30 Nov


By Ardis Stenbakken – Loveland, Colorado … On a chilly, sunny Thanksgiving morning, some 50 hearty individuals gathered in the Campion church parking lot ready for what is hoped will become the first Turkey Trot of many.

Young and old, they lined up, ready to walk or run, two in a baby stroller or one, a tricycle, in hopes of navigating the 5k course successfully. The path traced the edges of the Campion Academy campus and returned to the church parking lot where hot chocolate awaited participants along with a large screen displaying their course time.

About 45 participants completed the course, and should be congratulated for the achievement whether they finished or started and went as far as they could. There was no prize, but Campion T-shirts were offered to many participants.

Campion church member, Caleb Jahn, came in first with 25.13 minutes, with Zach Harlow, a student at HMS Richards School, right behind him. Jenny Sigler was the first woman to finish.

Although there was no fee to participate, runners/walkers were asked to make a donation, and $336 was collected for a family which will be chosen to receive a Christmas blessing.

Pastor Michael Goetz, one of the organizers along with Kent Kast and Don Reeder, said, “The campus was honored to be used with a great activity that was appropriate for the concerns of the season. We must continue our community/fellowship and our mission to share Jesus. The pandemic should not stop these; we just have to be creative and this was one of those opportunities.”

–Ardis Stenbakken is the communication director for Campion church; photos by Kaitlyn Boutot and Ardis Stenbakken

30 Nov


By Lisa Cardinal – Parker, Colorado … If the challenge of 2020 was only a global pandemic, feeling off-balance, not-quite-yourself, or generally out-of-sorts would be understandable.

However, 2020 is more than that. It is racial unrest and trauma, natural disasters, economic impact, loneliness, political polarization, among other things, all combining to create layers of unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety. To say this year has stretched us is simply an inadequate understatement.

At Newday Adventist Church, members and pastors began asking themselves, “What does it look like to be the church in 2020?”

Among the questions which came up during the discussion was, “How can we maintain an outward focus when we can’t be “out” in the ways we’re used to?” “How can we bring goodness, light, and positivity to our community during uncertain times?” And finally, “How can we do this together while maintaining social distance?”

After much thought and prayer, the members chose the Kindness Rocks Project with a mission of, “One message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook, life.”

“We decided to launch our Kindness Rocks Project and Newday households of all ages began painting rocks with positive messages,” Lisa Cardinal executive pastor of Newday Adventist Church, said.

In October, members distributed the messages of hope on a popular walking, running, and biking trail that winds through Parker. The rocks were accompanied by the message: “Take one when you need one. Share one with a friend who needs some inspiration or encouragement. Leave one for another.”

Returning to the spot where the rocks were placed, a very few weeks later, revealed the success of the project as only a few remained.

“Our prayer is that as Newday’s kindness rocks were picked up, they truly came into people’s lives at just the right moment,” Cardinal added.

–Lisa Cardinal, is executive pastor at Newday Adventist Church; photos by Shawna Sajdak

Kindness Rocks After A Few Weeks
25 Nov

Thanksgiving Reflection from RMC President

We all have had a very trying time this year with COVID and the many other unraveling developments in society in the United States. And yet God’s people have remained faithful across the Conference.

Now Thanksgiving is here, and I can’t help but say, “I am so thankful for how God has blessed Rocky Mountain Conference.” He has blessed you to pass on the blessings to people in your communities. With all that has gone on, our base tithe is down less than one per cent. Thank you for your faithfulness! 

I want to give a special thank you to all of our members who have been on the front lines with COVID. You have saved many lives at the risk of your own. As we finish up 2020, let’s keep each other in prayer and may Jesus help us to stay safe and remain faithful as we live love!

Ed Barnett, RMC president

25 Nov


By Dorie Panganiban – Farmington, New Mexico …Amidst the ongoing pandemic, many in New Mexico, including the Navajo nation, may be asking what is there is to be thankful for, especially after the latest lockdown was announced on November 16.

La Vida Mission staff were asking themselves the same question after their school was required to hold classes remotely under the new guidelines, making a challenging situation even more difficult.

“All schools, including private systems, were mandated to transition to remote learning until December 6, which could be extended. As a result, we have temporarily suspended our face-to-face classes, a difficult situation as our students depend on it and benefit so much even from our one-day-a-week, face-to-face instruction,” Dorie Panganiban, La Vida outreach director said.

Staff immediately began planning their 11th relief operation, knowing the new restrictions would make life very difficult for members of the reservation.

Stores, gas stations, and all other essential services on the Navajo Nation reservation operate now on limited daytime hours. People are struggling, some are complaining, and many are desperate as this virus seems to spread uncontrollably. “We have to keep doing what we feel we need to do to help alleviate the people’s plight,” Panganiban added.

For two days after the mandate, La Vida Mission staff organized pallets of fresh produce, donated through the Partnership with Native Americans organization. Navajo Strong also donated a hundred gallons of hand sanitizer to distribute and donors provided the funds to again offer free propane refills.

Upon arriving at the Crownpoint Flea Market, redesigned as a relief distribution center, 200 cars were waiting for assistance.

“As I looked at all those vehicles lined up and waiting for 4-6 hours for a propane refill, food, and other essentials, I told our La Vida staff, ‘If these people didn’t need what we’re giving, they wouldn’t stay this long in line to receive it,”’ Panganiban reflected.

The Navajo police, Crownpoint Reservation Chapter officials, and Crownpoint Fire officials joined the La Vida Mission staff prior to beginning the relief operation for a prayer of thanksgiving for the donated items and for the families receiving the needed items.

By the end of the of the day, La Vida mission had provided food, sanitizer, and propane refills to more than 250 families.

Panganiban left with a heart filled with gratitude, saying, “I thank God for many reasons that words can’t express.”

La Vida community is grateful for all the individuals who make the opportunity to minister to the Navajo reservation possible and would like to remind everyone during this season of Thanksgiving that there is so much to be thankful for despite the pandemic.

Dorie Panganiban, is La Vida Mission outreach director and office manager; photos supplied.

25 Nov

Campion Academy earns #1 ranking again

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … “Campion excels at providing an environment where students can grow socially, physically, mentally, and spiritually,” Jayden Anggormas Campion senior said, reflecting on why Campion topped Niche.com’s ranking of annual best private school in Larimer County for the second consecutive year.

Niche.com, a nationally-recognized education ranking site, based this ranking on a rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents. Ranking factors include SAT/ACT scores, student-teacher ratio, and data sourced from the U.S. Department of Education, Niche users, and the schools directly.

“I love how it feels like a second home. When I’m here, I get homesick, but my friends always cheer me up. They keep me going and are the reason why I came back. Campion is a school that’s more than a place for you to learn; it’s a family,” Blet Htoo, Campion sophomore commented.

Reflecting on the spiritual aspect of the school, Sami Hodges, Campion senior said, “One of the things I really value about Campion is the inclusion of spirituality into everyday life. Teachers have worship and prayer before every class, which puts God first. Not only is spirituality incorporated into academics, but vespers and worship services allow everyone to grow closer to one another, and people form bonds here that will most likely last a lifetime.”

Odalis Mata Campion senior echoed Hodges comment, “I really enjoy how I can be in a place where people are my age and they influence me to want to know God more and keep consistent in my beliefs.”

“For me, the best part about Campion is the amount of help the staff members give you,” Haley Enochs, Campion Senior stated. “In other schools, some teachers don’t care if you fail or succeed, but here, the teachers go above and beyond to make sure you succeed. They will give you their phone numbers, meet with you outside of class, and work with you when you are behind or struggling.”

Others find dorm life most rewarding at Campion.

“My favorite thing is the dorm life because I love how my friends and I interact with each other and still hang out even with COVID policies and with masks. We still make it work and have fun,” Mark Zelaya, Campion senior said.

There are currently 32 private schools in Larimer County.

–Jill Harlow is the communication director for Campion Academy; photos supplied.

25 Nov


By Kiefer Dooley – Ward, Colorado … Summer camp returns to the Rocky Mountain Conference in 2021.

When the global pandemic hit the Rocky Mountain region, the RMC youth ministry department had to cancel their usual summer programs at Glacier View Ranch and Mills Spring Ranch, which were missed immensely.

“We thought that as summer faded to fall, we’d miss camp a little bit less. That hasn’t happened. We miss it more every day,” Kiefer Dooley RMC youth director said. “That is why we’ve been working extra hard to make sure that, regardless of what the pandemic throws at us in the Summer of 2021, we’ll be ready! So, mark your calendars, because with a few changes, summer camp is back.”

The week-long program will be a little different next year due to COVID protocols.

“All of our camp sessions (excluding Family Connect Camp) will operate on a Sunday to Friday schedule. Families should plan to drop off their campers at GVR or MSR on the Sunday their session begins and to pick up their campers on the following Friday afternoon,” Jessyka Dooley, RMC assistant youth director said. “This update to a Sunday to Friday camp is necessary for our team to clean, sanitize, disinfect, and ready the camp facilities in between sessions.”

Registration opens Friday, November 27, at rmcyouth.org/camp. Register early for a $50 discount on all reservations made the first week of registration between November 27 and December 4.

“We are opening registration at 50% of a normal year’s capacity and we expect space to fill up fast. The reduction in capacity will ensure that we can operate camp with appropriate distancing, group separation, and cleanliness standards,” Jessyka stated. “At this time, we’ll be allowing regular activity sign ups; however, there is a chance that ‘stable group’ requirements will void individual activity selections to be replaced with a system where your camper will rotate through all of our activities with a ‘stable group’ throughout the week.”

Kiefer Dooley added, “regardless of what 2021 throws at us, we’re confident that we will host a program that is safe, fun, engaging, spiritual, and best of all, allows kids to be active in the outdoors of the great Rocky Mountains.”

–Kiefer Dooley is RMC youth director; photos supplied

25 Nov


By Bob Reynolds – Denver, Colorado … True Life Community church members gathered Saturday afternoon, November 21, to distribute 36 baskets they had filled with food and love to the community.

The project was spearheaded by the women’s ministry team who asked the congregation to bring food donations to fill the baskets along with family names that needed assistance.

Instead of organizing the food in usual cardboard boxes, the creative team purchased laundry baskets to fill.

Members helped organize donations and fill containers, which included a $30 gift card to King Soopers to purchase perishable items.

“It was a great event and we pray that our efforts provide many families a nice Thanksgiving Day,” Bob Reynolds, pastor of True Life Community church, commented.

Reynolds added that they hope to reach the community this holiday season with not only Thanksgiving food boxes, but the upcoming “Christmas For Kids” in December.

–Bob Reynolds is the pastor of True Life Community church in Denver, Colorado; photos supplied

25 Nov


By Tiffany Dien – Loveland, Colorado … “Twas the night before finals, and all through the school, not a student was stressing; it was surprisingly cool…”

Laughter erupted throughout the gym as Campion Academy staff entertained students with skits and songs during the annual Staff Talent Show on Saturday night.

To kick off the night, the Student Association (SA) lip-synced “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson led by SA sponsor and talent show organizer Erin Johnson.

“It’s a fun event for both the students and the staff. The staff get to show a different, less serious side of themselves,” Johnson explained. “My favorite part of the talent show is [the] performing. It’s fun for me to get the staff involved, and to see how the students react.”

Principal Don Reeder’s act drew big laughs from the crowd. Three student volunteers, oblivious to his tricks, were told to race to name the type of sports ball hiding underneath a row of towels on a table. Little did they know, Bill Hay was hiding under the table with his head sticking up under one of the towels. The volunteers were shocked causing two of them to fall to the ground in surprise while the audience howled in laughter.

“My favorite part was when Nelly and Chrino fell [down] from screaming because it was funny to see my friends scream and fall,” commented Kevin Perez.

Next, Yves Clouzet sang the Hamilton song, “You’ll be back” with a twist. He impersonated Reeder and changed the words in a humorous performance about COVID-19 restrictions, including Zoom, sick list quarantine, and social distancing.

Cafeteria director Chef Allen and Mrs. Allen performed a rendition of the act “Who’s on First” as chef and assistant planner who misunderstood the names of workers who would fill a kitchen position.

Carlos Santana took students by surprise, busting out some beats in a Christian hip-hop rap. Students got down to the beat by waving their hands in the air.

The Great Helmdini–Dean Helm–never fails to awe the audience with his magic tricks. His mind-blowing card tricks leave everyone wondering, how? His final performance left students in amazement as he pulled a long length of toilet paper, once ripped and crumbled, from his mouth.

–Tiffany Dien, is a senior at Campion Academy; photos supplied.

25 Nov

“The Dig” Dinosaur Research Project in Need of a New Field Station

By Tim Kosaka…The year 2021 marks Southwestern Adventist University’s Dinosaur Science Museum and Research Center’s 25th annual summer dig in Wyoming. Through the past quarter century, this special project has excavated and cataloged more than 30,000 dinosaur bones and brought together thousands of students and researchers at the Hanson Family Ranch in Wyoming. The project is the subject of Hope Channel’s six-part documentary titled “The Dig.”

As the research project has gained world-wide recognition over the years, the number of summer participants has outgrown the capacity of the onsite research station. The field station was originally built to accommodate 20 participants; however, the project has seen exponential growth — with as many as 200 onsite guests during peak weekends.

In 2018, recognizing increased interest in the project and planning for additional growth, the museum’s leaders and the Hanson family began making plans to build a new field station. The new facility will be three times the size of the existing facility in order to accommodate up to 120 people per day. Costing approximately $500,000, the new space is designed to increase the quality and reach of the project.

Unfortunately, a storm destroyed the aging field station this fall, expediting the need for this building project to commence ahead of the 2021 summer dig. “Our field station is an essential part of this project. It provides us with shelter from storms, a place to cook and serve meals, bathrooms and showers and most importantly, a hub for us to process our data using high-precision GPS units and advanced computing systems. The lack of an adequate field station will greatly reduce our capacity to perform our research and will present a significant challenge to supporting the hundreds of participants we receive each year,” shares Jared Wood, Dinosaur Science Museum director and curator.

Project leaders have begun fundraising with a goal to raise at least half of the $500,000 by the end of this year in order to begin construction in early spring of 2021. Through the generosity of supporters, the Dinosaur Science and Research Center will be able to provide the infrastructure needed to support continued research and education in the area of paleontology for decades to come.

To view blueprints, learn more, or support the Wyoming Research Field Station building project click here. Watch “The Dig” on Hope Channel’s website and learn more about the research processes through a lecture series by Art Chadwick, Ph.D.

— Tim Kosaka is director of Marketing & Public Relations for Southwestern Adventist University; photo supplied

This article was originally published on the NAD website.

24 Nov

Creating Family-Friendly Churches

By Dan Martella  …For many families, Sabbath is the toughest day of the week. After the grueling demands of a full work week, a few extra hours of sleep feels good. Once everyone is finally out of bed, there’s the mad scramble to get breakfast on the table, the kids dressed, and last-minute diaper blowouts cleaned up. There are shouting matches all the way to church, squirming kids to settle during the service, and long-winded preachers who leave our poor kids starving to death. Like I said, for many families, Sabbath is the toughest day of the week.

Sabbath can be especially daunting for young families who do not attend church, but decide to give it a try. They don’t know anyone. They don’t know their way around the campus. They are not sure about leaving their kids with total strangers for an hour-long Sabbath School class. Is that even safe? And then there are the worship songs – they’re new and maybe even a little weird. The preacher uses words that only church people have ever heard of: Sister White, PUC, hermeneutics, eschatology, missiology, haystack dinners, and all the rest. The big-sugar breakfast has got the kids bouncing off the walls. Roll all this into one meeting, and the whole thing can leave guests wondering when the whole awful ordeal will be over.

Every Adventist church I know wants to grow. Every Adventist church I know especially wants to attract more and more young families into church membership. We want moms and dads and kids, grandmas and grandpas, and everyone else to feel welcomed, loved, and accepted. We want our churches to be inclusive so that kids, teenagers, and young adults are just as much a part of the worship, ministry, and fellowship as the old timers. We want our churches to be places where our kids grow up in the faith and stay in the faith; a place our kids can always call home, even when they have grown up, moved away, and have their own families. We want our churches to thrive with all the gifts, talents, and energies rising from the generations of believers. That’s what we want!

So what does it take to become a family-friendly church? That’s the question a lot of us are asking today. As I have turned this matter over in my mind, three essentials for growing healthy, family-friendly churches have come into sharp focus for me.

Family-friendly churches, first of all, know how to convey a warm welcome. When church families and guest families come through the door and move through the Sabbath morning experience, they experience love. They are embraced with joy. Newlyweds, young families, and empty nesters – seniors and singles – strong, healthy people and the disabled – people who are just like us and people who are very different from us are all welcomed with love and joy.

Many years ago, a college kid with a wild bush of hair on his head, a holey t-shirt, ragged jeans, and bare feet wandered into a conservative, upscale church. The worship service was already underway, and every seat was full. So, Jack made his way down the center aisle and sat down on the floor near the front. The prim and proper church members were aghast and wanted him out.

Suddenly a shuffle could be hear from the back of the church. George Harlan, a silver-headed deacon in his eighties, wearing a three-piece suit, began to make his way down the aisle. Old George was a godly man. He was also very dignified, and everyone held him in high respect. “This is good,” they sighed. “Brother George will throw the bum out.”

And then the most unexpected thing happened – George shuffled up right next to Jack, dropped his cane on the floor, folded his arthritic legs, and sat down on the floor by the young man for the rest of the service.

Family-friendly churches really know how to love people. In family-friendly churches parents with fussy kids never get the evil eye. In family-friendly churches people see teenagers, and not just the unusual clothes or haircuts they may be wearing. In family friendly churches the overworked CPA who is deep into tax season, and utterly exhausted, and falls asleep during the sermon gets some understanding. In family-friendly churches people smile a lot. Laugh a lot. Talk a lot. People hang around the sanctuary and halls long after the worship service is over. In family-friendly churches the members make it a point to connect with guests, welcome them, and invite them back before they get around to huddling with their friends. In family-friendly churches no one gets left behind.

Healthy churches, growing churches, family-friendly churches know how to really welcome people. They know how to really love them. It is no wonder then that Jesus says, By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35 NIV

Dan Martella is the administrative pastor for the Paradise, California church

This article was originally published on the NAD ministerial website

1 2 3