08 Nov

Colorado Indonesian-American Adventist Church Welcomes New Pastor

By Barry Manembu – Denver, Colorado … In September, the Colorado Indonesian-American Adventist church welcomed their new pastor, Praban Barna Lim, with a special induction service.

The gathering included 300 attendees from five states and many more viewing online. The service was the first official event for Mic Thurber, RMC president, who began on September 1.

Addressing the congregation, Thurber said, “You are getting a pastor who is very committed to doing ministry. You should be thankful to God, and I hope you love and embrace him and his family. As a conference, we also feel very privileged to have pastor Praban. He will be a great asset to us.”

The former pastor Yoram Tumbarante, who retired this year after pastoring for more than 20 years in RMC, commented to the crowd that “Pastor Praban had been sent by God to us. I have known him for a long time, and I believe he’s the right person to lead and shepherd our church.”

Parban Barna Lim remarked in his inaugural address that the decision to move to RMC was difficult.  “Honestly, it wasn’t an easy decision for my family and me. My congregation at Upland Indonesian Church in California loved me, and my younger daughter is still attending La Sierra University.”

He added, “I felt that it’d be very hard to be separated from my daughter. But surprisingly, she supported whatever decision I was making. She, along with my older daughter in New York, suggested that I just need to pray about it.”

Parban concluded by thanking his wife, Wanda Lim, for her unwavering support. “I wouldn’t” be here, doing this ministry, if not for my wife.”

He moved from Bloomington, California where he served as senior pastor of the Upland Indonesian Adventist Church.

–Barry Manembu is the Pathfinder director for the Colorado Indonesian-American Adventist church; photos supplied

08 Nov


RMCNews with Sue Nelson – Ward, Colorado … Rocky Mountain Conference Pathfinder Council recently gathered on October 15 – 17 for a weekend of planning, fellowship, and spiritual refueling at the annual Adventurer and Pathfinder council meetings.

The group of 40 gathered at Glacier View Ranch to discuss and strategize and organize next year’s Pathfinder events.

The weekend began with ice breakers led by teen coordinators Roberto and Adriana Mira, which got everyone a little twisted.  The evening concluded with the group spending time in prayer.

Sabbath began with training and discussion with area coordinators. The training focused on equipping the coordinators with the knowledge to assist new clubs in forming and being mentors to the club directors. The teen representatives gathered to discuss what their responsibilities were and how they could help.

The morning continued with a worship service led by Chris Morris, Littleton church associate pastor, focusing on putting our trust in God and how we are a masterpiece.

The afternoon offered a hike led by Brent Learned, RMC assistant youth director, where the group was joined by a family of moose.

The weekend concluded on Sunday by discussing a long list of agenda items at the general business meeting for Pathfinders.

The Pathfinder leaders departed GVR reenergized and looking forward to what 2022 holds for RMC Pathfinder clubs.

–RMCNews with Sue Nelson, the co-coordinator for RMC Pathfinders; photo supplied

04 Nov


RMCNews – Colorado Springs, Colorado … In front of family, friends, co-workers, and fellow soldiers, Yepisca Mareno was commissioned to the Gospel Ministry on October 30 at the Colorado Springs Central Adventist church.

“This is an affirmation by the church of Chaplain Moreno’s call to the Gospel Ministry, which she has demonstrated by her experiences as a pastor to the Navajo and as a chaplain in the US Army, both in the Reserve and on Active Duty,” William Cork, assistant director of the North America Division Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries said.

Echoing Cork’s sentiments Mike Maldonado, lead pastor of Colorado Springs Central, reflected on the significance of this recognition by the North American Division on a female pastor’s calling.

“Hosting and participating in Chaplain Moreno’s commissioning service was one of the most special events I have had the privilege to be a part of. The fact that she is a Captain in the United States Army, and a female, makes this recognition by the NAD and RMC of greater significance,” Maldonado commented.

Moreno was grateful for the support.  “I praise the Most High because He chose a broken vessel like me to be in His service. He has fought for me! I’m grateful for the people who have supported me in this path, and the ones who tried to discourage me too have taught me that with God, everything is possible. I’m grateful for my Adventist Church and its leaders who put their vote of confidence in me,” Chaplain Mareno said.

Former director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries at the General Conference and a Vietnam veteran, Dick Stenbakken, commenting on the service said, “It was a high privilege to see one of our Seventh-day Adventist military chaplains receive commissioned credentials from the church. It is a privilege for us to provide chaplains that can give a wide range of services for our members and others. It was especially interesting to see a female military chaplain who has developed a wide range of ministry skills, receive recognition from the church.”

Moreno has a special partner in her ministry to the Army and Native Americans–her mother.

“Moreno honored her mother, who has been her ministry partner throughout her career. Moreno’s service throughout her ministry was recognized, including being the first female to be hired by the Texico conference as well as her work with native groups,” Jade Covel, Colorado Springs associate pastor, said.

RMC administration was honored to participate in the event.

“It was an honor to have a role to play in supporting someone who provides a vital service to those who serve our country,” Doug Inglish, RMC vice president of administration, said.

“Chaplain Moreno is on fire for Jesus. Her exceptional service in the military is a testimony of her close relationship with Him. We are very grateful for Chaplain Moreno and all the chaplains that serve in our territory,” Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, stated.

Cork wishes church members to know that being a chaplain in the Army is not easy. “The work of an Army chaplain today is emotionally intense, with high rates of sexual assault and suicide. We are grateful for the support Chaplain Moreno has from the Rocky Mountain Conference and the Colorado Springs Central Church,” Cork said

Chaplain Moreno is one of 130 Seventh-day Adventist pastors serving as military chaplains today.

–RMCNews; photos by Susan Inglish

04 Nov


By Mickey Mallory — In the sports world, players tend to do better when someone cheers them on. Why is this the case? Because when people cheer them on, it encourages them to try harder. To illustrate this point, NBA player Joel Embid remarks, “Every time I’m on the court, every time a fan cheers for me, I just want to go out and make a play for them to cheer even more.”

Just curious, what would happen in the church if we cheered for each other like fans cheer for their favorite player? For example, suppose we made it a point to cheer for our pastor, we chose to respond with a hearty “Amen” when they preached, or we told them in person or via email/text that we appreciate them and believe God is using them. Can you imagine how that would be received? Can you imagine how it would impact their ministry? My guess is it would serve as a huge source of encouragement.

Last month, I was thrilled to hear that several churches in the Rocky Mountain Conference have been cheering their pastor on by showing them appreciation. I asked a few pastors recently to share what it meant to them to experience such appreciation.

“I was so blessed by the way my church family shared their appreciation for me this month! I could tell by the thoughtfulness and enthusiasm that they showed that they meant it from the bottom of their hearts, and it was so gratifying and encouraging to hear how they said ‘Thank you for being one of our pastors,’” Michael Taylor, associate pastor of the Campion church, said.

Godfrey Miranda, Fort Collins church lead pastor, is thankful for his members. “As our church has expressed appreciation in big and small ways the last couple of weeks, I’ve been deeply humbled. It’s awesome to realize that God truly is fulfilling His good plans and purposes, especially since the varying seasons of ministry make you wonder at times. The gestures of appreciation have also communicated a tangible sense of support, that we’re all in this together, that what the church appreciates isn’t just my ministry for them, but with them.”

Way to go, church members. That’s impressive. What you did made not only your pastor smile, but even God Himself, who called them to ministry and is their biggest cheerleader. In the final seconds of the game of life, I believe He is calling every church to join Him in cheering for their pastor and everyone who serves. The following counsel from the writer of Hebrews makes this point very clear:

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25)

These are powerful words. Just think what would happen if every church followed them. Imagine what it would do to the morale. My guess is that church members would be so encouraged that they would want to accomplish even greater things for God. The church would then become a model to the sports world of the benefits of cheering for others.

–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director

04 Nov


By Hyacinth Cookenmaster – Loveland, Colorado … Students gained a deeper understanding of Moses and the Exodus during Campion Academy’s week of prayer.

The meetings featured archeologist Scottie Baker Jr., Ph.D., who presented a clear picture of Moses and the Exodus using artifacts and his knowledge of ancient Egyptian culture. Baker captivated the audience in person and those students joining in on Zoom.

“I absolutely loved Week of Prayer. It was one of the most interesting Weeks of Prayer I have ever experienced. I love learning how history proves that God is a just God, and He knows what He is doing,” Brianna, senior, expressed.

If students could answer questions on previous lectures, Baker gave away pieces of ancient pottery found on archeological digs. Having the chance to win a part of history brought some extra excitement for the students.

“I was excited about winning a piece of pottery! I basically got a piece of history, and it could’ve even been owned by a person in the Bible,” Toby, freshmen, expressed.

Baker’s lectures helped students understand that the Bible can be explained and known better through studying the historical context. “Dr. Baker helped me understand that when we study the history and background of the way people thought, we can better apply the Bible’s teachings to our own personal lives today,” shared Christine, senior.

“Even though a lot of us attended this Week of Prayer on the other side of a screen, I was deeply blessed and learned the importance of making God a habit in my life and ultimately making Him front and foremost in my everyday life,” Savage stated.

–Hyacinth Cookenmaster is a senior at Campion Academy; photos supplied

04 Nov


By Campion Academy News – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy has returned to in-person classes and programming after all the students and staff remaining on campus tested negative for COVID-19 last Friday.

“I am amazed and inspired by the resilience and determination of our staff and students to continue education while being faced with so many challenges,” commented Don Reeder, Campion Academy principal. “I am so thankful that God has helped us make it through the worst of it, and that we are back together!”

Michael Goetz, pastor of the Campion church, commented on Sabbath during the worship service, “We’ve never been so happy to be so negative.”

While a few students who did test positive are still completing their isolation time at home this week, the vast majority have returned to campus.

Students who went home also had to have a negative test to return to campus.

–Campion Academy News; photo supplied

04 Nov

Montrose Hispanic ends community meetings with 11 baptisms

RMCNews with Dennis Magaña – Montrose, Colorado … The Montrose Hispanic Adventist church recently concluded community outreach meetings, Transformados Por La Sangre De Jesus with eleven baptisms.

Members began planning the outreach to the community in August by inviting Oswaldo Magaña, executive secretary for the Ohio Conference, to present the message.

“Generally, we have two crusades during the year, but due to the pandemic, this was going to be our first in-person crusade since the pandemic began,” Dennis Magaña, Montrose Hispanic head elder, said. “Our members were excited to be able to have it in person and to be able to invite their friends and family to attend.”

Members invited family and friends with personalized letters hand-delivered to the individuals. Many of the individuals invited by the special notes made plans to attend the series.

The church was excited to begin the series but knew challenges would face them. “We knew this crusade was going to be a blessing and that the devil was not happy with what was going on, and we knew that he was going to do everything in his power to stop it,” Dennis Magaña said. “On Friday before the meetings were to begin, I got a call from Oswaldo Magaña stating his mother had passed away in Belize and that he would not be able to come.”

Members understood the situation and decided not to cancel. They began to make preparations to change the theme. The church shifted the week into a spiritual revival for members, focusing on friends and family, and rescheduled the meetings to the last week of October so that Oswaldo Magaña could speak.

The outreach began with community and church members in attendance; however, as the week continued, the attendance increased, causing the meetings to be moved into a larger venue at Montrose English Adventist church.

Halfway through the series, five individuals responded to a call to follow Jesus by being baptized. The five were joined by six others the following evening. Preparations began to hold a special service on Sabbath to baptize the eleven individuals.

During the baptism ceremony, Oswaldo Magaña stated, “I can only imagine the joy and celebration that is occurring in heaven.”

Concluding the service, Oswaldo appealed to the members to adopt one of the newly baptized members and be their spiritual mentor with the hope that they will walk together in this new journey and be there for whatever they need. “Your real work begins now,” Oswaldo Magaña stated to the church at the end of the service. “The church exists to guide and mentor and not judge these new spiritual babies.”

“In one week, we were able to raise our membership total by more than 25 percent!  We have a real problem now in our church as we no longer fit [in our current space].” Dennis Magaña said. “Pray [for us] as we are looking for a new, bigger place to worship. There is a lot of work to do here in Montrose, and by God’s grace, we are committed to doing it.”

–RMCNews with Dennis Magaña is Montrose Hispanic Adventist Church head elder; photos supplied

03 Nov


By Love Pickle – Loveland, Colorado … Students in the seventh and eighth grades at HMS Richards Adventist School are reaching out to the community by participating in the literature ministries (LM) program.

The program has been a mission of seventh and eighth-grade teacher Carey Jordan. “It’s been a dream of mine since I started teaching,” said Jordan who has been working with Matt Hasty, RMC literature ministries director, and the school board to make this dream a reality.

After recent approval by the school board, the students have been able to go out twice and plan to continue once a month for the rest of the school year.

This experience has created a desire within students to continue sharing the gospel in their community. “LM is actually a lot of fun. I am glad to bring people to Christ, and maybe they can be saved,” Warren, a seventh-grader, enthusiastically shared. When asked how it felt to be rejected, he responded, “I respect their choices, and I don’t want to force anything upon them.”

Another seventh-grade student said, “LM is great, but sometimes I get nervous when I don’t know something.”

Jordan told how she witnessed the students’ attitudes change during their first LM outreach: “The kids started so nervous, but when they came back, they asked when they could do it again.”

Being part of literature ministries requires a lot of patience, determination, and the mental capacity to overcome challenges. Another student, Elin, found it difficult to talk to strangers and pray with them at first, but still pushed herself to do so.

Eighth-grader Michelle recalled an unforgettable experience where she and her peers knocked on a door and met a woman who had undergone many brain surgeries and has an uncertain prognosis. Hence, the students gathered and prayed for her. Seeing seventh and eighth graders reaching out to adults in such a way made school secretary Aubrey Nelson emotional, with tears rolling from her eyes. Reflecting on the event, Michelle added, “It makes me feel better to pray for other people.”

Even when people don’t make a purchase, the students are still happy when people who open the door, are filled with hope that they might open a lot of hearts.

The money collected from LM goes toward sponsoring a mission trip for the students. If pandemic restrictions prohibit the trip, the funds will be sent to Maranatha.

–Love Pickle is a senior at Campion Academy; photos by Carey Jordan

03 Nov


By Brenda Dickerson – Lincoln, Nebraska … Craig Carr has accepted the invitation of the Mid-America Union Conference Executive Committee to serve as the director of the union’s Ministerial department. He begins his new role on Jan. 1, 2022.

Carr, who holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and a Doctor of Ministry from Denver Seminary in Littleton, Colorado, has served the Washington Conference since 2017 as vice president for administration. Carr was ordained to the gospel ministry in 2003 while pastoring in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference.

“We are so blessed to have Craig Carr moving to Mid America!” said MAUC president Gary Thurber. “This is much like coming home for him and his wife, Carisa. They are both graduates of Union College and are thankful for the excellent education they received. Craig served in the Rocky Mountain Conference for over ten years as lead pastor of the Boulder Church and then Ministerial and Church Ministries director for the conference. He comes with a wealth of experience in leadership, but most of all, he loves ministry, and he’s giving his life to it.”

Carr said he is looking forward to doing everything he can to support the six conference Ministerial directors as they grow their ministry with their pastors. “I have a deep love for pastors. And I hope to support them by being a prayer partner to their directors, a sounding board, and a chief encourager in the good times and challenges that ministry brings,” he stated.


In addition to preaching frequently, chairing many committees, and providing support to numerous departments, Carr has experience with a wide range of activities, including facilitating Restore the Joy of My Vocation seminars on emotional and spiritual maturity. Carr credits his mentors, including his dad Curtis Carr, father-in-law Gordon Retzer and friend Joe Kidder, for developing his passion for ministry.

“My earliest memories of knowing Jesus bring to mind our family singing hymns around the piano and my dad emphasizing the lyrics of the love and grace of Jesus,” Carr said. His favorite Scripture verse is Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Carr believes some of the best things about being a Seventh-day Adventist are being messengers of God’s grace to a world in need of the healing and wholeness that can only be found in Jesus Christ; the gift of salvation; Sabbath rest; and the hope of Christ’s soon return.

What gives Carr hope for the future of Adventism? He says it is “every young person who says Yes to Jesus and lives out the gospel in authentic and practical ways by serving in their community and touching the lives of others out of love for God and nothing more.”

Craig and Carisa (Retzer) have been happily married for 25 years. “Carisa is my partner in life and ministry, a master teacher, super mom, and friend to many,” added Craig. They have two children: Cassie (preschool teacher married to Blake Unsell) and Christian (crew chief in the U.S. Air Force).

–Brenda Dickerson is the communication director for the Mid-America Union and editor of OUTLOOK magazine.

This article was originally published on Outlook Magazine website

03 Nov

COMMENTARY: Rural Churches Back to the Future

By Amilcar Groeschel Jr. … Rural churches. Remember them? They’ve been under palliative care for quite some time now. Here are practical ideas to deal with the consequences of a Covid-catalyzed urban exodus and the potential “Back to the Future” experience when it comes to the rural churches. Much needed disclaimer? No far-fetched formulas or rocket science will be offered. This is about the revival of unity in service.

My previous church leadership experience was in the city of São Paulo, one of the world’s largest urban centers. We had between 1200 to 1500 members attending worship every Sabbath. There were two to three different services, many musical groups, choirs, and even an orchestra playing live music every other Sabbath. Community service was alive and well, with various programs including personal development seminars and activities that attended to real basic needs, all within the evangelistic harvest cycle.

Then, by God’s grace and providence, we moved to southwest Virginia to serve the rural Appalachian “Bible belt” churches within the Potomac Conference. Serving in our church’s “motherland” has been quite a journey. According to eAdventist, even though most of our congregations are still located in rural areas, most of the NAD’s members are found in urban centers, obviously following the ongoing post-industrial revolution’s migrations.

I took the official “Advent Heritage Tour” with Jim Nix and my grandparents back in the day. Later in the Seminary, I studied our church’s history more in-depth with Dr. Alberto Timm and learned to appreciate how rural America was our God-planned birthplace. However, little by little, with different social and economical variables for each specific area, our rural churches started to decline. The picture I have is of a faithfully well-intentioned church that’s growing old and dying. As a pastor in this area, this is a painful and worrisome picture.

But all of a sudden, as COVID hit, we started seeing people coming out of nowhere joining our Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube meetings, really searching for some connection. Some were asking for information about land and property for sale in our area. The real estate market is still very active in rural areas, meaning that something is indeed changing.

And it just hit me: how will we be able to connect to the community if we’re barely even making it in our community? We simply don’t have enough people who are able to do most of the necessary work. And that’s where, out of practical necessity, we started to call on our neighbor churches for help, human help. Yes, we had partnered up many times before, with district churches and even other ministries (and we still do), but now we have a renewed vision, a strategic opportunity.

Out of pure necessity, God showed us the blessings of unity. No real news here—that’s his pattern throughout history. In time and with growing relationships and trust, the district churches agreed to work on a regional strategy—sharing financial and human resources and becoming aware of the immediate need to have a digital as well as an analog plan in place for this renewed opportunity to reconnect with and serve our local communities. Starting with a district-wide week of “Revival and Reformation” in January, we’ve partnered with It is Written’s year-long evangelistic program called “Acts 20:21” for a robust and qualified online presence. We’re also preparing for the transition back to in-person relationship development.

In March, we had an in-person district-wide training series on medical missionary work, followed by an online IIW health series and in-person community outreach research to find out how we can attend to the specific needs of our local community. We had our first district-wide health fair on diabetes, with more than 40 volunteers from all churches, hundreds of literature distributed, over 100 people registered for follow-up programs, many Bible studies, and little by little, a living, breathing, back-to-the-future church.

As a result of our district-wide effort, member engagement has spiked, and now we are ready to commit to a district-wide harvest cycle plan for 2022. We have 52 leads who are receiving online Bible studies and are being contacted consistently by our outreach team and five people attending Diabetes Undone, a health fair follow-up program. We have also restarted our monthly Healthy Cooking classes, usually having anywhere between 10-15 in attendance who are not Seventh-day Adventist.

Also, within our district, we have a school that’s been closed for almost ten years, and after our district-wide effort, we were able to reopen the school property as a “Practical Living Community Center” for kids. They learn different life skills, which include healthy spirituality classes, reading and writing, gardening, and cooking. We already have ten kids enrolled in the program.

As I said before, no rocket science here, but a God-driven loop in the space/time continuum.

–Amilcar Groeschel Jr. pastors the New River, Pulaski, and Wytheville Churches along with the Mountain View Company, all in Southwest Virginia. Photo supplied.

This article was originally published on the NAD Ministerial website.