29 Oct



Dear Rocky Mountain Conference Family,

Next Tuesday, November 3, is an important date for our country! I don’t know about you, but I am glad the election will soon be behind us.

What I see today, as never before, is a divided nation. It’s scary and frightening. What bothers me more is the division among our own church members, as differing views and opinions are not received with respect.

Brothers and Sisters, the church needs to be above the angst we see in the world today. Jesus is in charge, and when we ask, the Holy Spirit will guide us in bringing people to Him.

Jesus is coming soon! We need to keep our focus on His return. Our churches should be oases of love and kindness in a society which is divided. We must love one another no matter what our political views. Christ’s church is a community where unity reigns. May we be Jesus’ agents of Good News, having understanding, and respect for all people.

In the words of Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:10 [NIV], “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

In your personal reflections, if you need to apologize to a brother or a sister for actions or words, please take time to say you are sorry.

As people enter our churches, our homes, our communities, they should feel loved no matter their views. They should be welcomed.

We will move forward no matter who is elected as president because God is ultimately in charge of our world.  We can have confidence in God as He knows what is best for us.

We must pray for the healing of our country, and we must remember our elected leaders in prayer.

It’s my prayer that each of us will recommit ourselves to engage in God’s mission. That’s what He wants us to do–putting the things of the world behind us.

May the days and weeks ahead be a time to restore love, kindness and grace in our homes, churches, and communities.

Your brother in Christ,

Ed Barnett, RMC president

29 Oct


By Rajmund Dabrowski — In the era of social distancing, we are encouraged, even regulated, to keep our distance in social gatherings. Going back to the days when we were meeting left and right and enjoying each other’s company, we travelled in busses, trains or trams, packed to the rim. We went to camp meetings, church worships and other events or concerts, and sat next to each other.

I also remember print newspapers, which now are replaced by their digital versions. While in Washington, D.C., I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Washington Post.

One day, a picture caught my attention–an evening scene with a man kissing a woman’s hand. She was full of happy laughter. The caption was not an example of imagination nor erudition. It said, “Ron Miller, aka the Compliment Man, kisses the hand of Lyn…”

The story caught my attention. It reminded me of days when men let women go through doors first; when women would be served first at a dinner table; when they would be offered seats on a crowded bus or metro car.

Ron Miller, who then was 36, had a story to tell. He was known as the Compliment Man and spent years walking Washington’s 18th Street “offering rapid-fire flattery for masses,” as the Post reported.

A description of Ron’s vocation made me stop and read again: “He works a crowd like an evangelical minister, pacing the sidewalk, waving, trying hard not to let a young lady go without hearing she’s got on one smart outfit.” The locals know him well. Those who watch him work the street testify that it would be hard to dispute his presence, considering the traffic jams he creates.

“Drivers stop to wave and call out his name. Women converge on him two or three at a time, waiting for a greeting or, in many cases, a kiss on the hand.”

Panhandler, you say. Well… Ron spends many hours making people feel better and happier, and he doesn’t ask for money. He is employed and has time to volunteer at a local church. The Post again, “Miller insists he wants only ‘to meet and greet’ — his way of paying back to the community that supported him when he was broke and jobless several years ago.”

The Compliment Man. A hand-kissing-icon. A man who is paying back in kisses and smiles because someone cared for him.

This reminder makes me pause today and review my own compliment routine. Let’s consider a practice route first — a spouse, a daughter, a secretary.

The other day someone commented: “Ray, you are such a European!” Yes, I am, of course. For in Europe, we still greet women by kissing their hands, though such a custom is slowly disappearing there also.

This might not be a big deal, but at least it makes our ives more pleasant to negotiate.

Taking Scriptures as a guide, we can easily interpret the Pauline admonition: “Build each other up,” we read in 1 Thess. 4:11 [NIV]. Our homes, churches, and communities will be well served, will become kinder, and we might even find a way to make our social distancing more bearable.

Rajmund Dabrowski is editor of NewsNuggets.

29 Oct


By Jon Roberts – Ward, Colorado … After being evacuated from Glacier View Ranch, staff spent the majority of the week rejoicing even while cleaning out refrigerators and freezers of spoiled food.

GVR staff was forced to abandon the place where they work and minister to the multitudes as two wildfires erupted near the camp. They spent the following days with uneasiness and uncertainty about the fate of the camp as wildfires ravished the nearby communities.

As soon as Dan Hansen, director of camp ministry, received word that it was safe to return, he and the staff made their way toward the camp unsure what they would find.

Upon arrival on Friday, October 23, they were thankful to find the camp untouched by the fires.

“The camp itself was not harmed by the fires, but the power was off most of the time we were evacuated, so we had a tremendous amount of cleanup from refrigerators and freezers, but we were blessed that all of our equipment came back on. We still have a way to go, but we thank the Lord each day for the protection of the camp and our staff as we made multiple transitions,” Hansen said.

GVR staff are thankful for all RMC members who remembered them as they faced these hardships.

“With heartfelt gratitude, we want to thank our members and those we serve at GVR for all of the prayers and well wishes during this time of the wildfires in this area. We are so grateful for the support of our administration and the youth department for continuingly lifting us up. Again, thank you for keeping us in your prayers, and we’d love to see you at GVR in the near future,” Hansen said.

The recent snowfall has helped with fire-suppression efforts; however, fires continue to burn near Estes Park and the surrounding community.

“We are thankful that Glacier View was spared from the wildfires; however, our hearts are saddened at the loss of many homes and the livelihood of Glacier View’s neighbors.  I urge all of our members to continue to pray for those still being affected by the wildfires, many of whom are our church members,” Ed Barnett, RMC President said.

Jon Roberts is RMC media/communication assistant; photo by Dan Hansen

29 Oct


By Haley Enochs – Loveland, Colorado …“Everything I knew was about to change, but I would make memories that would last a lifetime. All the doubts and worries I had would soon fade as this would become my second home,” Haley Enochs, Campion senior, said.

For incoming students, life in the residence hall can be an intimidating, yet exciting, new adventure. Residence life is where students make friends and have the help of their deans to guide them through.

“When I entered the doors of the residence hall for my very first move-in day, I couldn’t help but feel anxious. The rules, the people I was around, the things I was about to do, and the schedule I would have would be different,” Enochs, added.

Although life [in the dorm] is much different than living at home, students learn to adapt and have a great opportunity to grow stronger relationships with the people around them.

“The people here in the dorm are like family; they are fun, crazy, and awesome to hang around with. You always have something new happening each day that makes being at Campion feel less like a school, and more like a family trying to know God more,” Jahir Marcenaro, Campion junior, commented.

At times, residence hall students struggle with the complete change in schedule and lifestyle and experience homesickness.

“Even though I have been in the dorm since [my] sophomore year, I still get homesick every now and then. Personally, I am not someone who easily opens up about my struggles, but living in the dorm has helped me learn to trust others, and the girls have been a big encouragement during my hardest times at school,” Sami Hodges, Campion senior explained.

For first-year residence hall students, while it can take time to adapt to the new environment, the friendships made there are irreplaceable.

“Dorm life for me is amazing!” Bentlee Barry, first-year dorm student, exclaimed, “I’ve never had as strong relationships with girls as I do here. Everyone in your hall is like your family. No matter what happens, we have each other’s back. It was such a blessing coming here and I hope others are able to experience it.”

Being in the residence hall puts students in a Christ-centered environment that encourages them to experience a lifelong relationship with God. The nightly worship, coupled with praying with the deans and each other help students grow with God.

Despite struggles, Hodges affirmed, “I’ve had to rely on God this year more than any other year, and I have come to realize that without Him, it is impossible to get through anything on my own.”

Haley Enochs is a senior at Campion Academy; photo supplied

29 Oct


By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado…The resilience of Campion Academy was tested in the last few weeks after a spike among students quarantined due to mild symptoms and COVID policies.

Out of an abundance of caution, any student experiencing possible COVID symptoms is put on the “sick list”. Close contacts, such as roommates, are restricted from attending classes even if they are not symptomatic.

When placed on the sick list, students who can’t return home are restricted to their dorm room or moved to a guest room to be isolated. The deans and school nurse check on them regularly and bring them meals. Symptomatic students continue to attend classes virtually unless they have severe symptoms.

“At first, I was excited because I would be in my warm room, have my food delivered to me, and be in my bed during class. After the second day, my excitement was gone,” a Campion student commented when they had to isolate after their roommate showed symptoms.

“I missed my friends. It was difficult to understand class [lectures] because of the Zoom audio quality, and there was nothing to do in my room. I spent most of my day working out and finishing homework. I also texted and called my family and friends to keep myself from dying of boredom,” the student added.

Any student with symptoms is tested for COVID. Some twenty students have been tested in the month of October, all of them negative. After a negative test result, the student and any close contacts can return to classes as long as they are no longer symptomatic.

With the negative test results and mild illnesses, the isolation time for students has generally been a few days. However, those few days stuck in a room have been a good reminder to students that in-person school with COVID policies is preferable to Zoom in quarantine.

“Being on the list can make you lonely for sure, but I’m just thankful we have the opportunity to be here and not go online,” reflected another student. “Being on sick list isn’t everyone’s dream, but it’s better than being sent home.”

Upon receiving negative test results, students are heard shouting for joy, knowing they can return to normal school life. Teachers and other staff members are just as relieved.

Michael Gann, Campion men’s dean, says that even though caring for students isolated in their rooms can create extra work, he takes it in stride. “For me, it’s just another aspect of the job to embrace. Our role is to take care of and provide for these students and give them a safe and healthy place to live. When they are sick, we take care of them; it’s just part of our role. No one wants to be stuck in a room for a couple of days, but it reminds us that we are all vulnerable, and we need to keep doing our part with hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing.”

Jill Harlow is Campion Academy communication director; photo supplied

28 Oct


By Marsha Bartulec – Erie, Colorado … Vista Ridge Academy students lined the school driveway on Friday, October 23 to honor the pastors of their constituent churches with an appreciation parade.

Honorees of the parade were greeted with student-created posters and were cheered as they drove by the crowd that had assembled.

J Murdock, Boulder pastor, brought his extra hand to give fist bumps to the students as he drove by. “I love any chance I get to see the students,” says Murdock.

After the parade, each pastor was presented with a gift basket filled with some of their favorite things.

Reflecting on the event, Herbert Hernandez, Chapel Haven pastor, said, “We really appreciate all the gifts. Thank you for doing this.”

With pandemic restrictions, pastors haven’t been able to be on campus much this year; but they still have had the opportunity to participate and lead the students in chapel every Friday via zoom.

Principal Sandy Hodgson is thankful to have supportive pastors. “Seeing the excitement of [the] students as they celebrate our pastors in some small way was a blessing,” says Hodgson.

Both the VRA staff and students are looking forward to the time when they can all be together again for chapel in the library.

Marsha Bartulec is vice principal of Administration at Vista Ridge Academy; photos by Marsha Bartulec

28 Oct


By Joyelle Worley — Loveland, Colorado … Spicy squash cashew dip and gluten-free apple crisp were just two of the mouthwatering culinary creations on display at the healthy cooking seminar on October 22, hosted by Campion church.

The seminar, the first outreach event held in the newly-built community center, brought members and friends together for a fun-filled and informative evening on how to cook using plant-based options.

Eric Aakko, a certified plant-based chef educator and author, demonstrated his accented-with-fall, homemade dishes, including his oil-free, gluten-free apple crisp, and his original spicy squash cashew dip.

Attendees not only tried the foods that were baked or blended on the spot, but also took home recent research on living life to the max through eating whole foods, including an article titled, “Health Benefits of the Recovery Smoothie Ingredients.”

Aakko, having a passion for healthy eating and exercise, took the opportunity to share an update on his recovery from a severe bike accident earlier in the year.  [To read about Aakko’s bike accident and the miracles he experienced, please click here.

If you would like to learn about Aakoo’s plant-based solutions in cooking, visit www.speakingwellness.com; and look for some of his favorite recipes in his new cookbook: Clean Endurance.

Joyelle Worley is a member of the Campion Church communication team; photos by  Eric Aakko, Debby Worley, and Nestor Soriano

27 Oct


By Bentlee Barry – Loveland, Colorado …Campion Academy’s intramural program is keeping students active and healthy even while varsity sports are suspended throughout the pandemic.

During first quarter, students could choose to participate in one of three sports offered: flag football, volleyball, and disc golf.

The number of participants on each team was reduced to ensure social distancing and limit contact. Players were also required to wear masks and submit to temperature checks in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.

The games, fun to play for the students, also taught important lessons in communicating with each other as a team.

“At the beginning, we really struggled, but we were able to win because we communicated and worked as a team,” Kevin Perez, Campion senior said.

Ireland Anthony, Campion senior added, “We were undefeated because we all had chemistry and good communication with each other.”

A benefit of the intramural program has been the camaraderie it has created among students.

Perez reflected, “My favorite part of intramurals was getting to know my teammates. I didn’t know them well before, so it was really nice to grow my relationships with them.”

The second quarter intramural season will begin in November. Campion plans to continue keeping students active with precautions, while waiting for sports to resume safely.

–Bentlee Barry is a senior at Campion Academy; photos supplied

27 Oct


By John Clark – Cortez, Colorado…No pies this fall at Cortez Adventist School; instead, a day filled with games, laughter, and fellowship.

With the ongoing pandemic, the Cortez school realized their annual pie auction, the fall fundraiser, couldn’t happen this year. This was disappointing news to many who looked forward to the auction.  Not admitting defeat, organizers began to plan an alternative fundraiser event, a fall festival.

Following appropriate health guidelines parents, students, and community members gathered on October 11 for a fall afternoon of fun.

“We had lots of games, some food, bake sale items, and a silent auction. People purchased tickets to use at each booth,” John Clark, Cortez church pastor said.

Rain threatened to cancel the event earlier in the day, but it held off.   The wind, however, made it difficult to hold everything down and, according Clark, “Duct tape was our friend” as they worked to secure the attractions.

As the afternoon was concluding, the smiles and laughter from the crowd were the evidence that the festival was enjoyed.

“The kids all had a blast, and we did earn some necessary funds for our school,” Clark added. “It was a success, and we will continue holding the Festival in the future. We learned a lot and have several ideas to incorporate next year.”

–John Clark is pastor of the Cortez Church; photos supplied.

26 Oct


By Lora Lee Mendez – Fort Morgan, Colorado … The Purple Party will rule the Lighthouse Adventist Christian School in Fort Morgan this year, according to the official election results from principal Pennie Wredberg.

Lighthouse Christian School students participated in a mock election exercise during October to better understand the civic process the country is currently going through.

“I wanted them to understand the voting process, but more importantly, I wanted them to realize that it takes a team to win, not one person,” Gabriel Mendez, Lighthouse teacher said.

Mendez obtained voting stickers and started to prepare the kindergarten through fourth grades to be a team.

After the students were divided into teams, they picked a party name and a symbol from the provided options. The match-up was decided: The Orange Party, the penguins; the Purple Party, the polar bears.

The parties decided on the classroom/school policies they would support and picked one which would be the central focus of their campaign. Finally, students nominated a presidential candidate.

Pupils were assigned tasks and decided on responsibilities for team members.

“I asked to be the speech writer and they said I could”, Lisette, a fourth-grader, shared. Others choose to create posters and slogans, and to oversee the distribution of posters by placing them strategically throughout the school.

Press releases were written to unveil their party’s platform, symbols, and values. With election rules decided and ballots created, the upper grades made voting booths and decorated them for Election Day.

With final speeches polished by the speech writers, candidates made one final effort to win voters over to their side. There was only one thing left to do–vote.

Two by two, students entered the classroom and cast their votes, the candidates anxiously waiting for the votes to be counted. When the winner was announced as the Polar Bears, students erupted into applause.

The real winners, in Mendez’s opinion, were the lower grade students, who got to know how a campaign runs and about the teamwork necessary to make everything pull together for a successful campaign.

Lora Lee Mendez is a member of the Fort Morgan Church and wife of Gabriel Mendez, Lighthouse teacher; photos courtesy of Lighthouse School Facebook Page.

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