22 Jul

CHANGE OF GUARD AT THE HOPE OF SURVIVORS

By Jon Roberts – Worland, Wyoming …. In a recent email to supporters of the ministry The Hope of Survivors, Steve and Samantha Nelson announced that they will be retiring as directors at the end of 2021.

The ministry, which focuses on ending clergy sexual abuse, has been challenging and also a blessing over the last 20 years. Recently, during the camp meeting event at Mills Spring Ranch in Wyoming, they shared their two-decade long experience with The Hope of Survivors.

“The Hope of Survivors has blessed [us] in many ways, including being able to travel around the world to minister to broken lives and hurting people because of clergy sex abuse. We have also been able to plant similar organizations in various countries. However, it has been an awful lot of hard work and, yes, it has been a heavy burden to carry at times.”

Samantha recalls that the ministry has often been very challenging [when] dealing with different church entities. “They don’t want to recognize or deal with the issue and want the ministry to just go away so they don’t expose the real-world issues that affect the church, not only in Adventism but [also] other denominations.”

Steve agrees with Samantha’s perspective on the ministry which they ran together for 20 years adding, “I think it’s opened the door for a ministry that never would have happened had we not gone through with this and started the ministry. We wouldn’t have been able to touch [some} people’s lives without it. I mean, these are huge issues. You can’t really put a price on being able to spiritually talk to a situation that nobody was talking about.”

They shocked some, disappointed some, and angered some for discussing this issue, but they would do it all over again, Steve added.

He explained that the struggles have taken a toll on Samantha’s health which led to the counsel by medical professionals that they step aside to reduce the stress.

For those in the Adventist church who would like to bury their heads in the sand and imagine this issue is not prevalent, Samantha has strong words of counsel.

“I would say you have absolutely no clue what’s going on within the church because it is a very prevalent issue within Adventism as much, if not more than it is within the Catholic church or any other denomination. We are not immune just because we’re Seventh-day Adventists.”

“You need to educate yourself and be aware. People really need to educate themselves and not blame the victim. Don’t say it takes two to tango, and make it seem like it’s an affair when it’s not, because clergy sexual abuse is all about abuse of the power held over the one that they’re supposed to shepherd and watch over,” Samantha said.

She added, “It’s frustrating at times to hear people still say, ‘Well, that doesn’t happen at our church.’ What makes you think you’re immune? It’s not a denominational problem. It’s a human sin problem and we have sinful humans within the Adventist church.”

What has been challenging to the Nelsons is that the church is receiving credit for speaking out when, in fact, the church isn’t addressing the issue adequately at all.

“The Adventist church has actually gotten a lot of kudos that they didn’t technically deserve because of what The Hope of Survivors has been doing. And to explain that, I’ll just say that victims who contacted us believe that we’re speaking on behalf of the Adventist church, and they’re like ‘Wow, I’m so grateful your church is speaking out about this. All churches need to,’ and we’d let it go, but it hasn’t always been the case of the churches speaking out. It’s mainly just us and The Hope of Survivors,” Samantha explained.

She added that “one of the things we used to hear a lot was, ‘Why do you want to air the church’s dirty laundry? Why do you want to expose this? We are not supposed to talk about it.’ Our perspective on that is that transparency leads to trust. If you want victims and others to trust you, you need to be transparent. You need to be honest. You need to admit this is a problem.”

Success stories of the ministry can be both sad and joyous, according to Steve. “The sad part is there are success stories that are short-term and some that are long-term. The short-term ones can come to mind quickly. The long-term ones are more complicated. We know that marriages have been saved; people have stayed with the church, but then later on, their marriages disintegrated because the abuse is that difficult to deal with.”

The success stories are evident in the volunteers with Hope of Survivors, according to Samantha. “The majority of our volunteers were prior victims who had contacted us for help. Then, as God healed them and used The Hope of Survivors in that process, they wanted to become a part of it. They are the ones who are going to be helping carry The Hope of Survivors forward when we’re not here anymore.”

“Other successes are the lives that have been saved. I can’t even count how many people have said ‘I was ready to commit suicide and I found your website. You saved my life.’”

As the Nelsons prepare to close this chapter of ministry in their lives, they are taking with them the blessings God has given them–“The blessing of knowing that what God called us to do, so long ago, won’t die because we step away. He’s gonna make sure that it carries on and will continue to impact lives and save lives around the world,” Samantha expressed.

Steve is looking forward to hearing the stories in heaven. “I take with me the thought of eternity and hearing about how this ministry has blessed individuals and saved them from hurt and pain.”

They want their ministry to be remembered as groundbreaking and as them having the courage to speak to these issues. “[This is] an absolutely essential ministry to those who are hurting from clergy sexual abuse. There really wasn’t any other organization doing what we were doing when we started. I believe that’s why God called us to begin this ministry to fill that void. I just want it to be remembered as something that made an impact on Christians of all denominations. In fact, I shouldn’t even say “Christians” because we’ve actually had Hindus, Buddhists and atheists contact us for help,” Samantha said.

Steve wants people to remember them as individuals who finally stood up for the victims and who helped those who were in desperate need to reconnect with the church and with God.

The Nelsons ask for prayer as they wait to see what else God has in store for them in future ministry while continuing with their pastoral ministry in Wyoming.

On January 1, 2022, Martin Weber, a board member since 2008 and a retired hospital chaplain, will become Board Chair and President of the organization, with Shyleene Rosado and Carlos Rosero serving as CEO and treasurer, respectively, who currently are leading the Latino division.

To learn more about The Hope of Survivors please visit http://www.thehopeofsurvivors.org

–Jon Roberts is RMC media / communication assistant; photo by Sherry Taylor

22 Jul

Remembering Abner Escobar Portillo

By Vanessa Alarcón – Greeley, Colorado … The Rocky Mountain Conference Hispanic churches are in shock and disbelief as well-known and beloved youth leader, Abner Escobar Portillo, died unexpectedly in a car accident on July 4.

Abner had served in various ministries in RMC since arriving in Colorado when he was 16. He founded the RMC Hispanic Youth Federation, FEJA, 20 years ago with a vision for having a youth federation led by volunteer youth leaders from across the region that would provide ongoing spiritual and social activities. FEJA quickly became the main source for youth programming for  the Hispanic churches in the Rocky Mountain Conference, from youth retreats to sports tournaments.

“He set his life aside to serve,” Jorge Alemán, former FEJA president, remembers. “He fully owned his calling to serve the youth of this conference and kept all of us leaders accountable.”

Abner had a heart for young adults that longtime ministry collaborator with FEJA and Pathfinders, Nancy Quiñonez, had never seen in anyone else. “Abner always tried his best to talk to as many young people as he could at all youth events. He wanted to make sure they felt welcomed.”

After serving as FEJA president for nine years Abner became a Master Guide and Pathfinder area coordinator.

“His personality and charismatic leadership allowed him to have a positive intergenerational influence, from children to adults. His leadership wasn’t only effective in his local church, but transcended to the whole Latino Adventist community,” Rubén Rivera, RMC Hispanic coordinator commented.

It was evident that Abner’s ministry influenced many lives by the tributes written on social media.

“He was at almost every single [youth event] devoting time and energy into all of us in such a positive way,” Liz Cabriales, Newday church member, wrote.

Abner‘s funeral service was held July 7 in Chihuahua, Mexico. His memorial service will be held at LifeSource Adventist Fellowship in Denver on July 31 at 4:00 p.m.

He is survived by his wife, Gisela, and two children, Belinda, age 9, and Azael, age 2.

The Greeley Hispanic Seventh-Day Adventist Church is collecting funds to help support Abner’s wife and children. To contribute to the memorial fund, please mail donations to:

Greeley Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church
PO Box 310
Greeley CO 80632-0310
Please mark donations: Abner Escobar’s memorial fund.

–Vanessa E. Alarcón is the former FEJA communications director; photo by Rubén Rivera.

21 Jul

GVR CAMP SEASON ENDS WITH FAMILIES

RMCNews with John Boone – Ward, Colorado … Glacier View Ranch, for one final week this summer, is buzzing with the excitement and noise of children and those who are still children at heart at Family Connect Camp.

The popularity of this camp was evident on July 18 when 100 campers arrived at GVR with an eager outlook for a week of new friendships and the rekindling of old connections while becoming Fully Alive in Jesus, the theme for the camp.

Attendees began their venturesome week with a program designed to entice them with what the week ahead held. It began with a staff video followed by everyone’s favorite camp songs. The first of many skits entertained the crowd and the evening concluded with a message from Bob McAlpine, Alamosa district pastor and GVR pastor for the week.

The reactions overheard from the Phillips family after attending the initial gathering included “They are geared for the young; they are fun with high energy; and they are inspirational. The pastor’s part has been applicable to all ages, wherever you are in life.”

Another camper, Emily Albertson eagerly shared her reaction to the opening event. “My favorite part was the play.”

As campers retired to their cabins, they were filled with anticipation for what was to come when activities began in the morning.

The choices were many for the campers to decide on Monday morning. Would they be adventurous, and choose mountain biking, rock climbing, or horseback riding. Or would they choose something more relaxed as a morning by the poolside or crafts, archery, survival skills, exploring the nature center or maybe lake-front activities. One thing was evident regardless of the activity that was chosen–fun was in the offering for all ages.

“Survival class is really fun because we got to try different edible plants! And we got to learn about basic living out in nature,” camper Ruben Rivera, commented.

The week also provided opportunities for family units to grow closer together while expanding their family circle. This was evident when one large extended family celebrated a birthday.

“This is possibly my best birthday ever because I was surrounded by the people that I love most on this planet. It’s even more special because we live far apart from each other. It’s special that we could meet here,” Paul Rivera, family camper exclaimed.

While family camp unfortunately has to come to an end soon, campers will be taking with them memories of a week with the opportunity to enhance their walk with Jesus and enjoy summertime together as an extended family.

The adventure of summer camp doesn’t end yet as next week, Mills Spring Ranch on top of Casper Mountain comes alive with Engage Base Camp. If you are interested in registering, please visit https://www.millsspringranch.com/summercamp or email [email protected] or just show up on July 25.

–RMCNews with John Boone; photos supplied

21 Jul

WESTERN SLOPE CAMP MEETING RETURNS ON AUGUST 4

RMCNews – Montrose, Colorado … “We are really happy to be back in person,” Nate Skaife, pastor of the Grand Junction church enthusiastically expressed, regarding the return of Western Slope camp meeting. The 7th annual gathering will convene at Mountaintop Retreat in Montrose, Colorado on August 4.

“Love of God” is the theme of the four-day event. Western Slope pastors will begin the meetings with morning worship, followed by afternoon seminars by Dr Joseph Kidder, professor of Pastoral Theology and Discipleship at Andrews University. Also speaking in the afternoon will be Gary Force, pastor of the Durango district. Kidder will conclude the evening with a message about worship and principles that help develop a deeper relationship with God.

The event will provide time to not only grow spiritually, but also experience God in nature by offering an expanded range of outdoor excursions.  A sampling of these adventurous endeavors includes a zip line experience, swimming, tubing, boating, hiking, and other water events.

On Friday and Sabbath, musical appetites will be filled with performances by the Kings Heralds, according to Skaife.  They will also provide a musical concert on Sabbath afternoon.

First-time visitors to the event will experience a beautiful place to camp along with fellowship and a chance to rekindle or establish new connections.

The gathering is crucial at this time, according to Skaife. “We [the organizers] believe that it is crucial to come together and worship and praise God for what He has done. You can do it by yourself, but it is not the same as doing it in a group.”

Skaife added it is his desire that everyone will leave the camp meeting with a deeper walk with Jesus.

To register for the Western Slope camp meeting please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdWdAyrSxzvkTFOj-VShG3iXPd3GJFRKAL5SRXbQk6marlMgA/viewform

For more information please visit: https://www.facebook.com/SDAWSCM

–RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

Western Slope Camp Meeting 2019

Western Slope Camp Meeting 2019

20 Jul

JESUS AT THE CENTER OF THE CAMP EXPERIENCE AT MILLS SPRING RANCH CAMP

By Jon Roberts – Casper, Wyoming … “It’s been a long time since we’ve had kids running around screaming and making noise, and learning about Jesus in camp,” Brent Learned, Mills Spring Ranch Camp director, expressed about welcoming youth back to camp and referring to 2020 when camp was not held.

As Engage Base Camp campers begin to pack their gear for MSR, Learned reflects on the lost year of summer camp and how important this week is to the campers.  “I especially feel for the kids that don’t have a safe home. Summer camp is the one week of the year that they really look forward to. It’s a safe place where they can connect with Jesus and with their friends.”

MSR is about reaching out, not only to campers in the Adventist church, but also to the community.  Part of the outreach this year is teaming up with Angel Tree Camping Ministry, a subsidy of Prison Fellowship. This partnership allows children with an incarcerated parent to attend camp free giving them the opportunity to come to a safe zone for a week as their home life is usually very difficult and most of them have never experienced summer camp before.

Learned offered the roofing contractors, who replaced the roofs on all camp buildings earlier in the year, the opportunity to send their children to MSR. He added that finances would not be an issue for the contractors who couldn’t afford camp.  “These are kids that have never gone to church before or to summer camp. It’s a brand-new experience.”

During the summer of 2020, even though MSR couldn’t welcome campers, staff and volunteers were busy improving and building new attractions.  One new activity is a sand volleyball court. Being very intentional about creating the court correctly, sixty tons of sand was hauled in, explained Learned. He added that eleven new rock-climbing routes and two rappelling routes await the youth. However, the newest attraction is a redesigned fire pit with benches. The project was designed and created by Casper resident, Gary Gauge, a student-intern from Union College. The homemade benches were made from trees located on the camp property and include no rebar, unlike the old benches that were uncomfortable to sit on.

Aside from the activities campers can submerge themselves in, Learned explained the real motive behind the camp experience is to initiate or assist the campers in their walk with Jesus. “The main point of camp is to connect and reconnect kids with Christ so that they can grow in the knowledge of salvation. Everything that we do is focused and centered around getting to know Christ.”

He added that worship isn’t just in the morning or in the evening. “It’s an all-day focus. First thing in the morning is our camp council worship as a group, and throughout the day, we begin every activity with prayer. The camp staff is always open to having conversations, mentoring, and building those relationships with kids throughout the day. The week-long play continues every single night, all week long, focusing on the story of Zacchaeus this year.”

He added, “To conclude the day, the cabins come together for worship before they go to bed. So, Jesus is in the center of absolutely everything we do.”

Engage Base Camp kicks off on July 25 and currently more than 30 are signed up there is room for more.  You can register online at https://www.millsspringranch.com/summercamp or by emailing [email protected]  or by showing up on July 25.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Jon Roberts and Casper church Facebook

20 Jul

MILE HIGH ACADEMY BUILDING STRONGER RELATIONS WITH AREA CHURCHES

By MHANews — Highlands Ranch, Colorado … “We have such an amazing opportunity to partner together to build something great for the Lord here in Denver,” said Andrew Carpenter, Mile High Academy’s new principal, commenting on the new school year.

MHA’s mission of offering a Christ-centered education for all students, is key to the foundations taught to our young people as they navigate the challenges in today’s world. This, in turn, has placed a strong emphasis on the relationships between MHA and the churches in Denver metro and RMC.

Part of building these relationships were conversations with Hugo Guillen, pastor of Denver South Hispanic and Central Hispanic church, and middle school teacher Christiana Hernández, who discussed opportunities for students in the Hispanic churches to learn about MHA. These meetings culminated in Carpenter being invited to preach at Denver Central Hispanic church.

Carpenter emphasized that one of the most exciting promises God has given us is His promise to come again. He expressed his own excitement about this promise and how he is eager to partner with the local churches, families, and schools to spread the message about salvation and the second coming of Jesus.

The Sabbath experience concluded with MHA opening its campus to the Hispanic churches for vespers, dinner, campus tours, an opportunity to ask questions and an open gym night for fellowship.

“It was encouraging to get together Saturday night and close the Sabbath with Pastor Hugo’s churches,” said Carpenter. “There was so much life and joy as we worshiped, ate, and played together at MHA. We are excited to continue to connect and build relationships with our Denver Adventist Community.”

Mile High Academy continues to work on building stronger, working relationships with our churches and with Rocky Mountain Conference. In the spring, pastors, RMC, and MHA discussed opportunities for all entities, focusing on how to further build the relationship between the school, church, and members. These discussions resulted in a change in MHA’s tuition structure, ensuring that all members of the Seventh-day Adventist church will receive a discounted rate regardless of where they hold church membership.

“We are blessed by the support and relationship growing between MHA, RMC, our pastors and churches,” Jocelyn Aalborg, MHA vice president of finance and development, said. “Through hard work and much prayer, it is our hope that churches will continue to view MHA as a unit in their church ministry.”

As a new school year dawns, MHA will continue to partner with and have a presence in the local churches. Several MHA Sabbaths are being planned where MHA students and staff will participate in the Sabbath program at various Denver-metro churches. Church pastors are welcome on campus to build relationships with students and offer support as needed. Pastor Danial Birai of LifeSource Adventist Fellowship will teach the high school Bible classes and other pastors will assist at various religious events, including MHA’s FOCUS Week.

“I want people to look at MHA and realize that God is here on our campus. He is the center, and we are encouraged by the outpouring of support by our local pastors [as we look for] ways to offer a Christian education for all students. He is coming soon, and it is our mission as a church body and school to support each other as we ready our young people and community to meet Him,” Carpenter expressed.

–MHANews; photos supplied

15 Jul

WYOMING CAMP MEETING BEGINS WITH HAIL AND FOG

By RMCNews– Casper, Wyoming … Wyoming camp meeting reconvened on June 13 to an opening night of attendees focused on what was failing from the sky rather than on the speaker. Hail coated the grounds of Mills Spring Ranch in one-inch piles.

Tom Lemon, vice president for the world church, began the gathering on Tuesday evening by inviting the early group of campers to join him on a journey of being fearless of God’s power. He tied in examples of God’s creation power which engenders a respectful fear toward God.

The first full day, Wednesday, began with MSR socked in a layer of dense fog and drizzle, and with temperatures in the low 50’s; but those gathered were not going to the let the wild swing of weather dampen their joy at being back on top of Casper Mountain.

“People are excited to be back because being at home they have missed the connections with their church family. This is the highlight of the year for Wyoming,” Steve Nelson, pastor of the Cody district said.

The theme “Fearless” features presentations on how to live a life of respect for God without fear.  The morning devotions. led by Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, began with the example of David, who faced Goliath without fear because he trusted in God to protect him.

Later in the morning, Doug Inglish, RMC vice president, continued the meetings with a discussion on how everyone stands on the shoulders of others or are themselves the shoulders of others to stand on, illustrating that individual in the church need not be filled with fear, for they are not alone.

The afternoon offered four seminars on various topics, including health, photography, rock climbing, and fly fishing or individuals could choose to explore the picturesque scenery that MSR has to offer. The seminar on fly fishing, presented by Dr. Arnie Sybrant, was very popular among outdoor enthusiasts. “I didn’t know anything about fly fishing until the classroom seminar. Now I know almost everything about fly fishing,” Shayne Vincent, pastor of Casper district expressed.

Attending Wyoming camp meeting for the first time, you can expect the following according to Vincent.  “Relaxation, nature, quiet, good services, and stars at night.”

For church members in the region, it’s not too late to experience the fellowship, fun, and culture Wyoming has to offer. The meetings continue through Sabbath, July 17, at MSR, located on top of Casper Mountain.

–RMCNews; photos by Jon Roberts, Samantha Nelson, and Rajmund Dabrowski

14 Jul

COWBOYS AND COWGIRLS REUNITE AT COWBOY CAMP MEETING

By Jon Roberts – Montrose, Colorado … After a mandatory year off, the 21st annual Cowboy Camp Meeting assembled with some 75 attendees experiencing five days of a past lifestyle where the only worries were, “Do we ride the horse or the ATV to the meeting tent?”

The meetings, nestled in the heart of the National Forest, were attended by individuals from seven states, including a few outlaws, or non-cowboys, from Denver. The common thread of conversation among everyone was, “It’s good to be back!”

“It feels great to be back. This is one of the most beautiful spots in Colorado,” Ron Johnson, secretary treasurer of Cowboy Camp Meeting Association, enthusiastically exclaimed.

“It’s wonderful to be back,” Sharon Fisher, from Montrose, commented about returning after a five-year absence.

For others it was all about renewing friendships and connections. “I love seeing people I haven’t seen for a long time–people from all over the conference. It’s a real joy,” Wesley Cooper, a church member from Montrose, expressed. He added, “It’s such a great environment up here in the mountains. I’m a Colorado boy and I’ve lived in Colorado all my life. The mountains are home. I love it.”

The mornings featured Nathan James, pastor of the Moab, Utah district. His presentations focused on understanding the times in which we live and knowing what we ought to do.

For James, this was a unique experience. “I love the setting. It’s amazing. I enjoy the flexibility of the schedule, and the fact that there is some really great spiritual food, morning and evening, and discretionary time during the day.”

The evening concluded with Dick Duerksen, Oregon Conference story teller, doing what he is known for–telling stories. One story he told with gusto was about a couple living a not-so-licit lifestyle who started to attend an Adventist church. He explained how the man tested God in his tithe.  At first, nothing happened and the man was losing faith till his girlfriend convinced him to start tithing on his “not-so-legit” business. The couple was financially blessed until one evening they called the pastor asking him to do three things for them that weekend–marry them, baptize them, and help them start over with a lawful life in another location. Duerksen explained that this story is proof that when we fully trust in Jesus, our lives will improve.

Duerksen, who drove to the camp from Portland, Oregon, enjoyed the gathering immensely. “I think what I have enjoyed most is the spontaneity and spiritual interest in the people that are here. People who are just as thrilled to be at 9000 feet as I am–closer to God.”  What he hopes individuals will take home from his stories—“You can trust God; He’s a good friend.”

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Jon Roberts and Ron Johnson

14 Jul

Keeping Your Kids Safe Around Water

By AdventHealth … Spending time in a swimming pool, at the beach or playing in water is a fun way to beat the heat and keep kids active during the hot summer months.

But, unfortunately, with water comes risk. And active adult supervision is critical to avoiding trouble.

“Many times, near-drowning occurs in the middle of a crowd,” explains Sara Kirby, MD, board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physician and Medical Director at AdventHealth Tampa’s Pediatric Emergency Room.

Dr. Kirby explains that assumptions are dangerous; if all adults assume someone is watching the children, it’s possible that no one actually is.

“Make sure small children are no more than an arm’s-length away at all times and there is an adult assigned to watch older children playing. Use a bracelet or lanyard to designate who is responsible for watching that shift,” she advises.

If you incorporate these helpful tips, you and your family can enjoy water fun while also lowering your risk for a water-related accident.

Tips for Parents

Follow these important safety guidelines to ensure your kids don’t have an accident around water.

1. Always swim in areas that are monitored and avoid taking the plunge in ponds or canals that don’t have a lifeguard and could have hazardous wildlife
2. Be mindful when young children are in the bathtub and never leave them unsupervised; it doesn’t take a lot of water to have a near-drowning incident
3. Enroll in a CPR class and keep the number of your local Emergency Medical Service saved in your phone
4. Enroll kids in swimming lessons to teach them how to be comfortable and not panic in the water
5. If you go boating, make sure that you have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for every passenger on board
6. Install a secure gate around your pool or spa at home to make sure kids don’t wander into the area without an adult
7. Make sure that whenever they’re swimming, children are actively supervised

Tips for Children

Teach your kids these water safety habits to help them be safe when they’re enjoying the summer sun.

1. Always swim with a buddy so you’re never alone if you need help
2. Unless a grown-up says it’s okay, never jump or dive into a body of water; it’s safer to wade in if you don’t know how deep it is
3. Have fun, but don’t roughhouse when you’re swimming; jumping on top of someone or pushing them down isn’t nice, and it could lead to a scary situation
4. Know what to do if something goes wrong: tell an adult and call for help right away

Remember — although swimming pools are where most of the submersion injuries that come into the emergency room occur, it only takes an inch of water for a child to drown. Keep an eye on little ones and follow these safety precautions, and you can significantly reduce the chances of something going wrong.

–photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth’s website.

14 Jul

Mile High Academy High School Students Meet and Greet

By‌ ‌MHA‌News‌‌ ‌–‌ ‌Highlands‌ ‌Ranch,‌ ‌Colorado‌ ‌…‌ ‌Mile‌ ‌High‌ ‌Academy‌ ‌continued‌ ‌with‌ ‌their‌ ‌ summer‌ ‌of‌ ‌reconnect‌ ‌on‌ ‌July‌ ‌12‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌meet‌-‌and‌-‌greet‌ ‌event‌ ‌for‌ ‌incoming‌ ‌high‌ ‌ school‌ ‌students,‌ featuring ‌fellowship,‌ ‌food,‌ ‌and‌ ‌new‌ ‌connections.

The‌ ‌event,‌ ‌attended‌ ‌by‌ ‌50‌ ‌students,‌ ‌staff,‌ ‌and‌ ‌families,‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌chance‌ ‌to‌ ‌welcome‌ ‌new‌ ‌students‌ ‌to‌ ‌MHA.‌ ‌

“It‌ ‌was‌ ‌fun‌ ‌meeting‌ ‌the‌ ‌new‌ ‌students,‌ ‌getting‌ ‌a‌ ‌chance‌ ‌to‌ ‌see‌ ‌my‌ ‌classmates‌ ‌and‌ ‌spending‌ ‌some‌ ‌time‌ ‌visiting‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌families,”‌ ‌Logan‌ ‌Bryant,‌ ‌high‌ ‌school‌ ‌student‌ ‌commented.‌ ‌

The‌ ‌evening‌ ‌began‌ ‌with‌ ‌Andrew‌ ‌Carpenter,‌ ‌new‌ ‌MHA‌ ‌principal‌, ‌sharing‌ ‌plans‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌upcoming‌ ‌school‌ ‌year.‌ The‌ ‌gathering‌ ‌continued‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌friendly‌ ‌game‌ ‌of‌ ‌kickball‌ ‌ ‌between teams‌ ‌consisting‌ ‌of‌ ‌students‌ ‌and‌ ‌families.‌ ‌While‌ ‌some‌ ‌were‌ ‌enjoying‌ ‌participating‌ ‌in the‌ ‌game,‌ ‌others‌ ‌enjoyed‌ ‌watching‌ ‌the‌ ‌competition,‌ ‌while‌ ‌relaxing‌ ‌and‌ ‌socializing,‌ ‌and‌ ‌cooling‌ ‌down‌ ‌with‌ ‌ice‌ ‌cream‌ ‌treats.‌ ‌ ‌

“It‌ ‌truly‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌special‌ ‌evening,”‌ ‌Jocelyn‌ ‌Aalborg,‌ ‌vice‌ ‌principal‌ ‌of‌ ‌finance‌ ‌and‌ ‌ development,‌ ‌expressed.‌ ‌“We‌ ‌really‌ ‌appreciate‌ ‌our‌ ‌[high]‌ ‌school‌ ‌teachers‌ ‌for‌ ‌organizing‌‌ the‌ ‌evening‌’s ‌events‌ ‌so‌ ‌our‌ ‌students‌ ‌and‌ ‌families‌ ‌could‌ ‌reconnect.‌ ‌It‌ ‌felt‌ ‌good‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌ together,‌ ‌to‌ ‌laugh,‌ ‌to‌ ‌answer‌ ‌questions‌ ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌once‌ ‌again‌ ‌see‌ ‌what‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌group‌ ‌of‌ ‌ students‌ ‌and‌ ‌parents‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌in‌ ‌our‌ ‌school‌ ‌family.”‌ ‌

As‌ ‌‌summer‌ lingers,‌ ‌MHA‌ continues to offer ‌fellowship‌ ‌events‌ ‌for‌ ‌students‌ ‌and‌ ‌families.‌ ‌There‌ ‌are‌ ‌weekly‌ ‌Monday‌ ‌evening‌ ‌baseball‌ ‌pick-up‌ ‌games‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌third‌ ‌through ‌fifth‌ graders‌ ‌plus‌ ‌monthly‌ ‌events‌ ‌for‌ ‌others.‌ ‌The‌ ‌next‌ ‌family‌ ‌gathering‌ ‌is‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌incoming‌ ‌preschool‌ ‌through‌ ‌second‌ ‌grade‌ ‌at‌ ‌Redstone‌ ‌Park‌ ‌on‌ ‌July‌ ‌21.‌ ‌

–MHA‌News‌;‌ ‌photos‌ ‌supplied‌ ‌

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