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Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada Elects Paul Llewellyn as Executive Secretary/Vice-President

Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada Elects Paul Llewellyn as Executive Secretary/Vice-President
Paul and Sonya Llewellyn

Paul and Sonya Llewellyn

On December 10, 2019, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada (SDACC) Board of Directors elected Paul Llewellyn as the next executive secretary/vice-president for administration. Llewellyn will begin his duties as of Jan. 1, 2020.

“Paul Llewellyn comes to our leadership team from a strong background of both teaching in Adventist education and working with the youth and young adults of our church,” Mark Johnson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada, commented. “He has served ably as educator, pastor, camp director, conference secretary, and conference president. These areas of service and ministry have provided excellent orientation as he steps into this new role as voted by our Board of Directors. I have great respect for Paul’s faith and his effectiveness as a leader. I am certain that he will serve the church well in this new capacity.”

The Maritime Conference will begin a search committee to appoint a new president early in the new year.

“I am thankful for the Lord’s leading to allow me this opportunity to serve as the executive secretary and vice-president for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada. I look forward to supporting all of our conferences,” said Llewellyn. “It is with heavy hearts that my wife and I will be departing the Maritime Conference as we leave behind our family and the friends we have made over the last 10 years. May God continue to bless the work in the Maritimes and pour out the Holy Spirit on all of Canada as we work together to share the everlasting gospel.”

Llewellyn was born in Prince Edward Island and has been married to his wife, Sonya, for 23 years. They have two children, Jessica and Daniel. The national headquarters of the SDACC oversees seven regional districts that serve 72,000 members, 588 congregations, 44 schools, various media ministries, and humanitarian organizations. Their mission is to help people understand the Bible to find freedom, healing, and hope in Jesus.

kmaran Wed, 12/11/2019 - 14:22

Interview With Derek Sloan, First Adventist Elected to Canada’s Parliament

Interview With Derek Sloan, First Adventist Elected to Canada’s Parliament
Barry Bussey and Derek Sloan

Derek Sloan (right) takes a break on election night. Sloan elected as the Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington, Canada. Photo provided by the Canadian Union Messenger. 

On Oct. 21, 2019, Derek Nathaniel Sloan was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ontario riding of Hastings–Lennox and Addington, for the Conservative Party of Canada. Friends and family, including wife, Jennifer and children, surrounded Derek when he finally saw victory after a tense hour and a half of waiting after the polls closed. After the press and most family and friends left, Adventist Barry W. Bussey, director of Legal Affairs at Canadian Council of Christian Charities, had a chance to interview Derek.

Barry Bussey: Derek, congratulations on your win.

Derek Sloan: Thanks very much, Barry.

What does this experience mean to you now?

I obviously did this because I thought that God was leading me, and that God had placed me in the riding at an opportune time, and a lot of doors opened for me. But at the same time, it has been a long journey: about a year and a half of campaigning — whether for the nomination itself — or while being the candidate to be the MP. It’s been a big investment of emotion and time and so forth. I’m really glad that it has worked out so far; I’m thankful for all of the support I have received. 

In the distant past, did you envision yourself as a Member of Parliament?

No, I didn’t actually think about it at all until a couple of years ago. In fact, when I was in law school, I started to become aware of certain trends that were going on, and initially I thought I would get into religious liberty work as a lawyer. I interned at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada for a summer, and through that experience I began to be more drawn to politics and began to be more concerned about the trend of intolerance toward people who hold non-mainstream views. That includes people, obviously, of a religious persuasion, but it also includes others as well.

I saw a solidifying of a politically correct acceptance of mainstream views on so many different things, and I felt that people who didn’t fit in were being systematically excluded and discriminated against in certain ways. I felt that this was problematic and I also felt that the people who were perpetuating that politically correct mindset were very politically active. I felt that people like me — I consider myself an average sort of guy — needed to get involved for the good of our country. I think we need people in leadership who are a little more accepting of the fact that Canada is a diverse country with a variety of different viewpoints and that this is OK. 

Mayor Mitch Panciuk of Belleville congratulating Derek Sloan

Mayor Mitch Panciuk of Belleville (Ontario, Canada) congratulates Derek Sloan on his election on Oct. 21, 2019. Photo provided by the Canadian Union Messenger

Have you had a chance to talk to other Members of Parliament to know what life is like as an MP?

I have spoken to a few, but I think it is one of those things where you really don’t know until you get there. So I guess we’ll see what happens. It will be an interesting journey! 

How has this experience been on your family? Have there been a lot of incursions on the time with your family, and what have you done as a Christian father to be able to alleviate that?

Since the campaign itself started in early September, I’ve obviously been busy from sun-up until I went to bed. It did draw me away from the family during that time. I can say that we have always kept the Sabbath the entire time through the campaign and prior to, and that has been a great time for us to recharge and get together. 

You are a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

That’s correct.

What does that mean for you? As far as I know, you are the first Seventh-day Adventist who has ever been elected to Parliament in Canada. What is your reaction to that reality?

I think that Parliament could use a couple of Seventh-day Adventists. Seventh-day Adventists, obviously, have a long history of work on religious liberty. As I have learned in law school, they have great credentials when it comes to appearing at the Supreme Court of Canada with practically any issue relating to religious liberty. They have a lot of “street cred” for appearances at the Supreme Court. I think we could use a couple of politicians to provide that perspective. 

Derek Sloan, new Canadian parliament member, celebrates with his family on Oct. 21 2019 IMG_7627.jpg

Derek Sloan, newly-elected Canadian parliament member, celebrates with his family on Oct. 21 2019. Photo provided by the Canadian Union Messenger

What would you say to young Christians who look up to you? Would you recommend politics as a viable career?

Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think it’s more than just a “career.” I think that Christians should be more political and get involved. I think that it doesn’t necessarily matter which party. I think that Christians should look at the founding documents of the different parties to see which philosophies appeal to them.

You can get involved at the grassroots level in any party in Canada and have a major impact and a major difference on the policies that get brought forward. If you attend conventions or other sorts of gatherings that these parties have, you can be one of, say, 1,300 people voting on policy that will eventually be brought before the entire country. So, being involved at the grassroots level as a party member is a phenomenal way to be involved and have a difference and have a say. Your vote matters in that context because you are actually participating in a party that may form government; you are literally having a say in what their policy will be.

If you are just voting in a general election, the policies are already cast, the local person has already been decided. As a local party member, you can decide (a) who is going to run for that party and (b) what policies the party will stand for. I think that is super important. 

You are going in as a Member of Parliament with a party that is not forming government. You will be in the Opposition. What do you see yourself being able to do?

That’s a really good question. I am going to be fighting for my riding, obviously. I think it will provide a good opportunity to learn the ropes. Being in the Opposition is less pressure, so to speak; it gives you more latitude to learn. A former MP I was speaking with said it was good place to be a rookie in terms of learning the ropes. So that’s a blessing.

What do you hope for the future?

I have been keeping my eyes open for God’s leading in my life and will see how that materializes in Ottawa and how that manifests itself over the next couple of years. My options are open, and I want to get involved as much as I can and work in my riding as best I can and be the best MP that I can be.

I wish you all the very best and great success in your new career.

Thank you very much. You know, it is surreal, really, to realize that this evening. It has been a long time, and I am interested to see what happens next. 

— This interview was originally published in the December 2019 Canadian Union Messenger

kmaran Wed, 12/11/2019 - 12:47

U.S. Department of Justice Urges Supreme Court to Hear Adventist's Sabbath Accommodation Case

U.S. Department of Justice Urges Supreme Court to Hear Adventist's Sabbath Accommodation Case
Darrell Patterson photo

Darrell Patterson was fired by Walgreens for refusing to work on the Sabbath. The Supreme Court will consider Patterson’s petition on January 10, 2020. Photo by Dan Weber

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, December 9, 2019, urged the Supreme Court to hear a case brought by Darrell Patterson, who was fired by Walgreens for refusing to work on the Sabbath. Walgreens knew for years that Darrell Patterson could not work on Saturday, but it stopped accommodating him when a mistake by corporate executives prompted a Saturday training session. The case is an important opportunity for the Supreme Court to clarify the standards for federal civil rights laws protecting religious people — and especially religious minorities like Patterson — from discrimination at work.

Patterson worked at Walgreens for several years with a longstanding agreement that he would not work on the Sabbath. But in 2011, Patterson’s supervisors scheduled him for a last-minute training session on a Saturday to address an error made by Walgreens executives. Though the training could have been completed Friday, Sunday or Monday, Patterson was required to complete the training on Saturday.

He tried unsuccessfully to trade shifts with a coworker, and ultimately completed the training on Monday (ahead of the deadline), but he was still fired for missing his Saturday shift. Patterson sued Walgreens in a Florida federal district court, which ruled in favor of his former employer. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit also sided with the company. In 2018, Patterson filed a petition for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court will consider Patterson’s petition on January 10, 2020.  If the court agrees to hear the matter, it will issue a ruling by the end of June 2020.

— Todd McFarland is associate general counsel for the Office of General Counsel of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Click here to read background article about the case; click here for previous news on the case.

kmaran Wed, 12/11/2019 - 09:11

A New Commandment

A New Commandment
iStock photo of Matthew scripture

Photo from iStock

UPDATED 11:25 ET, Dec. 9, 2019

Jesus is our perfect example of the way to live in this world. While on earth, He gave His disciples a “new” commandment, that is, “love one another” just as He loved them (John 13:34, ESV). He faithfully lived out this commandment in His life and ministry. He loved people fearlessly, unconditionally, and extravagantly. 

Boundless

Jesus was notoriously indiscriminate in displaying His love. No exception was ever practiced. Jesus greeted all people “as children of God” (Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 186). Refusing to give in to fear, rejection, and hatred, He crossed all kinds of boundaries—political, religious, economic, ethnic, and gender — and willingly made Himself available to everyone.

Why boundless? We all fall short of God’s will and glory (Rom. 3:23). Anything that falls short of a perfect God is sin (cf. 1 John 3:4). And all sins are equal to God, in that they separate us from Him, and made us subject to death. Paul’s declaration in Romans 6:23, “for the wages of sin is death,” applies to all sins. Human beings may rate sins, but Jesus does not. For Him our sins, whether big or small, place us in a place diametrically opposed to God and His grace. 

Compassionate 

In His display of love, He showed genuine compassion (“moved with compassion,” Matt 9:36) for all people, regardless of their social status. This expression literally means “moved in the bowel.” He felt a visceral and gut-wrenching compassion toward His children, which compelled him to take action — healing, feeding, and delivering. These life changing actions demonstrated the heart and mind of God. 

With Respect

Loving one another means that we treat people with respect and dignity, as Jesus did, even if they are “different” from us. The inhumanity we display toward other members of the family of God is “our greatest sin” (White, A Ministry of Healing, p. 163).

To a woman who had been severely bent over for 18 years, He declared her instantaneous freedom (Luke 13:12), and conferred on her a status equal to her male counterparts when He called her a “daughter of Abraham” (verse 16).  On another occasion Jesus didn’t rebuke the bleeding woman for making him “unclean” according to the Levitical law. Rather He complemented her faith (Luke 8:48). 

Jesus also treated those who didn’t think the way He did with respect, ultimately transforming some of their lives. As the Rich Ruler chose money over Him, Jesus still “looked at him and loved him” (Mark 10:21).  Jesus willingly participated in a debate with Nicodemus, who questioned His teaching, eventually leading him to become one of His followers (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 177). In fact, the most beloved passage in the Bible (John 3:16) was uttered in His engagement with Nicodemus. 

Through such genuine acts of love and kindness, walls of hostility were destroyed. A bridge was built over the deep chasm of sin that separated humans from God. God’s family was also reclaimed and reborn. Humanity was restored. The dignity of all persons made in the image of God was upheld. Humanity now has direct access to God and His amazing grace.  

Jesus invites us today to live a life that faithfully points to and mirrors Him. Good news for the world and an opportunity for us as a church to reflect the character of His kingdom.

kmaran Fri, 12/06/2019 - 09:25

Legacy, Leadership, and New Initiatives

Legacy, Leadership, and New Initiatives
Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president, opens the final business session of the division’s 2019 Year-end Meetings Photo: Pieter Damsteegt.

Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president, opens the final business session of the division’s 2019 Year-end Meetings Photo: Pieter Damsteegt.

The final morning business session of the North American Division 2019 Year-end Meeting (YEM) primarily focused on pension benefits provided to employees by the represented entities of the territory, including the division and all its unions, conferences, schools, mission fields and independent ministries.

Currently, church employees who are vested into the defined contribution retirement plan also receive the “SHARP” health care assistance program. The plan gives retirees a cash benefit that has been placed in a protected health reimbursement account to assist in the selection of Medicare supplement plans. The amount given is related to years of qualified service to the Adventist Church.

“People keep coming on to the plan, and there is no funding mechanism for that plan,” said Raymond Jimenez, III, plan administrator of Adventist Retirement on Nov. 6, 2019, to the NAD executive committee as he shared the state of financial stability for the retirement plan. According to Jimenez, the church has $350 million in unfunded liability for its pension plan.

Jimenez presented a recommendation that was formed after meeting with consultants and actuaries to help mitigate the need:

  • Employees who were hired before the year 2000 — when the church was providing a defined benefit plan — will continue to accrue service credit toward maximum benefit.
  • Employees hired post 2000 — when the church switched to a defined contribution plan – will not accrue service credit after January 1, 2020.
  • The plan will not be offered to employees hired after 2019.
  • There will be no joint and survivor benefits for employees who have not vested before January 2020.
  • Additional employers will not be admitted to the plan post 2019.
Raymond Jimenez, III, plan administrator of Adventist Retirement shares financial concerns about the retirement health-care assistance program with YEM delegates.

Raymond Jimenez, III, plan administrator of Adventist Retirement shares financial concerns about the retirement health-care assistance program with YEM delegates. Photo: Pieter Damsteegt.

“There's a legacy that will be left with this decision that's made today. We will have to live with the legacy of that decision. Are we ready to do that,” Jimenez asked the delegates. “This is not the NAD plan; this is your plan for your employees.”

After more than an hour of discussion, a motion was presented to accept the recommendation, then an amendment was accepted to change the transition day from January 1 to July 1 to account for educator contracts, which are set from July 1 - June 30.

The motion with the amendment passed: 164-Yes, 29-No, 2-Abstain.

 

Volunteer Screenings

The day continued with numerous reports from various entities and ministries. Sterling Volunteers, the criminal background screening service and child protection training program used by Seventh-day Adventist organizations within the North American Division, reported its screening statistics for the 2019 Oshkosh International Pathfinder Camporee. Sterling Volunteers processed 7,835 applicants, 78 percent of the screenings were shared with the corresponding conferences, unions, or organizations that made the initial request. Nearly 200 international background checks were also performed by the service.

Leadership Development

Alvin Kibble, NAD vice president for Big Data + Social Media, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, Literature Ministries, and Executive Coaching, Training, and Development, teamed up with Adam Fenner, director of the Adventist Learning Community, to deliver a report on leadership development for the Adventist Church.

Kibble announced that the Office of Big Data + Social Media and the Office of Strategic Planning, Assessment, and Research partnered to develop core competencies that can be used to evaluate candidates for church leadership roles and develop a leadership profile for senior executives and executive teams at the conference, union, and division levels of the church.

After hours of research and learning, and incorporating the Korn Ferry validated leadership model that has been used by 20 million people in 25,000 companies across 110 countries, the NAD developed five core competencies and formed leadership roundtable groups that discussed the intricacies of the competencies in separate video segments available through Adventist Learning Community. The five core competencies are thought, results, people, self, and spiritual leadership.

Alvin Kibble, NAD vice president for Big Data + Social Media, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, Literature Ministries, and Executive Coaching, Training, and Development, holds a report on core competencies that can be used to evaluate candidates for church leadership roles.

Alvin Kibble, NAD vice president for Big Data + Social Media, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, Literature Ministries, and Executive Coaching, Training, and Development, holds a report on core competencies that can be used to evaluate candidates for church leadership roles. Photo: Pieter Damsteegt.

From the General Conference

John Thomas, associate secretary from the General Conference (GC), kicked off the afternoon session by reading two statements from the GC that will be presented during General Conference in Session in 2020 —  the “Statement of Confidence in the Writings of Ellen G. White,” and the “Statement on the Biblical View of Unborn Life.” While the latter statement makes implications about abortion, it is not a medical statement on abortion, rather a biblical understanding of the sanctity of life. A medical statement on the act of terminating pregnancies is still in the drafting-stage.

Following Thomas, Ella Simmons, a general vice president of the GC, and board member of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), presented a global campaign from ADRA called, “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” According to ADRA, 262 million children worldwide are not in school. Refugee children are five times more likes to be out of school than non-refugee children, and 22 million primary-aged children have never been to school. To help address this, the agency is aiming to collect 1 million signatures to petition world leaders to take action by providing quality education to children everywhere.

“ADRA wants to partner with Adventist Education in North America to allow NAD teachers to work with teachers around the world for this campaign,” said Simmons.

Later in the session, Simmons briefly presented an update on the church’s Nurture and Retention efforts and the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, which is being curated by the GC Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. She announced that the online version of the encyclopedia will be previewed during 2020 GC Session.

Adventist Intercollegiate Association representatives advocate for more young adult inclusion on executive committees on the union and conference levels.

Adventist Intercollegiate Association representatives advocate for more young adult inclusion on executive committees on the union and conference levels. Photo: Pieter Damsteegt.

Young Adult Representation

During the afternoon session, student representatives of the Adventist Intercollegiate Association presented a motion to recommend that unions and conferences have at least two young adults on their executive committees. The students hope that if unions and conference accept the recommendation, they would also outline the requirement in their bylaws. The motion was carried.

Women in Pastoral Ministry

One of the major initiatives of the division’s current quinquennium is to employ more women into pastoral roles. Carolyn Forrest, associate secretary; and director of Human Relations, Interdivision/International Service Employee Resources, and Archives and Statistics; acknowledged the progress that has been made over the past four years. In 2010 there were 102 women ministers employed by the Adventist Church. Today, there are 178.

“Thank you for placing women in pastoral ministries and leadership roles. The number is almost doubled, but we’ve got more work to do,” said Forrest.

Paul Anderson, director/endorser of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries added that since chaplains are pastors wherever they serve, whether it’s in the military or a hospital, the 115 female chaplains that are endorsed by the division should also be counted toward the total number of women in ministry.

Brenda Billingy, associate director of the NAD Ministerial Association, announced that the women pastors’ luncheon that will take place at the CALLED Pastors’ Family Convention in June 2020 will be named in the honor of Daniel R. Jackson, president of the North American Division, as a way to acknowledge his support of women in ministry.

Revisiting the 2014 Dulles Report

In between agenda items, Keith Bowman, an NAD executive committee member from the Adventist Learning Committee, referenced a historic meeting that took place in May 2014 near Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C., that focused on the church’s structure, organization, and mission as it relates to church finances, governance, and education.

Bowman made a motion for the committee to revisit the information presented at the 2014 Dulles meeting during the 2020 Year-end Meeting. The delegates voted to have the report placed on next year’s agenda.

Department Reports

Year overview reports were delivered from Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, Message Magazine, Social Media + Big Data, and Stewardship Ministries. With the November 1 election of Bonita Shields to serve the NAD as vice president of Ministries, Shields delivered her final report as director of NAD Stewardship.

“It has been a joy. I pray my presence has benefitted the department the way my time in the department has benefitted me,” said Shields.

Erica Jones, assistant director of Women’s Ministries, introduces the ministry’s film “Church, Too,” which shares stories of women who have survived various forms of abuse that took place within the Adventist Church.

Erica Jones, assistant director of Women’s Ministries, introduces the ministry’s film “Church, Too,” which shares stories of women who have survived various forms of abuse that took place within the Adventist Church. Photo: Pieter Damsteegt.

Women’s Ministries introduced its film “Church, Too,” which shares stories of women who have survived various forms of abuse that took place within the Adventist Church. Erica Jones, assistant director of Women’s Ministries,  also discussed this year’s “enditnow” NAD Summit on Abuse, which took place at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. This year’s focus was on helping current and future pastors recognize and stop abuse. In response to Jones’ report, Ivan Williams, director of the NAD Ministerial Association, petitioned delegates to place next year’s summit on their pastors’ calendars.

Health Ministries announced its “Adventist HealthyYOU” initiative that will launch next year. The program aims to use the Adventist health message to create content for the growing demographic of health-conscious Millennials.

Delegates also reviewed and voted on routine agenda items – financial items included church resource development, building funds for Hispanic congregations, and allocations for Oakwood University; consent items included setting offering days and authorized meetings; and policy items included internship plans, and retention and safeguarding of records.

Final Items

In his final remarks of the 2019 YEM, G. Alexander Bryant, NAD executive secretary, presented a motion to recommend that unions allocate space in their delegate pool for GC Session that will allow conference presidents within their territories to serve as delegates. This was recommended in response to a recent action taken at the General Conference Annual Council that took away automatic delegate privileges from conference presidents.

Lastly, he encouraged delegates to review the electronic files of amendments to the church manual and GC bylaws, which can only be changed during GC Session.

mylonmedley Thu, 12/05/2019 - 15:23

Free Clinic in Arizona Addresses Chronic Need For Oral Health Care in Native Communities

Free Clinic in Arizona Addresses Chronic Need For Oral Health Care in Native Communities
A community member receives dental care during the free clinic at the Page All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church, which took place September 23-25.

A community member receives dental care during the free clinic at the Page All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church that took place September 23-25. Photo: Miguel Manzo

God’s hand was at work in Page, Arizona, through a group of dedicated volunteers who facilitated 300 procedures during a free dental clinic hosted at the Page All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church on September 23-25. During the three-day clinic, approximately $200,000 of dental procedures and $30,000 dermatology services were given at no cost to more than 140 people.

The volunteer team included seven dentists, one dental hygienist, nine dental assistants, a board-certified dermatologist, a family practice physician, and two massage therapists. Fifty-five additional volunteers managed registration, sterilized equipment, offered counseling, and provided other related activities.

Services and procedures included teeth cleaning, check-ups, fillings, and extractions while using well-equipped dental chairs, mobile X-rays, e-imaging, and other dental-related services. The dermatologist performed skin checks and minor dermatological procedures on 40 patients, and the family practice physician provided preventive care screenings and counseling.

Of the treated patients, more than 90 percent were members of the Navajo Nation. A few Hopi and Zuni tribal members also participated as well as several non-native community members. A high percentage reported that they had diabetes, pre-diabetes, and/or heart disease, which are known risk factors linked to poor oral health.

Putting the Clinic Together

The project volunteers were provided by “F5,” a unique young professional Christian group created by dentist Calvin Kim. Kim met with Nancy Crosby, director of Native American Ministries for the Pacific Union, to share the idea of holding a dental clinic. Through a series of events and much prayer, each detail fell into place.

The clinic was coordinated and organized by the Life and Health Network led by Danny Kwon, who has extensive experience operating free clinics worldwide; and Vinh Trinh, a paramedic and pre-dental student who has worked alongside Kwon with the free clinics. The dental equipment was provided by Caring Hands Worldwide, a mobile clinic non-profit from Eugene, Oregon, together with their executive director Randy Meyer. American Indian Living magazine funded the tent (under which the services were performed), portable toilets, and other miscellaneous items.

The tent was packed with patients each day, many of whom had multiple procedures done. The patients had the opportunity to meet with the pastor of Page All Nations and its Bible worker. Interest was generated for church services, and there were approximately 40 Bible study requests.

In addition, a group of licensed contractors and painters among the volunteers roofed the church’s building and parsonage. They also repainted the church’s exterior.

Testimonies

Many people traveled from hours away to attend the dental clinic due to scarcity of quality dental services on reservations. Although the patients seemed nervous and distrustful when they first arrived, smiles began to break out as people left the tent with their needs met.

One Navajo grandmother remarked, “This is some of the best dental care I have ever received. Not only did they do X-rays and clean my teeth, but they also filled three cavities and replaced a crown.”

A young Navajo father said, “I have always been afraid of dentists. These dentists are so kind. This is the first time I have seen a dentist in five years. They filled one cavity and then showed me better ways to brush and floss to prevent future cavities.”

“I felt respected. I have been embarrassed about my teeth,” said a middle-aged Navajo woman. “I knew I had something wrong, I had pain. [Turns out] I had cavities in several areas of my mouth. They filled some of the cavities one day and then the rest the next day.”

One woman’s story highlights the multiple challenges faced by many elderly members of the Navajo Nation. They often have to wait up to two years to be seen at a dental clinic that is located off the reservation and difficult to travel to. Clinics on the reservation are often too expensive. Further, many patients at the clinic said preventative oral hygiene techniques are not explained clearly to help prevent tooth decay or extractions.

“I have three relatives in their early 50s who already have dentures, and four who have had many of their teeth pulled and will soon need dentures. I was also worried I may eventually need dentures. I have already had three teeth pulled,” said Asdza.* “Thankfully my toothaches were only from cavities and were fixed today. I won’t need a root canal. And the dentist showed me how to floss better so that I will never need dentures.”

Extended Service

Early childhood carries, or cavities, are the most common health problem for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) preschool children, and five times more common than asthma, according to an oral health study by the Indian Health Service. The same study shows that when compared to other population groups in the United States, AI/AN preschool-children have the highest level of tooth decay. Further, children of the Navajo Nation have one of the lowest dentist-to-patient ratios in the country, according to a 2014 study by the Colorado School of Public Health.

To help address the effects of the starling statistic, Kim and another volunteer dentist went to a local elementary school on September 24 to share information about oral health and hygiene. The dentists presented to 183 second graders at Lakeview Elementary school, where its staff said it was the best oral health presentation the school has received.

--

*Asdza is a pseudonym, which was given upon request, and means “woman” in the Navajo language.

mylonmedley Wed, 12/04/2019 - 15:25

It Is Written Ministries Opens New Headquarters

It Is Written Ministries Opens New Headquarters
IIW Grand Opening ribbon cutting on Nov. 22, 2019

John Bradshaw (left, center), It Is Written speaker/director, and other church leaders, local officials, and IIW representatives cut the ribbon at the dedication on Nov. 22, 2019. Photo by Stephen Ruf

On Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, more than 500 community members, pastors, church officials, and workers gathered for the grand opening of the new It Is Written headquarters in Collegedale, Tennessee. The event was live-streamed on It Is Written’s Facebook page and featured a dedication, a ribbon cutting, ministry tours, giveaways, and refreshments.

Although the day was rainy, those in attendance pressed together under tents and umbrellas to hear more about the media ministry that has been around since 1956.

After a series of formal addresses from North American Division president Daniel R. Jackson, Collegedale mayor Katie Lamb, and It Is Written speaker/director John Bradshaw, the audience was invited to take a self-guided tour around the facilities. The various stops throughout the building highlighted new studio space, offices, and meeting rooms, all tailored to provide efficiency to the growing team.

The ministry employs approximately 40 people, from graphic designers, pastors, IT specialists, and more, who work together to produce a variety of television programming and print publications that are distributed worldwide.

“This building, this ministry, is a testimony to God’s goodness,” Jackson said. “We thank God today for John Bradshaw and his team—for the outstanding ministry, for the blessing of people all around the world and throughout North America. As we open this new home we give honor to God.”

IIW Grand Opening  Nov. 22, 2019

Photo by Stephen Ruf

Local Context

During her address at the grand opening, Lamb welcomed the organization to the city of Collegedale and expressed her wishes that those who relocated to the area get to enjoy the amenities provided by the surrounding nature and community.

“Collegedale takes pride in providing an environment for family-friendly organizations. As we work together to this end during this Thanksgiving season, let’s give thanks for the religious freedoms that we enjoy,” she said. “Welcome and may God bless this organization.”

Many community members in attendance came from the surrounding Collegedale area, but some had traveled from farther away, such as Lidia Seda who came from Guntersville, Alabama, to be present for the unveiling.

“We heard about this through a friend, and felt that we should go and support Adventist ministry, so we came,” Seda said. “I like the fact that they have enough space not only to do what they need to do, but to grow. That was wise.”

Bradshaw said that the support and prayers of those who came to witness the event mean the world to him and his team. “Having people here meant the world to us,” he said. “[There were] pastors and physicians and dentists and our neighbors, church administrators, laypeople, people who in some cases drove hours and hours [to attend] because they wanted to be a part of this. It’s just very exciting and encouraging in terms of ministry.”

The new headquarters, with its 41,000-square-foot building, is only a few miles from the campus of Southern Adventist University (SAU). Many of those employed by It Is Written are either current students or alumni of the institution, making the location ideal not only for the ministry but also for the school.

“Because It Is Written is here, a number of our students and even more of our graduates are now working in this building,” said David Smith, SAU president. “They are engaged with the church, they are using their creative skills, and It Is Written is blessed. But so are we, and I’m glad this is being recognized.”

It Is Written also sponsors the Soulwinning and Leadership Training, better known as SALT, initiative on the university campus. Students are provided with the resources and skills to become more confident and engaged in personal evangelism.

IIW Grand Opening dedication on Nov. 22, 2019

Speaker/director John Bradshaw addresses a crowd of more than 500 at the It Is Written grand opening dedication on Nov. 22, 2019. Photo by Stephen Ruf

Furthering His Kingdom

Bradshaw believes that all the efforts put forward by It Is Written, whether through training programs such as SALT, television shows, and just day-to-day interactions are working together to further God’s kingdom.

“We know the value of this because we meet the people. The people who say ‘I was searching, I turned on the TV, there was It Is Written, and I said, “This is something.” I kept watching, and I called, and I was baptized. Now I’m in the church today.’ We hear those stories again and again,” Bradshaw said. “God established this ministry 63 years ago to grow His kingdom, and He’s been using this ministry ever since to do just that.”

For photos of the new headquarters, visit http://itiswritten.build. Click here to watch the dedication (program participants gather around 12:00 in the video).

— Tierra Hayes is a student at Southern Adventist University and managing editor of the university’s Southern Accent.

kmaran Wed, 12/04/2019 - 14:38