22 Nov


By Doug Inglish

The word “thanksgiving” (note the lack of capitalization, meaning that this is not limited to the holiday of that name) denotes an expression of something very particular that is in the heart. Pause a moment to think about that.

We throw around expressions all the time with little thought about whether we really mean what we say. Take for instance the phrase, “Great to see you”.  Maybe you say something like that just to be polite and it’s not that you are being dishonest because in reality you don’t like seeing the other person, yet actually seeing them is closer to neutral than great.

When my teenage son came home from a mission trip to India, which as we all know, is crawling with cobras, but even worse, took place on a tiger reserve, I was not neutral about seeing him again. When he got home and I said, “Great to see you!”, it was far more than a polite expression. It was a pathetic attempt to put words to something in my heart so profound that it filled my very being.

Okay, so what very particular thing must be in our heart in order to make the word “thanksgiving” more than the name of a holiday? (And no, you don’t get any points if your answer involves food, travel, relatives, or football)

Gratitude. If you don’t feel it, you’re not really giving thanks.

If you do feel it, there are many ways for you to express it. Be a good person. Share. Listen. Sing. Worship. Serve.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you truly feel it in your heart.

–Doug Inglish is RMC VP for administration and stewardship director. Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

22 Nov


David Sakul with Dave Mundung – Denver, Colorado … In what became a historic moment for the First Denver Indonesian Church, the congregation participated in an induction ceremony for the Pathfinder and Adventurer clubs on November 12.

Officiated by Tyrone Douglas, Mid-America Union Conference director of youth and young adult ministry, together with Brandon Westgate, RMC youth director, the Pathfinder club was named “Mighty Arrows” and the Adventurer club was given the name, “White Dove.”

As the induction ceremony began, tears of joy were seen on the cheeks of parents and church members alike. [It was] a proud moment for everyone, and God’s name was praised above all,” reported David Sakul, church elder.

After Widy Gara, church pastor, opened the ceremony with prayer, the induction program followed with Pathfinders and Adventurers doing the march-in ceremony, Pledge of Allegiance, Pathfinder and Adventurer pledges, and an Adventurer pledge dedication prayer by visiting youth directors.

The ceremony included a special musical number from Aurora Hispanic Adventist Church.

Nineteen young people were inducted as members into the clubs.

“We praise the Lord for this event and pray for God’s continued blessings for the new Pathfinder and Adventurer clubs,” added Sakul.

–David Sakul is church elder, and Dave Mundung is Pathfinder club director. Photos supplied.

22 Nov


Agape Hammond – Parker, Colorado … Through a collaborative partnership, Parker Adventist Hospital and Newday Adventist Church provided Thanksgiving meal boxes to 125 families in need in the Parker, Colorado community.

Newday Adventist Church has lots to be thankful for this season. On Saturday, November 19, Newday held their second annual ThankFULL Free Farmer’s Market event.

The ThankFULL Free Farmer’s Market began after Lisa Cardinal, executive pastor at Newday, witnessed the need during the summer Free Farmer’s Market.

Providing a special meal during the holidays so that our neighbors can host their own families is another way Newday can meet the needs of our community. Extending the summer Free Farmer’s Market to include a holiday ThankFULL experience has grown to providing 125 complete meals, including turkey, for families that otherwise might not have Thanksgiving.

One family who was late to the event, came running to find out if it was all over. They found Newday volunteers still cleaning up and one meal box remaining. This was a beautiful ending to a great day.

Mike Sadjak, a long-time member of Newday, had this to say about his experience: I was excited to reconnect with my Newday friends, to get to know some of the new people that attend Newday, and to help our community. It was a great way to spend a Sabbath afternoon.”

It’s not just the food we share with the families that makes an impact. Management at the apartments noticed a difference in the residents, noting the high energy and excitement of those gathered.

This year, Newday added hot drinks, cupcakes, a craft station, and the beautiful Gratitude Tree, that will remain in the lobby through Thanksgiving. The event, meant to bring people together, succeeded in creating a sense of community that we hope will last this season and beyond.

— Text and photos by Agape Hammond, Newday member.

22 Nov


Karen Davidson – Cañon City, Colorado — Bible marking has become a vital part of prayer meetings at the Cañon City church on Wednesday evenings. On average, more than thirty people have attended for the past 17 weeks, “and we are going strong,” reports Karen Davidson, whose husband is pastor of the congregation.

“The Bible marking class reinforced our knowledge and gave us the confidence to share Jesus with everyone,” Holly and Kurt Hammel commented on the inspirational experience of such an approach to Bible study.

Some attendees arrive at six o’clock to mark their Bibles if they didn’t have time to do so at home.  Then, Amy Burr McComb leads members and visitors in identifying how God is leading and blessing, and then prays for members and the community.

The participating church members were initially trained by Pastor John Davidson on how to lead a Bible marking class with its 29 chapters.

Then the members also sign up to lead the weekly Bible marking class, adding their personal touch to their teaching. Those who are leading are also gaining confidence in the knowledge, skills, and materials to do a Bible study as they use Terry Nelson’s Bible marking book and supporting materials.

One member of our Cañon City church, Paul O’Dell, following a health ministries training session a month ago, was compelled to go to his neighbors with a poultice for his feet, commented Karen. She explained, “The neighbor started the natural remedy that night with much prayer from Paul. God blessed and the neighbor got complete pain relief in four days. Paul and his neighbor have now done the first five Bible marking lessons.”

“As a member doing the Bible Marking classes, I find it very easy to teach, and my neighbor finds it easier to understand the Bible,” Paul stated.

–Karen Davidson. Photo supplied.

09 Nov


Anton Kapusi – Pueblo, Colorado … We all like harvest festivals when the whole neighborhood comes–children, parents, grandparents, or guardians to celebrate the goodness and blessings of our Creator and Sustainer God.

People of all ages are curious about what a Christian-themed harvest festival trunk-or-treat looks like. Pueblo, Colorado has a long-standing tradition of trick-or-treating. Yes, that infamous practice of children and parents dressing up as different characters and going door-to-door to receive treats has been growing in numbers for years in Pueblo. However, due to COVID and ever-growing crime in Pueblo, parents are looking for a safer environment for getting out with their children.

The leadership team at Pueblo First Seventh-day Adventist Church, led by the Outreach and Education Center, decided to use this opportunity to reach the neighborhood and the city in a way we never have before. Looking for volunteers who would decorate their cars, SUVs, or truck trunks with a biblical theme, they got twelve brave volunteers with themes like F.R.O.G.–Fully Rely On God, the Tree of Life, Store Up Your Treasures in Heaven, Plant and Harvest, Jesus is the True Light, and The Ark… to mention just a few.

Since there is no festival without food, drinks, and prizes, those in the church with the gift of grilling, cooking, baking, drink prepping, and Bible trivia knowledge, invested their funds and talents into preparing hundreds of bags of popcorn, hot dogs, grilled corn, boiled peanuts, muffins, cookies, doughnuts, caramel apples, tens of gallons of drinks and dozens of Bible trivia questions with prizes.

Under the watchful eye of the organizers, early Sunday afternoon, October 30, the church parking lot started buzzing with some thirty volunteers setting up their car trunks, a sitting and warming area, food courts, and the Bible trivia station. The security team, easily recognizable in their vests, had their walkie-talkies at their assigned stations. The festival was to officially open at 5 p.m., but the first children in Pokémon, princess, and Spider-Man costumes arrived some fifteen minutes early, officially opening the festival.

The team worked like clockwork. All were at their trunks or tables, engaging with visitors–children, and adults alike. Candies with Bible verses, thematic brochures, Bible stickers, and small and big prizes were ready for giveaways.

This harvest festival was the first of its kind the church had ever attempted, and there were many unknowns. The organizing team tried to think of all scenarios and issues they could face and, prayerfully, found solutions for all. Or so they thought. They hadn’t counted on a crowd of almost a thousand people coming to a church event.

After only half an hour, the food was running low, the prizes were gone, and the supplies at many stations were dwindling. The first three hundred visitors were through, but the line of those who wanted to enter the festival extended beyond the whole length of the parking lot to the corner of the street and bent to the adjacent street. The first lucky visitors were able to park nearby in the street, but most had to walk two blocks from where they found parking in the streets.

Family members and supporting staff ran to get more food, more candies, and more prizes. Closing the event was not an option. We knew God would provide. The visitors didn’t notice any disruption, and those attending their stations were just handed all they needed by a supplying hand “from behind”.

We served more than 800 hot dogs, corn on the cob, and just as many bowls of boiled peanuts. More than 300 baked goods were shared, along with hundreds of caramel apples, thousands of candies, and more than 500 prizes for Bible trivia. It is worth mentioning that a couple hundred brochures for the grades 1-12 Tutoring Program were also shared with parents, and we have already welcomed a few new students.

Members of the organizing team said, “We prayed for God to bring out people, but this was a miracle.” Another person commented: “I was expecting maybe 200-300 people. This is more than a blessing.” The church pastor, Anton Kapusi, excitedly noted, “This was the longest children’s story I ever had. For three hours, I was able to tell Bible stories and make sure that every child and family won a prize!”

Harvest Festival volunteers were exhilarated. The commitment and engagement level in the church is growing and all are waiting to see where the Lord is going to lead next. Since the event, during the Sabbath services, participants gave their testimonies as a group to the congregation, during which visitors from the Harvest Festival attended.

One [volunteer] testified, “Jesus shared bread and fish with people as he preached the gospel; we also shared food, smiles, words of encouragements, and the gospel. The tide is turning in Pueblo, the Holy Spirit is reaching the hearts and minds of the members as well as that of our community. Move on, Pueblo, Move on!”

The promise of the Lord stands, and this is what we at Pueblo strongly embrace: “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” (2 Chronicles 20:20)

–Anton Kapusi is pastor of Pueblo First Adventist church. Photos supplied.

09 Nov


RMCNews Interview with Daniel Birai – Denver, Colorado … There is excitement at LifeSource Adventist Fellowship. With deep interest in making Adventist mission relevant and involving the whole congregation, the church leadership is strategically streamlining activities and its use of resources. Pastor Daniel Birai shares the meaning behind his church’s Keystone Ministries.

NewsNuggets: What challenge are you facing at LifeSource with your ministries?

Daniel Birai: We have about 24 active ministries and it isn’t realistic to be able to provide each of them the time and resources that they need with two pastors. Even with lay members leading the groups, there isn’t enough support, accountability, or training to create sustainable growth. This leads to low volunteer leadership, low morale, and low attendance at events.

NN: So, how are you going to turn this around?

DB: I’m privileged to work with Pastor Jose Briones. A few months ago, we were brainstorming on a white board on how we could support our church family. We [concluded that we] will spend more of our time on a fewer number of ministries that can strategically bring more people (volunteers) to our church, giving them a bigger base out of which to invite them into service. We are calling them Keystone Ministries.

NN: How do you determine which ministries will be designated as Keystone Ministries?

DB: We asked ourselves what ministries we can prioritize, which by doing so, will give our church the best chance of growing sustainably and increase the number of volunteers that we can invite to serve on other ministry teams.

There are ministries with individuals who have high engagement in church life. We measure high engagement when ministries have individuals who consistently attend events, support the church financially, and are willing to step up into leadership roles. We also asked what ministry is so critical to our calling as a church that we cannot afford to neglect it, even if we don’t currently have much “fruit” showing?

NN: If you can share your discoveries through your analysis, what are the Keystone Ministries you have identified?

DB: We identified four areas and seven ministries. The first area is Church Connections, and this includes Greeters, as this impacts new growth. It is where many people get their first chance to meet us. It includes our Hospitality Team as it impacts being a family and doing life together with monthly fellowship meals, church picnics –things that everyone in our church can attend if they wish — and finally, Lay Pastor Assistants who provide spiritual care for our church family by visiting regularly.

The next area is Community. Our Ministry Impact Team will add value to our community by inviting its members to join our family doing surveys in our community.

Area number three is our Young Adult Ministry. In this area, we already have high engagement. They meet weekly (outside our Sabbath morning worship time) with different events and experiences and God is blessing their commitment to being a family.

Area four is identified as Young Families. We seek to add value by providing Children’s Ministries–a space where parents can bring their children each Sabbath to be nurtured and developed and challenged to live for Jesus in our Sabbath Schools. For parents wanting more engagement for their children, we lean on our Club Ministries–Adventurers and Pathfinders–to be our discipleship arm for our young people.

NN: If a ministry isn’t identified here, does it mean you don’t care about it or think it isn’t important?

DB: No, not at all. We are acknowledging that with limited resources, it makes sense to do a few things with excellence, and trust that as these thrive, more people will join our family and serve in the other ministries that are just as important. We will highlight the amazing impact these ministries are having during our weekly ministry spotlight, e-newsletter, and word of mouth.

NN: How will you measure success?

DB: Before the end of the year, our pastoral team will work together with Keystone Ministry leaders to create Key Performance Indicators that will be tracked, measured, and reported. We will ask about attendance at events, report monthly engagement on social media, and create quarterly surveys of those they are serving in order to measure impact, and more.

Naturally, we asked ourselves how these Keystone Ministries will be supported. It is vital to ensure they have the financial and people resources needed to achieve their goals, that regular attention is given to events and ministry meetings through a variety of communication vehicles, as well as have church leadership give regular attention to ministry leaders and team members.

We trust that by focusing on these Keystone Ministries, the church can create sustainable value to our community in a day and age when people realize the importance of being in community.

–RMCNews. Photo by Daniel Birai.

09 Nov


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Winter may be creeping up on us, but plans for summer camp 2023 are well underway. The Youth Department has been busy praying and planning for another successful summer of camp ministry in the Rocky Mountain Conference.

The camp theme this summer is ELEVATE. “We realize that God is always calling us to something higher, something more significant, something greater,” Brandon Westgate, RMC youth director says.

He explains, “Our theme expresses the call of God on our life. In John 12:32 Jesus says when He is lifted up, He will, in turn, lift us up to where He is. So, when we elevate Jesus, we get elevated by Jesus! “

The plan is to elevate Jesus high and exalted so that we can witness Jesus elevating our young people out of the challenges they face, and into His loving embrace. To accomplish this lofty goal, organizers are seeking other young people (18+ yrs. of age) who are looking to spend their summer with us engaged in this powerful ministry experience.

If that sounds like something you are interested in, or you know of a high school senior or college student who might be interested, visit RMC youth department page, and fill out an application.

Brandon adds, “We would love to visit with you about the employment opportunities we have available this summer!” https://www.rmcyouth.org/summerstaff


09 Nov


Katrina Blankenship – Northglenn, Colorado … On the evening of November 5, two Adventist churches, Chapel Haven and Northglenn Hispanic, combined forces to create a multi–cultural event, a Feast of Nations. Organized by Pastor Herbert Hernandez, the event was deemed a huge success with some 100 people in attendance representing 10 different countries.

The gathering started with a devotional about how we are one in Christ, yet varied in many ways, showing the amazing diversity that will one day stand on the sea of glass before God. The group sang, “Jesus Loves Me” in several languages followed by a Bible city trivia game.

Then ensued a sampling of the abundance of food, the admiring the traditional attire and costumes worn by nearly half the happy participants, and a deepening of social friendships. “It was an event to stimulate the senses with the vibrant colors, pleasing aromas, appetizing flavors, unique textures, and lively conversations,” reported Katrina Blankenship.

The gathering concluded by playing the national anthems from each of the 10 countries represented. People returned to their homes satisfied by good food, good conversation, and a renewed sense of the uniqueness created by God for His glory.

–Text and photos by Katrina Blankenship.

09 Nov


Haley Beckermeyer – Loveland, Colorado …Equipped with rakes, gloves, and trash bags, Campion students dispersed around the Loveland area to help their neighbors last Wednesday for Community Service Day.

Campion Academy takes a day off from classes for community service day each semester to demonstrate God’s love in action. Chaplain Carlos Santana explained, “The reason we give a day off of classes to serve our community is simply to be a blessing. We want to create a spiritual outlet for the students to be able to serve others.” Santana continued, “Our greatest example is found in Christ all throughout the Gospels. The example was: if Christ saw a need, he met the need. Therefore, I believe our calling is the same as Christ’s example, and that is, if we see a need we meet the need.”

The community members that the students served shared their appreciation for the help from the students. Pastor Joe Martin stated, “I thought it was fantastic to see our youth willing to help another church in service. They were outstanding. They went to work as soon as they got there, and they did a fantastic job. I was so impressed by it.”

One of the groups headed out to Habitat for Humanity to help organize clothes and other items at the thrift store. “Habitat for Humanity was really laid back and fun. We were helping organize different things and it was cool to get to talk to people I wouldn’t normally talk to.” Junior Megan Harden commented

Some students stayed on campus and helped clean up leaves, but still enjoyed the experience. “Community service day was fun,” shared senior student Ruth Rawlings, “I cleaned up leaves on the campus and it was a good break from school being able to do something for others in the community.”

Haley Beckermeyer, Student news team. Photo from CA eNewsletter.

09 Nov


Tiffany Mogaka – Loveland, Colorado … Campion students and visitors came together to Campion Church to learn more about the character of God through the theme ‘Who God is’ during the Northern Colorado Youth Rally, November 4-5 featuring Pastor Michelle Odinma as the guest speaker

Friday night vespers began with powerful and heart-warming worship music led by a student praise team and Pastor Leandro Bizama. The theme song of the event was “Our God”. Junior Phoebe Mamanua said, “The praise music promoted the message. There was energy, and it was really good to have all of us together just praising God. It felt like a bonding experience especially because it was upbeat like a campfire song.”

A recognized singer and pastor from Manhattan, New York, Michelle Odinma, shared the word of God on Friday night and Sabbath morning. She spoke about God’s forgiveness and a model of faithfulness through the story of David and Jonathan.

Samuel Walton, Junior student, commented, “The thing that impacted me the most about the message that Pastor Michelle delivered was when she talked of Jonathan and King David. I realized that God has a plan for all, but His plan [for me] could be building up others so that He could be glorified more. I think that’s so powerful. It really touched me to think that God could use me to build someone up and impact more lives for His glory.”

Sabbath afternoon was spent in outreach during which the youth visited people in the community to pray with them. Afterward, they participated in a series of workshops hosted by Pastor Mike Taylor from Campion and Brandon and Dawn Westgate from the Rocky Mountain Conference youth department, where they discussed topics like dating, finances, and God’s calling.

On Saturday night, Michelle Odinma shared her music in a concert, playing the guitar and singing original songs from her upcoming album, Stories to Tell. The album will be released November 11.

Senior student Melody Mambo enjoyed Michelle’s performances, saying, “I really liked the music selections from Pastor Michelle because it gave people a sense of community. It was especially fun to hear her sing because her songs gave me new perspectives of the Bible that I never thought of before.”

The youth rally ended with both Campion students and welcomed guests enjoying a fun ice cream treat and gym night games hosted by Campion’s SA officers. Musical chairs winner, Damaris Lopez, said, “I really liked the ice cream and the activities because everyone was involved. I also loved that the winners got prizes. But most of all, I enjoyed getting to know more people through this whole experience, especially the visitors who came from other places.”

The Campion church pastors plan to host a youth rally every fall and continue to grow the event throughout Rocky Mountain Conference.

–Tiffany Mogaka, Student news team. Photos from CA eNewsletter.