10 Aug

THE MEANING OF THE SABBATH REST PRESENTED AT WESTERN SLOPE CAMP MEETING

Rajmund Dabrowski – Montrose, Colorado … “As we have been driving up and down the mountain, as we have spent time here at the Mountain Top Retreat, we have seen the wonders of the world You have made….” The Sabbath morning prayer offered by Pastor Steve Schwartz, pastor of Delta and Cedaredge churches, bridged a reflection of God’s creation, visible and enjoyable, at the Uncompahgre National Forest where the 7th Annual Western Slope Camp Meeting took place August 3-7. Over 200 church members from local congregations participated in the gathering.

The venue was appropriate for several presentations on “Sabbath: Day of Exquisite Delight” by Dr. Jo Ann and Dr. Richard Davidson, theology professors from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

“When I look at the Bible, I see how many things of salvation history happened on the mountains. So, I was tickled to know that this camp meeting was on the mountainside. It’s been a blessed experience to be here, to be away from the city noise and city stress, and be up here, for God’s glory in nature is all around us. I don’t want it to be over,” said Dr. Jo Ann Davidson.

Similarly, Dr. Richard Davidson recalled being at a camp meeting in downtown Los Angeles, crowded with people, and “to be here on the mountain top with people who love nature and who love each other, who come together to study about the Sabbath and about God’s wonders and created works, my soul has been filled this week.”

Both presenters saw camp meeting participants engaged and challenged to go beyond understanding the correctness of Shabbat as a seventh day. “Think of the Sabbath not only as a right day but as a living experience. … Sabbath is a gift for the human race,” said Richard Davidson.

Both lecturers shared eight presentations, covering Old and New Testament times, as well as the need to “live the Sabbath” today. Referring to herself as a “militant Seventh-day Adventist,” Jo Ann Davidson explained that “we [as Seventh-day Adventists] give a wrong impression about the Sabbath. … We teach about the day itself, but not how to live it.”

Conversations among the camp meeting participants were full of positive comments and how they were affected by the presentations. They enjoyed meeting fellow believers and re-kindling friendships with the added challenge for the church to learn the rules of nature.

Two workshops covered the FARM STEW, a program referred to as a “recipe for an abundant life.” According to presenters, Pastor Fritz Krieger and Dan Golden from Montrose, “families who struggled with food insecurity, depression, exhaustion, poor nutrition, disease, addictions, poverty, and dehydration have found hope in the ingredients of the FARM STEW.” They shared the recipe, which relates to the name itself: Farming, Attitude, Rest, Meals, Sanitation, Temperance, Enterprise, and Water. The program, as an independent ministry, has been available to internationally since 2015 and has affected many communities, positively changing their lifestyle.

Sonia Ball from Montrose said she “enjoyed the fellowship with members from different churches, a good, old Adventist family. Plus, the surroundings are so serene and peaceful.” She singled out the music of the weekend. “The Heavenly Father inhabits our praises,” she said.

Don and Donna Mohl, a Folk Mountain Gospel group from Tennessee, led the music with local talent joining them enthusiastically. A camp meeting women’s choir added their talents in a Sabbath worship performance.

Steve Schwartz expressed that the nature of a camp meeting gathering is friends meeting friends, new friendships being formed, and a family of God enjoying their fellowship. He watched church members come to the gathering, with “a few people to start with, and more joining in. Some [of them] wander outside, some come inside into the hall, both blessed. It tells me that God is in both places,” he commented.

–Text and photos by Rajmund Dabrowski

10 Aug

CAMPION STUDENTS RETURN FROM IMMERSION EXPERIENCE IN SPAIN

Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Nine Campion students and recent alumni spent more than six weeks studying the language and culture of Spain in the Adventist Colleges Abroad program in Sagunto.

The students completed six semester hours of college-level/dual credit Spanish classes on the Sagunto campus. While at first many of the students found the full immersion in Spanish challenging, they commented on the positivity and energy of the teachers.

“I enjoyed how the teachers were so fun and relaxed most of the time and talked about things like food and the culture there,” reflected Carla R.

Sandra A. agreed saying, “I found it valuable that the teachers were understanding and would either talk slower or would help us try to find the translation. Also, I just enjoyed how the teachers included humor in their teaching. The teachers, staff, and monitors always were able to find a way to make learning Spanish fun.”

In addition to the classes, a major part of the program was touring the country. Students visited the major cities of Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, as well as historic towns and local beach cities.

Faith E. expressed, “I loved traveling everywhere throughout Spain, but I’d have to say my favorite was Madrid. I loved seeing the European architecture and the food.”

Living and learning in another country came with its challenges, such as the record-breaking temperatures experienced across Europe this summer. Carla explained, “For me, the biggest challenge was definitely the heat since we didn’t have air conditioning.”

Thankfully, afternoon trips to the local beaches were frequent, and the students could spend hours swimming and relaxing in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Unfortunately, the trip ended with headaches over international travel. Due to an airline strike, most of the Campion group was affected by flight cancellations and couldn’t be re-booked for several days, in an unanticipated extension of the trip.

Ultimately, the summer created not only life-long positive memories for the students, but also opportunities for personal growth. Caleb G. reflected, “Overall, what I learned from the experience this summer was that I need to be a lot more chill with life and I need to stop worrying so much about everything. It helped me to learn to exercise more patience and to just roll with everything that was happening.”

As a chaperone on the trip, it was an absolute pleasure to lead this group of students. Several teachers in the program commented to me on our students’ consistently strong academic achievement, noting how they always had their homework done on time, were prepared for tests, and never complained. More so than other students in the program, our Campion students consistently participated in the spiritual life activities on campus, including leading out in morning worship talks and joining with the praise team for vespers and church. I am so proud of our Campion students and all they learned and achieved!

–Jill Harlow, Spanish Teacher; photo by Campion Academy News

10 Aug

TESTIMONY: WHEN GOD PROVIDED THE FUNDS

Ted Williams with Carol Bolden – Arkansas Valley, Colorado … Attendance at the Arkansas Valley church, like many other churches, was negatively affected by Covid, even after its wane. But despite the decline in attendance, the small group has a zeal to share the gospel. When the Arkansas Valley Chamber of Commerce held their Settler’s Day event, the group jumped at the opportunity to spread God’s love, sharing a booth with the First Christian Church.

As they rubbed shoulders with other Christians, they enjoyed talking and praying with many event-goers who sign were given the opportunity to win a set of the Conflict of the Ages book series and an Under the Influence of Jesus T-shirt. There were 27 individuals who signed up for the books, and 60 people, for the T-shirt.

With the list in hand, the church group gathered to pray over the names for several weeks. Everyone who signed up for the items won, meaning they needed 27 sets of books, but when they contacted the ABC to purchase them, they discovered that the Conflict series in that set was out of print, making even the sale on E. G. White books useless.

While paperback books were available, the group decided that using paperback instead of the hardback set displayed at the booth was not a good representation of God. It was important to them to find hardback sets to share.

They started calling around including the Georgia-Cumberland Conference. There, they found even fancier books than Pacific Press Publishing at $120/set. They were, however, meant for the Conference constituents, and anyone able to authorize the purchase by an out-of-conference entity was in Nepal sick with Covid. Ultimately, approval was given for 27 sets to be sold at $60 each.

Arkansas Valley church often worried about money even though their pastor, Ted Williams, continued to tell them that God didn’t need their money to get His work done. He promised that the money for the books would not come from the church budget and that God would provide.

While visiting in Denver, Williams met with a high school chum and shared the book saga, although never revealing anything about the costs involved. At the end of their second lunch, his friend followed him out to his car. “I want to bless you, Ted,” he said. He held out his hand holding a crumpled piece of paper. It was a check for the exact amount of money to pay for those books, right to the penny.

The same group of people who prayed for those who signed up for the book sets, gathered again in teams to deliver the books. It didn’t take long to get all sets delivered.

Meeting with contest “winners”, the delivery people thanked them for the privilege of meeting with them, asking if they could check in a few months to see if they had questions. They did the same with those who received T-shirts.

The deliveries were complete, Arkansas Valley members were prepared to visit again after several months—another step toward introducing them to Jesus and helping the church come alive again, more awake, interested, and involved.

–Ted Williams as told to Carol Bolden. Photo supplied.

03 Aug

RMC EDUCATORS PARTICIPATE IN INTENSIVE TRAINING

Sandy Hodgson – Denver, Colorado …Twenty educators and administrators came together the last week of July to jump-start the school year and dive deep into Standards Based Learning. RMC education director, Diane Harris, and associate director, Paul Negrete, organized the intensive training so that teachers could bring transparent and honest feedback to learners, create processes that allow time for students to have relevant and authentic experiences, and help students develop skills to become self-navigating learners.

With support from Rocky Mountain Conference administration, the Education department hosted Dr. Marie Alcock as the keynote speaker and trainer. RMC associate director, Paul Negrete, has worked closely with Dr. Alcock in Adventist education for more than eight years. Dr. Alcock is a national and international consultant specializing in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment design. She has spent the last 20 years working in public and private education as a teacher, administrator and public advocate. She works with schools to improve student motivation and literacy through digital tools and game design.

Participants spent six full days in training and work sessions where they completed year-long contexts, bundling standards in a timeline of non-negotiable curriculum elements. Learning targets (clear statements of what the learner needs to know or do) were created for the standards along with proficiency scales to provide valuable feedback to learners.

Other Rocky Mountain Conference educators then joined the team for a mini training session with Dr. Alcock at the annual Teachers’ Convention from Sunday, July 31 to Tuesday, August 2. Everyone participated and learned with Dr. Alcock as they launched intentional strategies to help students become lifelong learners.

Traci Pike, head teacher at Mountain Road Christian Academy in Casper, Wyoming sees great opportunity with Standards Based Learning in a small school setting. “This is naturally the way we should be teaching in a multi-grade, multi-age classroom. It aligns perfectly with the holistic Adventist philosophy of education.”

“Collaboration took place between schools and across all grade levels and subjects,” reflected Kari Lange, Grades 1-2 teacher and vice principal at HMS Richards Elementary in Loveland. “It didn’t matter if you were teaching second grade math, geometry, or high school English. We all worked together and held each other accountable and on task.”

Vista Ridge Academy principal Marsha Bartulec loved the experience. “I caught the vision and excitement from Diane and Paul. I learned new vocabulary, asked a lot of questions and got immediate feedback. As an administrator, I was able to map out a year-long context to support the teachers in our school.”

RMC Education’s goal is for the core group that trained in July to begin implementation with at least one discipline as school gets underway mid-August. The other RMC educators who had the mini training session are challenged to implement learning standards and learning targets in one course by January 2023. Planning ahead for 2023-2024, Paul Negrete believes “educators in Rocky Mountain Conference will have a deeper understanding of the process so that they can make a transition to standards-based learning, take calculated risks, and bring systemic change to education in our schools.”

Joining educators for dinner Monday evening, Mic Thurber, RMC president, Doug Inglish, VP for administration, and Darin Gottfried, VP for finance, shared their support and encouragement as teachers begin a new school year. President Thurber offered a prayer of dedication.

As teachers prepared to head back to their individual campuses, Diane Harris reminded them that just as Jesus not only brought peace to his disciples while the storm raged, but he also got into the boat. He does not remain on the sidelines of the lives of his followers. “The Education department,” encouraged Harris, “will not remain on the sidelines. We will be with you as you go forward to create great learning opportunities for your students.”

–Sandy Hodgson is RMC education assistant director. Photo by Sandy Hodgson.

03 Aug

IT WAS A SUMMER CAMP, UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE

Brandon Westgate – Ward, Colorado … As the summer camp season has officially ended for the Rocky Mountain Conference, it might be well to consider what the summer has wrought from a few different perspectives.

SPIRITUALLY:  The spiritual atmosphere at camp was incredible. The summer camp staff was upbeat and positive and presented Jesus in a way that was attractive. The pastors who gave their time and efforts to minister to our campers were witty and helpful and truly showcased a God who is accessible and present. Our desire is to make it easy for kids to know God and I really felt like we were successful at doing that. To demonstrate that point, dozens of campers made a decision to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. About 60 of them also expressed an interest in being baptized and several of those baptisms took place in Lake Minnie at the Ranch.

The reverberations from being engaged in intentional ministry impacted our summer camp staff as well as we were witness to 20 of our summer camp staff members being either baptized or re-baptized in Lake Minnie. The transparent and heartfelt testimonies that were offered by these young adults were inspirational, honest, and real. The Spirit of God was moving in our midst, and it was a genuinely sanctified moment in time that I will forever cherish.

SOCIALLY:  It seemed as though our campers were especially social with each other. They were engaged and involved and invested in what we were doing. The staff were willing to work harder to create opportunities for social engagement and the campers did not disappoint. They leaned into those times of community building with their peers. New friendships were forged, old friendships were rekindled, and a greater sense of community was witnessed by all through games and activities. This aspect of camp cannot be measured by any sort of metric. It has to be experienced to be known.

SECRETLY:  So much of what happens at camp is unseen or witnessed by just a few. A camper who is homesick gets some encouragement from a counselor and their world suddenly seems safer. A frustrated and clumsy camper trying to keep up with the group discovers a staff member who is deliberately staying with them and now they don’t feel left behind or abandoned; instead, they feel included. A staff member who is having a personal crisis receives a personal note of encouragement at just the right time and somehow their crisis doesn’t seem so overwhelming. It’s the little things that happen at camp that tend to make the biggest difference.

Those quiet talks, gentle words of reassurance, high fives, and simple smiles that communicate, “Hey, I see you. You are special and God loves you,” are the things that make summer camp unlike anywhere else.

–Brandon Westgate is RMC youth director. Photos by Camp Communication Team

03 Aug

LA VIDA HEALTH OUTREACH AIMS TO REACH YOUNG NAVAJOS

VJ and Beth Panganiban – Farmington, New Mexico – Health issues present an acute challenge within the Navajo community. After a break of three years during the pandemic, the La Vida Mission team resumed the program at the local Chapter House conducting a health and nutrition outreach as part of the annual Summer Youth Work Program.

Nearly 20 young people participated in the program which annually takes place in the months of June and July. The 2022 outreach concluded on July 28.

Members of the La Vida Mission Outreach team lead by was led by VJ and Beth Panganiban, c—directors of the outreach, and supported by Serly and Charles Londah and Dorie Panganiban. “They helped us to make the program a success,” commented VJ Panganiban.

The team introduced the Healthy Lifestyle concept to the participants and presented examples of healthy eating and living. A portion of the program was a practical demonstration of healthy cooking. Divided into two groups, the participants engaged in hands-on cooking following the recipes provided.

The young people also engaged in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises encouraging them to maintain physical fitness and health.

The organizers appeal for a continuing support of La Vida Mission’s health evangelism outreach to young generation of Navajo families.

– VJ & Beth Panganiban are co-directors of La Vida Mission outreach. Photos supplied.

02 Aug

GOD’S NURTURE ENCHANTS PARTICIPANTS OF COLORADO COWBOY CAMP MEETING

Ron Johnson and Tiffany Marsh – Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado … The sun lit up the mountains surrounding Silver Jack Reservoir, site of Colorado Cowboy Camp Meeting where 85 worshipers gathered on Sabbath morning in the big tent for the 22nd annual camp meeting, July 13-17, 2022.

In a wilderness environment surrounded by 12 and 13K peaks, the area is a favorite of those who desire a scenic mountain experience of worship, fellowship, and the outdoor recreation of camping, hiking, biking, boating, horse riding, or relaxation.

This year, inspirational messages were presented by Nathan James, pastor of the Moab, Vernal, and Castle Valley Academy, Utah churches and retired Western Colorado pastor, Mike Kissner.

Nathan James told the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton, leader of the incredible 1914 voyage of the ship, “Endurance” which was crushed by the ice, and how those waiting for rescue were told every day, “Pack up your things boys, the boss may come today,” They were ready when Shackleton returned months later. So, we need to be ready every day for Christ’s return. The presenter spoke on how spending a thoughtful hour each day on the life of Christ, especially the last scenes, pertains to us now in the last days. As Jesus said to His disciples, “One of you will betray me,” we should ask, as did His disciples, “Is it I? Will I betray Him?”

Mike Kissner inspired the group to consider how God designed us for relationships, for success, and for Heaven. He gave a vivid picture of what heaven will be like and, though on this earth we struggle to achieve the level for which we are designed, in heaven we will experience the beauty of wholeness in the perfection of re-creation.

Don and Donna Mohl, Folk Mountain Gospel group, from Tennessee. led the music with enthusiastic accompaniment by the James Family, the Marsh Family, and other friends.

Tiffany Marsh commented, “Cowboy Camp Meeting is always a wonderful experience! Being able to spend time with my family in nature, visit and make music with friends, meet new people, most of all learn more of my Heavenly Father and the lessons He has for me to learn

After helping to pound stakes last year to set up the tent, Karl Schwinn had a better idea. He brought a mechanical stake driver that lessened the time, and certainly the back-breaking work of getting the circle of stakes into the hard-packed ground.

Camp organizers are planning next year’s Colorado Cowboy Camp Meeting for July 12 to 16, 2023. You are invited!

–Ron Johnson and Tiffany Marsh. Photos by Ron Johnson

Group of people outside a camper trailer
Man using power stake driver
02 Aug

SEVENTY-EIGHT PATHFINDERS AND ADVENTURERS CELEBRATE INVESTITURE AT CAMPION CHURCH

Vicky Kahler – Loveland, Colorado … An investiture of 78 Pathfinders and Adventurers closed out the group’s year of activities and accomplishments on Sabbath afternoon, May 14.

Showcasing the accomplishments of each individual child, the service began with uniformed members marching into the sanctuary led by the Color Guard. Following their entry, they sang club songs, recited the Pathfinder pledge and law, and gave an opening prayer.

Pathfinder director, Alex Rodriguez, delivered a short, meaningful message before the recognition portion of the program. Honors for Pathfinders and awards for Adventurers were presented, as well as class pins.

Other accolades included recognizing the Pathfinder Bible Experience team, Little Lamb of the Year, Eager Beaver of the Year, and Adventurer Boy and Girl of the year. “Congratulations to our amazing clubs, and a hearty “thank you” to our staff,” commented Vicky Kahler, Adventurers director

–Vicky Kahler. Photos supplied

02 Aug

HEROES INSPIRE VBS HISPANIC KIDS IN GREELEY, COLORADO

Ruben Balaguer – Greeley, Colorado … Did you know there were kids in the Bible who made a big difference? The kids who attended Vacation Bible School at Greeley Hispanic Church sure do. From June 27 to July 2, some thirty children attended the Heroes Vacation Bible School.

Of those in attendance, eight were visitors from the community. The participating kids learned about Miriam, Samuel, Rhoda, and other Bible characters who showed the characteristics of true heroes: bravery, devotion, boldness, generosity and caring for others.

The VBS program included various activity stations such as story time, games, snacks, crafts, and a prayer station. It was a fun, interactive way for children to learn about the Bible and to inspire them to be heroes in their own communities.

“The Greeley Hispanic church had a dedicated team of volunteers led by Gloria Robledo,” commented Patty Rivera, Hispanic Children’s Ministries coordinator.

“I feel proud that in the Rocky Mountain Conference, we have so many churches committed to creating these activities for the children in our communities. The Greeley Hispanic church is a great example of this commitment and, as a result, the children had fun while learning more about the love of Jesus,” she added.

–Ruben Balaguer. Photos suppled.

Image of sanctuary