31 Oct

Literature Ministry: Summer Experiences Never to be Forgotten

Denver, Colorado… Summer 2019 were full of witnessing activities for twenty college and high school students working as literature evangelists in the Denver area and Wyoming.

“Their success could be measured in many ways,” explains Matthew Hasty, RMC director for literature ministry. For example, they were responsible for distributing 1,132 copies of the Great Controversy, 997 copies of Christ Object lessons, 803 copies of Bible Readings for the Home, 796 copies of the Ministry of Healing and thousands of copies of Steps to Christ,” he provides the numbers.  The group considers the summer LM program successful as it brought total sales of $133,341, seventy percent of which goes to support our Adventist students attending our schools.

Matthew believes the greatest measurement of success isn’t found in numbers. He cites the Book of Revelation 12:17. “I believe it means what it says. God’s people that live just before He comes will have the testimony of Jesus. These students witnessed Jesus working. They experienced divine appointments that can’t be rationalized off as coincidence. They experienced the struggle that came by sharing their faith,” he comments on the summer canvassing experience of these students.

Matthew adds, “I believe that the twenty students who worked selling and distributing literature, and witnessing what they believe, received much more than a paycheck, they have a testimony of Jesus!  And what good is a testimony unless it’s shared.

As they concluded their canvassing experience, students left with stories they would continue to remember.

 

Perfect Timing with a Cranky Guy

As I was canvassing someone at a door, I noticed a car pull up behind me. “Great! Divine appointment,” I thought to myself.  After I was done canvassing, I walked back to the car that had pulled up and waved at the driver, hoping that he would roll down his window and talk to me. He looked up at me and yelled loudly, “NO!” As I walked to the next house he got out of his car and said he was having a bad day and told me not to take it personally. I made my way back to his car and asked if I could pray for him. At that moment he put his hands over his face and tried to hold back his tears. Before I prayed for him, he grabbed my hand and asked me to pray for forgiveness. In the end, he even signed up for Bible studies, and I found out that he didn’t even live at the house he was at!  What divine timing God has!

Answered Prayer at Pizza Hut

One morning I was sent to canvas some businesses. Most people aren’t home then, but businesses are open and full of people. One of my favorite places is Pizza Hut. I love canvassing there, because the people are always nice and even if they don’t buy a book, they give me…free food! That morning I started talking to a man and he exclaimed, “You are a Christian!” I affirmed him and asked him how he knew. He shared with me that he had been praying and asked for a Christian to talk to him as his personal and spiritual life was stagnant and he wanted God to give him guidance directly. Then I showed up and he told me I had been an answer to his prayer. Our conversation ended with a sale of The Great Controversy, Bible Readings for the Home, Christ Object Lessons, Steps to Christ and the Desire of Ages!

The Gift of Hands for the Deaf

I approached a middle aged women and began to canvas. She interrupts me, and starts using sign language. She signed, “I’m sorry but I am deaf.”  Well, I actually know sign language. I started canvassing using a sign language, and asked her if she is religious. She opened up telling me that she was Catholic when she was a kid. Now, she was going between religions trying to find out the truth. I asked if I could to pray with her. This encounter ended up leaving her with Christ Object Lessons and the Desire of Ages. God sent me there knowing I was the only person in our team who knew sign language!

 Former Seventh-day Adventist Returns

This particular day I was struggling to connect with people and the rejection was pulling me down. I was praying, but I couldn’t feel God answering my prayer. I kept asking God if he could give me a divine appointment where I could show His love. I told God that I did not want to go and tell people about the “rules of my church.” I really wanted to share the love of God.

I knocked on a door. A man answered and I began with asking him if he is religious. To my surprise, he told me growing up as Seventh-day Adventist. He left the church because he felt church members were “so judgmental.” He said that all they cared about was the Sabbath and Ellen G. White. He then proceeded to tell me that two years ago his wife developed cancer, and he thought it was because God was mad at him for leaving the church. Even still, he started to get back into prayer. The more he prayed the better his wife got, and he knew God was trying to tell him something.

I decided to share my story, and emphasize that we need to focus on the love and relationship with God. “I am a Seventh-day Adventist,” I told him, but I also agreed with him about all of the rules and judgmental stuff, but that negative people in church shouldn’t keep us from going to church.  He ended up buying all of my books and we prayed together.

When we finished, he told me, “God sent you here.” He said that God sent me to encourage him to go back to church, and he was going to give his relationship with God another try.

The Sneaky Walgreens Visit

Some businesses can be easy to canvas while others can be a bit more difficult because they’re really strict about not buying anything while working. That’s how it was at Walgreens, but I went in anyways because God’s work should still be done even if it makes us uncomfortable. People need to hear the gospel. I walked up to a worker, who seems to be in her 50’s, at the counter and begin to canvas at her. She starts to tear up and shares that her husband just died and she was asking God why. How could she find peace in this situation? We continue talking and said if another worker comes up to just pretend I’m a customer. She ended up buying Christ Object Lessons and the Desire of Ages because she felt like God wanted to speak to her through those books.

Books for a new Church Plant

As I was walking down the street, I saw a lady getting ready to leave her house. I quickly approached her and started canvassing. I found out that she had recently become a Christian and was church planting in Denver. She bought all the devotionals and said that she would share them with other churches. Before I left, she told me that she didn’t live in the house that we were at. She was only there for 1 hour and was getting ready to leave. At the exact same moment, we both said “This was a divine appointment!”

Fighting Couple

That day I was canvassing a small cul-de-sac, and the whole time I could hear a couple yelling, slamming doors, and fighting loudly. When I got to their door, the man was getting into his truck to drive away. I stopped at his car window before he could drive away, and I was surprised that he gave me a lot of time to have a conversation. I asked him what he liked to read about, and he said “Oh, I’m a hardcore Christian.” I told him that I was one, too, and “I even have Christian books!” I told him. He got really excited and wanted to help me. When he pulled out a donation, he said his wife had him on a really tight rope so it was a good thing I talked to him and not her. If I hadn’t had gotten there right when I did, I might not have been able to talk to him. Or he might not have been ready to hear about what I was doing. God brought me to a Christian man who needed something peaceful in his day.

Those Who Are Searching, Are Found

On one of the last days of the satellite weeks, I was having a slow day. It had probably been three hours since I got any donations or books. My leader and I were canvassing together and eventually had to leave. Before he left he told me to cross over to the other side of the street right where I was. The lady who answered the door was covered in tattoos and smoking a cigarette, so I didn’t expect much. I recommended to her The Desire of Ages and she stopped me as soon as I mentioned it was Christian. She said, “Don’t tell me anything else, I absolutely need this book”. She explained to me that two of her family members burned to death in a house fire just days ago, and her family doesn’t have a faith in Christ. She believed I was sent by God to reach her entire family through this crisis.

If you’d like to support our youth going door to door or get some literature to share for yourself visit out website:    https://www.rockymountainliteratureministries.com

Matthew Hasty, text and photos

31 Oct

New “Silver Seniors” Ministry Flourishes at Central Colorado Springs Church

Colorado Springs, Colorado… Every second Wednesday of each month, since April, 2019, a “Silver Ladies” program attracts retired women at the Colorado Springs Central Church. Aleene Mills and Betty Biggs who lead the gatherings “have the experience, passion, and enthusiasm to lead such a group,” comments Marcia Armstead, assistant for pastoral care.

Since April, Aleene and Betty have combined their intellect in blessing senior citizens of Central church and community. They have conducted and facilitated seminars on physical exercise, nutrition, strokes, and dementia, as well as increasing awareness and promoting a healthier lifestyle. Referred to as a new ministry at the Central church, both women display knowledge and experience in providing leadership to this venture.

Aleene Schaeffer Mills, who started college education when she was only 15 years-old, today holds a Doctorate in Education, Master of Education, and a Bachelor of Education degrees. For over 40 years she has taught at schools in Nebraska to include 19 years in the Education Department at Union College. She has also served as an academy principal in the Mid-America Union Conference.

Betty Biggs, who assists Aleene in these meetings, is a registered nurse and has two master’s degrees: one in Community Health Nursing and the other in Guidance & Counseling. Her BS degree is in Secondary Education. Betty has taught Nursing at Union College and was co-director of the Nursing Division on Lincoln Campus. She has spent most of her life as a nurse and a teacher and was Director of Nursing at the 100-bed nursing home in Rock Springs, Wyoming 1990-1992.

With the monthly growing attendance and increased interests of women, as well as men, the name of this family life auxiliary has changed from “Silver Ladies” to “Silver Seniors.”

“We are happy that with such an intergenerational congregation at Central there are activities germane to every age,” comments Mike Maldonado, church pastor. The sessions have been offered are not only for church members but for the community-at-large, as well as caregivers.

Marcia Armstead, text and photos

31 Oct

Campion Academy Participates in International Recruiting Fairs in Asia

Loveland, Colorado… Over two weeks in October, Campion Academy’s Vice-Principal of Finance, Dean Helm, and May Forshee, an independent agent, marketed Campion’s international program at educational fairs in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Seoul, South Korea; and Bangkok, Thailand. They traveled with International Student Network, Inc. (ISN) and over 5,000 students, guidance counselors, and international agents attended the events.

Helm and Forshee manned a booth for Campion Academy complete with interactive activities, Helmdini magic, Campion gear, and brochures outlining the international program.  Campion was the only high school that traveled with 19 universities representing their programs.  While the expos were mainly marketed for students interested in universities, a large percentage of the attendees expressed interest in Campion’s high school program.  “When visitors found out we were a private boarding high school from the U.S., we had a great deal of interested students, parents, and agents wanting to find out more about our program,” explained Helm.

“You could visibly see faces light up repeatedly as they realized what we were all about.  We had a prize wheel at our booth that drew interest from nearly everyone who entered the fair location,” he added.

The recent tour visited countries where Campion has not previously marketed its program. Helm explains, “I was very satisfied with the overall reactions and support that we received from interested parties, as well as from the universities we traveled with.  I would consider the trip a success.  This was the first step in opening up new international markets for us, which I feel supports our overall mission of our school.  Relationships are very important as the school seeks to find students from around the world to minister to, while they seek out educational opportunities.

According to the Campion recruiters, “this trip created new relationships that we intend to keep developing as we walk through the doors that God opens for us.  When we receive actual applications from potential students, it will be easy to gauge the success of this trip in human terms.  But until we see actual applications, we will continue trusting God to touch lives through us in ways we can’t measure.”

Campion Academy has been intentionally building its international program over the past five years and currently has students from China, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Mexico, and Japan.  Principal Don Reeder explained that Campion Academy has a goal of having about 20 percent of its student body to include international students.

“Campion sees recruiting internationally as part of our mission of telling the world about Jesus,” Reeder commented. “I believe that having diverse cultures in our school enriches the experience of all of our students.  It is important that all students learn that God is the Father of all nations and He seeks to reach the whole world. Students who attend and graduate from Campion Academy will be prepared to live and work together in this world where cultures are so intertwined,” he added.

Jill Harlow, text; photos supplied

31 Oct

Appreciation Luncheon in Casper Church Surprises Their Ministers

Casper, Wyoming… The Casper Adventist Church is blessed not just with one pastor, but 3 pastors, of which 2 are retired and attend the Casper Church: lead pastor of the Casper Wyoming district, Shayne and Gabriela Vincent, pastor Weldon and Janine Treat, as well as pastor Gordon and Mary Henderson.

On Friday, October 25, Mountain Road Academy surprised the pastors and their spouses with a Pastor Appreciation Luncheon. Under the leadership of teacher Traci Pike, and her assistant, Lynette Huber, students and parents decorated the MRCA gym and prepared a delicious brunch, which included: omelet (made out of freshly homegrown eggs from the Huber farm), country fried potatoes, cinnamon rolls, fruit, orange juice and a few other dishes!

The pastoral families are blessed in so many ways by the love and continued support of the Casper Adventist Church, MRCA, its wonderful students and their families.

Pastor Appreciation Month was established in 1992 by a group of pastors and church leaders to honor those who serve in ministry. They grounded the celebration in Paul’s words to Timothy: “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17).

Ministry is an amazing call, full of great joy and significant moments in people’s lives: officiating weddings, presiding over funerals and seeing first-hand how lives are changed for Christ. But it’s also a 24-hour job, where the pastors and their families open their homes for church gatherings and even prioritize church family events over their own personal interests. Everyone needs a little encouragement now and then, pastor’s included.

Gabriela Vincent, text and photos

24 Oct

Soccer Team Enriched By Diversity

Loveland, Colorado… Standing at the sidelines of a Campion Academy soccer game it is easy to notice two things. The first is how well this team knows and enjoys the game, and the second is how different they look from the teams that they play in Northern Colorado. The Campion soccer team is very diverse, with people from all backgrounds and ethnicities such as Latinos, Asian-Americans and international students from places like Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. With so much diversity comes many languages including English, Portuguese, French, and Spanish.

One would think that with so many different languages there would be a lot of confusion, but that is not the case. “Some of the newer Brazilians don’t really understand English that well, but if you try to explain it, it will be easier (for them) to get it,” Jeremy Matondo, an international student from the Democratic Republic of Congo and a captain on the team, explained.

“There are not many miscommunications. It’s kind of funny, for the people who don’t understand English as well, the people that can speak their language will explain it to them when Mr. O is talking,” Grant Velbis added.

Even their coach, Randy Ottschofski, speaks a different language, naming many of his plays after German words and names including Mueller, kimmich, and angriff, which means attack. Erick Maldonado, a captain on the team said, “He’ll call it out and yell, ‘Go Kimmich, go Kimmich!’”

“Then everybody will go Kimmich, it’s like a chain reaction,” Caleb Wehling added.

All of this diversity on the soccer team has only enriched the game for the players. “It’s cool how all of us, even though we’re from different backgrounds and speak different languages, have been able to work together really well and we’ve had a really good season this year,” Velbis said.

The Campion soccer team just finished their regular season undefeated 9-0 and 1, and it is safe to say that one reason for their success is that they have been able to benefit from everyone’s unique view of the game. The team is heading into their final tournament of the year at Union College this week.

“It’s fun to play with people from a different background. They have different ways to play the game and a different understanding of the game and it’s such a nice thing to do with them, to play with people who are not from where you are from, and it just brings you closer,” Matondo explained, “Sometimes we don’t talk to each other in the dorm, and soccer is a way to get closer to each other and be friends.”

Campion’s international program and soccer team have brought people together at Campion because even if the players are very different, they can still enjoy the beautiful game of soccer.

Ashley Herber, Student Editor; photos supplied

24 Oct

After the ABC Closes…

Denver, Colorado… With the approaching closing of the Denver Adventist Book Center, many of our RMC church members readers information on where to get the items that are usually purchased at the ABC.

After December 1, the current phone number for the ABC will connect you to the ABC in Lincoln, Nebraska. Books will be available to order at www.adventistbookcenter.com. Christian and Adventist literature can also be ordered from www.amazon.com.

Many vegetarian items are available at local grocery stores, such as Krogers, King Soopers, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market or Natural Grocers. Also, vegetarian food products can be ordered from www.amazon.com, www.vegefood.com, and www.walmart.com.

Frozen food will be available in limited quantities at Vista Ridge Academy (3100 Ridge View Dr, Erie, CO 80516; (303) 828-4944), and Springs Adventist Academy (5410 Palmer Park Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO, 80915; (719) 597-0155). These food products will need to be pre-ordered and by the case only. Shipping on any frozen food will not be available, so it will need to be picked up at either location. Please contact those schools for pick-up dates and times that they will have.

The RMC leadership and colleagues at the RMC office are grateful to Suzanne Hafar, Jerene Nelson and Valerie Miller, for their years of providing the resources and foodstuffs to church members and the community. We are sad to see the Denver ABC close its doors, but it is exciting to see the new Total Health Resource and Support Center up and running very soon.

RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

24 Oct

Hispanic Women Meet at a “Women After God’s Own Heart” Convention

More than 150 women from Colorado attended the Hispanic Women’s Ministries Convention at Brighton Seventh-day Adventist Church on October 12. They met under a theme of “Mujeres conforme al Corazon de Dios” – “Women After God’s Own Heart.” The gathering featured Sarah Capeles as speaker and singer, who shared insightful messages on ways to get closer to Jesus. Nohemi Hernandez, MD, joined the team with practical messages with her theme “Healthy Woman. Happy Family”, giving the women advice on how to improve their health.

“Although there were women from various congregations, it all felt like we all became part of a larger sisterhood sharing testimonies and praising God for His goodness,” commented Patricia Rivera, organizer of the convention.

A health station and a prayer station were very popular. Participating women had the opportunity to check their blood pressure and to be ministered through prayer. The gathering ended with a concert by Sarah Capeles.

During the event “we learned much about ways to take care of ourselves and how to connect with God. Overall, I know everyone benefitted from this event,” Rivera added.

Patricia Rivera; photo by Jorge Alemán

24 Oct

Commentary: What is Rocky Mountain Advance?

When I conduct a seminar in a local church, I ask a question that nearly always draws a blank stare from the room: What is Rocky Mountain Advance?

This is not a problem specific to our territory. I saw the same slightly embarrassed, confused look on faces when asking the same question prior to coming here. In fact, I have sat through offering appeals in dozens of churches in several Conferences listening to the person making the appeal confess that they had no clue what the Advance offering is all about.

That’s amazing to me. Once a month, twelve times a year, the offering is taken for Rocky Mountain Advance. Each time there is a prepared appeal available for that offering that either gives an overview of the fund or focuses on a specific ministry that benefits from the fund. With so many reminders I would expect that the average person would have at least a cursory understanding of which ministries are supported by the Rocky Mountain Advance. But even the fairly well-informed church members who attend my seminars are, more often than not, blissfully ignorant of how the dollars they cheerfully give are being spent. I’m not even sure that everyone on RMC Executive Committee really gets it (if you are a committee member and would like to adjust my opinion, I would be happily proven wrong).

I probably would not care so much about this general lack of awareness if not for the fact the support for fund is trending downward. So, some ministries that we all care about are being shortchanged as the fund shrinks.

Rocky Mountain Advance keeps La Vida Mission going. It contributes to operating funds for Glacier View Ranch and Mill Springs Ranch. It supports Campion Academy. It contributes to building purchases and improvements for local churches. It provides funds for public evangelism. If one of these ministries has not played a significant role in your own Christian experience, you are among a very small, secluded minority within the Conference.

We are grateful for every dollar that comes in to support these vital ministries, including those that come from people who don’t know what is going on with the dollar they just gave. I believe understanding is directly connected to giving levels, and we need support for all these ministries. May I encourage everyone to pay attention when the offering call is for Rocky Mountain Advance and remember those ministries when you are making your monthly contributions.

Even when I don’t directly engage in the ministries supported by Rocky Mountain Advance, I believe my experience here is enriched because families are able to benefit from these ministries. Furthermore, I do receive direct blessings from some of those ministries. I am blessed because new people learn truths that bring them into our churches. I am privileged to worship in buildings that are representative of our Lord.

I am joyful that I have the opportunity to support all these things through a monthly offering, and I believe that when anyone learns how much good is done though the Rocky Mountain Advance, they will experience the same when they donate.

Douglas L. Inglish, RMC Director for Planned Giving and Trust Services; photo by Becca Brown

22 Oct

Annual Council 2019

Silver Spring, Maryland… The business session of the 2019 Annual Council was held at General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland from Oct. 10-16. The above link will take you to reports on actions taken by the world church leadership.

22 Oct

A High and Holy Sabbath in Worland!

Worland, Wyoming…It has been said that SonShine Academy is our primary method of evangelism in Worland—and recently that outreach was rewarded greatly, by God’s grace. Through the church school, we have multiple students from the community attending with no ties to our church at all. This outreach is making a difference in the lives of students and extending into the family as well.

Robert Robinson began attending SonShine Academy a couple of years ago. Through his enrollment at the school, Annette Treat (teacher) became acquainted with Pamela Robinson, Robert’s grandmother and legal guardian. Pamela began asking questions about what our church believed. Annette shared here faith with her and also put her in touch with Pastor Steve Nelson. Pastor Steve spoke with Pamela on several occasions and provided her with various study and resource materials as she continued to pray and study.

One day, Pamela called to ask if she and her family could be baptized. They had been studying and believed that the Seventh-day Adventist Church taught the same things God had been teaching them. After all, it was her husband, Harmonson Robinson, Jr., who had initially studied and told Pamela they needed to stop eating pork. The couple had been studying the Bible on their own and in multiple study groups for years. God, through His Word, had already taught them many of the biblical teachings the church holds dear.

As Pastor Steve met with the family to go over the baptismal vows and beliefs of the church, it was surprising how well they all—even the children—knew and understood what they believed and why. After approval by the church board to proceed with the baptisms, a date was set.

October 19, 2019, the Worland Seventh-day Adventist Church welcomed these seven new members into its membership and fellowship. It was a day filled with joy unspeakable as it was the culmination of those many years of Bible study and prayer for Pamela and Harmonson Robinson, their daughter Angela and their grandchildren, Robert, Jeremiah, Angelica and Jacob. Pamela, especially, beamed with gladness as she began this new journey of her life with her family by her side. The entire family was baptized in the warm springs pool in Thermopolis.

Samantha Nelson; text and photos

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