The 2017 Before We Call Them Strangers: What Adventists Ought to Know about Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, by Paul Dybdahl, Walla Walla University professor of mission and New Testament, will be offered as three separate books, one on each religion highlighted in the original book.
Each of the three new books has a co-author who worked with Dybdahl on additional content for the books.
“My portion of each book introduces the beliefs and practices of each religion, records interviews with two followers of each religion, and then lists some of what I appreciate about each religion,” said Dybdahl. “My co-authors are all practitioners — they are actively engaged in ongoing work among people of that religion. Their addition is a section that deals with practical, how-to ideas for engagement and sharing.”
The first of the series, Islam: Facts, Fictions, and Familiarities, was written with Gabriela Phillips, coordinator for Adventist-Muslim relations for the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and is currently available for purchase. The second book, which Dybdahl is writing alongside Scott Griswold, director of Reach the World Next Door, titled Buddhism: Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones was released this summer. The final book on Hinduism will be released within the year.
Dybdahl hopes these books will improve the religious experiences of the readers. “These individual books are intended as a resource and practical guide for Christians who want to learn about those of other faiths and also engage in meaningful relationships with them,” he said.
Books are available at AdventSource.org.
— Makena Horton is a University Relations student writer at Walla Walla University.kmaran Tue, 10/15/2019 - 11:53
“I heard God’s Good News — I want to connect and explore!”
Adventist Information Ministry (AIM), the North American Division Evangelistic Contact Center, has been a hub of connection to our church since 1982. This has primarily been through our media broadcast ministries placing 1-800 phone numbers on the screen or in their audio. When this technology became available, AIM was on the cutting edge of telephone conversation with those interested in the message of the denomination. AIM representatives have prayed with millions and sent out tens of thousands of Bible studies. Many thousands have received chaplain care and referral to the local church.
AIM still takes around 130,000 calls a year, however, times have changed!
These days, when you wish to connect with a friend, your children or grandchildren, what’s the preferred method? It’s often not talking on the phone. In fact, a recent call received this message “don’t leave me a voicemail — I never listen to them. If you want to reach me, send a text.” We still use a phone, just very differently.
The North American Division has invested in new technology, through AIM, to add TEXT and CHAT to its legacy VOICE services. Through AIM, the division is expanding the ways to connect.
Any phone number can add TEXT. Send a TEXT to receive a digital content offer, express your prayer request, ask theological and life issue questions or indicate a wish to register for an event. If the interaction becomes lengthy, detailed, or the interested person desires it, AIM can seamlessly move to live VOICE.
There is still something special about actually talking! Hearing tone and emotion greatly enhances communication. Conversation that starts with “I want to order today’s offer” can transition to sincere and deep opening of the heart to Jesus. There is a reason they contacted us!
Almost every service-oriented website quickly offers “Would you like to CHAT?” as an option. Websites are amazing repositories of information with huge amounts of content at the user’s fingertips. The challenge is: what if an individual reads or views something that truly inspires a Spirit-led response? How can AIM offer the care of Christian community, right then and there? CHAT affords a tremendous opportunity for connection. A shared moment advancing the spiritual journey. CHAT can offer guidance for chaplain care, biblical questions and prayer. AIM representatives can assist the interested person in finding additional helps on the Web, send literature, and encourage sign up for Bible study. How about an invitation to the local church? As with TEXT, AIM can move to VOICE conversation whenever preferred.
The Seventh-day Adventist church in North America is actively seeking to use technology in growing God’s Kingdom. We are blessed to have visionary leaders who recognize that every avenue for interaction needs to be readily available. We never want to miss an opportunity — we must make it easy to reach us!
If your outreach ministry would like to utilize AIM’s VOICE, TEXT and/or CHAT services contact us at: 1-800-253-3002 VOICE and TEXT; Callaim.org to CHAT.
— Twyla O. Wall is director of Adventist Information Ministry.kmaran Tue, 10/15/2019 - 11:23
The Seventh-day Adventist Church and its international humanitarian agency, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), announced today a new global campaign, “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” The joint campaign is an urgent call to leaders around the world that all children, regardless of race, age, nationality, gender, religion or origin, have a right to earn and complete an education, and that being in school is a recognition of the value and potential of each individual child. [Watch campaign video
The campaign aims to collect one million signatures by 2020 through grassroots efforts in collaboration with the Adventist Church worldwide and the ADRA network of offices in more than 130 countries. The petition will be presented during the 61st Session of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, and will urge world leaders to take action for children everywhere to receive a quality education.
“As a global Christian family, we Seventh-day Adventists must come together to do what we can to see that every child, everywhere, attends school, completes their education, and has hope for a better tomorrow,” said Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A 2018 UNESCO study reported that there has been little improvement in the reduction of out-of-school children, adolescents and youth since 2012, and that since 2016, more than 262 million children around the world are still out of school.
“We do not accept the fact that 90 percent of children with disabilities in the developing world are not in school. We do not accept the fact that refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than their non-refugee peers or that 25 million primary school age children have never been to school. This is why it’s so important that we speak up on behalf of every child who is not in school today,” said Michael Kruger, president of ADRA.
To disseminate the campaign and collect signatures for the petition, the Adventist Church and ADRA have developed inclusive technologies for a global audience, including online and through the data-based messaging platform WhatsApp. To sign the petition on WhatsApp, first download the app then visit . The campaign can also be joined at
ADRA and the Seventh-day Adventist Church have long supported social justice issues, including working with faith-based communities to champion support for refugees, migrants and displaced persons during World Refugee Day and World Refugee Sabbath. ADRA also supports “enditnow,” a campaign spearheaded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Department of Women’s Ministries that pushes to end violence against women and girls.
“Together, ADRA and the Seventh-day Adventist Church can change the lives of children all around the world. We want to see every child everywhere in school by 2030, and it starts with one million signatures,” says Wilson.
For additional information and/or resources, please visit
kmaran Tue, 10/15/2019 - 07:35
AdventHealth’s Board of Directors has elected Ron C. Smith to serve as chair during its most recent quarterly Board meeting. Smith assumes responsibilities immediately, replacing Gary Thurber after he served a two-year term as board chair.
“AdventHealth has been blessed with Gary’s board leadership for the past two years,” said Terry Shaw, president/CEO for AdventHealth. “His input and insights were instrumental during a monumental period in our organization’s history, including our rebrand. I look forward to seeing Ron take up the mantle as we continue our transformational journey.”
Smith is currently president for the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which serves more than 300,000 church members across eight states in the southern region of the United States. He served as executive secretary before being elected president in 2011. Before joining the Southern Union, Smith held roles as vice president of the Review and Herald Publishing Association, editor of Message magazine, and pastor of various congregations on the east and west coasts. He has been a member of the AdventHealth board since 2007.
“I’m very honored to be a part of such a thriving and prominent organization in God’s work,” said Smith. “AdventHealth touches millions of people with the healing ministry of Christ and I’m excited to serve in this capacity to help further advance its mission.”
Smith succeeds Thurber who is president for the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, located in a nine-state region in the Midwestern United States. Thurber will continue to serve as a member of the AdventHealth Board.
The AdventHealth Board of Directors consists of Seventh-day Adventist union officers, conference presidents, and university presidents from across the AdventHealth footprint, as well as appointed members of AdventHealth corporate leadership and other community organizations. Established in 1981, the organization provides leadership in healthcare in four Adventist regions: Lake, Mid-America, Southern, and Southwestern union conferences.
— Ingrid Hérnandez is senior communications specialist for AdventHealth.kmaran Wed, 10/09/2019 - 21:10
Jump back just 10 years and social media was mainly text based. Slowly photos came to prominence and now video is an indispensable element. Jump back even further and magazines were text based. Today, an article without a photo will not often get published. Photos are essential. And while photos are crucial, not all photos are good.
To address this issue a small group of photographers from Europe, North America and Iceland met together September 5-12, 2019, at the Hlíðardalsskóli, the former Adventist boarding school situated 40 minutes south-east of Reykjavik, Iceland, a property close to areas of outstanding natural beauty. The aim of the mixed ability group was to learn from each other, network, and develop skills that will help not only their own publications, but other photographers that come under their influence and tutelage back home.
The intensive program started right from the airport as, under the direction of retired pastor and amateur photographer, David West asked participants deposited at a costal church to look for colors and angles in the church yard that would bring out the best interest and color. That was just the start of stretching the groups photographic and video skills at costal locations, geo-thermal parks, stunning waterfalls, glaciers, and the unique landscapes and beauty of Iceland.
Photos were shared and reviewed in evening sessions. Workshops helped participants develop their skills. Even the most experienced participants learned from each other while those who arrived with more basic skills rapidly developed both technical ability and an appreciation for perspective, use of light, and the ability to make the photo tell a story.
That Special Shot
Daniel Kluska attended from Poland. Stunned by the landscapes, he noted that Iceland is “a perfect place for photographers and cinematographers to improve their skills in every aspect.” More importantly, Kluska was grateful for the opportunity to watch professionals in action over a period of days. He was grateful to “see how they work, how they choose the equipment for each subsequent frame and later also how they edit photos and give them the final shape.”
Enno Müller from the Southeastern California Conference, U.S., followed the same principle. Already a good photographer, he intentionally spent time questioning others about technique, camera settings, and editing skills, while patiently sharing his own skills with keen-to-learn amateurs.
Experienced drone operators looked over each other’s shoulders and shared footage as they flew over glaciers, volcanic craters, lakes and waterfalls, looking at how they could catch that special shot that helps tell the story — and how that shot could help enhance video footage taken at ground level.
Photos and the Mission
“Photography is about sharing something that moved you with others,” stated Dan Weber, North American Division Communication director and joint organizer of the workshop. “It’s about taking a moment that took your breath away and capturing it so those who weren’t there can share in it.” Whether that is landscape, or capturing a baptismal moment or a church convention, the principle is the same. How can that photo enhance our mission?
In his youth, Weber spent two years volunteering at Hlíðardalsskóli and fell in love with Iceland. For this workshop he partnered with Victor Hulbert and Corrado Cozzi, Communication directors for the Trans-European and Inter-European Divisions. All three confess that it was an experiment, bringing Adventist photographers together in one stunning location, not for their normal event coverage, but to learn, share, and network together. For Kluska that worked in more ways than one.
“The meeting attended by communication specialists from three world divisions once again confirmed my belief that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a global church. A community that, despite its diversity, still remains one,” He said. “I am glad that I could be a witness and part of this unique event. I came back to my country with a head full of ideas and with a strong belief that the image can also be used to share the gospel and testify about Christ."
The spiritual purpose of the workshop was enhanced by carefully-crafted Sabbath and morning worships led by Hulbert, who brought the power of photography, diversity of talent, and networking into a biblical, mission-focused purpose with devotionals based on Psalms and the Gospels. West’s Sabbath evening devotional shared the power of the story as he brought the story of the Good Samaritan to life though his personal experience of getting his van stuck while fording an Icelandic river. Dan Weber shared his personal journey of God leading him from the corporate world to using his skills for church and mission.
Felicia Tonga, digital media specialist from the Lake Union Conference in the North American Division, commented on the diversity of the conference attendees, “Being surrounded by people from Italy, Poland, and different parts of this world has been exciting because you are able to sit and listen to the stories of where they came from, how they got to where they are today, and their testimonies.”
A final inspiration in service came from Corrado Cozzi, who not only improved his own photo skills during the day, but as a keen Italian cook, provided exquisite food twice daily.
The combination of low-cost accommodation at the school, Cozzi’s passion for cooking, and West and Weber’s knowledge of Iceland helped make the photo tour workshop an affordable and profitable experiment. The skills learned, and friendships made, will undoubtedly make a photo-impact on Adventist publications across Europe and North America.
Established as a senior boarding school in the 1950s, Hlíðardalsskóli set a high standard serving the Adventist and larger community across the island of Iceland. Due to changing demographics and the establishment of more government schools across Iceland, the school, no longer viable, closed. However, committed church members determined to re-purpose the building and today it provides friendly and hospitable hostel style accommodation for families, groups and even sizable conventions. Self-catering facilities make it very affordable, and being 40 minutes south east of the capital, Reykjavik, guests are much closer to many of the best tourist sites. For more information contact the Icelandic Conference office at email@example.com.
— Victor Hulbert is Communication director of the Trans-European Division.kmaran Wed, 10/09/2019 - 14:57
Loma Linda University Health physician Laren Tan, M.D., recently began a regional tour to speak with junior high and high school students about the dangers of vaping. In recent months, the issue has gained national attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported as of Oct. 1, 2019, that 18 deaths have been confirmed in 15 states, and that 1,080 lung injury cases associated with using electronic cigarette, or vaping, products have been reported to CDC from 48 states and one U.S. territory. More than 500 cases of a new vaping-related disease have been reported since April.
Tan is one of many doctors concerned with the health risks of vaping. The founder and director of the Loma Linda University Health Comprehensive Program for Obstructive Airway Diseases treats the most severe pulmonary cases — everything from non-reversible asthma to dangerous high-blood pressure of the lungs to emphysema. Vaping, he says, has served as a gateway for teens to smoke rather than a tool for adults to quit.
Starting with a school in Riverside, California, Tan spoke to students about the dangers of both the substance being vaped and the lesser-known hazards of the activity. Research has shown that the heated coils are releasing metal particles — such as lead and nickel — into the user’s lungs.
“We don’t have all the data on the long-term effects of vaping on the body, but we do know that the short-term effects can be detrimental to lungs, especially in teens as their lungs are still developing,” Tan told the audience at La Sierra Academy. “If a teen already has underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma, they could be at a greater risk of permanent damage or even death.”
In his presentation, Tan breaks down the anatomy of e-cigarettes, explaining that the concentration of nicotine in the cartridges depends on the amount of substance inhaled and the concentration in the e-liquids. “Consistency in concentration and composition of the liquid varies between different manufacturers, and with no FDA regulations, it’s difficult to determine how much nicotine — or other unknown substance — is being inhaled.”
One substance that has been identified in many common flavorings for vapes is diacetyl. “In the medical community we have long known that inhalation of diacetyl causes bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as popcorn lung,” Tan said. The inhalation of diacetyl scars the tiny air sacs or alveoli of the lungs, which is extremely problematic in both developing and already developed lungs.
“Through speaking to students, teachers, and counselors, we hope to arm our communities with the information they need to make an educated decision for themselves and give the potentially life-saving information to people who need it,” Tan said.
— Janelle Ringer writes for Loma Linda University Health News; the originally published article was posted on Sept. 26, 2019, on the organization's website.kmaran Wed, 10/09/2019 - 09:47
“God in Shoes” Coordinates Widespread Outreach in Orlando, Florida, to Serve Women and Their Families“God in Shoes” Coordinates Widespread Outreach in Orlando, Florida, to Serve Women and Their Families
"Tomorrow, your character, smile, and everything you carry is going to be about God and immolating the aroma of Christ to wherever you are going to serve,” said Jo Dubs, founder and director of the “God in Shoes” ministry, to a room of hundreds of women receiving orientation for a day of service during the 2019 North American Division Women’s Convention in Orlando, Florida. “Tomorrow is all about serving, it's not about us."
Since 2009, the Georgia-Cumberland Conference-based ministry, God in Shoes, has been the official community service outreach organizer for the division’s women’s convention, which is held every five years.
“Many conventions have similar formats, but what makes this convention different is the unique outreach done through God in Shoes,” said Carla Baker, director of Women’s Ministries for the NAD.
Participants came from the Cayman Islands, the Philippines, Guam, Bermuda, and all across the United States. The 625 women who registered to serve on Friday, September 27, received a “God in Shoes” belt bag to place their personal items in while on their assignment, and a “God in Shoes” button to pin on their clothing. The women had a dozen projects to choose from that met a wide range of Orlando’s societal needs.
“In going to an area, it's always important to do the demographics and see where the needs are and then start making phone calls and looking online to see areas of need,” said Dubs, who secured locations for the day of service throughout the year. “Finding places where different organizations and programs are already doing the work, then setting up appointments to hear their stories and say, ‘How can I help you and affirm what you're already doing,’” said Dubs.
As result of those meetings and months of planning, the women’s convention participants volunteered at several locations, including organizations that address homelessness (Orlando Union Rescue Mission, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, and Christian Services Center of Central Florida); organizations that combat hunger and food insecurity (Second Harvest Food Bank, Rise Against Hunger, and United Against Poverty); and safe spaces for girls and women and their families (PACE Center for Girls, Help Now Domestic and Sexual Assault Center, ASPIRE Health Partners, and Harbor House). Volunteers also visited Clean the World, an organization that addresses systemic problems related to hygienic health by repurposing and distributing soap and other hygienic products; and New Hope for Kids, a center for grieving children.
In addition, each location received a donation of supplies specifically curated for the organizations’ services that had been accumulated in the months leading up to the convention.
“For something like this to happen, it takes involvement on many different levels,” said Dubs. “For months, my team worked to get the supplies by … putting the organizations’ wish-lists out to the attendees.”
This also extended opportunities for service to those who were unable to physically volunteer on Sept. 27.
“I really thank them because those gifts are going to help [the facilities] much longer than the one day we were there,” said Dubs.
“I did not know a place like this existed,” said Juilet Mcfarlane from the Greater New York Conference who volunteered at New Hope for Kids, an organization in Central Florida that has helped children since 1996 deal with grief and pain associated with illness and death. “I decided that as soon as I go back to New York, I am going to find one of those centers and I'm going to be a volunteer. It impacted me that much. I picked up so many brochures and I said I'm going to share with my local church’s women’s ministries and youth department so that we can become a part of this work.”
The same sentiment was echoed by the director of Women’s Ministries for the Allegheny West Conference, Shirley Benton, who also volunteered at New Hope for Kids.
“I’m going to set this as a mission. My team is meeting next month to talk about 2020. I'm going to bring this to them to see if this is something we can do or find out who we need to talk to in order to pursue that,” said Benton. “I understand there are not too many of them around, this is the only one here in Florida … It was just a beautiful place. It was an amazing experience, one I never anticipated, but I'm so glad I went.”
The type of work the volunteers participated in varied from sorting clothing and food, to preparing meals, to providing spa-services such as hand massages and manicures, to writing thank-you notes, and even to landscaping.
Heidi Melton, who was the leader of the group that went to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission — which offers housing, meals, and education to men, women, and families — said her group was a lot smaller than expected, so she thought they wouldn’t do the outdoor work that had been preassigned. However, when they got to the location the mission’s liaison told her, "We just had 40 yards of mulch delivered,” to which Melton replied, 'We're on it!'"
“There were women who volunteered to do it. They were excited,” continued Melton. Many of the women who helped spread the mulch were in their 60s and 70s, some were even wearing heals and dresses. Melton said they spread the mulch in less than three hours.
“I was very impressed,” said Melton. “The two gentlemen [who worked for the mission and assisted us] said they've never seen such hard workers.”
Louise “Lulu” Sanders, director of Women’s Ministries for the Northern New England Conference, helped give a “spa day” to women who were part of behavioral health treatment center through ARISE Health Partners. Members of her team polished nails, gave hand and neck massages, cut and styled hair, and offered words of encouragement and prayers.
“It was so enlightening. The people were so receptive, and thrilled we were there,” said Sanders. “When they came out all done-up, they were so thankful and glowing. We just take everyday things like that for granted.”
In Maine, where Sanders in from, she volunteered in similar centers for women, except her experiences were not as positive. She said the people were more reserved and unpleasant – this almost kept her from volunteering for ARISE. However, she said she had an enriching time, which reaffirmed the purpose of serving.
“We need to be more outgoing. We need to follow Jesus' example of reaching out in whatever way, even if it's just a smile or hug. We need to be more involved,” said Sanders. “We can’t just sit in the pews each week and think that's what Jesus wants us to do.”
Behind the Name
God in Shoes began in 2004 in response to a challenge issued by the president of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference to ministry leaders to find ways to make their ministries more evangelistic. Dubs fasted and prayed for three days, after which, God put it on her heart to have the women of women’s ministries serve women in their area.
“God in Shoes is the opportunity for us as Christians to represent God in our shoes. Oftentimes we think as Christians that the world can see who we are. But they cannot see us unless they see us involved in their lives, entering their world, and doing those acts of kindness that really demonstrate God in the flesh,” said Dubs. “No, we are not God, but as Christians we represent God in who we are, the places we go, and the places we serve for Him.”
The ministry first organized a two-week mission for single mothers living in the Appalachia region of the United States. The mothers were given meals, assistance around the house, and evening child-care. At the end of the two weeks, the mothers were given a “spa day” by the God in Shoes volunteers.
The whole purpose was to help them to see their worth and their beauty in the eyes of God, and understand that God loves and accepts them no matter what — it's unconditional,” said Dubs.
The anchor text for the ministry is Romans 10: 13–15: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (NIV).
“I would truly like to encourage everyone to prayerfully consider how God might want to use them to make a difference for someone else,” said Dubs. “It might just be a smile, getting involved in serving soup in your community. God is just waiting for us as Christians, not that He needs us, but He wants to give us the blessing of serving others. I would challenge everyone to step up to that challenge.”
Visit the NAD Flickr page to see photo coverage of the God in Shoes day of community service in Orlando, Florida.mylonmedley Tue, 10/08/2019 - 13:32