19 Dec

Greeley Church initiates art class in preparation fore Catch 2020 outreach

Greeley, Colorado… In preparation for the “Catch 2020” evangelism thrust in Northern Colorado, the Greeley Church creative bridge events are included to raise awareness about the outreach series in the community. In hope of inviting community members to the evangelistic meetings, the evangelistic team went for doing something creative.

“As we were brainstorming I started thinking about paint parties that are so popular right now and I thought, ‘Why couldn’t we do that here,'” said Grace Logan, member of the team.

That is where the idea was born. A member of the Greeley Church, Philip Castillo, is an artist who also teaches art classes at the local Christian Adventist School.  It only made sense to ask him to teach the class and he was willing to help out.  Church members were encouraged to come to the bridge event on December 15 but there was one requirement: they had to bring a guest.

“We decided to make it a Christmas paint party so we could give away our paintings as gifts. There were only 16 seats available and they filled up quickly. We had a nice intimate group.  It was such a fun environment and we were able to get to know all the guests who joined us in a nonthreatening atmosphere.

“It was so easy to invite friends and they were so willing to come.  All the guests said they would come back if we do another one,” said Grace.

As we let our paint dry the participants were treated to a devotional from Janea Balderrama, who is preparing for baptism. Philip also gave his testimony of what the church had done in his life.

The class was such a success that the plan is to have many more painting classes and many want to do once a quarter.

Grace Logan; photos by Jason and Grace Logan

19 Dec

Greater Summit announced by RMC youth leadership for January 17-20, 2020

Denver, Colorado… The Rocky Mountain Youth Department is announcing the Greater Summit, formerly known as Teen Prayer Summit, to convene on January 17-20, 2020 at Glacier View Ranch.

“We are changing our name to connect more deeply with our Vision for the Youth Department to ‘Live Greater’,” said Kiefer Dooley, RMC youth director.

“We are in no means diminishing the importance of prayer, and will be incorporating it in more than ever in our future events,” he added.

Each year, the youth team will be producing two Greater Summits, one for Middle School and one for High School. “In the past, we have combined both middle and high school together for one event. Due to the increased attendance and to better serve and connect with each age group, we will begin hosting two summits starting in 2020. Both summits will focus on our theme for 2020, FULLY ALIVE,” Jessyka Dooley, associate youth director.

The Youth Department provided the following information about the Glacier View gathering:

Encounter: Our team will be bringing in speakers and worship leaders who are passionate about connecting with the age group they will be serving. This time is for our students to hear the word, worship through song, and get to know one another a little better.

Engage: For both Middle and High School age groups, our team creates curriculum for this discussion time to break down the messages the students heard and discover how the Bible is practically applicable to them.

Enjoy: Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Glacier View Ranch has more to offer than just a pretty view. Depending on the time of year, we will be offering various activities including: sledding, snowshoeing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming in the pool, crafts, and many more! This year, we will be adding something new, the Kulikup Cafe with a full hot chocolate bar!

The Greater Summit is designed to emphasize the development of your personal identity and purpose — rooted and grounded in Jesus, with a basis in prayer and a message that moves in the spirit of confidence. Over the course of the weekend, we will pray together, explore the scripture together, recharge together, and have fun together. Our hope is that your experience at The Greater Summit will inspire confidence, encourage learning, and establish or re-establish your connection with Jesus Christ. Experiencing Jesus together and at Home with Him, you will find the freedom and courage to live life to the fullest!

If you are a high school student or you know a high school student, visit the Greater Summit website to learn more about this event and how to register! https://www.rmcyouth.org/greater-summit

Jessyka Dooley, photos supplied by RMC Youth Department

19 Dec

From El Salvador to the U.S.: One student learns to thank God through the good and the bad

Loveland, Colorado… Growing up in a country plagued by gang-related violence, Francisco Cortez was eager to reunite with his mother in the United States. Even though he found out his new life in the United States wasn’t perfect, he learned to trust God through it all.  

Francisco was born in a small town in El Salvador and was raised by his single-mother until he was nine years old. At that time, his mother successfully applied for political asylum in the United States, but had to leave her son behind. Francisco then moved to live with his aunt and uncle in San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, known for having many dangerous gangs. In eighth grade, he shared that the gangs tried to get him to join. After a few hard months of interactions with the gangs, Francisco’s mother was finally successful in applying to bring him to live with her in Denver.

“I was happy to be here, but I missed my friends and family in El Salvador.  Everything was different, the food, the language, the buildings. The thing that stressed me the most was the language. I couldn’t even say a sentence in English. I knew nothing,” Francisco explained.

Growing up, Francisco had many religions in his family that included Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Adventists. When searching for his faith, Francisco appreciated the views his Grandma had about Adventism. His Grandma would share teachings of the Bible with Francisco which helped him to find his faith.  In 2017, while he was attending the North Glenn Hispanic Church, a pastor made an altar call for baptism. Francisco felt the need to finally commit himself to God and raised his hand. Francisco shared, “I was struggling before I was baptized, and I felt like it was time to get back to Jesus.”

Francisco heard about Campion Academy through his church after he moved to Denver. He began attending Campion his freshman year, but despite the positive changes that had happened to him, Francisco soon found that his new life at Campion wasn’t without it’s challenges.  When he arrived, he didn’t speak any English and struggled with the different educational system. During his first year, his English improved rapidly while primarily taking ELL classes, but he was hit hard by the full academic load his sophomore year.

In the fall of his sophomore year at Campion, Francisco was a starting player for the men’s varsity soccer team. Francisco has always loved soccer, so he was extremely excited to get to have a starting position. He shared frustration that when his grades began to slip, he wasn’t allowed to play and missed most of the season. “I did all my homework at first, but I wasn’t used to studying for tests that much, and I had some low grades. After they kicked me out of the team, I got so depressed that my grades just started going down more and more.”

Although this was hard for Francisco, it helped him realize that he needed to trust God. He shared,  “I had bad communication with God my sophomore year. The only time I prayed was to question God. I never said thanks; I just asked, why me? Every time I would question God with what I was going through, things just seemed to never improve. Now I have realized through the Bible, that I need to be thankful through the bad times and the good times.”

Francisco appreciates all the opportunities there are at Campion to worship God. He says that this has been something that has improved his relationship with God. Something else he appreciates is the love he can see through the teachers at Campion. He says that through God and his time at Campion, that he has found his purpose in life. Francisco expressed his gratitude by saying, “I am very thankful to be here at Campion.”

“The only thing that keeps me positive is God. That’s a big difference for me from last year. My Bible class this year has helped me a lot through my journal. Now I say thanks for what I have and just ask Him for help,” Francisco concluded.

Megan Michalenko with Jill Harlow; photo supplied

19 Dec

Upgraded year-round camp store planned at Glacier View Ranch

Glacier View Ranch, Colorado … Camp store up at Glacier View Ranch is a hub during summer camp. Parents are able to reserve and purchase camp videos and photos. Campers are able to browse merchandise proudly bearing the name, Glacier View Ranch. And of course, the icecream. No one can resist a nice cold ice cream on a summer day in the mountains.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Do I have to be a camper to get to experience this?” The answer is yes, but not for long! “At the beginning of the summer, the camp team would order new items, unpack the old, and set up the whole store. Then, at the end of the summer all needs to be packed up because the building itself cannot keep out the dust and mice,” explained Jessyka Dooley, RMC associate youth director.

“Our dream in the Youth Department for this camp store is to have it open year round. Thanks to the skill and hard work of Chris and Don Hill, this dream is becoming a reality. They have been working around the clock laying new flooring, ripping out old and sagging shelves, putting in new windows, and filling in the cracks and gaps all around,” she added.

The youth team will run a smaller “pop up” store during RMC Ministerial Meetings and Greater Summit High School as they finish up needed renovation.

You can follow camp store updates on Instagram (@rmcyouthministry) and Facebook (@rmcyouth). New merchandise is being planned for the upcoming season at Glacier View Ranch.

Jessyka Dooley; photos supplied by RMC Youth Depatment

 

19 Dec

Eden Valley Wellness Institute graduates seven medical missionary students

Loveland, Colorado … In preparation to become medical missionaries several students began their journey to Eden Valley Wellness Institute in Colorado a year in advance. Such preparation was spent on obtaining student visas, plane tickets, securing finances, family support, as well as childcare care, among a few other obstacles. They arrived in Loveland with stories of God’s interventions and how provisions abounded.

Students came from England, Trinidad, and from several places in the United States. “The call to medical missionary work has no boundaries or limits of age. The seven students attending the recent course session, August 4-November 22, ranged from 17 to 63 years old, each brought a unique experience and perspective that promoted growth and insight for everyone,” said Phyllis Zimmerman, new EVWI director of education

During the sixteen weeks at the institute, the students trained in the principles of medical missionary work and gained a deeper understanding of Christ’s healing methods of soul winning in classes of both theory and practice. Courses such as hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, anatomy and physiology, vegan cooking, wellness coaching, as well as personal evangelism provided participants with the tools and the knowledge to do mighty things for God at home and in a variety of mission opportunities, Zimmerman explained.

During their stay at Eden Valley, students also worked in many areas on campus, such as the Eden Valley Organic Farm, Lifestyle Center, Country Store, and Lifestyle Kitchen. They gained practical skills, which can be applied anywhere the Lord leads upon completion of the course, Zimmerman adds.

According to Phyllis Zimmerman, on November 22, graduating students received a certification of completion that qualifies them to serve with any ministry affiliated with LIGHT, OCI (Outpost Centers International), or other mission organizations around the world. Some of the graduates are already serving as teachers in the medical missionary field, community Christian health educators, and even plan to open lifestyle centers abroad. Completing this course also serves as a prerequisite for obtaining advanced training in Lifestyle Coaching as well as providing direction for future studies.

Phyllis Zimmerman; photo by Amelia Zimmerman

 

19 Dec

Standing ovation for Campion’s Christmas music performance

Loveland, Colorado… The musical concerts at Campion Academy attract visitors who love to hear quality performances. A December 14 was one of those days as the Campion Academy choirs, orchestra, and handbells prepared a program of Christmas music from around the world. Apart from the main program in the afternoon, they also performed in Campion Church on Sabbath morning.

The program began with a Spanish orchestral piece with three movements conducted by Yves Clouzet. They practiced that music for almost two months and they performed well, as Brizney Espino, a freshman, commented later that, “it was awesome! I loved it so much; I wanted to hear the last one [movement] again.”

The choir’s main song was a Nigerian Christmas carol. It was a truly African style music, which included three different drums and no other instrumental accompaniment. “I loved it because it was so culturally enriching, and it was fun to perform,” said Amira Davis, one of the choir singers and hand bell ringers.

Orchestra concluded the program with Russian Christmas Music. The audience could do no other but to give musicians a standing ovation.

— Yan Silva, International Student Contributor; photos supplied

12 Dec

Inflationary pressures challenge financial projections for church budget

Denver, Colorado … The last 2019 meeting of the Rocky Mountain Conference Executive Committee, December 10, received the current financial report by George Crumley, VP for finance who said that, “our total tithe through October is up 6.99%. This strong increase is the result of windfall tithe that was received earlier this year.”

Crumley also informed the committee “that base tithe, which is what the conference uses to budget off of is down .27% when compared with last year. Because of this, it is creating a more challenging budget year for 2020. Basically, the preliminary budget is projecting no additional tithe income for next year while inflationary pressures push costs higher.”

In his President’s Report, Ed Barnett informed the committee members about recent year-end church meetings of the General Conference, North American Division and in Mid-America Union. Referring to the plan of reducing, over the next few years, the NAD portion of tithe paid to the General Conference and increasing the other World Divisions portion paid to the GC, Barnett said he welcomed “the possibility these changes will bring more funds to be retained by the local conference,” he told NewsNuggets.

Barnett also reported that with good developments within the conference, it is “sad to report to you that Paul and Kase Vunileva will not be returning to RMC. This leaves pastoral opening at Littleton and principal position at Mile High Academy. This is a big loss for us, yet, we will continue to build on what was accomplished.” He also shared enrollment information from the recent Campion Academy Board. 145 students are currently enrolled with expected 151 beginning of next term. The school continues to attract international students.

Eric Nelson reported that several church districts are open, including Craig and Steamboat, Montrose and Gunnison, as well as Denver South. The committee voted the closure of The Journey Church Group.

Crumley also reported that the Adventist Book Center is winding down its operations according to their year-end closing plans. He went on to share that the Lifestyle Center, which will be moving into the vacated ABC space, plans to have its first program on January 23. More detailed information about “Diabetes Undone,” the opening program, is being shared directly with local churches.

RMCNews

 

12 Dec

Straight to the future: Computer coding arrives at elementary school

Colorado Springs, Colorado… Computer coding in elementary school? Absolutely! Springs Adventist Academy recently joined the educational world learning event called Hour of Code. The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities.

Kent Bair, Product Manager, Dell Technologies, Education Services, came to Springs Adventist Academy as a local Hour of Code guest speaker. Bair shared with students that coding is a very large part of their daily life and also shared his personal story to becoming a computer programmer.

“It was very interesting and helped me to rethink my future, ” said 6th grader, Elonzo Lujan.

“The students were really excited when they were able to try coding for the first time. Computer science is a 21st century skill, and I am thrilled that SAA was able to offer a peek into this future career path,” said principal Michelle Velbis.

Michelle Velbis, text and photos

12 Dec

Parade of nations featured at Campion Academy worship

Loveland, Colorado… More than 40 flags were on display when students of countries represented at Campion Academy marched in celebration of International Sabbath, December 7.  There are 25 International students attending Campion. Each student carrying a flag greeted the church congregation in a different language. Some students wore their country’s national costumes.

“It was cool seeing different clothes represented by different countries, and I also liked the way the Japanese girl’s clothes looked,” said Audra Bennett, freshman.

The praise team sang a selection of Christmas songs in eight different languages. “International Sabbath was really fun. I really enjoyed learning new languages. It was hard learning new languages and I think the hardest was Swedish or French,” commented Kaddy Koroma, senior.

Part of a Sabbath services included children stories told by several international students. The children learned to say: “Jesus loves you,” in different languages. The congregation was also treated to Bible verses read in many languages.

“I’m interested in languages, and I like studying languages, so I really appreciated it. It was really cool to hear all of the different languages sung and,” explained Samantha Hodges, junior. We learned about different countries and had an amazing Sabbath.

Airi Nomura, sophomore International Student from Japan; photo supplied

 

12 Dec

Commentary: Be a blessing by sharing your blessings

A bowl of ice cream must be approached properly. Each person has their own preferred flavors and add-ins, which can vary from bowl to bowl. But one thing that seems to be important to everyone is the size of each spoonful. This can also vary from person to person, but whatever your own ideal configuration may be, the last spoonful is critical.

That last bite needs to leave you feeling good about the whole experience. You don’t want it to be half the ideal size, or to be missing pecans or sprinkles. So, the wise consumer regulates his intake and sets aside toppings in preparation for finishing well. When you get it right, there is a sense of satisfaction that overlays the whole experience.

It’s important to finish well, and more so with many things of greater consequence than ice cream. As you reflect on your giving over the past year, I hope that you have been setting yourself up to finish well. That applies to a lot of end of the year issues, but none more so than giving. Are you among those who make a habit of finishing well?

May each of us become an encouragement to all by following through as we end 2019 with a sense of satisfaction. Be a blessing as you consider the blessings you are surrounded with.

Douglas Inglish, RMC stewardship director

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