Rocky Mountain Conference wishes you a Thanksgiving season full of gratitude and blessings!
Thanksgiving: Inventory of Attitudes » A Samaritan ran headlong through the streets, tears of overwhelming joy streaming down his cheeks. His flesh was restored, with no trace of the leprosy that had been his primary identity since the first signs of the disease appeared. Seeing his Healer, he threw himself down at the feet of Jesus. His voice lifted up, but instead of calling out the word “unclean”, he shouted over and over again, “Thank you!”
Normally, when we review that story from the Gospel of Luke 17, we focus on the nine ingrates who didn’t return. Of course, that’s legitimate to do, especially since Jesus Himself called them out. But in this season of Thanksgiving, let’s instead use the example of the grateful Samaritan as a standard for an inventory of our own attitudes.
I suffer from something worse than leprosy. I am a sinner, and it permeates my very being. But God declared to me that my scarlet condition can be made whiter than snow (Isaiah 1:18) and provided the sacrifice Himself to wash me cleaner than the ten former lepers.
I think of that man who rushed back to Jesus. His life was over, and suddenly it was given back to him. I don’t know if it is possible for most of us to understand how dramatic that change was to him. But when I compare his hopelessness to mine, and his cleansing to mine, I can begin to understand the depth of his thankfulness. It is a humbling thing to contemplate, and worthy of your attention.
Are you grateful for anything? Tell Jesus. And have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Parker Adventist Hospital Medical Team Provides Medical Care in Peru » A surgical team from Parker Adventist Hospital is working in the Amazon Basin of Peru this week, providing free surgeries for people in the area who do not have access to health care. Their staff includes Dr Michael Bertocchi, general surgeon, and Dr Dmitriy Panteleyev, anesthesiologist, along with four nurses from Parker.
Fidelina Ahuite Arahuta and her husband Juan live in an indigenous community of around 150 people deep in the Peruvian jungle. She received gall bladder surgery after a missionary group in Iquitos contacted her community and discovered her need.
Fidelina and Juan traveled by boat for three days in order to reach Centura’s partner hospital, Clinica Adventista Ana Stahl. Since Fidelina had never seen a doctor or been to a hospital, the thought of surgery made her very nervous. However, after considering the pain that she had experienced after every meal for more than two years, she decided to be brave and make the long journey.
The city of Iquitos is the largest city in the world with no road access. Boats are the main means of transportation in the area. After arriving from the Chambira, Maranon, and Amazon Rivers, Fidelina stepped off the boat into a noisy and bustling city of nearly a half-million people. The couple made their way to the hospital amid the mass of people and confusion.
When Dr Bertocchi arrived in Iquitos from Parker, Colorado, he evaluated 45 patients at Clinica Adventista Ana Stahl who had previously been identified as needing surgery. Of those, 38 were selected. Fidelina was one of the first patients to be chosen, and she received surgery the following day during the medical campaign. Speaking only Urarina, a tribal language spoken by around 3,000 people in the jungle, Fidelina communicated with her doctors and nurses through her husband who also speaks Spanish.
“I want to thank the medical team for this surgery,” Fidelina quietly shares from her hospital bed. “I was sick for a long time, and it was very painful to eat. I thank God that these foreigners were able to come and provide this surgery for me. I am very happy now to be well again.”
[Fidelina Arahuta; photos by Greg Hodgson]
Just a Meal on the Way to Texas » About a year ago, we had a man visit our church named Joshua. He arrived in an unusual fashion as our church is out in the country -- he rode up on a bicycle and stayed for the entire church service. We have hospitality teams for non-potluck Sabbaths and they look for visitors to invite home for a meal. Joshua, along with several other visitors, was invited over for Sabbath lunch by Josh and Sharmini Long. The bike and bike trailer were loaded in the Long’s truck and off they went for Joshua’s first Sabbath lunch with Seventh-day Adventists.
In getting to know him, they found out that he had just started his journey in Denver and was going to ride his bike all the way to Waco, Texas! He wasn’t interested in riding the bus to Texas and was determined to ride and camp all the way there. It was evident that he was low on supplies so Josh and Sharmini loaded him up with food and bottles of water that he put in the trailer he pulled behind his bike. After an enjoyable and tasty lunch with great conversation, the Longs again loaded his bike and trailer in the back of their truck and took him to the place where he was going to get back on the bike path and head south. And just like that, he was gone.
Several months later, our Franktown Church Facebook account got a message posted to our page. It was from Joshua letting us all know that he made it safely to Waco, Texas. He said that he had enjoyed church and especially the meal and thanked the Long family for their help. I shared this message with the Longs, and it made their day.
Fast forward to Thursday, November 16 -- almost a year later, we received a message in our Facebook inbox from the same Joshua and this is what it said: "Hello, my name is Joshua Van Schoik. I am trying to get in touch with Josh and Sharmini. I rode a bicycle through there about a year ago. That was my first experience with a Seventh-day Adventist church. I intend to join the Waco Seventh-day Adventist Church that I have been attending. Loving people."
Something as simple as a meal in your home can plant a seed that God can water and grow. You don’t always get to find out what happened to that seed you planted, and we are so glad that we get to see how God led our new friend Joshua to the Waco Seventh-day Adventist Church and a new family in Jesus. We are glad the Franktown church was on the way to Waco, Texas.
Where Do You Stand? » Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Roy Moore, Bill Clinton, George Takei, Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey…the list of perpetrators and alleged sexual abusers mentioned in the news lately appears endless. This list spans from Hollywood to the White House, the U.S. Congress, and every place in between, covering politics, news media, the entertainment industry, sports and more. Truly, no place is immune from abuse—not even the church. Perhaps especially not the church.
Why would I say such a thing? Shouldn’t the church be the safest place of all? Yes, it should be—but it often is not. Like all of the names mentioned above, church leaders (pastors, elders, deacons, etc.), educators and youth leaders are in positions of power and authority—spiritual authority. They have an inherent fiduciary trust—a responsibility to protect, watch over and help those under their care and leading. They are never to abuse or misuse that sacred privilege. Yet, it happens, and far too often.
What does the church have in common with the world when it comes to sexual assault and abuse? Enabling, collusion, cover-up, victim shaming and blaming…
Look what happened when victims spoke out, some after decades of silence, in the above-mentioned cases—they were called liars, money-grabbers, and seducers of powerful men. News reports revealed common lines of thought and questioning:
Why didn’t she say “no”?
Why did she wait so long to report?
This must be politically motivated to keep him out of office.
She must have seduced him. She wanted it.
He’s a good man; he’d never do such a thing.
And many more ignorant remarks that tend to make my blood boil! Why aren’t we asking the following instead of victim shaming and blaming?
Why did he touch her when she said “no”?
Why did he drug her to have sex with her when she didn’t want to do so?
Why didn’t those who knew what was happening do something? Why did they turn a blind eye and allow it to continue?
Why isn’t he being held accountable for his actions?
Why aren’t more people enraged that those in power, even among our congregations, are abusing that power to take advantage of those under their care and leadership?
These are the questions we should be asking. Don’t be part of enabling an abuser. Don’t cover for one. Don’t partake of their sins.
We know where God stands on the issue of abuse. “But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in me--it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!.” (Matthew 18:6)
Where do you stand?
She is a pastor’s wife and the CEO of The Hope of Survivors, an organization dedicated to assisting victims of clergy sexual abuse and educating clergy and church leaders on prevention. Email her at [email protected]
Pastor Jonathan Carillo began pastoring the Bloomfield Hispanic, Pagosa Springs and Durango Hispanic churches as of September 1. Born in California, he graduated from Navojoa University in Mexico.
Mark Jagitsch began pastoring at the Cheyenne, Laramie and Torrington churches October 1. He comes from the New Jersey Conference and is married to Cara Jagitsch. They have three children -- Annelise, Christian and Kean.
Don Lopes began serving as pastor for the Fort Morgan, Sterling, Akron, Yuma, Holyoke, and Burlington churches on June 1. He comes from Andrews University with his wife, Arceli Lopes and children, Miles and Ariana Lopes.
Beginning December 1, Samuel Bustamante will serve as pastor of the Denver South Hispanic Church. He comes from the Minnesota Conference. Married to Maritza Bustamante, they have three children -- Samuel, Daniel, and Abigail.
Denver South Church » The traditional Feast of Lights concert is coming to Denver South Church December 1, 2.
December 1: 7 p.m. concert
December 2: 4 p.m. concert
For more information, contact Douglas Macomber at 303-744-1271.
Lighthouse Christian School » To Adventist schools around the world, we want YOU in our school's International Christmas program! Watch this video, and read the comments for details. We want your school to make a short video for us and our students want to interview you for a report in our program. Help us create a truly international "Christmas Around the World" program. Together, we are one family, and we want to celebrate that.
HMS Richards School » The students of HMS Richards Pre-K through 4th Grade invite you to participate in their project-based learning service project for Campion Church. They are developing a prayer garden and can use your help. If you are interested in helping sponsor this project, please make donations out to
HMS for PBL Prayer Garden and send to:
HMS Richards School
Attention: Prayer Garden
342 42nd Street SW
Loveland, CO 80538
Or, you can donate online at www.campionchurch.org and mark it Prayer Garden. This project will take a few years to be fully developed, but plans include terraced flowers, benches, stone paths, gazebo, fountain, and a prayer box. Phase One includes a bench and a prayer box. We want this to be a special blessing for the church, campus, and community for many years to come!
Campion Academy » is looking for a part-time English teacher with a master's degree and SDA certification. To apply, send your resume to Don Reeder at [email protected]
Mile High Academy » MHA has an immediate opening for a PT Accountant (20 hours/week, Monday - Friday). The position reports to the Director of Finance, completing job duties such as check disbursements, reconciliations and billings. For more information regarding job duties, expectations and how to apply, visit the job posting at http://www.rmcsda.org/hr-accountant.
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Rocky Mountain Conference Mission Statement Tagline:
Knowing Christ and Making Him Fully Known