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Southwestern Union

November | December 2019

His 4 In Hands


Holiday Huddle


Family By Design


Counting Blessings

Praise and Thanksgiving Sharing God’s Goodness

Sharing God’s Goodness Praise and Thanksgiving

November | December 2019 Vol. 118, No. 06




Back Pages

4 My Daughter in His Hands 6 Family By Design 10 Counting the Blessings

The Record is an official publication of the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

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On the Record Equipping: The Holiday Huddle Wholeness: Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan Bread Little Readers: Understanding God’s Healing Nature


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Southwestern Happenings Southwestern Union Southwestern Adventist University Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Oklahoma Conference Southwest Region Conference Texas Conference Texico Conference


Jessica L. Lozano,

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As the holidays approach, we tend to prepare our homes for guests and our schedules for school and church performances. The list of items to do or purchases to make begins to grow, and before we know it, 2019 will come to a close. During this joyful and perhaps harried time, I encourage you to take a moment of pause. Think back on God’s blessings for you this season and over this past year. Have you been generous with your praise? Have you shared with others how God has blessed you? The Psalms are full of pleadings and cries to God, but they are also full of praise and gratitude. “Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40:5 Let’s share our blessings with others this season and perhaps we can challenge ourselves to live a lifestyle of thanksgiving that naturally shares with others about God’s goodness.

Jessica L. Lozano 2 RECORD MAGAZINE


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Editor’s Note

Cover photo by Gina Ciaccio Photography

Kristina Pascual Busch,

Jessica L. Lozano


Southwestern Union Conference P.O. Box 4000 Burleson, TX, 76097 Phone: 817.295.0476 Email:

Our Mission: The Mission of the Southwestern Union is to equip and inspire the Southwestern Union territory with the distinctive Adventist message of hope and wholeness.

On the Record

Praise and Thanksgiving Sharing God’s Goodness

Larry Moore | President

Let me begin by saying there are many things to be thankful for. Each one of us could make a long list of our blessings and there would be a lot of similarities in our lists, things such as God and salvation, family and friends, good health, meaningful work and a host of other good things. Please allow me to expand the list to little things maybe we don’t list as often, such as God’s protection as we travel. I do a lot of traveling and I am sure God protects me on the roads and in the air. On a recent flight back to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, we experienced some turbulence. I bowed my head asking God to protect the plane and those on board. And you know it, He did! We made a safe landing. I am also very thankful for the churches in our union. I recently held an evangelistic meeting at the Dallas Spanish Oak Cliff Seventh-day Adventist Church. The members were so nice and supportive of the meeting, preparing homemade refreshments each night. I really enjoyed working with the pastors and their families as well as the church members. I’m really happy that those who were baptized became members of that church. It makes me thankful that we have churches like that in the Southwestern Union. May God bless you as we enter this holiday season. Be happy for all of your blessings, even the ones that are not first on your list. Go a step further and find someone to bless as you have been blessed.

We find ourselves, too often, in a “Lord-I-need-you-to-do-the-following-for-me” mode of prayer, even though the Lord has said to us in His Word, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2. He loves to give to His people. Our Father in heaven is a generous and loving God. What can we give to Him for all that He freely gives to us? The book of Psalms provides a wealth of praise prayers for which we can learn and apply to our daily devotions. “I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens,” Psalm 7:17-8:1. Recently, I came across some examples of praise and thanksgiving we can meditate upon when praying to our heavenly Father. Adopt them and share with others: Thank you, God, for the times You have said, “no.” They have helped me depend on You so much more. Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what’s best for me, even when my opinion differs from Yours. Thank you, God, for the times You came through for me when I didn’t even know I needed a rescue. Thank you, God, for the righteousness You credited toward me through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a righteousness I could never earn or attain on my own. Adopt these examples for yourself and be a blessing to someone else as you share your praise and thanksgiving to your heavenly Father.

John Page | Treasurer

Buford Griffith, Jr. Executive Secretary

I am so very blessed. I am aware of this fact and think about how much the Lord has blessed me with from time to time. However, I recognize that I need to spend even more time reflecting on how I am blessed. More importantly, I realize that I don’t praise God enough for those blessings. One man, as messy as his life was, readily praised God regularly and wholeheartedly. The Psalms are full of David praising and thanking God for the blessings he had received. I love reading his praise in Psalms 9:1, “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” As I look back on the blessings from God, I realize that my most incredible blessings come from times when I have stepped out in faith for what God wanted for me. That makes me wonder if I have passed up blessings that God had prepared because I didn’t step out in faith. Peter is a man who would take opportunities to do what God called him to do even in the most difficult circumstances. Peter understood the power of God to work in him to help his faith to grow. Be ready to see what God can do with you. During this upcoming holiday season let’s take time to acknowledge God for what He has done and look for opportunities that God is calling us to.


Sharing God’s Goodness

My Daughter in His Hands Mother knows best. When a strange headache began to torment Emily Fox, she called her mom, Marjorie Downs, for help. For about a month, Fox had tried everything: exercise, rest, massage, ice, medication, but nothing relieved the constant pain. Downs made a chiropractic appointment for her daughter; perhaps an adjustment would provide some relief. Fox traveled from Keene, Texas to visit her mom in Shreveport, Louisiana with the hope that the chiropractic session would help. It made things worse. Within 24 hours she was so nauseated and dizzy she couldn’t walk across the room without staggering. Her blood pressure skyrocketed.


Downs rushed Fox to a nearby emergency care center. Moments after arriving, she was hurried in for a CAT scan, while her family waited anxiously. The doctor returned and said that the scan showed Fox had a mass growing in her head and it was putting pressure on a nerve in her neck. This was causing her pain, which worsened as the growth progressed. It would have to be removed right away. “I felt helpless,” Downs remembers. “I don’t like to see my children hurting, and there wasn’t anything I could do to take the pain away.” Fox was loaded into an ambulance and transferred to a hospital a few blocks away. She was checked into the Intensive Care Unit to await surgery. But the surgery wouldn’t take place for a couple of days. “I was terrified,” Downs remembers. “I kept repeating this prayer, ‘Please, God, heal my baby. I don’t know how I can go on if I lose her.’” As word of Fox’s condition spread to family and friends, people gathered in prayer. Downs works for the ArkansasLouisiana Conference. Her office family interceded for her and her daughter each morning as they met for daily worship. “Having my family, friends and co-workers prayers and support was tremendous,” Downs says. “It made me realize that I was and am not alone in this.”


Two days later, the 3.7 cm golf ball sized mass was removed. The surgeon told Fox’s family he believed that it was contained and that he had removed it all. It appeared benign, but he sent it to the lab for verification. Fox’s headache was gone and she began to feel better. The apparent good news was received with relief and praise. Both Fox and Downs were grateful to finally be turning a corner. A week later, however,


the lab report revealed an ugly surprise: Fox’s mass was a Medullablastoma, a malignant brain tumor that mostly affects children, but also young adults. Fox and Downs were taken aback. However, they knew God was still at work and trusted Him to take them through the next phase. Fox began treatment, and although the journey had difficult moments, she has grown stronger, physically and spiritually. “I believed that God wouldn’t put me through something I couldn’t handle. If I was meant to live He would heal me,” she says. “I had to trust that He would heal me and not be scared of dying.”


It has been two years since that journey began and Fox’s recent scan shows that she remains cancer free. Fox is strong and active, blessing her mother’s heart with daily texts and calls. “This experience has grown my faith in God. Not because Emily survived, but because I believe God guided us to a place where I not only had strong emotional support, but also good insurance coverage which kept us from becoming financially devastated,” says Downs, “The experience has put me in a place where I have been learning to accept that my children belong to God, and as long as they remain in His hands, they will be safe, even if they lose their life here.” Isaiah 66:13 promises, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” Praise God for His comfort and healing! By Frances Alcorn with Marjorie Downs and Kristina Pacual Busch


The Holiday Huddle Ideas to Help You Make Meaningful Memories While Staying Sane This Season By Kristina Pascual Busch, Southwestern Union Associate Communication Director and Record Managing Editor Family, friends and food—some of the best memories happen when we gather over the holidays. In the midst of these busy months, it may seem hard to find an opportunity to slow down. However, we encourage you to be intentional and carve out some time for these special moments, whether it is with family, friends or even yourself. Take a look and see if you can incorporate any of the ideas below into your schedule. Be sure to take a few photos for the memories, then put your devices away and focus on connecting with each other. Who knows, you may even start some new traditions!

FRIENDSGIVING Host dinner or plan a potluck! Bring together friends from your different social circles: work, church, gym, etc. These types of gatherings help people build organic relationships and may allow some of your church friends and non-church friends to get acquainted. Have activities for kids like holiday crafts or building a gingerbread house, and even plan some activities for adults like creative thankfulness lists or scavenger hunts.

CHARITY EVENTS Community-oriented charity events are plentiful around the holidays. Churches, schools and civic organizations often coordinate activities like food, clothing or Christmas present drives. If more active participation is your cup of tea, consider joining a local 5k or 10k walk/run or an obstacle course race with added elements like mud, powdered color or even tasty treats at the finish line. Make time to step away from the holiday frenzy and do something fun while raising money or benefiting others.

FAMILY TREE As relatives come into town, it may be a great chance to create or update a family tree diagram. This is a good activity for both small and large groups, and it can be as detailed or simple as you desire. Think of stories about those who are no longer with you and share with younger family members who may not have had a chance to know them. Plan ahead and have the out-of-towners bring old photos to add to the mix.

PROMPT JOURNAL Finding a quiet moment to sit and reflect may be exactly what you need during the busy festive season. Whether you want to take a moment for yourself or spend a few minutes chatting intimately with a loved one, a prompt journal may be perfect. Prompt journals are notebooks filled with writing prompts to help you record memories and keep track of significant milestones. There are journals for parents to write in for their children, spouses to share their love story, travellers to recount their adventures and more!


Sharing God’s Goodness


Sharing God’s Goodness

Family By Design Handpicked to Love God’s Precious Children They weren’t expecting an instant family. The journey would have twist and turns and Chris and Aimee Clapp would learn to trust in God, even when things seemed to not make sense. “Why?” Chris asked in the midst of legal proceedings. “Lord, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t understand, but God, please take this.” Chris was 14 when he got his first job working at a summer camp. It impacted him so much he returned for 11 more summers. Children’s ministries became a growing passion for Chris as he volunteered in church. Aimee also volunteered in children’s ministries from a young age. She organized three youth rallies in El Paso and helped with children’s ministries and youth ministries at her home church, El Paso Meraz Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church. Chris and Aime were married December 2007 and began their life together in El Paso, Texas. Chris definitely wanted to be a father one day. But, despite her love of children, Aimee was uncertain about motherhood. At times she felt they may be financially and emotionally unprepared. All of that changed when Aimee discovered a painful truth. She would likely never have biological children. “When you make the choice to not have children, that is one thing. But when a doctor tells you that you physically cannot have children, that’s devastating. For the longest time I thought, maybe this is God’s will—for me to not have kids.” As time passed Aimee processed thoughts about motherhood and children. More than ever before, she longed to hold a child in her arms. “I felt like I had this love to give and no child to give it to,” said Aimee. Although she didn’t understand why this was happening to her, Aimee trusted that God had a plan.


Sharing God’s Goodness

Unexpected Need

A friend invited Aimee and Chris to an informational meeting about adoption through foster care. Hesitantly, they considered foster care as a viable option. They discussed it and eventually signed up for training. Before they had even completed the paperwork for foster parent certification Child Protective Services called. “If you turn in your paperwork today, we can get you certified today,” The agent said, “And we would like to place four kids with you, today.” Stunned, Aimee and Chris reacted with their first thought, “We need to pray about this.” They never expected to have a child placed so quickly, let alone an entire sibling group. It was a huge jump, and they didn’t feel quite ready to take in four children, one being a newborn. “We decided to just start with one,” Chris said. The oldest child in the group was a half-sibling of the younger three and she was placed in one foster home, another home agreed to take two-year old Karlie and Ezequiel. The Clapps brought home one-year old Max. Max arrived with only the clothes on his back and a change of clothes that the CPS agent had picked up at a convenience store. “That was a scary feeling,” said Aimee. “Knowing that there was a set of siblings out there that needed a home was overwhelming. So we started out with one of the siblings. It’s a fear like no other. It’s a fear of doing right by the child. It’s a fear of not being able to handle it. It’s a fear of wondering how the child is going to react to you. It was very scary bringing a little one into our home.” Along with the shock of being new parents, Aimee and Chris had to learn to be the parents of a recently neglected child. Max and his siblings were not healthy, and he had been in the ER the night he came to their home. The fear and pressure was incredible. Through the challenges, the Clapps opened their hearts, and accepted Max as their own son. Doing so put the Clapps in an emotionally vulnerable situation. The ultimate goal in foster care is reunification with biological family. There was no guarantee that Max would stay with them. If either biological parent showed an improvement, Max could go back to his parents. “It was a very trying and difficult situation,” Chris said. “I’ve worked with kids, but that’s very different from being a parent, especially a foster parent. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done, and it’s been a growing experience.”


Sharing God’s Goodness

Open Hearts

About a month into fostering, the first family visitation took place. Aimee and Chris met the other siblings, foster parents and the children’s biological mother for the first time. Karlie was only a year older than Max, but hardly knew her brother. When referring to him, she never called him “my brother” or even Max. She called him “that boy,” and it broke their hearts. Ezequiel was just an infant. Soon afterwards, the Clapps also brought Ezequiel and Karlie into the family. Aimee and Chris wanted to adopt the children, but it wasn’t simple. Legal battles and hearings were long and drawn out. During that time, the Clapps lived with the reality that the children could be taken away at any moment. Every day they faced new uncertainties. When it looked like the kids would be officially adopted, an appeal was filed. “For me, the uncertainty created a kind of weariness that physically hurt,” said Aimee. “I felt the weight literally on my chest. By this point I am madly in love with my kids. Knowing that I could possibly lose them was physically and emotionally painful.” The hearings continued. It seemed like the journey would never end. Then, the biological mother had a turning point. She bluntly asked Aimee, “So you plan on keeping the kids?” Aimee responded, “If they are available and if you are ok with it, yes. We love your kids. They are your kids, but we love them.” The mother nodded, and said, “Ok.” Thirteen months after the Clapps began fostering the kids, their biological mother gave birth to another baby and the two-day old little girl was placed with Aimee and Chris. The mother would eventually relinquish her rights directly to the Clapps because she didn’t want her baby girl to go anywhere else.

Officially Family Karlie, Max and Ezequiel were adopted on August 6, 2019. “It was like a weight lifted off my chest,” said Aimee. “We told the kids, ‘They are your parents, but God chose us to be your parents now and God chose you to be our kids.’ The three kids celebrated the good news with their new parents and youngest sister, whose adoption is still in process. Their oldest half-sister now lives with her paternal grandparents. Aimee and Chris learned to trust in God like never before. While navigating parenthood

and legal cases, they faced unrelated hardships. Chris was unemployed for a while, family members experienced serious health issues and Aimee lost her mother. Through it all, they thank God for the blessing of family and holding them through the dark times. “It’s been insanity,” said Chris. “We’ve had hardships, but at the same time, we can choose what to focus on. We can focus on the difficult things or we can focus on the fantastic things, and I am just so thankful that we have the kids.” Though the final adoption is not yet complete, Aimee and Chris feel positive that they will gain parental rights of the youngest little girl. The Clapps never imagined they would go from zero to four kids so quickly, but God had a plan for their family. They continue to praise Him for leading them through uncertainties, and for handpicking them to parent the beautiful children that now make up the family God has designed for them. By Makala James. James lives with her husband, Denny, in Granbury, Texas.


Sharing God’s Goodness

Counting the

Blessings Mom taught me many lessons. One was to always say “thank you” when I received something. For the most part, as an adult I still follow that habit of thankfulness in my relationships with others. However, I must confess that there is one area of my life where I do not express thankfulness as readily: my spiritual life. I have a feeling that I am not alone in this unintentional tendency. Like me, you may take for granted all of the blessings God gives us; whether tangible things such as family, homes, jobs and material goods; or intangible things in life such as circumstances, guidance and direction. Thankfulness runs through scripture. David records his thankfulness in the Psalms; his praises in Psalm 108:8,9; 109:30,32; 138:2. Paul gives thanks for his salvation in 1 Thessalonians 15:57 and for the people God has brought into his life in Ephesians 1:6. Thankfulness is found on the lips of God’s people. In looking at Scripture as well as reflecting on my own blessings, I have come up with a few things that I am thankful for. After some thoughtful consideration I counted my blessings and wrote down this very abbreviated list: There are so many things that we have to be thankful for, but do we take the time to thank the One who gave them to us? I would like to present you with a challenge. 1. I am thankful for my Lord and Grab a notebook and pen, or your favorite Savior Jesus Christ, for creating, mobile device. Start to list off the things that saving and sustaining me. you are thankful for as you begin to write them down. Spend just five minutes each day medi2. I am thankful for my wife and tating on the blessings you have in your life, be children, whom God has blessed they overt or “blessings in disguise.” me with. Then, when you go into your prayer time, pray about that list. As you pray, remember to 3. I am thankful for the opportunity be thankful not just for the “feel good” things to be in full-time ministry serving but also recall those experiences and situations the body of Christ. when you suffered pain, but God used or will use them for His glory. 4. I am thankful for the privilege of I guarantee that as you begin to pray about pouring into others as God has what you are thankful for, your heart will be poured into me. drawn closer to your heavenly Father who gives us all the blessings of this life and the promise 5. I am thankful for bringing my of the life to come.

I am thankful for:

family to Texas and to the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church, where I not only get to be a blessing to others, but am blessed by others as well.


By Tom Grove. Grove is the executive pastor for the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church. He lives with his wife Deborah and children, Mark and Caroline, in Grand Prairie, Texas.


Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan Bread Recipe and photos by Ashley Melillo of This vegan pumpkin cranberry pecan bread is a festive addition to any holiday spread. A spiced spelt pumpkin loaf is dotted with crunchy pecans and chewy cranberries.

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes Total Time: 1 hour Total Servings: 12 slices

INGREDIENTS Wet Ingredients 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed 2 tablespoons filtered water 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin purée ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk ⅓ cup sugar or Stevia In The Raw® Bakers Bag • ⅓ cup melted virgin coconut oil • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Dry Ingredients ½ teaspoon fine sea salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon ½ cup dried cranberries ½ cup chopped pecans 1 ½ cups whole spelt flour

Cinnamon Glaze (optional) • 2 cups powdered sugar • 2-4 tablespoons filtered water • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 5 x 10 loaf pan with parchment paper. 2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken. Then, whisk in the remaining wet ingredients (i.e., pumpkin purée, almond milk, sugar, coconut oil, and maple syrup).

3. Stir the sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and spelt flour into the wet mixture, one by one, in the order listed. Stop stirring when there are no flour patches at the bottom of the bowl. Be careful not to overmix. Spelt has a delicate gluten structure, so overmixing will result in dry, crumbly bread. The batter should be quite thick and fluffy. 4. Scoop the batter into the pan and gently smooth the top. 5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs at the tip.

6. Cool completely. 7. To make the cinnamon glaze (if using), whisk together the powdered sugar, filtered water (start with 2 tablespoons and add more as needed to thin to a thick but drizzle-able consistency), and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl until smooth. Pour the glaze over the cooled loaf and allow it to stand at room temperature until set. 8. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days. Find more delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes at


Little Readers

Understanding God’s


Healing Nature

e’re going bird watching,” my parents told me one afternoon. “Not again!” I groaned. I always had the same reaction any time my parents wanted to do something like that outside. If it wasn’t bird watching, I’d be walking through spider webs on our nature walks or being bit by mosquitos on our canoe trips. Bird watching, though, was my least favorite. For that activity, we’d have to drive from Orlando to the Florida coast and spend the next few hours just looking for birds. Whenever my parents spotted one, they would look it up in their special bird book and exclaim, “Oh, that one is fascinating!” Then, they’d start hunting for the next one. This cycle went on until the day was basically over and there was no more time for the things I thought were fun like TV and video games! One of the most famous people in the Bible was a man named David. His life was filled with exciting things like conquering cities or entire nations, mastering musical instruments and even going from being a shepherd as a kid to the king of Israel as an adult. Still, he always remembered to look up when he was feeling down. During one of his biggest mistakes, David was discouraged and feeling bad for himself. We can see this is Psalm 103 where he talks about how God forgives sin, heals disease and loves His children even when we mess up. The interesting


part is that when Psalm 104 comes around, David is praising God and talking about His incredible creation. See what David says in verse 12, “The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.” Or how about verse 24, “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures.” He finishes the chapter by writing, “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” I realized that if David found healing through God’s nature, then maybe I could have a better attitude about it. As I got older, I began to appreciate what God made a lot more. From snowy mountains to rushing rivers, I see their beauty in ways I didn’t as a bored kid during our outdoor excursions. For example, my wife and I recently visited the California redwood trees, the tallest living things on earth with some trees stretching over 300 feet! Walking among those trees helped me understand that if God cares about these giant trees and everything (including the birds) living in them, then He must care for me, too. While bird watching still isn’t my favorite thing, I know that God’s healing nature is often only a few steps away. By Jason Busch

Southwestern Happenings

November Events 1-3


Texas Conference: Church Planting Rally Mission Spanish Seventhday Adventist Church ChurchPlanting

Texas Conference: Family Festival, Killeen Adventist Junior Academy FamilyMinistries

2 Texas Conference: Soul Winning Festival, Canyon Creek Church Plant Richardson, Tex.

3 Texas Conference: Family Festival, Houston Central Seventh-day Adventist Church FamilyMinistries

8-10 Texas Conference: Men’s Summit, Houston Central Seventh-day Adventist Church

8-10 Oklahoma Conference: Spanish Men’s Ministry Retreat, Wewoka Woods Adventist Center

15-17 Oklahoma Conference: Native Ministries Training Wewoka Woods Adventist Center

24 Texas Conference: Family Festival, Edinburg Seventhday Adventist Church FamilyMinistries

25 Texas Conference: Children’s Ministries CHAT Online Training

4-8 Arkansas-Louisiana Conference: K-12 Week of Prayer,

16 Arkansas-Louisiana Conference: Town Hall Meeting, Little Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church,

17 Arkansas-Louisiana Conference: Town Hall Meeting, Jonesboro Seventhday Adventist Church

23 Arkansas-Louisiana Conference: Town Hall Meeting, Gentry Seventh-day Adventist Church

December Events 4-7


Ozark Adventist Academy: Music Festival, Ozark Adventist Academy, Gentry, Ark.

Texas Conference: Engaged Couples’ Retreat Lake Whitney Ranch FamilyMinistries



Texas Conference: East Texas Convocation, Tyler, Tex.,

Southwest Region Conference: Singles Enrichment Weekend, Hilton Garden Inn, Duncanville, Tex.,

13-14 Texas Conference: Southwest Texas Convocation, Laredo, Tex.

30 Texas Conference: Children’s Ministries CHAT Online Training

For more events and information, visit


Southwestern Union News

Constituency Session

Southwest Region Conference Elects Officers and Directors

BURLESON, TEX. – The 25th Regular Session and Fourth Quadrennial Session of the Southwest Region Conference convened Sept. 21-22, 2019 in Keene, Tex. The session opened Saturday evening with powerful praise and worship music before a moving message was presented by Office of Regional Conference Ministry Director Dana Edmond. The business session followed as the meeting was called to order, quorum was met and 611 delegates and delegates-at-large were seated. The minutes of the 2015 Constituency Session were reviewed and approved. The meeting ended with a benediction and the delegates were dismissed for the evening. On Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, Northeastern Conference President Daniel Honoré presented the devotional message during the worship session. Delegates received a comprehensive administration and departmental report book in their packets that detailed the work and accomplishments of the conference over the last quadrennium. Interview-style videos were presented for each of the three executive officers during their administrative reports. Some takeaways from the 2015-2019 reports included: 3,062 baptisms with a net increase in membership growth of 1,792; an overall tithe gain increase of 3.7%; a reduction of $1,253,940 in revolving fund debt; major improvements at Lone


Star Camp that have contributed to an increase in value of the property from $5,996,634 to $7,172,780, as well as the camp being awarded American Camp Association Accreditation in 2018. The executive officers expressed gratitude to the members, ministers and teachers of the Southwest Region Conference across the five-state territory for their sacrifice and diligent work in ministry. Leadership and delegates praised God for the blessings reported. Southwestern Union President Larry R. Moore recognized the Southwest Region Conference Nominating Committee and thanked the members for their hard work. The Nominating Committee report was read and voted, and the following positions were confirmed. Officers: President, Calvin L. Watkins, Sr.; Executive Secretary, Stephen Brooks; Treasurer, Philip G. Palmer. Departmental Directors: Youth Director, Carl Ming; Community Services/ Inner City Director, Durandel Ford, Sr.; Church Ministries, Personal Ministries Director and Sabbath School Director, Charles Sanders; General Field Secretary and Diversity Ministries Director, Vanston Archbold; Education Superintendent, Buford Griffith, III; Family Ministries Director, W.S. Lee, Jr.; Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director, Kerwin Jones; Stewardship Director, Oswaldo Hernandez.

Children’s Ministries Director, Communication Director, Ministerial Director, Health Director, Young Adult Director, Evangelism Coordinator, as well as associate director positions were referred to the Southwest Region Conference Executive Committee. After discussion, four of the five amendments proposed by the Southwest Region Conference Constitution and Bylaws Committee were approved. Three new congregations were voted into the sisterhood of churches: Emory Spanish Company, Shekinah Company and Sulphur Springs Spanish Company. A list of several congregations came before the delegates for a vote of disbandment and/or membership merged with other congregations. Delegates voted to disband 10 congregations from 2011-2015, and eight congregations from 2015-2018. The session came to a close with a prayer over the officers and departmental leadership of the Southwest Region Conference. May God continue to bless and guide the ministry of the Southwest Region Conference in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and across the world. By Kristina Pascual Busch Managing Editor Read the full constituency report online at

Southwestern Union News

Learning to Lead

Union Education Department Hosts Leadership Camp ATHENS, TEX. – On Sept. 12-15, 2019, more than 120 student leaders from the Union’s academies attended leadership camp at Lone Star Camp in Athens, Tex. The event’s theme was “Selfless” and was hosted by the Southwestern Union’s Education Department, assisted by the student association (SA) of Southwestern Adventist University. Each fall, academies in the Southwestern Union territory elect SA officers from their respective student bodies to lead and represent each academy. Leadership positions include president,

religious vice president, social vice president, yearbook/newspaper editor, etc. Students took part in breakout sessions about leadership, how to conduct meetings, ethics, planning, and management. They also enjoyed worship sessions, a disaster training simulation and recreational activities. Director of Secondary Education Mike Furr said, “The purpose of leadership camp is to help prepare student leaders to fulfill the roles that they have been elected to, so that when they get back to their own campuses they will

have new and creative ideas and knowledge of how to implement those ideas. Additionally, our intent is to spiritually uplift and inspire our students so that they can return to campus and feel equipped to lead their peers to Christ.” Singbawi Sing, a sophomore at Southwestern Adventist University and an SA officer, said leadership camp was a blessing, as she saw younger students learning, growing and discovering their talents, and that the students enjoyed worshipping and studying the Bible together, bonding as a team of leaders.

Excellence in Teaching

Honoring Outstanding Teachers in the Southwestern Union BURLESON, TEX.– Each year the Southwestern Union recognizes excellence among its nearly 350 educators from the elementary and secondary levels with the Excellence in Teaching Award. To qualify for this award, a teacher must demonstrate proficiency in a number of criteria related to teaching and learning. In appreciation for their outstanding work in teaching and demonstrated dedication to helping students in the Southwestern Union learn, these educators are awarded $500, along with a certificate and a plaque.

The Southwestern Union Education Department is pleased to present the Excellence in Teaching Award recipients for the 2018-2019 school year: Elementary Awards: Renee Otts, Arkansas-Louisiana Conference; Alison Christensen, Oklahoma Conference; Evelyn Goodman, Southwest Region Conference; Sarai Escamilla and Sharon Solomon, Texas Conference; Yvette Chacon ,Texico Conference. Academy Awards: Rosa Briones, Chisholm Trail Academy; Monique Reid, Burton Adventist Academy.


Southwestern Union News


55,000 Pathfinders Participate in International Camporee

OSHKOSH, WIS. – More than 6,200 Pathfinders and staff from the Southwestern Union territory traveled to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Campgrounds in Oshkosh to participate in the Eighth International Pathfinder Camporee that was held Aug. 12-17. According to Camporee officials, more than 55,000 Pathfinders and staff from around the world attended the quinquennial event, with more than 1,300 deciding to be baptized, 100 of them from the Southwestern Union. The Camporee’s theme of “Chosen” centered on the story of David and Goliath, and challenged the Pathfinders to consider what God has in store for each of their lives. “The International Camporee is a fun event for our young people. They connect and build friendships with people from other countries, other cultures.


They learn new skills and honors and are challenged physically. They also see that they are part of a much larger movement committed to Christ, a movement that spans the globe,” said Helvis Moody, Southwestern Union youth and young adult ministries director. Pathfinder clubs from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico set up camp in the Southwestern Union’s designated area and spent time visiting the different conferences and unions to see the various props and decorations at each club’s entrance. The Southwestern Union hosted 294 Pathfinders from South Korea and 21 from Kenya. Apple Park, Oklahoma Conference executive secretary, said the Pathfinders enjoyed learning about each other’s cultures, but also enjoying the commonalities found in being Pathfinders and Adventists.

Each day the Pathfinders took part in numerous planned activities, earned honors and enjoyed spiritual fellowship and nightly programming. During the week, they participated in 57 different community service projects including volunteering with local food pantries, shelters, animal shelters, thrift stores and more. According to Daniel Ortega, youth and young adult director for the Oklahoma Conference, the highlight of each day—and what he still hears his Pathfinders talking about—was the spiritual theme and dramatic presentations of David and Goliath. Ortega says that in addition to the fun and fellowship enjoyed by the Pathfinders, the performances made a powerful impact that will last a lifetime. By Record Editorial Staff Photo by NAD Communication

Southwestern Union News

Mission to Pohnpei

Union Team Provides Week of Prayer BURLESON, TEX. – Dallas to Honolulu, Honolulu to Majuro, Majuro to Pohnpei—it should have taken three flights for a team of four from the Southwestern Union to arrive in Pohnpei. Before the island hopper arrived in Pohnpei, a storm forced them to pass over Pohnpei and land on the island of Chuuk and then head to Guam before the team was able to arrive at their final destination of Kolonia, Pohnpei, where they would be speaking for Week of Prayer sessions. Arriving at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, the team was greeted joyfully by the pastor of the four Seventh-day Adventist churches on Pohnpei, Walter Johns; and the principal of the Pohnpei Seventh-day Adventist School, Franky Edward. The team consisted of Sonia Canó, Southwestern Union children’s min-

istries and Sabbath School director; Kathy Clifford, Texico Conference children’s ministries director; Helvis Moody, Southwestern Union youth and young adult ministries and prayer ministries director; and Moody’s wife, April. After just a few hours of sleep, the team was on the move again. The Week of Prayer began with Moody providing a worship session at the school for the 7th-12th grade students, while Canó and Clifford provided a worship session geared toward Kindergarten through sixth graders. In the evening, Moody held an inspirational series at the Kolonia Seventh-day Adventist Church sharing messages of hope with both the church members and the broader community. While Moody spoke in English, the well-attended

meetings were translated into Pohnpeian by a local translator. The busy Week of Prayer continued through the week and culminated with Sabbath worship. In addition to reaching out to the community, school children and church members, the team was able to minister to the student missionaries who have left their Adventist colleges for a year to teach at the Pohnpei school. The trip was packed with opportunities to witness, as well as to learn about the people of Pohnpei. The team learned that the greatest needs in the mission field are people and supplies: missionaries, Bible workers, school supplies and supplies for missionaries. Join the Southwestern Union in supporting the work in Pohnpei. Visit


Southwestern Adventist University News

SWAU Inspires New TV Series Dinosaur Research Draws World-wide Acclaim KEENE, TEX. – Each summer, the ongoing Dinosaur Excavation and Taphonomic Research Project, led by Art Chadwick and Jared Wood, moves from Southwestern Adventist University’s biology department to the 8,000-acre Hanson Ranch and Research Center in eastern Wyoming. This year, 120 participants from around the world participated, including 10 international educators from the Philippines, Argentina, Peru, Italy, Nigeria, Puerto Rico and Korea. Jared Wood, project co-leader, professor and zoologist, said approximately 2,300 bones were discovered and they had a new record average of diggers per day. “Our numbers continue to grow. We’ve gone from having three people the first year to about 50 people per day from around the world.”


In January, Southwestern was recognized in the Journal of Paleontological Sciences for its work with the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek and Lance Formations, which are some of the most fossil-rich rock units in the United States. Southwestern was named among five universities that “stood out as providing the most detail in the easiest and most aesthetic format.” Southwestern “provided photographs, historical and geologic context for just about every specimen in the large and mostly complete database.” Wood added, “I was told this summer by a paleontologist that we had the largest collection of Lance Formation fossils in the world. And we have the best collection of general [fossils], like Edmontosaurus, which is a type of duck-billed

dinosaur. We always thought we had the best, but now it’s been justified. It’s pretty amazing, for a school our size, to have this world-class collection.” The Hope Channel will release a six-episode documentary on the project, directed by Southwestern communication professor Paul Kim, in November. Viewers will get a glimpse of the camp, the dig and the wilds of Wyoming. With its Dinosaur Science Museum housing a world-class collection of over 30,000 bones and ever-increasing media exposure, the project is drawing unprecedented attention. For more information on the Dinosaur Research Project or to schedule a group tour at the Dinosaur Science Museum, please visit us online at

Your Success Story Begins Here



Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Gone in a Flash

Taking Time to Remember, Reflect and Praise


he year 2019 has whizzed by in a flash. That’s a fact! Before it’s gone, stop and take some time to remember, reflect and then praise with all your heart. While growing up, Thanksgiving was the king of the holidays at our place in many ways. I remember very special things we would do. Preparing for Thanksgiving dinner was a large part of the day. My mother and grandmother would start early in the morning and, graciously and joyously, work to prepare our meal. It was common to see green beans, mashed potatoes from our garden and homemade dressing made from homemade bread (which was rare) from my grandmother, and it would be topped off with homemade cherry pie and chocolate pie with whipped cream. Simple, but to us it was a feast, a labor of love. When we would sit down at the table, my grandmother would remind us that we were the richest people in the world. She would share that we had good food, a roof over our heads and we loved each other and we loved the Lord. That made us rich. What more did one need? Dad would pray and ask the Lord to abundantly bless us and our food. It was a simple prayer offered in faith, but it was powerful. Then we would enjoy our time devouring that meal, all the while reflecting on God’s goodness to us throughout that year. I remember we would leave the table rejoicing, heading to the living room to watch the Cowboys play football. We would praise the Lord. Our spirits were lifted. Our joy was almost immeasurable. On that day there was very little thought of trials or hard work, or the bitter grind of living, because we were secure in the palm of the Master. I learned to treasure those special times and use them to build up special memories, to live in the present and to forge ahead into the future. Don’t forget to remember the words of Psalm 100 this season: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good.” Psalm 100:4,5 (NLT) May you rejoice in His blessings as you remember, reflect and then praise Him with all of your heart. By Richard C. Dye, Sr. President


Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Grandpa Joins Dinosaur Dig Conway Member Uncovers Bones and Makes Friends CONWAY, ARK. – I became interested in Southwestern Adventist University’s Dino Dig after viewing a brochure and decided to go this past summer. After driving 1,200 miles, the last leg of the journey was driving 12 miles on a gravel road, being careful that I did not hit a cow or calf in the road. At the camp, there was one large building housing men and women’s restrooms with showers; a kitchen and eating room; and a storage area. There was also a large canvas tent where worship was held. During the week, breakfast was served at 7 a.m. followed by worship. The newbies were shown what to do on a video and we were assigned to a group. I was assigned to dig in the Nuefeld (New Field) quarry. McKenzie, a student from Southern Adventist University (SAU),

was the quarry leader. The rest of our group consisted of SAU students Clare, Daniel and Eden (Daniel and Eden are South Koreans); Otto, from Argentina, a science professor; Maria from Peru, who runs a museum there; Marcela from Mexico, a high school teacher; and Miko from Canada, who was working on a documentary about creation and evolution. My new friends took care of me and called me “Grandfather.” At the quarry I learned to use a paint scraper and to take off one layer of dirt at a time. If I heard a clink, I used a small pick and a brush to find out what I had found. Many times it was a rock; other times it was a bone fragment or part of a larger bone. I found many bone fragments, several vertebra, a partial jaw bone, three large femurs over

three feet long and a pubis that was over two feet long. Each large bone’s location was recorded using GPS, recorded in a book and then either wrapped in aluminum foil or placed in burlap and plaster cast to be sent back to the university’s Dinosaur Science Museum. There were people at the dig from Italy, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Japan, Guam, Czech Republic, Canada and the United States. Families came with babies and young children. There were children, elementary students, high school students, elementary teachers, high school teachers, university professors, pastors, grandparents and miscellaneous adults. I really enjoyed my summer experience. By Rusty Litten


Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Batesville Centenarian

Church, Family and Friends Celebrate Dutch Amedee BATESVILLE, ARK. – On June 16, 2019, A.E. “Dutch” Amedee celebrated his 100th birthday with family, friends and church family. Close to 100 people attended– one for each year of his life! When asked what he thought the secret to a long life, he provided the following advice: Trust in the Lord. Remain busy even after you retire; don’t get lazy, and have a good vegetarian diet. Dutch is well loved and it showed with all the people that came to help him celebrate and wish him well. By Frances Taylor

Agents for Christ

Texarkana Pathfinder Club Celebrates Busy Year TEXARKANA, TEX. – The motto “NOT so Secret Agent for Christ” has covered a very wide variety of activities for 20 Texarkana Mustang Pathfinders and their nine staff members during the past year. They wandered in the wilderness with Moses while surviving the area camporee and honed-in on “walking on water” skills and “tree climbing” skills to see Jesus. They have solved riddles and read Bible verses to sharpen their skills to meet the challenges of each obstacle. The energetic Mustangs and their leaders filled the year with many activities.


Camporees, Bible bowls, honor festivals and field trips just come with the territory for the Mustangs. They also hosted a scientist who came and taught about creation in comparison to evolution. Field trips included a visit to the Sanctuary Exhibit in Murfreesboro, Ark. A part of their community outreach was delivering Valentine’s Day cards to residents at an assisted living facility and at Christmas they performed plays and sang carols for residents at the Magnolia Assisted Living Facility in Texarkana. The Club also assisted the Women’s

Ministry in packing purses with needed items for a women’s shelter. The Texarkana Mustangs, Shreveport Tornados and DeQueen Spanish Pathfinder clubs spent time together working on a new honor to submit to the North American Division. They proposed the honor of “Disc Golf.” The Mustang Pathfinders, led by Stacy Sowers, and the Texarkana Ponies Adventurers, led by Kyle Diaz, held their joint Investiture on June 1, 2019 (pictured below). By Lorretta Johnson

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Sabbath Keepers

Motorcycle Ministry Members Inspire Pathfinders at Oshkosh SHREVEPORT, LA.– The Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the Sabbath Keepers Motorcycle Ministry (SKMM) was invited to share their ministry at the CHOSEN 2019 International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh. More than 4,200 Pathfinders from 48 countries and 28 states stopped by the SKMM booth to pick up their free SKMM pin. Representative for the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of SKMM, Chuck Bostwick and Rick Long, were assisted by Paul and Mindy of the LaPorte, Ind. chapter of SKMM along with Willy J of

the Tulsa, Okla. chapter. Many Pathfinders took part in the motorcycle safety pledge led by Paul, the LaPorte chapter leader. The Pathfinders were excited to sit on the various motorcycles and have their pictures taken as a camporee souvenir. Many also chose to have their photo taken with some of the Sabbath Keepers. They especially liked the bikers with the patch-covered vests. We were able to share with the Pathfinders that we are trying to fulfill the scripture of Mark 16:15, to spread the gospel to everyone, including those in

the biker community. By planting seeds of love and kindness and offering literature, prayers and visitation we can help others in a time of need. The Pathfinders learned that anyone can be a part of this ministry, even if you don’t ride or own a motorcycle. Should anyone wish to be a part of this ministry, email By Rick Thames

Batesville Baptism Youth Makes Decision for Christ BATESVILLE, ARK. – There is nothing that makes us smile more than when a young person gives their life to Jesus and makes it official through baptism. Members of the Batesville Seventh-day Adventist Church have a new reason to smile: a young man in our congregation has made that decision. We have known Henry Lopez a little more than a year, and he officially gave his life to Jesus on Aug. 3, 2019 at the Batesville church. He was baptized by Laurie DeWit, the Heber Springs, Mountain View and Batesville district pastor.

Henry is a member of the Batesville Pathfinder Club and a good example to those around him through his actions and attitude. It is with pleasure and joy that we welcome him into the Batesville church family. By Francis Taylor Henry Lopez was baptized by Laurie Dewitt, Heber Springs, Mountain View and Batesville district pastor, on August 3.


Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Celebrating Two Years

KPGC 95.1 Provides Christian Programming NORMAN, ARK. – The idea of starting a low-power FM station came to Len Doughty in 2013 after he read an article reporting that the FCC was accepting applications. The deadline was ending soon, so it was not clear if a station was in God’s plans or if the application could be filed in time to be accepted by the FCC. After much prayer and consultation, the decision was made to move forward. An answer to the question about God’s will came when a government shutdown extended the time for the FCC to accept application. They approved the application and granted a construction permit in January of 2014; three years later the station started broadcasting on Jan. 19, 2017. “His Will, Inc.” is the nonprofit that owns and controls KPGC. It has a long-term lease with the City of Norman for tower space on the city’s water tank and a transmitter building on city property. KPGC 95.1 provides Christian programming as an affiliate of LifeTalk Radio from the North American Divi-


sion. The station broadcasts 24/7 and the community has responded positively to the programming. Some people say they listen “all the time.” Others report that they keep it in on for their pets when they aren’t home. One family said their chickens are more content with the station on all the time. A few pastors of area churches have commented on how much they like listening to Bible Answers Live with Doug Batchelor. People who don’t live in the area express disappointment that they can’t get the station after hearing the music at the KPGC booth at the county fair. KPGC 95.1 proudly serves the community in as many ways as possible. Free public service announcements are offered to churches, non-profit organizations and community groups for programs and fundraisers. Local high school students have announced school news and announcements have been made for the City of Norman. KPGC 95.1 continues broadcasting during power failures, allowing the station to relay emergency announcements.

Since there is no tornado warning system in the area, the automatic on-air alerts for tornado watches and warnings have been an important service to the community. A large area of KPGC listeners are in the Ouachita National Forest and local first responders have asked the station to be prepared to make immediate on-air evacuation announcements if there is a large-scale disaster like the recent wildfire in Paradise, Calif. KPGC 95.1 plans to remodel a local structure for a station building and recording studio when funds are available. This will allow the development of local programs and give the station a local presence where the community can come to conduct business. KPGC is funded by donations and underwriting by local businesses through His Will, Inc. Contact information: His Will, Inc., P.O. Box 32, Norman, AR 71960. Phone: 870.334.2082. Email: kpgclp@ KPGC is on Facebook: @KPGC951. By Len Doughty

Oklahoma Conference News

The Missing Ingredient Giving Thanks Changes Everything


robably most of us have made a dish or cooked something but accidently left out some ingredients that caused the taste buds to cringe. Something was missing. We may have left out the salt or sugar, or maybe a spice that was needed. The apostle Paul adds an essential ingredient that should not be left out when praying: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 He adds thanksgiving as a missing ingredient in prayer. In other words, when talking to God in prayer and asking for His help, add thanksgiving. Thank Him for listening, for caring and taking your request upon His heart and working to help you. It seems to me that thanksgiving is also showing faith in God’s willingness and ability to help. We are saying in effect, “Lord, I know that you hear me and I believe that you will answer.” This may be the missing ingredient that is preventing us from experiencing the peace that the next verse promises. The next verse reads, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 Let’s summarize what these verses are saying. “Don’t let anything trouble or bother you. Instead, bring your worries and needs to God in prayer. But also, don’t forget to thank Him for inviting you and promising to help you. If you do this, you will find a peace that only God can bring into your heart.” What an amazing promise those verses hold for us in this busy, stressful world. Notice the contrast between two of the words, anything and everything. Don’t worry about anything, but instead pray about everything and don’t forget the missing ingredient; give thanks, it changes everything. By James Shires, President


Oklahoma Conference News

Decisions for Christ Seminar Moves Attendees to Baptism COALGATE, OKLA. – The Coalgate Seventh-day Adventist Church held an evangelistic seminar from June 14 to June 29, 2019. Prior to holding the seminar series, the church held a healthy cooking class for the community in order to introduce how to eat healthfully. The title of the series was “Revelation of Hope: A Bible Prophecy Seminar” and the speaker was Ernest Rosa. Rosa presented the keys that unlock the book of Revelation in a clear and compelling way that gave people an uplifted and inspired feeling. His

dynamic, illustrated presentations made the Bible prophecy surprisingly easy to understand. People saw the Bible open before their eyes, revealing a bright and hopeful future. Those that attended were truly blessed with such a wonderful message of hope. The Lord was truly praised when three souls gave their lives to Christ. By Mary Tate

International Friendships

Oklahoma Clubs Host Almost 300 Korean Pathfinders OSHKOSH, WIS. – For many years the Oklahoma Conference has been building a strong relationship with the Korean Union of Seventh-day Adventists and its conferences. This has been done under the leadership of South Korean native Apple Park, who is also the Oklahoma Conference executive secretary. One of the opportunities that arose as a result of this relationship was hosting Korean Pathfinders during the Pathfinder International Camporee in Oshkosh this past August. Through this program, the conferences of the Southwestern


Union hosted 294 international Pathfinders and staff during the international camporee. Ninety-six of them were hosted by Oklahoma Pathfinder clubs. Korean groups were assigned to the various clubs and this opened the opportunity for Oklahoma Pathfinders and Korean Pathfinders to mingle and get to know each other. The Korean Pathfinders had a chance to experience a little bit of American culture (and vice-versa) as they camped side-by-side for almost a week. They traded games, pins, songs and even fun-

ny stories as best they could considering the language barrier. Even though the camporee included Pathfinders from all corners of the world, there was nothing like having them as part of our clubs and learning about each other’s differences and similarities. The Oklahoma Pathfinders are grateful for the new memories and friendships made. By Daniel Ortega, Communication Director

Oklahoma Conference News

Members Learn Together Myanmar Members Prepare for Citizenship Test GUYMON, OKLA. – Have you ever tried to take a citizenship test? How about one in a different language? Many of the Guymon Seventh-day Adventist Church members are refugees from Myanmar. Some of them have gone through the citizenship process and have become citizens of the United States. Recently, one of our women took the “Oath of Allegiance” completing the process of becoming a citizen. The problem is that others are still in the process and need more help to understand U.S. language and history. At the beginning of April, Mang Lian started a citizenship class with the help of three English- speaking members. Every Sunday in April, May and June were spent learning about our country, pronouncing the words, writing sentenc-

es, quizzing them on U.S. trivia, and filling out the paperwork to receive their citizenship to this country. It was such a fun experience to see parents and church members working together to understand who the founding fathers were, how to pronounce Monticello or Eisenhower or even learning what prepositions are. The teacher who was working with the pronunciation class said that the words “of, about and rights” were the hardest to teach. The word “rights” for the Bill of Rights takes a paragraph of words in Zomi to one English word. The words “of ” and “about” are words that, well you think about that. How would you define them or illustrate them? Trust me, it’s not easy, but the teacher did find a way with a big bowl “of fruit.”

The church’s second phase of this program will have three parts: inviting the community people who are also trying for their citizenship to go through this class; to start English as a Second Language class for adults; and a Zomi reading and writing class for the children so that they will not lose their mother language. Please keep our 19 citizenship students in your prayers as they wait for the date to test and interview; that they will continue to grow as citizens of this country; and that our outreach to the community will help spread the Good News about Jesus’ Second Coming. The second phase of this program will need donations, so if you are able to help the Guymon church, we thank you in advance! By Amy Ward


Oklahoma Conference News

Garnett Spanish Organized Members and Guests Celebrate Milestone TULSA – On Aug. 31, the Garnett Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church became an organized church. Executive Secretary Apple Park and Hispanic Ministries Coordinator Ciro Castillo welcomed the new congregation. The group was organized as a church company just over a year ago and it has grown noticeably under the leadership of Max Elvira and a strong lay-led leadership team. May the Lord continue to lead and bless the Garnett church. By Daniel Ortega, Communication Director

Second Annual Food Drive Junior Division Unites to Help Community WEWOKA, OKLA. – The Interfaith Food Pantry in Wewoka relies on donations to help keep up with need in the Seminole community and finds itself especially in need during the summer months. The Junior Division took its first step to be the hands and feet of Jesus last year as they hosted the very first food


drive for the Interfaith Food Pantry and continued to develop that relationship this year by hosting the Second Annual Food Drive on the last Friday of camp meeting. Though they didn’t meet their goal of 400 items, the juniors were very excited to have made an impact on the Interfaith Food Pantry. As we begin pre-

paring for next year, we challenge all the members of the Oklahoma Conference to find a food pantry near them and be the hands and feet of Jesus. You don’t have to wait until camp meeting to make a difference! By Ashley Alipoon

Oklahoma Conference News

Children’s Ministry Training Members Better Equipped to Teach Children MIDWEST CITY, OKLA. – The Oklahoma City area Spanish churches came together to receive children’s ministries training on Aug. 23-24 at the Midwest City Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church. There were representatives from Midwest City, Capitol Hill, OKC

Spanish Central, Enid Spanish, Stillwater and OKC Peregrinos churches. Almost 40 people from the various churches attended the training. The training provided was part of Track 1, “Teaching Children” from the North American Division. In this track, par-

ticipants learned how to teach children in a more interactive and fun way. Classes included helping children to think, interactive storytelling, teaching children to pray and many others. By Yesenia Ortega Children’s Ministries Director

Celebration Sabbath

Independence Church Celebrates Anniversary TULSA – On Aug. 24, the Independence Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrated its one-year anniversary in its new building. Tulsa Adventist Academy (TAA) students, staff and faculty attended, as it is one of five constituent

churches for the academy. TAA provided special music from two alums, Michaela Lazarus and Alexa Fisher, and were joined by teaching alum Sharne Lazarus. A prayer of dedication was made for the upcoming school year.

Michael Smith, pastor of the First Seventh-day Adventist Church of Tulsa, then presented a message about forgiveness. May the Lord continue the growth on the north side of the city of Tulsa. By Damaris Prieto and Caroline A. Fisher


Southwest Region Conference News

Not I, But He

God Always Deserves the Glory


here is something inside of every one of us, no matter how humble we are—we all love some form of praise or flattery. Children love to be told how good they draw or how fast they run. Faces light up when one’s boss says, “You’ve done a good job,” or the company gives you a letter of commendation for a job well done. Praise in itself is not wrong, but when we become obsessed with praise directed toward ourselves, it is not only wrong, but dangerous! This is the same posture and mindset that Lucifer had in Heaven. He could not understand or accept the fact that all Heaven and unfallen worlds gave praise and adoration to God. He saw it and desired to have some of what God was experiencing. His ego took control and his selfish desires led him to believe that he deserved praise because of his many gifts. Satan had forgotten that those gifts came from God. Satan’s dissention and attitude seems to be the prevailing mindset of society today. People seem to be obsessed with praise and flattery. Whenever we seek praise for ourselves instead of directing our praise to God, we are taking the same posture that Satan took. It will eventually destroy us because we are setting ourselves up to be little gods claiming that we deserve the praise when all praise should be directed to the God of Heaven. The “I” mentality and the “I” point of view is the most dangerous mindset that one can be in. Self-praise is dangerous because it always seeks for more. It is never satisfied. David had the right attitude when he declared, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name.” (Psalm 103:1, NKJV) As Christians, we must be determined to direct our praise to God because we should be the first to understand that all that we are and can ever hope to be, we owe it all to God. If we receive any praise, we should quickly reflect it back to God. The athlete who wins the gold medal should say, “I want to thank God.” The politician who came from behind and won the election should say, “I want to thank God.” The business man who lands the big contract for the company should say, “I want to thank God.” The student who gets an A on his report card ought to first say, “Thank you, God.” In everything, we should give thanks to God. There is an old familiar hymn that says, “Not I, but Christ.” Because of Him, I am. Because of His blood, my sins are washed away. Because of His sacrifice, I can have eternal life. He deserves the glory. He deserves the honor and praise. When our praise is directed toward God, we acknowledge His Lordship, His sovereignty, His omnipotence, presence and authority in our lives. Let’s all lift our hands to Him and magnify His name because He alone is worthy to be praised! By Calvin L. Watkins, Sr., President


Southwest Region Conference News

Southwest Region Constituency 25th Regular Session and Fourth Quadrennial Session DALLAS, TEX. – Executive officers and departmental directors were elected at the Southwest Region Conference Constituency Session held Sept. 21-22, 2019 at the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church. The two-day meeting began with moving worship services before each business session. The executive officers expressed gratitude to the members, ministers and teachers of the Southwest Region Conference across the five-state territory for their sacrifice and diligent work in ministry. Both leadership and

delegates praised God for the blessings reported throughout the weekend. Southwestern Union President Larry R. Moore recognized the Southwest Region Conference Nominating Committee and thanked the members for their hard work. The Nominating Committee report was read and voted, and the following executive officers were confirmed: President, Calvin L. Watkins, Sr. (center); Executive Secretary, Stephen Brooks (left); Treasurer, Philip G. Palmer (right). Read more on page 14.

Bethel School Gets Makeover Dreams Come True for the 2019-2020 School Year TEXARKANA, TEX. – The Bethel Eagles of Texarkana were so excited about the end of the 2018-2019 school year that they didn’t want the school year to end! We celebrated a beautiful school year with four graduates—Vasti Campusano (8th grade), Kenyan Collins (Kindergarten), Kalayaan Diaz (Kindergarten), Aubrey Alston (Kindergarten)—along with an exciting new Bible curriculum, “Encounter-Makeover!” The upper grade students (5th-8th) jumped on the opportunity to redo both the classrooms and the playground. The

makeover for the playground included not only new playground equipment, but a “Prayer Garden” and a “School Vegetable Garden” with sitting benches and a trail around the playground. Bethel also held a King and Queen fundraiser and to our amazement we raised over $5,000. Our school was also one of many recipients for the VersaCare Grant! During the summer, we contacted retailers and discovered that we would be able to make several dreams come true. As a result, Bethel Adventist Church School has

been blessed with a Skywalker Sports Modular Jungle Gym with accessories, a Smartboard, 15 Chromebooks and Robotic Equipment. To our amazement, the students heard about the new equipment and decided that they were going to camp out in the hallway during a Sabbath meal, just to get a glimpse of all these new items. Special thanks to T. Clemons, Kenneth Edwards, the Bethel church family and those who contributed to the King and Queen Contest and Banquet. By Sandra Clemons


Southwest Region Conference News

Southwest Region’s Chosen

Seven Commit to Follow Jesus at International Camporee OSHKOSH, WIS. – The 2019 Chosen International Pathfinder Camporee this past August was truly a memorable experience. Over 55,000 Pathfinders and staff created a tent city of believers around the main stage at the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. At the last International Camporee I attended, I served as a district pastor supporting my local church Pathfinder club. This time, I was involved as a Conference Youth Director representing the Southwest Region Conference. It was wonderful to see so many of our young people and staff working together, setting up their campsites and “moving in” to a new home for a week. Bringing this camporee to fruition took a lot of hard work and planning by our Pathfinder area coordinators


and volunteer staff. This Camporee was definitely a success. The events and activities were fun and exciting, but I must say the high point of the Camporee was seeing over 1,000 young people surrender their lives to Jesus. This Camporee’s theme “Chosen” focused on the life of David and reminded all in attendance that each one of us has a special pre-ordained work to do for God. No matter the challenges and obstacles that may stand in our way—with God on our side, we can be victorious! Through drama, song and word the powerful message was delivered to the Pathfinders nightly. I am especially proud of the seven young people from the Southwest Region Conference who decided to be baptized and fully commit their lives to

Jesus. Like David, these young people have chosen to trust God to direct their lives so that His purposes may be accomplished through them. Join me in praising God for the Pathfinder Ministry! If you would like to see and download baptism photos visit our Flickr album at By Tyrone Douglas Youth Director

Southwest Region Conference News

An Unconventional Competition Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Tributes

BATON ROUGE, LA. – It was never meant to be competitive; and yet each year it results in an invariable “battle of the sexes.” Berean’s annual Mother’s Day tribute and Father’s Day tribute have become a bit of a competition, but not as you might think. The Mother’s Day tribute began under the leadership of Michael Scott, men’s ministries director. Speaker Marque McCarter presented his adapted “This Is a Man’s World; But It Wouldn’t Be Nothing Without A Mother.” McCarter’s United Nations statistics regarding women in the workforce reminded us that in spite of their earning less for the same amount of work performed by men, women are not in jobs for the money. “Women can be proud of the role biblical women played in Jesus’ life. They were the first at the cross, the tomb and first to announce His resurrection.” Using Matthew 20:20-24 as

his featured scripture, he shared how the mother of Zebedee’s sons not only prayed for her children to be a part of Jesus’ heavenly kingdom, but also to be involved in the work of His kingdom. Scott (pictured right) and his crew followed with presenting certificates of appreciation and colorful handbags with an array of gifts to the ladies (Roquel McCarter, left). The fellowship meal in a really ornate setting culminated the day’s festivities. Then it was time for Carla Chevies and the women’s Father’s Day celebration. Festivities began with reception area gift bags awaiting each man as he entered the church. Next, came personalized, framed certificates for fathers and non-fathers. Then, the pastor and 13 other men were summoned up front for personalized trophies that included their respective roles in the church. While the men were trying to recover from all this

attention, Portia Perkins began her message, “Fathers–Reflectors of God.” Beginning with the letter F for faithfulness as evident in Abraham through R for respectfulness shown through Samuel, she honed in on how fathers with these attributes represented true reflectors of God. “Even though each Old Testament prophet had flaws, God used them as examples to demonstrate what fathers reflect and how they affect home, church and the community. Because men are made in God’s image, they are His true reflectors,” emphasized Perkins in her closing. Then it was on to the annex where the women wooed the men with a meal “fit for a king.” Incidentally, “the jury is still out” on whose tribute was better, but both admit it was good clean competition. By Evelyn M. Edwards


Southwest Region Conference News

Member Visitation Training Reaching Out and Healing Like Jesus HOUSTON, TEX. – As a lay person or elder, have you ever experienced feelings of inadequacy or awkwardness while visiting sick or shut-in members? Perhaps you felt that your presence meant something to the individual, but you were unsure about whether the right words of encouragement were expressed or made a difference to the individual or even to their family. Members of the Fondren and Berean Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Houston area were recently given training sessions by Steve Thomas to assist with member visitation (pictured top right). Thomas is the pastor of the Peckham Seventh-day Adventist Church in London, England. His chaplaincy journey has brought him to Texas where he has spent the last year in Clinical


Pastoral Education Studies and clinical work at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. Thomas was invited to share his vital knowledge base with interested members this summer. The course,”Intentional Pastoral Care” was sponsored by Jacqueline Bryce (top left) and Rupert Etienne (bottom right) of the Fondren church’s Pastoral Care Ministries. About 30 individuals were given the basic keys in two sessions which included recognizing that individuals who are visited have needs varying from spiritual, emotional and relational. Sometimes, the most valuable element while visiting may be that of being a good listener as people appreciate someone who can genuinely listen with their ears and not with their mouth.

In the sessions given at the Berean church, “Healing the Hurts Like Jesus,” Steve Thomas continued to emphasize the type of interventions needed during a visitation which can lead to successful interactions in bringing about mental or emotional healing. Members attending the seminars were fully engaged in interactive sessions which consisted of theoretical as well as collaborative exercises. Much appreciation is expressed to Steve Thomas from all of the participants who have been encouraged and empowered to participate in this critical arm of the gospel–that of reaching out to lift the hopes of those who are suffering and leave them in a better place. By Cheryl Harris

Texas Conference News

Comforted Assurance

God’s Assurance is a Comfort and a Refuge in this World


ith the rash of recent events in our country and around the world exhibiting evil, hate, intolerance and more, we turn to scripture seeking solace and comfort in the shadow of stark tyranny. Listen to the words of the psalmist in Psalm 61:1-4: “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” We cringe today under the constant threat and menace of a godless society where we have come to expect the news of the day to speak of some new horrific atrocity, some despicable act that is more heinous than the previous. We are no longer shocked or dismayed by the barrage of evil, the onslaught of mass murder and destruction. As Christians, we have no other place to turn but to the promises of God’s Word. Wherever we are, whatever our circumstances, whoever may threaten our existence—while there is life, we possess that liberty to draw near to God, seek His face, and draw from His strength even in the midst of chaos. Through David’s dark moments, crippling sin and the constant persecution of those who would see him dead, he speaks to his own soul adhering to the one constant, the one assurance that we have in this life: that our Creator and Redeemer is always available, ever willing to listen and to strengthen. The uncertainty of this world must point us to the certainty of the eternal world that awaits us. Our tears and our fears must provoke intense prayer and supplication on our part. The uncertainty of this world must point us to the certainty of the eternal world that awaits us. Today, as we live and move overshadowed by the evil events around us may we live with bold assurance, knowing that our Lord and King has overcome; thus, we can live with sacred confidence in He who rules the universe and has all things under His dominion. By Carlos J. Craig, President


Texas Conference News

Bridging the Gaps

Pastors and School Staff Meet to Create a United Front MCALLEN, TEX. – Following the discussion about the importance of churches supporting Adventist education at the Texas Conference Quadrennial Constituency Session this past May, South Texas Christian Academy (STCA) staff in McAllen, Tex., met with local area pastors to pray and fellowship. We’re thankful to STCA for hosting this important endeavor and for preparing a delicious meal for all of us to enjoy. The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness that we need to start working together, as a team, to solidify

God’s kingdom in the Rio Grande Valley area, particularly when it comes to our children. We are striving to create a united front, bridging the gaps between church, home and school to pave the way for eternity! Another way we are doing that is by helping the community. On Sabbath, Aug. 3, 2019, Infinite Life Seventh-day Adventist Church in Edinburg, Tex., was privileged to participate in one of our annual outreach community projects called “Back to School.” This year, we were able to serve more than 250 people

Bathed in Prayer

from our community with 100 backpacks filled with school supplies. Some of these families waited three hours prior to our event because they wanted to make sure their children received the much-needed school supplies. In 3 John 4 it says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” We are taking that verse to heart as we work to share the love of Jesus in our community. By Roberto Coronado Photo by Robin Lopez

San Antonio Area Pastors Visit Local School Classrooms SAN ANTONIO – Once a month, San Antonio area Seventh-day Adventist pastors gather together for fellowship and enrichment. During the Aug. 29, 2019, meeting, those in attendance modified the schedule to include a visit to Scenic Hills Christian Academy (SHCA) in San Antonio. The pastors visited every classroom and prayed for the teachers, students and school staff. It was a moving experience for all involved. Justin Groff, new SHCA principal, along with the school staff, invited the


pastors to come more often. “It was evident that the Spirit of God used you,” Carlos J. Craig, Texas Conference president, shared. “Thank you, San Antonio area pastors, for that special touch,” David Montoya, Texas Conference executive secretary, added. It is so important that pastors and schools work together for the benefit of our children. By Robin Lopez Church Planting Coordinator Photo by Pedro Guzman

Texas Conference News

A Church United

VBS Unites Church for Children’s Salvation HOUSTON – Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a wonderful way to connect with young people in your community. It could be offered for one day or one week, during the summer or during school breaks. The Houston West Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston utilized Independence Day to organize a water event for kids. It was wonderful to see the church united for the salvation of our children. Children’s ministries staff were involved, Pathfinders were leaders, Master

Guides were teachers and other church members were creating, sharing and participating. We ended VBS with the baptism of a young lady who wanted to commit to Jesus forever. I asked her, “Why do you want to be baptized?” She said, “I love Jesus. I want to be in heaven with Him and I want to be considered an official member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” What a way to end a VBS! By Miguel Ramos

God’s Closet

Being an Answer to Prayer for Those Needing Clothing DALLAS – God’s Closet began in 2009 by an Adventist foster mom, Merryl Tschoepe, formerly of Spokane, Wash., who saw a need in her community for access to free clothing. Chapters were later formed with the Dallas, Tex., chapter beginning in 2016 at the Dallas First Seventh-day Adventist Church. As a non-profit organization, we collect and donate children’s clothing free. The entrance fee is simply $1. Once inside, they can pick whatever items they need for free. Since we began, we have hosted seven events. Around 900 com-

munity members attended the fall event. It has been a blessing to our church and community. We host events every three months and always have a “Back to School” event before each school year. This year, Southwest Airlines and Just Because partnered with us and donated backpacks for the students. The Pajama Program, located in New York, provided brand new PJs (which they do every quarter). Dallas First church members donated school supplies and Honda Helpers volunteered their time.

It takes almost 100 volunteers to organize this event. Thanks to generous donors, we are able to provide clothes, shoes, socks, sleep sacks, hats and mitts, blankets, toys, literature and more. They are much-needed items for children, especially during the winter months. Sometimes, we even have strollers. Please follow us at GodsClosetDallas and consider donating and/or volunteering to help those in the Dallas community. By Ana Mochoge Photo by André Gonçalves


Texas Conference News

Be A Light

East Texas Area Church Members Assist Community LUFKIN, TEX. – For the past three years, East Texas area church members have worked together to “Be a Light” for community members. From serving the homeless in Kiwanis Park in Lufkin, to visiting the elderly and honoring first responders, there is something for everyone to make a difference. “My wife, Amy, and I were blessed to be able to reach out to the larger Lufkin community,” shared Brad Minett, pastor of the Lufkin Seventh-day Aventist Church district. “It was a privilege to touch the lives of the homeless, the

needy families in our community, the fire and police departments and nursing home residents.” Church members offered snack bags, literature and care packages to those who attended the event. The third annual event was organized by Tyler Seventh-day Adventist Church members Kianna Pennington, assistant youth leader and Meghan Boyd, youth leader. “We had the opportunity to meet with some amazing people through this event,” Boyd shared. By Breana Mobley

Touching a Community

Church Members Focus on Sharing Jesus in Benbrook BENBROOK, TEX. – The city of Benbrook, Tex., with a population of 23,590, had never had a chance to hear or see the Seventh-day Adventist message. That all changed in July 2018. A group of people from the Crowley and Fort Worth First Seventh-day Adventist churches made a commitment to do whatever possible to establish a permanent Adventist presence in Benbrook. Sabbath afternoons were spent in prayer caravans, stopping to pray at key locations throughout the community. Doors were knocked on and Bible study


guides offered. A Bible worker continued the door knocking, asking who was interested in learning more about the Bible. An Anxiety and Depression Recovery seminar was also offered. With enough interest, a location was rented for health presentations and Bible prophecy meetings. A Bible study group began in every home interested. The group started a Facebook page ( and added the location on Google maps. In August 2019, the small team (mission group) was officially recognized by

the Texas Conference as an organized company. Their next goal is to become an organized church. God brought together a wonderful and growing group of believers. About a third were active Adventists elsewhere. Another third were inactive Adventists who are now plugged in and learning to lead. The other third are brand new Adventists or pre-Adventists. All are involved in the mission to share Jesus with those in Benbrook. Article and photos by Dan Serns English Evangelism Director

Texas Conference News

Tiffany’s Story

A Simple DM Leads to a New Church Family ARLINGTON, TEX. – “Hey, I’m interested in joining y’alls praise team!” Tiffany Nino wrote to Underground (UG) via direct message (DM) in her Instagram message. UG is a high school ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church. It exists “to engage, prepare and empower students to experience and share the unmatched freedom and love found in Jesus.” Raised in a Seventh-day Adventist home, Tiffany knew about Jesus. As she got older, she began reading the Bible, finding out who He was for herself and

learning of His love. “Even when you have nobody around, He’s always there for you,” she says. “Someone you can talk to. Someone you can trust fully with your whole life. No matter what you do, He is always going to be there for you.” She always enjoyed singing growing up and watching her brother, Jimmy, sing at church, inspired her to give it a try. She found had a talent for it and started singing in nursing homes and churches, then she learned about UG. Tiffany was in the UG target age group, so she decided to reach out. She

sent them a DM asking if she could join the worship praise team. “I am here now,” Tiffany says. “I feel very welcomed. I feel open to worship and comfortable...I have been wanting to have a restart with Jesus. I felt like ‘God, this time, let’s do it right.’” Tiffany was re-baptized on April 27, 2019, at the Arlington church. Her daughter, Melody, was also dedicated during the service. Thank you for keeping Tiffany and Melody in prayer. By Danny Cano Photos by Sara Kennedy

A Providential Blessing

Fairview Mosaic Members Work to Share God’s Light FAIRVIEW, TEX. – Earlier this year, the Fairview Mosaic Christian Fellowship Church joyfully completed the debtfree purchase of a very critical two-acre piece of land that allows the church optimum future building sites in addition to its existing 2.5 acres of property. The providential opportunity to purchase this property at $250,000 below the going rate allowed Mosaic to close on it in late November 2017, with a $200,000 short-term mortgage. Only 14 months later, on Sabbath, Feb. 2, 2019, Mosaic members burned

the mortgage with Loney Duncan, building committee chair; Steve Holloway, church treasurer; Frank Lugo, pastor; and Bill Byard, first elder, officiating. The congregation looks forward to witnessing God’s continued leading in the future as the church partners with Him to provide facilities that will potentially allow space for Family Life and Community Services. Then, His light and love can shine more brightly in the surrounding area. Article and photo by Cosette Goodnight


Texico Conference News

Rise Up and Praise

Following the Example of Job in All Circumstances


raise is a frequent theme that resonates throughout the Bible. In Hebrew, the word praise means to “look toward a sight.” To intentionally praise God is to not only call attention to His glory, but to direct focus on who God is: He is holy, loving, faithful, righteous and forgiving. In the book of Job, we find a beautiful expression and example of a person who was sincere in his praise to God. Although Satan was given free rein to inflict pain, sorrow and sickness on Job, he did something unexpected in the middle of the most painful moment in his life. The Bible says in Job 1:20-22, “he fell to the ground in worship... may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job offered praise! After receiving news of all his misfortunes—including the most dreadful one of losing his children—Job rose from his seat and praised God despite his agony and grief. His wife reprimanded him and his friends blamed him, yet Job did not lose sight of God. Instead, he aligned himself with God and was willing to live in complete obedience to His will. Indeed, suffering is one thing we all hate to go through, but it is a part of life and one of the many vehicles that God uses to conform us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, we have a choice when adversity knocks on our door. We can lose hope and become bitter, or we can understand that God still deserves praise and glory regardless of what we are going through. Job’s testimony is a powerful one. It shows us that regardless of the trials we face, we have the assurance that we never have to face them alone. God is always available to guide us through them, giving us His peace. There will be times when the devil will try every tactic to push us into the depths of despair and anguish. But I encourage you not to give him that opportunity. Instead, invite God’s help and seek His will. Choose not to become hopeless and angry. Instead, rise up and praise Him through the pain of your circumstance. Psalm 34:1-3 says, “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.” By Lee-Roy Chacon, President


Texico Conference News

Rebuilding for Their Future Recent Developments at Sandia View Academy CORRALES, N.M. – This past summer an updated development plan for Sandia View Academy was approved by the Texico Conference Executive Committee and by the academy board. This plan provides for the construction of a new academy facility to accommodate students in grades 9-12, both in the greater Albuquerque area, and throughout the Texico Conference territory through the use of distance learning technology. To prepare for the new academy facility, the plan also includes the demolition of all the buildings formerly used by the academy. In anticipation of this new facility, a temporary solution was also approved to rehabilitate the old gymnasium and to install several modular buildings just

west of the gym for use as an office and for classrooms. The scope of this endeavor was really quite extensive. After not being used for nearly 10 years, the list of items that needed to be accomplished ranged from replacing the restroom fixtures to installing new carpet in many areas, painting the entire building, inside and out and installing a new SportCourt floor for physical education and the athletic program. Many people worked very hard over the summer to get these facilities ready in time for the students to enjoy as the new school year began on August 20. It is exciting to witness the dramatic transformation of this building and also to see the students enjoying their school activities.

We look forward to the next steps in developing the new campus to continue to support the long-standing ministry of Sandia View Academy. It is our prayer that God will greatly bless the administration, staff and students of Sandia View Academy throughout this school year and beyond. By Phil Robertson Executive Secretary/Treasurer Top, right: Students play basketball in the recently-rehabilitated gymnasium. This is a temporary solution while the new academic facility for grades 9-12 is constructed.


Texico Conference News

Camp Texico

More than 100 Attend Second Annual Youth Camp CORRALES, N.M. – The Texico Conference held its second consecutive summer camp on July 1-5, 2019 at Bonita Park Campground in Capitan, N. Mex. This year, more than 100 teens and kids from around the conference participated in the spiritually uplifting and physically challenging week at Camp Texico. The young people had the opportunity to take part in ziplining, climbing a rock wall, challenge themselves on an obstacle course and high ropes course, play paintball, learn to rappel and much more, all against the beautiful backdrop of the Ruidoso Mountains. “Summer camp is so important,” said Michael Razon, Camp Texico director and pastor of the Rio Rancho Seventh-day Adventist Church.


“Sure, kids can sleep in and play video games at home, but playing Gaga ball (similar to dodgeball, but in a smaller area), learning how to swim, playing archery tag, earning a leather craft honor, praying with a counselor, giving their heart to Jesus–those are experiences that will be forever blazed in their memories,” said Razon. Razon also said he does not see Camp Texico as just an opportunity to have fun, but as a wonderful evangelism tool that can lead kids and youth to the feet of Jesus. The programs, activities and fellowship with campers from different cities has a lasting impact well beyond summer camp. Since Camp Texico, several pastors have reported that as a result of their

camp experience, four campers have been baptized and undoubtedly many more will follow as well. That is the influence of summer camp. As Jonathan, a participant of this year’s camp said, “I don’t know what activities are planned for next year’s camp, but I can’t wait to go back!” The directors of Camp Texico would like to thank the pastors, parents and local church members who helped to make this year’s camp a success. They went above and beyond by sponsoring campers, driving them to Bonita Park and volunteering their time to serve throughout the week. Praise God for willing hearts! By Debby Márquez Communication Director

Texico Conference News

Volunteering for Jesus

Amarillo Church Hosts Jumpstart Free Health Clinic

AMARILLO, TEX. – One of the goals emphasized at the Amarillo Seventh-day Adventist Church is involvement in events for the community. During the month of August, we give school supplies and back-packs to children in the neighborhood. In November, we give them warm gloves, mittens and caps. In the past, we have also participated in several Pathway to Health events. This year, the Amarillo church teamed up with Jumpstart Free Health Clinic, a ministry that provides free medical, dental, vision and support

services to cities in the Southwestern Union. Jumpstart Amarillo took place on Aug. 25, 2019, and a goal for the event was to recruit 200 volunteers. As soon as registration opened, I signed up! By Saturday, Aug. 24, 838 people had pre-registered for medical services and 186 volunteers were signed up. As the doors opened at 7 a.m. on the event day, there were a total of 204 registered volunteers. Over the next 10 hours, 507 people received primary care visits; 205 food bags were given (which came to a total of 8,500 pounds of food); 15

people received immunizations; 15 dogs received baths; 60 people had dental cleanings; 53 had tooth extractions; a total of 124 received eyeglass exams and fittings for free eyeglasses; and 21 people had mental health visits. This event was an amazing opportunity and was a blessing to our community and volunteers. Not only did it meet an essential need in the community, but it was a reminder that Jesus always gives us opportunities to be His volunteers and reach out in love to those around us. By Anna Swingle

In Loving Memory

Former Executive Committee Member Passes Away ALBUQUERQUE – A beloved Texico Conference member, Larry Romero Vigil, passed away peacefully on June 23, 2019 in Albuquerque, N.M., at the age of 96. Vigil was a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist and an active member of the Rio Grande Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church. On many occasions, he served as a delegate at General Conference sessions. Vigil was a board member of Loma Linda Adventist Hospital and he was a Texico Conference Executive Committee member from 1982 to 1988. As owner of Larry Vigil and Sons Con-

struction Company, Vigil helped construct 25 churches in the Conference. Vigil is fondly remembered by his family and church members as being an avid supporter of children and lover of animals, having a great work ethic and working tirelessly for the Adventist church. Vigil was instrumental in leading many people to Christ. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lucy Romero Vigil, to whom he was married for 50 years and who was the mother of his four children. He later married Dylia Zarate Vigil and was married to her

for 25 years until her death. Larry was also preceded in death by his two sons, Clyde Larry Vigil and Donald Frederick Vigil. He is survived by two sisters, two daughters and their families and many grandchildren, great grandchildren and a large extended family. Larry is greatly missed; however, his family looks forward to seeing him on the day of resurrection. By Molly Evans


Texico Conference News

Adventists and Aliens?

UFO Festival Gives Opportunity to Reach Thousands ROSWELL, N.M. – Every year thousands of people travel to Roswell, N.M. to celebrate the much debated 1947 alien incident at the annual UFO Festival. This year, according to the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, approximately 15,000 visitors registered. However, the total number of visitors in attendance was much higher. As July 4 approached, the town of Roswell geared up to celebrate the UFO Festival and Independence Day. As visitors flooded downtown Roswell, the local Seventh-day Adventist church seized the opportunity to share God’s word during the event. The church’s outreach committee handed out a Bible study guide entitled,

“A Colossal City in Space,” a perfect fit for the occasion. It was also a great opportunity to reach a large and diverse group of people. Roswell church members claimed the promise of Isaiah 55:11, “so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” The soaring temperatures reached 105 but did not stop the Roswell members. A team of 12 to 15 people went out each night and a team of prayer warriors prayed before, during and after the event. Praise God! More than 1,900 study guides were handed out! It is always our prayer to be used by God for

His purpose and His glory. We continue to pray for our Roswell community. 1 Chronicles reminds us that we are all aliens passing through on our way to a better land. We thank God for the opportunity to share the invitation we have for true space travel that will be out of this world! By Debbie Ramirez Photo by Juliana Halvorson *Sadly, during the celebration there was an explosion involving fireworks and several fire fighters were injured. One of the fire fighters, Jeff Strobel, succumbed to his injuries and passed away. Please keep the Strobel family in your prayers.

Welcome to Texico

Conference Hires New Pastors and New Teachers CORRALES, N.M. – The Texico Conference is pleased to announce that it has added five teachers to its teaching staff for 2019-2020. Our conference is proud of our schools and is fortunate to have Ashton Fisher, Maria Perez, Ruth Cadena, Jose Rosales and Stan Miller join our team. Maria Perez and Ruth Cadena will be the first to teach at the brandnew Canyon Christian Academy in


Alamogordo, N.M. Each teacher brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. We are also excited to welcome Alex Ruiz, Eliab Quiñones and Josh Ramirez as the newest pastors of the Texico Conference. Ruiz will be serving the Santa Fe Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church district and Ramirez will be pastoring the Clovis/Hereford/Portales and Plainview Seventh-day Adventist

churches. Quiñones is joining the El Paso Central and Northeast churches as the Texico Conference’s first associate pastor. We are happy to welcome each of these individuals and look forward to seeing the blessings that God will bestow through their ministry. By Debby Márquez Communication Director

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Trading Guns for God

Why have rebels in the Philippines been laying down their machine guns and picking up Bibles? Watch to find out!

Burrow, James William, born

Taking a Bold Stand

Wisam’s own family tried to stone him for his belief in God, but today he is an Adventist pastor in the Middle East.

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February 9, 1943; died, Aug. 8, 2019. Church membership: De Queen Seventh-day Adventist Church. He served with the United States Army during the Vietnam War and was stationed in Germany. Survivors: wife, Caroleen Burrow, De Queen, Ark.; son, Jimmy Wayne Burrow, Fairbanks, Ark.; stepson, Quinn Alan Green, Idabel, Okla.; daughters, Dwaun Nickerson and Talina Burrow David, De Queen, Ark.; stepdaughter, Angie Marie Reed, Harrison, Ark.; eight grandchildren, one greatgrandchild.

Dowden, Beulah Mae, born May

Adventist World Radio 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904

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1, 1929; died Aug.10, 2019. Church membership: Shreveport First Seventh-day Adventist Church. Survivors: daughters, Linda Hill (Jerry), Ellijay, Ga., Deborah Ling (Rob), Montgomery, Tex. and Phyllis Yantis, Shreveport,

La.; brothers, Evin Creech, Garland, Tex. and James Creech, Frierson, La.; sisterin law, Mary Creech; five grandchildren, five greatgrandchildren.

Hubbard, Joseph “Jo-Joe”, born

Aug. 11, 1929, Baton Rouge, La.; died Aug. 25, 2019, New Orleans, La. Church membership: Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church. Preceded in death by wife, Mildred Buie Hubbard; brothers, Albert and George Hubbard; sister, Doris Hubbard Gilliam. Survivors: sisters, Laura Mae Thomas and Betty Jean Stanford, Huntsville, Ala., Mable Hannah Cox, New Orleans, La.; five stepchildren.

Johnson, Rose Evelyn, born Feb.

20, 1932, Tulia, Tex.; died July 7, 2019. Survivors: husband, Eugene Johnson; sons, Mitchell “Micky” Johnson (Nilsa), Keene, Tex., Richard Johnson, Miamisburg, Ohio and Milton Johnson (Becky), Phoenix, Ariz.; daughter, Renee Johnson, Crosby, Minn.; eight grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.

Mize, Kenneth Eugene, died July

25, 2019, Winston County, Miss. Preceded in death by his parents, Clay Mize and Eva Whittington Mize; wife, Junevieve Mize; brothers, Clayton and Vernon Mize. Survivors: daughter, Janet Mize, Ark.; sons, Leonard Mize (Tammy) of Louisville, Miss., and Marvin Mize (Iryna), Calif.; brother, Lee Mize, Calif.; three grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren.

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Back Pages Periman, Erval “Val” Leone, born on

Aug. 12, 1924, Lincoln, Neb.; died Aug. 11, 2019. He served the United States Army during WWII from 19431946. Church membership: Siloam Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Short, Mary Alice, born June 30,

1936; died July 20, 2019, Melbourne, Ark. Church membership: Batesville Seventh-day Adventist Church. Preceded in death by husband Charles Short; stepson, Charles E. Short II. Survivors: brother, Jimmie Fulbright (Melba), Mount Pleasant, Ark.; stepson, Lewis Short (Debra), Anderson, Calif.; step-daughters, Rebecca Bolejack (David), Holden, Mo., and Sheryl Fisk (Jim), Clark, Mo.; stepdaughter-in-law, Debbie Short, Galena, Mo.

Wegener, Esther, born Jan.

11, 1944, Yugoslavia; died June 8, 2019. Church membership: Hot Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church. Survivors: husband, Werner Wegener, Hot Springs, Ark.; sons, David Dordevic (Kay) and Adrian Dordevic (Shantal); adopted daughters, Rebecca and Beth.

Zacharias, Mary Anna Miller, born

March 12, 1929, Frost, Tex.; died, July 19, 2019, Texarkana, Tex. Church membership: Beacon Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Ottice Junior Zacharias; daughter, Sharon Kay Gentry; brothers, Charles Biram Miller, Darras Lee Miller and Willie Merritt Miller; one grandson. Survivors: son, Gary Dwayne


Zacharias, Texarkana, Tex.; daughter, Marilyn Sue Wall, De Queen, Ark.; sister, Katie Aline Nickerson, Horatio, Ark.; seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Back Pages: To submit family milestones, obituaries, announcements or address changes, visit Southwestern or call 817.295.0476. The Record also accepts expanded obituaries. For submission and cost information, contact or call 817.295.0476.

Correction: The obituary

for Dr. Edwin Collins in the July/August issue should have listed his widow as Linda Cardenas Carranza.

News and Articles: Send your local church news and high-resolution photos to your local conference communication representative listed on page 2. If you are interested in writing for the Record, email or visit Communication to review our writer’s guidelines. Advertising: Contact Bradley Ecord at BEcord@ or 817.295.0476

Sabbath Sunset Calendar November-December 2019

Note: Daylight Savings Time ends November 3 at 2:00 a.m. All 2019 Sunset Calendars are available at


Abilene Albuquerque Amarillo Brownsville Dallas El Paso Fort Worth Gallup Gentry Houston Little Rock Muskogee New Orleans Oklahoma City Roswell San Antonio Shreveport Tulsa

11/1 6:49 6:13 6:54 6:49 6:37 6:17 6:39 6:21 6:23 6:36 6:17 6:27 6:14 6:36 6:07 6:49 6:26 6:29

11/8 5:44 5:07 5:47 5:45 5:31 5:11 5:34 5:14 5:16 5:30 5:10 5:20 5:09 5:30 5:01 5:43 5:20 5:22

11/15 5:39 5:01 5:42 5:41 5:26 5:07 5:29 5:09 5:11 5:26 5:05 5:15 5:05 5:24 4:56 5:39 5:15 5:17

11/22 5:36 4:58 5:38 5:39 5:23 5:04 5:25 5:05 5:06 5:24 5:01 5:11 5:02 5:20 4:53 5:37 5:12 5:12

11/29 5:34 4:55 5:36 5:38 5:21 5:02 5:23 5:03 5:04 5:22 4:59 5:09 5:00 5:18 4:51 5:35 5:10 5:10

12/6 5:33 4:54 5:35 5:38 5:20 5:01 5:23 5:02 5:03 5:22 4:58 5:08 5:00 5:17 4:50 5:35 5:09 5:09

12/13 5:34 4:55 5:36 5:40 5:21 5:02 5:24 5:02 5:03 5:23 4:59 5:08 5:01 5:18 4:51 5:36 5:10 5:10

12/20 5:37 4:57 5:38 5:43 5:24 5:05 5:26 5:05 5:06 5:26 5:01 5:11 5:04 5:20 4:54 5:39 5:13 5:12

12/27 5:40 5:01 5:42 5:46 5:28 5:09 5:30 5:08 5:09 5:29 5:05 5:14 5:08 5:24 4:57 5:43 5:17 5:16

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MARCH 27-29, 2020


WILLIE & ELAINE OLIVER Directors | Family Ministries General Conference English Speakers

ALFREDO & JUANITA RUIZ Founders of Opciones and Silver Lining Family Services Saint Joseph, MI Spanish Speakers

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November | December 2019 Southwestern Union Record  

The November-December 2019 issue of the Southwestern Union Record, the official publication of the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-...

November | December 2019 Southwestern Union Record  

The November-December 2019 issue of the Southwestern Union Record, the official publication of the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-...

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