18 Nov


By Jacqueline Kobagaya – Loveland, Colorado … Campion students had some very important visitors visit the campus November 12 – 14– their parents.

Campion Academy hosted a weekend showcasing student accomplishments which included musical programs, fun activities on Saturday night for all, and one-on-one discussions with teachers and parents to give academic updates.

The weekend began with a vespers concert which included performances by all of the ensembles: El Shaddai Ringers (handbells), Golden Harmonies (advanced handbells), Mountain Echoes Chorale, Koinonia (select choir), and the orchestra.

“I loved having my parents here this weekend, and it was such a blessing for me to be able to perform our songs for everyone. It was a busy weekend but a ton of fun,” Gwyn, a senior, said.

For Sabbath services, the music department continued to highlight the different musical groups as students led the church program.

Later in the day, it was time for fun and relationship-building with activities such as cake walks, hayrides, and a chalk art contest. However, the highlight of the night was the 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Students, families, and staff members competed against each other for bragging rights.

“It was really fun to have my parents come for the weekend. I got to play in the basketball tournament with my dad, and we got 2nd place,” Kylie, a senior, recalled.

The weekend concluded Sunday morning with students and families meeting in the Campion gym for parent-teacher conferences and presentations from the sophomore English class and A&P class. The English class re-enacted a shortened scene from Romeo and Juliet, showing off their acting skills, while the A&P class presented the songs they wrote about the bones in the body.

Although not every parent was able to be at the school, they still were able to watch performances and join conferences online.

“Although I was not able to be there in person, I enjoyed being part of Parent’s Weekend through Zoom and Facebook. I particularly enjoyed the music programs. A big thank you to all the students, staff, and everyone that made it possible,” Bahati Ayugi, Campion parent, said.

–Jacqueline Kobagaya, photos by Love Pickle

17 Nov

Bringing Hope for the Holidays

By Ann Muder – Parker, Colorado … Christmastime often evokes memories of snow, hot cocoa, and Christmas cookies, caroling, spending time with family, and, of course, presents. But while the holidays are a joyous time of the year for many families, for others, it is a time of financial stress and struggles.

Douglas County, Colorado, has the highest cost of living anywhere in the state, and suburban poverty is an often hidden but quickly growing problem. It’s not uncommon for those in the area to feel a financial strain during the most wonderful time of the year. That’s why Centura-Parker Adventist Hospital, in collaboration with NewDay Adventist Church, is providing Christmas gifts at no cost to families in need through their Christmas Store.

The free shopping experience is hitting an important milestone this year, celebrating its tenth anniversary. Since 2011, the church and hospital have worked together with social workers from local public schools to identify families who don’t qualify for other types of aid but will have a hard time putting presents under the tree. The tickets are then distributed to the selected families, such as the Martins.* When they received their ticket, the family felt like a weight lifted off their shoulders.

When they arrived at the hospital, the Martins were greeted by friendly volunteers and ushered into a cheerily decorated room with presents piled high on tables. The parents went to a different room where they could enjoy beverages, snacks, and relaxation while their children did the shopping. Each child is assigned a personal shopping assistant to help them navigate the tables full of high-quality gifts, sorted onto tables by age and gender, and curated all year by a group of volunteers. The children can pick out gifts for themselves and each member of their family, so volunteers ensure there are gifts available to appeal to all ages, from infants to grandparents.

Options include a wide range of items from sports gear to clothing, personal care products to appliances. Once the gifts are selected, they are custom wrapped by a volunteer and taken home by the Martins to be opened on Christmas morning.

The store is almost entirely volunteer-driven. It takes a small army to pull off this event, starting as early as shopping the after-Christmas sales. Volunteers’ roles include helping kids shop, wrapping gifts, restocking the gift tables, directing traffic, setting up, decorating, and greeting families as they arrive.

The volunteers include associates at the hospital, members of NewDay Church, local community members, and even some from out of state who love the Christmas Store so much they travel to be a part of it each year.

Last year the Christmas Store looked a little different. COVID-19 made it impossible to hold the event as usual, but that didn’t stop the team from extending a helping hand to their community.

The store operated more like a call center, with volunteers manning the phones, finding out what children wanted, and coordinating a time for the families to pick up their gifts.

According to Matthew Mundall, one of the chaplains at Parker Adventist, the team looks forward to holding the event in person again this year. They are planning to have the Christmas Store as close to normal as possible while following local health directives. Last year, 125 families were served at the store, and the program is planning for even more this year.

“The program even grew during COVID-19, so you can only imagine how much it will grow in the future,” Mundall said.

Whatever the future holds, so many people are invested in the store and its success, from families like the Martins to the volunteers and associates who help it succeed. According to Michael Goebel, CEO of Parker Adventist, the Christmas Store benefits those who make it happen as much as those who receive gifts.

“We host the store every year because we’re here for our community, and that goes beyond their physical health; it extends to every aspect of their lives,” Goebel said. “Providing some Christmas joy to families who cannot afford gifts is just another way we make sure our community is whole and healthy. Getting to see kids light up knowing they will have a Christmas is worth more than words can describe.”

–Ann Muder is a writer for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission; photo supplied

*The family’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.

This article was originally published in Outlook Magazine

17 Nov


By Ashley Gonzalez – Glenwood Springs, Colorado … Hispanic youth and young adults gathered November 6 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado for a chance to reconnect, fellowship, build relationships, and have fun at the yearly Hispanic youth retreat.

This was the first time meeting together since 2019 due to the pandemic, and the 150 attendees were anxious to see everyone.

One church leader attending the event commented, “We are grateful and privileged to be able to have our youth here this year. Our youth have been tempted by this world, especially during the pandemic when our church was closed. Having our youth come together, specifically for this event, has made all the difference in their spiritual lives.”

Being apart from each other for two years made the weekend reunion special and refreshing according to one attendee who said, “Being able to see my friends from the [Montrose] mountains after not seeing them last year, due to the pandemic, made me realize how tight-knit our churches and youth are. I [also] saw a lot of new young people, and it was nice to meet them and hear their stories about how they got into the church.”

The gathering included worship thoughts by Sandro Sandoval, guest speaker from the Kansas-Nebraska Conference, and included activities to build relationships.

“This weekend was fun, [Pastor Sandro Sandoval, guest speaker] was relatable, and sincerely, I had a great time. The scavenger hunt activity Saturday afternoon was cool because we got to play against other churches. Sometimes a little church rivalry is alright,” Eduardo Lopez, Denver Hispanic church member, said.

Kenia Fabian, Denver Central Hispanic church member, was grateful for the worship thoughts.  “I saw the power of God when the human efforts and talents got together for the cause of Jesus Christ. I experienced blessings, the power of love, and the Word of God through Pastor Sandro’s testimonies and lessons.”

Wilmer Martinez, Bloomfield, New Mexico Hispanic church pastor, reflecting on the weekend, said, “In the name of Jesus, [it was] an extraordinary encounter with Christ. We need more topics for young people like Pastor Sandro’s, that focus more on Christ.

–Ashley Gonzalez is a member of the Denver Hispanic church; photos supplied

11 Nov


By Jon Roberts – Casper, Wyoming … “I’m sorry you will have to listen to me breathe,” commented Shayne Vincent, at the beginning of his November 6 sermon. The church responded with a very loud “Amen!” The reason for the comment was due to Vincent still being on supplemental oxygen.

For the Casper church, listening to Vincent breathe is proof of the miracle God performed. Vincent returned to the church pulpit two months after COVID visited the church. In September, the church experienced an outbreak where 30 individuals contracted the deadly disease.  Most recovered; unfortunately, one passed away, and Vincent was also on the doorstep of death for many days on a CPAP ventilator in ICU.

Vincent returned to church to share his testimony and to tell how the experience has humbled him and given him a renewed mission of ministry. Church members, community friends, and visitors came to hear and physically see the miracle God had provided for the Casper church to celebrate.

Addressing the congregation prior to Vincent telling about his walk over the last few months, Rajmund Dabrowski, RMC communication director, said, “It was important that I came to touch, figuratively speaking, something that I perceived to mean – a life change happened here, in your church.”

He added, “I expected to see a banner across the building with a message: A Miracle Happened Here. I did not encounter it. I guess I thought far too much as miracles, all too often, happen in silence.”

Members were excited to have their pastor back, even for part-time as he rebuilds his strength. Remarking on the day’s events and seeing Vincent at church, Arnie Sybrant, head elder at Casper church, said, “It was great. I knew he was going to be doing the testimony at church today. He was excited about coming, and I think the whole church was excited to see him again. You could tell everyone was happy he was there.  In a card I sent him, I told [Vincent] that I didn’t envy his health situation but envied his new experience with God.

Sharing his experience, Vincent said, “We [he and Gabriela, his wife] are so grateful to God for saving my life. I was truly on the fence between life and death. I am thankful for all the prayer and support friends, family, conference co-workers, and strangers provided.”

During his testimony, Vincent shared that while he was in ICU, God came to him and explained he would be healed, but he wouldn’t heal him overnight. Vincent said about this experience. “’I’m not going pull the punch at all.  You’re going to drink every last drop of this cup.’ I didn’t really understand why, but at that point, I was at peace that God was in charge of my destiny, not me. I said, “Okay, whatever your will is, Lord”.

He added that the experience has made him more intentional about daily conversations with Jesus. He said instead of “praying on the go,” he now takes time to have a conversation with God and thank Him every day for saving his life. “I now have been very intentional about my time with Him. It’s made all the difference in His presence. I even broke with my cliché prayers like ‘Lord, come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior today.’  I now pray, ‘Let’s talk, Lord.  I’m choosing to let you be the Lord of life today. Let’s talk.’ I want to be with Him because He is so beautiful.  He is the Living Water. Every time I open His Word, it is a firehose, not a tap.”

Vincent plans to share his testimony in the next issue of the Mountain Views, including when an angel visited him in the middle of the night when he felt the presence of the angel opening his lungs.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski


Pictured left to right: Gabriella Vincent, Shayne Vincent, Susan Vincent (Shayne’s mother)
11 Nov


By Airi Nomura – Loveland, Colorado … Campion students took a trip to an enchanted forest in the gym transformed for the annual student association banquet on November 7.

The student association officers worked to make the transformation by lining the walls with lighted evergreens, hanging sparkling lights overhead, draped with ivy, and decorating the tables with woodsy decor.

“I thought it was very pretty; all the decorations were very beautiful. The most fun thing about the banquet was just spending time with people,” Sierra, Campion junior, said. “I thought the live music was really nice; I liked it a lot. It was a great addition because it felt romantic.”

The night finished with a scavenger hunt around campus. After completing all the missions, students loaded onto a decorated party bus and went for a ride. Seth, a sophomore, reflected, “I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed spending time with my friends on the party bus because we sang a lot of songs, and it was pretty loud, which made me feel good.”

“It went very well. We were able to set it up in a quick and efficient manner. Despite a few minor issues, it seemed like we were able to pull it off and make it fun for everybody. We stayed on task and focused, and all worked together as a team,” Clark, SA president, said.

Reflecting on the evening, Erin Johnson, the SA sponsor, said, “There were a lot of hours put into [it] beforehand to get the look we were going for, and then it was hours of setting up, but the SA did a really great job. It looked like everyone was smiling and having fun, and that’s what it’s all about.”

To view a student-produced video highlight of the banquet, please click here: https://youtu.be/t_yryVnQzZc

–Airi Nomura is a senior at Campion Academy; photos Jill Harlow and Gwyn Reeves

11 Nov


By Jacqueline Kobagaya – Loveland, Colorado … The Campion pastors hosted a dinner on November 5 for the NextGen Pastors aimed to provide ministerial experiences, share stories, answer questions, and mentor them.

NextGen Pastors is a program created by the Campion church for youth and young adults who feel inspired to go into ministry and to guide them through their first steps.

Each pastor shared their experiences about how they felt called by God, even if the journey wasn’t easy or short.

Carlos Santana, who is currently studying theology at Southwestern Adventist University, shared how God has always been weighing on his heart. He said, “I knew early on about Christ, but I also ran away from it. Once I stopped caring about what others thought, I let God take control and let things fall into place.”

The participants connected with the stories, and also shared how they felt called into ministry.

Samuel, a sophomore, said, “After hearing all of these experiences, I feel even more encouraged to go into this field. Their passion and stories show us in the younger generation what we can be in the future.”

Micheal Goetz, senior pastor at Campion church encouraged the students, saying, “If you feel God tapping on your shoulder, listen to it! You’re not going to fit a certain mold or look like other people around you. God has a special plan just for you.”

–Jacqueline Kobagaya, photos supplied

10 Nov


By Lester Bentley — As a pastor of a five-church Wyoming district that stretches nearly 200 miles from end to end, often there isn’t time to dabble in a hobby. Yet, it is essential for my mental well-being. My pursuit of choice is restoring antique furniture. Recently, while cruising Facebook Marketplace, I saw a nearly 100-year-old secretary desk that had seen better days. The price was steeper than I wanted to pay, and also located in Colorado, while I live in Northeastern Wyoming. Yet, it appealed to me. My wife says it was as if it was calling out for help. Arrangements were made to bring it from Colorado to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and then to Douglas, Wyoming, where the exchange of the desk for money took place.

There are times when a picture is worth a thousand words, but the image on Facebook was far greater than how the desk looked in reality. It was dirty, with a broken leg that was taped up with electrical tape. Without the electrical tape, the desk could not even stand on all four legs. Yet another leg was missing its top, and each joint was either broken or loose. Yet, the potential could still be seen. So, the purchase was made, and the process of disassembly and reconstruction began.

Often, fixing the broken in this life takes pressure and time, and the process is slow and labor-intensive. The fractured leg was no exception, as the shaping, gluing, clamping, and drying time took a total of 24 hours of intense pressure. Patience is needed to allow the process to happen naturally. The process could not be rushed, for if rushed, failure would incur.

But over time, the desk once again began to take shape. It began to resemble how (change “how” to “what”) the craftsman initially intended when it was created. The legs were repaired, the desk was reglued and clamped.  Then it took hours, literally, to clean the dirt and grime from the desk.

Antique furniture restoration reminds me of the process all of heaven goes through to reclaim just one sinner. It cost all heaven had, and during the process, there was no guarantee it would work. Any slip, any misstep would cause sin to last forever, leaving those Christ came to save marred and eternally lost.

Christ came and carefully illustrated before us all the process necessary for humanity to be fully restored—restored to the same glory our first parents had in the Garden Tabernacle of the Pre-incarnate Christ called the Garden of Eden.

Christ has called the Christian church His workshop. Each master restorer works in conjunction with heaven to restore broken humanity. As with furniture, the process takes time, and it is labor-intensive. Often, what is being repaired comes under duress as it resists change. But slowly, patiently, heaven and the church, God’s instrument of restoration here on earth, work together to bring restoration to those who have been purchased at a great price. Why? Because the master carpenter saw value in what looked worthless and emptied the treasury of heaven to purchase and then restore what the universe saw as of no value.

In the words of Isaiah (58:12): “Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the repairer of the Breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”

–Lester Bentley is the Northeastern Wyoming District pastor; photos supplied

10 Nov


By Marsha Bartulec – Erie, Colorado … Students at Vista Ridge Academy in Erie, Colorado recently took a day off from classroom learning to participate in several community service events.

The day, which the school hopes to be a yearly tradition, began with Herbert Hernandez, Chapel Haven Adventist church pastor, presenting the worship thought on the importance of service. After worship, students began their day of service at four different activities stations at the school.

Activities included decorating bags for Coal Creek Meal and Wheels, packing hygiene kits for the Salvation Army, making cards for the Veterans Center, and picking up trash outside of the school.  The students, working in pairs, transitioned through each of the stations throughout the day.

“My favorite part about today was being able to bond with my little buddies and having fun with them,” remarked a seventh-grader.

A student in fourth grade enjoyed the meals on wheels station. “I think my favorite part was when we got to decorate bags for the people who can’t really make their own food. It was great to know I was helping people so they can eat. It was really fun.”

Amanda Koenig, communications and development coordinator of Coal Creek Meals on Wheels, counted it a privilege to speak to the students about the organization. “It was really awesome to be here and to see the students be so dedicated and committed to wanting to learn about the work that we do and also being engaged in the volunteer activity, which was decorating bags. That is a simple but huge way that volunteers and students impacted folks in the community. Our clients just really appreciate receiving that decorated bag, that little positive message that warms their day with their meal and support services.” Students decorated a total of 131 bags for Coal Creek Meals on Wheels.

Kristen Bayulot, Denver Metro social services director of the Salvation Army, was also happy to spend time with the students. “They were very excited to pack hygiene kits for people who are experiencing homelessness in our community. All the students put together 216 hygiene kits, which include washcloths, hand towels, soap, band-aids, fingernail clippers, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, razors, shampoo, and body lotion.”

Collette Archibald, Director of the Boulder Vet Centers, was very grateful for the help the students gave and appreciated the thoughtfulness of Vista Ridge Academy for the 100 cards that were dropped off at the center.

To finish out the special day, the school held a domino fall. Students collected 150 boxes of cereal throughout the week leading up to Service Day. The cereal boxes were used in a domino run set up in the gym by students. This year’s top butter braid seller pushed the first domino, and all students watched with excitement as each box fell to the next. The cereal boxes were donated to the Erie Community Food Bank. You can see a video of the domino fall and pictures from the day’s event on Vista Ridge Academy’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VistaRidgeAcademy

Vista Ridge Academy plans to keep Service Day as an annual tradition and looks forward to next year’s event.

–Marsha Bartulec is Vista Ridge Academy vice-principal for administration; photos courtesy of Vista Ridge Facebook page

10 Nov


By Ryan Teller – Lincoln, Nebraska … “I like to listen to people and help them,” Abigail Logan, Greeley church member, said.

Abigail Logan graduated in May 2021 as part of Union’s first cohort of occupational therapy assistants [OTA] students, and now she has begun her career as an occupational therapy assistant at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Logan decided she wanted to become an OTA because of videos she watched on a YouTube channel called Special Books by Special Kids (sbsk.org). The channel founder, Chris Ulmer, interviews disabled and neurodiverse people around the world to share their stories and normalize “the diversity of the human condition.”

Moved by the stories of the people she watched on SBSK, Abigail discovered a desire to help. “I saw people with needs,” she said. “I wanted to be able to help people meet their needs, and I wanted to be able to do something for them that was out of the ordinary and creative.”

In researching a major with her parents, Logan discovered Union’s new OTA program and learned about becoming an occupational therapy assistant. “Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants look at people’s lives and the things that they love to do, and they really work to meet that person in the middle and help them to meet their goals,” she said. “That’s what I want to do.”


Logan began her journey as part of the first cohort of the new OTA program in the spring semester of 2020. During her program, she worked one of her fieldwork rotations at Madonna. While she was still a student, Madonna had an opening for an OTA position. Logan worked with her professors through the application process, and she was offered the position.

Now, as an occupational therapy assistant, Logan is fitting well into her new role. “I feel like I was well prepared, and I am very thankful that this is the path I chose,” she said. “And I’ve been really impressed with the environment at Madonna. The other therapists on the team I’m working on have been really helpful, giving lots of feedback. They’ve all been really kind.”

Working as an OTA has already impacted Logan’s life, not only as a career path. “It doesn’t quite hit you as hard until you’re standing in a room with someone who has just experienced one of the most difficult traumatic times in their life,” Logan said. “Working with my patients has grown my empathy and given me a lot of perspective on my own life.”

One patient Logan worked with was unable to communicate and struggled to participate in activities of daily living at the beginning of therapy. As time went on, the patient improved, learning to communicate through nonverbal means. “It was wonderful to see this patient use the communication board to communicate with their mother and others around them and continue to form relationships in that new way,” Logan said. “It was amazing how much of a difference time and skilled care made. I’ve been able to see changes in patients’ lives as they’ve improved in their abilities, and I love helping to make that difference.”

–Ryan Teller is public relations director for Union College; photo supplied

This article was originally published on Outlook Magazine’s website

09 Nov


RMCNews with Traci Pike – Casper, Wyoming …Mountain Road Christian Academy welcomed back Shayne Vincent, pastor of the Casper district, after several weeks of being seriously ill, with a celebration two months in the planning.

Tie-dyed shirts with “Faith over fear” were made and worn by the students. Students decorated the classroom with balloons, banners, and streamers to create a real party atmosphere, and they bought a cake to help celebrate the occasion.

Why the party atmosphere to welcome back the pastor? Because it was a miracle the students had a chance to witness over the last few months.

Vincent is a valued member of Mountain Road Christian Academy, and the students genuinely love him. Thursdays are known as “Pastor Shayne Day.” Students count down the days every week, asking over and over, “How many more days until Pastor comes?”

“Pastor Shayne presents chapel to our students and then plays games with the students. The favorite is Hide-and-seek. They run all over the school building for the last 30-45 minutes of the day every Thursday to find the very best hiding places,” Traci Pike, headteacher at Mountain Road Christian Academy, said.

In September, Thursday fun day came to an abrupt halt as Vincent contracted COVID.

“We found out he had COVID. At first, he was just sick and at home, but then the situation turned deadly, and our dear Pastor Shayne was hospitalized,” Pike recalls.

While Vincent was battling for his life in the hospital, multiple students lifted their prayer requests that “Pastor Shayne” would get better and come play Hide-and-seek with them again every morning.  Students were given daily updates by Pike, who received them from Vincent’s wife Gabriela, and would hold open discussions about how he was doing and would pray for both Shayne and Gabriela after the updates.

Pike recalls when things took a turn for the worse for Vincent.  “Then Pastor got really, really sick. He was moved to the ICU unit at the hospital. Students prayed. And prayed. And sometimes teachers and students cried together.”

Vincent was anointed on October 2, and as Pike shared this with the students and James 5:13-16 was read and claimed by them. Their faith that he would be healed never wavered.  And God began healing Vincent, bringing him back from the threshold of death.

Recalling the joyous moment at school when the news was released to the students that Vincent was being discharged from the hospital, Pike said, “The day he got out of the hospital, we celebrated at school with songs of praise! We sang, ‘Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah, Praise ye the Lord!’ and thanked God for answering our prayers.”

“November 4 was a sweet reward to see our pastor and friend once again. He still can’t run around the school building, so instead of Hide-and-seek, he played Sardines with the students,” Pike added.

In the game of Sardines, one person who is “It” hides, and everyone else looks for them. When they find where “It” has hidden, they hide with them.

Pike finished by stating, “Mountain Road Christian Academy students and teachers know that they have witnessed a miracle of healing in our pastor. Praise God that He hasn’t run out of miracles yet!”

–RMCNews with Traci Pike is the headteacher at Mountain Road Christian Academy; photo supplied.