May | June 2022

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Southwestern Union

May | June 2022

Cycling 4 The Pastor

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A Dream Come True

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A Student’s Growth Journey

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Looking for the Light

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A Church that Thrives

Continuous Growth Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work


Continuous Growth

Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work

May | June 2022 Vol. 121, No. 3

Features

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The Cycling Pastor Looking for the Light

Columns

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AdventHealth: A Professional Dream Come True Education: A Student’s Growth Journey Ministries: A Church That Thrives

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

News

Back Pages

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

Colossians 1:10 says, “Live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” To bear fruit and grow in the knowledge of God, we must cultivate the soil of our hearts and minds, and sew seeds of love and commitment. Growth is a process; it is a journey rather than a destination. Along that journey, we may experience highs, lows and growing pains. Philippians 3:13-14 encourages us as we grow, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” How can we stay connected to the Lord and inspired to keep working, growing and bearing fruit? How can we avoid complacency in our own spiritual growth and embrace the idea of continuous growth in the Lord? Be blessed as you read through this issue and may the Lord move you to recognize where He wishes to see you grow.

Kristina P. Busch RECORD MAGAZINE

Tammy G. Prieto tprieto@swuc.org DESIGNER

Rachel A. Ortiz info@rortizdesign.com ADVERTISING

Bradley Ecord becord@swuc.org

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

OKLAHOMA Wes Via, news@okla-adventist.org

Editor’s Note

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ASSISTANT EDITOR/CIRCULATION

ARKANSAS-LOUISIANA Frances Alcorn, news@arklac.org

47 Classified Ads 48 Obituaries

Cover Photo by Record Staff

Kristina P. Busch kbusch@swuc.org

Kristina P. Busch

SOUTHWEST REGION Norman Jones, news@swrgc.org TEXAS Kenn Dixon, news@txsda.org TEXICO Debby Márquez, news@texico.org SOUTHWESTERN ADVENTIST UNIVERSITY Tony Reyes, treyes@swau.edu

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

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


On the Record

Continuously Growing Disciples Jesus left us with the Great Commission in Matthew 28, establishing disciple-making as the primary mission of the church and school. This mission requires an ongoing commitment to building a disciple-making culture in our institutions. But what does such transformation involve? In his book, To Know As We Are Known, Parker Palmer asserts that historically there have been two ways of viewing the world—through the “eye of the mind” or the “eye of the heart.” However, our worldview should not involve an either/or proposition when it comes to mind and heart. What is needed, he says, is “whole-sight,” where mind and heart unite. During the early 20th century, the cultural movement of modernism promoted an objective, rational or “eye of the mind” interpretation of the world. Knowledge determined truth. In the second half of the 20th century, poststructuralism focused on a subjective, relativist or “eye of the heart” interpretation of the world. What an individual thought determined truth. In either case, there was the absence of a grand narrative to provide depth and meaning. A new yearning for meaning and a sense of wholeness emerged in

the 21st century and with it a cultural movement referred to as metamodernism, which focuses on the dynamic relationship between the “eye of the mind” and the “eye of the heart.” In other words, “whole-sight.” For an individual, “whole-sight,” or “total truth,” manifests in the context of knowledge and community, according to Nancy Percy in her book Total Truth. Applied to discipleship, “wholesight” acknowledges God as the Master Designer and His foundation for discipleship—creation, fall, redemption and re-creation. In addition to developing deep and meaningful knowledge of biblical truths, a disciple commits to a dynamic, lifelong process of spiritual growth toward wholeness in Christ and, in turn, disciples others as they commit to the journey. The metaphor of the life of a plant is used to illustrate transformation through discipleship: sowing, cultivating, reaping and repeating. Central to the process is the nurturing of growth; the plant is always in the process of change. Growth as a disciple is a continuous ongoing journey. The time is right for us to accomplish the mission of the Great Commission—growing disciples. The present cultural context, focused on a more

“whole-sight” approach to truth, provides promising opportunities. In her book Deep Calling, Tara VinCross asserts that our institutions must adapt their vision and methodologies to transform the communities they are attempting to reach. This does not mean that we change our mission. Eternal truth is changeless, but how that truth is packaged will vary and change as the culture changes. The continuous process of discipleship— with an emphasis on knowing, loving and serving God through community—will be the thread that connects and unifies our practice. By Carol Campbell Vice President for Education

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Continuous Growth

The

Cycling Pastor

Kenn L. Dixon loves to cycle. He recently finished his sixth cycling tour he personally organized. This tour was over 400 miles from San Antonio to Arlington, in six days. He started these cycling tours in 2015 with a group riding from Dallas to San Antonio, Texas, where the 60th General Conference Session of Seventh-day Adventists was being held. Since then, he has ridden thousands of miles to promote health and raise funds for Adventist Education. “Many think that since I am so passionate about these cycling tours and

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raising funds for Adventist Education that I had a wonderful school experience,” Dixon shared. “Actually, it is quite the opposite.” Having attended several Seventh-day Adventist schools, he was surprised one month into his junior year when he was sent home to think about his actions. “I view it as a disagreement with administration,” Dixon shares about the situation. A school official called his mom shortly afterward asking if he was coming back, but she had already enrolled him in the local public

school. His senior year, he changed to Bass Memorial Academy in Lumberton, Mississippi. That year made quite an impression on him, especially his English teacher, Miss Webb. “She was an amazing teacher,” Dixon remembers, “She was battling cancer but was still willing to pour into us. I was a leader and had my own opinions, always speaking up about something, but she was willing to work with me.” Dixon enrolled at Oakwood University but was not able to finish his degree


Continuous Growth due to finances. He then joined the Marines. “Initially, I was the guy who dropped the missiles in the tubes,” he shares, “then I transferred to security forces, protecting assets involving national security.” He married his wife Catherine, whom he had met at Oakwood, his first year in the Marines. They have three children: Christopher, Kiera and Khari. Dixon earned a theology degree from Washington Adventist University and served as a pastor for many years. He has worked and mentored young people on public university campuses as well as Adventist academies and colleges throughout his career. While working in the Southern New England Conference, Dixon was able to be an education evangelist, preaching about Adventist education to churches throughout the conference. “It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the value of my Adventist education and the sacrifices made on my behalf,” Dixon shares. “At one church, I was amazed at how many came forward wanting to attend the local Seventh-day Adventist high school,” he recalls. “I think it doubled the enrollment.” Continuing his work with young people, Dixon joined the Southwest Region Conference as a youth pastor and during his time there became the communication director for the conference. This is also where the cycling tours began. Struggling with military injuries, Dixon was limited to what he could do for exercise, so he tried cycling following a health scare. With the 2015 General Conference Session coming, someone suggested he organize a cycling tour and Tour de Youth, now referred to as Determined Cycling, began. Dixon transitioned to Oakwood University in 2017 to serve as Director of Integrated Marketing and Public Relations. There, he organized two cycling tour fundraisers for Oakwood University. In the fall of 2019, Dixon started his ministry work at the Texas Conference as Vice President for Communication

& Public Relations. “Kenn is one of the top public relations persons in the North American Division,” Texas Conference President Elton DeMoraes shared. “We are very blessed to have him leading the department. Kenn is a servant leader. One who leads as a way of serving others. When the pandemic hit, through his knowledge and skills, we quickly connected with our staff, members, churches and schools using media and technology. His passion and dedication are contagious, and it is a joy to work with him.” In the two and half years he has worked at the Texas Conference so far, he has transformed the office worship area into a studio that broadcasts all over the world. He organized two cycling tours, raising more than $150,000 for a Texas Conference Adventist Education Endowment. The eventual $1.5

million fund will provide scholarships for those wanting a Christian education at a Texas Conference school but need additional financial assistance. It is interesting to see how God has led his journey. Even though it has been a winding road, each step along the way has given him the knowledge and experience to thrive in what he does today. When asked how he would like to be remembered, Dixon shared, “That I love people. That I love the gospel. That I love Jesus. And I love cycling for Adventist Education.” By Tamara Michalenko Terry. Terry is the associate director for the Texas Conference Communication & Public Relations Department

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AdventHealth

A Professional Dream Come True By AdventHealth Stakeholder Communications Gladys Franck, a registered nurse (RN) in the surgical department for AdventHealth Celebration Hospital in Florida, is living proof that education can unlock opportunities and create a ripple effect that can transform lives. After immigrating to the United States from Haiti, Franck had to start her career over and build a new life for herself and her two children. With a dream to work in health care, she began her career at AdventHealth through an education assistance program that allowed her to work while also receiving free training to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). As her thirst for knowledge continued and with her dream to become a nurse in view, Franck then pursued her associate degree in nursing. Now, she is living her dream as an RN. Her struggle as a Haitian immigrant, she says, inspires how she cares for her own patients. “I’ve struggled. I know what struggle is. I’ve suffered. I know what suffering is. When somebody says they’re in pain, I know what that’s like,” she said. “My struggle is what inspires me to care for others and to try to understand how they feel by putting myself in their shoes. That empathy guides

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me to exactly how I should respond to their need.” Thanks to AdventHealth’s education assistance offerings, Franck’s tuition throughout her journey was completely paid for by the organization, leaving her with no student debt. “Removing the burden of paying for school is a big relief,” she said. “I know people who are in student debt and have to pay back the loans they took for school, but I don’t owe a penny because of AdventHealth.” After more than 14 years with the organization, Franck intends to continue growing her career at AdventHealth. She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN). “I’m not giving up. I plan to go to school until I cannot read anymore. I love school and learning how to better help people,” she said. In addition to providing tuition reimbursement and debt-free educational

assistance, AdventHealth also offers its team members student loan coaching, repayment support for existing loans and many other resources to grow their career within the organization. “I constantly want to learn. When I came to AdventHealth and worked as a CNA, I told myself, ‘Why not be a nurse?’ I knew I could do it and that was my determination,” she said. “I want to better my life through every opportunity I can find.” Franck is an RN in the surgical department at AdventHealth Celebration, which has received Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. AdventHealth operates four campuses in Texas including AdventHealth Central Texas in Killeen, AdventHealth Rollins Brook in Lampasas, Texas Health Huguley in Burleson and Texas Health Mansfield in Mansfield.


Education

The Core of a Student’s Growth Journey By Jazzmine Bankston, Teaching Vice Principal at Scenic Hills Christian Academy

WILL CARRY IT ON TO UNTIL THE D AY O F

PHILIPPIANS 1:6 It was the beginning of the period, the launch of the third quarter, and the start of a new year. One by one, students made their way to their seats, eagerly waiting for class to begin. I asked my students to define “New Year’s Resolutions.” There was a consensus that they saw them as external goals set to achieve, to do or not do, for self-improvement. A proud moment occurred when they arrived at the insight that goals fixated on externalities will never address the core internal roots that need our attention in order to grow into the best version of ourselves. Real transformational change occurs from the inside out, and it involves shifting one’s focus from what one wants or does not want to do to who one wants to become. At the end of our discussion, I led my students into an experiential and practical activity that involved sitting in the presence of God with Philippians 1:6 as their focus verse and creating a 2022 written vision script for their lives. Male students were asking themselves:

Who is the man of God that I want to become by the end of year? Female students applied similar questions: Who is the woman of God that He sees in me, and how do I get there? Emulating God’s ability to see the barren world in which we live and cast vision into the empty space to create a life-giving space, students casted vision into their own lives—vision that would be unique to each individual and clarified with purposeful meaning and direction. At the heart of Journey of Discipleship, a discipleship and mentorship program that I had the privilege of launching three years ago at Scenic Hills Christian Academy in San Antonio, our high school students are consistently challenged, prompted and encouraged to listen and lean into God’s deep calling in their lives. When people come on our campus and ask us why we do what we do, I want to be able to point to God’s grand vision for humanity. Our God is in the business of restoring a broken humanity back

to Him, and our high school staff play a significant part in that by leaning into His vision as spiritual mentors on campus to our students. Our collective vision for our high school department is that we create a culture in which discipleship is at the core of our student’s growth journey, as well as our own. We are disciples making disciples. We are mentors who help our students become the best version of themselves as they develop a personal relationship with God. We are teachers who view our students as the young men and women of God with unique giftedness and calling. We are leaders who lead with purpose and vision. Leaders who walk alongside our students who are learning how to do the same. It is our hope that, as we actively engage in the discipleship journey with our students, we are preparing them to be future leaders for Christ, restoring us to God’s kingdom.

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Continuous Growth

Looking for the

Light

The Impact of Family Ministries at Home & in the Community

Wilma Kirk Lee wanted to help support her young family. So, in 1967, she walked into an employment office looking for a job. As a new pastor’s wife living in the segregated “Negro Subdivisions” of Mississipi, she didn’t know what opportunites might be available. “The only job they had for people who looked like me was being a maid,” remembers Lee. Then, as today, Lee set out to defy expectations. She worked to forge a career that would not only bless her own family, but countless others, too. Lee is now the Southwest Region Conference Family Ministries Co-coordinator along with her husband Willie. In addition, she is a licensed social worker. With her expertise, Lee directs the Center for Family Wholeness in Houston, a ministry that supports families “throughout the life cycle.” Lee has experienced both hardship and tragedy throughout her life. Yet, she trusts in God to guide and use her at every step. “My dad used to say, ‘It’s

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better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,’” says Lee. “So I’ve decided that wherever I am, I’m supposed to be a light.” Lee and her husband, Willie Lee, married during his final year of seminary at Andrews University. Following graduation, they immediately moved to a church in Mississippi. “Let me explain to you,” says Lee. “I had never ever lived in the South. We moved to Greenwood, Mississippi, in 1967, and everything was extraordinarily segregated. My house's backyard backed up to the city dump,” says Lee. “So, there were days when I did my laundry, and I knew I could not put it out on the line because I knew it was going to smell like the dump.” Lee began to notice things she once took for granted were now not readily available, like books. She realized that a lot of people in visibly ethnic communities had no clue about certain things because those things just weren’t available.


Continuous Growth

At the time, Lee was a stay-at-home mother of three children: Anthony, Adrian and Amber. When the family traveled to Andrews University for the school's first ever Family Ministries Workshop in 1976, they received an unexpected invitation to lead out in family ministries in their own community. Leaders of the seminar approached Wilma and Willie. They said, “We can’t come to the African American community, but we can send you!” Although unexpected, Lee felt that this request came from God. “I do sing, I do play piano, I do all those things

that back in the day the pastor's wife was expected to do,” says Lee. “But I don’t always feel called to do those things. And, I felt this was something that we didn’t have to preach, we could live.” This was the first of many marriage and family retreats that the Lee family presented. As a pastor, Willie Lee took pastoral calls across the country. Everywhere the family traveled, Wilma Lee looked for ways to support families. She even went on to receive an Undergraduate Degree in Social Work from Sacramento State University. She later

received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Lee trusted God’s guidance at every step, and, as a result, opportunities abounded. Some highlights of Lee’s career include working at the Senator's Office in Washington D.C., hosting the “Table Talk” television show with her husband and becoming a published author. She also took part in the Houston Healthy Marriage Initiative during the Bush Administration. As part of that, her ministry received $500,000 a year for five years to do marriage strength-

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Continuous Growth ening programs. These career highlights are in addition to the countless families who Lee worked with directly. “I’ve seen what the Lord does,” says Lee. “I think too often we don't talk about our brokenness and who it is that reforms us.” Lee’s mission is to help people mend that brokenness. After all, she experienced her own share of brokenness and knows what it means to be brokenhearted.

“I think too often we don’t talk about our brokenness and who it is that reforms us.” One day, at about 3 a.m., Wilma and Willie received a phone call that no parent should ever receive. Their son, Anthony, had been shot at his home. “It gutted me to walk away from that coffin in the cemetery,” says Lee. “I realized that the parent is not supposed to bury their child.” Church members and friends helped to support Wilma and Willie. Although healing could never completely remove the heartbreak of her loss, Leehin eventually found peace. That experience of grief shaped Lee’s faith in a new way. Even more than before, she could better help and support those going through similar heartbreak in their families. Today, Lee continues to follow God’s call at every step, trusting that He will use her as a witness no matter the situation or location. “I’ve accepted something the old people used to say, ‘You get what you look for.’” says Lee. “So I’ve just looked for the light and I haven’t been disappointed yet.” By Makala James. James is a freelance writer based in Granbury, Texas.

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Ministries

A Church That Thrives: Embracing Youth By Jessica Lozano with Helvis C. Moody, Southwestern Union Young Adult and Youth Director Take a look at your church. Are all the generations accounted for? Are there Baby Boomers? Millennials? Gen Z? Gen Alpha or iGen? Can’t forget Gen X, of course. And what about the Greatest Generation? When you look around at the members and visitors at your church on Saturday morning, are there groups missing? Are there groups who seem to be in conflict with each other? Are there groups who feel like they don’t belong? One thing that Helvis C. Moody believes wholeheartedly is that when youth and young adults are engaged and involved at an early age in church, they are more likely to remain engaged with the church, more likely to have a dynamic support system that encourages their Christian journeys and, most importantly, they are more likely to develop meaningful and lifelong relationships with Jesus Christ. Moody is the Young Adult and Youth Department Director for the Southwestern Union, and he believes strongly that the younger generations need the older generations. But he also believes that the reverse is true. “In order for our churches to thrive and share the message of love and redemption that we have been commissioned to do, we must come together in Christ,” he says. The Young Adult and Youth Department has been working with the five conferences within the Southwestern Union to bring, Growing Together, a program to foster intergenerational ministries within local churches, to our territory. Several churches have already gone through the program, while others are currently in the beginning stages. Any church that is interested is invited to reach out to their local youth and young adult department or to Moody directly.

In addition to engaging heavily with the Growing Together program, the department provides outlets for fellowship through youth retreats, such as ski trips or cruises, and mission trips within the union territory under the program “More Compassion.” The most recent mission trip was to Southern Louisiana where youth assisted in the recovery from Hurricane Ida. The department also sponsors and participates in Public Campus Ministries, a program that provides fellowship and outreach opportunities for Adventist young adults who attend public colleges and universities. Youth become involved with church and community service through Adventurers, Pathfinders and Master Guides. Club Ministries is an intergenerational program that gives the opportunity for thousands of people to gather together each year for camporees and camping trips for youth to learn about and marvel at God’s creation as well as to worship together. In late 2021, the Southwestern Union

hosted nearly 4,000 Pathfinders and staff for an unforgettable spiritual experience at its Pathfinder Camporee at Lone Star Camp in Athens, Texas. The Southwestern Union also hosts the Pathfinder Bible Experience each year to encourage youth to get to know and to dive into the Word of God. According to Moody, the summer camp programs in the Southwestern Union are another initiative allowing for an intergenerational mix which helps develop authentic relationships, creates mentoring relationships and allows leadership skills to blossom. Moody considers the phrase “growing together” to be a guiding principle and rallying cry for churches that want to thrive, and he encourages all members—young and old—to get involved with youth and young adult ministries. “There’s no time to waste. What will you do to fulfill God’s commission to the world?” he asks. “The time to grow together is right now.”

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Summer Camp & Camp Meeting Schedules

Summer Camp & Camp Meeting SCH EDU L E

June 24-28 | Zomi Family Camp Wewoka Woods Adventist Center Wewoka, Okla. July 1-3 | Spanish Camp Meeting Wewoka Woods Adventist Center Wewoka, Okla. July 8-16 | English Camp Meeting Wewoka Woods Adventist Center Wewoka, Okla.

Southwest Region Conference

SOUTHWESTREGIONSDA.ORG May 27-29 | Hispanic Camp Meeting Lone Star Camp Athens, Tex.

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference ARKLAC.ORG

May 31-June 4 NW Arkansas Camp Meeting Gentry Seventh-day Adventist Church Gentry, Ark. June 5-12 | CYB Staff Week Camp Yorktown Bay Mountain Pine, Ark. June 12-19 | CYB Cub Camp Camp Yorktown Bay Mountain Pine, Ark. June 19-26 | CYB Junior Camp Camp Yorktown Bay Mountain Pine, Ark. June 26-July 3 | CYB Tween Camp Camp Yorktown Bay Mountain Pine, Ark.

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July 3-10 | CYB Teen Camp Camp Yorktown Bay Mountain Pine, Ark. July 10-17 | CYB Family Camp Camp Yorktown Bay Mountain Pine, Ark.

Oklahoma Conference OKADVENTIST.ORG

June 5-10 | Adventurer Week Wewoka Woods Adventist Center Wewoka, Okla. June 12-17 | Junior Week Wewoka Woods Adventist Center Wewoka, Okla. June 19-24 | Teen Week Wewoka Woods Adventist Center Wewoka, Okla.

June 15-18 | English Camp Meeting Lone Star Camp Athens, Tex. June 19-26 | Summer Camp Lone Star Camp Athens, Tex.

Texas Conference TEXASADVENTIST.ORG June 5-10 | Cub Week Lake Whitney Ranch Clifton, Tex. June 12-17 | Junior Week Lake Whitney Ranch Clifton, Tex. June 19-24 | Tween Week Lake Whitney Ranch Clifton, Tex. June 26-July 1 | Teen Week Lake Whitney Ranch Clifton, Tex.


Southwestern Happenings

May Events April 29- 1

SOUTHWESTERN ADVENTIST UNIVERSITY Graduation Weekend, Keene, Tex. SWAU.edu

2-6

Father’s Day JUNE 19

ARKANSAS-LOUISIANA CONFERENCE Outdoor School, Camp Yorktown Bay RBurton@arklac.org

13-14

SOUTHWESTERN UNION Spanish Growing Together Virtual Meeting MMauk@swuc.org

13-15

ARKANSAS-LOUISIANA CONFERENCE Master Guide Camporee, Shreveport, La. wilbrep@hotmail.com

20-21

SOUTHWESTERN UNION Growing the Kingdom New Orleans First Seventh-day Adventist Church MMauk@swuc.org

June Events 6-11

GENERAL CONFERENCE General Conference Session, St. Louis, Mo. GCSession.Org

9-12

SOUTHWEST REGION CONFERENCE Pathfinder Spring Camporee Lone Star Camp, Athens, Tex.

27-28

ARKANSAS-LOUISIANA CONFERENCE Ozark Adventist Academy Graduation, Gentry, Ark. Information@OzarkAcademy.org

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MEMORIAL DAY Union and Conference offices closed.

July Events 4

INDEPENDENCE DAY Union and Conference offices closed.

22-24

SOUTHWESTERN UNION Prayer Conference, Amarillo, Tex. MMauk@swuc.org

Mother’s Day MAY 8

29-30

SOUTHWESTERN UNION Spanish Growing Together In-person Meeting Southwestern Adventist University, Keene, Tex. MMauk@swuc.org

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Southwestern Union News

Spring Executive Committee Meeting Highlights BURLESON, TX – The Southwestern Union Executive Committee met for its regularly scheduled meeting on March 23, 2022, with 39 members present both in person and virtually. Southwestern Union President Carlos Craig called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. It began with a thought-provoking devotional given by Michael Campbell, professor in the Department of Religion at Southwestern Adventist University.

PROGRESS REPORTS Texico Conference President LeeRoy Chacon gave a victorious conference progress report. The committee members were also blessed with a victorious progress report from Southwestern Adventist University President Ana Paterson. Southwestern Union Vice-President Tony Anobile reported on the wonderful progress and plans for church ministries and President and CEO for AdventHealth’s Multi-State Division Ken Bacon reported on the

progress of AdventHealth. Praise God from whom all blessing flow!

MEMBERSHIP REPORT Southwestern Union Executive Secretary Stephen Brooks presented the Southwestern Union membership for February 28, 2022 and the 2021 annual accumulative membership report for December 31, 2021. The Southwestern Union reported 2,821 baptisms and professions of faith in the year 2021 and the adjusted membership for February 28, 2022 is 119,479 members.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT AND REVOLVING FUND REPORT Southwestern Union Treasurer John Page presented the February 28, 2022 Southwestern Union financial statement and revolving fund report. The Southwestern Union is experiencing a two percent tithe increase. Page expressed thankfulness for the faithfulness of our church members.

ASSOCIATE TREASURER AND HR DIRECTOR Due to Vivian Johnson’s plans to retire the summer of 2022, Joel Wallace was voted to serves as the Southwestern Union Associate Treasurer and Director for Human Resources. Wallace is presently the CFO for Southwestern Adventist University. Furthermore, Johnson was voted official recognition for her many years of faithful service as Associate Treasurer and HR Director for the Southwestern Union.

HEALTH MINISTRIES AND PRISON MINISTRIES Randy Phillips, M.D. was voted as Health Ministries Coordinator and Tyrone Boyd was voted as Coordinator for Prison Ministries. The meeting adjourned with prayer by Southwest Region Conference President Carlton Byrd. The next Executive Committee Meeting is scheduled for September 21, 2022. By Stephen Brooks Executive Secretary

Growing Together for Spanish-speaking Audiences BURLESON, TEX. – The church is facing difficult times with youth and young adults in general. Some have stated that they don’t feel valued or the church has nothing to offer them. So, they try to find a place of belonging, and it’s our responsibility to provide just that. We are committed to developing and fostering relationships that are beneficial to the entire church body. We have been engaged in Growing Young, an initiative that bridges the gap between seasoned members and younger members. We have introduced this to various English-speaking churches throughout our union. Now, we are preparing to introduce the concept of “Growing Together” to our Spanish-speaking churches in the Southwestern Union. We are planning

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an in-person meeting on July 28-29, 2022, on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University. At this meeting we will share concepts that have been proven to growing churches healthier and stronger for the glory of God. However, I would like to invite all of our Spanish speaking churches to join us on either May 13 or 14 on a Zoom call to share with more information about Growing Together and why you would want to be in person on July 28-29, 2022. We are planning to meet on Zoom for one hour on Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. and one hour on Sabbath, May 14 at 5 p.m., whichever date fits your schedule best please join, the same information will be presented both times. We are encouraging pastors, church elders, youth leaders

and anyone who has a passion for intergenerational church growth to be a part of this dynamic ministry. Please contact the Young Adult and Youth Department at Southwestern Union office for more information and for the Zoom link at mmauk@swuc.org or 817.295.0476. By Helvis C. Moody Young Adult and Youth Director


Southwestern Union News

Fanning the Flames of Evangelism in the Southwestern Union OKLAHOMA CITY – A wonderful equipping move of God was witnessed in Oklahoma City on March 4-5, 2022. Across the state of Oklahoma, 150 disciples gathered at the Oklahoma City Airport Embassy Suites for the Fanning the Flames of Evangelism Conference. The Holy Spirit used a host of presenters to inspire, encourage, teach and challenge those who were assembled. The list of presenters included the following: Tony Anobile, Vanston Archbold, Tyrone Boyd, Stephen Brooks, Sonia Canó, Nic Coutet, Carlos Craig, Robin Lopez, Helvis Moody, Daniel Ortega, Apple Park, Luis Prieto, Osvaldo Rigacci and James Shires.

The Fanning the Flames of Evangelism is a Project 10 event sponsored by the Southwestern Union in partnership with the Oklahoma Conference. It was mostly a bilingual event. All the breakout presentations were presented in both English and Spanish. Also, there were two divine worship services, one was in English and the other was in Spanish. Several attendees stated that they were inspired to go back to their communities and partner with God in making disciples for Christ. They were moved to become fishers of men and women, and challenged to return to the next installment of Fanning the

Flames of Evangelism scheduled for March 2023 with the fruit of their labor. When we assemble next year, we claim by God’s amazing grace that everyone will bring with them new disciples. The conference ended with an anointing service on Saturday evening at sunset. What a blessing to see so many of God’s disciples in Oklahoma come down to the front of the room to recommit themselves to Christ’s Great Commission and be anointed with olive oil. What a wonderful equipping move of God. By Stephen Brooks Executive Secretary

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Southwestern Union News

2022 Southwestern Union Children’s Ministries Training Retreat

ATHENS, TEX. – The 2022 training retreat for children’s ministries leaders in the Southwestern Union took place at Lone Star Camp in Athens, Tex., on March 11-13, 2022. More than 200 participants enjoyed the comfortable facilities. On Friday night Tony Anobile, Southwestern Union vice president for church ministries, presented the devotional, reminding all of us about our calling and the importance of ministering to the children in today’s world. Children’s ministries directors and area coordinators from the five conferences made a great team of presenters for the Children’s Sabbath School Expo and the Vacation Bible School program. The first seminar on Saturday morning was “Introduction to Puppetry”. They showed great ideas and resources on how to present Bible Stories using all kinds of puppets. The second seminar was on “Teaching Sabbath School.” At worship time we learned about Abraham’s journey, calling us to go home and prepare our families to serve and worship the Lord. For about two hours on Saturday

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afternoon, we had lots of fun visiting the Sabbath School Expo which featured exploring ways to decorate the Sabbath School classrooms, birthday stations and lots of ideas on how to teach the Sabbath School lesson. We learned new Bible verses at the Memory Verse station, and learned to pray, memorize and understand the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer at the prayer station. Two more seminars were presented called “Spiritual Gifts” and “Interactive Storytelling”. We closed the Sabbath with a very creative vespers program on prayer and then our team put together a banquet in honor of each local church children’s ministries leader. As they entered, we received them with applause and shouts of gratitude letting them know they are great teachers and we appreciate all they do. The banquet featured a nice dinner and lots of prizes. On Sunday morning, we presented a training session on the VBS program: Jasper Canyon. Each participant was a kid for a day. We learned the new VBS songs for 2022 at the Dig Site and then

visited Gemstone Mine to hear a Bible story and learn more about gems and stones. We had so much fun playing at the Testing Pit and making beautiful gemstones at Artifact Crafts station. At the Excavation Post, we had the opportunity to pray for and with others. At the Picnic Snack station we had a delicious brunch. One exciting presenter was 14-year old Orón López. López presented a seminar on how to make Bible story videos using your phone! It was an excellent presentation and we were very motivated, not only because we can do something like that with our phones, but because God is using the kids we train in Sabbath School! Please consider teaching Sabbath School to the children in your church. Ttake any opportunity you have to motivate kids to serve and worship the Lord! If your not sure, be encouraged by Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you… and you will be a blessing.” By Sonia Cano Children’s Ministries Director


Southwestern Union News

Southwestern Union Pathfinder Bible Experience KEENE, TEX. – The annual Southwestern Union Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE) was held March 26, 2022 at Southwestern Adventist University with about 300 Pathfinders and leaders. There were 24 PBE teams from four of the five conferences in our union that participated. Twenty one teams met in person and three met virtually. We enjoyed a wonderful day praising the Lord together and studying the books of I Kings and Ruth. Many teams have been memorizing these two books of the Bible along with the Bible Commentary theme sections for a year in preparation for this gathering Fifteen teams advanced to the North American Division level which was held in Eugene, Ore. in April.

Pathfinder Bible Experience began with a worship experience where three Pathfinders gave testimonials on how studying the Bible has been a blessing to them. There were different Pathfinders who prayed in different languages and others participated throughout the entire program. Southwestern Union Executive Secretary Stephen Brooks preached the good news and Treasuer John Page gave a prayer of dedication over all the Pathfinders. President Carlos Craig and Aimee Clapp, Southwest area coordinator for the Texico Conference, participated as readers for the quiz questions. The judges were leaders from all four of the Conferences. We are grateful for everyone’s participation.

As we look back over what the Pathfinders have accomplished, we cannot overlook all the hard work of the coaches, parents and the leaders who work with the Pathfinders. We praise God for all of you. We are excited about the 15 teams who are moving on to the next level, but we are encouraging all Pathfinders to continue studying the Bible, and growing in Jesus Christ so that when He comes, we all will be saved. By Helvis C. Moody Young Adult and Youth Director, and W. Gene Clapp NAD PBE Coordinator

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Southwestern Union News

Living with More Compassion Mission Trip

BURLESON, TEX. – The Southwestern Union Youth and Young Adults Department hosted its annual “Living with More Compassion” mission trip. This year they went to South Louisiana on March 6-12, 2022. Along with others, we had three schools in our Union participate. Jefferson Christian Academy (JCA), North Dallas Adventist Academy (NDAA) and Killeen Adventist Junior Academy (KAJA). We often believe that the emphasis of mission trips or outreach events are primarily for those being ministered to. However, many times the participants return with their lives changed and on fire to continue helping those around them. “I was there to be the hands and feet of Jesus… to help fill a need in South Louisiana. The people that we met filled a need in my life just as much, if not more,” said Bo Gendke, Texas Conference Adventist Community Services Director. Angela Garcia, a student at JCA shared, “Most of the buildings and land we saw were just awful. I didn't really want to work on it at first, it just all seemed very overwhelming. But

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my attitude quickly changed when I saw the people we were helping. They were so happy, even if we performed the tiniest little task. And they tried their hardest to let us know about that happiness by providing what they could for us. I can say it was an amazing experience; and I learned a life lesson on compassion.” God is using so many of us right here in the Southwestern Union to show compassion to His people. “Being able to help others who need you gives me a special kind of joy.” shared Keona Frederick, NDAA student. “It was an eye opening experience. Even though it was only a couple of days of work, I hope that it made a positive impact and showed others God’s love. It was also fun exploring New Orleans and learning a bit of its history,” said Rebekah Hoops, KAJA student. This mission trip was even more unique as some of the main projects the volunteers worked on were community gardens. They raised garden beds, tilled soil and planted herbs and vegetables. The volunteers completed a total of five gardens. New gardens

were created on the Osborne property of the Baton Rouge Berean church, at Caffin Avenue church, at Slidell Glad Tidings church and at the New Orleans Adventist Academy. The Greater New Orleans Christian Academy had a garden which was revitalized and a beautification garden was created for the Emmanuel church. The Slidell Glad Tidings church members were so happy to see the interior of their church receive a new coat of paint. The Baton Rouge Berean church was power washed and cleaned, and brush was cleared from its fence line. Many projects were completed in southern Louisiana, and at one point students were even able to provide meals for the homeless. We had many guest speakers join us on Sabbath from the Southwestern Union, the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference and the Southwest Region Conference. We believe that we must be the sermon showing the love of God. please pray for us as we prepare to be the hands and the feet of Jesus Christ for next year’s mission trip. By Helvis C. Moody Young Adult and Youth Director


Southwestern Union News

Growing the Kingdom in the Southwestern Union BURLESON, TEX. – Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14 (NKJV). That’s our responsibility, to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. And what is that? It’s sharing the good news that the Kingdom is for everyone! Its sharing the reality of a crucified, risen and soon coming Savior who died to save each and every on of us. Southwestern Union President Carlos Craig, along with our conference and university presidents, and voted by the Union Executive Committee, have outlined eight strategic initiatives that allow for our five conferences and our university to work together to grow the kingdom throughout the Union territory.

The vice presidents of the Southwestern Union have gotten together to plan an exciting new initiative to equip the Union family called: Growing the Kingdom. Why? So we can do our part to fulfill the commission and see Jesus face to face. Bi-annual events will be held throughout the Union territory for all church ministries leaders, to train, equip and empower leaders to work together for the growth of their individual spiritual lives and the growth of our congregations and the kingdom of God. The strategies for the Growing the Kingdom initiative include networking with the pastors about the best way to involve all church leaders. We are inviting all church leaders to participate in an intentional discipleship and church

growth program, creating a database of all church and ministry leaders that facilitates and speeds up communication and the exchange of resources and tools to allow for maximum results. We are planning and scheduling rallies with the administrators and directors of each conference to be carried out by cities and areas, which allows for the largest number of leaders to participate. Join us on this incredible journey as we Grow the Kingdom together! By Tony Anobile Vice President for Ministries

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Southwestern Adventist University News

Impacting Students Through Music KEENE, TEX. – Southwestern Adventist University’s (SWAU) 29th annual A Night at the Meyerson concert was hosted on Feb. 27, 2022, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in downtown Dallas, Tex. This performance was the culmination of the Southwestern Music Festival, which took place during the weekend and welcomed over 100 high school students from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Florida and Massachusetts. The objective of the night’s event was to advance musical accomplishment among young musicians and raise funds for music scholarships. Devon Howard, Southwestern Adventist University’s chair of the Department of Music, described the effort that took place to make the night of grandeur come to life. “Preparation for the Meyerson concert is a year-round process for all involved,”

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Howard shared. “Faculty work months in advance to line up musicians and repertoire each year. Then, all participants spend countless hours learning, preparing and perfecting the music to get everything ready to peak performance level by the time the concert occurs.” Each year, elite composers and musicians are selected to participate in the festival based on their distinctive abilities, unique style and outstanding reputations. This year, SWAU was honored to have British composer Philip Stopford and guest soloist Jolyon Pegis join them. This year’s concert featured highly energetic and inspiring performances, including pieces from history, new works and the annual world premiere. This year the musical composition entitled “God is Our Hope and Strength” by Philip Stopford debuted. The

orchestra performed the first movement of Dvořák’s cello concerto with cellist Jolyon Pegis from the Dallas Symphony. Along with these compositions, the orchestra also performed Debussy, Beethoven, and Verdi. Some of the highlights of this year’s choir performance included an exciting acapella version of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and a riveting arrangement of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in honor of Black History Month. The generosity of the sponsors and donors will allow SWAU to continue producing world-class, God-focused music education in the coming years. For updates and information about next year’s A Night at the Meyerson, as well as to view photos from this year's concert, visit SWAU.edu/meyerson. By Edgar Zelidon


Southwestern Adventist University News

SWAU Inaugurates Ana Patterson as 26th President KEENE, TEX. – Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) inaugurated Ana Patterson as its 26th president during a ceremony on March 1, 2022. Centered around Matthew 5:14-16, the theme of the inaugural celebration was Light of the World and celebrated Patterson’s vision for SWAU as a leader in high-quality, Christ-centered education. The installation ceremony included greetings from the community, students, faculty and staff, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) and SWAU Board of Trustees by (respectively) Gary Henrich, mayor of Keene, Tex.; Yu Hu, president of the Student Association; Mickey Johnson, president of the Alumni Board; Renard Doneskey, Ph.D., professor of English; Arne Nielsen, B.S., M.Ed., vice president for education at the NAD; and John Page, treasurer of the Southwestern Union of Seventh-day Adventists. Russ Laughlin, pastor and vice president for spiritual life and development, offered an invocation; Donna Berkner, Ed.D., vice president for academic administration, provided a welcome; Carlton Byrd, D.Min., president of the Southwest Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, offered a scripture reading; and Robert de la Garza, president of Cleburne Ford, offered the benediction. The program also featured musical selections from the Southwestern University Singers

and Southwestern Concert Winds. As chair of the Board of Trustees, Carlos Craig formally installed Patterson as the University’s next president. “By the authority invested in us, the board of trustees, we hereby install you as the 26th president of Southwestern Adventist University,” shared Craig to Patterson. “We pledge our unwavering support to you in this all-important task of leading this university forward under the direction of the Holy Spirit.” In Patterson’s inaugural address, she took the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the Board of Trustees, the faculty, the staff, community leaders, church, friends, family, students and those who were attending the inauguration virtually online. She spoke about the brave Southwestern pioneers who came to Keene nearly 130 years ago with the mission to create a place for Adventist education and about the dedication of these pioneers to their calling. “We are called to be the light of the world at Southwestern Adventist University, and our university is uniquely positioned to heed this call by providing not just Christ-centered but also Christ-forward education that models love for God and service to others,” shared the president. According to Patterson, Southwestern is called to be a shining light to the

community, build a strong foundation of values and inspire the next generation in knowledge, faith, and service. She concluded by casting her vision that the light of God would guide Southwestern in this new chapter. Patterson’s installment is historic for SWAU as she is both the university’s first female and first Hispanic president. Prior to assuming her responsibilities as president on July 8, 2021, Patterson worked as the special assistant to the president for the university. She has nearly a decade of teaching experience as a business professor at the university, served as chair of the university’s diversity and inclusion committee and was named Educator of the Year for the 2016-2017 school year. She has been an active member of the community surrounding the university for the past two decades, acting as a board member for several organizations serving children and as president of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County’s board of directors. A recording of the installation ceremony as well as photos from the day’s events are available at SWAU.edu/ inauguration. By Tim Kosaka

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Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Growing in Grace Jeff was a troubled young man who I met on the opening night of an evangelistic series. He was relatively quiet but a pleasant person. He came every night to the meetings, and as we got to know him better, he would ask very relevant questions. Some of those questions centered around the Sabbath, and how to keep the Sabbath. Other questions were in reference to death, the second coming of Jesus and baptism. He seemed more relaxed and happier as we continued through the meetings and was baptized. The joy on his face at his baptism confirmed he loved Jesus and wanted to walk with Him. After the evangelistic meetings, we continued to meet for Bible study and fellowship, both one-on-one and in a small group. He was like a sponge soaking up the Word of God. A few months later, I stopped by his home one afternoon to simply say “Hi” and have prayer with Jeff. When he opened the door, I was greeted with incredible kindness and grace. He asked me to step in and visit awhile. After about half an hour, Jeff went to the kitchen and came back with two glasses of liquid. He graciously asked if I would like a glass of wine. I remember

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kindly declining. He said, “Pastor, it is a hot day, and this will be refreshing, why not?” It dawned on me something was missing. I said, “Jeff, you remember several months ago we studied what the Bible says about alcohol?” He replied, “Yes, pastor, the Bible is very clear about staying away from strong drinks and I have done that.” And I began to see where he was coming from. Jeff had been a long-time consumer of hard liquor in very large quantities. He had given those up before he was baptized. So, I asked, “Jeff, did you know that wine is also alcohol?” I will never forget the look on his face. He was astonished. He replied, “Pastor, I never thought about that. I always thought wine was like drinking water. Please tell me more.” He set the glasses down on the table, and we began to visit. I shared with him the story of Jesus turning the water to wine in the New Testament. And I remember, when we got to the point about the governor of the feast talking about saving the best wine to last, Jeff looked at me and said, “Pastor, the wine Jesus made wasn’t fermented.” I said, “You’re right.” He replied, “Now I get it.” And I replied, “That’s what it means to be growing in grace.”

He asked me to come with him to the kitchen. He then poured all the wine he had down the drain and threw the bottles into the trash. He turned, gave me a hug and said, “Thanks, pastor.” I had prayer with him, and he was rejoicing to keep learning more as he walked with Jesus. That’s one example of continued growth in Jesus. Each one of us must be open to hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice and anxious to follow in His footsteps. Regardless of which side of the fence we’re on, may we be gracious, warm and winsome for Christ. By Richard C. Dye, Sr. President


Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Master Guide Camporee – Jesus Our Master Guide SHREVEPORT, LA. – On May 13-15, 2022, the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference (ARKLA) will host its first ever Master Guide Camporee on the premises of the ARKLA Conference office. Newly elected Conference Master Guide Coordinator Brenda Perez is spearheading the organization of this event. Master Guides will bring their tents and other gear and will sleep amidst the beautiful, tall pine trees on the conference property. The speaker will be David Craig, ARKLA Conference youth director, and the theme, “Jesus, our Master Guide.” Master Guides will participate in different activities and receive leader-

ship training throughout the weekend, along with a Master Guide Investiture ceremony. The Master Guide ministry in the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference is still relatively new, and our prayer is that it will continue to flourish and grow with God’s help and the commitment of the leaders and members. Hope to see you soon! Visit ARKLAYouth.com/events to register or contact Brenda Perez at Wilbrenp@hotmail.com or David Craig at DCraig@arklac.org. By David Craig Youth and Young Adult Director

South Louisiana Spiritual Revival for Teens BATON ROUGE, LA. – The annual South Louisiana Teen Prayer Conference took place on Jan. 29, 2022, in Baton Rouge at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, drawing young people from across Louisiana and a few guests from East Texas as well. The theme was “Making a Difference,” and Werner Gil, pastor, encouraged and challenged the teens to get F.A.T. (Faithful, Available and Teachable) by being M.A.D. (Making A Difference) in their everyday lives. Following the worship service, presenters Ross Harris, Ken Blundell and David

Farmer presented the challenge of following some of the church pioneers in “Making a Difference.” After each presentation, the young people attended breakout sessions where an adult group leader facilitated their group’s discussion on how to make a difference in your own life in this present time. The key thought was to get the wisdom that God will give you when you ask, to know when, where and how to make a difference in the world around you. The event was hosted by Lanette Bieber, Prayer Ministries director, with

Michael Cerda and the Baton Rouge Church Ministry team. Delicious meals were provided, and there was great engagement and fellowship. Beautiful music was presented by the very talented Jefferson Christian Academy Handbell Choir from Jefferson, Tex. They also provided song services and mini-concerts throughout the day and performed the program’s theme song from Hebrews 10:25-26. By Tracy Francis

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Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

ACS Volunteers Finishing the Work JONESBORO, ARK. – On Dec. 9, 2021, five tornadoes hit the Northeast corner of Arkansas, destroying homes in the area, including a nursing home. According to the American Red Cross, there were 509 families affected by the tornadoes. Arkansas-Louisiana Adventist Community Services (ACS) responded. The Jonesboro AR Seventh-day Adventist Church graciously allowed us to set up a resource staging area where supplies were delivered, sorted and boxed to go on the mobile unit. The mobile unit went out seven times, covering 10 small towns and giving out supplies to 191 families (764 individuals). Miracles do happen. We were already working Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, and we did not have items to put on the mobile unit in Arkansas. But the Lord knew, and He provided cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items (toothpaste, towels, bars of soap, combs), blankets, totes and food boxes. Missouri also had a few tornados which were close to where ACS was working in Arkansas. With permission from both the Missouri and Arkansas-Louisiana conferences, we crossed the state line and helped 22 families (88 individuals) with cleaning supplies, blankets, school kits, totes and hygiene items. ACS gives a big thanks to the volunteers who came and helped. Thirteen-year-old Robert Linneman said, “I want to take the time to thank Adventist Community Services for

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allowing me to volunteer after Hurricane Ida. I never expected to see so many people needing help. I begged my parents to let me go. I praise God that I got to be a part of showing the love of God to members of the United Indian Nations. I know that it might not seem like much, but I spent a weekend with a mobile unit handing out supplies. Having people come up to you and asking why you are helping them when no one else would, and thinking to yourself, God shows me how much He loves me every day. Now I get to be a part of showing them how much He loves them. I listened to some of the older people talk about how the town looked before Hurricane Ida and who lived there. It made me sad that things are no longer there. I know that all things are possible with God and can’t wait until I get to go back and see what their nation looks like in the future.” Have you ever listened to someone talk about their dog saving their life? A survivor shared with me how her dog, Angel, started running around the house whining. Angel kept coming up and barking at her, then running into the bathroom. She decided to follow and, all of a sudden, heard a loud noise. “I have never in my life heard a storm sound like a train!” she said. She put Angel in the bathtub and went in with her. The tub started moving and shaking; when it stopped, she looked around. “We were nowhere near our home,” she shared. “By the time we

found our way back, the whole house was gone. Angel had a hard time finding the way home, but she sure did save my life. Guardian angels work through even the cutest dogs to help us.” “If you ever want to feel humble, try volunteering after a hurricane,” says Robert's father, Robert Linneman, another volunteer. “It may seem strange leaving your home, where you have anything you could ever need, and going to somewhere that doesn’t even have gas to put in your car so you can leave. As I take things out of the back of the truck and hand them to these people, I can’t help but wonder what I would do if I had nothing left. To truly not know where your food is coming from is a scary thing. I see God’s hand in me being able to take the time off work to come and help. As well as, knowing without Him there would be nothing for me to give to these people. If God had not told someone to send money or the things that these people need, they wouldn’t have them. You cannot go to the store and get the items, you can’t get gas to travel to where the items are, and if you did, what little you have left would be gone. God knows our needs before we do and makes them happen.” By Lavida Whitson ACS DR Director


Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

A Lesson in Patience and Growing with God LAKE CHARLES, L.A. – In May 2018, Hillis Jeffries graduated from Southern Adventist University with a degree in theology. After many endless interviews and watching his fellow classmates receive calls to various conferences, he waited and waited, yet no job seemed available. So, like Paul in the Bible, he used his other talents to provide for his family. An avid cook, he started Tropical Blend Vegan Grill, a catering business, in May 2019. His business was doing well with catering events lined up for the entire year. Throughout this time, Jeffries continued to interview—still,

no job offers. Ten months after starting his business, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the economy, leaving families wondering how they would survive financially. 2020 proved to be a year of faith and trust. While our family, along with the rest of the world, was affected by this deadly virus, God never forgot about Jeffries. In February of 2021, the Arkansas-Louisiana ministerial director contacted Southern regarding pastoral candidates. Not long after, Jeffries received a call and was offered a position to pastor the DeRidder and Lake Charles district in Louisiana. After

accepting the call, two souls, with the help of Malcolm Gibson, joined the Lake Charles Seventh-day Adventist Church, and one young lady joined the DeRidder Seventh-day Adventist Church. Three more baptisms have been scheduled. Jeffries gives all the glory and praise to God in whom he never stopped believing. He lives by the saying, “God has you right where He wants you; just be ready to go where He needs you.” By Rosemarie Jeffries

organized a special prayer for the man at 9 p.m. Church members prayed at the same time, wherever they were! The church member got his room, and on the white board where medical personnel write the name of people who are on duty that night, along with notes on any diagnosis, was written: Jesus, LPN. The note written at the bottom said: Survive! The man, feeble though he was, knew that there was a higher power at work that night! He had been diagnosed with pneumonia, which usually requires several days in the hospital. He knew

his church family was praying for him; he felt their prayers. Two days later, the man was released to go home. Not completely cured by any means, but stable. He knew it was his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who was with him that crucial night. He knew the Lord of the universe sent a man named Jesus to write a note on a white board to reassure him and comfort him. We are living in serious times, and yet, Jesus sends us notes from heaven to remind us: He is still in control. By Judith Newton

A Note From Heaven HEBER SPRINGS, ARK. – God is still in the miracle-working business! One of our church members and his wife were struggling with COVID-19. She had to be hospitalized for five days. When she returned home, she noticed that her husband, after 18 days of struggling with the disease, was weakened, dehydrated and still had a terrible cough and painful chest. They called an ambulance and went to the ER. The hospital immediately hospitalized him. His church family had been praying for him during his illness, and that particular night, the head elder

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Arkansas-Louisiana Conference News

Praying for Our Sister Churches in the Ukraine SHREVEPORT, LA. – Back in August of 1991, the Southwestern Union became excited about the opening doors in the USSR and the chance of evangelistic meetings in Moscow and the Ukraine. The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference joined with the five Southwestern Union conferences to become sister churches with the six Ukraine Union Conferences. Southwestern Union churches were matched with similar-sized churches in the Ukraine, contacts were made and communication was started. Sabbath, Sept. 14,1991, was a high day as the Ukraine Sister Church program was officially launched in all the churches within the Southwestern Union. The day was noted as a day of intercessory prayer for our sister churches who were also launching approximately 250 evangelistic crusades in all of their churches on that same Sabbath. Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) agreed to ship “Christmas” boxes of supplies being donated to the Ukrainian churches. The boxes included communion sets and baptis-

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mal robes, Sabbath School teaching materials, Revelation Seminar lessons for evangelism, Russian or Ukraine Bibles and Steps to Christ books in Russian, as well as, small gifts wrapped for Christmas, seasonal greeting cards and pictures of the sister church which sent the supplies. During the 30 years since this beginning, many evangelistic meetings have been held by our preachers, conference presidents, evangelists and lay leaders who have traveled to Ukraine. Much has been done, churches have been built, and obviously, the devil is riled up about the revival that has taken place. Our Sister churches are in peril and need our intercessory prayers now—more than ever. If your church was matched to one of the sister churches in the Ukraine Union, please remember these people in your corporate and private prayers. ADRA is still working over there, and we can still help in this struggle. The work is not over yet! You can still be a part of it. Arkansas-Louisiana had 81 churches

paired with 36 churches in the Central Ukraine Union. Oklahoma had 73 churches paired with 35 churches in the Eastern Ukraine Union. The Southwest Region had 84 churches paired with 54 churches in the West Ukraine Conference. Texas had 188 churches paired with 95 churches in Chernivtsi and Podolsk. Texico had 63 churches paired with 27 churches in the Southern Ukraine Conference. Pray for your brothers and sisters who have been loved and helped in the past and who are being thrown into the caldron that is a part of the ‘time of the end.’ Jesus is coming, and He is looking for those who are not lukewarm. He stands at the door and knocks; He is there to help you and to help them make it through to the end. May God bless you in this struggle! By Sylvia Downs Communication Administrative Asst.


Oklahoma Conference News

Growth Requires Care My wife is a gardener, and I often help her. Every year, she plants a garden with vegetables and strawberries. We till and fertilize the soil, plant seeds and water the garden. God provides the necessary resources for gardening: seeds, soil, air and rain. Even when we use a hose to water, God is still the source. The soil has nutrients divinely provided and the fertilizer also has products that initially came from the Lord’s hands in creation. God is the source of the material products needed to make a garden grow, but we still have a part to play for the plants to grow. We have to work the soil, fertilize, plant the seeds and water in order for them to grow. If we leave out any of those steps, there is no garden and no growth. We have also noticed that where there is life, there is always growth in healthy plants. If there is no growth, something is wrong with the plant. Sometimes, we get too busy to water enough, and the plant does not grow but shrivels in size. At times, after vacation or camp meetings, the plants suffer because the people responsible for the garden didn’t give it proper care. There is a similar principle in our spiritual lives as we see in the garden.

Jesus often used nature to illustrate spiritual truths. He compared it to good seed sown in the field. It needs to grow up and bear fruit. Jesus said plants grow gradually–first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. He also told us to consider how the lilies grow in terms of comparing our growth in spiritual life. The Bible describes spiritual life as having a birth, growing up to maturity and becoming ripe for the harvest at the second coming. We are born anew of the Holy Spirit; then we need to grow up and mature spiritually. And, as with plants, if there is life, there should be growth spiritually leading to spiritual maturity. And that growth will be continuous all our lives and through eternity. There will be no stopping point. For us spiritually, like in gardening, God provides the resources we need to grow. They come through the power or grace of God given us by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. They come to us as we connect daily with Jesus, in His Word and in prayer, continually looking to Him and drawing strength from Him. Jesus has all the spiritual sunshine, water and fertilizer, or food, that we need and is always willing to supply us with it. But, like in garden-

ing, we must cultivate the soil of our hearts—water it, feed it and expose it to the spiritual sunshine of Christ’s presence. So, if we find that we are shrinking or not growing spiritually, let us go back to the source and replenish ourselves so we can keep growing to maturity and get ready for the harvest, which is God’s desire and goal for us. In 2 Peter 3:18, the apostle closes his letter about getting ready for the second coming with, “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Let’s keep growing. By James Shires President

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Oklahoma Conference News

Tulsa Adventist Academy’s Talent Show Doubles Fundraising Goal TULSA – Tulsa Adventist Academy (TAA) teachers and staff prayed earnestly: the goal was $6,500, enough to defeat a debt. The fanfare began at Tulsa Adventist Academy’s 2022 Talent Show & Silent Auction with a powerful devotional about Christian education from a man deeply impacted by it: Jim Landelius, pastor of two churches near Tulsa. His story of childhood poverty and the kindness of benevolent strangers who helped him to attend Ozark Adventist Academy, Southwestern Adventist University and Andrews University is a testament to evangelism in the schoolhouse. But that wasn’t all. TAA students sang in two choirs. Cartwheels (one and two-handed) raced across the stage. The piano was played. A violinist played “Allegro;” and suddenly, everything changed. Anonymous donors schemed, and a match was announced that lasted for just 30 minutes. That match alone

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raised $4,000. Generous donors also gave goods and services such as flower bouquets, photography sessions, organic produce baskets, a handmade wooden tie and other items to add to the donations. But that wasn’t all. Between silly classroom skits, Tulsa’s Adventist Fellowship pastor, Nic Coutet, performed theatrics on the piano (he plays a mean “Memories” from the broadway show “Cats”) and then implored the crowd to raise $1,000 in two minutes. And they did it! Ten people stood up and donated $100 each, starting with interim principal, Peggy Fisher. But that wasn’t all. As the events were winding down, the hoopla was winding up! TAA Home & School leader, Silvia Berumen, came to the stage to announce that just over $12,000 was raised, all which not only canceled the debt but added to the Home & School budget for desperately needed improvements. But

that wasn’t all! The finale of the evening was when a TAA student got to shave the beard of Ronald Arroyo-Watson, TAA’s science teacher for grades 7-12. “Mr. A” had promised he would shave his beard if the fundraising goal was met. Upon Berumen’s announcement, his fate was sealed by the hands of a 15-year-old. At TAA’s Spring Awards Ceremony, grades 7-12 math teacher, Larry Seery, will let his hair be cut, since he made the identical promise. See photos at Facebook.com/TulsaAcademy.org and follow us on Instagram at @TulsaAdventistAcademy. TAA teachers and staff praise and deeply thank our donors and students for their best efforts in helping us continue our mission since 1916: to prepare students for heaven and earth! By Caroline A. Fisher


Oklahoma Conference News

Mother Daughter Tea Party OKLAHOMA CITY – The bond between a mother and daughter is very important. Sunday, Feb. 27, dawned cold but clear, with the snow mostly melted and the sun brightly shining. Mothers and daughters from around Oklahoma gathered at Loughridge Camp in Tulsa for our second annual Mother Daughter Tea Party. The year’s theme was “Reflections of Beauty.” Sonia Canó, Southwestern Union children’s ministries director, presented a beau-

tiful worship talk about how important the relationship is between a mother and daughter. She talked about the virtues that Jesus wants us to have and how important it is for us to reflect the image of Christ. Mothers reflect His image, and daughters see the image of Jesus in their moms and reflect that same image. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30. The mothers and daughters

dressed alike in fun party attire, played etiquette games, decorated cookies, ate petite sandwiches and desserts and enjoyed the opportunity to share a special time with each other. The Oklahoma Conference Children’s Ministry worked hard to make this a special event for our mothers and daughters. In this busy world, it was a blessing to come together and celebrate this special bond of love. By Norma Shepherd

Summer Camp Training Saves Man’s Life TULSA – Brianna Reid, a student at Tulsa Adventist Academy, is only 17 years old but she has already saved a life. The incident occurred toward the end of July, 2021. Reid recalls she was driving around with her sister and “somehow we ended up in Arkansas.” They stopped at a Dollar General store to use the restroom; they went inside but didn't see anyone in there. “We were super confused, but we just decided to go to the bathroom.” As they walked to the back of the store, they saw a little crowd gathered by a shelf. Reid’s sister wanted to leave, but “I told her I wanted to stay to see what was wrong, and that’s when I saw the man laying on the floor. There was blood everywhere. Then, everyone started backing up, and I asked if anyone knew CPR. I waited a few minutes to see if anyone would speak, and no one did. I told them I had worked at a summer camp and had my CPR certification. I asked them if I could help, and

they agreed. I assessed the man; he seemed to be about 70 years old. He had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, so I opened his airway by tilting his head back. I opened his mouth and started doing compressions.” Reid continues, “I told a lady to call 911, and the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) arrived about five minutes later. I explained everything I knew to them, and someone else told them the rest. They got the man into the ambulance and took him away. I was told by a firefighter that they were able to regain his pulse.” Reid was scared and nervous: “After everything happened, I just felt so overwhelmed.” Her lifeguard training at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center helped her know what to do and be brave enough to help. I asked Reid if she thinks that God led her to be a lifeguard and learn the training she did so that He could use her to help in this situation and possibly others. She re-

plied, “There was definitely a possibility that God led me to learn CPR and to go on that drive, considering we weren’t even planning on doing that or going there.” Reid recommends that everyone who can learn CPR and first aid. She affirms the idea that no one is too young to make a difference. We can all gain inspiration from her story and from her brave spirit. By Brianna Reid and Cassidy Shaw

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Oklahoma Conference News

Adventurers Hold Evangelistic Meetings WEST SILOAM SPRINGS, OKLA. – The West Siloam Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church’s “Little Working Ants” Adventurer Club said, “I will go,” and led out in an evangelistic campaign from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5. Despite poor weather forecasts, the adventurers learned from astronauts and rockets, and made personal and spiritual discoveries. Weeks prior to the campaign, a demonstration of talents was held in the church. Each child was encouraged to participate in showing their gifts and talents through singing, poetry, prayer, painting and preaching, which they gave to the service of the Lord. The campaign focused on the theme “I will go on a Universe Adventure with Jesus.” The campaign started on Saturday and continued through the week. Even though an intense snowfall made it impossible to meet in the church, they continued on Zoom. One by one, with the help and support of parents and teachers, they praised the Lord through reading the Bible, prayer, special music, experiments, dramatized stories and songs. Everything

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was greatly enjoyed thanks to those who gladly directed the puppets. Likewise, it was possible to appreciate and learn how God created the vast universe in seven days. This activity was rewarded at the end of the week by those who learned it by heart. We enjoyed learning how the Lord has given people intelligence to create rocket ships that allow astronauts to travel through the universe, the speed they can go and the clothing they must wear. The sun is the major star which illuminates us, and the astronauts use its power to return to earth. When Christ comes back for us, and we take a trip through the universe to heaven, we will not have to depend on a rocket ship but go through the power of Jesus. Finally, eight children presented an extraordinary agenda; each night they presented stories of Biblical characters who each said, “I will go” in different ways. The first was Isaiah who said, “Here am I; send me.” Esther said, “I am afraid, but pray for me, and I will go.” Jonah, even though he said, “I

do not want to go, I will flee,” ended up fulfilling God’s command to preach to the Ninevites. In the parable of the two sons, one said, “I will go,” and the other, “I will not go,” and both ended up doing the opposite. Paul also expressed that he wanted to go, to speak to the gentiles. Philip said, “God told me I must go that way.” And, as a prime example, Jesus himself said, “I want to go and save the world.” Thanks to the program, others have become interested in learning about Jesus and getting involved in the club. And, just as these children accepted the invitation to go preach this message, the invitation is extended to each reader to spread the gospel of Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I want to go, do you? By Milena Quintero


Oklahoma Conference News

Preparing the Next Generation of Preachers OKLAHOMA CITY – The annual youth preaching challenge, “I Preach for Him,” took place in Oklahoma City on Jan. 15 at two different locations with a total of nine participants. The last two years had been held virtually, but this year we had the opportunity to host the event in person. The Oklahoma City Central Seventh-day Adventist Church hosted five participants who preached in English while the Oklahoma City Central Hispanic Church hosted four participants who presented in Spanish. The theme for this year’s challenge was “Reflecting Jesus,” based on the passage of each presenter’s choosing. Each participant had 15 minutes to present their sermonette in front of a live audience. They were evaluated on various parameters by several of the area pastors. Each preacher was awarded a special certificate of recognition, an Amazon gift card and plaques for the top three places in each language. Most of the partici-

pants were preaching for the first time and were very nervous. However, after they finished, they felt a sense of joy and accomplishment, displaying big smiles. The objective of this program is to encourage and empower young people to preach biblical messages,

reminding them that God can use them, even at a young age. Our desire is that they would continue to accept future speaking opportunities and grow their gift. By Yesenia Ortega

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Southwest Region Conference News

Let’s Move Forward! We have chosen the following mantra for the Southwest Region Conference: “Moving Southwest ‘4’ Ward!” We’ve selected this refrain based on the desire of our workers and members alike to move our conference “forward” under the power of the almighty God through four primary emphases: Evangelism, Adventist Education, Digital & Media Ministry and Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Our scriptural text supporting this theme is, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14. Despite the current challenges we face in our world, what an exciting time to be living in when we can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Although the enemies of Christ are rising up and manifesting themselves in a myriad of ways, I’m excited to be in the army of God! I’m excited to share the love of Jesus with others! I’m excited to know that, in this fight against the enemy, we don’t fight for victory, but we fight from victory! Christ already defeated

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the enemy on Calvary, and “if God be for us, who can be against us.” Romans 8:31. Knowing we’re already victors and not victims, let’s share Christ’s message of hope and wholeness with relevance. For our conference, we’re stressing relevance in the aforementioned four emphases (Evangelism, Adventist Education, Digital & Media Ministry and Youth & Young Adult Ministry). If we’re going to reach the world, we’ve got to be relevant to the world! Our message is the same, but our methods must be different and relevant to our current context. In Evangelism, Ellen G. White says, “Means will be devised to reach hearts. Some of the methods used in this work will be different from the methods used in the work in the past; but let no one, because of this, block the way by criticism.” She continues, “Men are needed who pray to God for wisdom and who, under the guidance of God, can put new life into the old methods of labor and can invent new plans and new methods of awakening the interest of church members and reaching the men and women of the world.”

I say it often, and I’ll share it again here: “Jesus isn’t coming anywhere until the Gospel goes everywhere!” To our entire Southwestern Union Conference family—let’s collectively move our Union forward in ministry relevance and press toward the mark for the prize in Christ Jesus! Let’s continue to preach, teach, minister and share the love of Christ with passion, excitement, enthusiasm and relevance to expedite Jesus’ soon return! Maranatha! The Lord is coming! By Carlton P. Byrd, D. Min. President


Southwest Region Conference News

Kid of the Year DALLAS – Orion Jean is 11 years old and a member of the City Temple Adventist Church in Dallas. Orion won a speech contest on the topic of kindness in 2020. Since then, he launched the organization “Race to Kindness,” and, with his family, has completed successful drives for toys (5,000), food (100,000) and books (500,000). He has spoken on multiple national platforms, has received multiple national recognitions and has authored a book on leadership under the popular publisher “A Kids Book About.” His latest recognition is being named “Kid of the Year” by TIME Magazine. Read the TIME cover story at TIME.com/6144632/kid-of-the-year2021-orion-jean. By Southwest Region Communication

Jesus is Coming to Your House NACOGDOCHES, TEX. – The Cariker Seventh-day Adventist Church hosted a Revival on Dec. 11-18, 2021, featuring the theme “Jesus is Coming to Your House,” with guest speaker Roger Johnson. The evangelistic event was launched in efforts to rekindle the hearts of the church members and bring the community of Nacogdoches to the truth that Jesus cares for them and wants to save them. The messages given each night were powerful,

uplifting and portrayed in a format that even the smallest child would have understood. Johnson was indeed under God’s Holy Spirit influence, striking the hearts of the church members and visiting friends. We know that when God sends out His message that it will not return unto Him void, but it will accomplish its purpose. Johnson structured his messages to enlighten listeners about “what happens when Jesus comes to town.” He shared about

good things Jesus does wherever He is and the impact He makes in the lives of others. When you meet with Jesus, your life can never be the same. God’s Holy Spirit was indeed in town, using Roger Johnson to influence the souls of Nacogdoches at the Cariker church. The revival was a success, and, at the end, Ajani Brown and Abeni Brown gave their lives to God. Praise the Lord! By Agatha Moreland

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Southwest Region Conference News

You Have Been Called BATON ROUGE, LA. – Promoted as a “ceremony like none other before it,” Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church, in conjunction with the Faith Seventh-day Adventist Church, hosted an ordination service for elders, deacons and deaconesses of both churches—Berean elders, Manushka Gracia-Desgage and Marque McCarter, Sr.; deacon, Timothy Hooper and deaconesses, Betty Collins, Barbara Franklin, Eva Holland, Margaret Milton, Arlene Mossey, Corine Pugh, Glenda Peeler and LaCole Wolfe, along with Faith’s elder, Melvin Thurn, III; deacon, Mark Blunt, and deaconesses Geraldine Bell, Annie Daniels, Josephine Holmes, Jaculeyn Thurn, Amy Williams and Velma Williams. Guest speaker and President of Southwest Region Conference Carlton P. Byrd used Jeremiah 1 as his scriptural basis and appropriately titled his message to the ordinands, You’ve Been Called. “God’s desire is for you to succeed. He’s got your back when nobody else is rooting for you. His call-

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ing for your life is why you’re at Berean, Faith or Morning Star. You were each created for God’s glory in spite of what the devil says.” He followed with numerous examples of ultimate stalwart men of God and their initial character and/ or physical imperfections that could have circumvented their carrying out God’s purpose for their lives. “But they had to learn to stop running because of what others were saying. Purpose is not for sale. God never had anybody who was perfect; perfect people don’t give good testimonies. Jeremiah’s purpose was to be a prophet to nations, to expose sin and call sinners back to God.” Ordinands would hear that, like Jeremiah, their lives of service were orchestrated even before they were in their mother’s wombs and that they were “products of divine providence and divine navigation.” He continued, “You are here tonight because God has set you apart; His calling on your

life is that which gives you passion in life, that prophetic anointing. You have been ordained by God, not by men.” He closed by pointing in the direction of each set of ordinands while proudly exclaiming “You’ve been called! You’ve been called! You’ve been called!” as he headed to his seat. Pastors Weegar and Footman followed, announcing their firm convictions that the ordinands were well deserving of the honor about to be bestowed upon them. Then the ordinands were presented, and, with each standing, pastors, elders and Byrd stood with hands stretched toward them as Charles Wilson prayed. In the end, many agreed that they had indeed just witnessed “a ceremony like none other before it.” We congratulate Berean’s and Faith’s Jeremiahs. By Evelyn M. Edwards


Southwest Region Conference News

A Community of Sisterhood HOUSTON, TEX. – At 9 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2022, the Houston Bay Area Women’s Ministry (HBAWM) hosted a day of praying, sharing and caring. This event was held at the Baytown United Seventh-day Adventist Church. Our theme for the day was “A Community of Sisterhood.” This theme was intentionally chosen because that is what the Houston Bay Area Women’s Ministry is all about. Along with our goal to empower and strengthen women, we also believe in “A Community of Sisterhood,” which means coming together in solidarity

based on shared experiences. We had a wonderful fellowship as Kennedy Vanterpool reminded us that God is in control of our marriages and families, and Linda Moore shared about helpful tools for managing grief and pain. The day culminated with a fundraiser. We were able to raise over $1,000 for our ministry. These funds will assist us in continuing to partner with various organizations including the Houston Food Bank, the Mission of Yahweh and the Ronald McDonald House. God is

truly amazing, and we give Him all the glory and praise. It is our desire to maintain “A Community of Sisterhood” and to effectively minister to the women that God has placed in our churches, our homes, our jobs and our communities, thus bringing supreme glory and joy to the heart of our Lord. By Cherylyn Joseph

What Do You Have in Your Hands? TEXARKANA, TEX. – Bethel Adventist Church School is excited to share about our Fall Week of Prayer that was held Oct. 25-29, 2021. The students took an hour each day, Monday through Friday, to participate in the livestream of their Week of Prayer services, entitled “What Do You Have in Your Hands?” Each child created a sermonette that included scripture, prayer and special music. They shared about Bible characters and how they used their

hands to help people. Watching these dedicated students stand and speak about the goodness of the Lord was very touching and inspirational. We are continuing to praise the Lord for what He is doing at Bethel Adventist Church School! The Week of Prayer videos can be viewed on the school’s Facebook and YouTube pages. By Sandra Clemons Principal

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Southwest Region Conference News

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Texas Conference News

Focus on the Eternal Prize Paul was focused. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 Paul says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” Paul is saying, I’m focused on an eternal goal. I’m not just running for no particular reason. There is purpose in my pace. There is a prize that I’m running after that will never fade, will never wilt, will never tarnish. I don’t want to focus on the temporary stuff like pleasures, applause and awards. I want to keep my eyes focused on eternity. I want to focus on heaven, and I want to take many people with me when I go. Friends, if we really want to look and love and live like Jesus that is going to require more than just trying

really hard to pull it off. We have to arrange our lives in a certain way that enables God to do the transformation He wants to do in us. We need to go back to the basics of our walk with Jesus and spend time in prayer, worship, serving other people, Bible study, Bible memorization, living in the constant awareness of the presence of God, saying “Yes” to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He gives you leadership through the day. Ellen G. White says in Steps to Christ, “Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, ‘Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.’ This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more

and more after the life of Christ.” Later in his life, just about at the end of his race, Paul writes to Timothy and says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better. It promises benefits in this life and in the life to come. So, stay focused on that eternal prize as you run. By Elton DeMoraes, D.Min., President

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Texas Conference News

Mega Food Bank Offers Hope in Austin AUSTIN, TEX. – The Austin Spanish First Seventh-day Adventist Church has had an active food bank for more than two years serving its community. Every Wednesday, 300 to 700 vehicles line up for food assistance in the church parking lot. Every three months, a Mega Food Bank Day is held on Sabbath. More than 1,400 people were served during the March 26, 2022 event. Hadiel Perugorria challenged his congregation to sacrifice their worship service for these special Sabbaths four times a year. Adjusting all the church’s activities for the Mega Food Bank which is held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. was not easy. Volunteer staff and community friends soon realized though that Sabbath was the most viable day for everyone to be involved. Friends from other denominations helped as well, as volunteers unloaded the merchandise from the huge trucks, sorted the products, boxed them in the right order and then placed them in the attendee’s vehicle. Most of the product palettes arrive

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on Fridays. The Mega Food Bank kicks off as early as 7 a.m. with the deaconesses cooking a delicious breakfast for more than 50 volunteers. The deacons set up traffic cones in the parking lot to lead the long lines of vehicles and young people share cardboard messages with selected verses of hope. Pablo Castro, general coordinator for the project, demonstrated great management skill as he grouped and briefed the volunteers. The pastor offered a word of prayer for all involved, as well as those being assisted. In addition to food, the church’s evangelism team shared hundreds of bags of bilingual literature, including items for children. Vehicle by vehicle they offered greetings, literature, invitations to church activities and even drive-thru prayers to those interested. Nurses offered vaccinations to those interested inside the church fellowship hall. On the north side of Austin, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is known in the community for its generous giving and good attitude.

During 2021, Austin Spanish First church members shared 834,947 pounds of products. They had a total of 416 volunteers giving 504 hours of their personal time. More than 36,478 families and 9,262 individuals were served and some 2,865 new families were added annually. More than 1,400 attendees took Christian literature home on March 26, 2022, planting seeds for the Lord to do His work. Perugorría shared that volunteers coming from the community have shown the most interest in the gospel message. The most beautiful thing about this missional effort on that Sabbath is that the volunteers exercised true piety. The word of Jesus was confirmed when He shared, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Luke 14. By Sergio Rodiguez Hispanic Ministries & Spanish Evangelism Associate Director


Texas Conference News

Dallas First Church Celebrates 70 Years at Current Location DALLAS – On June 17-18, 2022, the Dallas First Seventh-day Adventist Church (DFC) will celebrate its 70th Anniversary at their current location on North Central Expressway. DFC has its roots on Gano Street, just three-and-a-half miles away. It was established there in 1876 with a congregation of 18 members. They started what is now known as Dallas Christian Academy, and later built a two-room school on the lot next door for the school’s 12 children. As their membership grew, the church moved their congregation of approximately 125 to a property at 2900 Live Oak Street. “I remember going to Sabbath School in an upstairs room in that church,” says Tomasia Leatherwood, DFC’s resident historian, who has been part of DFC her entire life. It was in those same classrooms that the church school met during the week. In 1950, DFC moved to its current location across five lots, and later that same year a church school building was erected. Leatherwood was baptized there at age ten in 1953. As the decades passed, DFC watched the city expand around them. From a population of 866,000 in 1950, the DFW Metroplex grew to a thriving urban area of just over 7.6 million in 2022. “It is astonishing to me that a church has stayed in the same place for 70 years, let alone in an urban location,” says André Gonçalves, senior pas-

tor. “Most churches would sell and move to the suburbs where it’s more comfortable and economically viable.” And, as property values skyrocket in this highly gentrified area, this is a real option for DFC, but one they won’t consider. “We don’t want to leave,” Gonçalves says, “because we would lose the immense ministry opportunity we have here.” DFC has long used its central location in downtown to God’s advantage. Though their primary ministry has always been Dallas Christian Academy, the church has regularly fundraised for projects which serve their local community, and in recent years has established standing ministries that now maintain specific budget lines, including God’s Closet, God’s Table, a homeless ministry and a budding community basketball night. “We are in an incredible location, and I call that providential,” states Gonçalves. “I also think God has given us the right DNA as a church body to be truly open to all kinds of people to come to church. We’re a strong blend of all different worldviews, backgrounds and ethnicities. Anyone who comes into our church will find a place there.” There are almost two dozen ethnic groups represented at DFC. “If we’re all planning to go to heaven, we have to be able to love and serve one another regardless of any perceived differences,” Leatherwood points out.

“We intentionally celebrate the various cultural backgrounds of our church community, and we’re all learning so much about ourselves and each other.” Since DFC’s inception, the church has helped install nine other churches in the DFW metroplex and has been home to dozens of pastors and their families, many of whom have grown into leadership roles at conference and union offices across the North American Division. “Throughout our 146-year history, we have tried to be good stewards of what God has given us,” Gonçalves says. “We’re not large, we’re not wealthy and we’re certainly not perfect, but we want to be an inspiration to other churches so they know that if we’re doing something, they can absolutely do it, too. We want to set an example of how to do things well, collaboratively, on a small scale that doesn’t frighten or overwhelm.” Leatherwood expects DFC to expand their community outreach. “That should be the pulse of the church,” she says. “I want to see us sharing the gospel with more individuals through outreach, prayer and relationships. I can’t imagine us going backward–we must only move forward.” Find information about Dallas First church’s 70th Anniversary Celebration at DallasFirstChurch.org. By Becky St. Clair

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Texas Conference News

Planned Giving with a Purpose LONGVIEW, TEX. – Arturo and Irma Zarate are founding members of the Longview Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church. Arturo serves as deacon and music leader, while Irma serves as deaconess and has helped with children’s ministries. They both have been very active in their church, helping with Vacation Bible Schools, youth clubs, maintaining the church property and various other church projects. They love God and they love their church. Recently, they realized that part of being a good steward is to make sure that what God has given them goes to the right place once they are no longer here. They knew they needed to have a will, financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney and an advanced directive made for each of them and reached out to the Texas Conference.

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Today, they feel at peace knowing that what God has given them will go into the hands of their loved ones and to the church they love so much. Arturo and Irma say that it was so easy and now they don’t have to worry about it anymore. There are three trust officers in the Texas Conference. I assist the Houston and East Texas areas. Deyvy Rodriguez assists those in the Austin, San Antonio and South Texas areas. Uzziel Maldonado assists those in the North Texas area. It is common to find one of us preaching at a church and presenting a workshop on Planned Giving & Trust Services or Stewardship. Many express concerns about creating a will as if it will shorten their lifespan somehow. The reality, though, is everyone has a Will. If you don’t

create your own to specify what you want to happen, the government, through probate court, will do their best to guess. Wouldn’t you rather decide what happens to your finances and property? It is especially important if you have children. If you don’t formalize what happens to them if something happens to you, they may go to someone that would not have been your preference. Planned Giving also provides an opportunity to leave a legacy gift to further the gospel in an area of your choice. If you are passionate about evangelism, Lake Whitney Ranch or Adventist education, you could specify a specific amount or percentage to that area. The Texas Conference Planned Giving & Trust Services/Stewardship website, TexasGiving.org, shares a variety of resources as well as giving options. People are surprised to learn that besides cash, they are able to donate life insurance, IRA rollovers, retirement assets, stocks, bonds, securities, real estate, vehicles, collections and more to the ministry of their choice furthering God’s work today and beyond. Lynette Ecord, Planned Giving & Trust Services director, has worked in this department for 29 years. “It is an honor to assist those preparing their documents, so their families know their wishes,” Ecord shared. “It is especially gratifying seeing the legacy gifts to further God’s work here in Texas.” All documents are reviewed by an attorney making sure everything is correct. If you are interested in knowing more about how we can assist you with your estate planning, email us at Trust@txsda.org or call 817.783.2223 x2105. By Marshall Gonzales Trust Officer Houston/East Texas


Texas Conference News

Working Together to Care for Communities in Texas KEENE, TEX. – One of the first things Bo and Deborah Gendke wanted to do when they became Texas Conference Adventist Community Services (Texas ACS) directors this past fall was figure out ways they could supply items for churches to connect with their communities. Continuing the work, the former directors, Marshall and Julie Gonzales, started made it even easier. “The Gonzales’ saw the need to continue community service following Hurricane Harvey,” Bo shared. “They had just started a few weeks before they were catapulted into that major disaster relief effort. Afterward, they continued to assist communities and train volunteers.” A popular Bible verse describes the purpose of Texas ACS, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me,” Matthew 25:40. For some, they see it as God’s calling to help others. This past February, the Texas ACS team, Bo and Deborah Gendke and Mario Escobar, depot coordinator, organized two Sundays, Feb. 20 and 27, 2022, for 50 churches (25 each day) to come and load up items they could share with their community. Church leaders pre-registered for 30 minutes to shop. “It was exciting to see how fast they registered,” Deb-

orah shared. “It was like Christmas all over again being able to gift them these items.” Church members were able to pick up KN95 masks, clothes, blankets, hand sanitizers, personal wipes, lotion, shoes and other items. The first Sunday alone, 120,000 pieces or more than 12 tons of materials were given to churches for them to make an impact in their community. “Praying with them before they left was such a special time,” Bo added. “Knowing what a difference these items would make to individuals brought goosebumps. We prayed they would no longer stay within the walls of the church but expand their territory.” Having Southwestern Union and Texas Conference administrators as well as local pastors praying with the groups and for their ministries was so affirming to the individuals. Sharing stories from the day, Bo mentioned one from Geraldo Alonso. Part of the Sommerset Mission Group in San Antonio, Alonso shared how God has blessed their homeless ministry near San Antonio. Approached by another denomination in the area who wanted to learn how they organized their ministry, they decided to host a BBQ lunch. Planning for 150, they soon realized they had fed more than 500 and still had leftovers.

Houston United African Seventh-day Adventist Church members are starting a new ministry for refugees in their area, so they were excited to take advantage of these items they could share. “Our volunteers were invaluable in making this happen,” Deborah said. Jefferson Christian Academy students and staff came for two days to help sort the material and get it ready for distribution. Jannet Diaz and volunteers from the Alvarado Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church, were on hand to help churches load the materials, if necessary. “We are proud to be a resource for our churches,” Bo concluded. “With the warehouse in Keene, Tex., we want to be here to serve them and bolster their ministries.” Between both Sundays, the Texas ACS team gave 198,076 items or more than 20 tons for churches to share with their communities knowing “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” By Tamara Michalenko Terry Communication & Public Relations Associate Director

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Texico Conference News

Pressing Forward “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14. Many of us watched this year’s winter Olympic games. We tuned in to watch the various competitions and see the efforts of athletes who have dedicated their lives to training and striving to win medals in their respective sport. One thing these athletes all seemed to have in common was determination. Crash, or fall, they kept going. “Pressing forward,” the idea to continue making progress despite difficulties, setbacks and problems, is a concept that Paul understood very well. In fact, he is often referred to as the ultimate example of perseverance in the New Testament. In Philippians 3,

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Paul summarizes the Christian experience and reminds us that Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, is calling us heavenward. Heaven is the prize of the high calling—the prize we fight for, run for, wrestle for, what we aim for in all that we do. Life’s hardships often make this challenging, and it can be easy to want to give up along the way. However, the apostle encourages us to trust in God and press forward. In turn, God will give us the endurance, perseverance and faith to finish the race. In Selected Messages, Ellen G. White says, “It is through Him that we attain maturity in our Christian experience. Jesus is our perfection, our example, our standard of measurement in our Christian experience. Through Him, we reach the goal, the prize that is before us. It is through Him that we become complete, fully developed. Christ’s perfect holiness atones for our shortcomings.” The Christian life is very similar to the Olympic games in that it is made up of many defeats and victories. We

too are competing in the crucial race that has eternal implications. Like runners on their final lap, we muster all our strength to forge ahead. My dear brothers and sisters, the finish line which lies in heaven is getting closer and closer each day. Let us keep our eyes fixed on the one true prize. For God’s glorious reward of spending eternity with Him is worth far more than any earthly reward we can obtain. By Lee-Roy Chacon President


Texico Conference News

Texico Superintendent Retires After Long Career in Education CORRALES, N.M. – Last year, Texico Conference Education Superintendent Derral Reeve announced his plan to retire, and on March 1, 2022, Reeve officially concluded his education career that spanned more than four decades. “I’ve been intricately involved with Adventist education since 1960 when I was a first grader in a small school in Brewster, Wash.,” said Reeve. “I’ve enjoyed every aspect of it as a student, teacher, principal and superintendent. My favorite part has been watching students learn and seeing them grow spiritually as they accept Jesus in their lives.” Reeve worked as an Adventist educator for over 40 years and led the Texico Conference schools for the past 13 years. Prior to that, he served in Iowa, Minnesota, Alaska, Nevada, Utah and Wisconsin. Reeve had a passion for providing opportunities for students to grow and know Jesus personally through service on mission trips and involvement in outdoor school activities. Best known as “Mr. Reeve” by students and parents, Reeve was instrumental in starting four elementary

schools in the Texico Conference. He was an advocate for planning additional schools so that kids throughout the conference had an opportunity to receive an Adventist education. Reeve also served as Club Ministries director during his tenure with the Texico Conference. His passion for Club Ministries resulted in 56 years of being involved in club activities. Reeve earned his Master Guide and other high level club training awards, which equipped him to mentor and train others to lead out in Club Ministries. “I feel that the greatest accomplishment in my career was participating in more than a dozen mission trips,” said Reeve. “I witnessed many students share the love of Jesus, and, as a result, more than 500 people gave their lives to Jesus and were baptized.” Joining him in retirement is his wife Barbara Reeve who accompanied Derral during 47 years of ministry and served as an administrative assistant at the Texico Conference for 15 years. Barbara served as the receptionist and as an assistant in the Education and Youth departments. Barbara shared

Derral’s passion for the outdoors, education and Club Ministries, and was a big supporter of his ministry. “The ministry contributions of Derral Reeve and Barbara Reeve have touched many lives, and the faithful service to the Lord has certainly been blessed by God,” said Phil Robertson, Texico Conference executive secretary/treasurer. “We are grateful for them and will always count them as members of our conference family. May God continue to bless them in all their future endeavors.” Reeve will be remembered for his warm smile, love of nature, club activities, participation in mission trips and snapping pictures. The Reeves have since moved to Michigan and look forward to traveling and spending more time with their two daughters, two sons-in-law and six grandchildren. The Texico Conference is seeking to fill Reeve’s position and hopes to have someone in place for the 2022-2023 school year.

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Arellano and Pinzon Ordained to the Gospel Ministry CORRALES, N.M. – During the first few months of 2022, Texico Conference leaders were delighted to ordain two of its pastors to the gospel ministry. On Jan. 8, Texico Conference Officers Lee-Roy Chacon and Phil Robertson, performed the ordination ceremony of Carlos Arellano at the Amarillo Seventh-day Adventist Church. A couple of months later, in March, they took part in the ordination service of Jerry Pizon which was held at the Albuquerque Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church. Family, friends and colleagues came to celebrate the joyous occasions. Pinzon’s mentor and former professor, Jorge Rico, provided the homily and words of counsel in Pinzon’s special service. “Pinzon and Arellano are excellent and dynamic pastors,” said Lee-Roy Chacon, Texico Conference president. “They bring enthusiasm to the pulpit and passion to the ministry of serving others. We are truly blessed that they are a part of the Texico family.” Carlos Arellano was born in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Both he and his brother, José Efraín, are ministers. While studying at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU), Arellano was involved in canvassing, youth programs, evangelism and mission trips. During this time, he met his wife Ana Isabel Camacho. Arellano and Ana Isabel were married in 2008. They have

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two daughters, Chloe Anaí and Arlette Iana. A year prior to receiving his undergraduate degree, Arellano served the Texico Conference as a student pastor in the Roswell, Carlsbad, Van Horn and Saragosa District. Shortly after, he attended Andrews University where he completed his Master of Divinity degree. Arellano now serves the Amarillo Spanish, the Tucumcari Bilingual Seventh-day Adventist churches and the Dumas Spanish Group. He longs to continue growing as a servant of God and a shepherd of the flock God has given him. His pastoral desire is to prepare people for the glorious encounter with our loving Savior. Jerry Pinzon was born in Redlands, Calif. on Sept. 30, 1981, into an Adventist family. His early years were spent with his family in Colombia where, at the age of nine, he felt God’s call to give his life to Christ through baptism. When he was 17, Pinzon graduated from high school and moved back to the United States, determined to join the U.S. military. In March of 2001, Pinzon began 10 years of service in the United States Air Force (USAF), rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant and gaining valuable experience in working with people. During his years of military service, Pinzon felt a very real and specific sense that God was calling him to

ministry. He also became convinced that God had prepared someone who would partner with him in pastoral ministry. Just before he separated from the Air Force, he married his beautiful Colombian fiance, Yesica. Pinzon pursued a theology degree at SWAU in preparation for his call to serve God in ministry. Pinzon graduated from SWAU in 2011 and accepted the invitation of the Texico Conference to pastor the Gallup, Grants, Pie Town and Reserve Adventist Churches, where he served for about six years. In May of 2020, Pinzon graduated from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree and immediately returned to take up a pastoral assignment in the Texico Conference. Since returning to Texico, Jerry and Yesica have served the Española, Dixon, Taos, Tres Piedras and Cañon Plaza congregations. The Pinzons have been blessed with two beautiful children, Niah who is seven and Noah who is five. “These pastoral families are a wonderful blessing to the Texico Conference,” said Phil Robertson, Texico Conference executive secretary/treasurer. “We pray God’s great blessings for them and their ministries for many years to come.”


Texico Conference News

Advent Life Church Starts a Women’s Support Group SANTA FE, N.M. ­– The Advent Life Seventh-day Adventist Church is an active congregation in Santa Fe that is known for reaching out to its community. The church aims to create opportunities for its members that are meaningful and encourage personal growth. “At Advent Life church, we have one goal. It is to become more human and sensitive to the things that truly matter in life,” said Tiago Arrais, pastor of Advent Life. “We want to be more loving, kind, forgiving and patient and have learned that we are able to attain these things by studying the teachings of Jesus and deepening our understanding of Him.” Striving to be more like Jesus, Advent Life church runs several successful ministries, including providing hot meals at the Interfaith Community Shelter and taking lunches to the homeless community every week. The church is hoping to expand this ministry in the future by opening a care facility that will assist and complement other established ministries in Santa Fe. Recently, Advent Life church started a new women’s support group ministry. After experiencing some traumatic events in her life, Wendy Redic, first elder of the church, began talking to women and became convinced that women need a safe place to come together to talk, share and lean on each other. “As I spoke to Sabrina Martinez, who has experienced abusive relationships and recently lost her father and grandfather to COVID-19, the need for a support group was apparent. It was then that we decided to start the Abundant Life Women’s Support Group,” said Redic. The Abundant Life Women’s Support Group is open to women who are members of the church or are a part of the community and are experiencing hardships in life. It is especially intended for women experiencing grief, emo-

tional/mental/physical abuse, loneliness, sexual discrimination, health issues, feelings of overwhelm or

other difficult circumstances.

Redic believes some women may simply need a break from the duties of caretaking, whether it be for a relative or their children. “We invite women to join our meetings regardless of where they are in life,” said Redic. “They have the option to meet with us in person or through Zoom. Our meetings encourage open discussions and sharing of our experiences. Participants have the opportunity to relate to each other and, most importantly, listen and empathize in a sincere and meaningful way that provides comfort while understanding that they can’t fix everything.” The support group has a few ground rules. First, participants are not allowed to say “here’s what you need to do.” Redic explains, “We can share personal experiences or things that worked for us, but we are not there to tell each other how to solve each other’s problems. We do, however, have a list of resources and services if some-

one needs professional assistance.” Second, the group commits to keeping anything that is said in the meetings confidential so that women continue feeling safe to share their stories and hearts. The support group has delved into different topics such as abuse and its many aspects which include gaslighting, love bombing and trauma bonding. “These are terms that describe behavior that many women in abusive relationships have experienced, but many of them have never heard of these terms nor know the behavior has a name,” said Redic. Redic plans to invite guest speakers for topics such as grief and depression. She’d like to organize retreats as well as expand the reach of this ministry to influence young girls in a positive way. “My dream is to also reach young girls and help them understand their worth and build self-esteem, so they don’t end up in problematic relationships or situations,” said Redic. “I truly believe that, with God, all things are possible!”

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Texico Conference News

Family Comes in All Shapes and Sizes AMARILLO, TEX. – In 2012, my neurologist suggested that I get a service dog to help with certain impairments due to having Parkinson’s disease. Several months later, I found a funny little Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees mix that I named Corbu. After four months of service dog training, my 10-pound puppy turned into a 125-pound dog that worked hard to get to know me. In the following years, Corbu and I were inseparable, and he was instrumental in allowing me to continue my pastoral ministry. He was a sweet family dog who loved people, and we quickly became best friends. As time passed, Corbu’s age no longer allowed him to travel as much, so I began to consider his retirement as a service dog. Although it was hard, God led me to find “JD,” short for “Just Dog.” JD was a great dog, he even resembled me! After a year of training and preparing to take over for Corbu, JD unexpectedly passed away a day short of his first birthday. I took

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his death very hard; even worse was that Corbu’s health was declining. A week after JD’s death, I was told about a 10-month-old German Shepherd that needed a home. I was not emotionally ready to replace JD, and from the standpoint of replacing a service dog, it is not easy. Most dogs are not suited to be service dogs, and the training process is long. Nevertheless, I agreed to meet Bailey, and we clicked immediately. She was sweet and calm. With the help of “Hope Lives Here,” a group who helps pair military veterans with dogs and assists in the training process, I soon brought Bailey home, and we began to train. God’s hand was truly at work because I had never witnessed a dog take to the service work so well and so quickly. After two short weeks of training, Bailey joined me on the platform during a Sabbath service, and she did exactly what she was supposed to do. It has been several months since then, and we are continuing to build a bond of trust.

Many people say that dogs are just ordinary animals, but I have spent a lot of time with my service dogs, and each of them has brought something special into my life. They provide companionship and a friendship like no other. I have discovered that family can come in all different shapes and sizes. We should appreciate every moment we have with them because we never know how much time we have on this earth. More importantly, I have come to understand that, in His love for me, God brought Corbu, JD and Bailey into my life when I needed them most. God cares about the most minimal details in our lives because He loves us and wants to reassure us that we are not alone—especially in our darkest moments. He can also use the most “ordinary” things to accomplish His work. By Bobby Harris


Classified Ads 47 | Obituaries 48

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Obituaries Akens, Mary Alice, born Aug. 24, 1952; died Jan. 21, 2022. Church membership: Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist Church. Survivors: husband, Mickey Akens; sons, Phillip Akens and Bobby Akens; two brothers, David Henson and George Henson; three sisters, Lynn Pucket, Pat Overton and Janell Crum.

Gaede, Ruth, born Sept. 7, 1936, Detroit, Mich.; died Jan. 16, 2022, Harrah, Okla. Church membership: Summit Ridge Seventh-day Adventist Church. Survivors: husband, Kenneth Gaede of Harrah, Okla.; two sons, James Wines and Michael Wines, both of California.

Harrison, Larry Samuel, born Aug. 11, 1940; died Jan. 8, 2022. Church membership: Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist Church. Survivors: wife, Lela Coe Harrison; son, Larry S. Harrison II; brother, Bill Harrison; sister, Rebecca Rowe and granddaughter, Rachael Harrison Haltom. Hooper-Womack, Cassandra, born Dec. 10, 1979, Baton Rouge, La.; died Dec. 23, 2021, Baton Rouge, La. Church membership: Baton Rouge Berean Seventhday Adventist Church. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Eugenia K. Morgan and Walter and Sallie Pitts Womack. Survivors: husband, Timothy Hooper of Baton Rouge; daughters, Raven De’Nai and Rain Denim of Baton Rouge; parents, Charles and Linda

McClave, Alice L., born July 16, 1944, Crawford, Neb.; died Jan. 30, 2022, Haughton, La. Church membership: Minden Seventh-day Adventist Church. Preceded in death by her parents Edna Carr and Calvin James; father-inlaw, Eugene McClave and her mother-in-law, Bessie McClave; stepmother, Ela Draper; foster parents, Ruth and Bural Gibson; brother-in-law, Charles McClave; and sister-in-law, Ruth (McClave) Mantus, who all lived in New London, Ohio; sisters, Marilyn Moore, Cathay Ricman and Linda Clair; brothers, Ralf James, Rodney James, and Charles Carr. Survivors: husband, Donald H. McClave, who she was married to for 58 years; children, Laura Mattson of Bloomfield, N.M., Donald H. McClave, Jr., Jodi Vance of Hawaii and Chad L. McClave of Houghton, La.; her sister, Carol (James) of Hudson, Fla.; and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

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Womack of Baton Rouge; stepchildren, R’Montre and Naya; three sisters, Dawn, Chasity and Tressa, and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Hutson, Kenneth “Ray”, born Jan. 21, 1953, Ardmore, Okla.;

Allie Padgett. Survivors: mother, Leilani Mullins; wife, Carol McBroom; children, Veronica Pitts and A.J. McBroom (Nikki); siblings, Laura Kinsinger (Scott), Francis A. Tolbert, Jr. (Jessica) and Steve Tolbert; and five grandchildren.

10, 1923, Paris, Ark.; died Dec. 5, 2021, Englewood, Colo. Church membership: Fort Smith Seventh-day Adventist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Lyle; and one brother. Survivors: daughters, Cassandra Kerr, Dee Dee Foxworth and Barbara Angelopoulos; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Robinson-Lowry, Dixie Anna, born Dec. 5, 1933, Marshfield, Ore.; died Dec. 6, 2021, Hillsboro, Tex. Church membership: Joshua Seventh-day Adventist Church. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Oliver I. Lowry, M.D.; and son, Daniel Harley Wamack. Survivors: son, Douglas Wayne Wamack (Willyta) of Berrien Springs, Mich.; twin daughters, Dixie “Teresa” Pinkston (Virgil) and Brenda Lee Honeycutt (Grover), all of Whitney; 10 grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; and seven great-great grandchildren.

Mackey, Keith Lee, born Aug.

Seales, Carolyn Blevins, born Jan.

22, 1937, Lucien, Okla.; died Sept. 23, 2021, Oklahoma City, Okla. Church membership: Guthrie Seventh-day Adventist Church. Survivors: his wife, Lavelle; son, Robert Mackey; stepdaughter, Charrie (Brian) Shockey; three grandchildren, five stepgrandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

27, 1950, New Orleans, La.; died Aug. 22, 2021, Baton Rouge, La. Church membership: Baton Rouge Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church. Preceded in death by parents Willie and LeeAnna Blevins; brothers, Samuel and John (Ida) Blevins; grandson, Jakaden Hilton. Survivors: husband, Edward D. Seales, Baton Rouge, La.; sons, Harry Carey, Baton Rouge, La.; Darren Carey, Pensacola, Fla., and Gerard Carey (Meisha), Laurel, Miss.; sister, Marylon Remo (Isaac) of Bossier City, La.; brothers, Willie Blevins, Houston, Tex.; Michael Blevins, New Orleans, La.;

died Jan. 25, 2022, Denison, Tex. Church membership: Ardmore Seventh-day Adventist Church. Survivors: wife, Norma, of 46 years, and several cousins.

Little, Dorothy I., born Jan.

McBroom, Eugene Voland, born Aug. 27, 1960, Pineville, La.; died Nov. 17, 2021. He was preceded in death by his father, Voland Eugene McBroom; brother, Peter Evans McBroom and two grandchildren, Ashton and


Back Pages Roy Douglas “Doug” Brumley was born Sept. 11, 1943, in Royse City (a small city just east of Dallas) and passed away Dec.7, 2021, in Richardson, Tex. As Doug’s family was broken, he became a ward of the state. He became a resident of Hope Cottage, a local orphanage. His caregivers soon discovered that he loved the music played by the local classical station, so they called Mrs. Edgar Priest, who kept children for the Childrens’ Bureau in the state of Texas. The Priests became his foster family, a good choice since he learned chords from the two daughters who were budding pianists. This stood him in good stead when he was in high school. Doug graduated from the blind school in Austin, Tex., where he was much relied upon as a 4-year member of the band. He was rendered partially blind when the wrong drops were put in his eyes at birth. Doug was a staunch member of the Dallas First Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he Larry Blevins (Cirfeia) of Tyler, Tex.; sisters-in-law, Nancy Ball and Melba Blevins; six grandchildren, 11 greatgrandchildren; one godchild; several nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends.

Sparks, Joni Jean, “Granny Red”, born April 18, 1958, Fayetteville, Ark.; died Jan. 26, 2022, Evansville, Ark. Preceded in death by her parents, James and Geraldine Sturdy and her nephew, Anthony Carlton. Survivors: husband, Tom Sparks; daughter, Sonia Taylor (James) of Summers, Ark.; one stepson, J.B. Sparks of Evansville; two sisters, Jamie Reed (Paul Don) of Morrow, Ark., LaRita Carlton (Richard) of Vian, Okla.; one brother, Brit Sturdy (Debbie) of Fort Worth, Tex.; six grandchildren; two greatgrandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

was also relied upon to greet members when they arrived on Sabbath morning. As conversation was his second hobby, he made an excellent greeter. In addition to his foster family, Doug had a twin sister and an older brother whom he grew to know through the years. Doug enjoyed taking turns spending the month of December every year with his foster brother Norman Priest in Superior, Mont., and foster sister, Edra Van Doran in Albuquerque, N.M. He loved wandering around Dallas and browsing pawn shops, secondhand stores and music shops. Doug was preceded in death by his biological parents and brother Duane Romine; foster parents, Edgar and Delphine Priest; foster brother and sister, Allen Priest and Myra (Priest) Wooldridge. He is survived by sister Martha of Arkansas; foster sisters, Edra (Priest) Van Doran of Salt Lake City, Utah and Nelda Priest of Mesquite, Tex., foster brother Norman Priest of Superior, Mont., and many nieces and nephews.

Submissions Back Pages: To submit announcements, milestones, free or paid expanded obituaries or address changes, visit SWURecord.org or email Record@SWUC.org. Advertising: For cost information and deadlines contact Bradley Ecord at BEcord@swuc.org. News and Articles: Send local news for your church or school, along with highresolution photos, to your local conference communication department listed on page 2. If you are interested in writing for the Record, email Record@swuc.org.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work,

growing in the knowledge of God. COLOSSIANS 1:9-10

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Miracles Still Happen!

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W AT C H . B E I N S P I R E D . S H A R E W I T H Y O U R C H U R C H . From “Witch” to Witness awr.org/ranja

Ranja was held captive by the evil spirits that possessed her . . . until the day she turned on her radio.

Trading Guns for God awr.org/rebels

More than 700 rebel assassins just laid down their guns in exchange for a new life in Jesus . . . and they’re already leading others to Him!

Taking a Bold Stand awr.org/wisam

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

Download the new AWR360° app to watch these and many more miracle stories at: awr.org/apps 1-800-337-4297 awr.org /awr360 @awr.360 @awr360 awr.org/videos 12501 OLD COLUMBIA PIKE SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND 20904 USA

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