Shannon Kelly Journalist
Shannon Kelly Journalist
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Table of Contents 2..... Selmaâ€™s Story 4..... Love Lifted Me 8..... Asunder 10..... Not By Sight 11..... Kelvin Lacy Story 12...... Andrews University Takes Water to Flint 13..... Least of These Story 14..... Single Life
Selma’s Story On November 15, 2017, 87-year-old Selma Satonica entered the Grand Rapids, Michigan, courthouse and proudly took her oath of allegiance to the United States of America, finally fulfilling her goal of becoming a legal U.S. citizen. This moment was a dream come true for the native German; decades ago, she almost did not make it to America. As World War II ravaged her homeland, the odds of survival and escape seemed stacked against her. But Selma and her family knew that all things are possible with God. Through a series of remarkable miracles and answered prayers, Selma and her family were delivered from the perils of the war, spared from death time and again. “God helped us,” Selma declared emphatically. Selma and her twin brother, Helmut, were born to Ferdinand and Elida Wutzke in 1930 in Slobodarka, Poland, then part of the Soviet Union and now the Ukraine. Their family would grow by three more children in the coming years. Although the family were ethnic Germans and spoke the German language, they also spoke Polish. After World War II broke out, this ability – along with many prayers – would help save their lives. The Bolsheviks, a Russia majority radical group, began hunting down and exterminating anyone caught speaking German. The officers stood at the windows of peoples’ homes to eavesdrop. “We had to close the window, because the Russian Bolsheviks come listen if you talk German or Polish,” Selma recalled. “If you talk Polish, they let you go, but if you talk German, they take you.” Every time the family heard the Bolsheviks coming, they would pray to God, and Ferdinand instructed everyone to speak Polish. After hearing this language being spoken, the Bolsheviks left satisfied. Though knowing Polish helped save them from the Bolsheviks, Selma and her family were in danger of being hauled to concentration camps for another major reason - their faith. Selma’s father owned a shoe shop, and as a Seventh-day Adventist, he closed it every Sabbath. Then came a dire warning that Selma remembers clearly: “If we don’t open it [on Sabbath], they take you away in the concentration camp.” To avoid this fate, a worker was hired to open the store for Ferdinand on Saturdays. In 1939, Selma’s parents were forced
from their home in Poland and moved to Freiburg, Germany. While awaiting placement, they stayed in a camp where they slept on straw mattresses and were served food containing pork. Selma’s parents explained to the SS commandant that, “We don’t eat pork. We’re Adventists.” The commandant threatened that those who did not eat the food provided and did not do as they were told should be shot, but the family did not back down. As usual, when faced with grave situations, the family prayed. God honored their integrity with a miracle. Instead of executing them, the SS commandant began serving them soup broth without pork, and cheese sandwiches. Seven months later, Selma and her family were settled in Southwestern Poland. The government evicted a family from their home so they could move in. Feeling terrible, Selma’s parents arranged a secret meeting with the evicted family to return the belongings they had been forced to abandon. Selma’s new residence was close to a barbed-wire enclosed Jewish ghetto. The unwilling inhabitants had to be inside by five o’clock sharp every evening; if they were late, the consequences were deadly. Once, to her horror, Selma witnessed a Nazi shoot a Jewish man for arriving seconds late. “It was 5:01 - 1 minute after,” she recalls, “and the Nazi shot that guy.” Selma and her family helped their Jewish neighbors every chance they got, often sneaking food to them
“‘For this, you could end up in concentration camp, that you feed the Jews!’”
under the fence. Each exchange was a risk to life should they be caught. Once, they almost were. “One Jew was so hungry,” Selma remembers. “My father sent me to the bakery to get some buns.” Selma delivered the buns to her father, who gave them to the Jew. A Nazi wearing civilian clothing saw the encounter. “The Nazi come up, he says, ‘For this, you could end up in concentration camp, that you feed the Jews!’” Her father breathed a prayer. Miraculously, the Nazi chose not to report the exchange. “I’ll close my eyes this time, but let it happen again and you’ll be in the concentration camp,” he warned. Eventually, Selma and her siblings were forced to join the Hitler Youth program. Selma and her younger sister, Gunda, joined the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM), the female division of Hitler Youth. Part of their uniforms included wearing a Swastika arm band, something Selma hated. There was fear that the boys, Helmut and Willie, would be drafted. At the time, boys as young as ten were taken to war. God answered the family’s prayers and protected the Wutzke children from this fate. Their father, Ferdinand, did not escape the draft, however, and was deported to Hamburg. Then, on January 18, 1945, during a blizzard, two German soldiers came to the family and instructed them to pack quickly. The German front was collapsing. Russians would invade within the hour, and their town would become a war zone. They had come to help the family escape, remembering the times the family had fed them. Together with two other families, Selma, her mother, and her siblings piled into the military truck and headed for a train depot 50 miles away. After prayerfully passing a perilous checkpoint, they arrived to find the station bombed out. The determined soldiers drove another 100 miles to the next train station. There, they found a train overflowing with passengers. Selma thought
it looked like a Christmas tree, with people sitting on top and hanging from the sides. It was so packed that the conductor told Selma’s mother to wait for another train. Uncertain of what to do, the family prayed for guidance. After praying, a man dressed in black approached them. “He looked like Johnny Cash,” Selma says, grinning. He told them, “Take this train. This is the last one.” With that, the mysterious man vanished. Recognizing this as an angelic encounter, Selma’s family boarded the train, which was indeed the last. 200 miles later, the train arrived in Cottbus, Germany. Selma and Helmut were sent in search of food, having eaten nothing on their exodus. To their dismay, stamps were needed to purchase food, and they had none. As they stood wondering what to do, a gust of wind blew something against Selma’s shoe: a string of red stamps! These were bread stamps, and provided Selma with two and a half loaves of bread to share. “We come back by my mom in the depot, said, ‘Look, we got bread!’ My mother said, ‘Where did you steal that?’” Selma laughs. “We didn’t steal it! God provided.” God also provided a joyous reunion for the Wutzke family; the miracles never ceased. With help from a Seventh-day Adventist Church, they found their opportunity to immigrate to America. A shoemaker was needed, which just happened to be Ferdinand’s occupation. The family leapt at the chance and sailed across the tempestuous ocean to begin a new life.
Love Lifted Me
The 31-year-old Michigan native, Cassandra McNulty, stood before a small group of women gathered for camp meeting, her soothing voice echoing God’s call for an intimate relationship with his children. “Masks put a barrier between us and God,” she said before launching into reasons to share our stories, even when they are as difficult and painful as her own. “God wants us to use our testimony. Just like the woman at the well, he wants us to run back and tell everybody what Jesus has done for us. He wants us to be open and honest about our journeys and lives so they can ennoble and enrich our church and our young people.” Cassandra’s openness in sharing her own testimony comes from a desire to help other young women avoid a similar hurt and shame she experienced during high school and continued through her early college years. Her story further illustrates the struggles of Christian youth on public campuses and journeying through life, oftentimes without firm moorings, only to fall prey to wrong choices. Cassandra’s family moved a lot during her early years and she attended 12 different schools. The variety of schools in which she was enrolled was perhaps matched by the assortment of churches her family attended. “We went to [a variety of] churches; just things all over the place,” she recounts. “My dad very much believed that you go to the church where you feel like God is calling you and that is closest to scripture.” By her junior year of high school, Cassandra was immersed in an academic environment rife with partying, drug use and sex. As a Christian, she found herself feeling very much alone. An extrovert by nature, the isolation was nearly torture. “I sat alone at the lunch table for three months because I didn’t fit in,” she says. Finally, she could not take it anymore. “I started compromising in order to have friends.” Things started harmlessly enough. Cassandra began going to parties as the designated driver. “I won’t drink,” she justified. “I’ll be fine.” But that was Satan’s lie. One night, Cassandra was planning to attend a college party with some of her girlfriends. Since she was the designated driver, she stopped to pick up a can of soda before arriving at the crowded place. Things went on as usual – until one accidental slip changed everything. “I made the mistake of putting my drink down,” she says. “The next thing I know, I’m feeling really sick and dizzy.” Drawing a deep breath, she continues, “I woke up in a dark room, and I had been raped.”
The experienced crushed her spirit. In the months and years afterwards, she remembers hearing voices telling her: You are dirty. God can never love you like this! You are alone. Cassandra finally decided that the only way she could cope was to fully participate in the activities around her. “I started down-spiraling very quickly, drinking a lot and having one relationship after the other, thinking that if I actually controlled the interactions that it would make me feel like I had control over what had happened to me,” she says. But it only made her feel worse. Looking at herself in the mirror, Cassandra barely recognized the reflection she saw, but she recognized that she needed help. She made an appointment with her church’s youth group pastor, and bared her soul to him. But instead of receiving the support she was expecting, she found herself being blamed for everything. He asked her questions such as: “How do you know you were raped?” “Why were you even there at the party?” “He was basically telling me that, if it was true, it was all my fault anyway,” Cassandra remembers. “So, I left church, and I didn’t look back.” Cassandra then moved out of her parents’ home and began attending a local community college. Deeply depressed, the former top student was struggling to make Cs. “I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know what to do.” Although she did not recognize it at the time, God had not given her up. At the community college, Cassandra began running into old friends from her youth group. They always treated her kindly, encouraging her to come to a college Bible study group with them. Despite the fact Cassandra continued to dismiss the invitations, they never stopped asking. Then, on a whim to placate them, Cassandra gave into their efforts and decided to check out the college’s Bible study group. For a while, she explains that she had one foot in Bible studies and one foot in the world… until she heard a sermon that changed her life. Through the message of the sermon and the gentle, persistent love of her friends, Cassandra realized, “God still loved me, that I was not too far gone to him to save, and that he just desired for me to come to him.” Falling to her knees, weeping, Cassandra begged God to rescue her. She asked God, “to cover my sins and make me whole again, to heal me, to take the anguish and the pain away.” “The crazy thing is,” she paused with a smile, “He did.” Cassandra stopped drinking and partying, but she did
not end there. “I gave my life so completely to him that I told him that I would give him my summers to do mission work.”
New College, New Commitment
When Cassandra entered the University of Michigan, she had a friend and roommate who was a Messianic Jew. Shocked by the secular environment, the girls knew they needed to be intentional in seeking out a church community. One day, they strolled past two students who were Adventist public campus missionaries. Cassandra and her roommate heard them mentioning things like Bible studies, church service and vegetarian meals. “My roommate and I just looked at each other and we were like… This has to be from God.” Because her Messianic Jewish roommate kept the Sabbath and was a vegetarian, Cassandra was familiar with some aspects of Adventist practices, so she was fairly open to exploring Seventh-day Adventism. She attended Bible studies and vespers on campus with her new Adventist friends and often fellowshipped with them. Still, Cassandra was more comfortable with her Sunday-keeping, non-denominational upbringing, so she frequented a more traditional non-denominational church. Eventually, this church offered Cassandra a job leading their missions in Africa after her graduation. Africa studies was her major course of study at the University of Michigan, and she was thrilled. This was her dream job! However, she realized that if she were to represent a church, she needed to be sure that she believed everything her church taught. She began praying for God to lead and show her whether this was the church he wanted her to be in. Bit by bit, God began impressing Cassandra that some things in this church were not aligned with his ways, leading her to study the Bible fervently for answers. As she studied, the topic of the Sabbath kept coming up, driving Cassandra to ask her Adventist friends more serious questions about their faith. They happily obliged. “They never made me feel like a project,” Cassandra says gratefully. “They were friends… It wasn’t like a ‘come to my Bible study’… or, ‘come to an evangelistic series.’ They were building a relationship with me. They invested in me!” In December of 2007, Cassandra accompanied her friends to a Generation of Youth for Christ meeting; there, she was fully convicted that God wanted her in the Adventist church. “It was just amazing,” she marvels. “I feel like God takes
each individual heart and communicates with us what he wants us to know and be impressed by. There were different things that God was prodding on my heart, that this is the church that he wanted me to be in, so I let my friends know.” Cassandra’s Adventist friends were thrilled, and gave her Bible studies on the major pillars of Adventism to help deepen her understanding of the faith. Cassandra was baptized the following April. “I was so impressed by how much they knew their Bibles, and how firm their understanding was of what they believed,” she recalls. “There was an aspect of God’s character that I didn’t understand until I came to the Adventist Church.” Cassandra credits God for using her friends as instruments in her journey, modeling Christ’s love and cultivating relationships with her rather than preaching at her. She is now an advocate of the campus ministries that changed her life, going as far as serving as a campus missionary at the University of Michigan, and likens the mission to the Bible story of the friends who brought their paraplegic friend to Jesus for healing. “Scripture says that when Jesus saw their faith, their friend was made whole,” she explains. “And it wasn’t because of the faith of the paraplegic; it was because of the faith of his friends. I think that that is the power behind Campus Ministries specifically… ministering to those there that know Jesus, but don’t have a full picture, of those that have not even met him. And developing those relationships, and building those bridges, and modeling Christ to them and showing them God’s Word… you’re able to bring them to the feet of Jesus. And through your faith, people are made whole.” “God does amazing things in all of our lives,” she concludes, “when we surrender our lives to him. That’s the one thing that I have to remind myself of – that it’s not my story, it’s his story. That’s what a testimony is. It’s the story of how he saved us.”
ASUNDER Divorce. It is a topic that many Christians shy away
from, or only speak about in whispers. The label of being “divorced” is shrouded in suggestions of shame and failure. Divorce in the Seventh-day Adventist Church is often treated as a taboo. Even though it happens, few know how to respond. Some individuals who have experienced divorce share the struggles they faced. Dr. Bradly Hinman, Assistant Professor at Andrews University in the Department of Graduate Psychology and Counseling and a private practice counselor specializing in marriage and family therapy, responds to three struggles that many divorcees face.
“I was not going to be one of those guys who gets divorced,” 36-year-old John Weiss said, reflecting on the year 2012 when he lost almost everything. “That wasn’t even a remote possibility in my mind.” John lost many things upon his divorce – his house, his dogs, a lot of his money – but he feels that the biggest thing he lost was his identity. “My label of husband, caretaker, provider… and now getting this new label of “divorced”… it just seemed like it was too much.” “It is normal to feel a loss of identity during divorce,” Dr. Hinman says. “Beginning at engagement the natural course of many (but not all) couples is for the individual to become less, and the couple to become more prevalent. I believe that is what the Bible meant when it said, “the two shall become one.”” He explains that when a relationship ends, an individual suffers loss of identity because of the sacrifices made for the relationship to work. In a relationship, individual identity becomes less and the relationship identity becomes greater. When people lose their relationship, through divorce for example, the person can feel as though they have lost a part of their identity. Hinman explicates that feelings such as confusion, anger, and grief are common. “Individuals who are suffering from a divorce should remember who they were before the relationship started,” Hinman says. “They should surround themselves with people who are supportive and do things they enjoy. Write a list, keep it in your phone, pull it out and pick one when things get overwhelming.” Individual identity is an important thing to have; knowing who you are as a person matters. But if an individual’s identity is not
found in God first, an identity crisis is inevitable. Remember that you are a child of God. “After the divorce was finalized, I spent maybe a year or two, or a few years, just me and God,” John recounts. “God started building a new life for me, and tearing down the old frameworks and the bad assumptions and helping me reexamine stuff from the past that needed to be dealt with.” John explains that since his divorce, God has been building a new life, as new identity for him, grounded in Christ. Today he serves as a producer at Your Story Hour. Can God Still Use Me Now? “I was so upset and broken and in pain,” a 35-year-old Theology professor at Andrews University says, recounting the story of her divorce. “I really thought I was going to lose everything.” She feared she would be let go from her job. “Who wants a divorced woman teaching theology?” she asked, laughing at the irony. She also thought she would lose her church ministry duties. She had been doing Pathfinders and youth work for quite some time. “I thought… I’d never be happy again,” she said simply. “I would look at my finger and miss my wedding ring… I felt like I wanted to hide my hands.” She wrestled desperately with shame and self-confidence. Despite these struggles and fears, her worst fear was not for herself; it was that her divorce had somehow damaged God’s reputation, simultaneously damaging her ability to work for Him. “What good can God do through me now?” she wondered. “I’m tainted. I’m dishonorable to His name.” “People who invest their life working for God feel called to arrange their life as perfectly as they can,” Dr. Hinman responds. “Divorce is a serious matter for many Christians, and I feel it would be natural for someone who has devoted their life to service to the church would feel a sense of loss while going through a divorce.” He goes on to describe how this loss of the ideal life could be seen as a step backward, as loss, a failure, or a blemish on the worthiness of the individual. Dr. Hinman gives advice on what a person can do when experiencing shame or doubting whether he or she can be used by God: “Talk to a counselor, surround yourself with supportive people, and talk to other people who have successfully dealt with significant feelings of shame.” Satan loves to deceive and discourage us, trying to make us feel that we messed up too much for God to love and use us for His work. However, the Bible is replete with individuals who
were sinful human disasters, and God still used them in mighty ways. King David, Abraham, and Moses all failed in terrible ways, but God used them mightily. No one is ever too tainted for God to transform into His servant. Although the first year after her divorce was tough, Rahel says that God has turned this into one of the greatest witnessing opportunities of her life. I did not lose my job or my ministries! I have been in counseling and groups for years and God has used that, along with many other wonderful people and experiences, to bring me great healing and joy. In fact, God has turned what I thought would destroy me, into something powerful!” She shares her story publicly, showing the healing power of God’s love and grace. “He has given me joy beyond imagining with His presence and care.” She continues to lead her church’s pathfinder club and youth group while serving as assistant professor of Biblical Hebrew.
An Uncertain Future
37-year-old Andrews University student and United States Air Force veteran, Amy Manjarres, was married for five years before her divorce. In July of 2014, while stationed in Turkey, the Air Force notified Amy that she would be one of many to be discharged. It was a devastating blow. Not only was her marriage falling apart; now her career was too. Soon, Amy found herself unemployed and newly divorced. Her whole future, so set in stone not long ago, was uncertain. She felt like a complete failure, longing for something in life that would make her feel worth her existence. “The fact that I became one more statistic was devastating,” Amy said. “In this case, both her career and her marriage were supposed to last for a very, very long time,” Dr. Hinman explains. “When things are supposed to last for a long time and they don’t, we go through a period of mourning, anxiety, and powerlessness.” A good job and a thriving relationship are factors that give us a sense of accomplishment. If these things are taken against our will, it makes us question how much of any of our life is within our control. Hinman says, “Divorce can be devastating, but in my opinion, should not necessarily be viewed as a failure. What people in this position generally need from other people is a listening ear, understanding, and compassion. Many times, it helps people to feel better just to be able to express themselves and talk about the awful turn their life has taken.” In addition to this, he counsels that helping a person plan for what to do next can help with attaining a sense of control and getting back
on his or her feet. It is human nature to want control over our every circumstance, to want a concrete plan for our lives. But things do not always work out that way. Even in the face of an uncertain future, God promised us that no matter how hopeless the future seems, He has good plans in store. We can truly claim the promise given in the familiar text, Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV) As to how she is now coping with the uncertainties about her future, Amy says, “It causes anxiety; however, I’m working on being more dependent and trusting of God. I try to internalize Bible examples of God’s faithfulness to man, and I am also trying to take courage from close friends’ personal experiences with trusting our Father.” Today, Amy is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and she hopes to use her new profession to serve Christ. How should individuals in the Church respond when one of their brothers or sisters in Christ is going through a divorce? “Be supportive, loving, and accepting,” Dr. Hinman says plainly. “I know that sounds simple, but these qualities are vastly underused today.” He explains that many persons are uncomfortable around topics such as divorce or death, but instead of reacting in judgment or condemnation, we should ask what we can do for the person. “We should not offer advice unless they ask,” he cautions. “Unsolicited advice can come across as judgment or condemnation.” Our Heavenly Father reminds us in Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Not By Sight She has been called the “new Picasso”… and she is legally blind.
Artist Lauren Mills was born with Nystagmus, an eye disease in which the eyes are constantly wiggling. While she can see minute specks up close, she does not see well beyond what is immediately in front of her. Still, these physical struggles never impeded Lauren’s affinity for art. By ten months old, she was drawing incessantly. At age six, Lauren accompanied her mother, Leah Chapman, to a college art class she was attending. The professor noted young Lauren’s excellent ability to see perspective. Chapman was blown away. “How is it possible that she’s able to do this, this thing called art that takes – in my mind’s eye – visual capacity to do well?” she wondered. She realized that her daughter’s talent was “beyond human ability”; it had to be a gift from God. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a moment where my vision has really stopped my art,” the 17-year-old says. “I never really felt like it played a negative part in how I created things.” In fact, she uses this would-be setback to her advantage. To “quiet” her eyes, Lauren must look at things extremely closely, giving her extraordinary attention to detail. “People think that I’m lying to them when I say that I’m legally blind, because my detail work in my paintings I’ve heard is pretty good,” she laughs. “She doesn’t see her visual condition as a disability,” Chapman adds. “She calls it her perfect sight.” At age eleven, Lauren started her own art company, called “Artologi.” After creating the website and posting some samples of her work, Lauren began getting occasional commissions. Her art really took off, however, when she began attending fairs as a vendor at her grandmother’s encouragement. Lauren had no formal art training growing up, but over the past few years, she has had the opportunity to attend classes at the prestigious institutions of Interlochen Art Institute, University of Michigan, and School of Art Institute in Chicago. These programs were costly, but just when attendance seemed impossible, God always provided. Thanks to scholarships and donations from others, Lauren was able to participate in these programs. Amidst her success, Lauren remains humble, never forgetting who blesses her. “I don’t see myself as anything really huge, or like I’m a star or something,”
she says. “I know definitely it was God and not me... I feel like God’s been a crutch for me, because I don’t really stand alone in my life.” She cites Jeremiah 1:5. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” “It was about how God knew him before he was born, and he ordained him, and basically set his future up for him. That’s how I saw my art career… God just kind of set my life up,” she explains. Lauren loves using her gift to glorify God. She designed a banner for an evangelistic series held at her school; she sometimes gifts paintings to Pastors at various churches; most recently, she designed the Lake Region Conference pins for the last Pathfinders Oshkosh. As the co-AY leader at her home church, Lauren hopes to establish an art program for the young people there, teaching them to express themselves in a “nondestructive” way. Having participated in a few art shows with others, she is hoping to develop her first solo show in the future. Since graduating from Peterson-Warren Academy in June, Lauren enrolled at Oakwood this fall where she is studying commercial art and history. “My schedule is crazy,” she said one evening after finishing up a worship service on campus. Between choir, work, and classes, she is determined to fit art in, somehow. “My only free time is Saturday nights, and that’s when I plan to paint.” She opened an online store over the summer and plans to devote time to that, too. The store features products such as t-shirts, bags, and pillows emblazoned with the “colored girl rainbow,” a patch of striped hues in various shades of brown. “I try to be myself in my art, so that other people will know that it’s okay to be yourself,” Lauren said simply. “I’m definitely not one that has fit into a mold, or that really wants to, so that’s kind of what I try to say in my art at the core.”
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Single Life “So, are you dating anyone yet?” This question becomes inevitable, especially when you reach your adult years and are still single while many of your childhood friends are getting engaged and married. Much of society seems to have an expectation that when you grow up, you get married. The notion is that if you stay single, you cannot have a happy, fulfilling life. Being single is too often seen as a failure – a perception that is entirely false. Whether you are single and waiting for “the one”, or if you are choosing to remain unmarried, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Dating and marriage are absolutely beautiful, and if that is your desire, you should absolutely go for it. But what must also be understood is that being single is not a bad thing. Some adults weighed in on why it’s OK to be single. Here are their top reasons.
Singleness is reality.
Being single, whether by choice or by chance, is not an awful, strange or unfulfilling way to live. Pastor Dwight Nelson, Lead Pastor of Pioneer Memorial Church, explained that God created humans to be relational beings, but “the post-Eden reality is that not all marry.” “While God has an ideal, He lives with the real,” Pastor Nelson said. “And the real is, we don’t all get married. The real is, we don’t all want to get married. The real is, we don’t have to get married. The real is that, professionally and personally, a person can live a very fruitful life and never marry.”
Are you ready to be selfless?
When you are married or in a relationship with someone, you consult your partner about almost every decision you make. Decisions about where to go to school, where to work, where to live, what to do in your spare time… you are no longer just looking out for yourself alone. Relationships involve compromise, and if compromise cannot happen, a healthy relationship cannot flourish.
Marriage may not fit everyone’s lifestyle. 30-year-old freelance photographer/filmmaker, Tanya Musgrave, is a single woman with a lively career that keeps her traveling around the country constantly. As a result, she is never in one place for long. “Where I am in my life right now, I would never be home,” she said. “I’m kind of flitting from one place to another… I don’t even know if somebody would want to be in a relationship with somebody who is barely there.” She is completely open to being in a relationship should someone come along who could keep up with her. The thought of marriage someday appeals to her. However, she recognizes that she is not ready to settle down yet, and until she is, she is fulfilled by the work that she loves and the friendships she makes.
You have time to focus on becoming who you want to be while you’re single.
“I don’t feel like I’m the person I want to give to someone,” 23-yearold student, Bohdana Gayle, said. Gayle explained that if she wants to be in a relationship, she needs to give it “110 [percent],” but before she can do that, she feels that there are certain parts of her life that she needs to work on. “If I want to receive the best, I feel like I need to be able to give the best…And I’m just not there.” She would rather wait until she feels personally prepared for a relationship than dive into one and hurt her significant other in the end. This does not mean you have to have yourself all figured out, but learning more about who you are and what you want in life is a good way to prepare for any future.
Singleness can be a unique gift from God.
Some people actually choose not to marry and are content that way. Pastor Nelson referred to the Apostle Paul – himself a single man - as an example. In 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul says, “I wish that all of you were as I am [unmarried]. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” Not only does Paul actually advocate the single lifestyle, but in the last half of the verse, he implies that singleness can be a spiritual gift. “Paul’s little insertion there… indicates that singleness can be a gift from God, fruitfully exercised for the building up of God’s kingdom,” Pastor Nelson said.
You are able to focus on developing your relationship with Christ above all.
Human relationships may come and go, but a relationship with Jesus is eternal. He craves a personal relationship with you more than anything. Take time to get to know Jesus, the lover of your soul. Let Him help you clean out your proverbial “junk drawer” that is the human heart. Ask Him to reveal any hidden sins and areas of your life that you need to work on, then work on those with Him. Build on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Christians couples will say that a firm foundation in Jesus is key to having a lasting marriage, but this foundation is not crucial in marriage only. “This is not just a foundation if you get married,” Pastor Nelson said. “This is a foundation if you’re living.”
Andrews University Takes Water to Flint It all started with a casual conversation. Jonathan Momplaisir, president of the first-year class of Physical Therapy (PT) students at Andrews University, was chatting with second-year PT student Joses Ngugi about the toxic, lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, upon reading a Twitter post asking what Andrews University was doing to help those in the crisis. Momplaisir saw the opportunity to do good. “Matthew 25:35 literally says, ‘I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink,’” he said. Excited at the prospect of quite literally fulfilling a Bible verse, he suggested holding a friendly competition between the first, second, and third-year physical therapy classes, along with the faculty, to see which team could collect the most water for Flint. The project was a hit and took off immediately. Momplaisir said that his first-year class alone collected 42 cases of water within 24 hours. The project was so successful that, as more and more cases of water came pouring in, he began to worry about how all of the water would be transported to Flint, located a few hours away from Berrien Springs. “I was starting to feel overwhelmed,” Momplaisir admitted, having no idea the project would become so huge. But just when he was feeling hopelessly overwhelmed, God began performing miracles. Seminary student Latina Carriger had previously taken some cases of water to Flint that she had collected with her husband and classmates, but the desire to do more still weighed on her heart. She sent out an e-mail to various local churches looking for more water to deliver. Pastor Dwight Nelson, lead Pastor at Pioneer Memorial Church, copied Momplaisir to the e-mail. Thrilled and amazed, Momplaisir contacted Carriger and said that PT had been collecting water for some time; they just didn’t know how to get it to Flint. “When you want to do good, God affirms that,” Momplaisir said with conviction. God did not stop there, however. Word quickly spread about the Flint project, and students and faculty outside of PT wanted to take part as well. Before long, the friendly competition turned into a campus-wide movement, with the Seminary and the rest of the Andrews campus joining in collecting cases of water. On Saturday, Jan. 30, eleven seminarians made their delivery of 1,100 cases of water to the desperate citizens
transport so many cases of water? Finally taking a break from her work one night, Carriger called her four-yearold daughter in to pray with her that God would provide a way to get the water to Flint. God’s miraculous answer came the very next morning in the form of an e-mail from a man named Mike Villwock. Villwock, who is unaffiliated with Andrews University, wished to help deliver water to Flint and was offering the use of his trailer truck that could transport up to 300 cases of water at once. Carriger of course took him up on his offer, and the first delivery of water from Andrews was a success, as well as a great witnessing opportunity. Carriger said that, after helping to load up one man’s car with a few cases of water, the man told her to thank whoever was in charge of their project. She responded that God was the one in charge, and He had heard the man’s praise. She loved getting the chance to let God use her, and her classmates, to prove that He sees what is happening in Flint, and He cares. “God is not ignoring their concern,” she said emphatically. The School of Physical Therapy will be making their water delivery on Saturday, Feb. 6, and the final delivery from Andrews University will be made on Valentine’s Day (Sunday, Feb. 14). Those involved are confident that God will continue to provide for every need that arises, for He has proven Himself time and time again. Nothing is impossible with God!
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Shannon Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org (434) 941-0218