Pacific Union Recorder—July 2023

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Faithful waiting upon the Lord will ensure a renewal of fortitude and courage, patience and hope.


By keeping the Sabbath, we can make a conscious decision to set aside time for ourselves and our loved ones. We can take time to reconnect with the Divine and prioritize our relationship with God. We can slow down and enjoy the peace that comes from putting aside our daily concerns and activities. We can draw upon the power of this practice to find strength, support, guidance, and refreshment for our journey ahead. By carving out a special place in each week for spiritual renewal, we open ourselves to greater insights into living a more meaningful life. We can observe how God is already working in our lives and celebrate His goodness with gratitude and joy. Keeping the Sabbath also offers us an opportunity to invest in relationships by spending quality time with family members and friends. When we pause each week to rest and connect with one another, it strengthens the bonds of love between us all.


Publisher Ray Tetz

Editor Alberto Valenzuela

Assistant Editor Connie Jeffery


Stephanie Leal • Alberto Valenzuela

Printing Pacific Press Publishing Association

4 The Sabbath, a Symbol of God’s

8 Celebrating 18 years of Service, Student Growth, and Happy Memories


13 The Seeds


Adventist Health 916-742-0429

Kim Strobel

Arizona 480-991-6777 ext 139

Jeff Rogers

Central California 559-347-3034

Justin Kim

Hawaii 808-595-7591

Miguel Manzo

Holbrook Indian School (928) 524-6845 x143

Kimberly Cruz

La Sierra University 951-785-2000

Darla Tucker

Loma Linda 909-651-5925

Ansel Oliver

Nevada-Utah 775-322-6929

Michelle Ward

Northern California 916-886-5600

Laurie Trujillo

Pacific Union College 951-809-6777

Gene Edelbach

Southeastern California 951-509-2256

Andrea King

Southern California 818-546-8400

Lauren Lacson

What’s inside
PACIFIC UNION The Recorder is a monthly publication reaching approximately 76,000 Seventh-day Adventist homes in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. Our mission is to inform, educate, and inspire our readers to action in all areas of ministry.
Postal Regs: The Pacific Union Recorder (ISSN 0744-6381), Volume 123, Number 7, is the official journal of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Subscription rate: No charge to Pacific Union
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changes to: Circulation Department, Pacific Union Recorder, Box 5005, Westlake
and is published monthly. Editorial office is at 2686 Townsgate Rd., Westlake Village, CA 91361: 805-497-9457. Periodical postage paid at Thousand Oaks, CA, and additional mailing offices.
Adventist church members; $16 per year in
$20 foreign (U.S. funds); single
Village, CA 91359. Editorial
When Faith and Work Are One and the Same
of Greed
in the West:
Ward Simpson
Arizona Conference
Central California Conference 36 Hawaii Conference 38 Holbrook Indian School 40 Adventist Health
La Sierra University 42 Loma Linda University Health 43 Pacific Union College
Nevada-Utah Conference 46 Northern California Conference
Southeastern California Conference
Southern California Conference
Community & Marketplace
Sunset Calendar July 2023 3

The Sabbath, a Symbol of God’s Love


The fourth commandment, which asks us to keep the Sabbath day holy, has a deep spiritual significance that goes beyond simply being a promise with a reward. For me and my family, the Sabbath has been a source of weekly renewal and succor. Sabbath keeping has never been a chore for me; it has always provided me with a sense of belonging—a sense of being under the protection of God and a recipient of His blessings. The Sabbath, and all that it encompasses, has always filled me with hope.

For me, the Sabbath is a sign of hope—a sign that God will be with us and provide for us. It is also a reminder that prompts us to take time to rest and reflect on our faith in Him. In the Old Testament, resting on the Sabbath was not just an obligation. It was seen as an opportunity to draw closer to God through prayer and contemplation.

The love of God can be found again and again in Old Testament passages about honoring the Sabbath day of rest. The fourth commandment reminds us that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God (Exodus 20:10, NKJV). And God’s people are still being reminded of it in Jeremiah 17:2122, which says, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day,…nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers’” (NKJV).

God's love for us is not just found in written messages, though. It can also be seen in action—He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us a way back to God through His death and resurrection. By accepting Christ into our lives, we are given new life with God and can better understand

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what it means to keep the Sabbath day as an act of worship and reverence for our Creator.

The Old Testament provides many examples of God's love, both through stories—such as those that tell of His care for the Israelites during their escape from slavery—and through His promises of faithfulness toward His people. Keeping the Sabbath was seen as a sign of hope that, despite all the trials they faced, God was with them and would ultimately provide a path to deliverance.

Today, keeping the Sabbath continues to be a reminder of God's love for us. Despite all our challenges in life, He is always with us and will see us through. Taking time each week to pause and reflect on His presence in our lives helps us stay centered on Him, even when things are difficult.

God's love for His people is clear in the Old Testament, and it is still evident today. The Sabbath serves as a reminder of God’s love and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest gives us an opportunity to draw closer to Him, remember His goodness, and show our gratitude to Him. In thankfulness for all that God has done for us, we take time out each week to reflect on His presence in our lives and how He wants us to live.

The love of God that is demonstrated in the Old Testament is still relevant today—not just when we consider the Sabbath but also when we consider how we should live our lives. The fourth commandment reminds us that taking time to rest and reflect is an important part of living a life of faith. Keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest can strengthen

our relationship with God as we learn more about His love for us.

The commandment to keep the Sabbath holy reminds us of how much God loves us and desires that we take time out of our busy lives to commune with Him. As we do, He will provide us with hope for the future and help us live our Christian life in a way that brings glory to His name. As we find rest and refuge in His presence each week, it reminds us of the power of His love, which can sustain us no matter what trials may come our way.

Ellen G. White speaks volumes about the joys that await us in this gift of God’s love: “The Sabbath and the family were alike instituted in Eden, and in God's purpose they are indissolubly linked together. On this day more than any other, it is possible for us to live the life of Eden.… God's love has set a limit to the demands of toil. Over the Sabbath He places His merciful hand. In His own day He preserves for the family opportunity for communion with Him, with nature, and with one another” (Education, p. 250). “God designs that the Sabbath shall direct the minds of men to the contemplation of His created works.… The beauty that clothes the earth is a token of God's love. We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the opening buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God. The Sabbath, ever pointing to Him who made them all, bids men open the great book of nature and trace therein the wisdom, the power, and the love of the Creator” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 48).

The observance of the Sabbath is a sign of our

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The love of God that is demonstrated in the Old Testament is still relevant today—not just when we consider the Sabbath but also when we consider how we should live our lives.

relationship to God as His appointed stewards over creation and all its works. By keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest, we demonstrate our commitment to Him and to doing what He has called us to do— to walk in His ways.

It is no surprise that so many Christians choose to keep the Sabbath day holy. It serves as a reminder of God's unconditional promise to always be there for us. Keeping the Sabbath can be seen not only as an act of obedience to God but also as an acceptance of hope and assurance. After all, it is in this day that we can take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and spend time reflecting on God's grace. This simple act reminds us that no matter how chaotic or trying life may be, we have hope because of the love of God.

On Sabbath especially, we can remember why David declared that “the Lord is good and his love

endures forever” (Psalm 100:5, NIV). And that is why He gave us the fourth commandment—not as a decree of oppression but as a token of His unchangeable love.

The love of God that we discover in the Old Testament is a beautiful reminder that no matter what circumstances we face, He will always be there for us. His comforting presence gives our Christian life meaning and purpose—it reminds us that even though things may seem difficult, we can take heart in knowing that He has given us the gift of the Sabbath as a sign of hope and assurance. By keeping the Sabbath, we honor God and show that we trust Him and His promises to us. By keeping the Sabbath, we proclaim that He is a God of love.

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Bradford C. Newton is the president of the Pacific Union Conference.
It is no surprise that so many Christians choose to keep the Sabbath day holy. It serves as a reminder of God's unconditional promise to always be there for us.

Celebrating 18 years of Service, Student

In 2023, Susie Oliva celebrated 18 years of service as a teacher at Victor Valley Seventh-day Adventist School in Victorville, California, in the Southeastern California Conference. As a third generation Adventist on her father’s side and fourth generation on her mother’s, Oliva knew from a very young age that becoming a teacher was her calling.

Oliva’s journey in education began in Alhambra, California, where she and her three brothers attended San Gabriel Academy. Oliva’s mother believed in Adventist education and wanted her children to experience its b enefits and blessings.

When Oliva was in the fourth grade, her family moved to Victorville, which is in the high desert region of Southern California. However, the young siblings wanted to continue attending San Gabriel Academy. The school was now an hour away, which required Oliva and her brothers to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to get to school on time. And they did. They were never late and had perfect attendance.

Oliva went on to graduate from academy, earn a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in psychology from La Sierra University in 2004, and then a Master of Arts in Teaching in elementary education in 2005. She was hired at Victor Valley SDA School shortly after she graduated and has been there ever since—as a K-3 teacher and as a teaching principal the last six years.

“I wanted to be a teacher by the time I was in first grade. I had so much love and respect for my early teachers,” Oliva said of her lifelong dream. “They made my school experience fun and memorable. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to be just like them when I grew up.”

Oliva credits her time at San Gabriel Academy with helping to form who she is today, as well as sealing into her mind the importance of Adventist education.

“I knew that I not only wanted to be a teacher, but a teacher at our Adventist schools,” she said. “Being able to pray with and for the students and being able to have discussions about faith and the Bible are experiences that I cherished as a student and wanted to pass on to my own students—something I would not be able to do in other environments.”

Teaching at Victor Valley has been a joy for Oliva for the many personal

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Student Growth, and Happy Memories

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connections she has to the school. She loves the students and the community and genuinely wants what’s best for them. She feels proud to see the students grow academically and spiritually.

“I especially love the environment that has been created at our school. We have developed a family-like atmosphere,” she said. “Each student from kindergarten to eighth grade really gets to know the others, and they treat each other like family. I love that we have a safe environment that allows students to become comfortable sharing themselves and their love of God with others.”

As an educator, Oliva also appreciates the many practical benefits Adventist education offers as far as academic environments are concerned—such as a low student-teacher ratio, which allows for more individualized instruction and attention. At a small school like Victor Valley, students learn from the teachers as well as from one another in a multigrade learning environment. Since the students are in the classroom for multiple years, it allows her, as their teacher, to really get to know them and what learning styles work for them.

Oliva loves welcoming new students in kindergarten and then watching them graduate nine years later from eighth grade, full of knowledge and having built personal relationships with God. She admits it is bittersweet to see them go, but she is equally thrilled about having watched them grow academically, emotionally, and spiritually throughout their years.

“I am blessed to have been teaching long enough to have my former students become teachers, pastors, and medical personnel. With Adventist education, the goal is not just educating for now, it is educating for eternity,” she said.

As she reflects on 18 years at Victor Valley SDA School, Susie Oliva is grateful that she got to become the person who caused students to love learning and who made learning fun and that she became to students what her own teachers were for her: a role model. She’s glad she became a person

who showed kids that someone believed in them— someone who chose to love just like Jesus did.

“I still cannot imagine doing any other career because I strongly believe that working with children and being a teacher is what God had planned for me. This is the purpose I have in life,” she said. “Adventist education shaped my life. I now have three children, and I would not consider any other academic path for them. I love watching my own children grow in Christ and service as well as academically. There’s just something different about our schools: God is at the center of everything we do.”

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Cynthia Mendoza is a freelance writer from Southern California.

When Faith and Work Are One and the Same

There is no line of distinction between faith and work. As assistant vice president for community partnerships and director of the Institute for Community Partnerships at Loma Linda University Health, I live out my faith in the work of enriching people’s lives through outreach, education, and mentorship. The nice thing about my job is that it is also my ministry.

I had a great example of what a service- and ministry-focused life looked like from my mother, Norma Alban, who to this day remains active in educational ministry at the Southeastern California Conference. Growing up in church also taught me the value of service through Pathfinders, Dorcas, and other ministries.

My parents separated when I was a baby due to my mother’s decision to be baptized into the Adventist church. She was baptized at the Spanish American church next to White Memorial Hospital in East Los Angeles, the hospital where she worked as a housekeeper at the time. My father was against her getting baptized, but she chose to follow her conscience despite the consequences.

My mother, now on her own, got a call to work at the Colegio Adventista del Ecuador (CADE) teaching English, and she accepted by faith. We went to live in Ecuador for a few years, and the vision for service

started to ignite in my heart during those early years of my life.

When we came back to the U.S., my mother was a graduate student at Walla Walla College. During our time in Walla Walla, I observed my mother serving local migrant workers and their families, both as a Head Start preschool teacher and through personal ministry giving Bible studies in their homes. The interaction with the migrant families during that time nurtured in me a heart for service.

Earlier in my life I had considered becoming a veterinarian, but my time in Walla Walla, surrounded by the migrant community, and a transformative student mission year abroad in Korea planted seeds in my heart for working with communities of people.

I went on to complete my undergraduate studies at Southern Adventist University, and after a year of mission I went to Andrews University, where my future wife Anastasia had transferred from Southern. While at Andrews, I also interacted with migrant workers in Michigan, and it was there that I decided to pursue public health as a career.

Once at Loma Linda University Health, my passion for minority health, education, and health equity was instrumental in the creation of Promotores Academy at San Manuel Gateway College on LLU’s San Bernardino campus. This academy is a certificate program for community health workers (promotores de salud) who are trained to bridge the gap between

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health systems and the community.

In essence, the program trains lay people to be liaisons between the community and the healthcare systems. Students in the program receive training in individual and community capacity building, health promotion and disease prevention, cultural mediation, advocacy, home visitation skills, and more. Upon completion of the program, students go on to work at fostering and sustaining health in their communities, while earning a livable wage and benefits.

The tattoo removal program, founded by Sigrid Burruss, MD, FACS, and supported by the Institute for Community Partnerships, is another program that helps provide people with opportunities for a fresh start by removing tattoos that could otherwise hinder their future success. Burruss would repeatedly see young men coming in with stab and gunshot wounds, and she started thinking about violence prevention and how to address the root cause of this problem.

Removing tattoos is a means of violence prevention when tattoos are gang affiliated. Even if a person is no longer in a gang, a visible gang tattoo could potentially be problematic even years down the road. The tattoos may no longer reflect who they are as a person, and they want a fresh start in life.

It is exactly this type of hands-on practical service and relationship building that most meaningfully impacts people’s lives, especially given the social, health, and educational needs in the communities surrounding Loma Linda. When He chose this place through Ellen White, God knew that there is a real need and opportunity for service here. This is a way to continue the healing and teaching ministry of Jesus Christ.

And as someone who had positive role models and a strong support system for getting an education, I also wish to do the same for other young people.

According to the Institute for Community Partnerships website, African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians are about one quarter of the population of the U.S. but represent less than

10% of the workforce in the health professions of medicine, nursing, dentistry, and pharmacy. The Institute for Community Partnerships offers underrepresented minority high school students a pipeline program for those interested in a health professions career by preparing them to graduate high school and attend college.

I love nothing more than interacting with students and community members to better serve them and encourage them in their professional and educational journeys. As a fully bilingual professional, I also welcome the opportunity to speak with Spanishspeaking parents to encourage and support them as they support their children’s education.

For this reason, I make my office phone number available to anyone seeking guidance and encouragement in pursuing their education. If you are a young person considering a career in the health sciences or curious about health careers, or if you are a parent who would like to better support your student or even explore your own career opportunities, you may reach me at 909-558-7754.

There is nothing better than connecting with community. It becomes an opportunity for kinship.

Juan Carlos Belliard holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University and a Master’s in Public Health from Loma Linda University, where he now teaches Global Health at the School of Public Health. He and his wife, Anastasia, have two children, Victoria and Nicolás. The Belliards all share a love for music, reading, traveling, camping, running, and fútbol.

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The Seeds of Greed

The term “greed” could be defined by relating it to several examples: the excessive desire for riches, a desire to satisfy sensual appetites, and even the fervent craving for something good. In the tenth commandment, the context of the verb “to covet” indicates an attitude contrary to the way

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the Darwinian philosophy in which the strongest and most agile individual is favored by pursuing what he craves in any way he chooses. The strategy of many people to obtain success could be summarized like this: if you want it, get it, no matter how. Elliot Ku writes that, in this day and age, it is very easy to covet.1 Covetousness can easily start with a simple cyber click.

In the Old Testament

The word "No" is the idea behind eight of the Ten Commandments. The last precept of this divine law begins with "You shall not covet" (Exodus 20:17). Two examples of the pernicious result of violating this warning can be found in the stories of the Flood in Genesis 6 and Naboth’s vineyard in 1 Kings 21. Ellen G. White tells us that many of the antediluvian generation obtained by force what they coveted from their neighbor, bringing pain, death, and suffering to others (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 91). The same result is reported in 1 Kings 21. King Ahab selfishly wanted to own the vineyard that belonged to Naboth, which was not for sale. Jezebel, wife of the monarch, schemed to satisfy her husband's

greed. Through the use of false witnesses, the rightful owner of the vineyard was killed, and thus it became Ahab's. This horrific slander against an innocent man illustrates how, at times, those who are less privileged and defenseless can suffer at the hands of people and institutions when greed and power are combined.

The Hebrew expression for greed is hatmad, which can mean delighting in someone or something, desiring or having pleasure in it2 (Exodus 20:17; 34:24; Deuteronomy 5:21; 7:25; Joshua 7:21; Proverbs 12:12; Micah 2:2). The word also might be used to describe putting your heart into something. This was the case when Laban accused Jacob of having stolen his personal idols.3 According to Jacob's father-in-law, this theft was motivated by Jacob’s desire to return to Canaan (Genesis 31:30).4

The tenth commandment affects the other nine. Covetousness can lead to idolatry, dishonoring father and mother, theft, lying, adultery, and assault on the property of others. In the same way, the violation of the Sabbath may be preceded by a desire, an act of greed, or some other longing to satisfy a temporary need or pleasure.

On the other hand, the observance of the fourth commandment can be an antidote to greed and the desire for riches. On the Sabbath we remember that the existence of humans, other created beings, and the natural world had their origin in God (Genesis 1:26,27; 2:1-3). On the seventh day God invites His people to abstain from their usual labor, providing instead an opportunity to evaluate their motives for serving God and not being dragged down by greed

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The tenth commandment affects the other nine. Covetousness can lead to idolatry, dishonoring father and mother, theft, lying, adultery, and assault on the property of others.

(Exodus 20:9-11). Similarly, recognizing God as Creator and Sustainer of all (Psalm 24:1; Haggai 2:8) is an opportunity for the believer to gratefully return tithes and offerings, which helps to put temporal priorities in place and raise a safeguard against greed (Malachi 3:9-10).

In the New Testament

Greed is described as interacting in the cares and desires of various characters some 53 times in the New Testament. The verb epithuméo and its root translates as “what boils, boils and pulsates.” In the extra-biblical literature of the Greco-Roman world, greed is a fundamental trait controlling gods and mortals.

Many books of the New Testament were written using narrative and biography as part of the literary style of the time.5 In these stories, eyewitnesses and other faithful believers,6 who accepted the good news of Jesus Christ, showed how the ethics of Jesus (Matthew 5:2-12), reflected in the Decalogue, came to shape the life and behavior of His followers. Although there were exceptions (Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5; Judas and the 30 pieces of silver in Matthew 27), in general, the believers opposed and resisted greed (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Corinthians 3:1-5). Paul expressed it in several ways: the desire to see each other again (1 Thessalonians 2:17) or sinful desires (1 Corinthians 10:6; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:24). The apostle warned of the desire to obtain riches at any cost (1 Timothy 6:9).

It may well be concluded that this tenth commandment against coveting is interrelated with all the other precepts, including the Sabbath. The words of James 2:10-12 support this connection by showing that the violation of one precept can produce a domino effect on the others. Jesus of Nazareth mentioned the relationship between the two fundamental principles of the Law, which summarize the Decalogue and oppose covetousness: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind....

Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39, NIV). These two principles are not a substitution for the Decalogue but its foundation.

A challenge for today

Those today who follow the sayings and deeds of Jesus Christ soon learn that contemporary Western society is becoming post-Christian 7 and as a result, an adverse attitude toward biblical Christianity is developing. 8

As society becomes more and more secularized, a commitment to biblical principles will be a sure protection against the many seductions in this end time. 9

Greed is also a friend of selfishness, envy, pride, and hubris. These behaviors cause dissatisfaction and suffering to those who practice them and in the lives of those around them. Respect for the tenth commandment not only promotes consideration of the goods of others but also provides contentment with what is possessed or what can be acquired through biblical principles (Matthew 6:33). It is good to recognize with gratitude and joy how God bestows different blessings on the proper circumstances of each human being (Philemon 4:67; Matthew 6:34).

1. Elliot Ku, “The Crisis of Covetousness,” The Pastor's Study, (April 13, 2019),

2. Wilhelm Gesenius, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of The Old Testament

3. In the Mesopotamian culture of the time, the one who possessed the idols of the father owned his inheritance.

4. See The Holy Scriptures According to The Masoretic Text (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1917).

5. See Jonathan T. Pennington and Richard Bauckham, Reading The Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012).

6. Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008).

7. See John S. Dickerson, Hope of Nations: Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post-Christian World, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018.

8. See Gene Edward Veith Jr., Post-Christian: A Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publications, 2020).

9. See Ellen G. White, "The Scriptures a Safeguard," chapter 37 in The Great Controversy, pp. 593-602.

Carlos G. Molina is an adjunct professor of New Testament at Universidad de Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico, and is also an adjunct professor in Homiletics at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

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Adventist Pioneers in the West


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William and Nellie Simpson The Simpson house in Los Angeles

Ward Simpson

William Ward Simpson was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 1, 1872, to English parents. The family moved back to England shortly afterwards and then returned to the U.S. when he was 11. His father died soon after the voyage.

When William fell ill, his mother was advised to take him to Battle Creek. Though from an atheist family, William accepted the Adventist message at 18 and began work in the Sanitarium and later at the Review and Herald.

One day, as he operated one of the printing machines, he announced to his foreman that he was leaving “to preach the third angel’s message.” Soon after he was given a ministerial license, and he worked both in Michigan and in Ontario, Canada, which came under the Michigan Conference at that time.

He organized a church in Kent County, Ontario, but while there he was imprisoned for 40 days for the crime of “desecrating the Sabbath” under the local Sunday laws. While in prison he wrote poetry and sent letters, one of which records his experience and was printed in the Review and Herald: “My cell is so small I have hardly room to undress. I am locked in at six o’clock, and let out at seven next

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morning, so you see that the most of my time is spent there. I am not lonely; for the most precious experiences of my life have been while locked in my cell. Instead of being shut in by bare walls, it seems like being shut in with Jesus.”1 He later used

this experience in some of his handbills advertising his evangelistic meetings.

In 1897 he and another licensed minister began a church among the Iroquois in a reservation near Brantford, Ontario—the first Native American church in North America.

In 1899 he married Nellie Ballenger, daughter of Adventist pioneer John Fox Ballenger, having first met the family in 1894.

Moving to California in 1902, he developed his evangelistic strategies and held meetings in Redlands, Riverside, Pasadena, San Diego, San Francisco, and Oakland.

But his greatest work was reserved for the city of Los Angeles. Beginning in 1904, he held public meetings in the downtown area and attracted thousands.

Using graphic illustrations and clear expositions of Bible truth, he convinced many of the Advent message. After the first set of meetings, over 200 were baptized. When it was thought he would finish, a petition was circulated by the local people, urging more meetings.

When the conference did suggest a move, Ellen White opposed it. She took a great interest in Simpson’s work, writing to him several times. However, she was concerned about burn-out, telling him, “I am deeply interested in your work in Southern California. I am so anxious that you shall not break down under the strain of long, continuous effort. Let someone connect with you who can share your burdens. This is the plan that was followed by the Great Teacher. He sent His disciples out two and two.”2

She also spoke very favorably about his methods: “Brother S is an intelligent evangelist. He speaks with the simplicity of a child. Never does he bring any slur into his discourses. He preaches directly from the Word, letting the Word speak to all classes. His strong arguments are the words of the Old and the New Testaments. He does not seek for words that would merely impress the people

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with his learning, but he endeavors to let the Word of God speak to them directly in clear, distinct utterance. If any refuse to accept the message, they must reject the Word.”3

She praised his ingenuity: “I am pleased with the manner in which our brother [Elder S] has used his ingenuity and tact in providing suitable illustrations for the subjects presented—representations that have a convincing power. Such methods will be used more and more in this closing work.”4

So it was all the more tragic that he died so early, at the age of 34 in 1907, leaving behind his wife and three young children. Ellen writes of her sadness: “While we were at Loma Linda, we were made sad to hear of the death of Elder W.W. Simpson. Brother Simpson was a man who thoroughly believed the message for this time, and he preached it with power. His winning way of

presenting Bible doctrines, and his ability to devise and to use suitable illustrations, enabled him to hold the close attention of large congregations. He had confidence in the power of the word of God to bring conviction, and the Lord greatly blessed his efforts in the salvation of many souls.”5

Ministerial colleague Roderick S. Owen conducted Simpson’s funeral and wrote, “The service, conducted in the Central church in Los Angeles, was attended by a large concourse of people.... He was buried in the new cemetery at Tropico, Cal., where he will sleep in Jesus until the voice of his Master calls him forth to behold, in wonder and rapture, the scene of Christ's return to earth, which scene he has so often and so vividly portrayed before his audiences.”6

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

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1. William Simpson, “From Chatham Jail,” Review and Herald, May 26, 1896, p. 333. 2. Ellen G. White, “Proper Voice Culture,” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9 (Silver Spring, MD: Ellen G. White Estate, 1990), p. 15. 3. Ellen G. White, Evangelism (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1946), p. 204. 4. Ellen G. White, Evangelism, p. 205. 5. Ellen G. White, “Notes of Travel—No. 2,” Review and Herald, Aug. 1, 1907, p. 8. 6. Roderick S. Owen, Review and Herald, May 23, 1907, p. 23.

Influencers: Modern-Day Disciples to Gather at West Coast Youth Conference in August

Merriam-Webster defines an influencer as “a person who inspires or guides the actions of others,” or “a person who is able to generate interest in something.”1 Dictionary. com says influence is “the capacity or power of persons…to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.”2

Typically, the term “influencer” is used to describe individuals who garner a large following on social media and are looked to for guidance on what is trendy, cool, and desirable. Influencers set the tone and focus for those in their circle and are able to bring large groups of people together around a particular shared interest.

And if it works for makeup, music, fitness, and fashion, it can work for Christian values, too.

This is the idea behind this year’s West Coast Youth Conference’s (WCYC) theme, “Influencers,” which organizers define as “modern-day disciples whose passion for Christ leads culture and inspires others to follow.”

From August 9-13, 2023, hundreds of youth and

young adults from up and down the West Coast will gather in Phoenix, Arizona, to learn how to capitalize on our modern influencer culture to shine the light of Christ’s love into the world.

“Our goal is to give young people tools to use their talents on whatever platform they want, in whatever way works for them to lead culture and, in so doing, lead others to Christ,” explained Neat Randriamialison, communication director for the Nevada-Utah Conference and one of the event’s coordinators. “We want to foster and encourage their passion for Christ and help them find ways to share that passion in as many ways and as creatively as possible.”

The WCYC is co-sponsored by the Regional Ministries offices of both the Pacific Union and the North Pacific Union Conferences, who together form the West Coast Black Administrative Caucus. The every-five-year event aims to specifically reach urban youth and young adults and train, inspire, and empower them to be leaders.

Delroy Brooks, pastor of the Juniper Avenue church in Fontana, California, is planning

NEWSDESK 20 Pacific Union Recorder I Newsdesk

programming for the event—a big job for an event serving young people ranging in age from 13 to 23.

“The workshops all fit into one of three sub-themes,” he said. “Being an influencer in the world, in your community, and with your friends. There will be a specific track for ages 13-17 and another for ages 18-23.”

Workshop foci cover myriad topics such as music, media, gaming, social justice, small business development, social media, interpersonal skills, and relationship building. Each event follows a common thread, leading young people to recognize and wield their potential power for good.

Social media is, of course, a huge part of being an influencer, and Brooks said they’ll be talking about it a lot—but not, perhaps, in the way one might expect.

“We are making a special effort to help young people see they don’t have to create a persona

to be online,” he said. “They can and should be the same person online as they are in person. If they’re connected to God, people need to know that connection is real, so they themselves need to remain authentic in everything they do.”

Jenkins, pastor of Abundant Life church in Las Vegas and event coordinator, agrees.

“Young people from urban areas and urban cultures can still serve God in their skin and culture,” he said. “They don’t have to change for anyone in order to serve God.”

At a conference geared toward modern youth, the workshops and seminars have to speak on topics their generation will find appealing and relevant. This is why they have a whole workshop on how to be an influencer while gaming.

“The person doing this workshop has been teaching me a lot more about the gaming community,” Brooks admitted. “He has found it advantageous to talk to the other gamers while playing and has been

NEWSDESK Newsdesk I July 2023 21
“We want to help our youth think about how they can be influential within the spaces they already occupy.” Delroy Brooks

able to have some very productive discussions with young people looking for purpose in their lives. We want to help our youth think about how they can be influential within the spaces they already occupy.”

Of course, there are some spaces youth shouldn’t occupy, some games they perhaps shouldn’t get involved with. All of this will be discussed in the seminar planned for August’s conference. Byron Dulan, Regional Ministries Director for the North Pacific Union, said the key is helping young people be discerning in their methods and presence—within the gaming world and beyond.

“The truth is, they can use their access to different spaces in a positive way,” Dulan said. “We’re here to help them figure out how to make positive change within their own environment, rather than being changed by their environment.”

Historically, WCYC has been held in various places around Southern California. This year, for the first time, it is taking place outside of California, at Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix. The event typically draws at least 500 the day it begins, and by Sabbath morning the crowd has just about doubled.

Randriamialison said another important element of the conference is the opportunity for Ad -

ventist youth to discover they aren’t the only ones out there. The size of this conference definitely provides that.

“Many of our churches are fairly small, and if young people are attending public school, their understanding of what the church looks like can be fairly small, too,” Randriamialison said. “I often hear how hard it is for Adventist teens to make friends, particularly with other Adventists. This is the time and place for that, when they can see the Adventist world is bigger than their home church and make those important lifelong connections.”

Though this event is created specifically for youth, its impact stretches far beyond ages 13-23.

“We’re equipping young people to be valuable wherever they go,” Brooks said. “The default value to the church is that they return home excited to be involved, but the greater value is that no matter where they go, they know their value, what they can do, and how they can participate.”

WCYC started in 2003 and was originally designed for Black urban youth and young adults. Since then, its reach has grown, and while Jenkins pointed out specific elements of the conference—such as the church service on Sabbath—have remained “un-

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“We’re here to help them figure out how to make positive change within their own environment, rather than being changed by their environment.” Byron Dulan

apologetically Black,” the event itself is inclusive of and welcoming to young people of all backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities.

“We are an urban conference, and we want to keep that flavor,” Jenkins added. “People come to this conference because they can express themselves freely and don’t have to shift to fit into another culture.”

All young people ages 13-23 are invited to be part of the 2023 WCYC. Details including fees and how to register can be found on the WCYC website, If cost is prohibitive, families should talk to their local conference about available financial assistance.

In addition to seminars and workshops, the conference will include social activities, a water park experience, keynote speakers, and plenty of worship opportunities. This year’s speakers are Paula Olivier, Northeastern Conference youth director; Kyle

Crawford, youth pastor at Mt. Rubidoux church; G. Alexander Bryant, president of the North American Division; Aren Rennacker, Southeastern California Conference youth director; and Christopher Dorsey, recent graduate of Oakwood University.

Event organizers are optimistic and excited to see how God moves in this year’s conference and are looking forward to being in community with Adventist youth. Do they think the change in location this year will reduce attendance?

“We all want to be in a space where worship is authentic and driven by a real heart for God,” responded Brooks. “Young people want to be part of a worship experience that is real, and that’s what they’ll get at WCYC. They’ll show up. They always do.”



Why Go to Summer Camp?

“Why do I want to go to Junior Camp? Because I have been there, and the memory of those happy days will never fade. The friendships formed there will last, the lessons learned there will be remembered for many, many years.” Rhea Detlor, eighth grade, Bakersfield school.1

While this could still be the sentiment of many who attend youth camp today, this statement was written way back in 1936! Some things just don’t change, and enthusiasm for the summer camp program continues to inspire both campers and staff in 2023.

There’s hardly an Adventist family who hasn’t been part of the camp experience. This sprawling enterprise of over 35 Adventist camps in the U.S. has had a significant positive impact on the lives of many. But where did it come from, and why is it still so relevant today?

The first recorded “official” Adventist youth camp was held in Michigan in 1926. In this new program, boys and girls could attend camp for a dollar a day! The activities were a mix of recreational fun, crafts,

and spiritual development.

In the West, Idyllwild camp was set up on leased land in Southeastern California for three years starting in 1929. Its success led in 1932 to the purchase of 16 acres of the property on which was built a large dining room. Camp Idyllwild was the first

NEWSDESK Newsdesk I July 2023 23
Idyllwild camp

summer camp property owned by Adventists. Also in 1929, the Central California Conference was holding summer camps at Wawona in Yosemite. For many years, boys’ and girls’ camps were held separately. Reporting on the girls’ camp, R.S. Fries wrote:

After spending a few days at the Junior camp at Wawona we want to report that the twenty-nine girls in this camp are having the best time of their lives. And why should they not? From the rising whistle at six a. m. until the taps sound at nine at night the day is just filled with good things that train the body, the soul and the mind.

The camp is situated in a beautiful grove of pines. The fragrant balsam makes one breathe deep. A beautiful ice-cold stream of drinking water runs through the camp. Every tent is beneath the trees giving shade through the heat of the day. The swimming pool is just a short distance away, and when the whistle blows to line up for meal time everyone is eager to sit down to the wellladen tables, and how they do eat! Such appetites are never seen at home. Just wait until these girls get home if you want to hear what the Junior camp is like and how they enjoyed it. There will be twenty-nine boosters

arriving home in another ten days and just ask any one of them if they had a good time.2

While almost a century on, it may be that most parents wouldn’t want their daughters drinking from a stream, the picture is still attractively idyllic and sounds like a lot of fun!

Initially known as “Junior Camp,” these youth camps in many ways became more popular than the adult camp meetings they were based on. The prospect of an adventure in nature away from home was attractive to both children and parents alike, though perhaps for different reasons. For the kids, it was fun. For the adults, the appeal was likely the spiritual component. Whatever the reason, these camps proved extremely popular, and the formula continues today.

24 Pacific Union Recorder I Newsdesk NEWSDESK

The wife of one of our foreign missionary doctors, who had her daughter in camp the last two years, remarks, “I think this junior camp idea is the finest project our denomination ever embarked upon.”

Among the improvements noticed in the lives of the boys and girls upon their return from camp are the following: More interested in other people, more helpful and thoughtful, better use of spare time, more interest in keeping clothes in order, more willing obedience.3

Such testimonials, from nearly a century ago, are as valid now as they were then, with the same high objectives at the center of the camp program.

When asked why youth camp is still important, Craig Heinrich, camp director at Leoni Meadows, said, “Attending camp can be the most amazing personal experience.” He may even believe the old saying about this being the best thing since sliced bread! He continued, “It provides a refining religious experience for the campers—and for the staff as well.”

Check your local conference youth department for information about camp dates.

Pacific Union Selects New Vice President for Youth Ministries, and More, in Spirit-Led Executive Committee Meeting

The Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee gathered for its quarterly meeting on May 18. The committee welcomed a special guest from the North American Division (NAD), Minervino (Minner) Labrador, vice president for multilingual ministries. These leaders moved forward with their pivotal work and mission as a church to spread the gospel to the world.

After a moving devotional by Travis Sager, senior pastor at Honolulu Central church, and prayer, the meeting, led by Pacific Union Conference President Bradford Newton, continued with the agenda.

Setting the tone

Because he had lost his voice, Elder Newton gave a short (but impactful) president’s report. He displayed a photo of a joyful Pathfinder, taken seconds after rising from the waters of baptism, and pointed to it as a perfect example of our mission as a church. We are to engage the present and grow the future. We need to be reminded of what it means to

be a vibrant Adventist living today and pray that God will use us. This is God’s call: that we face the challenges of today and remember to grow the future.

Ministry in motion

Executive Vice President Leon B. Brown Sr. gave an update on two volunteer lay ministries: Muslim Ministries and Jewish Ministries. Muslim Ministries, led by Gerald Babanezhad, is diligently working to reach Muslims across the globe and share the good news of the gospel. Through Instagram, Babanezhad

NEWSDESK Newsdesk I July 2023 25
1. Rhea Detlor, “Why I Want to Attend Junior Camp,” Pacific Union Recorder (June 17, 1936), p. 2, 2. R.S. Fries, “Junior Camp,” Pacific Union Recorder (July 18, 1929), p. 3, PUR19290718-V28-50.pdf. 3. L.A. Skinner, “Parents Endorse Summer Training Camp,” Pacific Union Recorder (Aug. 30, 1933), p. 5,
Baptisms Increase
327 over 1st quarter of 2022

has produced over 400 live programs in the last three years for Iranians and Afghanis. Additionally, as of March 2023, Muslim Ministries’ new television program has aired on Last Day Signs TV, sponsored by Amazing Facts Canada, and has been seen by more than 2 billion.

Jewish Ministries just celebrated the launch of the Beth Ohr: Urban Center of Influence. With a name inspired by the words found in Isaiah 60:1 (“Arise, shine, for your light has come”), Beth Ohr’s mission is to establish evangelistic work through friendship evangelism, focusing primarily on the inactive Jewish community and secondarily on other population groups. After just five weeks, Bible workers have gained 23 Jewish interests and are meeting twice a week with groups over 10.

Continual growth

Executive Secretary Sandy Roberts reported on membership statistics throughout the union. Though the increase is small, the union increased in membership for the first time since the third quarter of 2017. Arizona, Nevada-Utah, Southeastern, and Southern California conferences all experienced a first quarter gain. Additionally, Asian-Pacific membership grew 9.59%, Black Ministries grew 12.11%, Hispanic Ministries grew 22.49%, and Caucasian/ Multicultural ministries grew 55.80%

First and foremost, as Elder Newton stated during his report, our mission is to engage the present and, as a church, continue to grow our heavenly family by bringing others to Jesus' warm embrace. There surely must have been a special celebration in heaven because, during the first quarter, our union, empowered by the Holy Spirit, experienced 327 more baptisms over 2022’s first quarter. Roberts said, “We continue to celebrate what the Spirit of God is doing in the Pacific Union as we lift Jesus up.”

New leadership

For the first time in at least 40 years, the Pacific Union is establishing a new Vice President for Youth Ministries. Finding the right candidate took time and prayer. The hiring committee looked far and wide and reached out to several conferences as well as the NAD for candidates for the job. They came up with a list of several potentials, looked at their experience, and then, after reference checks and more prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, decided on their nominee: Randy Hill.

“I am extremely excited that the Executive Committee voted to hire Randy Hill as our vice president for Youth Ministries,” said Elder Brown. “Randy brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about working with young people.” Brown, who didn’t know Hill prior to his interview, also stated, “I was impressed as we vetted him and as we sat down and had a conversation with him. He is thoughtful, a great thinker, a good planner, and a good team builder. Those are, I believe, skills that will serve him well in this position.”

Hill comes with over 18 years of experience. With a bachelor’s degree in theology from Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University), and a master’s in pastoral ministry from Andrews University, he has served as a youth pastor at the Medford, Oregon, church and the associate youth director/Pathfinder director for the Oregon Conference.

“I am so excited for the Pacific Union and the direction it is headed,” said Erik VanDenburgh. “The Pacific Union was once the leader in developing youth ministries for the world church, and I truly believe it will be once again.”

NEWSDESK 26 Pacific Union Recorder I Newsdesk
“The Pacific Union was once the leader in developing youth ministries for the world church, and I truly believe it will be once again.” Erik VanDenburgh

Tithe Increase

March 2023

Additionally, the committee voted Yoane Sanchez as the new director for SOULS West. Sanchez, who is currently working for his master’s in pastoral ministry, most recently was working as a pastor for the Central California Conference. He has extensive experience in Youth Rush and literature evangelism, both as a student leader and trainer.

SOULS West is part of the literature evangelism department. It is an outreach ministry training school for youth, equipping them for leadership in using literature ministry as the basis for evangelism. Students graduating from SOULS West receive a certificate in evangelism.

“Pastor Yoane Sanchez brings the experience, skills, and vision that match the needs of our outreach leadership school,” said Bill Krick, director for literature ministries. “He loves young people and has a passion to see them engaged in the mission of the church. We are so thankful to have Yoane and his family on board.”

A heart of giving

The first quarter's Sabbath School lessons focused on tithe and giving, reminding us to acknowledge the Lord's bountiful blessings and in faith return to Him

what is in fact His. Praise the Lord that, overall, our union continues to trend up in this respect. Treasurer Stephen Mayer reported a 12.49% tithe increase, noting that every conference within the union experienced an increase. This trend supports the increase overall for the North American Division. “A small tithe increase would be a miracle in this economic environment,” Mayer stated. “But to have double digit increases can only be explained as blessings from the Lord! The funds help assist our employees to financially be able to afford to spread the gospel in the Pacific Union.”

Additionally, Mayer updated the committee on the ongoing construction of the Riverside property ground lease that is being used for low-income housing. The 80-unit property production is fully underway. The outside edifice as well as the individual units’ kitchens and bathrooms are almost fully completed. Once built, 39 very low-income units will be available to help prevent homelessness. Another 40 units will be available to qualified low-income individuals. Mayer said, “Not only is the Pacific Union living out our desire to share the message, but we are also caring for the needs of those most vulnerable.”

The property will also have supportive services such as counseling, education training, personal development training, and a health and human services connection for those who need greater assistance.

NEWSDESK Newsdesk I July 2023 27
Percent Increase 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Jan Feb Mar April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec 1.36 5.55 2.66 6.36 2.6 2.42 1.77 1.38 0.97 0.94 0.21 1.44 1.79 6.99 12.39 2022 2023 12.39 6.99 5.55 1.79 1.36 2.66 6.36 2.6 2.42 1.77 1.38 0.97 0.94 0.21 1.44
9.21% - Asian -3.23% - Black 3.62% - Hispanic 17.28% - Other Combined UP 12.39%


Staff, and Faculty

2. Deepen a Culture of Service

3. Provide Robust Employer Relationships and Employment Pathways

4. Re-Envision Relevant Wholistic Education

5. Create a Taskforce to Frame Relevant Adventism


The committee went through the rest of the agenda items, such as ordinations, ministerial credentials, and more. They also welcomed Brian Dudaur from the Northern California Conference as the latest member of the Executive Committee.

Additionally, they celebrated the achievement of Rochelle Webster, lead pastor of Paradise Valley church. She is now Rochelle Webster, Ph.D., having received a Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and the Christian Tradition from Duke University.

Higher education

Both Joy Fehr, president of La Sierra University, and Ralph Trecartin, president of Pacific Union College, gave updates for their respective schools.

PUC is currently looking to hire a new chaplain— their goal is to focus on spiritual engagement on campus. Trecartin showed the committee a new a recruiting video that expressed the idea that the focus of a quality education is not just on academic growth but also on overall spiritual and well-being.

Fehr gave an update on La Sierra’s strategic plans. Their strategy determined to answer three questions: Why, What, and How. The answers lead to Purpose, Strategy, and Tactics. Having presented on the Why and What/Purpose and Strategy in previous executive committee meetings, Fehr presented on the How, which is Tactics. La Sierra will focus on five tactics:

1. Strengthen Relationships Between Students,

“As I witness the work of God around the Pacific Union, I’m encouraged, hopeful, and grateful to the Lord for His many blessings,” Elder Newton said, reflecting on the meeting, “Through the variety of ministries engaged with our communities, the continued increase in the returning of tithe by our faithful members, and the committed engagement of our Executive Committee, I witness how we are engaging in the present. As we welcome Elder Randy Hill as our vice president for Youth Ministries and Pastor Yoane Sanchez as director of SOULS West, the construction of new low-income housing, and the continual growth of membership and focus on education, we are by God’s grace growing our future!”

The meeting ended with prayer and a reforged dedication to work together toward the goal of preparing people for the return of Jesus. The next Executive Committee meeting will take place Wednesday, September 13.

NEWSDESK 28 Pacific Union Recorder I Newsdesk
Tithe Increase
By conference through March 2023 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 u Arizona u Central u Hawaii u Nevada-Utah u Northern u Southeastern u Southern 70.86 9.81 10.50 11.50 7.58 4.14 6.62
“As I witness the work of God around the Pacific Union, I’m encouraged, hopeful, and grateful to the Lord for His many blessings.” Brad Newton

Just a Teacher Who Loves His Kids: Teryl Loeffler Retires After 46 Years

Ialways knew teaching was what I wanted to do, and it was the impact of my own teachers on my life that influenced me,” explained Teryl Loeffler, associate director of education for the Pacific Union Conference. “I wanted to be that person for the generations that came after me.”

Since 1975, Loeffler has been doing just that for students across the country—California, Tennessee, Kansas, Hawai’i, and back to California. From the classroom to the principal’s office to superintendent to associate director of education, Loeffler has touched thousands of lives over the course of his nearly 47 years in Adventist education.

“Anyone who has interacted with Teryl has great appreciation for his work and the way he conducts himself,” shared Ricardo Graham, retired president of the Pacific Union Conference, who was part of the committee that hired Loeffler as superintendent in 2012.

Loeffler feels each level of working in education has potential to touch students’ lives, and he has enjoyed each one in different ways. Teaching in the classroom, he said, is the most important role, because it has the most direct impact and carries the most significant

opportunity for influence.

“Being a principal is rewarding because you get to guide other teachers in that process and lead school improvement efforts,” he asserted. “Superintendent is where you get to see the big picture of the whole reason you’re there.”

In his role as associate director, Loeffler also serves as the union’s representative between academies and their accrediting body (Western Association of Schools and Colleges—WASC). This liaison has an important role to play in ensuring all students are learning. If any of them aren’t, it’s the associate director’s role to support the superintendent in their work with the principal to create an action plan going forward.

“When the accreditors leave, you don’t just go back to life as it was; you find ways to adjust to ensure learning,” said Berit von Pohle, vice president for education at the Pacific Union Conference. “Teryl’s personality is particularly valuable for this role, because he’s very relationship-oriented and is there to be helpful, rather than simply giving orders.”

As of July 1, 2023, Loeffler will be officially retired. In honor of his exemplary and meaningful service to the church and its young people, von Pohle nominated Loeffler for the General Conference Award of Excellence. In May, Loeffler was surprised to find he had been selected for an award he didn’t even know existed until that moment.

“It was a total shock,” he stated. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.”

The Award of Excellence is the second-highest award conferred by the General Conference Department of Education. Eligibility requirements are stringent, limiting qualified candidates to a small pool every year. The candidate “must be broadly recognized as a model of an educator who has integrated

Continued on page 62

NEWSDESK Newsdesk I July 2023 29
Loeffler receives the Award of Excellence, the second-highest award conferred by the General Conference Department of Education.

Chandler Churches Celebrates Growth

The church pews are full, the parking lot is full, and space is running out for the Chandler church—all problems that are “good” problems for a church to grapple with and discuss. A church that seats 320 is now opening their side rooms and fellowship hall to accommodate the nearly 500 people who attend church each week.

“It is exciting,” said Pastor Ed Anderson. “God is working, and people are responding. All we need to do is ask.”

The church is looking to expand; however, instead of expanding to a new building, they are planning to plant churches in neighboring communities. This is part of the evangelistic discipleship that is taking place.

“The real work is not asking people to accept Jesus, but it is after they are baptized,” said Anderson. “We have turned every ministry the church does into a form of evangelism.”

The foundation for the church’s growth is found in the friendship evangelism that is taking place. The church has had 100% retention since 2019. Pastor Anderson noted that if a member does not come to church, they may get three or four phone calls from people in the church telling them were missed at church. An example of this type of evangelism was witnessed at a recent baptism that took place.

“A member of our young adult group invited her friend Jocelyn to attend church,” Anderson related. “Jocelyn attended and came back again and again and then asked for Bible studies and then for baptism.”

Jocelyn will now be part of the San Tan/Queen Creek

church plant that is taking place. In addition, she has invited her mother and brother to take Bible studies. What started with one friend inviting another has now spread to more people. The ripple effect of this type of evangelism is growing the church.

At the same baptism, 19 other people were baptized. Twelve were from the church’s Pathfinder club and the other seven resulted from Bible studies; several were viewers who tune in each week to watch the church’s broadcast on YouTube.

“I have no control over this,” Anderson said. “This is what happens when our members lift up Jesus.”

30 Pacific Union Recorder Arizona Conference
Candidates for baptism are welcomed by the church at a recent service. Pastor Anderson prepares to baptize Jocelyn, a young adult introduced to the church through friendship evangelism.

Sahuarita Welcomes “Pastor Mo”

Pastor Mawethu Zonke, “Pastor Mo,” was officially installed as pastor of the Sahuarita church in Sahuarita, Arizona, in January by Arizona Conference Ministerial Director Van Bledsoe. Pastor Mo, his wife, and their 19-month-old son were warmly welcomed by elders and members of the church. With an infectious smile and a warm, caring personality, the pastor gives as warm a welcome as his members showed to his family. The small church in the southern part of Arizona is excited to have this young family as part of their ministerial team.

Woolsey Ordination

On May 13, 2023, Pastor Vince Woolsey was ordained as a Seventh-day Adventist minister by members of the Arizona Conference administration and members of the Mesa Palms church in Mesa, Arizona.

“I can look back over my life and see the ways God has led me into ministry in spite of some speed bumps and detours along the way,” Woolsey said. “God has used life experiences, including a career in sales and caregiving to grow me in areas that needed experience.”

Growing up in Missouri in a devout Adventist family, Vince recalls reading his first words from one of the songbooks the family used for Friday evening worships. Roots that ran deep in Adventism included attending the local Adventist school, being active in Pathfinders, and having a pastor who made an impression on Vince that led to his baptism. Those roots served as an anchor that

brought him back to the church after “25 years of following the way of the world,” as Woolsey put it.

In 2009, Woolsey returned to the church and immediately got involved in local ministries. Over the next two years God was working on his heart, and in 2012 Woolsey made the decision to be rebaptized. Moving to Arizona, he followed a call to work as a literature evangelist and then began to realize a call to pastoral ministry.

“The pastors and church members at the Paradise Valley church invested in me and gave me opportunities for preaching, teaching, and serving as head elder,” Woolsey said. After obtained a bachelor’s degree in theology from Southwestern Adventist University, Woolsey served as a Bible worker in Payson, Arizona, and then became the pastor of the Payson, Flagstaff, and Sedona churches. In September 2022, Woolsey became the pastor of the Mesa Palms church.

His wife is a vital part of the ministry. “She has gifts, skills, and experiences that complement mine and truly enhance our ministry,” he affirmed.

Referring to John 15:4-5 as a major influence on his ministry, Woolsey acknowledges the role that God plays in his life, noting that this pastoral journey is only possible when God abides in us, “for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5,

Arizona Conference July 2023 31

Growing, Giving, and Serving at the Templeton Hills Community Farm

Land sat empty between Templeton Hills church and the elementary school. The members had dreamed for years about what to do with the land—some suggested building a health clinic, others a community center. When Pastor Zac Page arrived, he was excited about these ideas but unsure how to press forward without the needed money.

“One day I drove into the parking lot, looked into the open field and thought, What about an organic farm? Organic farming is kind of big in our area—there are a lot of farmers markets.” He thought and prayed about this idea with his wife when he returned home.

A young family had recently arrived at Templeton Hills church who had the dream of becoming farmers. Page decided to ask them about the idea of pursuing that dream on the church grounds. He approached Matt Giese, who was on a tractor helping with the church grounds, and told him about the idea.

Giese jumped off the tractor and said, “Are you serious? My wife and I have been praying about this idea. We thought, What if we started our farm on the church grounds? But we didn’t think the church would let us do that.”

Many doors opened during the process of making this idea into a reality. The school principal told them that the union wanted people to submit evangelism ideas that could be helped. The church group put the

32 Pacific Union Recorder Central California Conference
Bearen & Laurel Giese RIGHT: Grand Opening

farm idea together, and the union was willing to submit about $15,000 for it—and the conference gave $5,000.

Although $20,000 was still not enough to get started, many more doors opened. Some of the equipment and materials were found for far less money than they were worth, and the money they had was able to cover all of the necessary pieces to have the farm ready. The church hired Giese part time and the mission moved forward.

In February 2020 they held a grand opening for the community, inviting people to visit and see what would be available. Then everything shut down because of the pandemic. Thankfully, they were able to keep most of what they were working on open.

“It was a huge blessing for our community, because they really needed space to be able to come outside, eat healthy, and engage with the community and see where the needs are,” said Giese. Page added that he believes they made even more friends during the

pandemic than the previous five years of him being at the church in ministry.

The farm is normally open 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Sundays, and anyone is able to help out in any way they are able. Many people will simply walk onto the farm and volunteer to become involved. “We encourage everybody to come and participate,” said Giese. “Anybody in all walks of life can join in, no matter what your skill or abilities are; there are easy things to do and difficult things to do.”

There are many people who have been impacted by the ability to be involved with the farm. “We’ve become involved with different homeless ministries through this,” said Page. “A nursery donated 60 fruit trees to us because they just love what is happening here. There’s a beekeeper who keeps a couple of hives here, so that enables us to give out honey sometimes. There’s a guy who rents machinery and fixes small engines, and he’ll let us use any equipment any time because he and his wife just love the farm. So I guess it’s just really helped the community know the Adventist Church more than we’ve been known in the past.”

If this kind of outreach project is something your church is interested in, Page says that first of all you should pray to ask if this is the right ministry for your church. And pray that God brings the right people for this project. If you would like to contact Matt Giese (, he has helped other churches start something similar and would be happy to talk about starting this kind of outreach project in your church.

The Journey Continues:

Monterey Bay Academy in the Years to Come

From the moment we wake up in the morning until our heads hit the pillow at night, we are assaulted with unorganized information, disjointed details, and disconnected data. Place a young, developing mind into this atmosphere with little direction or guidance and you have the recipe for a crisis in mental health — and that is exactly where society finds itself today. At Monterey Bay Academy (MBA), we have something different. In a world where information offers us the tools to make some of the

greatest advances history has ever seen, we also have the framework, provided by a loving God, to make sense of it and share what we know with a confused and directionless world. This is our mission and our opportunity.

Our primary mission is to educate young people to become contributing members of society, but more importantly, to equip them to share the good news of Jesus Christ with a confused and hurting world. To accomplish this mission, we must meet the whole-

Central California Conference July 2023 33
LEFT: Sabrina Giese & Leah Page volunteering to run the farm stand. RIGHT: Wade Wernick helps with a wheelbarrow. MBA aviation student getting ready for flight training.

person needs of our students—intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual.

Our opportunity is to provide a world-class education at MBA. Presently, MBA is uniquely positioned to take advantage of exciting opportunities occurring in STEM education, technological innovation, design, and business. Marine biology is at our doorstep, along with our location in the heart of the experimental aviation and drone industry—two of which occupy space on our campus. These opportunities provide the possibility to produce graduates who can become world-changers in their chosen fields of study.

So, what will an MBA education look like in the years ahead? Here is a sampling of some of the unique experiences that MBA will offer next school year that students may not be able to get elsewhere: aviation ground school; The Project Shop: a 4-year innovation lab; robotics and programming; worship music ministry; marine biology; five Advanced Placement (AP) classes: calculus, statistics, psychology, world history, U.S. history (also offered

as dual credit); horsemanship physical education; lifeguarding; emergency medical response; emergency medical technician; Microsoft Office certification in IT support; data analysis; project management; and digital marketing and e-commerce. Do you see something here that could spark an interest in your child or the child of someone you love?

If our only objective is to provide these opportunities to produce the smartest or most capable graduates, then we have missed the mark. While this is an admirable goal, we need to go back to our primary mission: to train our graduates to be confident in what they know, introduce them to a personal relationship with a loving God, and equip them with the tools to share their love for God with others. Skilled graduates in every discipline, in every kind of workplace, in every corner of the world — sharing Jesus with others. What a beautiful future to imagine.

Please contact Monterey Bay Academy at 831728-1481 x1221 to speak with someone about taking advantage of these exciting classes. This may be the opportunity your child or the child of someone you love has been waiting for.

34 Pacific Union Recorder Central California Conference
Students going out for their scuba certification dive test. MBA Robotics_STEM club at the Adventist FTC Qualifying and Championship on May 5-9, 2023.

Life Hope Center Reopens in Santa Maria: Restoring Hope and Health After Pandemic

The Life Hope Center, a health ministry initiative of the Central California Conference (CCC), has made a heartfelt return in Santa Maria church after a long hiatus due to the covid pandemic. On April 23, the center reopened its doors to a community eager for renewed hope and health, showcasing an inspirational embodiment of Jesus's teachings through service and compassion.

Over 128 community members turned out for the grand reopening, during which dedicated volunteers provided a wide array of essential services. Notably, 92 individuals received vision screenings, and 72 pairs of glasses were ordered for delivery on return visits within six weeks. In addition, the diligent team generously provided 71 haircuts, 60 massage and physical therapy sessions, 29 podiatry screenings, and 25 nail trimmings.

The Life Hope Center offered comprehensive services, including vision screenings, physical therapy, lifestyle coaching, and food demonstrations. Pastor

Jongkeun Han delivered moving emotional and spiritual health talks throughout the day, while Pastor Bartutis Yomar offered invaluable translation and counseling services.

In a demonstration of community collaboration, the center partnered with reputable local medical professionals and organizations such as CHC, Dignity Health, San Luis Obispo Noor Foundation, Mariposa Project, AmeriCorp, Women’s Mobile Health, and the Vandenberg Village Lions Club. These partnerships helped provide extensive health information and resources to the community.

This day was marked by a significant contribution from the Life Hope Center, providing community members with free services valued at more than $83,000. Moving forward, the plan is to extend the reach of this center to more locations within the CCC, furthering our commitment to serving those in need.

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Open to Participation with God

36 Pacific Union Recorder Hawaii Conference

Pastor Ben Williams has been serving the Kihei and Lahaina churches on Maui for about a year and a half. Living in Lahaina, he and his wife, Casey, are active in the local scene and motivated to encourage the people around them to develop a vital relationship with Jesus. In his first year of pastoring, Pastor Ben did what he could to gather people together. He recalled that “people came, and it was fun, but there was no ‘Oh, let’s do Bible studies or baptism,’ anything like that. I had it heavy on my heart that I wanted to do Bible studies with someone. And so I was praying that that would happen.” However, it seemed that as fast as opportunities came up, they fizzled. So, Pastor Ben kept praying.

One recent Sabbath, a young family attended the Lahaina church for the first time. Pastor Ben was intentional about visiting with them after the sermon. They shared a snippet of their background as they exited. He saw them again soon after and had a pleasant but similarly cursory exchange.

The third time the couple attended church, they finally shared the story of how they came to be there. The wife had been having dreams. In one particular dream, her family was in danger from negative influences. In the same dream, the word “shabbat” came up repeatedly as significant. She had to look it up to discover its connection to the Sabbath. Her research soon led her to the Adventist church. According to Pastor Ben, the wife insisted that “God is telling us that we should go to this church because it meant shabbat.” At the end of the story, the wife asked, “So, would you mind giving us Bible studies and baptizing us? And

would you dedicate both of our children?”

Pastor Ben now meets regularly with the couple as they prepare for baptism. His aim is not only to plug them into church life but also to encourage their growth in a personal relationships with Jesus. He is impressed by their remarkably fervent Bible study.

This experience has taught Pastor Ben a valuable lesson for his future ministry. “I think as a pastor it can often feel like I need to figure out how to be innovative and attractive for these people then to come and receive Jesus,” he said. “But this is just another confirmation on the stack of confirmations that God wants to do something and we are more than welcome to participate. But we need to recognize that that’s what we’re doing. We’re participating with Him. I mean, the events didn’t work. What worked is God sent [the couple] a dream, and now they’re coming to church and being baptized.”

For this reason, let us continue to build events and connect with people, but, more importantly, let us stay in tune with the will of God through prayer.

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“God is telling us that we should go to this church because it meant shabbat.”

Health Emphasis Weekend with Dr. Zeno Charles-Marcel

Have you ever heard of piccadilly? It’s one of our students’ favorite treats. It’s essentially a snow cone with chopped pickles and KoolAid. Or how about Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? Then there is the Navajo traditional food called fry bread, which serves as the base for Navajo tacos. These foods have two things in common: they are nutritionally void, and they are staples in our students’ diets.

One of the main emphases that we have here at Holbrook Indian School (HIS) is health. From mental health to physical health to spiritual health, we strive to instill in our students the importance of maintaining a healthy equilibrium in their lives in order to succeed and to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Many of our students have not been exposed to an education that involves health, and it is important to us that we give them the best advantage while here at HIS so that when they graduate, they are better equipped to handle what life has to offer them.

On March 27th, HIS welcomed guest speaker Dr. Zeno Charles-Marcel during our health emphasis weekend. The purpose of his visit was to reinforce the health concepts that we’ve been trying to work on throughout the whole year with our students. He shared insights on how our health is important when it comes to connecting with our Creator God. We were

very grateful for his willingness to share with staff and students alike the wisdom and knowledge that he’s gleaned over the years regarding health and our relationship with God.

Charles-Marcel is a well-known medical doctor in the Adventist church. He is mostly known for having started the first lifestyle center, based in Oklahoma, called Lifestyle Centers of America. For years, he worked together with Dr. David DeRose, developing the program for this lifestyle center, educating volunteers and attendees, and setting a standard that other lifestyle centers would eventually follow. Charles-Marcel has been involved in self-supporting ministries and hospital work for many years. He currently serves as the Senior Health VP for the Adventist Health Ministries department at the General Conference.

Health Emphasis Weekend is just one initiative that supplements Holbrook’s four core pillars that we call MAPS: Mental, Academic/Artistic, Physical, and Spiritual. We are very grateful for important guests like CharlesMarcel, who take an active interest in our little school in the desert. God always brings the right people to our students, and we give Him praise for showing such care for them.

38 Pacific Union Recorder Holbrook Indian School
38 Union Recorder Holbrook Indian School
A Seventh-day Adventist Boarding Academy Serving Native American Youth Since 1946

Victor Cadavid Presents at the NAD Health Initiative

Abig part of our health emphasis on campus involves engaging with the public to share what we offer our students here at Holbrook Indian School. On April 7th, Victor Cadavid, our MAPS Coordinator, attended a Health Initiative Conference hosted by the NAD in Lexington, Kentucky, to talk about our MAPS program.

MAPS is a wellness strategy created especially for our student population to assist them to learn, grow, and thrive in these four key areas: Mental, Academic/ Artistic, Physical, and Spiritual. Learning does not happen in a vacuum. For our students, especially those who’ve experienced trauma, academic achievement is interdependent with good mental, physical, and spiritual health.

In talking about what he presented at the NAD Health Initiative, Cadavid said, “Health is way deeper than just health talks or cooking classes. I feel that we have such a comprehensive approach through our MAPS program that we need to showcase it and share the impact that it has on our students.” Cadavid also had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions. When he asked what other resources they have for Native Americans, no one had an answer, “which makes what we do here more relevant than ever.” Cadavid stated that he plans to collect data to measure needs and impact.

The NAD has a health initiative called Made to Move, and every year they host a 5K Run. Additionally, they choose a different ministry to lend their support to, and while Mr. Cadavid was giving his presentation about our MAPS program, the NAD surprised him by sharing that this year they chose HIS to be the beneficiary of their

support. “Most people don’t realize how we operate. More than 80% comes from donations,” he said. “The Made to Move 5K Run/Walk event is important to us because we rely heavily on donations.”

The Made to Move 5K Run is a virtual run/walk event that will take place on September 17, 2023. For every registration, $5 will be donated to Holbrook Indian School. We invite you to join in the NAD Health Ministries Made to Move 5K Run/Walk event that benefits our beloved school. To learn more about how you can participate, visit: healthyyou/5k/.

Holbrook Indian School (HIS) is a first- through twelfthgrade boarding academy operated by the Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. HIS also manages a first- through eighth-grade day school on the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona. Eighty-seven percent of funding comes from individuals who have a desire to support Native American ministries and Christian education. Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of our students, their families, and the communities they serve. Thank you for your support.

Holbrook Indian School July 2023 39 DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT
Box 910 • Holbrook,
(928) 524-6845 (Ext. 109) •
Arizona 86025-0910

Adventist Health, PUC Partnership Expands Nursing Program

An ew partnership between Pacific Union College and Adventist Health will help better serve rural communities in Central and Northern California by establishing a new Associate of Science in Nursing program. The new program is open to community members and Adventist Health employees living in Lake and Mendocino counties.

“Partnering with nursing schools is the best way for hospitals to ensure there is a pipeline for recruitment of nurses,” said Kimberly Dunker, chair of the PUC Department of Nursing. “Because of the long-standing history between our Adventist organizations, we are able to not only partner but share the same values and beliefs for nursing education and talent acquisition.”

“This is a great celebratory chapter in Adventist Health’s partnership with PUC,” said Eric Stevens, president of the Adventist Health Northern California Network and Hawaii State Network, who is a 1985 graduate of PUC’s nursing program. “Bringing both of us together will only lend more expertise toward higher quality care systemwide. It is imperative for all of us to find collaborative spaces for the future of healthcare.”

The addition of nursing students at PUC was approved by the California Board of Registered

Nursing and the Education Licensing Committee. This hard-won achievement is the result of a twoyear collaborative effort by PUC and Adventist Health to establish new nursing education centers in underserved areas. The new program will use training facilities in the Adventist Health North Coast Network for the majority of skills lab instruction at sites including Clear Lake, Ukiah Valley, Howard Memorial (Willits), and Mendocino Coast (Fort Bragg).

With this new program in place, there is now a clear path for students interested in fulfilling a calling to become a nurse, from entry-level medical assistantship through to a master’s degree. Students can become a medical assistant through programs offered at Adventist Health locations, then complete an ASN degree at Adventist Health sites in Lake and Mendocino counties, and then go on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing through PUC’s online programs.

“Our priority in these programs is to provide flexible, hybrid education that allows a working adult to continue supporting themselves and their family while pursuing their education,” said Doris Tetz Carpenter, HR Executive of Talent Strategy for Adventist Health. “We are blessed that after two years of partnering with PUC and the Board of Registered Nursing, this program expansion will support local access to nursing degrees, and we look forward to continuing to expand this program across other communities.”

Jacalyn Liebowitz, Chief Nursing Officer for Adventist Health, notes that local education is key to supporting our communities. “The partnership with Pacific Union College allows for our own employees and community members to receive an excellent nursing education close to home,” said Liebowitz. “By expanding access to professional pathways through clinical education, we are providing access to higher paying jobs for the local community and investing in the future of healthcare.”

Learn more about the new ASN program at puc. edu/adventist-health.

40 Pacific Union Recorder Adventist Health

La Sierra Enactus Bolsters Education in Nepal, Tops at Nationals

It was one of the best moments of a whirlwind trip to deliver flash drives loaded with educational curriculum to schools in Nepal: La Sierra University Enactus team member Abigail Ramos took out her phone to show Nepali youngsters a video of an ocean beach. The children clambered over each other in their eagerness to witness something they had never seen before—waves crashing on a sandy shoreline. Another Enactus team member snapped a picture of the scene.

“It’s my favorite photo of the entire trip,” Ramos said. “They had never seen the beach before. They were so excited by the idea of the ocean and sand.”

The Nepal expedition during La Sierra’s spring break this March was an expansion of the Enactus team’s eLibrary project, one of two ongoing projects on which Enactus team members presented in April during the Enactus U.S. National Exposition at the University of Texas at Dallas. Less than a month after the journey to Nepal, the La Sierra team competed against approximately 30 other teams from universities and colleges around the United States in World Cup qualifier events. La Sierra University Enactus placed third in their league in semi-final rounds, among the top 12 nationally.

Enactus is a global nonprofit based in Springfield, Missouri, that encourages students at universities and colleges around the world to use innovative business principles in developing projects that transform lives in a sustainable way. With the recent push into Nepal, La Sierra’s team is continuing to build out their eLibrary project, begun in 2019 in Jamaica. The project broadens educational opportunities for students in vulnerable communities through the distribution of flash drives that utilize micro-compression technology in the storage of thousands of pages of curriculum and educational videos. In Nepal, the team delivered 600 flash drives as well as 100 computers for distribution among 52 impoverished and Internet-bereft schools. During spring break, three team members personally delivered drives and computers to nine schools. The outreach ultimately impacts 16,000 students in Nepal.

During nationals, the team also presented on results from its Freight2Table program and new education branch, CultivatED. The latter initiative introduces local continuation high school students to a learning experience involving shipping container-based hydroponics agriculture and associated business practices.

Interacting with vulnerable populations are often inspirational experiences for Enactus students. “There's always that chance that maybe these educational resources will lead one of them to be an engineer,” Ramos said. “It's no longer just a hypothetical.”

La Sierra University July 2023 41
To read more, go to
ABOVE: La Sierra Enactus team member Abigail Ramos shows a video of an ocean to young Nepali students. TOP: Left to right, Enactus members Sorasak Joshi, Kennedi Espiritu, and Abigail Ramos with a community leader in Nepal. PHOTOS: ABIGAIL RAMOS

Two Sets of Twin Doctors Graduate from LLU School of Medicine and Pharmacy

Two sets of local twins achieved their lifelong dream of becoming doctors after graduating from Loma Linda University Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy on the same day in May.

The Bathan twins

Twin sisters Lauren and Karen Bathan grew up in Loma Linda. Their parents are also LLU alums: their mother, a nurse practitioner, and their father, a physical therapy assistant. “Although our parents first influenced us to have a healthcare career, we decided to become doctors to lead patient care,” Lauren said.

Karen, older by one minute, said she and her sister only applied to LLU School of Medicine. “We wanted to be here,” Karen said. “The culture of compassion and practice of whole person care was the perfect foundation for how we want to practice medicine.”

Both sisters have a passion for mission service and are excited to continue to help the medically underserved locally and abroad.

This year marked the second time the Bathan twins graduated from LLU with identical degrees. They completed their undergraduate program in Clinical Laboratory Science at LLU School of Allied Health Professions.

The Chan twins

Similarly, twin brothers Christopher and Luis Chan attended LLU School of Pharmacy after graduating from University of California Riverside with Bachelors of Science degrees in biology.

Originally from Chino, the duo are the first in their family to attend university. “We knew in high school we wanted to become doctors,” Luis said. “After volunteering at Pomona Valley Medical Center in college, we knew pharmacy was the right career path for us.”

Born to immigrant parents from China and Hong

Kong, the brothers are practicing Buddhists. They say they applied to LLU because it was California's only faith-based academic health sciences center. “We chose LLU School of Pharmacy after interviews with other schools because everyone was so welcoming here,” Christopher said. “The faculty truly cared about our success—we weren’t just another candidate like other places.”

The Chan twins say attending weekly chapel services throughout their program was essential to their student experience and, ultimately, their success. “Having the opportunity to integrate our faith practice as part of our studies helped us get through,” Luis said. “Although our religions are different, we are connected to God and believe in the mission to Make Man Whole.”

The best thing

Both sets of twins agree the best thing about going through a doctoral program together is the builtin support network, study partner, and assignment accountability. “And second helpings of treats when they confuse you for the other twin and offer you more,” Luis said.

What’s next

Lauren is pursuing an Internal Medicine Pediatrics (Med-Peds) specialty and has been matched to a residency program at University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria. At the same time, Karen will complete an Internal Medicine residency at Kaiser Santa Clara in Northern California.

Christopher will be completing a PGY-1 pharmacy residency program in Acute Care at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center this fall. Luis will start working in a local community pharmacy this summer.

See the latest news and Health & Wellness stories from Loma Linda University Health at 42 Pacific Union Recorder Loma Linda University Health

Together in Christ: Student-Led Worships Support Thriving Spiritual Life at PUC

He started with just 10 minutes. Midway through his junior year, Beven Delos Reyes found himself the sole RA on the fourth floor of Newton Hall. It kept him busier than usual six days a week, particularly during latenight room checks.

But Reyes took his role seriously. For him, it was more than a job—he wanted to spiritually connect more closely with the people in his hallway. He began a nightly open-invitation dorm worship time called “10@10.”

The “10@10” was short. But it was a success, and that spark ignited something even more significant— completely revitalizing Newton Hall’s dorm worship.

“I love the intimate setting where you can hear everyone singing and engaging through worship,” Reyes said. “As a result, the room fills with life, and you can really see, hear, and feel a sense of community.”

After the isolation of the pandemic, so many were in dire need of rejuvenation, said Reyes, a senior prepharmacy student.

The Newton Hall dorm worship is just one example of how students at Pacific Union College have increasingly engaged in a Christ-centered campus life.

Vice President for Student Life Ryan Smith said that PUC students want to grow their relationship with God.

“Our beloved PUC was established to create an environment where students can thrive spiritually,” Smith said. “It’s more than just programming, speakers, and singing. It’s helping our community members develop a more substantial and deeper relationship with Christ.”

In January, Student Week of Prayer, an annual tradition at PUC, featured student groups leading out in praise music, icebreaker activities, and prayer.

Speaking on the theme of “Revival,” seven students, including Reyes, shared their testimonies, and their messages encouraged their fellow students to seek a deeper relationship with God and others.

Ashley Castro-Rodriguez, religious vice president of PUC’s Student Association, was also one of the Week of Prayer speakers.

She believes worship programs that connect students can make a major difference in a student’s personal and communal spiritual life. “Regardless of where you are with your relationship with God, being able to be in a place with your peers where you can experience worship—maybe in a new and different way—is so impactful,” Castro-Rodriguez, a sophomore theology major, said.

As religious vice president, her goal has been to “revive the spiritual atmosphere, creating programs, events, and spaces in which students are able to have a spiritual experience.”

PUC President Ralph Trecartin said he sees the evidence of Christ’s love playing out every day on campus. In particular, Trecartin said he sees it in the “vitality and enthusiasm” of students as they support each other.

Pastor Nate Furness, who recently became head pastor of the PUC church, has made a concerted effort to connect with students.

“I believe PUC exists to foster a spiritual foundation at a crucial time in students’ lives,” he said. “Our mission is to develop a love for Jesus that invites others to belong. When students leave PUC, they journey worldwide as missionaries for our college and the love for Christ.”

Pacific Union College July 2023 43

Back to Leoni

The students of Riverview Christian Academy were so very excited this year! Why? As you know, the U.S., along with the rest of the world, had to deal with covid during the 2019-2020 school year, and we all know what that meant: no Outdoor School! Then, along came the 2020-2021 school year. That was the year of the devastating fire, which came very close to completely destroying Leoni Meadows Camp. Again, that meant no Outdoor School at Leoni. The fire left the school trying to find an alternative camp for that school year. They did find something that worked, but it was not quite the same. This school year, the good news came that Leoni Outdoor School was back on. The students were overjoyed; it was back to Leoni Meadows for Outdoor School!

The week of camp finally arrived. The children came to school with all their gear loaded and ready for camp. It was a bright, sunny day in Reno, Nevada, when they left the school behind. The students and staff loaded the vehicles and headed to Leoni Meadows. Once there, the group registered and made their way to the cabins. Students had fun picking out their bunk beds and preparing their cabins for the few days of their stay.

Then the real fun began. At orientation, campers were made aware of what to expect at camp, as well as what was expected of them. Pastor Terry introduced all the things that would be taking place. The students then divided and headed to their specific activities. During the afternoon program, they noticed dark clouds were beginning to move in. By dinnertime it began to rain, bringing with it much cooler weather! Thankfully, most of the students had followed instructions and had prepared for wet weather.

The food prepared for the campers by the Leoni Meadows staff was great. Before each meal, the students excitedly guessed what we were going to have. One of the biggest attractions for the students was the drink machine. With the push of a lever, they could get the beverage of their choice. Of course, the staff members’ suggestion of drinki ng only water did not go very far with the students.

Each day was filled with many fun and exciting activities. The instruction in science, history, Bible, and many other topics was

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ABOVE: Ax throwing is another activity offered at Leoni, along with archery lessons, where some were successful at hitting the bull’s eye. TOP (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT): Students talk about creation, ride the go-karts, and challenge themselves on the climbing wall.

exceptional. Much appreciation was expressed for each presenter. The biggest attraction for the students was the go-karts! The only complaint seemed to be that their sessions just didn’t last long enough. The climbing wall was another favorite, challenging the physical and mental abilities of the campers. Many students succeeded in making it all the way to the top and ringing the bell! The students learned the steps in being safe and how to aim and shoot arrows during the archery class. Several students were able to hit the bull’s eye, or very close to it! So much fun! Despite the threat of rain, they were able to do all those things and not get wet. The

rain held off long enough for those activities to be enjoyed.

Finally, it was time to say goodbye, load up the vehicles, and head for home. It was so great to be back at Leoni Meadows Camp where campers are free to talk about our God and worship Him in the beautiful meadows. Even though the fire scarred the landscape and scorched and damaged much of the area, Leoni survived. It was great to hear the many happy voices of the students as they enjoyed outdoor school once again at Leoni Meadows.

Heidi Jorgenson Becomes Superintendent of Education

The Nevada-Utah Conference is pleased to announce the appointment of Heidi Jorgenson as the new superintendent of education. With a remarkable passion for Adventist education and a proven track record of leadership, Dr. Jorgenson is poised to continue the transformative vision for our educational institutions.

Jorgenson is an inspirational educator who possesses a deep understanding of the unique mission and values of Seventh-day Adventist education, combined with an unwavering commitment to nurturing the spiritual, academic, and personal growth of students. As the former superintendent of education, Fernando Lista, leaves the Nevada-Utah Conference, Jorgenson will continue the work he began and is determined to bring our education department to new heights. She firmly believes in building strong partnerships with parents, teachers, principals, pastors, and stakeholders, fostering an environment of shared responsibility and mutual support.

Jorgenson has served in various capacities within the Adventist educational system. Her expertise spans different levels of education, from elementary schools to secondary institutions, enabling her to comprehensively address the diverse needs of students

and educators. She has also served as a member of various committees in the Northern California Conference, the MidAmerica Union, and the North American Division.

The Nevada-Utah Conference eagerly welcomes Heidi Jorgenson and anticipates the positive impact she will have on our educational community. With her dynamic leadership, deep-rooted commitment to Adventist education, and dedication to empowering students to develop a life of faith in God and grow their knowledge, skills, and understanding as they serve God and humanity, we are confident that she will shape a bright future for our schools and the students we serve.

Join in celebrating the appointment of Heidi Jorgenson and the promising journey that lies ahead as we continue to provide quality Adventist education in the Nevada-Utah Conference.

Nevada-Utah Conference July 2023 45
Heidi Jorgenson joins the Nevada-Utah Conference as the superintendent of education. Welcome! The former NUC superintendent of education, Fernando Lista, moves on to serve the education department at the Pacific Union. He will be greatly missed!

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

We are so proud of our 2023 graduates, who were able to advance despite a pandemic and the natural disasters that hit our territory. These inspiring young men and women remind us that “God’s purpose for the children…is wider, deeper, higher than our restricted vision has comprehended” (Ellen G. White, Education, p. 262). If you have been reading our weekly newsletter, Northern Lights, you will have seen the many stories we have highlighted about these wonderful graduates and glimpsed their potential.

The educational system in our church is a training ground for youth. “To every household and every school, to every parent, teacher, and child upon whom

has shone the light of the gospel, comes at this crisis the question put to Esther the queen at that momentous crisis in Israel's history, ‘Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’” (Ellen G. White, Education, p. 263).

As in the time of Esther, which was a challenging time for the people of God, who knows whether today’s graduates are called for such a time as this? They are facing the world during a time when society is complicated, and their challenges are different from those that previous generations had to face. As you look at the following pictures, please pray for each one.

46 Pacific Union Recorder Northern California Conference
BELOW: 1. Chico Oaks Adventist School, 2. El Dorado Adventist School, 3. Galt Adventist School, 4. Foothills Adventist Elementary School, 5. Fortuna Junior Academy, 6. Hilltop Christian School.
OPPOSITE PAGE: 7. Lodi SDA Elementary School, 8. Paradise Adventist Elementary School, 9. Orangevale SDA School, 10. Pine Hills Adventist Academy, 11. Redding Adventist Academy, 12. Pacific Union College Elementary School, 13. Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy, 14. Sacramento Adventist Academy, 15. Redwood Adventist Academy, 16. Ukiah Junior Academy, 17. Napa Christian Campus of Education, 18. Adventist Christan School of Yuba City, 19. Adventist Christian Elementary School of Red Bluff, 20. Feather River Adventist School, 21. Westlake SDA School, 22. Humboldt Bay Christian School, 23. Vacaville Adventist Christan School, 24. Yreka Adventist Christian School.
Northern California Conference July 2023 47 Northern California 8th-Grade Graduates 7 9 8 10 11 12 13 15 14 17 18 24 23 16 19 20 21 22
48 Pacific Union Recorder Northern California Conference Lodi Academy
Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy Pacific Union College Preparatory School Pine Hills Adventist Academy Paradise Adventist Academy

Northern California Academy Graduates

Northern California Conference July 2023 49
Napa Christian Campus of Education Rio Lindo Adventist Academy Sacramento Adventist Academy

SECC Is One of the First to Respond to First Responders

Southeastern California Conference (SECC) Executive Secretary Patty Marruffo and her husband, Dante, the young adult pastor at OC Grace, also serve as volunteer chaplains for the Riverside Fire Department. They often minister alongside firefighters, but the opportunity arose to minister to firefighters, and they, along with SECC, jumped at the chance.

Temecula Division Fire Chief John Crater has a heart for firefighters who are in desperate need of mental health and support services, but there was no funding to provide the extra care. Firefighters are deeply at risk. For several years in a row, statistics showed that more firefighters died from suicide than from incidents in the line of duty.

Crater, who has been a professional firefighter since 1999, admits that at one time, as a result of seeing friends die and continually witnessing horrible incidents, he too had lost his way. When a friend reached out to him, he finally admitted he was not okay.

“God gave me the courage to ask for help, and so I did reach out for help.... That changed my life,” recalled Crater.

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An attendee relaxes with a massage. SECC officers receive recognition for their support. PHOTO: CALEB BROWN

As his life began to change, he wanted to serve other people who might be dealing with the same issues he overcame. He took classes to help understand mental health in the fire service. Three weeks later, he received a call from a firefighter who wanted to take his life. He was able to use his training and get the firefighter help. Today, that firefighter is a productive husband, father, and first responder.

Crater was talking with Dante Marruffo about wanting to do more to help firefighters. He remembered the gap in his healing journey. “When I went to get help, I went by myself. Honestly, all I really wanted to do was be with my family.” This was the seed that would sprout into the Firehouse Family Retreat.

The Marruffos pitched the idea of hosting such a retreat at Pine Springs Ranch (PSR) to the SECC conference administration. They were excited about the idea. When the SECC Executive Committee heard about it, they immediately voted a motion of affirmation.

The retreat was supposed to start in late March. The day before the retreat, it was still snowing in the San Bernardino Mountains. Although they had 4-wheel drive vehicles, they still were spinning in the snow. There was concern about the retreat starting the next day.

Crater asked for divine help, “I remember just saying, ‘God, if you're up there, [we] need a little help!’ And you know what? By Friday, it stopped snowing and it melted.”

One hundred and twenty firefighters and family members from all over California ascended the hill to PSR. They were able to ride horses and bikes and play games. There were classes on resilience, communication skills, and stress reduction. There were massages and games. Chagy the Clown was also there to offer a message of hope.

Families and firefighters alike were deeply impacted by their time at PSR during the Firehouse Family Retreat. Fire Captain Matt Hayes also appreciated the partnership.

“The state can't do this alone. We have to have these partnerships. Because if it isn’t these partnerships, we're doing the same thing over and over again. And our folks are suffering,” said Hayes. “If I don't have to bury another firefighter again due to suicide, that is a life fulfilled for me.”

The conference leadership and executive committee were unanimous in their support of this project and are delighted that it has made such an impact.

“We talked about how we, as a conference, can be less institutional and more relational and how we can reach out into the community. And this is one way that we're doing it,” said Patty Marruffo. “I told the Chief and Matt Hayes that they just had a Sabbath with us and they just didn't know it.”

Southeastern California Conference July 2023 51
Attendees paint as a creative outlet. PHOTO: CALEB BROWN A child enjoys horse riding. PHOTO: CALEB BROWN

“We’re Here for Them, Too”: SECC Hosts First Post-Covid Ministerial Spouse Event

For years, the Southeastern California Conference (SECC) has been intentional about supporting pastors and their families as they fulfill their calling. This year, for the first time since the covid pandemic, they were able to host a special event specifically for ministerial spouses.

“Pastors have a special calling, but their spouses are also called to minister,” said Anita Roberts, ministerial spouse ministry coordinator for the SECC. “You support one another, but ministerial spouses also have to find what it is God has for them personally. It is absolutely crucial we recognize and encourage this.”

In March, the SECC held a brunch for ministerial spouses, complete with fine china, candles, fresh fruit, pastries, and made-to-order omelets. Attendees received gifts donated by Pacific Press and the North American Division, and prizes were awarded after a set of icebreaker games.

“My desire was for them to engage in conversation and relaxation,” Roberts explained.

The presenter during the brunch was Cindy Mercer, author of Pray Big , one of the gifts given to attendees. Mercer shared her story of coming to God through brokenness and surrender, a story told with transparency and power.

Following the presentation, attendees were invited to find someone they didn’t already know well and share something they could pray about for each other.

“It was a beautiful time of truly just encouraging one another and praying together,” Roberts recalled. “The Holy Spirit refreshed and recharged everyone present.”

The event was on a Sunday, which Roberts admits is a difficult day to get people to participate. Out of approximately 165 ministerial spouses in the conference, only 30 attended the brunch.

“It will take a while to build this event, but I’m hopeful it will grow,” Roberts shared. “We will also do additional things throughout the year to connect, share, and build each other up. They need to know we’re here for them, too.”

52 Pacific Union Recorder Southeastern California Conference
ABOVE: Cindy Mercer shares her story for the keynote. LEFT: Octofien Sumendap shares her thoughts.

Rudy Sandres and Steven Sigamani Ordained to the Gospel Ministry

This past January and February, the Southeastern California Conference (SECC) ordained two pastors: Rudy Sandres and Steven Sigamani.

Sandres sensed the call to ministry after leaving high school more than 20 years ago. But before becoming a pastor, he served as a church elder for 15 years. Then in 2011, Sandres decided to become a pastor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in theology from Dominican Adventist University and his master’s from Andrews University.

As the sole pastor for the district, Sandres pastors both the High Desert Bilingual church and the Barstow Bilingual church.

“The main role of the church in this world is to spread the gospel,” said Sandres. “My goal as a pastor is to be a disciple for my congregations so they can go out, preach the gospel, and draw more people to Christ.”

To help reach more people, Sandres has plans to build another Adventist church in his area.

“I want to raise up another church in our neighborhood,” said Sandres. “I believe that God will empower our current congregation to make this a reality or show us a better way to reach more souls for Christ.”

Prior to becoming a pastor, Sigamani was a student.

After graduating from Andrews in 2017, he pastored in Florida before moving to California in 2021.

“As an ordained pastor, I want to show or remind others that God desires our good and invites us to the kingdom,” said Sigamani. “That’s a kingdom we can begin to receive and witness today and into the future. I want to continue using my platform for the good of others and God.”

As the youth, young adult, and community pastor for Paradise Valley church, Sigamani is positioned to impact the next generation of believers in Christ.

“I believe that God leads me to share the gospel by creating opportunities for people to encounter Jesus and find belonging in our community of faith,” said Sigamani. “I work to create space for those who feel the gospel doesn’t include them. My goal is to always remind others of how God sees them and communicate that each of us possesses something special and unique to add to the body of Christ.”

SECC is blessed to have these pastors serving, both of whom are dedicated to creating opportunities to bring people to Jesus Christ so that they can serve others as well.

Southeastern California Conference July 2023 53
LEFT: Rudy Sandres (center) smiles with Jonathan Park (left) and Yohalmo Saravia (right). RIGHT: SECC leaders speak at Steven Sigamani's ordination.

Living Hope Church Inspires Hope Beyond the Pandemic

In an effort to reestablish connection that was lost among members during the covid pandemic, Living Hope church created two initiatives: an Acts of Kindness campaign and a Friends and Family Day.

“We realized that coming back from covid, there had to be a new normal,” Harold Cleveland, Living Hope pastor, said. “We as a congregation discussed what that new normal would be. We knew we didn’t want to go back to doing the same old.”

After much prayer, the congregation came up with an idea to get members actively involved—those attending in person and online.

The Acts of Kindness campaign, initially introduced as “Project 1,000,” was based on a simple question: How long would it take to accumulate 1,000 acts of kindness? These acts had to be intentional. Giving Bible studies, offering to pray with a neighbor, supporting someone’s mental health journey—these are just some examples.

The congregation brought the number down to 500, thinking the project would take too long to accomplish; however, they were not prepared for what God had in store. “It caught fire to the point where people were so excited for this nontraditional ministry that in three weeks we reached 500 contacts,” Cleveland said.

With this excitement, the congregation has a new goal of 100,000 contacts. Two years after its launch, the congregation has reached 54,000 so far.

Friends and Family Day earlier this year encouraged members to invite friends and family to church. Each

visitor who came would receive a gift, and every member who invited at least five people would receive a gift. The two members who brought the largest number of guests would receive a family Bible; the top number would also receive a $25 gift card.

“We all have people we’ve been wanting to invite to church, but sometimes we need to be challenged to do so,” Cleveland observed. “This was just a fun way for us to work together to get people back to church.”

Danny Chan, Southern California Conference Los Angeles Metro Region director, was the guest speaker for Friends and Family Day. He delivered a message Cleveland believed was spiritual and appropriate for the audience—visitors especially. There were 100 people in attendance that Sabbath, about 60 of whom were visitors.

“People were touched by his message,” Cleveland shared. “He really ministered to visitors with a message designed for them, and the congregation was completely excited and engaged.”

“I was so impressed that this church, who is recovering from the pandemic as most churches are, is being so intentional about connecting with others who do not attend and to reach out to new people who could join the church,” Chan said.

Friends and Family Day and the Acts of Kindness campaign are both initiatives Cleveland hopes will continue to challenge members to an active spiritual and church life post pandemic.

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The congregation gathers during Friends and Family Day. PHOTO: DANNY CHAN

Last-Minute Evangelistic Series Reaps a Harvest at Van Nuys Church

This evangelistic series really never should have happened,” said Marco Topete, Van Nuys church pastor. “It was planned to be at a totally different place, at a different time. It was planned even before I knew that I was going to be a pastor. But God wanted it to be there.”

While the timing was a bit unexpected, Topete felt God’s leading to hold an evangelistic series at the church just a month after his installation. Resulting in 11 decisions for baptisms and six weekly Bible studies, the series gave the opportunity for Topete and the church to hit the ground running.

The series ran for eight days and presented topics including: “Is the Bible trustworthy?” “How can we trust God in the midst of evil?” “How can we be certain Jesus was the Messiah?” and “Is Jesus really coming?”

One church member invited their neighbor, John, to the series. He attended consistently, sat in the front row, and was engaged in the messages. Due to a throat surgery, John can’t speak, so he carries a tablet he uses to communicate by writing.

“During the series, I made several baptismal calls, and he never came up,” Topete recalled. “On the very last night of the series, I made another baptismal call, and after the series, I went and checked on John because he didn’t come up. I sat next to him, and we were talking, and he motions to me to hold on, and I saw him start scribbling away. Then he turned the tablet toward me, and it said, ‘I want to get baptized.’”

John’s story is just one of the many testimonies that resulted from this event, from community and church

members alike. “It really brought our church together,” Topete said of the series. “Having something for us to do together with the same purpose, same heart, and same mind really brought us together.”

While putting an evangelistic series together as a new pastor in a short time period is no easy task, the support of SOULS West and the Pacific Union Conference made it possible. The students assisted with marketing and door knocking before the series began, plus they helped implement the series itself. “It’s wonderful to see these young people getting a taste of what local church ministry looks like very practically,” Topete said. “At the same time, it got the church excited to see this group of young people who, week after week, had amazing testimonies.”

As for what’s next for Van Nuys church, it’s unknown for now. “I don’t want to be too quick to say what’s next,” Topete noted. “I haven’t heard from God yet. I don’t want to just make myself busy. We’ll take a season where leadership prays, ‘God, what would you like us to do?’”

Southern California Conference July 2023 55
LEFT: Three baptisms took place a few months after the series. RIGHT: John communicates his decision to get baptized. The SOULS West Bible work team joins Topete (second from left) and Greg Hoenes (far left), SCC West Region director. PHOTOS: MARCO TOPETE

Glendale Korean Church Celebrates Mortgage Burning and 50th Anniversary

This spring, Glendale Korean church celebrated two significant milestones: paying off their mortgage and the commemoration of their 50th anniversary. The joyous day, which consisted of two ceremonies, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, brought together the congregation and friends from near and far.

In his message Sabbath morning, Velino A. Salazar, Southern California Conference (SCC) president, emphasized the importance of God’s temple being a house of prayer.

“Prayer is an indispensable practice for the Christian church,” Salazar said. “There is no encounter with God if there is no prayer. When we come to this place, we should give the recognition to God for His blessings.”

Kathleen V. Diaz, SCC treasurer/CFO, burned the mortgage papers for the sanctuary, which marked the completion of the church’s financial burden and signified the inheritance of the building for a new generation.

In his welcome during the afternoon anniversary celebration, Timothy Choe, senior pastor since 2014, compared the Old Testament Jubilee to the church’s 50-year history. He called it a “spiritual jubilee” in which the church recognized God as the true owner of their lives.

John H. Cress, SCC executive secretary, presented a certificate indicating “fifty years of faithful ministry impacting the community for Christ,” and Diaz gifted a $5,000 check for Glendale Korean church to expand its evangelistic vision.

Eight pastors have led Glendale Korean church since 1973, beginning with Byeongseo Cho. In the church's early years, members met at the Glendale Civic Auditorium. Under Pastor Cho’s leadership, the congregation purchased property in Eagle Rock, the church’s current location. In 1982, Dongeun Kim was appointed as the first English-speaking pastor to begin English ministries. Today, the English ministry, led by Associate Pastor Timothy Yun, is an active part of the church.

To accommodate growth over the years, the church purchased a parking lot next door, expanded the facility with a multipurpose youth building in 1991, and constructed a new sanctuary, completed in 2008.

The church has led several overseas medical missions to the Philippines, reaching Las Piñas, Puerto Princesa, Tubigon, and City of Imus. As additional support for these efforts through the years, a special offering was given to Peru and the Philippines during the anniversary program.

The celebration concluded with a concert— featuring an orchestra, solo vocal performances, and the Glendale Korean church choir—and a fellowship dinner. The focus of this momentous day was clear: gratitude, praise, and honor to God for His blessings on this community.

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Araya Moss Salazar (left) preaches while Choe (right) translates. PHOTOS: ARAYA MOSS Diaz (left), with the help of two young volunteers, burns the mortgage papers.

The Heart and Mind Summit: Making a Difference for Mental Health

Millions of people live with anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health conditions every day. The covid pandemic only exacerbated these problems. However, even as the pandemic subsides and life returns to some semblance of normal, our collective mental health challenges haven’t disappeared.

The Heart and Mind Summit was created to offer accessible resources to those struggling with challenges like these. Hosted at the North Hills church, the first event was in the planning stage before the start of the covid pandemic. Like many things, it was delayed; however, it was held remotely in 2021.

The event focused on ways to combat depression and anxiety. “It was really timely as we tried to focus on gratitude and getting outside,” said Tim Cress, North Hills church pastor, “trying to help give people some tools and let them know they’re not alone.”

The following year, the event was held in person for the first time. Taking the pulse of what people needed at the time, the theme “Rebuilding Community” was chosen and presented by pastors Shasta and Greg Nelson, who talked about the benefits of friendship.

According to the event website, this year’s event, themed “Life on Red Alert,” would be “an experiential workshop that takes us into the fears and anxieties that take control of our lives, and shows us the proven pathway of thinking, feeling, relating, and simply being that can return us to peace and serenity.”

With two keynote sessions and five breakout sessions, the event was packed with resources and expertise from five local mental health professionals. Breakout sessions were offered twice, with the following topics:

• Anxiety 101, presented by Sharon Tanghal, LCSW

• The Narrow Road to Serenity, presented by Dennis Wallstrom, Ph.D.

• Self-Regulation: An Essential Strategy in the Management of Fear and Anxiety, presented by Nella Valencia-Ngo, LMFT

• It’s All in Your Head: The Neurobiology of Stress and Anxiety, presented by Angela Yi, Ph.D.

• Just Breathe, presented by Melissa Kulasekere, M.A.

“When I first heard about the event, it was an answer to my prayer as I’d been struggling with anxiety,” said Araya Moss, member at All Nations church. “I’m thankful to God for hearing me, because attending the event gave me a better understanding of what I’d been dealing with and motivated me to seek help with my mental health.”

The 2023 event is available to watch on YouTube at https:// Following the event, The Heart and Mind Podcast was launched, with the first episode featuring the keynote presenter from the event. Learn more at https://www.heartandmindsummit. org/resources/podcast.

“More than anything, we just want to help,” Cress said. “It’s a crisis; we’re living in a mental health crisis.”

Next year’s summit will focus on family systems. How do we find ways to relate to one another that are helpful and relational? Visit the website at www. for more information.

Southern California Conference July 2023 57
LEFT: Cress (left) leads improv games to energize attendees at the start of the event with the help of his wife and daughter. RIGHT: Dennis Wallstrom, keynote presenter, speaks on the ways anxiety and “emergency mode” manifest in our lives. PHOTOS:


When in the 1980s, at the request of the General Conference, Fred Veltman did a study of the sources Ellen White used in writing The Desire of Ages, we already knew she had borrowed information from other authors, but we did not know the extent of this borrowing and how it would impact our understanding of her writings. At the time, Veltman’s study was groundbreaking, but it was massive and never published. This condensed edition now makes it readily available and will give Seventh-day Adventists another opportunity to better understand Ellen White’s writings and the intended purpose of her books. This new book is another important scholarly publication for a renewed interest in Adventist history and Ellen White studies.

Denis Fortin, Professor of Historical Theology, Andrews University

Lawrence T. Geraty, President Emeritus, La Sierra University

Jonathan Butler, American religious historian

Ronald Graybill, Adventist historian

Available through Amazon NEW FROM


Central California Conference

Soquel Camp Meeting , taking place from July 1322, 2023, is a 10-day event hosted every year by


Advertising is accepted as a service to Seventh-day Adventist church members in the Pacific Union. The Recorder management reserves the right to refuse any advertisement, especially ads not related to the needs and practices of the church membership. Acceptance of any advertising shall be considered a matter of accommodation and not a matter of right, nor shall it be construed to constitute approval of the product or service advertised.

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The Pacific Union Recorder is published 12 times per year with a circulation of approximately 75,000. For more information about advertising, please email to recorder@

Upcoming Deadlines

These are the advertising deadlines for the Recorder. Your local conference news deadlines will be earlier. August: June 30 • September: August 7


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the Central California Conference, and it is known globally for its spirit-filled revival atmosphere. This year's camp meeting features an incredible lineup of speakers, including Jose Cortes, Richie Halversen, and John Boston. For more information, check the Events page online at campmeeting.

La Sierra University

Robotics Summer Camp for beginners will be held July 31-Aug. 4, 9 a.m.-12 noon. Participants will build their own autonomous robot and learn computer coding, robotics, and AI. For attendees ages 10 and up. For information and registration, visit http://www.

The La Sierra Report. Stay in the know and sign up to receive The La Sierra Report , an e-newsletter of the university’s interesting news and events. To subscribe, send your email address and subscription request to

Pacific Union College

Join Pacific Union College for PacificQuest from July 2-7. PacificQuest is an academic summer program for students in grades 6-8 who love all things STEM. Programming will embrace the 4th of July holiday and focus on explosions. Students will take classes taught by PUC professors and attend daily worship, sports activities, and other enriching activities. Students who complete the program earn one college credit.

PQ Rise is an academic summer program at Pacific Union College in which high school students in grades 9-11 get the opportunity to take college-level STEM classes taught by PUC professors. PQ Rise will take place from July 9-14 and will investigate the history, language, science, and practice of human medicine. Students will be challenged academically and enjoy daily worships and fun activities with other students who share a passion for STEM in a spiritual and nurturing environment. Students who complete the program earn one college credit.

Korean Campmeeting will be held July 23-July 30 at Pacific Union College for all ages, providing a variety of meetings and activities expounding on Christian values in both Korean and English.

NBC Basketball Camp , July 9-13 – a Christian basketball camp emphasizing athletic and life skills training.

Subscribe to PUC Now Newsletter. Stay up to date with Pacific Union College by subscribing to their monthly newsletter at From campus stories and alumni features to student interviews, you’ll be in the know with PUC Now.

Community & Marketplace I July 2023 59

Classified Employment

Southeastern California Conference is seeking a full-time Early Childhood Center Director for the Mesa Grande Children’s Center (MGACC). The director is responsible for the overall operation of the center, which includes finances/budget, supervision of staff, compliance with conference and state regulations, and teaching. MGACC is licensed for up to 60 full-time students ages 2-5. Their website is https:// For a full job description or more information, contact Monique Trevino at the SECC Office of Education. Please send résumé, references, and cover letter to Monique.Trevino@ by June 30, 2023.

Holbrook Indian School is currently in need of a Food Service Director, Cafeteria Assistant, Maintenance Assistant, Grounds/Maintenance Assistant, and a Registrar/Administrative Assistant. These are paid positions. In addition, there is an opening for a volunteer married couple to fill the role of House Deans in an off-campus housing capacity at the Eagle's Nest. If you or someone you know are missionminded and would like to serve Native American children, please see or share our jobs page at

Elmshaven Historian/Caretaker: The Pacific Union Conference is looking for two part-time Historians in Residence/Caretakers for Elmshaven, the Ellen G. White home in Napa Valley, California. Positions require a strong understanding of Ellen G. White's life and writings and the history of the Seventhday Adventist Church. Individuals must have good communication skills (Spanish speakers preferred) for guided tours and the ability to climb stairs and assist with grounds/maintenance. Work schedule: one week on/off, alternating with second team. Modest hourly pay, with on-premises residence and utilities provided. Start date October 2023. E-mail résumé and cover letter to; call 805413-7218.

Pacific Union College is seeking faculty positions for the 2023-2024 academic year in the areas of History and Music. Major duties include the responsibilities of assessment, planning, development, and implementation of classroom experiences and course objectives. We desire those who will be committed to a collaborative working environment, as well as those who possess dedication in furthering the goals of excellence in student success and critical thinking skills. Most importantly, we desire those interested in bringing students closer to Christ by nurturing the whole person and embracing concepts for lifelong learning. If you are

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Union Recorder
Community & Marketplace

interested, please contact Human Resources at HR@ or call 707-965-6231.

Room/work exchange offer in SoCal room for female. Busy professional needs your help with 15 hours of housekeeping/week in exchange for rent. Located 2 hrs drive from LLU. Must be able-bodied, English-speaking, Adventist, and not allergic to my cat. Background check & interview. More info:

Feel called to a career/ministry in massage therapy?

Black Hills School of Massage offers a scriptural, licensed program. Next hybrid program is August 6, 2023. Call 423-710-4873 or 423-667-8533 for info or go to

Real Estate

PUC Commercial Space for Rent. Pacific Union College has commercial real estate space available for lease. The spaces are in various sizes and functionality and are available for inquiries. For additional information, please email Sam Heier at

Thirty-eight beautiful acres for sale next to forestry land in Forbestown, Calif. Elevation 2800’, two small streams, views, beautiful timber, divided into four parcels. Many building sites with water and power next door— or be off the grid. Paved to property with small roads throughout. Quiet end-of-road paradise. 40 minutes to Oroville; 55 to Sacramento. $6,500/acre for entire property. Call/text Byron 423-987-3935.

Machine shop for sale in Nevada City, California. Property not included. Includes two 14-inch lathes, three milling machines, tool and cutter grinder, cylindrical grinder, surface grinder, hone, drill press, and much more. No CNCs. Sole manufacturer of line of parts sold to oil refineries. Reply to Doug at

For Sale

Retiring SDA optometrist in NW Calif. selling a very profitable practice. There are no other optometry, ophthalmology, or optician practices in this city or county. Local Adventist church and K-8 school. The office is 5 blocks from an amazing coastline with surrounding beautiful forests, beaches, and rivers. 1250 sq. ft. office with a wonderful staff. If interested, please contact

Vacation Opportunities

Travel on a faith-based tour to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Rome, or Vietnam on a special cultural discovery tour with Dr. Carl Cosaert, New Testament Professor at Walla Walla University. To learn more about these inspirational tours that renew your faith, visit or email

Sunriver, Central Oregon. Four-bedroom vacation home on the North Woodlands golf course. Two master king suites, two queens, one bunk set, hot tub, loft, Jacuzzi bath, gas log fireplace, BBQ, W/D, bikes, all resort amenities, sleeps 10, no smoking, no pets. For rates, photos, and reservations, call: 541- 279-9553 or email: schultz@

At Rest

Ferguson, Kevin – b. June 24, 1985, Loma Linda, Calif.; d. Jan. 7, 2023, Fontana, Calif. Survivors: wife, Normie Joy Ibanez Ferguson; parents, Robert and Ethel Ferguson; siblings, Robin Ferguson, Erwin Ferguson. Kevin was a chaplain. He graduated from Southern Adventist University in 2013, then got his M.S. in chaplaincy from LLU in 2016. He was an ordained elder at the Azure Hills church in Grand Terrace, Calif.

Golles, Eugene H. – b. Aug. 31, 1928, Los Angeles, Calif.; d. March 25, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: son, Dee Golles; daughter, Sharon Drachenberg; sibling, Dee Golles; five grandchildren; 10 greatgrandchildren.

Hodgkin, Georgia E. – b. Aug. 9, 1939, N.D.; d. May 9, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: daughters, Kathryn

Community & Marketplace I July 2023 61

Glendrange, Carolyn Bakland; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren.

Mayer, Donna – b. Nov. 7, 1931, San Jose, Calif.; d. April 17, 2023, Hanford, Calif. Survivors: son, Dennis; daughters, Dena, Dawn.

Nicola, Doyce Zalmon – b. Sept. 6, 1942, Loma Linda, Calif.; d. April 19, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: wife, Janice; son, Heath; daughter, Kim Baer; three grandchildren; siblings, Blanche Wilson, Quintes Nicola. Doyce was a lifelong resident of Loma Linda and a skilled entrepreneur.

Reeves, John M. – b. Sept. 4, 1929, Derby, England; d. March 23, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: sons, David, Michael; daughters, Ann Jass, Heather Sue Few; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren.

Rhoads, Bette (BJ) – b. March 3, 1932; d. Feb. 26, 2023. Survivors: son, Kelton Rhoads; one grandchild.

Swanson, Mark Erik – b. Jan. 21, 1963, Loma Linda, Calif.; d. May 21, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: mother, Kathi Fox Swanson. Mark was a student missionary to the Mariana Islands, teaching English.

July 2023 Sunset Calendar

Tucker, Alfred – b. Jan. 5, 1929, Wewoka, Okla.; d. Oct. 4, 2022, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: wife, Shirley; son, Stephen; daughters, Sandra Eichner, Pamela Arnold; four grandchildren.

Vessels, Frank E. – b. Sept. 13, 1924, Chicago, Ill.; d. May 26, 2023, Loma Linda, Calif. Survivors: children, Frank Jr., Steve, Cheri, Kitty; 11 grandchildren, five greatgrandchildren. As a corporal in the U.S. Army during WWII, Frank was introduced to the Adventist church and was baptized. He went on to attend Emmanuel Missionary College as a ministerial student, where he met and married Gladys Bell Thompson on May 30, 1948. Pastor Vessels and his wife went on to pastor over a dozen churches throughout Illinois, Ohio, California, and Kansas. He retired from the ministry in 2003 at the age of 79 in Barstow, Calif., where he had pastored for over 10 years.

Continued from page 29

professional excellence with a dynamic Christian faith.” Specific evidence must also be provided that the candidate has made significant “enduring contribution” to Adventist education.

Von Pohle said Loeffler clearly exemplifies the ideal candidate for this award. “He’s easy-going, evenkeeled, dependable, loyal, and committed to Adventist education,” she stated.

“He’s spent way too many years being part of improving Adventist education for that work to go unnoticed. I can think of no one more deserving of this award than him.”

Anyone who has ever worked in education or been in a school classroom for any length of time knows teaching is not for the faint of heart. It has its challenges and tough days just like any other job. Loeffler says his spiritual life and his passion for the students serve to get him through even the most difficult of experiences.

“There’s nothing perfect about life,” he said. “However, when you care about something, you’re willing to go through whatever you need to in order to make it successful.”

In the meantime, Teryl looks forward to life slowing down a little. Retiring from a job that entails a lot of travel has him anticipating more quality time at home and more time with his family.

“Regardless of my new ‘retired’ label,” he said, “I’ll always be a teacher who loves his kids.”

62 Pacific Union Recorder I Community & Marketplace
“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9
City/Location JULY 7 JULY 14 JULY 21 JULY 28 Alturas (Modoc Cty.) 8:39 8:36 8:31 8:24 Angwin 8:36 8:34 8:29 8:24 Bakersfield 8:14 8:11 8:08 8:03 Calexico 7:53 7:51 7:47 7:43 Chico 8:37 8:34 8:30 8:24 Death Valley (Furnace Ck) 8:08 8:05 8:02 7:56 Eureka 8:50 8:47 8:42 8:36 Four Corners [E] 8:38 8:36 8:32 8:26 Fresno 8:20 8:18 8:14 8:09 Grand Canyon (South Rim) 7:48 7:46 7:42 7:37 Half Dome 8:22 8:20 8:15 8:10 Hilo 7:03 7:02 7:01 6:58 Holbrook (Navajo City) 7:38 7:36 7:32 7:28 Honolulu 7:17 7:16 7:14 7:12 Joshua Tree 8:00 7:57 7:54 7:49 Lake Tahoe 8:28 8:25 8:20 8:15 Las Vegas 8:00 7:58 7:54 7:49 Lodi-Stockton 8:30 8:28 8:23 8:18 Loma Linda 8:03 8:01 7:57 7:53 Los Angeles 8:07 8:05 8:01 7:57 McDermitt [N] 8:28 8:25 8:20 8:13 Moab 8:45 8:42 8:38 8:32 Monterey Bay 8:28 8:26 8:22 8:17 Mt. Whitney 8:00 7:58 7:55 7:50 Napa 8:35 8:32 8:28 8:22 Nogales [S] (Los) 8:05 8:03 8:00 7:55 Oakland 8:33 8:31 8:27 8:21 Paradise, CA 8:37 8:34 8:29 8:23 Phoenix 7:41 7:39 7:35 7:31 Pu‘uwaiau, Ni’ihau [W] 7:06 7:06 7:04 7:01 Reno 8:29 8:26 8:21 8:15 Riverside 8:33 8:30 8:25 8:20 Sacramento 8:33 8:30 8:25 8:20 Salt Lake City 9:01 8:58 8:53 8:47 San Diego 7:59 7:57 7:54 7:50 San Francisco 8:34 8:31 8:27 8:22 San Jose 8:31 8:28 8:24 8:18 Santa Rosa 8:37 8:34 8:30 8:24 Sunset Beach 8:29 8:26 8:23 8:17 Thousand Oaks 8:10 8:08 8:04 7:59 Tucson 7:33 7:31 7:28 7:24 [N]=Northernmost
[S]=Southernmost [E]=Easternmost [W]=Westernmost point in the Pacific Union

Next Step Scholarships

Assisting families as they make educational decisions at key progression points in their student’s life

To apply, scan the QR code.

Ninth-Grade Scholarships
• Not limited to members of the Adventist Church • For full-time
• Nominated
• Regardless of other scholarship
• Based
$2500 $1,000 to
or ninth-grade students
by the local conference education department
tuition assistance
on submission of online essay-based application
deadline: Varies by conference
Box 5005
Westlake Village