06 Aug

LOOK UP!

By Chelsea Inglish — Several years ago, I had the privilege of working at a place called Camp Wawona. Wawona is located inside Yosemite National Park, a gorgeous section of mountains and valleys and forests and rivers in central California. It is full of wildlife, some harmless, some totally deadly.

The summer camp is perched on steep mountainous terrain, with a road full of switchbacks connecting the horse barn and pool at the top of the hill and with the kitchen and dining hall at the bottom. Along the road are various buildings and activity equipment, all in the midst of a thick forest of evergreen trees.

The dry, mountainous air gets cold at night, and we woke up each morning to a crisp temperature. But as the day wore on, the bright sun in a cloudless sky would heat the place up. I’ll never forget the smell of pine needles roasting in the heat of the day. To this day, it is one of my favorite scents.

The stars were amazing. At Wawona, when you look up at night, you can understand why we call our solar system the Milky Way.

One section of road, a switchback on that steep hill, didn’t have a single lamp, nothing to light the path after dark, and because of the trees, you couldn’t see very far ahead or behind. This part of the road had earned itself a bit of a reputation, because once, one of the camp staff had turned the corner on the road and seen two mountain lions slinking through the trees and off into the forest. After that happened, this part of the road became known as Cougar Alley, and no one wanted to walk it alone after dark.

That’s not the only reason why. I said it was on a steep terrain, so if you happened to step off the pavement, you could tumble down the side of the mountain and probably only stop if you hit a tree–not a place you wanted to be alone at night. But sometimes, it just happened!

Many times, I found myself either at the bottom of the hill when I needed to be at the top, or vice versa, and I had to walk through Cougar Alley alone at night without so much as a cellphone to give me light.

In these moments, I could barely see my hand in front of my face, and I could have stepped right off the pavement and tumbled down the hill through the trees if I wasn’t careful.

However, there was a trick to making it through that section without falling off the path.

You had to look up.

When you looked up, you would see a road of stars cutting through the trees that matched the paved road. The stars of the Milky Way were the brightest, and if you looked up and followed the path of the stars, you would stay safely on the road, without falling off the edge, until you turned the next corner and could see lights from the buildings on down the way.

As terrifying as it was, I always felt comfort and safety when I looked up.

This year, so far, has felt a lot like walking through Cougar Alley in the dead of night, not able to see through the thick trees, not knowing exactly where the edge of the path is, not being able to see what is ahead or around me.

I have struggled with a lot of emotions. So much has happened, one thing after another, to wake me up to the reality of a world out of control. There is sickness in our world that has filled many of us with fear and caused people to shut themselves away at home in order to protect themselves and others. Events in America have filled many of us with sadness and rage and caused people to pour into the streets in protest.

2020 has driven us to our knees, praying for wisdom and guidance, protection and justice.

It has been a hard year, and it’s not over yet. We have many different ways to handle the stress and uncertainty, the distraction, worry and anxiety.

As Seventh-day Adventists, we have this little thing we do. When the world is groaning and we are filled with sorrow, we look up.

It is easy at times like this, to want to head for the hills. Pack everything up, get off the grid, and hunker down until Jesus comes. We want to survive the last days, and we often react fearfully to what we think are signs of the end times.

As Adventists, we have a long history of looking up. We also have a long history of looking around us. This is not the time to give that up.

It’s time to roll up our sleeves, look for those who are hurting the most in these uncertain times, and jump into the middle of it all. This is the time to do exactly what Jesus did when He was on this earth: to work to bring healing to the sick, freedom to the captive, and hope to the hopeless.

We are all in this together.

–Chelsea Inglish is associate pastor of Madison Campus Church in Madison, Tennessee and daughter of RMC’s Susan and Doug Inglish.

06 Aug

Literature Evangelism will continue to “GO” in the fall semester

By Matthew Hasty – Loveland, Colorado … I’ve been doing literature evangelism for over half of my life.  Each day, I see first-hand the impact that I’ve made by “go”ing as Jesus asked us to “Go” in the Great Commission at the end of the gospels of Matthew and Mark.  As you contemplate what job you’ll have at Campion this year, contemplate making this year a year of service for the salvation of others.  Take a look at what others have said when asked, “What has LE [Literature Evangelism] meant for you?”.

Raquel – “LE was my favorite part of Campion last year, and is a fun way to spread the Word of God.”

Adrianna – “LE has shown me that the world is bigger than myself. Before I started canvassing, I was very upset with God about past events in my life. Canvassing has shown me that if it wasn’t for those experiences, God would not have been able to use me for his ministry.”

Alexis -” LE has become another family to me.  Everyone who does LE, and has ever done LE, is part of a huge family that is pulling me closer to Christ.”

Pastor Joe – “Literature Evangelism has been in my life for 44 years.  The experiences I had have changed my life.”

Robyn – “LE means an opportunity to be God’s tool!”

Richard – “I value it, because you spread the word of God. I think it’s super cool and rare.  I like praying with people, and leaving seeds of salvation.”

Naomi – “There’s been something about spending my day trying to sell people on the concept of Jesus, that’s really made me take it all in for myself. Nothing’s driven home the point of Christianity for me more than literature evangelism has. Jesus has a way of reaching people when they’re committed to reaching others.”

It’s one thing to look back and see how God has blessed others who have done LE in the past.  It’s another to consider how He will bless it during this pandemic.  Will God continue to bless this ministry?

On August 4, I received a call from Adrianna, who has been canvassing independently this summer.  She met a lady who recognized the Steps to Christ Adrianna was offering. The lady had purchased it a few years ago.  This year, she gave Adrianna $100 for ten more copies, so she could share them with her friends.

A few weeks before that, I received a call from another independent LE named Clayton.  Clayton met a man who had been struggling over things in his church that he said were, “Anti-God”.  After a few minutes of chatting with Clayton, the man kept a book about how to study the Bible and scheduled a time to study the Bible with Clayton.  After their first Bible study, the man told Clayton that he’s “never learned this stuff before“.

I’d like to repeat the old quote, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past.” God has led LE in the past, and he continues to lead LE today. Is he leading you to do LE this school year? I challenge you to pray about it.

–Matthew Hasty is RMC literature ministries director; photo supplied

This article was originally published in Campion News.

06 Aug

PANDEMIC CHALLENGES DISCUSSED AT RMC 2020 TEACHERS CONVENTION

By Lonnie Hetterle – Denver, Colorado … Preparations and guidelines for reopening schools were at the center of the Rocky Mountain Conference teacher’s convention this past week, August 3 and 4.

When the calendar pages move to August, it means two things for teachers—the first day of classes, as well as spending three days with fellow teachers. The annual convention provides a time of fellowship, making and renewing friendships, learning about new curriculum, and methods of teaching, as well as being inspired to prepare the classroom for welcoming students and families.

“This tradition of an annual conference-wide teacher’s convention is such a blessing and an opportunity for fellowship that many of our teachers’ treasure,” Lonnie Hetterle, RMC education vice president, said.  “However, with the pandemic challenges that we are facing, it was necessary to move from an in-person meeting to that now-very-familiar Zoom meeting.  While we are thankful for Zoom, it certainly does not allow for the comradery that is usually such a big part of this time together.”

Daniel Birai, pastor of LifeSource, presented a devotional for teachers on their first day of convention.  He encouraged them by sharing about his faith journey and how God is leading in his life and the way God leads us even when we can’t see it. Following the worship thought, LouAnn Howard, director of education from Mid-America Union Conference, introduced a new math program as well as the assessment program (MAPS) that has been adopted and gave the rationale for this decision.

The day concluded with teacher descriptions of how they are managing their classrooms in an ever-changing environment. Some of the best examples teachers shared was how to teach fine arts via distance learning, using advanced whiteboard technology, exploring nature in lessons via remote learning, and how to prepare for a class that is at home. Instructors were thankful to hear these suggestions from their fellow co-workers.

Pastor Chris Morris, associate pastor of Littleton, began the second day by sharing a devotional based on calamity in the midst of troubled times. Teachers expressed their appreciation for his thoughts and the inspiration it provided.

Following the worship, presenters from Centura Health explained the latest information on the coronavirus and shared suggestions on keeping the school safe during this pandemic. Morre Dean, Centura senior vice president, has been working closely with the RMC education department on how to prepare schools around the conference to safely reopen.  Dean arranged for experts to address some 100 participants who had signed on for this important talk.  Dean was available if the educators had any specific questions for him.

Since dealing with pandemic is changing every day, there wasn’t a chance to officially roll out guidelines during this convention, as it was explained, the policies and procedures will be evolving throughout the school year. For the academic leaders, flexibility and being prepared for changes in day-to-day operations will be important for the 2020-2021 school year.

The gathering concluded with business items concerning human resources policies by RMC HR director, Noemi Borjon, and technology advice from Tyler Rettler, RMC IT director, and encouraging thought and a prayer of dedication from Ed Barnett, RMC president.

Lonnie Hetterle is RMC education superintendent

06 Aug

FREE HORSEBACK RIDES BRING COMMUNITY YOUTH TO MILLS SPRING RANCH

By Brent Learned – Casper, Wyoming … Mills Spring Ranch provides community outreach by offering free horseback rides to Casper area youth.

Some 50 local young campers signed up weeks in advance to enjoy horseback riding, one of the most anticipated summer activities offered at Mills Spring Ranch.

Leo Nash, former Wyoming resident and Arkansas rancher, made the event a reality by offering 20 of his horses for the day. Nash has been providing horses for Glacier View Ranch and MSR summer camp programs for many years.

“This horseback riding experience is so refreshing because this is the first time our youth group has been together since COVID hit in March, which closed our church,” Krista Sickert-Bush, Casper Lutheran youth pastor, commented.

Many of the community youth were giddy with excitement while others expressed a bit of timidity and nervousness as they buckled their helmets and received a safety briefing before climbing atop the horses and departing down the trail. They enjoyed an hour and half ride among the trails surrounding MSR during this first community outreach event.

Once the riders returned to camp, they enjoyed free popcorn donated by the Mid-America Union Conference youth department. Ice cream bars, and popsicles were also provided to the community members that attended this special day.

Parents expressed their gratitude toward MSR and the volunteers for hosting the horseback riding event and making it special for their children.

The riders left MSR with fond memories, new friends, and some free MSR gear.

The best part of the day was “seeing how happy it made all the kids riding around in God’s nature,” Sydney Cornett, Casper church member and Campion Academy student said.

This outreach helped MSR build relationships with the community and was a chance to serve others while demonstrating the love of Jesus.

–Brent Learned is Mills Spring Ranch director; photos supplied

05 Aug

CONNECTING WITH STUDENTS THROUGH MATH AND ATHLETICS AT MILE HIGH ACADEMY

By Karrie Meyers — Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Small groups were welcomed back to the Mile High Academy campus in July as their administrative and teaching team hosted a series of Math Lab sessions and athletic conditioning programs.

Math Lab sessions were broken down into four, one-hour sessions for fourth and fifth grade and also for sixth and seventh grade. Class size was limited to ten students to allow for social distancing requirements. The class structure was built around playing games, discussing patterns in concepts and learning math tricks, with attendees thinking like mathematicians and learning to overcome challenges frequently expressed when learning math. Students also had the opportunity to meet and welcome MHA’s VP of Academics, Michael Armstrong, who led the Math Lab sessions.

“Not only was the goal of Math Lab to get kids back in the classroom, but my personal goal was to make math fun and spark critical thinking,” said Armstrong. “I loved meeting some of the Mile High Academy students and seeing their smiling eyes, even though their smiling faces were wearing masks.”

The Summer Sports Conditioning and Skills Training sessions were offered for middle and upper school MHA Mustang enthusiasts. Volunteer coaches, under the direction of MHA Athletic Director Brady Tull, joined to give student athletes an opportunity to refine their skills and learn new ones in preparation for the Mustang’s volleyball, basketball and soccer seasons.

“Mile High Academy is pleased to announce that, although modified, we will be able to offer our student athletes a 2020-2021 sports season,” said Tull. “I’m thankful for the dedicated volunteer coaches who helped run the summer conditioning programs. It’s inspiring to see first-hand their passion for the Mustang athletic program. Together, it’s our desire as coaches to give the student athletes every opportunity possible to grow not only as athletes, but to also demonstrate Christian values through sport and play.”

The Academy is a member of the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), which recently submitted a proposal to the Governor’s office outlining what sports could look like for the 2020-2021 school year. The Governor approved the proposal, which includes a shortened calendar, along with moving some fall sports to the spring. More communication regarding the start of the athletic season will be shared with the MHA community once plans are finalized.

–Karrie Meyers is communication director of Mile High Academy; photos supplied

 

05 Aug

BIBLE STUDY LEADS FORMER INMATE TO BAPTISM IN GRAND JUNCTION

By Nate Skaife –Grand Junction, Colorado … Learning how to read in jail using the Bible as a textbook led the newest member of the Grand Junction church to baptism and the public declaration of Jesus as his Savior.

To witness Russell Adam’s confession of his love for and acceptance of Jesus, as many as 50 believers from the Grand Junction church gathered on July 25 by a lake at a secluded piece of property owned by a member.

Russell’s incredible journey began while he was in jail and a friend suggested he contact Dave and Elaine Phillips.  After several Bible studies by correspondences, Russell was released from jail and continued studying with Dave and Elaine, but now face to face.

The Phillipses joined Russell in the lake during his baptism, a gesture that made the experience especially meaningful.

“Last Sabbath afternoon we celebrated with all of heaven as Russell Adams made a public declaration of his decision to follow Christ through baptism,” said Nate Skaife, Grand Junction pastor. God has been working in Russell’s life in powerful ways, even giving him victory over chains that have bound him,” Pastor Skaife explained.  “He has an amazing testimony of how God has worked in his life and continues to do so. The Phillipses have been part of Russell’s journey with Jesus and had the pleasure of participating in his baptism.”

Many other individuals are studying to be baptized. Soon, the Grand Junction family will gather again to celebrate those walks toward becoming faith believers.

–Nate Skaife is pastor of the Grand Junction church; photo courtesy of Grand Junction church newsletter.

To view a video of the baptism please click here

04 Aug

EXCITING GVR MOUNTAIN BIKE PROGRAM EXPANDED; BUMPS AND BRUISES TO COME

By Jon Roberts – Ward, Colorado … Three months of planning and hard work concluded on the evening of July 30 when the newest attraction at Glacier View Ranch, a pump bike track named Shredders’ Pump Track was dedicated.

Without campers at GVR this summer, it was possible for improvements and enhancements to be made. Nathaniel Sanches and Camden Griggs, summer camp staff, using the extra time, worked to fulfill a dream they had for an empty lot that had been reserved for growing dirt.

Working tirelessly during this time, they made what seemed like endless early-morning trips down the mountain to buy supplies at the local home improvement store. The cheers and smiles from the 25 individuals who gathered for the dedication showed these two young adults that their efforts were well worth it.

The pump bike track that they created is an obstacle course of ramps, rocks, and small mounds intended to challenge the most avid mountain biker.

Shredder’s track will not only be an exciting feature at GVR camp, but will invigorate the mountain bike program.

“It is going to be a great part of our mountain biking program. For the more advanced riders, we will use more of a single-track area,” Jessyka Dooley, Rocky Mountain Conference assistant youth director said. “This is a great area for kids with zero bike experience or with a lot of bike experience that they all can enjoy.”

The uniqueness of the track gained the attention of the Mid-American Union Conference youth director, Roger Wade who flew in from Lincoln, Nebraska for the event.

“I need to let the young people know that the church backs them, supports them, especially in a time when they are asking what the church is about–are we important? Is this important for us?” Wade commented. “I’m hoping to take the idea of giving our young adults the opportunity to show their skills, because the passion is not just with the pump track concept, but with the other things that they may be able to do and be able to give back to the church to make their offering to the community and to our young people a greater one.”

When exploring different improvement ideas to focus on this summer, they realized that the pump track was a component that was needed and could benefit future camp programs.

“We have a mountain biking program already. We have invested in bikes and we have invested in a place to store the bikes, but we didn’t have a great location on the property to teach kids how to use the bikes in a way that was skill appropriate and fun, other than riding around on the road,” Kiefer Dooley, RMC youth director said. “This was something that would work to expand the program that we already had going. In a way, that now gives the kids something that is going to challenge them, but is actually staged in levels from novice to expert so they can be building skills in mountain biking.”

The designers and creators of this experience added unique features you won’t find elsewhere.

“Wooden teeter totter is unique; you don’t see that at too many bike parks,” explained Nathan Sanches, creator of the track. “We made it out of old gears and rods. We used a lot of natural features including the railroad ties. Everything here is natural, except for the berms. The wooden berms are cool because they are super sustainable objects. The rock skinny we built– you don’t see at a lot of places. The suspension bridge is unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one at a bike park before,” Sanches said.

“I hope campers will leave with bumps and bruises, because with that, a staff member will help them out.  The staff teaching them different mountain bike skills and connecting with them is what it is all about,” Sanches said.

Speaking on how the pump bike track plays an important role in the Christian values GVR stands for, Dooley commented, we want to create spaces for our staff to connect with campers in a meaningful way.  We create spaces and opportunities to have meaningful interactions with our kids. Inside the conversations, we show the youth the love of Jesus through our actions and words. The programming shows them the message that Jesus cares about you; Jesus loves you; Jesus wants you to be part of the community. That vision has not been lost in this new addition; Dooley explained.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication and media assistant with additional reporting by Rajmund Dabrowski; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski

04 Aug

Tim McTavish Elected Chair of the CCU Board of Trustees

Lakewood, Colorado … Colorado Christian University alumnus and Newday Christian Adventist church member Tim McTavish has been elected chair of the CCU Board of Trustees.

McTavish said campus redevelopment efforts will remain a priority, coupled with growing program offerings and promoting the CCU brand in the Denver metro area and beyond.

“What sets CCU apart is our excellence and our commitment to the integration of faith and learning,” McTavish said. “We need to ensure that we are constantly investing in all aspects of our mission to provide Christ-centered higher education transforming students to impact the world with grace and truth.”

“Tim is no stranger to CCU — he is a champion for the University. He is an alumnus, an affiliate faculty member, and a parent of three CCU students. He has exceptional vision, and has made a tremendous impact as one of our long-serving board members,” said CCU President Donald W. Sweeting.

“We’re at a pivotal point in the history of CCU,” McTavish said. “We’re well-positioned with exceptional leadership under President Sweeting and his Cabinet, increasing philanthropic and donor engagement, a beautiful campus, and substantial interest and growth in our in-seat and online offerings to learn at CCU.”

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in management from Pacific Union College, McTavish holds an MBA from Colorado Christian University. He and his wife, Pam, reside in Parker, Colorado. They have three children, David, Katie, and Laura.

–Colorado Christian University press release; photo supplied

30 Jul

THE WHALE AND THE WORM

By Doug Inglish … It is inevitable when thinking of the story of Jonah, that our minds immediately envision a whale (I know, the Bible says it was a great fish, so all you marine biologists can fault me here for being technically inaccurate, but for the purposes of this article I am going to call it a whale). God had a message for the wicked city of Nineveh, and a weak-kneed prophet was not going to stop that message from getting all the way to the king. From the vantage point of He who loves every soul to the point of making the ultimate sacrifice, so many people in need of a call to repentance was a whale of a problem. So, He didn’t hesitate to come up with a whale of a solution.

But as you are also no doubt aware, one of the smallest creatures on earth enters the story in the last chapter (If you need a refresher at this point, it only takes about half an hour to read the whole book of Jonah). Jonah, too upset over his prophecy being overruled to rejoice in his successful evangelism, sat sulking in the shade of a leafy vine. But along came a worm to chew through the vine so that it withered away, leaving the prophet even more hot and bothered. As often happens, the Lord spoke to Jonah right at his most ridiculous moment. Since the book was apparently written by Jonah himself, we can conclude that the lesson hit home.

Curious, isn’t it? The whale was the vehicle to get him where he needed to be, so it can surely take partial credit for the conversion of Nineveh. But the whale had no part in the conversion of Jonah. For that, God sent a worm.

The mission to declare salvation to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people is a whale of a task. To carry it out, we need a whale of lot of money, and even then, it needs a whale of a blessing to make it go as far as the ends of the earth. But don’t discount the value of a worm-sized offering.

I did a little research, and it turns out that the worm in the book of Jonah was likely the larvae of an insect weighing around .007 ounces. At the other end of the scale, the blue whale, which is the largest creature that has ever lived (sorry dinosaurs) weighs in at about 330,000 pounds. That’s about the difference I sense between my offering and the task of bringing the gospel to the world.

So how many worms does it take to equal a whale? Not as many as you think. A locust weighs about the same as Jonah’s worm, .007 ounces. But the combined weight of a square kilometer of locusts in a typical swarm is more than twice the weight of a blue whale. Which means that when we all get together, our offerings are equal to the task.

God is equally able to use the whale and the worm to reach those who need to hear His message. And I am truly grateful that there are those among us who can and do give a whale of a lot to the mission. I am equally grateful that I can have a part in it too, even though my means are much closer to the worm than the whale. I am also grateful that a lot of us together can out give even the whales.

–Doug Inglish is RMC director for trust services and planned giving

30 Jul

Boost your immunity with sunshine

By Jenny Gann – Loveland, Colorado … What day did God create the sun? The fourth day: He created it specifically before animals and humans. Was this by chance, or was there a purpose? He created the light on the first day, and he created plants before the sun, so he could have created animals and humans before the sun. However, I believe that the sun was created before animals and humans because we were designed to need the sun.

Did you know Colorado has almost 300 days of sunshine a year? Colorado is actually the sixth sunniest state in the United States. So, does enjoying all of this sunshine have any health benefits? Yes, it does have quite a few in fact.

Many of you have heard of the “sunshine vitamin” known as Vitamin D. Humans obtain most of their Vitamin D from sun exposure. Although you can obtain some Vitamin D from foods, the amount found in certain sea-foods, beef products, and egg yolks is insignificant compared to the quantity of Vitamin D our bodies require. Thankfully, God had a plan for this when he created us, so we did not have to eat animal products. Vitamin D is one of only two vitamins our body can actually produce itself. All it needs is a bit of sunshine. Just 10-30 minutes of sunshine per day provides your body with sufficient levels of Vitamin D. The amount of time you need is dependent on how sensitive your skin is to the sun. If you burn your skin, you have gotten too much, but those with darker skin may need a longer time for their skin to absorb the sunshine it needs to produce Vitamin D. It takes sun exposure equivalent to half the time it takes for your skin to burn for your body to produce sufficient Vitamin D for the day. You also absorb the sun best through skin that does not get as much light exposure.

How does Vitamin D help us? Why do we need it? Many people associate Vitamin D with bone health and that is very true. Vitamin D is responsible for absorbing calcium from our intestinal tracts and transporting it to our bones to create hard bones. However, Vitamin D also plays a very important role in our immune health.

Vitamin D mobilizes our bodies’ T cells which are our bodies defense against germs; they destroy infected cells in our bodies keeping us healthy. You can think of them like a cat stalking prey. They sit and wait for their prey and then pounce on it, killing it. However, in order to do this, they have to mobilize. A cat who moves very slowly will not get the prey and T cells that move slowly will not get to the infected cells to destroy them. Here is where Vitamin D comes into play. Vitamin D keeps T cells moving faster so they can get to more infected cells quicker resulting in more death of infected cells and a healthier body.

Another great benefit of the sun is improved mood. Exposure to the sun increases your body’s production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that gives your brain the signal, ‘don’t worry, be happy.’ It provides a feel-good message to your brain and this boosts your mood.

There are also direct correlations between mood and health. People who are ‘happier’ by and large tend to be healthier with less illnesses. So do your body a favor and enjoy some time with the Son in the sun today!

–Jenny Gann, RN, OTR/L is Campion Academy Nurse; photo supplied

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