January | February 2024

Page 1

Southwestern Union

January | February 2024

Nature of the 4 The Cosmic Conflict God in the 6 Finding Great Controversy Discipleship

10 of the Mind 12 Education By Design

Our Core Beliefs

Adventists and the Great Controversy

Ephesians 6:12 January | February 2024 Vol. 123, No. 01

Our Core Beliefs Features 4 The Nature of the Cosmic Conflict 6 Finding God in the Great Controversy 10 Discipleship of the Mind


Editorial EDITOR

KRISTINA P. BUSCH KBusch@swuc.org


Columns 11 Equipping: What Adventists Believe 12 Ministries: Education By Design 13 Wholeness: Vegan Crispy Tofu Tacos

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Arkansas-Louisiana Conference

FRANCES ALCORN | News@arklac.org

Oklahoma Conference

WES VIA | News@okla-adventist.org

Southwest Region Conference

News 14 Southwestern Happenings 15 Southwestern Union 18 Arkansas-Louisiana Conference 23 Oklahoma Conference 28 Southwest Region Conference 33 Texas Conference 38 Texico Conference 43 AdventHealth 44 Southwestern Adventist University

LESLIE SOUPET | News@swrgc.org

Texas Conference

KENN DIXON | News@txsda.org

Texico Conference

DEBBY MÁRQUEZ | News@texico.org

Southwestern Adventist University Communication@swau.edu


ELIZABETH CAMPS Elizabeth.Camps@adventhealth.com




Back Pages 46 Classified Ads 49 Obituaries 49 Announcements & Milestones




BRADLEY ECORD BEcord@swuc.org

Editor’s Note


This year, the Record magazine will take a look at six of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Each issue will also feature each conference president within our territory. We begin the year with a look at the eighth fundamental belief, the Great Controversy. Seventh-day Adventists believe that all humanity is involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan. How does this core Adventist belief affect our lives today? How can our faith be strengthened knowing this story, and our story, will end with redemption and reunification? May you be blessed as we explore these questions and understand our role in the Great Controversy.

Kristina P. Busch Kristina P. Busch



TAMMY G. PRIETO Record@swuc.org


To subscribe, discontinue or change address, email your local conference contact listed above or Record@swuc.org.


News articles and obituary submissions should be emailed to your local conference contact listed above or Record@swuc.org.


Equipping, inspiring and sharing hope and wholeness in the Southwestern Union territory.


The Record is published bimonthly for a total of six issues per year and is an official publication of the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Adventist® and Seventh-day Adventist® are the registered trademarks of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists®.

Southwestern Union HEADQUARTERS

P.O. BOX 4000, BURLESON, TX 76097 817.295.0476 | SouthwesternAdventist.org President Carlos Craig Executive Secretary Stephen Brooks Treasurer John Page Undertreasurer Bo Just VP Church Ministries Tony Anobile VP Education Carol Campbell VP Multicultural Ministries Osvaldo Rigacci Children’s Ministries Sonia Canó Church Planting Robin Lopez Communication Kristina Busch Community Services Bo Gendke Evangelism English Stephen Brooks Evangelism Spanish Osvaldo Rigacci Family Ministries Letty Craig Health Ministries Randy Phillips Human Resources Joel Wallace Men’s Ministries Tony Anobile Ministerial Tony Anobile Ministerial Spouses Letty Craig Native Ministries Carlos Craig Personal Ministries Stephen Brooks Prayer Ministries Helvis Moody Prison Ministries Tyrone Boyd PARL Stephen Brooks Revolving Fund Joel Wallace Sabbath School Sonia Canó Secondary Education Mike Furr Stewardship Tony Anobile Planned Giving/Trust Services Bo Just Women’s Ministries Letty Craig Young Adult/Youth Ministries Helvis Moody

Conferences & Institutions Arkansas-Louisiana Conference Arklac.org | 318.631.6240 Oklahoma Conference OkAdventist.org | 405.721.6110 Southwest Region Conference SouthwestRegionsda.org | 214.943.4491 Texas Conference TexasAdventist.org | 817.783.2223 Texico Conference Texico.org | 505. 244.1611 Southwestern Adventist University SWAU.edu | 817.645.9921 AdventHealth Central Texas AdventHealth.com/CentralTexas 254.526.7523 AdventHealth Rollins Brook AdventHealth.com/RollinsBrook 512.556.3682 Texas Health Hospital Mansfield (AdventHealth) TexasHealthMansfield.org | 682.341.5000 Texas Health Huguley Hospital (AdventHealth) TexasHealthHuguley.org | 817.293.9110

On The Record

What Really Matters When I became a pastor, my first conference ministerial director was Lloyd Wyman and he was awesome. I’ll never forget one of his sermon titles, “Putting the EmphAsis on the Wrong SyllAble.” I do that sometimes. I spend more time than I should on things that don’t really matter. I think the devil is the master at distracting us from what’s really important and unfortunately, that can happen in the church setting as well. The eighth fundamental belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church reads, “All humanity is now involved in a Great Controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe.” Adventist.org/beliefs. All humanity – that includes you and me. The Great Controversy is real, at stake is our eternal destiny. Satan has argued that we are condemned to death and therefore cannot enjoy eternal life. He further claims that God is unfair, unjust, and that it is impossible to perfectly obey God’s law. He’s right of course, it IS impossible for you and me to perfectly obey God’s law. Romans 6:23 (NKJV) is a poignant reminder: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Take a look at this quote from Ellen G. White’s book, Steps to Christ: “The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,—just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents,—perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eter-

nal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of misery, to be immortalized. It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God.” Not a pretty picture! And it sure seems that the devil’s point is correct, we are condemned. However, the quote doesn’t end there, and praise the Lord that it doesn’t! Here’s the rest: “But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Savior, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” I hear people say, “Don’t preach about the Great Controversy anymore. Too much time has gone by. Focus on positive content, etc.” I believe now more than ever, we should focus on the Great Controversy, every day! We need

to talk about it, share the Good News that because of Jesus, the Great Controversy will end and Jesus wins! Not sure how to share this great truth? Here is the final sentence of the eighth fundamental belief: “To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect and sustain them in the way of salvation.” Ask God to help you, and He will do two things, first He will, through the Holy Spirit, remind you that you are saved through Jesus. Second, He will give you the strength and the words to share this great truth with others. Let’s not “major in minors”, rather, let’s keep our eye on the ball and focus on what really matters! After all, Jesus is coming soon to take us home. Maranatha! a By Tony Anobile Vice President for Church Ministries



The Nature of the Cosmic Conflict and Limits of Omnipotence When sharing the theme of the Great Controversy with others, the most common question I receive is, “How could any created being hope to win a war against an all-powerful God?” This is a great question since, if God is as powerful as Scripture portrays Him, then why is this war still going on? To many, the answer should be as simple as God flicking His fingers together and instantly eliminating all the evil in the universe. But, this answer reveals a



misunderstanding of the very nature of the conflict itself. The issue at stake in this conflict has nothing to do with power. Lucifer never claimed that he was more powerful than God. If I claim that I can do more push-ups than my friend Miguel, there is a simple way everyone could know whether or not my claim is true or false: a test. In Heaven, Lucifer slandered the character of God (Ezekiel 28:16, 18). He caused many to doubt whether or

not God had the right, morally, to be in charge of the universe.1 He claimed that God was untrustworthy and, ultimately, that he would do a better job if he was in God’s position. This kind of assertion cannot be answered by a simple test, nor can it be resolved by a display of power. While initially we might think that there is nothing an all-powerful God cannot do, Scripture tells us that God cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13),

Our Core Beliefs Feature

God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), cannot be tempted (James 1:13), and also mentions a sin which God cannot forgive (Matthew 12:31). God cannot make two mutually exclusive things true at the same time. For example, God cannot force beings to freely love Him, since contained in the very definition of love is the prerequisite of freedom. Either God made us with freedom or without it; both certainly cannot be true. Scripture is full of stories that show that humans were indeed created free, and with a kind of freedom that experiences the consequences of actions. True freedom must have attached to it the ability to act, both for good and, unfortunately, when it is misused, for evil. Another aspect that is often overlooked in the Great Controversy is that God does not rule in a vacuum. God cares about how other beings in the universe perceive Him. Even in the creation of our world, God gave Adam and Eve the ability to “rule” and have “dominion over” the things in this world (Genesis 1:26). The book of Job reveals

Prayer actually changes things. It allows God to work in ways that He otherwise could not, not because He doesn’t have the power or desire, but because He may not have permission. a heavenly council that meets to discuss various affairs in the universe (Job 1 & 2). Satan arrives as representative of earth, something he gained with the fall of Adam and Eve, and accuses God of bribery in front of the whole council. How can this accusation be proven false? God cannot do nothing and al-

low Satan’s false accusation to stand, and yet God does not want Job to suffer, particularly because God knows Job is faithful. But, for the sake of others in the council and beyond, Satan must be granted certain power. At the same time, God must limit the extent of His own power for Satan to have a “fair” chance to prove his point. Anything less and Satan’s accusations against God would not be proven false. These rules of engagement, the various limits placed upon God and Satan through this conflict, become essential to God’s ultimate purpose of placing the universe in a state of eternal security (Nahum 1:9).2 While some of these rules are revealed in Scripture (Mark 6:5, 6; Matthew 17:21), we are not privy to them all. Prayer actually changes things. It allows God to work in ways that He otherwise could not, not because He doesn’t have the power or desire, but because He may not have permission. What does all of this mean for me today? It means that the solution to suffering and evil in this world is not as simple as some make it out to be, but there is actually a lot going on behind the scenes. God does not want any of His children to suffer, and yet there may be good reasons God must permit suffering temporarily. While this may not make our journey easy, it does make it one where our trust in God can grow. Faith and prayer are powerful weapons in this conflict, and we should never tire of raising our petitions to God. One day soon all will be revealed, and all will declare that God is love.3 a By Endi Stojanovic, M. Div. Stojanovic is an associate professor of religion at Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas. 1 John C. Peckham, God with Us: A Introduction to Adventist Theology 2 John C. Peckham, Theodicy of Love: Cosmic Conflict and the Problem of Evil 3 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy



Our Core Beliefs Feature

FINDING God in the


CONTROVERSY Within Christianity, the concept of a cosmic struggle between good and evil is uniquely articulated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s eighth fundamental belief as the Great Controversy, a struggle between Christ and Satan that ultimately reveals God’s loving character. Carlos Craig has spent a lifetime coming to understand not only how the Great Controversy plays out in this cosmic sense, but also on a very personal level. Carlos is the president of the Southwestern Union, a position he says he never would have imagined, something he often metaphorically scratches his head at and remains in awe at God’s leading. Carlos was adopted as a newborn into an Adventist pastoral family in Kansas, and never met his biological mother, a 16-year-old Cherokee, or his biological father. His adoptive father was a dedicated pastor, and the family moved for the ministry from Kansas to Florida and then to Colorado, where he attended Mile High Academy. While Carlos says he knew his family truly loved him, he struggled to find his identity within what he felt was a very rigid Adventist



environment that didn’t always emphasize the love of God. Rather, he felt that it focused on fitting a specific mold of what Adventism looked like: strict rules with little focus on love, forgiveness or grace. He struggled so much that he was kicked out of the academy twice for his behavior. While he did graduate from the academy in 1979, his concerned parents searched within Adventist education fora conservative university for him to attend. They found the University of Montemorelos in Montemorelos, Mexico, over 1,000 miles away from Denver. Unsure of his future and faith and speaking only the Spanish he learned at the academy, Carlos says that he performed very poorly academically in his first year at the university. A young man named Tony Anobile befriended and encouraged him. The two bonded over their love for music and played guitar and sang together. The following year, his grades and Spanish improved. He also met his future wife, Letty. He did better academically, taking a dual undergraduate program for education and theology. He began to feel optimistic about his future.

Carlos and Letty married and had their first child, Danette. After they graduated, theymoved to Keene, Texas, where he hoped to secure a pastoral position at the Texas Conference. He was able to arrange an interview with the Texas Conference, but the president took one look at him and said he would not hire him. Not only that, he told him that Carlos would never be employed as a pastor. He was devastated and deeply frustrated. He left, not understanding what about him caused the president to be so dismissive. But, with a family to care for, Carlos took on a list of odd jobs, including delivering pizzas, laying asphalt and working in nearby Southwestern Adventist University’s cabinet shop, where Letty also worked. Three years passed before his friend from Montemorelos, Anobile, called him and said there might be a position for him in Los Angeles. “Come on out and see,” he told him. So, Carlos went and was offered a position as the seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at Long Beach Adventist Academy. “I learned more in those two years of teaching than I have in the other 33 years in min-

? Feature

Our Core Beliefs Feature

istry,” he says. Teaching kids at this pivotal age taught him a lot of patience and instilled in him a passion for teaching Jesus’ love to young people. It was at this point that he began to separate how he had been raised so that, although he knew his parents loved him and were concerned about his eternal salvation, he had trouble seeing a loving God. He’d obeyed out of fear of God’s judgment or even the judgment of fellow church members. While following the same tenets of Adventism as his parents, he wanted to present Adventism to the people around him— his family, students and church members—through the lens of a loving Creator, forgiving and full of grace, who gives each person free will rather than one of a harsh warden focused on retribution.



After two years of teaching, Carlos took on the role of an associate evangelist and then pastor in California. In 2000, he received an unexpected call to return to Texas to be the conference’s youth director. With Letty, their oldest daughter Danette, son David and youngest daughter Daphne, he moved back to Keene. He would also take on the role of Hispanic ministries director and then, in 2009, accepted the role of executive secretary. In 2010, he was elected president. His former Bible teacher from Mile High Academy, Victor Brown, called him, asking if he was really the Carlos that he had taught. “He couldn’t believe it,” he says. “He came to visit me to make sure it was really true.” Thinking back, Carlos says he now understands why that former Texas

Conference president said he would never hire him. “I wouldn’t have hired me, either. I was arrogant.” That experience, while disheartening, was pivotal in creating a change in mindset. That president “did me the biggest favor of my life,” he says. The new position came with its challenges, including a number of legal entanglements within the Texas Conference that took years to unravel. He also faced health challenges and had to change his diet radically. It was another point in his life that he felt was a tremendous challenge, but an opportunity to change and further grow in his relationship with Christ. When his youngest daughter came to him and Letty and told them she was pregnant at 16, his family faced another challenge. In addition to feeling as if he

had failed his daughter, he was aware of the scrutiny his family would undergo as a family in ministry. Even as he had just taken on the leadership of the Texas Conference, he contemplated leaving the ministry. Following an executive committee meeting at the conference, he left the office with his head down, feeling inadequate. He was stopped by a friend and colleague, Phil Robertson, now executive secretary/treasurer of the Texico Conference. Something was wrong, Robertson could tell. Carlos told him about the pregnancy, and how he thought it may be time to leave the ministry. Robertson reminded him that, although the situation wasn’t ideal, children are a gift from God, and they would be blessed; this was not a hopeless situation. Carlos took Robertson’s advice to heart. With the Lord leading, he and Letty raised Dorian, their grandson, who lives with them and calls them mom and dad. “Phil was right. When I would get home from a long day, that little boy would come running to me and all my worries just melted away.” Dorian was an unexpected light amid a challenging situation. The two bonded over their love of basketball and played together often. Now 14, Dorian towers over Carlos, but they still play together. Letty and Carlos have a close relationship with their three children and now six grandchildren. He looks back on his experiences and says he feels tremendously blessed to see where

God has led him and his family through many obstacles. The battle between good and evil is clear to him, laid out in poor decisions and times he didn’t listen to the Spirit’s leading. Now, he sees it clearly. Throughout his life, he’s seen God’s character revealed in every struggle, which has reinforced his conviction that Adventism needs leaders and members who believe in the importance of sharing God’s love. “When I was young, the Great Controversy invoked a lot of fear and apprehension in me. Maybe because of the way it was preached and taught. My father’s generation of preachers leaned heavily into the ‘wrath of God’ side of the belief. As I grew in maturity as a pastor, I began to see how Satan was dealing with me in particular and that there was a struggle in my own, personal life on a daily basis. I would be confronted with my own character and tendencies.” Carlos says he would challenge each person to look at their own life and see where God has led through the ups and downs, and to understand it as a reflection of the eternal conflict still at hand, but to lean on the promise of help and comfort from the Holy Spirit. a

Throughout his life, he’s seen God’s character revealed in every

struggle, which has

reinforced his conviction that Adventism needs

leaders and members who believe in the

importance of sharing God’s love.

By Jessica L. Lozano. Lozano is a writer and consultant who lives with her family in Northwest Arkansas. Carlos Criag is the Southwestern Union President. He and his wife Letty live in North Texas.

Our Core Beliefs Feature

Discipleship of the Mind “You will not surely die.” With those words, the serpent claimed God is a liar. He’s been slandering God’s character ever since. Genesis 3 tells us he drew Eve into dialogue by questioning God’s commands: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’” Eve clarified that only one tree was off-limits, lest they die. Then, the serpent accused God of lying to keep Adam and Eve in the dark, claiming God didn’t really want the best for us and couldn’t be trusted. Eve faced a choice. Who would she believe? We know all too well the tragedy that followed. We face a similar choice. Who (and what) will we believe and why? We live in the midst of the Great Controversy, in which Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), wages a massive disinformation campaign against God’s character. Though we live in the information age, in many ways ours is a disinformation age. Especially given our mission, clearly understanding what we believe and why is vitally important, not only for our sake but to help others know God’s infinite love.



Scripture repeatedly emphasizes “rightly dividing the word of truth,” in 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV) and “casting down arguments” and “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV). In Ellen G. White’s words from her book, Evangelism, “There are dangerous heresies that will be presented as Bible doctrines; and we are to become acquainted with the Bible so that we may know how to meet them.” I wrote my most recent book, God with Us: An Introduction to Adventist Theology, as a resource for this journey of discipleship of the mind. Commissioned by the General Conference Biblical Research Institute and published by Andrews University Press, this book provides a biblical introduction to Adventist beliefs in the context of the story of redemption—the story of God with us. The story of Scripture is the story of God’s quest to defeat evil so God can be with us in fullness. The book traces Adventist beliefs in the context of the story of God’s quest, showing how Scripture emphasizes God’s presence

with us in time and space (highlighted in the Sabbath, the sanctuary, the promise of the Second Coming and much more). Intending this book for use in the local church, I wrote it in a style of accessible theology—theology for everyone (whether already familiar with Adventism or not). Some have told me they’re enjoying using the book in reading groups and prayer meetings and they believe it should be on every Adventist’s bookshelf. I dream this book will help people see the profound beauty of Adventist theology, not merely as discrete doctrinal points, but how the pieces together form a beautiful picture, greater than the sum of its parts. To me, studying theology is an act of worship, and I pray this book will not only draw readers to a deeper understanding of Adventist beliefs but also to love and worship God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind—and to serve Him accordingly (Luke 10:27). a John Peckham is associate editor of Adventist Review Ministries and Research Professor of Theology and Christian philosophy at Andrews University. Photos by Ullom Photo.


What Adventists Believe About the Great Controversy By Southwestern Union Communication and Adventist.org The most captivating stories have a clear hero and villain. Someone fights for good, and the other fights for evil. It’s easy to look at this messed-up world and believe that clearly-defined battles between good and evil only happen in stories. Everything here is so mixed up! Heroes are far from perfect. And anyone can become a villain. It’s not uncommon to see people do horrible things for good causes. Others try their best to do the right thing, but end up making things worse. How can pure good and pure evil exist in such a confusing world? The Bible helps make these moral struggles clear. It tells how each of us is caught in an epic battle between good and evil. This battle encompasses the entire world and was being fought before humanity even began. And, just like in all good stories, the Bible tells us that good eventually comes out on top. God will prevail, and evil will be destroyed. This epic battle is sometimes referred to as the “Great Controversy,” the conflict between God and Satan. And all humanity is caught up in it due to our free will, and the fact we chose the “knowledge of good and evil” back in the Garden of Eden. But this isn’t a physical battle: Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, “ (ESV). The Great Controversy is a spiritual battle, a conflict over God’s character

and His right to rule the universe. If you want to learn more about how the Great Controversy began, how the earth and humanity became involved, what we are to do during this spiritual war and God’s ultimate victory over evil, we invite you to research this topic further at Adventist.org/the-great-controversy. All these questions can be answered in Scripture. Through the website and

Bible study, you can learn exactly how this Great Controversy got started, what the stakes are, and why our own roles are so important in this great battle of the universe. We encourage you to take a closer look at this fundamental belief on your own, with your pastor, Bible study group or online at Adventist.org/the-great-controversy. a

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST BELIEF #8: The Great Controversy All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in selfexaltation became Satan, God’s adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the global flood, as presented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the universal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect and sustain them in the way of salvation. (Gen. 3; 6-8; Job 1:6-12; Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:12-18; Rom. 1:19-32; 3:4; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; 1 Cor. 4:9; Heb. 1:14; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 3:6; Rev. 12:4-9)





Education by Design By Lori Futcher, Record Writer

Sitting in a classroom at Keene Adventist Elementary School, young Carol Campbell fell in love with learning when her history teacher integrated current events with what was in the textbook. Today, as Vice President for Education at the Southwestern Union, Campbell is encouraging a new generation of teachers to equip students to serve in this world and be ready for eternity. One of the first things Campbell did upon taking up leadership in the Southwestern Union six years ago was to develop a mission statement for the Education Department: “Collaborating for learning excellence through faith and service.” With this mission in mind, she led in developing the Education by



Design framework. Part of this framework is seven C’s that students are prepared to be proficient in: connection to God and others, citizenship, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, communication and character. According to the departmental booklet Education by Design: Our Story, these seven C’s “serve as a thread that weaves together the parts of our story.” Measuring results is a big part of Campbell’s education plan. “We want to be purposeful and intentional,” says Campbell, “about reviewing where we are and where we’re going.” In fact, the continuous school improvement that results from all this data gathering is

one of Campbell’s primary three goals. The other two are academic excellence and leadership. With the intention of retaining teachers at a time when public and private schools are both struggling to staff enough educators, the Education Department focuses a lot of energy on the continuous training of their teachers. In fact, one of the four staff members in the Education Department, Associate Director of Education Renee Whiting, is tasked with the job of coaching and training teachers throughout the Southwestern Union. Using a 360-degree meeting camera called the Meeting Owl, Whiting is able to make virtual classroom visits to help teachers grow in their educational skills. “We’re continually focused on creating excellence in schools,” says Campbell. “Academic excellence is key. We want to be intentional about identifying what really matters for academic excellence.” However, in the pursuit of academic excellence, spiritual learning is not lost. “We’re very intentional,” says Campbell, “about using our faith as the lens through which we study.” Campbell encourages all church members throughout the union, even those whose own kids have already finished their educational journeys, to support Adventist education. You can contribute through financial donations or by volunteering at a nearby school. You can also support the mission by speaking up for Adventist education when talking with those making decisions about their children’s schooling. Together, we can all prepare the next generation to live lives of excellence through faith and service. a


Vegan Crispy Tofu Tacos By Ashley Melillo, Author, Recipe Writer and Photographer at Blissful Basil These vegan crispy tofu tacos with cilantro-jalapeño ranch are bound to become a staple in your home. Even the most tofu-averse will open their hearts and tummies to this satisfying meal. Tofu cubes are battered and breaded in a seasoned panko breadcrumb mixture, baked to crispy perfection, and nestled into warm tortillas with cabbage, cilantro and generous drizzles of zesty cilantro-jalapeño ranch.

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Servings: 12-16 tacos


Crispy Seasoned Baked Tofu • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika • 1 teaspoon ground cumin • ½ teaspoon garlic powder • 1⁄8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne • ¼ cup neutral oil, plus more for greasing/spraying • 1 cup unsweetened plain plantbased milk • ½ cup spelt flour • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice • 1 (16-ounce) block super firm, drained, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into ½- to ¾-inch cubes Tacos • 1 recipe vegan cilantro-jalapeño ranch (see QR code for recipe) • 12 to 16 corn tortillas, warmed until soft and pliable • Shredded cabbage • Cilantro, for garnishing • Lime wedges, for spritzing


1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly 2.

3. 4.

5. 6.

grease a large baking tray. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the panko breadcrumbs, chili powder, salt, paprika, cumin, garlic powder and cayenne (if using). Then, stir in the oil until incorporated. In another large, shallow bowl, whisk together the milk, flour and lime juice until smooth. From left to right, line up the tofu cubes, milk batter, breadcrumb mixture and baking tray. Place a handful of the tofu cubes into the batter, toss to coat, use a slotted spoon to shake off excess batter and transfer to the breadcrumb mixture. Toss to coat and transfer to the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the remaining tofu. If extra crispiness is desired, spray the tofu cubes with a bit more oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown, tossing a few times throughout baking. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the cilantrojalapeño ranch from the QR code listed below and gather/prepare the toppings and garnishes.


8. Warm the tortillas just before assembling. Heat them, one at a time, in a small skillet over medium heat for 20–30 seconds per side.


1. Fill each tortilla with about 5 cubes of tofu, a small handful of cabbage, and a generous drizzle of cilantrojalapeño ranch. 2. Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro and serve with lime wedges for spritzing. 3. Serve immediately. More delicious plant-based recipes at BlissfulBasil.com. a JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2024


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22-24 23

TEXAS CONFERENCE Hispanic Ministries Discipleship Institute, Virtual Event YouTube.com/@HispanosTXC


TEXAS CONFERENCE Junior High Music Festival North Dallas Adventist Academy/ Canyon Creek Project Education@txsda.org


TEXAS CONFERENCE Prison Ministries Emphasis & Training East Texas Area PrisonMin@txsda.org

TEXAS CONFERENCE Hispanic Ministries Discipleship Institute Virtual Event YouTube.com/@HispanosTXC



TEXAS CONFERENCE Teach Us to Pray Workshop Central Texas Area TexasAdventist.org


TEXAS CONFERENCE Treasurers’ Training for Church Groups Zoom Treasury@txsda.org

February 9-11

TEXAS CONFERENCE Young Adults Women’s Retreat Lake Whitney Ranch TexasAdventist.org/women

ARKANSAS-LOUISIANA CONFERENCE Conference Bible Study Bowl Shreveport South Seventh-day Adventist Church Llclapp@yahoo.com


TEXAS CONFERENCE Prison Ministries Emphasis & Training Lake Whitney Ranch Prisonmin@txsda.org

25-March 3

ARKANSAS-LOUISIANA CONFERENCE Ozark Adventist Academy Music Festival Gentry, Ark. Information@ozarkacademy.org

Southwestern Union News

Fit for the Kingdom Worship & Sports Weekend KEENE, TEX. – Throughout the Seventh-day Adventist church family, there are hundreds or more talented athletes who desire to compete in various sports on different levels from high school to professional. However, to fulfill those dreams, many must choose to honor God’s Sabbath or play. What does it mean to be ready for the kingdom of God or “fit for the Kingdom?” That question must have filled hundreds of young people’s minds this past July. The idea to give young people an opportunity to showcase their talents was thought of by the Southwestern Union Youth and Young Adult Director Helvis Moody and his team. This gave birth to this transformative weekend where youth and young adults came from all over the union and beyond. Arriving in Keene, Tex., on July 20, the teams gathered at Southwestern Adventist University to register to play in various sports in a Christian environment with a Christ-like perspective. The games began on Friday morning with sports which included basketball, volleyball, tennis and soccer. The players were eager and enthusiastic, playing with great sportsmanship and enjoyment. All games ended before sundown so that all participants could attend vespers. In his sermon, Carl Ming encouraged everyone with Psalm 34 to end the day. On Sabbath morning, players were treated with the powerful words of Christian Ponciano, who gave the steps on how to become “Fit for the Kingdom.” His sermon compared the preparation of an elite athlete with the preparation of “running the race” for the kingdom of God. The steps he gave, if followed, would indeed prepare us to be fit for the kingdom. The evening program featured information on the psychology of playing sports and the sharing of experiences from collegiate and semi-pro athletes, Ray Gray and Reggie Todd. Those at-

tending were given the opportunity to speak about their feelings of not being able to play sports because of the Sabbath. Raven Gray, who is currently playing collegiate volleyball at Winston–Salem State University in North Carolina, shared her story about the ups and downs of playing sports on any level, and encouraged the youth and young adults by letting them know that God will make a way if they trust Him to lead. To hear her testimony in its entirety, go to Youtube.com/watch?v=AmwlpPXCveo. The games continued after sundown Sabbath evening including a softball tournament and culminated Sunday morning with track and field. Winners were awarded all weekend long, but never forget that we are all winners when

we are on the Jesus Christ team. The stage has been set; the Fit for the Kingdom Worship & Sports weekend has shown that this opportunity is possible. An important question from this event came to the forefront. As we continue to occupy until our Savior returns, will we as a worldwide church provide opportunities for young people to use their talents and honor God at the same time? Hopefully, we will recognize that God can use various means to share His love and the Gospel using many tools, talents, interests and means to make this possible. By Flona Francis



Southwestern Union News

Cowboy and Biker Camp 2023 MOUNTAIN PINE, ARK. – Each year on the last weekend of September, Helvis Moody, Southwestern Union youth and young adult ministries director, and his team organize a spirit-filled weekend with real cowboys and bikers! This annual event is usually held at Lone Star Camp in Athens, Tex.; however, this year cowboys and bikers convened in perfect harmony at Camp Yorktown Bay in Mountain Pine, Ark., on Sept. 29, 2023. The featured theme for this year’s camp was “Pray Up Before You Mount Up!” The culture of “horsepower” was highlighted throughout the weekend. Tracy Wood, North American Division youth and young adult ministries director (pictured bottom center), delivered heart-convicting messages on Sabbath. Juan Santos energetically translated the sermons for the various nationalities present with Ray Ruiz’s



help. During the services, Moody sent a motorcycle helmet around to collect the morning’s offering and charged the bikers with a mission to ride together into the local community to share with them the love of Jesus Christ. Witnessing tracts were distributed to be shared with the community. The bikers, some of which drove hundreds of miles, rode into town and ministered to the locals. Later that afternoon, John Hart (pictured top right), a newcomer to the Cowboy and Biker Camp, was especially blessed by his experience. Having suffered a stroke that caused paralysis to his left side, Hart cannot ride the motorcycle that sits idle in his garage. A fellow biker and his wife, Eddie and Joan Price, who recently experienced a miracle themselves after Eddie (pictured top right) had a near-fatal motorcycle accident, asked Hart if he wanted to ride again. After being strapped

onto the backrest with his gait belt, Hart again experienced the ride of his life. A new brotherhood was born between two bikers who live states away from each other. While some bikers rode into town to witness, others accomplished in-reach and enjoyed the lake on a boat ride. Hart had another Bible-inspired experience. Like the paralyzed man lowered through the roof to see Jesus, Hart smiled expectantly as the cowboys lowered him down the side of a mountain-like hill to the lake to enjoy a boat ride. After sunset, many bikers received various awards and enjoyed fellowship, food and fun. The entire experience left everyone filled with gratitude, purpose and a sense of unity! By Cheryl Jones-Hart

Southwestern Union News

“Seasoned” Leadership Camp 2023

ATHENS, TEX. – The atmosphere was electrifying, as 185 academy students from across the Southwestern Union territory converged upon Lone Star Camp in Athens, Tex., for Leadership Camp 2023. The theme, “Seasoned!” taken from Colossians 4:6 served as the spiritual foundation for the weekend. This yearly pilgrimage serves to equip the next generation of Adventist leaders with the needed skills to evangelize their schools and community. Under the direction of the Southwestern Union Director of Secondary Education and in collaboration with the Southwestern Union Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Conference Youth Leaders and the Student Association leaders of Southwestern Adventist University, spiritual encounters, leadership training and cultivated friendships, became a reality. The leadership team identified three overarching goals that they wanted every student to embrace as part of the “Seasoned” experience. The first was the importance of being called by God, the second was honing and refining

their God-given gifts and talents, and then finally, being anointed and unleashed to revolutionize their schools one event at a time. Reminiscent of camp meeting services from years gone by, the students partnered in preparation for the preliminaries for each service. Practice sessions transformed into robust singalongs as students testified of the goodness of God through each note and word that was sung. The sermons were presented by a diverse host of speakers from pastors to student leaders. Thursday evening began with Carl Ming, from the Southwest Region Conference, followed by Jose Castro, Southwestern Adventist University student association president and Abbi Minnett, the Southwestern University Student Association Religious vice president. Sabbath morning began with a powerful message by Kent Rubio, Southwestern Adventist University chaplain and concluded with a charge to evangelistic leadership by Helvis Moody, Southwestern Union Youth and Young Adult Ministries director.

The students attended breakout sessions specifically designed to address their office. During those sessions, students were able to discuss the challenges of leadership while receiving instruction on how to effectively plan and navigate the inherent pitfalls that usually arise throughout the course of the year. Leadership can be a lonely pursuit if one is unaware of the support network that is available to them. To ensure that the students were aware and utilized all of the human capital that was available to them, they participated in team building, recreation and afterglow activities that fostered community regardless of school location. As the final meals were eaten, pictures and selfies were taken, and hugs of new and old friends were exchanged. “Seasoned” 2023 drew to a close with a promise that the encounter with Jesus would continue at each school when the leaders returned home. By Renee Whiting Associate Director of Education



Arkansas-Louisiana Conference

Claim, Reclaim As I am writing this article this evening, I am vividly aware that events and circumstances are exploding all around us. For the past year, we have watched war being waged in the Ukraine. We have witnessed horrible attacks in the Middle East. Mass shootings. Vast crime. Financial challenges. We have seen an explosion of mental health challenges. All these things continue to let us know that Jesus is coming sooner than we think. The truth is that the world needs Jesus more than ever before. The temptation is to simply dismiss these items and just say, “Yes, pastor you are correct,” but simply do nothing and refrain from being engaged. Frankly, don’t succumb to that temptation. We know the only real answer is for men and women to come to know



Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As we begin 2024, we need each member, every believer to become engaged for the cause of Christ. How do we become engaged? 1. Pray earnestly for 10 people you know who don’t know Jesus. Pray daily for the Lord to come into their life. 2. Make friends in the community. 3. Be willing to start a small group and participate in sharing Jesus. 4. Tell your own story with others. 5. Invest your resources in sharing the good news of Jesus. The reality is that we are going to see even more challenges and events that will be almost overwhelming as we continue to await the soon return of Jesus. But we can accept the commission of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is time to claim men and women for Jesus. It is time to reclaim former believers for Jesus. The Arkansas-Lou-

isiana Conference is embracing this theme for 2024: Claim, Reclaim. I invite you to join the challenge with us. Let’s hasten the return of Jesus. By Richard C. Dye Sr. President

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Bonnerdale Blesses and is Blessed

BONNERDALE, ARK. – A bevy of cars and trucks decorated with signs and streamers, led by one of the fire trucks of the Bonnerdale Volunteer Fire Department drove from the Bonnerdale Seventh-day Adventist Church parking lot, past the street where a 14-year-old young man who is battling cancer and the therapy for cancer, and needed

some encouragement. Mindy Cox, one of our elders, learned the needs of this young man and organized the parade. Candy, prayers and good wishes were poured out the windows of the vehicles going by and were collected by him and his family. After the parade, all the signs, posters and streamers were given to him, and his grandfather said

he thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn’t stop talking about it for hours. Little things still mean a lot, and all who participated in the event were tremendously blessed. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35. By June Bates

The Bible Comes Alive in Heber Springs HEBER SPRINGS, ARK. – The youth at Heber Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church are on fire for God! Angie Attaway has been on it this past year, teaching our kindergarten kids the core foundational truths from the Bible. Starting in Genesis with the miracle of creation week and Noah’s ark, then teaching them about Moses and the Ten Commandments. Introducing them to Jesus, walking the kids through His life, His love and how His sacrifice on the cross brought our salvation. Attaway pours into the kids every Sabbath, instilling the fact that God loves us. The teens at Heber Springs church often get involved with children’s church, practicing public speaking while aiding Attaway with teaching great morals to our children (and adults) through skits and plays. Pictured is Attaway with one

of our teens performing a skit designed to promote the Bible as an actual library full of exciting and dramatic true stories that we should share with our friends.

These kids are thriving under her loving instruction. By Tasha Brock



Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Hispanic Lay Training Retreat at Camp Yorktown Bay

MOUNTAIN PINE, ARK. – The church ministries department held the Hispanic Lay Retreat at Camp Yorktown Bay. The retreat was titled “United Families and the Manifestation of the Gift of Prophecy.” The topics were presented by Pedro Cortex and Jose Calderon. We had more than 300 lay members from different churches within our confer-

ence who came to be equipped and trained. The church members want to fulfill the mission of our conference “To Go, Grow and Multiply.” We have challenged them to move forward in mission and they have accepted the challenge to impact their neighborhoods and communities. By Leonardo Melendez

Educational Associates Added

GENTRY, ARK. – With the change to Standards Based Learning (SBL) coming to schools across North American Division (NAD) and the increase of technology in schools, the Arkansas-Louisiana (ARKLA) Executive Committee voted to add two individuals to the education department to assist in these changes. Ozark Adventist Academy (OAA) Principal Robert Fetters (pictured left)



was voted to assist as Associate Education Director of Secondary. Fetters will continue as the principal of OAA while assisting the conference education director in overseeing the junior academies in our conference. His knowledge of secondary education and technology will be extremely helpful in assisting our junior academies to keep up with the quality Christian-based academics

and the ever-changing world of technology. He will also continue working with the one-to-one Chromebook program at the elementary schools. The second person being added is newly hired OAA Vice Principal Carlos Valencia (pictured right) who was voted in as the Associate Education Director of Curriculum. He was hired at OAA because of his extensive knowledge and background in SBL and MAP Testing. Valencia will be a huge asset to not only OAA but all the ARKLA schools through this change process. Currently, he is leading one of our three Professional Learning Communities for our elementary teachers and will be available to help coach teachers as needed. We are blessed to have these two talented individuals in ARKLA and look forward to seeing what God has in store as we continue to help our teachers educate for eternity. By Tim Kripps Educational Superintendent

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Bentonville Growing Plants to Serve Community BENTONVILLE, ARK. – The Bentonville Seventh-day Adventist School is doing its part to feed the people in need in their community. Students are hard at work in their new agriculture program. The students are growing seedlings in the greenhouse for Bentonville’s “Helping Hands” Community Garden. Renee Otts, principal and teacher at the school says the garden is not only a way for the kids to learn but also to serve the community. She expressed the needs of the homeless community who rely on “Helping Hands”, the Salvation Army and other groups and said, “If we can be a small part in helping those groups to help other people, we’ve done our job.” Otts also stated that in the spring, the school’s agricultural program will be working with the Illinois River Watershed Partnership. The students will be growing native plants for the watershed’s repair and erosion control projects. We are proud and grateful to these students and the Bentonville school for their involvement in giving back to their neighbors, and the blessing is that they

are learning so much in the process. It gives new meaning to the phrase: “Go, Grow and Multiply!” Not only are these students meeting physical needs, but

they are also planting seeds to reach people for Jesus. By Martin Kelly

Celebrating 95 Years DERIDDER, LA. – Nell Holden-Copsey is 95 years old and still lives alone, drives to the supermarket and does yard work. On Aug. 30, Nell celebrated her 95th birthday with her church family at DeRidder Seventh-day Adventist Church. She was born in Baton Rouge, La. in 1928. When she was two years old, her parents joined the Baton Rouge Seventh-day Adventist Church. Her grandmother was one of the first members when the Baton Rouge church was organized. At the age of 14, she made the decision to be baptized. In 1977, she married Dave Copsey, and the two worked together in ministry until his

death in 2017. One of her fondest memories was attending camp meetings in Gentry, Ark. “In those days we had 10-12 days of reunion with friends and family.” When asked what her secret to longevity is, she says, “Never quit.” Her grandmother once told her, “Don’t ever think about leaving the church, we’ve been in it too long.” I recently asked Nell what her favorite verse in the Bible is and unequivocally she said, “Why, John 14:15, if you love me, keep my commandments.” By Rosemarie Jeffries



Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Women’s Ministries Conference Retreat TEXARKANA, TEX. – The Arkansas-Louisiana Women’s Conference Retreat was held Sept. 15-17, 2023, at the Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist Church with the theme of “Such a Time as This.” Friday evening started by getting acquainted with our fellow sisters in Christ. Our special guest, Marjorie Belizair, Dr.PH., shared a health nugget, and our Conference Women’s Ministries Director Lanette Bieber shared thoughts from God’s Word. We closed the evening with songs and prayer. Sabbath School was led by Belizair. As women, ministering for God in “Such a Time as This,” we have a purpose; a purpose to provide support, guidance and mentorship to women in various aspects of their lives. We must be emotionally and mentally happy with ourselves and say good things about ourselves such as God made us to be wise, beautiful, thoughtful, grateful, simply blessed, made in God’s image and joyful. We separated into seven groups, each group taking one of these topics to think about. When we came back together, we shared our thoughts. The “wise” shared they need



God’s word to help them stay on the right path. The “beautiful” said beauty is on the inside and is a blessing in disguise. The “thoughtful” decided being thoughtful is showing love to others, the “grateful” women decided that being grateful is to know what we live for, God’s love. The “blessed” group felt blessed for learning the truth of God and the “made in the image of God” group decided we are all ambassadors of God. Finally, the “joyful” women made us realize that our joy is not our own, but it is God’s joy over us. We must choose to participate in His joy, and some days may not be easy. After praising God in song, Lanette Bieber brought us more thoughts from God’s Word. Staying on the focus of our purpose for such a time as this, she shared that we have to be deliberate in our purpose and that it is about God’s plan, not ourselves. We have to remember that God is with us constantly and is helping us through this spiritual battle of life. Satan is trying to defeat us but God wants us to remember that we are His: wise, beautiful, thoughtful, grateful, blessed, made in His image

and joyful. We are to encourage other women to embrace the wisdom, beauty, thoughtfulness, gratitude and blessings as they recognize themselves as being made in God’s image. We were served a delicious Mexican meal for lunch which was followed by a variety of afternoon activities. We could visit the prayer room, take a walk, do some crafts, fellowship with each other or just take a nap. The crafts were a big hit and enjoyed by many. Several of the women met to plan for next year. We want it to be bigger and better, which will be a challenge to be better than the blessings we got this year. Supper was a big salad with every topping you can imagine and we closed the evening with more thoughts from God’s word. Our retreat closed on Sunday morning with brunch and we came away with a new prayer partner to pray for, to encourage and get to know over the next year. Mark your calendar for Sept. 2022, 2024, for our next retreat. We hope to see you there. By Monica Thames

Oklahoma Conference

God and Good Will Win in the End It is apparent in our world that there is both good and evil. There is self-sacrificing love and selfish greed. There is life and death. There is war and peace. There is kindness and hatred. There are thorns and roses on the same bush. Everywhere there is this contrast. At times it seems that evil will win out over good. Unless we focus on the sacrificial death of Christ, His resurrection and conquering of death, as well as the hope of His second coming with the promise of a new heaven and new earth, this world will be devoid of hope. As we await Christ's return, we have also been given the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to help us fight evil within and without, as well as the protection of heavenly angels. There are also promises in the Word of God that encourage us in our daily lives. One such promise is “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

or “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4. A story from the life of the prophet Elisha tells of the enemy of God's people coming against him because he stopped their plans to destroy them. As the armies of the enemy surrounded Elisha, his servant came to him in distress and fear because of the great multitude bent on their destruction. Elisha looked beyond the size and might of the enemy and saw the Lord’s army above the forces of the enemy. He said that “they that are with us are more than they that are with them.” Elisha saw that, though he was in a conflict with the forces of evil, the armies of God were greater and stronger than the enemy. There was no need to fear. Today, as we live in a world of good and evil the same truth applies to our lives as well. God is on our side and is bigger than our greatest challenge. He

will come to our side to fight our battles both inside of us and outside as well. We also rest in the promise of Jesus coming to take us to be with Him and the bright future He has prepared for us. Good will ultimately win out over evil. God will prevail. By James Shires President



Oklahoma Conference News

A Joyous Sabbath Celebration

BROKEN ARROW, OKLA. – In a heartwarming Sabbath service, the Broken Arrow Seventh-day Adventist church recently came together to celebrate the addition of a new member, Rita Shaw (pictured right), while also witnessing the remarkable talents of their primary-age youth. The day was filled with inspiration, faith and a generous spirit that left a lasting impact on everyone present. The highlight of this special Sabbath service was the warm welcome extended to Shaw, a remarkable woman with a deep connection to the church. Shaw, who happens to be the mother of one of the church’s elders, Darren Shaw, joined the congregation on a profession of faith. Her journey to this point had been a nine-year-long spiritual quest that touched the hearts of many. Shaw’s connection with the church began nearly a decade ago when her grandson, Daniel, was born. For the first six years, she attended both the Adventist church and her Baptist congregation, but three years ago, she felt convicted that the Seventh-day Adventist church aligns most closely with her interpretation of the Bible. Her dedication to her faith was evident as she actively participated in children’s ministries over the years, and now she’s set



to lead the children’s Primary Division, where her influence promises to be a blessing to all. The service took a captivating turn as the Primary-age youth of the church presented a skit that vividly portrayed the bravery of Queen Esther and her unwavering commitment to God’s people. The energy in the room was palpable as Shaw’s grandson, Daniel, had the honor of portraying King Artaxerxes, an important character in Esther’s story. Following the skit, Darren delivered an excellent message that drew compelling comparisons between the characters in the story of Esther and those from the New Testament. His message emphasized the timeless relevance of the biblical narrative and resonated deeply with the congregation. The service concluded with a touching act of generosity, reminding everyone of the profound sense of community and purpose within the Broken Arrow church. The children of the Kindergarten and Primary classes had been diligently saving a portion of their offerings for the past six months. Their mission was to contribute to a special project: buying goats for individuals in need through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).

Their efforts bore fruit, as the young group managed to raise a total of $80, enough to purchase two goats. However, the generosity of the church members knew no bounds. During the service, an astonishing total of $440 was collected, which translates to an impressive 11 goats. The offering truly showcased the boundless compassion and goodwill that exists within the church community, and it’s a testament to their commitment to making a difference in the world. The recent Sabbath service at Broken Arrow church was a celebration of faith, love and generosity. The addition of our new member, the inspiring tribute to Queen Esther’s bravery and the remarkable offering for ADRA all came together to create a day of significance and unity within the church. As the congregation looks to the future, it’s evident that their faith and their love for one another will continue to shine brightly. Praise God for the new beginnings and the enduring spirit of this close-knit community. By Carol Matthews

Oklahoma Conference News

God Completed The Miracle

TULSA, OKLA. – The summer heat of 2017 came and went in the small Independence Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church of Tulsa. All of us, 65 members, were praying for God to provide us with a temple. We knew God had answered our prayers when we went to see a beautiful building that had just gone on the market. The same day we saw it, I told the seller, “Take it off the market; we’ll buy it from you.” Then the arduous task of negotiation started, because although our offer was finally accepted, the person in charge of signing the documents passed away and we had to wait more than six months for the son’s signature to be made official and valid. We closed on the building in the spring of 2018, and from that moment on we dedicated four months to the

remodeling work. Our members began to donate their time, their work, their talents and their resources to the completion of this great work. On Aug. 26, 2018, we were able to inaugurate our beautiful temple; it was a day of joy, a holy convocation, a solemn moment. The Independence Spanish church— the first Hispanic Adventist church in the city of Tulsa—had a new building with capacity for 300 people, a sanctuary that allowed for growth. Facing a 20-year loan, the church launched the project Faithful Steward, so that through generous offerings, we could finish paying it off sooner. We made great sacrifices to offer to God: some gave every week or every month, while others, like the widow of Mark 12, gave their two mites, all with a grateful

heart. However, all without exception, received approval of God and the great blessings He had in store for them. Finally, in July 2023, the final loan payment was sent, and the church prepared for celebration by beautifying the building for heaven’s victory, this fulfillment of the Faithful Steward promise. On Oct. 21, 2023, the Oklahoma Conference administrators and pastors, Luis Prieto, Leo Figueroa and Leo Castillo, officiated the ceremony of burning of the mortgage and we all celebrated the release from debt, giving the honor and glory to our God from whom we had asked a miracle. In five years and three months, He helped us to make the dream come true. By Luis Prieto Hispanic Coordinator

Tulsa Adventist Academy New Bus TULSA, OKLA. – Every year, Tulsa Adventist Academy (TAA) goes on many field trips, basketball trips and arguably the most important trips—high school challenge and AcroFest—usually hun-

dreds of miles from our campus. TAA desperately needed an additional minivan, minibus, bus-bus—anything with four wheels and multiple seats! An answer to prayer happened at the end of October 2023 when TAA purchased a 15-seat minibus just in time for the November 2023 AcroFest at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich. Along with our minivan and generous parents who volunteer their SUVs or minivans, transportation problems have been mostly alleviated. Our Pre-K and Kindergarten students were the first to ride in the Eagle

bus for a field trip around TAA’s parking lot with Principal Larry Seery at the helm. “It’s huge!” and “It’s so big!” were the phrases heard most from our little riders. TAA teachers, staff and students are so grateful for this minibus, especially since it cost much less than the school board had allocated. God put the right person in our path and He has blessed our school by selling his minibus to TAA. By Caroline Fisher



Oklahoma Conference News

Ponca City Adventist Church Rises Stronger After Setback

PONCA CITY, OKLA. – The Ponca City Seventh-day Adventist Church faced a challenging situation when burst pipes left their building in disrepair, rendering it unusable. However, this resilient community, which has been steadily growing in attendance over the past two years, turned adversity into an opportunity for renewal and growth. After months of soul-searching and prayers, the congregation gathered

at the warm and inviting home of Renee and Dub Lee for a prayer meeting. Despite arriving with differing ideas about the church’s future, the power of collective prayer and discussion led to a transformative Pentecost-like experience for those attending. By the end of the meeting, unity prevailed as the congregation decided on a two-fold plan: repair the current building for immediate use and draft plans for an additional building on the lot adjacent to their church that would be large enough to meet their needs and still leave room for God to work! In a heartwarming display of community spirit, Kenny Moreno, a recent addition to the church, offered to take charge of all the necessary repairs through his construction company, volunteering his services for free. The church, in turn, pledged to provide the necessary supplies. With enthusiasm and determination, members and attendees rolled up their sleeves and got

to work. Their hard work and dedication paid off. The first Saturday in October marked a momentous occasion as the church congregation returned to their beloved building for their first service. The icing on the cake? They were joined by 10 enthusiastic visitors, a testament to the community’s resilience and the power of faith. The Ponca City church is an inspiring example of a congregation that, even in the face of adversity, can come together, find a common purpose and make things happen. With their foundation strengthened, they now set their sights on an exciting new chapter: raising funds to build an additional church building. Please remember the Ponca City church in your prayers as they embark on this journey toward an even brighter future. Praise God for His guidance in bringing this resilient community back together. By Ashley Alipoon

A Church’s Journey from Inreach to Outreach MIDWEST CITY, OKLA. – As our church members prepare for evangelism in 2024 and beyond, our primary focus is on discipleship and building meaningful relationships. We’re not only committed to strengthening our bonds with one another but also reaching out to those who have yet to experience our loving God. Our mission is clear, inspired by the words of Jesus in John 13:35: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” To put this into action, Midwest City Seventh-day Adventist Church members organized various fellowshipping events. From trips to the Oklahoma City Zoo with our district members to skating adventures, our members not only strengthened their connections with one another but also extended invitations to those outside our faith



community, which encouraged new and positive relationships. We wish to showcase the love and camaraderie we share with one another and extend that same love to our new friends. Our ultimate goal is to create small, close-knit groups and foster strong relationships, guiding individuals on a path to meet Jesus and consider joining our church. But our mission doesn’t stop there. We’re actively seeking out individuals we have yet to meet and building connections with them. Our dedicated efforts involve knocking on doors in our community, a strategy that our Bible worker has orchestrated into a two-part series, rallying the entire church behind this initiative. We’ve equipped the church members with the skills and enthusiasm to

engage with the community because we are in search of those who may be ready to hear and embrace the message of mercy and love. Groups of two have been formed, each with an assigned leader, and before heading out, we come together in prayer for guidance and support. We continue to organize prayer groups within the church to ensure a spiritual presence while our teams are out in the field. Just as the disciples did, we return and share our testimonies from these encounters. Through these genuine connections, we aim to earn the community’s friendship and trust, ultimately introducing them to Jesus. Together, with unwavering commitment and love, we embark on this journey of faith and outreach. By Marlowe Parks Pastor

Oklahoma Conference News

How Sweet it is to Feel Loved

WEWOKA, OKLA. – It’s ironic that just at the time when our husbands are being either appreciated—or as the case often is, forgotten—during Pastor Appreciation Month, the pastor’s wives in Oklahoma who choose to attend the all-expense-paid Shepherdess Retreat are being pampered, loved and surrounded by women of all ages who understand the challenges and joys that pastors’ wives can bring. There’s this instant bond that pastors’ wives feel as soon as they learn that “you’re a pastor’s wife, too?” There’s something incredibly safe about being in the presence of people who get it. These women are not just in the same theme park as you, they are right beside you, hands in the air, hair flapping, screaming at the top of their lungs as you ride the rollercoasters together. October is the most anticipated month of the year for pastors’ wives in Oklahoma because we know that every October we will gather together at the Wewoka Woods Adventist Center Lodge and be surrounded by love, friends and a whole lot of great food. With each passing year, new faces join the group as we gather around the fireplace and share what’s on our hearts. It’s safe. It’s cozy. It’s full of laughs and tears. It’s the best weekend of the year for many of us who pour ourselves out every day. We get fed spiri-

tually, emotionally and physically: massages, essential oil scrubs, art tutorials and even food with no dishes. A whole weekend just for us. So, how did we get so blessed with this little retreat weekend for pastors’ wives? Julia Shires, wife of Oklahoma Conference President James Shires, plans this retreat every year and it keeps on growing. “This is the fun part. I love planning events for these ladies because I’ve been on all sides. I spent 35+ years as a pastor’s wife and I know how alone you can feel. It’s important to me that our Oklahoma pastors’ families know that they aren’t alone,” she says. “As shepherdesses, we feel the stress of managing a home, shaping the characters of our children, planning and preparing healthy meals for our family, being a support and encouragement to our pastor husbands and many times holding down a job outside of the home. In addition, we often have multiple major leadership or supportive roles in our churches, while trying to fit into a mold that others think we should, or creating the molds for ourselves that we think we should aspire to fill. In short, it is a big job and most pastors’ wives find themselves stressed and exhausted from trying to juggle everything. Not always, but often we are under-appreciated and overburdened

while we aspire to be everything to everyone. Being a shepherdess is a wonderful role, an important role, and one that can impact lives for eternity.” Shires says that, “It has been my pleasure and my goal to create a warm, inviting space in time to treasure our pastor’s wives in a way they might not always get; to give them intimate opportunities to get to know and create lasting friendships with other shepherdesses who can relate to the challenges, joys and special work that only another pastor’s wife would understand.” Most importantly, Shires says that, “I want them to feel comfortable to share, be relaxed, refreshed, pampered, appreciated, supported and valued. When they leave to go back to the roles God has called them to, I want them to know that as they go through trials and struggles in the future, they are not alone. They have the support of their sisters who know what they are going through and who have their back.” From all the shepherdesses in Oklahoma to Julia Shires, we say thank you. We love you. You’ve made a difference in each of our lives by giving us a place to belong, and that feeling of love is something we will never forget. By Ashley Alipoon and Julia Shires



Southwest Region Conference

The Celestial Struggle Revelation tells the story of salvation and the history of God's people from several perspectives. It’s kind of like using the zoom feature on a camera. Zoom in for a closer look. Zoom out to see the bigger picture. Revelation zooms in and out several times and focuses on various parts and perspectives of the story. Revelation begins with a zoomed-out history of the church. In chapter 12, it zooms out all the way to show the history of God's people and the plan of salvation. Chapter 12 is often noted as the chapter highlighting "The Great Controversy" between Christ and Satan. It’s called “The Great Controversy” because this conflict spans many ages and veritably all of the history of our world. It is manifest in countless small spiritual battles and encapsulates every manifestation of spiritual warfare. Ultimately, Satan desires to have dominion over our souls and the entire universe, and he will stop at nothing to realize that nefarious ambition. Here, we have insight into his celestial coup d'état. It begins with a vision of a woman, “clothed with the sun...and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” Revelation 12:1-2. Then enters the villain; an “enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns…” Revelation 12:3. It's the next line that is very significant. It says, “His



tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.” Ibid. It’s important to remember that we believe the woman represents God’s people, who are often referred to in the Bible as a beautiful bride. Revelation 19:7; 21:2. And we know that the child symbolizes the Savior because verse five says that the child “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” Revelation 12:5. At the beginning of the chapter, the woman is standing in her most vulnerable moment, and that’s when the dragon shows up. Revelation 12:4 says that the dragon has come to devour the woman’s newborn baby. God whisks the woman away in a sort of spiritual witness protection program and the child is spared. Yet, the dragon never gives up, and at the end of the chapter, he goes “to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 12:17. This is a major moment because this means that this Great Controversy is about to reach its apex. Chapter 13 is the beginning of the culmination of Satan’s attempts to destroy God’s people and usurp God’s throne. Nevertheless, shortly after that, we see God's judgments poured out, and then, there is the execution of God's final judgment and eternal peace that ensues with the execution of the

evil one. Revelation 16-19. The Scripture says, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4. Here is the message that should give us all courage and hope. At the end of this celestial power struggle, God wins! And not only does God win, but He establishes victory for all those who trust Him! He has adopted us into his family and called us by His name! And “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!” Romans 8:37. By Carlton P. Byrd, D.Min. President

Southwest Region Conference News

Dallas City Temple Celebrates a Month to Remember DALLAS – The month of September is a time of transition in so many varying ways. This is when we get back to routines with school, daily life, work and more. September includes the last day of summer and it marks the beginning of the end of the year. With these transitions in mind, Dallas City Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church hosted several events to show support to our church, local and collegiate communities. On Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, for children ages 3-10, the church hosted a Children’s Day program featuring Ben Roy, renowned children’s speaker on 3ABN. The day started with an outreach activity, where 250 snack bags were prepared for underserved community children and families experiencing homelessness. During divine worship service, Roy used demonstrations to allow the audience to experience God’s incredible creation through the wonders of science. This day was planned by Kathryn McNorton-Edwards, our children’s ministry director. We know music to be a powerful medium and a unifying force; the inspiration and roots of all music being connected to classical music. Dallas City Temple church also celebrated Gospel Music Heritage Month and National Classical Music Month by hosting the Brass and String Ensembles of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO). As part of the DSO’s continued commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and social impact, they were excited to bring ‘DSO Cares’, a phenomenal social impact initiative to Dallas City Temple church on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, to perform for divine worship. DSO Cares brings orchestra musicians directly to churches, hospitals, senior living facilities, schools for disadvantaged children, various organizations, neighborhoods and communities throughout the Dallas area, to bring the joy and healing power of music to the communities they serve. We are thankful to the

DSO for the many programs they bring directly to our community. September allowed yet another great opportunity to show the church’s support at a time of new beginnings and transition for our families and others affected by the start of a new academic year. Dallas City Temple church hosted its “Back to School Sabbath” on Sep. 23, 2023, supporting the schools, nurseries and colleges that have a huge impact on local communities. Carlton P. Byrd, D.Min., Southwest Region Conference president, was the divine worship speaker, with special music guest and gospel artist, James Fortune. We of-

fered our support of prayer, fellowship and ministry. To collegiate students who are away from home, we extended an offer to consider our church family as ‘home away from home’ for worship and fellowship. The Dallas City Temple church is committed to supporting our children, education, community outreach and celebrating those who contribute to the better good of our communities. By Carolyn Medlock



Southwest Region Conference News

Operation Break The Cycle

CEDAR GROVE, LA. – Elisia Minton, Cedar Grove Seventh-day Adventist Church personal ministries director, along with Jaqueline Bell, the church’s community services director, has been leading out in celebrating the Shreveport community. Every fourth Sabbath is the Friends and Family Community Guest Day, and on this day, they honor an active member of the community and provide grant monies to help with various initiatives. On Sabbath, June 24, David Boone, director of the Caddo Parish Detention Center, was honored for his work to prepare incarcerated men to reunite with society. Grant monies were also awarded to the families of inmates. On this Sabbath, one inmate’s partner and her sister decided to get baptized. It was the last day of the Let’s Grow Togeth-



er Revival preached by Winston Taylor, pastor of the Cedar Grove church. The Cedar Grove church family recognized that God had just opened the door to a new frontier of ministry, reaching the families of the inmates of the Caddo Parish Detention Center where Taylor teaches the inmates every Tuesday. As a result, the church voted to launch Operation Break the Cycle: Inmates’ Family Ministries (BTC:IFM). This new and innovative ministry will provide CREATION Life summer camps for children of inmates, CREATION Life after-school programs, tutoring, mentoring, adopt-a-family programs, inmate spouse’s club, group therapy for spouses of inmates and more. The Cedar Grove church will also be looking to partner with local stakeholders. Carlton

P. Byrd, D.Min., Southwest Region Conference president, has been coaching Taylor and we thank him. Taylor and Commander Ricky Farris met to discuss Operation BTC:IFM. The project was approved to be launched in Unit D of the jail. On July 4, Taylor led a team to launch the program. The team, composed of Kamala Glenn-Taylor, LMFT, Roosevelt Bell, church elder and youth team leader Orlando Bates, spent three hours with the inmates playing, eating and praying. As they wrapped up, an inmate interrupted the closing remarks to thank them for coming and expressed that, “For the last hour I did not feel as though I was locked up.” Over 20 men have signed up to be a part of BTC:IFM. By Winston Taylor

Southwest Region Conference News

Big Things in El Paso EL PASO, TEX. – The Southwest Region Conference, in collaboration with the Southwestern Union, identified the city of El Paso, Tex. as one of two cities in our union territory where public evangelism would be emphasized in 2023. Although El Paso has a metropolitan area population of nearly one million residents, the collective, active Southwest Region Conference membership in this city with one English church and two Spanish churches numbered less than 125 people. Nevertheless, the Southwest Region Conference leadership, along with the local leadership of these three churches, believed that though small in membership, we serve a big God and He was going to do big things! The month of October 2023 was designated as the time to publicly evan-

gelize El Paso with Southwest Region Conference President Carlton P. Byrd, D.Min.; Southwestern Union Vice President Osvaldo Rigacci and Southwest Region Conference Vice President for Multicultural Ministry Vanston Archbold, serving as evangelists for the English and Spanish revivals respectively. The Good News English Revival was hosted by the Smyrna Seventh-day Adventist Church at the Starlight Event Center in El Paso with local pastor, Meshach Mauia, and the entire active membership of 20 individuals working tirelessly to share the gospel of Jesus Christ! With Byrd serving as the revival preacher, 14 individuals were baptized, which was an increase of 70 percent of the active membership! Praise the Lord! Spanish Revivals were held at El Paso

East and West Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Churches with district host pastor, Eliadis Fermin, supported by members in both churches. Rigacci preached at the El Paso East church, and Archbold preached at the El Paso West church. At the conclusion of these two Spanish revivals, an additional 13 individuals were baptized! To God be the glory! A big city with small churches resulted in 27 baptisms to the glory of God attesting to the fact that God can do big things with small churches! What happened in El Paso in October can be summed up in the familiar phrase, “Little becomes much when you place it in the Master’s hand!” By Calvin Runji



Southwest Region Conference News



Texas Conference

Victory Over Evil The Seventh-day Adventist Church is rooted in the belief of the Great Controversy, a cosmic conflict between Christ and Satan, good and evil, truth and deception. This belief is not merely a theological concept but a reality that impacts our daily lives. It is a narrative that provides a framework for understanding the world’s chaos and suffering, and it offers hope and assurance of God’s ultimate victory over evil. During this controversy, we are not left alone. Christ, in His infinite love and mercy, sent the Holy Spirit and loyal angels to guide, protect and sustain us in the path of salvation. This divine assistance is a core Adventist belief that profoundly affects our lives today. The Holy Spirit, often called the Comforter, is our constant companion. He guides us to truth, convicts us of sin, and empowers us to live Christlike lives. As we yield to the Spirit’s leading, we experience transformation and growth in our spiritual lives. This growth is not just personal, it impacts those around us. As we use our spiritual gifts, we become instruments of God’s love and grace, spreading His message of salvation and hope. The loyal angels have a significant role in the redemption plan. They protect us from harm and wage war against the forces of evil on our behalf. Know-

ing these heavenly beings surround us brings comfort and courage, especially during trials and temptations. They are a constant reminder of God’s love and His promise never to leave or forsake us. The Great Controversy also shapes our worldview and influences our decisions. As Seventh-day Adventists, we are called to live in the world but not be of the world. This means that while we engage with society, our values and principles are guided by God’s Word, not worldly standards. We strive to live lives of integrity, compassion and love, reflecting Christ’s character in our interactions with others. Moreover, the Great Controversy instills a sense of purpose and mission in us. We are not mere spectators in this cosmic conflict but active participants. We are called to share the everlasting gospel, to reveal God’s character of love, and to prepare the world for Christ’s second coming. This mission gives our lives meaning and direction, inspiring us to serve others and positively impact our communities. Knowing that this story, and our story, will end with redemption and reunification strengthens our faith. It assures us that our struggles are temporary and that our ultimate destiny is to live eternally with our Creator. This hope moti-

vates us to persevere in our faith journey, to cling to God’s promises, and to live a life of faithfulness and devotion. It encourages us to be steadfast in our commitment to God despite adversity and challenges. In conclusion, believing in the Great Controversy is not just a theological concept for Seventh-day Adventists. It is a reality that shapes worldviews, influences lifestyles and defines mission. It is a narrative that provides hope, purpose and direction. Most importantly, it is a story that assures us of God’s unfailing love and His ultimate victory over evil. By Elton DeMoraes, D.Min. President



Texas Conference News

enTrusted and Rejuvenated CLIFTON, TEX. – Local church stewardship and treasury leaders enjoyed enTrusted, a weekend retreat and training at Lake Whitney Ranch in Clifton, Tex. Leaders had two options: Oct. 20-22, 2023 in English or Oct. 27-29, 2023 in Spanish. “I believe our conference is leading the way, creating the first retreat for treasurers and stewardship leaders,” said Dileanny Jimenez, Texas Conference associate treasurer who oversees our conference church audits. “God works in marvelous ways—enTrusted went from a dream to a realization— to Him be the glory. Our local church treasurers are dedicated volunteers entrusted with God’s finances. It’s nice to have this time to affirm their work and discuss their challenges.” Coordinated between Texas Conference Treasury and Texas Conference Planned Giving and Trust Services/ Stewardship, the local church stewardship leaders were also acknowledged for their service. “In Bible times, a steward was a respected person of high integrity entrusted with his master’s possessions,” Lynette Ecord, Texas Conference Planned Giving and Trust Services/ Stewardship director, stated. “It’s about recognizing that God owns all,

and we are His managers, responsible for using His possessions to honor and please Him. Whether that is through our time, money, talents or resources.” “Our keynote speaker, Texas Conference Executive Secretary David Montoya, reminded us of this responsibility,” Texas Conference Treasurer Randy Terry added. “The weekend emphasized the importance of working together to be God’s enTrusted representatives. I want to thank our local church leaders and conference team who work tirelessly to safeguard God’s money.” The evaluation survey results were positive, with 99% of the survey recipients indicating they would attend

Balloon Animals Connect Community ATLANTA, TEX. – Atlanta Seventh-day Adventist Church members joined over 40 vendors during the Atlanta Area Chamber of Commerce Annual “Moonlight Madness” event on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. Church members, in matching Atlanta church t-shirts, offered event visitors free books and literature generously donated by Brenda Litchfield, Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist Church literature ministries and fair coordinator leader. The items were placed in plastic



bags with the Atlanta church and Facebook names. For the first time, I started offering balloon creations. My wife, Kathy, would draw a face on the balloon animals and hand them to the young people with a kid’s bag. We were honored when the local Atlanta newspaper featured us as one of the vendors, along with a photo they took of me making balloon animals. By David Farmer

another stewardship and treasurer retreat and training. “Attendees were helpful with their survey suggestions,” Jimenez added. “They let us know what they liked about the weekend and what would improve it, including topics they would like to see covered in the future.” The next local church stewardship and treasurer spiritual weekend is scheduled in Houston for Sept. 20-22, 2024. Email Treasury@txsda.org to ensure you are on the list for updates. By Tamara Michalenko Terry Associate Director for Communication and Public Relations Photo by Jorge Velez

Texas Conference News

Texas Conference App Wins Award DOWNLOAD

THE TEXAS CONFERENCE APP! Connect with your Texas Conference family to share prayer requests and watch live broadcasts! Search ‘TXSDA’ in the app store!

Scan to Download


ALVARADO, TEX. – The Texas Conference (TXSDA) mobile app was awarded Honorable Mention for Interactive Design at the 34th annual Society of Adventist Communicators’ Convention in Springfield, Mass., this past October. “We are always striving to find different ways to communicate events, inspirational stories, trainings and live broadcasts,” shared Kenn Dixon, Texas Conference vice president for Communication and Public Relations and project manager for the app. This free app, available for Apple

and Android devices, provides easy access to events, departments, ministries and more. Simply search “TXSDA” in the App or Play Store to download the app on your favorite mobile devices. Once there, you can share your prayer requests under Prayer Ministries and share the app with others. We look forward to connecting with you. By Tamara Michalenko Terry Associate Director for Communication and Public Relations

around the ranch. “Community service not only builds character but also cultivates a sense of responsibility and empathy,” shared Todd Coulter, KAES principal. “Serving at Lake Whitney Ranch is great because kids will be able to continue to see the impact of their service each year they return to [the ranch].” It won’t just be on service days or

during summer camp season that the middle schoolers will think of LWR. This year, the offerings collected during Friday chapel programs will go towards a special project at Lake Whitney Ranch, helping LWR be a light in the heart of Texas! By Travis Patterson Pastor

KAES Goes to Camp CLIFTON, TEX. – Keene Adventist Elementary School (KAES) sixth and seventh-grade students boarded a bus for Lake Whitney Ranch (LWR) in Clifton, Tex., this past fall. Leaving their swimsuits and sunglasses at home, they opted for work gloves and safety goggles. Embracing this year’s KAES spiritual theme of service, they were headed to LWR to volunteer their time for projects



Texas Conference News

Creating Space to Tell Your Story

PHOENIX, ARIZ. – As members of the Adventist Education Technology (AETech) team, we were honored to host a booth in the Phoenix Convention Center Exhibit Hall at the 2023 North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) Educators’ Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. The team set out to cast a vision for schools to better understand how they can connect with their communities by creating and sharing rich media and unique content. Equipment from Richmond Academy in Richmond, Va., and Burton Adventist

Academy in Arlington, Tex., was used to create a podcast studio and “show and tell” style booth where educators from across the NAD were able to try out various gear, learn about workflow and cost and walk away with a plan for how they might improve their school’s ability to create shareable media content to better tell their story. Over the course of three days, hundreds of educators stopped by the booth to begin formulating their plans, including many educators from the Texas Conference. Schools were able to create a promo video with the neighboring Adventist Learning Community (ALC) mobile podcast studio and the ALC support team. Whether through “catching the vision” or creating school promo videos, visitors walked away enriched from the experience and better equipped to share the good news of Adventist Education with their communities. In addition to the primary AETech booth, a partnership with ALC allowed

the team to plan and record an entire podcast season of 12 episodes during the convention. A stellar group of educators and leaders from across the NAD served as guests and hosts for the podcast, which aims to deliver key messaging and content for current and prospective parents of Adventist schools. Levi Whitcomb, Texas Conference associate superintendent, served as one of the featured hosts for the podcast. Podcast topics focused on mental health, spiritual development, math, reading and various others, each selected to better equip and inform parents while deepening the message and sharing the uniqueness of Adventist Education. Look for this podcast season shared across the NAD to help schools bring quality, unique content to their communities. By Aaron Long

Conroe Church’s Intentional Community Connections CONROE, TEX. – The Holy Spirit is delivering amazing results for the Lord in Conroe, Tex. Since Damon Snead began as pastor of the Conroe Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2019, membership has steadily increased. As of Aug. 23, 2023, there have been 46 baptisms, 17 re-baptisms and 29 professions of faith in the past four years. My husband, Rod, and I were baptized on Jan. 7, 2023. This was not an easy road for us as there were many challenges. We can’t ignore the many signs in the world around us: the decline of moral standards, a growing lack of kindness and an increase in wars and rumors of wars. The three angel’s message is shining bright as to what is ahead. As we intentionally connect with our community, Conroe church members



hosted a Free Back to School Health Fair on Sunday, July 16, 2023, led by Mary Snead and Gloria Belew. The fair provided free services for almost 200 community members. This included 45 vision consultations, 30 dental screenings, 31 medical consultations and 33 massages, a foot soak booth, an herbalist, local retailers and volunteers providing information on healthy food choices, exercise tips and many delicious samples. The Adventurer and Pathfinder booths had 24 family interests. The Conroe church Community Care team collected and distributed 160 packs of clothing, winter coats, 113 backpacks filled with school supplies and dozens of children’s shoes. Sept. 8 to Oct. 7, 2023, a Final Countdown – Revelation and Current Events

seminar was presented by Damon Snead. Recorded on the church’s YouTube channel, it averaged 430 views a night and is still available for viewing at YouTube.com/@ConroeSDAChurch. We want to stay close to the Lord, the core beliefs of our church and remember how the book ends. Spoiler: God Wins, and so will the remnant. By Christy Anderson

Texas Conference News

Pastor Performs Two Family Weddings 40 Years Apart

KEENE, TEX. – Growing up with or around different pastors, Kristen Parrish in Texas and Derek Veland in Tennessee and Indiana, made it hard to determine who would officiate their Oct. 16, 2022, wedding. When our future son-in-law was looking through our wedding scrapbook, pictures and video, Veland asked if

Benjie Leach, who married us, was still in the area. When we confirmed he was, he asked, “Do you think he still does weddings?” The rest, as they say, is history. After meeting and having premarital counseling, Leach married them in the same town, in the same chapel of the same church, with the same pianist/organist,

Lynn Bedford, as us forty years later. We are thankful God blessed us by bringing Veland into our daughter’s life, and we feel blessed to have Benjie and Sharon Leach as friends who were able to be part of this historic occasion. By Bernie and Carolyn Parrish

Following God’s Lead in Food Ministry AUSTIN – When God led me with my wife to leave my leadership position with my former Sunday church in 2015, I lost fellowship, hundreds of friends and even some close family for a time. In those early days of our transition, the Lord connected us with a local food ministry. These were Sunday Christians, but they served the needy on Saturday, so it was a good fit for us, schedule-wise. I got a taste of how easy it can be to make a difference with many people on a regular basis. I also saw how it met the needs of those who serve as an outlet for the love and truth that has been imparted to us over the years. It is so rewarding to give someone that “cup of cold water” or “something to eat” that Jesus talks about. Eight years later, as members of the Austin Stonehill Seventh-day Adventist Church, we serve more than 200 tacos and distribute clothing, hygiene items, glow tracts and copies of The Great Controversy to the homeless in Austin at the “Church Under the Bridge.” It is located at I-35 and 7th Street in down-

town Austin, across from the police station. Area churches have been serving the homeless there for 30 years. We often play worship music to block the noise from the interstate. If we forget to turn the music on, the homeless remind us! One of my favorite things about this

ministry is seeing all the area churches serving together. That, and the kids. Kids seem to get a taste for this and bring their parents back. This ministry means a lot to the homeless. They appreciate knowing someone cares for them. By Lynn Derrick



Texico Conference

Hallelujah, We’re Going Home “This is the story of the Great Controversy, this is the story we read. It’s in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, this is the Story!” Those are the opening words of a moving musical overview of our lives. The 13 songs in this cantata cover the creation of mankind, the fall of Adam and Eve, and the struggle between Good and Evil. These songs tell of Jesus' birth and earthly ministry, death and resurrection, the mission of the disciples, and also our dark days of challenge as our world seems to be coming to an end. After a stirring trumpet fanfare, the final song begins with these exciting and celebratory words: “Then I look up and see, the One Who gave His life to me, coming to take me to my home over there. Hallelujah, we’re going home, no more on this earth will we ever roam, we’re going to live up in Heaven, gonna live with Jesus there!” After a life-changing week of prayer at Dallas Junior Academy in the early 1970s, a teenager named Steve Borth composed this powerful musical presentation of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan. For several years, along with seven other young adults, I had the privilege of presenting this cantata to more than 500 audiences across the country. Every night we



saw God's Spirit move people through these musical messages. They were drawn to experience this testimony of how God has provided, for all who believe, the ultimate fulfillment of His promise to always be with us, until we can ultimately be with Him. Through the many times that I sang these powerful songs, I came to understand that the Great Controversy is really not just about a book, or even a musical cantata. It is about the spiritual journey of each individual and the struggle between good and evil. The Great Controversy began as a war in Heaven, and we understand that it is actually about two completely opposite characters, Jesus Christ and Satan. On one side is Jesus, our creator and redeemer, who is the ultimate expression of unconditional love. On the other side is Satan, that great deceiver known as the Devil, who is the greatest example of selfishness to ever exist. As we look around our world today, it is clear that this war is raging on every front. Whether it be the blood that is being spilled in physical battles or the toll that the weight of our personal struggle is taking on our physical, spiritual, emotional or relational health. The good news is that this war has already been won! It happened that day on the Cross of Calvary when unselfish love

voluntarily laid down His life as the ultimate sacrifice to purchase our freedom from the ravages of the one “roams around looking to devour us.” The continuing relevance of this great conflict is that each of us is on one side or the other, we get to choose. And as we consider the gravity of such a decision, may we be inspired anew to align our lives with the One who not only said ‘It is finished’ but will one day soon say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” Because of Jesus’ victory in this battle, we can respond, “Hallelujah, we’re going Home!” May that day come very soon, indeed! By Phil Robertson Executive Secretary/Treasurer

Texico Conference News

Sandia View Academy’s New Soccer Field and Facilities CORRALES, N.M. – In 2019, ambitious plans took shape, and a dedicated group of donors joined the Texico Conference to transform the dream of a new soccer field at Sandia View Academy (SVA) into a tangible reality. The unforeseen challenges posed by the pandemic briefly put these aspirations on hold. However, the Texico Conference is thrilled to announce that construction of the new field, including a complete grass installation on other parts of the campus, is now finished, and its impact is already being felt. “The new soccer field, situated on the northern end of SVA’s campus, is more than just a playing surface,” said Phil Robertson, Texico Conference executive secretary/treasurer. “It represents the fulfillment of a much anticipated and meaningful goal.” The field features natural turf and serves as the home pitch for the Sandia View Knights soccer team. It provides a versatile space for a wide array of physical education activities, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for the entire school community. The field is a key element of a broader master plan, laying the foundation for a new academy facility when funding becomes available and student enrollment necessitates expanded educational support areas. On Oct. 2, 2023, the Sandia View Knights soccer team kicked off their season inaugurating the new field with an exciting game. The occasion was marked with joy and anticipation as students, staff and parents gathered to witness the first match played on the new field. The field has not only become the home ground for the Sandia View Knights but also served as the host for all Albuquerque Charter School League soccer games in 2023. “This development has significantly enhanced the academy’s status within the league and provided a great venue for local teams to compete,” said Robertson.

One of the most striking features of the new field is its breathtaking backdrop, offering a view of the majestic Sandia Mountains. The stunning natural scenery provides a unique and picturesque setting for sporting events, making it more than just a field, but an experience in itself. Sandia View Academy, along with area churches and schools are overjoyed with the new soccer field and the opportunities it offers to students and

the wider community. It is a symbol of unity, pride and excellence, it truly is a dream come true. The school looks forward to a future filled with exciting games, sporting achievements and memorable moments. By Debbie Marquez Communication Director



Texico Conference News

“Free Indeed” Texico Women Retreat Brings Healing

ALBUQUERQUE ­– More than 200 women from various parts of the Texico Conference came together in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, 2023 for the Texico Conference’s “Free Indeed” Women’s Retreat featuring general sessions, seminars and a communion service, along with a full Spanish program, a special program for teenagers and an engaging community outreach initiative. During the general sessions, forgiveness was explored as a means to achieving freedom. The guest speakers spoke passionately about this topic, emphasizing forgiveness's transformative power. Crystal E. Ward, executive pastor of the Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Md., was one of two keynote speakers for the English program alongside Melissa DePaiva-Gibson. Kathy Clifford, Texico Conference Children’s Ministries director and Rocio Rojas-McFadin, director of Sticky Mess Ministries, jointly led the teen segment of the retreat. “We discussed being uniquely perfect and the girls hammered butterflies to a cross to show how they can be free by giving their stress and worries to Jesus. The sound of the hammers brought tears to the girls’ eyes,” said Clifford.



On the final day of the retreat, after leading a solemn communion service, Ward expressed that the weekend had undeniably been a blessed experience. “Seeing the breakthrough in some of the women that were here, I know that God was in the midst, His Spirit was present. I, myself, have felt that freedom, and that release,” said Ward. “I pray that as these women go forward, they will feel free because who the Son has set free is truly free indeed.” Spanish keynote speakers Sandy Reyes, a former educator and conference Women’s Ministries director, and Noemí D. García, a licensed mental health professional, were thrilled with the response of the women who attended the meetings. “Women are becoming more open to being able to share and express what is really in their hearts and I have seen that this weekend,” said García. “My desire for them is that they can walk away knowing that there is a Father in heaven Who loves them no matter what they are going through.” A significant highlight of the retreat occurred on Sabbath evening when the film “Return to Palau: A Journey of Healing and Restoration” was screened. This film recounts DePaiva-Gibson’s path toward forgiveness after the mur-

der of her family, and throughout the retreat, she shared her testimony. She emphasized that, despite experiencing the horrific circumstances of a violent crime and witnessing the murder of her family, she found the strength, as the sole survivor, to forgive the perpetrator through God’s grace. “I am really grateful for another opportunity to share my testimony and what God has done in my life through forgiveness,” said DePaiva-Gibson. “I have shared it many times, but I feel like everywhere I go, it is lived out differently and people’s responses make that different for me because they share their own experience. We are vessels that God uses to give forgiveness to others, and it is really a privilege to be able to forgive somebody the way God has forgiven us.” A special blessing was experienced through the community outreach project which saw several participants deliver warm blankets and socks to a nursing home facility on Sabbath afternoon. The women of Texico are eagerly anticipating the next retreat, where they can further cultivate connection, experience spiritual growth and strengthen their relationships with Jesus. By Debbie Marquez Communication Director

Texico Conference News

“Believe” Texico Adventurer Family Camp 2023

CORRALES, N.M. – Last fall, the Texico Conference held our Adventurer Family Camp, themed, “Believe.” The Club Ministries department was intentional about crafting a schedule and program that not only engaged the campers but also resonated with them at their current life stage. We were also dedicated

to ensuring that our mission and message reached the parents. Ramsey Asenjo, pastor of Avon Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Avon Park, Fla., served as the speaker, and he did a great job of bringing the life of Jehosephat into the hearts and minds of the Adventurers. He illustrated how God utilized an ordinary individual to accomplish big things, regardless of whether he felt ready, talented, wise or adequate. The young people at the camp learned that they, too, must believe that they are the individuals God needs in His army. Asenjo also emphasized that parents play a pivotal role in the battle that Satan is waging against their children. We are all called to believe! To have faith that God will use us to impact someone’s life if we are simply willing to be used. We don’t always have to know the precise moment, be fully prepared or strive hard at all times. When God moves within us, we must be willing to believe, and He takes care of the rest.

We are thankful for all the Adventurers, parents and staff members who made the weekend a great blessing and a successful experience. Numerous volunteers taught awards such as magnets, leaves, stories and so much more. Texico is immensely grateful for the substantial growth it has witnessed in club ministries. In 2022, there were seven Adventurer clubs, and in 2023, there were 23 registered clubs. This growth is attributed to the outstanding leadership, supportive parents and dedicated churches - a responsibility many of them willingly accept. Texico remains eternally thankful to Asenjo, the Sandia View Academy students who led worship and the area coordinators for not just taking action but for believing in the Texico Adventurers Club ministry! By Eric Chavez Youth, Young Adults and Club Ministries Director

Clovis Celebrates a Year of Fellowship, Fun and Unity CLOVIS, N.M. – In the spirit of unity and community, the Clovis Seventh-day Adventist Church had an exciting 2023, marked by fellowship and fun activities that brought their congregation closer. The revival of their church choir, which includes both Spanish and English-speaking members, was one of their highlights. Each song performed by the choir includes lyrics in both languages. This creates a beautiful blend that ensures the participation of every member. This group has performed four enchanting songs since its debut in July. The choir enjoys harmonizing their voices in praise to the Lord. Their involvement in shared activities did not end there. It was discovered that the church family shared a passion for sports. In August, they orga-

nized an engaging Soccer Tournament with a neighboring church, Waypoint Christian Church. It was an exhilarating match that kept members on their toes and tested their stamina. Waypoint church emerged as victors, displaying a trophy adorned with both church emblems and demonstrating a great spirit of Christ-like sportsmanship. Undaunted by their initial defeat, the

Clovis church challenged Waypoint church again in September, but in a volleyball tournament. This time, the Clovis church secured the victory, and it was a delightful moment of celebration for the congregation. With a future tiebreaker on the horizon, the excitement continues. In essence, this year has been a time of gratitude and unity. The Clovis church cherished the opportunity to fellowship with their brothers and sisters in Christ, whether on the field or in the choir loft. As they look back on these memorable moments, the church is reminded that faith and fellowship truly strengthen the bond that they feel as a congregation. By LeAndra McGrath and Genique Elliott JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2024


Texico Conference News

Texico Pathfinder Camporee 2023 – Believe, Trust, Go! CANYON, TEX. – The day was set, reservations were made and Pathfinders were excited! Pathfinder Camporee 2023 in Palo Duro Canyon State Park came and went as quickly as any other wellplanned event with approximately 270 attendees. Our clubs have experienced significant growth over the past year, and we are deeply grateful to our dedicated leaders who stepped up to take on the challenging role of club leadership. We are immensely thankful for our growth, and even more so for our leaders who believe that their young people are worth every effort. At Palo Duro Canyon, 11 of our 25 clubs were present. Many attendees had never heard of Palo Duro Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the USA, but they left with a sense of awe. The weekend was scorching, with the Sabbath afternoon ground temperature



reaching a staggering 133 degrees. The park temporarily closed hiking and requested everyone to stay in the shade and keep cool. We gladly complied and enjoyed completing honors out of the sun. Master Guides from Amarillo, Lubbock and San Angelo led various honors such as wood carving, cats, animal tracking, cactus studies and many more. Our Pathfinders also managed to complete a 6.5-mile hike to the famous Lighthouse Formation deep in the canyon. It was a breathtaking sight to witness nearly several hundred Pathfinders hiking together. There were heartwarming stories of Pathfinders helping weary hikers who were unprepared for the hike, offering water, cold rags and liquid hydration blocks to those who were overheated and exhausted. It was a testament to the spirit

of service among our young people, without any adult prompting. The weekend was made even more special by the presence of Raul Alvarez, who shared his personal testimony of escaping Cuba and finding his place in Texas, where the Lord had plans for him even before he knew it. Alvarez called upon young people to believe, trust and know that God is with them. He did not disappoint in allowing the Lord to speak through him. We are immensely blessed and excited about the growth of Texico Club Ministries, and we look forward to what the Lord will continue to do. At the core of our success are leaders and young people who seek to know Jesus more deeply. By Eric Chavez Youth, Young Adults and Club Ministries Director

AdventHealth News

Emotional and Spiritual Care for All BURLESON, TEX. – In the bustling world of health care, where the well-being of patients is of utmost importance, it is often easy to overlook the needs of the dedicated caregivers working behind the scenes. At Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South, whole-person care is the goal for every person we serve, as well as for every caregiver. That means ensuring everyone is cared for physically, mentally and spiritually. Team members like Bonnie Hawkins-Jordan, a clinical mission integration (CMI) specialist at Texas Health Huguley, ensure caregivers receive the same compassionate care they provide their patients. “Because of my love for people and the Lord Jesus Christ who said, go ye into all the world, I felt called to add pastoral care and chaplaincy to my career path when I was working as a speech-language pathologist restoring capabilities of speaking, swallowing and cognitive abilities to people affected by loss,” said Hawkins-Jordan. “While working in this capacity, I saw a greater need for them to be ministered to emotionally and spiritually.” Visiting various offices and health care providers throughout the hospital, Hawkins-Jordan spends her days making sure everyone feels mentally and spiritually healthy by praying with them and offering guidance with devotionals. In addition to rounding at the hospital, Hawkins-Jordan visits 35 outpatient clinics every week, traveling nearly 90 miles roundtrip. “When I go from the hospital to my other off-site clinics, I’m able to bring them joy and encouragement just as I do with those that are based at the hospital,” she said. Health care professionals face unique challenges in their daily roles. The demanding nature of their work can sometimes lead to burnout, stress and emotional exhaustion. By providing spiritual guidance, team members like Hawkins-Jordan play a critical role in ensuring the well-being of the hospital’s caregivers.

Many team members have expressed gratitude for Bonnie, saying she helps them through hard times. “To have somebody come every week to check on me and pray for me and the practice has a huge impact – and I love it,” said one physician. Others have shared that when they were anxious or depressed, she lifted their spirits with her devotionals. Having CMI specialists fully dedicated to uplifting their fellow clinical staff makes all the difference. “When ministering to the staff and providing hope and encouragement, CMI specialists not only touch the lives of those in front of us but our influence can be compared to a ripple effect that expands beyond our initial contact into their families, friends, communities and beyond,” said Hawkins-Jordan. Her story reflects the kind of personalized care that takes place at Tex-

as Health Huguley. By ensuring the caregivers are well taken care of, CMI specialists can continue to successfully further the mission of “Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ” to the communities they serve. By Jasmine Zamora-Garcia Texas Health Huguley Hospital Communications Specialist



Southwestern Adventist University News

University Gala Raises Record Funds

FORT WORTH, TEX. – On Sept. 25, 2023, more than 200 guests, friends and supporters of the university, members of the SWAU Board of Trustees, emeriti faculty, as well as current students and faculty, attended this annual scholarship gala. The evening included a live auction at Van Cliburn Recital Hall in Fort Worth, Tex., that raised $26,750. As part of the event, Bienvenido President Abraham Enriquez presented a surprise $10,000 monetary gift from their education fund to increase the representation of Hispanics in policy and politics. His introduction was made by SWAU alumna and Board of Trustees member Liliana Gil Valletta. Total fundraising proceeds for student scholarships hit this year’s goal of $130,000 in honor of the institution’s 130th anniversary, breaking the record for funds raised at this event. An etched-glass plaque created in the university's new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center was the foundation for elaborate centerpieces in the elegant dining hall. Music was provided throughout the evening by the university’s world-renowned Department of Music. As guests dined, a well-crafted video blending vintage and modern footage provided a visual memory lane. The program was hosted by Stephan Gray, Ed.D., who received a bachelor's



degree in education in '85, a master's degree in education in '93, and a doctorate in education in '09. In his opening remarks, he told how God led him to SWAU rather than Westpoint, The US Military Academy in Westpoint, New York. His encounter with Christ at SWAU changed his life and paved the way for his brother to attend SWAU as well. SWAU Board of Trustees Chairman Carlos Craig, who is also president of the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, welcomed the group and offered prayer, asking God for His continued blessings on the university. Afterward, Tony Reyes, SWAU vice president for Advancement, recognized the sponsors of the event and expressed the university’s heartfelt thanks to each one. Next was Ana Patterson, who was once a student, then a professor, and is now president of the university. She focused the audience on the reason for the evening’s celebration: “The legacy of 130 years of higher education in Keene, Tex., that supports the mission of Christian higher education,” she announced as guests broke into applause. She arrived on campus from New York City in 1995, having never been to Texas before. “It ended up being a very special experience for me,

and life-changing,” she reminisced. “I never expected to be in this role, but I know what it feels like to be a student, and I know the potential of what my students can do in the future. This is what tonight is about, providing opportunity for the potential in our students to be fulfilled.” Patterson concluded, “We want Southwestern Adventist University to be a place that in another 130 years, we can celebrate that it is still here, unless Christ has come, and we are not on this earth anymore. We want to provide a place that can continue to be a place where students can experience Christ while they are preparing for their future careers, and we pray that they will have a desire to live a life of service for others. If we can continue this mission, there is no way that we will not be successful, because the opportunity lies within the students’ lives that we touch.” To learn about other Legacy events planned for this year or to support SWAU’s current and future students, visit SWAU in Keene, Tex., or visit SWAU.edu. By Michelle Bergmann

Southwestern Adventist University News

A Place to Learn, Think, and Create

KEENE, TEX. – On Oct. 26, 2023, Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) officially opened its new Innovation Studio, a place where faculty, staff and students can learn, think and create. The newly-renovated space is packed with brand-new, industrial-grade machinery, including a 3D printer, laser cutter, embroidery machine, heat laminator, heat press, hat press, dye sublimation printer, vinyl cutter/plotter, large format printer, and CNC router. Jon Turk, Associate Professor of Marketing Management and Analytics at SWAU, is the director of the Innovation Studio. The Department of Business Administration has been working on opening the Innovation Studio since 2021. Funds for acquiring top-notch equipment and renovating Pachero Hall Room 205 for the studio came mostly from grants. Other funds were raised from the sale and donation of heat presses, dye sublimation printers, and extra ink from SWAU Alumni R. Doug Bendall, '81, who will teach a class on how to use the equipment correctly. Within seven weeks, the Innovation Studio was approved, its space was renovated, and all of the machinery was procured and received. “Now we’re working on building up supplies so that they are available for use,” said Turk. Several professors from other disciplines are working on ideas on how to

use the studio for assignments. History students will be able to print three-dimensional maps for study and use. The Biology Department often hosts events featuring the Dinosaur Science Museum and Research Center and looks forward to printing posters in the studio. Communication professors are talking about requiring students to make posters, banners and promo material. The Department of Education is planning for students to create manipulatives, shapes with inlaid shapes for schoolage children to practice their dexterity by matching and lining them up. This is just the beginning of idea generations. “Whatever professors and students can dream up, they can make it here,” challenges Turk. “That’s the idea of what we want to come out of this studio, that in each department the faculty and staff can come up with ideas to spark the students’ creativity.” Turk's background in marketing and consumer behavior prepared him for his new role as Innovation Studio director. Originally a pastor, Turk is now a business professional. Previously, Turk worked as operations manager for a sign company manufacturing and installing signs for major retailers, such as JCPenney, Circle K and WalMart, in Ooltewah, Tenn. There he gained knowledge and experience working with all the machines now in the Inno-

vation Studio except the embroidery machine, making him a perfect pick for overseeing the equipment and its users. “I’m a problem-solver, I like to fix things,” he said.” This whole concept of an Innovation Studio is my playground, my sandbox. I just love all the opportunities it holds.” “Students can actually start a business and do prototyping by utilizing the equipment in this studio,” said Aaron Moses, chair of the Department of Business Administration. The Innovation Center will be used to offer a general education fine arts course by fall 2024. Evening classes for faculty and staff are being scheduled too. Eventually, SWAU would also like to offer the use of the studio to alumni. The Innovation Studio's first official creation was an etched-glass desk lamp bearing SWAU's 130th-anniversary logo, which was used as the foundation of elaborate centerpieces at SWAU’s annual gala, a record-breaking fundraising event. The studio’s next production, 130th-anniversary lamp post flags, will decorate the university’s campus. Plans for a SWAU swag store with merchandise made in the studio are underway. Turk said, “We want this place to be so busy that we need more space. We want every student to say, ‘The Innovation Studio is the place I want to be.’ Any student can come in and design their ideas and bring them to life here, and that is what we want them to do.” For more information, visit SWAU. edu/academics/innovation-entrepreneurship-center. By Michelle Bergmann



Back Pages

Classified Ads EMPLOYMENT Pacific Union College is seeking faculty positions for the 2023-2024 academic year in the areas of History and Music. Major duties include the responsibilities of assessment, planning, development and implementation of classroom experiences and course objectives. We desire those who will be committed to a collaborative working environment, as well as those who possess dedication to furthering the goals of excellence in student success and critical thinking skills. Most importantly, we desire those interested in bringing students closer to Christ by nurturing the whole person and embracing concepts for life-long learning. If you are interested, please contact Human Resources at HR@puc.edu or call 707.965.6231.

Ouachita Hills College in Amity, Ark., is seeking the following: Master Mechanic to prepare students for ASE Certification; Certified Construction Manager; Theology Instructor; Farm Manager; Food Service Supervisor; Administrative Assistant. Contact Dr. Patrice Wright at AcademicDean@ohc.org or 1.870.342.6210.

Andrews University seeks candidates for a full-time, tenure-track Ph.D. biochemistry faculty position for our ACS-approved program, starting July 2024. Duties: mentor undergraduate students to excellence in faithreflective professionalism;



teach biochemistry and chemistry courses and labs; champion undergraduate research; promote an allinclusive, equitable learning environment. For information email: Chemistry@andrews.edu.

Andrews University is seeking qualified Seventh-day Adventists who may fill open roles in fulfilling our mission to Seek Knowledge, Affirm Faith and Change the World. If interested, check out our current openings at Andrews.edu/admres/jobs.

Southern Adventist University School of Nursing seeks a full-time faculty to join a mission-focused team. Teaching responsibilities will be primarily at the undergraduate level. An earned doctorate is preferred. Requisite qualities include current RN adult health or ICU clinical experience, successful teaching experience, interest in research, flexibility and commitment to Adventist nursing education. The candidate must be a member in good and regular standing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. To apply, visit our job board at Sau.catsone.com/careers.

Southern Adventist University seeks a full-time teaching faculty member for the Department of Biology/ Allied Health, beginning fall 2024. Ph.D. in Biology who will teach upper and lower division courses and labs. Candidate should be committed to involvement with undergraduate students in the classroom as well as guiding independent student research projects. Additionally, candidate should be a practicing

Seventh-day Adventist believing the Biblical record of the creation of life on earth in six literal days. For more information, visit Southern.edu/jobs.

Southern Adventist University seeks a full-time Associate Vice President for Academic Administration and Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. Candidate should have a Ph.D. with a minimum of five years of successful full-time graduate teaching experience at the higher education level. Applicant will assume a leadership role in all aspects of graduate education and provide academic, administrative and strategic direction to Graduate Studies, Online Campus and the Adult Degree Completion (ADC) Program. For more information, visit: Southern.edu/jobs.

Southern Adventist University seeks a full-time Engineer teaching faculty member for the School of Engineering and Physics in the areas of mechanical, electrical and computer engineering. The ideal candidate will be proficient in developing and teaching undergraduate engineering courses, including both lecture and laboratory components. Master’s degree in mechanical, electrical or computer engineering or related area required. Doctorate preferred. Prior higher education teaching experience and/or relevant industry experience preferred. For a full job description and desired qualifications, please visit Southern.edu/jobs.

Southern Adventist University seeks a full-time faculty in the area of Counseling for School of Education/Psychology. A doctoral degree in counselor education from a CACREPaccredited program is required. Doctoral degrees in clinical or counseling psychology from APAaccredited program could be considered if applicant has been employed as full-time faculty member in a counselor education program for a minimum of one full academic year before July 1, 2013. For a full job description and desired qualifications, please visit Southern.edu/jobs.

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

Southern Adventist University seeks qualified candidates for the following staff Salaried positions— DHSI Community Outreach Coordinator Academic Administration (REOPENED). For more information visit: Sau.catsone.com/careers.

Back Pages Annabell Ruby Kinder Robison, 91, of Keene Tex., passed away Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Keene. She was born June 27, 1932, in Clovis, N.M., to Wesley Leo and Ruby England Dart Kinder. She was a member of the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church. At the age of 16, while attending the Oklahoma Seventhday Adventist Camp Meeting, she met a young man named Delbert Leroy Robison. Over the next several years, they wrote letters and would see each other once a year at camp meeting. After Delbert returned home from the Korean War, he proposed to Annabell. They were married in Vinita, Okla., on June 21, 1953. Annabell had always wanted to have six children, which is exactly what they had over the next nine years. She then returned to nursing school and graduated with a diploma degree as a registered nurse. She worked at the Okeene and Enid, Okla., hospitals for many years, and while working as an RN during the day, she would also work nights plowing at their farm. She was a hard-working woman who enjoyed gardening, traveling and camping. She was a wonderful cook and baker, especially her cinnamon rolls. As her kids

Harold Lowell Meister, Jr. was born on March 5, 1935, and passed away surrounded by family on Saturday, Aug. 5, in Owasso, Okla. Lowell graduated from Forest Lake Academy in Apopka, Fla., in 1953. He met his wife, Dellene Irene Jordan Meister, while attending Southern Adventist University. In 1956, they were married in Memphis, Tenn., where he attended Southern College of Optometry. He received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees in 1959. Dr. Lowell Meister served as an optometrist in Nowata, Okla., from 1959 - 2014. He was a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma Optometric Association, as well as the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Optometrists. Lowell served as an elder in the Nowata Seventh-day Adventist Church for over 50 years. He served on the Oklahoma Conference Executive Committee for 18 years and the Southwestern Union Executive Committee for 15 years. He was honored to be a delegate to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists multiple times. In

grew up and began having children of their own, Annabell would stay with them to help as the grandchildren were born, and as a bonus would make her special cinnamon rolls for them. After retirement, Annabell and Delbert enjoyed traveling all over the world, and eventually became full-time RVers, which made it easy for them to spend time with each of their children and grandchildren. Annabell loved her family dearly and will be missed by all who knew her. Annabell is survived by her children, Teresa (Desmond) Freeman, Cynthia Larson, Dr. Kelvin Duane (Rhoda) Robison, Diana (Duane) York, Brenda (Anthony) Vargas and Sharon (Dean) Turk; grandchildren, Julie, Pamela, Amanda, Daniel, Melissa, Esther, Amber, Angela, Leslie, Andrew, James, John, Ryan, Michael, Susan, Jason, Justin, Jeremy, Jessica, Christopher and Lauren; multiple great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other relatives. She is preceded in death by her parents, husband (Delbert), siblings, granddaughter Christina and her beloved dog, Tigger.

his later years, he served as the associate Director of visual affairs for the General Conference for 10 years. During the time he was assistant director of visual affairs, he had the opportunity to visit eye clinics in Guam, Saipan and the African countries of Malawi, Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa and Kenya. While at these eye clinics, he acted as an advisor to the eye care professionals who served these clinics. Lowell is survived by his wife of 66 years, Dellene, and his three daughters, Shirlene McClendon and Bill of Vancouver, Wash., Gwendolyn Baker of Owasso and Glenda Sweezey and Ed of Owasso. He had five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His legacy was his family, and he was thrilled that all were followers of Christ.



Back Pages Southern Adventist University seeks qualified candidates for the following staff Hourly positions— Housekeeper-Student Housing; Housekeeping and Maintenance Supervisor; Carpentry Technician; Part-time Cashier-Village Market; S.A.L.T. Outreach Coordinator for School of Religion; Alarm Technician; and Landscape Supervisor. For more information visit: Sau.catsone.com/careers.

Southern Adventist University School of Religion seeks full-time faculty member to begin fall semester of 2024. Must be an active member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in regular standing and should have a Ph.D. (or be near completion) in the New Testament. Positive experience in pastoral ministry and teaching is helpful. Must demonstrate contagious love for Jesus, strong commitment to authority of Scripture and deep passion for Adventist message and mission. Good people skills and ability to engage students in a positive, faith-building manner in the classroom are essential. To apply, visit our job board at Sau.catsone.com/careers.

REAL ESTATE Summit Ridge Retirement Village, an Adventist community in a rural setting, offers affordable homes or apartments and caring neighbors, with a fellowship you will enjoy. On-site church, planned activities and transportation, as needed. On-site Wolfe Living Center offers independent living and nursing homes. Contact Bill



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There is a 45-acre land in Moyers, Okla., 2-3 miles from the country highway 2. This land can be subdivided if bought by a group of buyers who just like to purchase at least five acres each. This was previously a cattle pasture, so the land is fertile for gardening. There is a huge portion of treed area and clean pasture area where you can right away build a home. It also has a big size pond for growing fish. City water access is near the property. For information, please call or text Loida Bofetiado 817.808.5734 or email at LBofetiado@yahoo.com.

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Dr. Neil Duane Mullins, 87, passed away on Oct.15, 2023 in Lowell, Ark. He was born on Aug. 14, 1936 in Clawson, Mich., to the late Clinton B. and Laura (Stanley) Mullins. Dr. Mullins was an amazing Christian man who always put Jesus first, not only with his family and friends, but with his treatment of others. He practiced medicine for over 45 years, starting his practice in Pawpaw, Mich., then Texas, and Bentonville, Ark. After retiring, he opened a clinic in Rogers, Ark., before he finally took down the sign in 2020. He was the pastor of the Rogers Seventh-day Adventist Church for 20 years and continued to serve as an elder for 15 years. He authored four books and went on many mission trips traveling to multiple countries to spread the word of Jesus. Neil was one of the founders of the Rogers church’s soup kitchen. He had a natural talent for playing the trumpet and continued playing until up to three weeks before his passing. He would want to be remembered for his sincere love of Christ and his fellow man. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Harold, Dale, Lowell and June. Neil is survived by his wife of 24 years, Brenda (Alford) Mullins of Lowell; sons, Marcus Mullins (Danita) of Springdale, Ark., Kevin Mullins, Brent Mullins and Devin Mullins (Alisa) all of California; daughter, Dawn Johnston (Jerry) of Pennsylvania; and stepdaughters, Rebecca Herber (Mark) of Colorado and Amelia Mabry (Spence) of Berryville; brothers, Rob Mullins (Joan) and Dennis Mullins (Karen); and his precious 12 grandchildren.

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ADVENTIST TOURS 2024. Israel, March 10-19 with Dr. Andy Nash (optional Jordan & Egypt); British Reformation, June 9-18 with Dr. Greg King; Germany-Austria: Martin Luther to WWII June 18-28; Thailand, June 17-26. From $1,950/person plus airfare.Customized group tours also available. For more information contact

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

Enterprise/Great Plains Academy Alumni Weekend, April 12-13 at Enterprise Seventh-

Back Pages day Adventist Church at Enterprise, Kan. Honor Classes-Graduating Years ending with 4’s and 9’s. For more information email: ea.gpa.alumni@hotmail.com or visit EA-gpa-alumni.com.

OBITUARIES Lawry, Robert “Bob” William, born July 18, 1936, Buffville, Kan.; died Oct. 12, 2023. Preceded in death by his parents, Bennie Eugene and Hazel Myrle Reeve Lawry; wife, Patricia Lawry; daughter, Penny Lee Lawry; brothers, Lloyd Lawry and Delbert Lawry; sister, Opal Vega. Survivors: son, Richard Lawry (Regina) of Mena, Ark.; two daughters, Jeannie (Dewey Amos) of Ashland, Mo. and Carolyn Burnside of Walla Walla, Wash.; seven grandchildren; seven great-

grandchildren; several nieces and nephews.

Stewart, Stephen Randolph, born July 6, 1955, De Queen, Ark.; died July 12, 2023, Little Rock, Ark. Church membership: Beacon Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church. He was a farmer, EMT, a member of the De Queen Fire Department and was Bear Creed Constable for 20 years. Survivors: wife, Brenda Topor Stewart of De Queen; three daughters, Christine (Gary) Hall, Stephanie (Kent) Haarmeyer, Niki (Keke) Stafford of De Queen; son, Justin (Sara) Stewart of De Queen; two sisters, Deborah (Tracy) Smith of De Queen, and Glenda (Mike) Icenhower of Dierks; brother in-law, Joe Lovell of De Queen; a special niece, Dawn (Ricky)

Books that match the beauty of the words and ideas inside.

Robinette and son, Taylor; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Tallant, Beth Ellen, born Nov. 18, 1943, Denver, Colo.; died Sept. 8, 2023, Rogers, Ark. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Drexel (Caraway) McNay; and her husband. Survivors: two sons, Bill Tallant (Suzanne) of Ontario, Canada and Gary Tallant (Pepper) of Broken Arrow, Okla.; two daughters, Sherry Dobbs (Michael) of Lakewood, Colo. and Jeanie Blackley of Reno, Nev.; brother, Keith McNay (Darla) of Dallas, Tex.; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Submissions Back Pages: Submit announcements, milestones, obituaries and address changes to Record@SWUC.org or visit SWURecord.org. Advertising: Cost information and deadlines: Bradley Ecord at BEcord@swuc.org. News and Articles: Send local church or school news, along with high-resolution photos, to your local conference communication department listed on page 2. If you are interested in writing for the Record, email Record@swuc.org.




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