses from different departments would stop by or see me in the cafeteria and stop to ask how Sid was doing. It meant so much to me and made us both feel so blessed,” said Klarner. “We truly felt like we were where we were supposed to be.”

The rest of their family lives in Arizona and supported Ead from afar. Klarner and her sister, Betty, made T-shirts that said, “Team Sid” and “Support Squad.” Their family members wore the shirts and sent pictures to Klarner on days when Ead was going through chemotherapy. AdventHealth Porter’s oncology team saw the shirts and asked to buy some for themselves. They wore them proudly to show their support for Ead on a regular basis.

With his chemotherapy treatments, Ead started to lose his hair. He asked his nurse, Megan Avilla, if she knew of a barber who could shave his head. Avilla, who was a hairstylist for 20 years before becoming a nurse, sat him up in the bed, draped him in a towel and, with great care and tenderness, shaved his head and trimmed his mustache. “This, to some, may seem like a small act of kindness, but it was empowering for Sid to have control over something in this battle,” said Klarner.

On Nov. 21, Ead’s birthday, nurses decorated his room to help make a difficult birthday a little brighter.

Somer Neubert, an IV technician, also helped care for Ead throughout his time at Porter. Placing countless IVs and lines for him, she always managed to get it on the first try. On one occasion, Neubert stopped by Ead’s room and noticed his arms looked swollen. She advocated for him to get checked for blood clots. The checkup uncovered some superficial clots which he was promptly treated for. Klarner and Ead were beyond grateful for Neubert’s astuteness and persistence in making sure that he received the care he needed.

Ead and Klarner spent most of their time between the oncology unit and the ICU. “They lifted us up through everything he went through. Cheering for him and caring for him—it was incredible. We were blessed to meet some truly amazing people who now feel like family,” said Klarner.

One day while eating lunch in the kitchen in the oncology unit, Klarner looked out the window to see the windows in the unit. At the time, Ead was in the ICU due to complications. Klarner and Betty made a sign and displayed it in the window of his room facing the oncology unit that said, “Hi 1 North!” which was the Oncology Unit. The Oncology team made a sign in response to show their love and support

that said: “Team Sid!”

The signs prompted many smiles, waves and kisses blown across the windows. The Oncology team continued to report on Ead during shift change even though he wasn’t on their unit. The care and support of the teams at AdventHealth Porter who cared for Sid was palpable and meant so much to Ead and Klarner. And undoubtedly, being able to care for them during some of the hardest days of their lives meant so much to the teams too.

With tears in her eyes, Klarner recounted that through it all the people who work at AdventHealth Porter made all the difference throughout their darkest days. “Even though it was so hard—and something that no one should ever have to go through—we were so blessed by the team members here.”

On Sunday, Jan. 28, Ead passed away. Klarner, who graciously allowed for his story to be shared, said, “This story is exactly how Sid and I felt being at Porter and around all the amazing people who work there. I will never forget the kindness we felt while we were there.”

Chloe Dean is communications manager at AdventHealth in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Rachel Klarner Sid Ead with AdventHealth team members in their “Support Squad” shirts

Bos, Harriet, b. Sept. 29, 1922. d. Feb. 15, 2024 in Marshall, IA. Member of Marshalltown (IA) Church.

Buckley-Howard, Betty, b. 1937 in Cedar Rapids, IA. d. Feb. 5, 2024 in Marshall, IA. Member of Marshalltown (IA) Church.

Dart, Merrill O. II, b. July 17, 1936 in Denver, CO. d. Sept. 28, 2023 in Denver, CO. Member of True Life (CO) Church. Survivors include wife Jolene Heinz; sons Don and Ron; 2 sisters; 4 grandchildren.

Dieken, Marcy, b. July 6, 1964. d. Feb. 12, 2024. Member of Lincoln Capitol View (NE) Church. Survivors include children Robert and Amanda; 3 grandchildren.

May 2024

Lund, Arlene (Bendix), b. Feb. 22, 1924 in Ortonville, MN. d. Feb. 24, 2024 in Correll, MN. Member of Artichoke (MN) Church. Survivors include children

Cheryl, Gary, and Dennis; 8 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren.

Sorenson, Colleen, b. March 21, 1939 in Cainsville, MO. d. Feb. 15, 2024 in Des Moines, IA. Member of Knoxville (IA) Church. Preceded in death by husband Al; 1 sister; 2 brothers; 1 grandson. Survivors include children Becky Bowlin, Gail Barrell, and Kent; 1 brother; 9 grandchildren; many great-grandchildren.

Trotter, Kalista “Kali”

Lauren, b. Sept. 17, 1998 in Lincoln, NE. d. Feb. 21,

2024 in Lincoln, NE. Member of Lincoln Northside (NE) Church. Preceded in death by grandfather Harry. Survivors include parents Heidi Jensen and Wesley; fiancé Fablin Omar; son

Zavien Omar; grandparents Bud and Ruth, Joyce Jensen; siblings Quentin, Iriana, Lane, and Ian; many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

JUN 7 JUN 14 JUN 21 JUN 28 8:25 8:29 8:31 8:32 8:37 8:41 8:43 8:44 8:19 8:22 8:25 8:25 8:33 8:37 8:39 8:40 8:45 8:49 8:52 8:52 9:00 9:04 9:06 9:07 8:59 9:02 9:05 9:06 8:11 8:14 8:16 8:17 8:46 8:49 8:51 8:52 8:59 9:03 9:06 9:06 9:12 9:16 9:19 9:20 8:56 9:00 9:03 9:03 8:32 8:35 8:38 8:38 8:41 8:45 8:47 8:48 8:22 8:26 8:28 8:29 8:55 8:59 9:01 9:02 9:13 9:16 9:19 9:19 8:27 8:30 8:33 8:33 9:34 9:38 9:40 9:41 9:18 9:22 9:25 9:25 9:51 9:55 9:58 9:58 9:22 9:26 9:29 9:29 8:33 8:37 8:39 8:40 9:05 9:09 9:11 9:12 8:41 8:44 8:47 8:47 8:29 8:33 8:35 8:36 8:50 8:54 8:57 8:57 June 202 4 MAY 3 MAY 10 MAY 17 MAY 24 MAY31 7:55 8:02 8:09 8:15 8:20 8:08 8:15 8:21 8:27 8:33 7:51 7:57 8:03 8:09 8:14 8:01 8:09 8:16 8:22 8:28 8:13 8:21 8:28 8:35 8:41 8:27 8:34 8:42 8:48 8:55 8:31 8:38 8:44 8:49 8:55 7:41 7:48 7:54 8:01 8:06 8:16 8:23 8:30 8:36 8:41 8:20 8:29 8:38 8:46 8:53 8:30 8:40 8:49 8:58 9:06 8:20 8:28 8:36 8:44 8:51 8:03 8:09 8:16 8:22 8:27 8:12 8:19 8:25 8:31 8:37 7:54 8:00 8:07 8:13 8:18 8:24 8:31 8:38 8:45 8:50 8:41 8:48 8:55 9:02 9:08 7:54 8:02 8:09 8:16 8:22 8:54 9:04 9:12 9:21 9:28 8:39 8:48 8:57 9:05 9:12 9:09 9:19 9:28 9:37 9:44 8:47 8:55 9:03 9:10 9:17 7:58 8:06 8:14 8:21 8:27 8:30 8:38 8:46 8:53 8:59 8:07 8:15 8:22 8:29 8:35 7:57 8:05 8:12 8:18 8:24 8:14 8:23 8:31 8:38 8:45


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Southern Adventist University seeks a full-time program director to launch a new Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program. The ideal candidate will be proficient in managing the CAPTE accreditation process, new program development, and teaching graduate physical therapy courses as well as clinical practice. In addition, the successful candidate will be committed to mentoring advisees, nurturing student learning both in and out of the classroom, and disciplining students in Jesus Christ. Visit www. southern.edu/jobs.

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Southern Adventist University seeks full-time teaching faculty in the School of Business. Candidates should have a graduate degree (minimum). Doctorate in business-related field preferred. Ideal candidates will have successful, professional experience in for-profit companies/organizations. Candidates will facilitate learning in alignment with a Christian biblical worldview and Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and values. Ideal candidates will be committed to student learning, engagement, and spiritual well-being. Please visit our job board at sau.catsone. com/careers

Southern Adventist University School of Religion seeks full-time faculty member to begin fall semester of 2024. Must be active member of Seventh-day Adventist Church in regular standing and should have Ph.D. (or be near completion) in New Testament. Demonstrate love for Jesus, strong commitment to authority of Scripture, and deep passion for Adventist message and mission. Good people skills and ability to engage students in positive faith-building. Please visit sau.catsone.com/careers.


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Southern Adventist University seeks a full-time teaching faculty member in the School of Journalism and Communication. Master’s degree in Communication, or a sub-field of Communication, required (Ph.D. preferred). The successful candidate will have teaching and/or industry experience (preferably both) and be able to teach a variety of courses in digital and social media, communication, writing, public speaking, and/or photography. Visit sau.catsone. com/careers

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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


Attend a university where faith is baked in

There’s a lot you can learn about King David while you’re waiting for the shortcake to come out of the oven.

That’s what the women in the Baking and Bibles small group have discovered.

“It’s really nice to spend time with people you don’t usually spend time with, and to get to know them better,” said Calista Covel, who co-leads the group. “And to share thoughts on the Bible.”

This isn’t the only small group where members encourage each other in God’s word while enjoying an activity together. Other groups focus on music, pickleball or walking. At Union, you have more than 26 small groups to choose from.

It’s easy to make friends in this kind of environment, and even easier to grow spiritually. Come join us and see what’s cooking.

Finding purpose.
Unlocking potential.
PO Box 6128 Lincoln, NE 68506-0128 PERIODICALS

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