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Southwestern Adventist University Nursing Department Receives Grant from Ardmore Institute of Health

Southwestern Adventist University Nursing Department Receives Grant from Ardmore Institute of Health
SWAU nursing

Dr. Ken Shaw and SWAU students talk in the new Larry R. Moore Nursing and Administration Building. Photo courtesy Caressa Rogers

Southwestern Adventist University’s Nursing Department is thrilled to announce the approval of a grant from the Ardmore Institute of Health. The grant will give the nursing department an opportunity to develop a whole-person wellness certificate program for student nurses and nurses currently in practice. With this initial $80,000 grant, the nursing department will start the work of identifying core content that will guide the creation of the certification curriculum.

“The Ardmore Institute of Health is pleased to support the work of Southwestern’s Nursing Department,” says Kevin Brown, president and CEO of Ardmore Institute of Health. “It is our hope that through their efforts on this project, the door will be opened to a large number of nurses to learn about Lifestyle Medicine themes during their training.”

The Ardmore Institute of Health grant will enable nursing students and practicing nurses to receive further training and certification in areas pertaining to physical, mental, social, and spiritual health, with emphasis on lifestyle management and nursing practice.

The curriculum will incorporate the work accomplished by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and include concepts identified in CREATION Health principles, such as Choice, Rest, Environment, and Outlook. The intent is that this content can be incorporated into nursing curricula or used by a health care organization or individual nurse for professional development and practice enhancement.

The project is unique in that it will place a nursing practice perspective on lifestyle management and spiritual care concerns in promoting optimum health for patients.

“We are delighted to receive this funding as it provides a prime opportunity to collaborate with organizations that are invested in excellence in nursing practice with an emphasis on addressing whole person well-being.” says Dr. Terri Gibson, Wellness Counts director and nursing professor at Southwestern. “There is a real need for nurses to understand the correlation between mental, spiritual, and physical health, and how to help patients achieve optimal wellness. With this certification, our nursing graduates and others will be even better prepared to serve their patients."

Previously, the Ardmore Institute of Health granted the Nursing Department $62,000 in 2017 to start the Wellness Counts program to provide health and lifestyle education and activities for the local Johnson County community. The program continues to thrive.

For more information, visit or follow the program on Facebook.

kmaran Thu, 12/06/2018 - 12:45

When Holidays Aren’t So Jolly

When Holidays Aren’t So Jolly
Broken Christmas ornament

Photo by iStock

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, until we realize all the work that needs to be done. Have you made your to-do list and checked it twice?

Christmas is all too often the most stressful time of the year. This can lead to unintended anger or outbursts, emotional or mental breakdowns, or physical problems such as high blood pressure. The holidays can be harmful, instead of refreshing our faith in our soon-returning Savior.

But there is hope for a truly joyous holiday season. The potential side effects of increased stress can be eased by becoming more resilient. Resilience is our ability to cope with or bounce back from negative events. It includes behaviors, thoughts, and actions. We all have some of it; and like faith, resilience can grow through God’s power.

A strong social network with family and friends can improve your resilience. The January/February 2015 issue of Vibrant Life ( has articles and tips about how to meaningfully connect with family and friends. It’s important that these connections are deep, sincere, and mutually fulfilling, which is a blessing from God (Ps. 133).

Here are four other tips to help alleviate stressors this time of year and build your resilience:

Be Realistic

Much of the holiday pressure comes from our personal and cultural expectations and norms. Make up your mind that it’s OK to let some of them go. Don’t demand from yourself or others what is not absolutely necessary. Exercise your flexibility. Invite others to contribute toward making the festivities a success; perhaps God wants to develop some skills in them.

Nontraditional Gifts

Save yourself time by donating to a charity in the name of your loved one. Give a card or picture explaining the ministry to open up conversation. Or consider gifting them tickets to an upcoming church-sponsored event or retreat, such as the NAD Health Summit in January. Give a gift that will strengthen their ministry and heavenly influence.

Spread the Love

Holidays can be especially painful for those who struggle with loneliness. Our beautiful Sabbath smiles can sometimes disguise our emotional needs. Do you see them at your church? Why not make room for them at your holiday table? Consider how you can implement Luke 14:12-14 in your celebrations. Someone near you is praying that Psalm 68:6 comes true this year: God sets the lonely in families.

Be Healthy

Yes, it’s true: getting enough sleep and regular exercise, and partaking in a healthful diet, also improve how you cope with stress. Bundle up the family and take a quick walk around the block. Or play musical chairs inside. Simple activities can make a big difference.

But sometimes, no matter how much we do, the pain of the season can be quite unbearable. The holidays don’t make memories of past abuse, trauma, or neglect disappear. If this is your experience, find a qualified counselor who will respect your faith in God and encourage you to exercise it. Let God give you the gift of complete healing.

In Leviticus 23, when instructing the Israelites about the national feasts, the Lord repeatedly tells them not to do any “servile” or “regular” work. Commenting on this precept Ellen White wrote: “God gave direction to the Israelites to assemble before Him at set periods . . . and observe special days, wherein no unnecessary work was to be done, but the time was to be devoted to a consideration of the blessings which He had bestowed upon them.”*

Being exhausted and burned out does not glorify God, nor does it draw us closer to Him or to salvation. The year is drawing to a close. We have just a few more days to make this year really count for eternity. What one thing—the one thing needful—will you do?

* Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 2, p. 598.

— Angeline B. David, DrPH, MHS, RDN, is health ministries director for the North American Division; visit for details on next month’s health summit.

kmaran Thu, 12/06/2018 - 12:16

Texas Church Plant Connects with Community

Texas Church Plant Connects with Community
Project Shoebox

On Dec. 1, 2018, the Canyon Creek Project, a new church plant in Texas, presents shoe boxes filled with toiletries, toothbrushes, socks, etc., as a present for those escaping violent situations. Photo provided by Mike Tucker

At the invitation of the Texas Conference, church planter Peter Casillas and Mike Tucker, speaker/director of Faith for Today Television, have recently planted a new church in Richardson, Texas. The church plant has embraced as part of their mission, connecting with the Richardson community, by partnering with local non-profits. Even though the new company has only been meeting a few weeks, they have already begun to fulfill their mission.

Hope’s Door is a non-profit operating in Richardson that provides services to the victims of domestic violence. Spouses and children find refuge, counseling, and assistance as they attempt to escape violence and create a new life. Canyon Creek Project has begun an affiliation with Hope’s Door to work together to help stem the tide of domestic violence.

In October, members of Canyon Creek Project were invited to take empty shoe boxes donated by local merchants, and fill them with essentials someone might need if they escaped with little more than the clothes they were wearing. Toiletries, toothbrushes, socks, and more were placed in shoe boxes and wrapped as a present for boys, girls, and spouses who were escaping a violent situation.

"The students at North Dallas Adventist Academy helped with [what has been dubbed] Project Shoebox. Their response was overwhelming as they filled and wrapped 40 boxes themselves,” said Casillas. “The students were excited about the project and wanted to know what more they could do. Their contributions were a valuable addition to those of the members of our new company.”

The shoe boxes also included notes of encouragement, and prayers from the students and members of Canyon Creek Project. Several of the boxes were even hand painted by the art teacher at North Dallas Adventist Academy (NDAA). But the ones that touched the church members hearts the most were the boxes wrapped in craft paper with hand-written notes from the students. Notes of encouragement such as, "Remember, even if today is a bad day, it won't always be that way," or " I'm praying for you," written in youthful penmanship with markers and crayons, were heartwarming. A little more than a month after the project started, more than 110 shoe boxes were brought back to the church.

On Dec. 1, Beth Leos, program manager from Hope's Door, received the boxes when she joined Canyon Creek Project for worship. She shared with the congregation that in just a few weeks Hope's Door would be giving toys to the kids for Christmas, and now the children could pick a shoebox for their parent. “What an amazing donation! Thank you for your congregation’s support of this project. I’m in awe of the results!" said Leos.

Mike Tucker and Leos

Faith for Today's Mike Tucker presents Beth Leos, program manager of Hope's Door, with presents for those in need. Photo provided by Mike Tucker.

The church will continue to work with Hope's Door in the new year, and plan on a clothing drive to support the Re-sale store that Hope's Door runs for their clients and community. Project Shoebox will be an annual event. The church is excited to see how God blesses the people who will receive them.

Tucker added, “This is a major component of our plans for outreach. We long to do ministry the same way Jesus did.”

The inspiration for this project came, in part, from the counsel of Ellen G. White. “Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).

Canyon Creek Project's mission is " that no one will miss out on the grace of God and that we will experience joy together as we journey with Jesus." The church meets on Custer Parkway in Richardson; the facility is a part of the plant purchased by the Texas Conference and NDAA. It is the desire of both church and school that Richardson will experience the love of Christ through their efforts.

For more information about Canyon Creek Project, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or visit their website at:

— Pam Tucker is a full-time writer and musician.

kmaran Thu, 12/06/2018 - 11:44

AdventistBookCenter.Com Celebrates 20 Years

AdventistBookCenter.Com Celebrates 20 Years Pacific Press Publishing Association building, one of the first online e-commerce sites developed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Today, people from more than 165 countries around the world have taken advantage of the convenience of shopping online for Adventist books, sharing materials, Sabbath School supplies, music, DVDs, etc.

It's hard to remember a time before the Internet made it simple to order just about anything at anytime. But it wasn't that long ago — only in 1994 — that Jeff Bezos decided to start selling books online due to the low price point for books and the huge number of titles available in print. He incorporated a company named Cadabra, Inc. (He soon changed the name after a lawyer misheard its original name as “Cadaver.”) Bezos called his new company Amazon and, as they say, the rest is history!

Today, you can buy virtually anything on

About the time Amazon began making an impact, Susan Harvey, then vice president of sales and marketing at Pacific Press Publishing Association, a North American Division entity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, began pushing for Adventist publishers to have an online presence. Her dream and persistence led to the birth of in 1998.

"Amazon was making huge strides in sales during their first couple of years," she recalls. "And back then their sales were all books." Amazon wasn’t making any money at that point, but it was making significant inroads into the publishing world.

“There were so many obstacles,” says Harvey, remembering what it took to get from concept to reality. “I knew internet sales were the wave of the future, and that we had to do it, but it was so hard to get people to see past the challenges. The most difficult problem was to figure out how to take advantage of this new technology without hurting our current distribution channel—the Adventist Book Centers. That was huge. And, of course, figuring out a way to partner with the Review and Herald Publishing Association [the other large Adventist Church publisher].”

That first month, October 1998, AdventistBookCenter.Com, sold a grand total of $15.49!

From that tiny beginning 20 years ago, sales have continued to grow. They've grown to surpass $1 million annually with people from around the world taking advantage of the online shopping for the Adventist materials.

“The mission of AdventistBookCenter.Com is to provide the largest array of Seventh-day Adventist material for our church members,” states Dale Galusha, president of Pacific Press.

"The future of AdventistBookCenter.Com is bright,” says Doug Church, vice president of marketing and sales at Pacific Press. “Future plans include a redesign that will make the site much more friendly for mobile devices, provide better multilingual support, and an increased number of special pricing opportunities."

Take a few minutes to browse the site! Visit www.AdventistBookCenter.Com — and sign up on the email list so you can be the first to hear about exciting developments as they happen.

kmaran Thu, 12/06/2018 - 08:55

Pacific Union College Partners with Angwin Community to Protect Against Wildfire

Pacific Union College Partners with Angwin Community to Protect Against Wildfire
stock photo of California forest

Photo by iStock

Beginning in January 2019, Pacific Union College plans to begin work on an approximately 3-mile shaded fuel break to protect the Angwin, California, community of 3,500 residents. With financial support from community members and alumni, the college plans to construct a shaded fuel break on a prominent ridge between Pope Valley and Angwin, running from Howell Mountain road to the Las Posadas State Forest. 

Angwin Volunteer Fire Department Chief J.R. Rogers explains, “A shaded fuel break is a great fire prevention measure that reduces fuel levels in key locations and helps to slow a fire’s rate of spread, giving us a defensible location so we can ultimately suppress the forward momentum of a fire.”

The PUC forest is an invaluable resource for the community and the college. It is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including the endangered Spotted Owl and some of the easternmost Coast Redwood trees. In 2014, the college began working with the Land Trust of Napa County and CAL FIRE to conserve over 800 acres of forested land in a conservation easement. Now known as the PUC Demonstration and Experimental Forest, it is used for student activities and scientific research projects, as well as recreation for both College and community members. 

The planned shaded fuel break has the potential to protect a valuable learning resource as well as the community at large. “The forest is part of our rich heritage here on Howell Mountain. It provides welcome opportunities for both education and recreation in a pristine forested setting,” states PUC president Robert Cushman.

PUC has developed a CAL FIRE-approved Forest Stewardship Plan, which outlines management goals and objectives (available at This plan includes fire mitigation work, of which the shaded fuel break is only the initial phase. PUC hopes all its work will help protect the college and the Angwin community from wildfire while making its forest healthier and more resilient.

Margo Kennedy, the co-chair of Angwin Fire Safe Council, notes “Our council is in full support of the PUC forest shaded fuel break. This shaded fuel break is an essential and immediately important endeavor to help protect the community of Angwin.”

A public meeting to address questions and concerns will be held Sunday, Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. in the Fireside Room at the Pacific Union College Church, located adjacent to the college. This meeting will be followed at noon by a field tour of the shaded fuel break.

If you wish to support this project, please visit All donations are tax deductible. 

For more information, please contact PUC Forest Management at or (707) 965-7635.

— Pacific Union College staff writer; this article originally appeared on the PUC website.

kmaran Wed, 11/28/2018 - 13:37

Mobile Shower Van to Serve New York City’s Homeless is Dedicated

Mobile Shower Van to Serve New York City’s Homeless is Dedicated
Lloyd Scharffenberg, GNYC Corporation secretary; Luis Biazotto, GNYC Adventist Community Services director; Manuel Rosario, GNYC Personal Ministries/Sabbath School director; Sung Kwon, NAD Adventist Community Services executive director; Walter Harris, GNYC ACS Disaster Response coordinator; Alanzo Smith, GNYC executive secretary; Henry Beras, GNYC president; G. Earl Knight, Atlantic Union Conference president; Ysaias Javier, GNYC treasurer; Artur Stele, General Conference vice president; and Rohann Wellington, GNYC English Ministries director; were on hand to cut the ribbon for the van’s dedication at United Camp Meeting in Wingdale, New York, on Sept. 15.

Left to right: Lloyd Scharffenberg, GNYC Corporation secretary; Luis Biazotto, GNYC Adventist Community Services director; Manuel Rosario, GNYC Personal Ministries/Sabbath School director; Sung Kwon, NAD Adventist Community Services executive director; Walter Harris, GNYC ACS Disaster Response coordinator; Alanzo Smith, GNYC executive secretary; Henry Beras, GNYC president; G. Earl Knight, Atlantic Union Conference president; Ysaias Javier, GNYC treasurer; Artur Stele, General Conference vice president; and Rohann Wellington, GNYC English Ministries director; are on hand to cut the ribbon for the van’s dedication at United Camp Meeting in Wingdale, New York, on Sept. 15. Photo provided by the Atlantic Union Gleaner.

The Showers of Blessings van, an outreach ministry of the Greater New York Conference’s (GNYC) Adventist Community Services (ACS), was dedicated on Sept. 15, 2018. Officials from the conference, Atlantic Union Conference, and the North American Division (NAD) gathered at United Camp Meeting for the dedication.

The mobile showers will serve the homeless in New York City, providing clean towels, washcloths, and new undergarments, as well as an outpouring of God’s love. The ministry, partly funded by NAD, is a result of many years of planning and is their first mobile shower unit for the homeless.

Luis Biazotto, GNYC’s ACS director, said the van is a response to the city’s growing homelessness problem — at its highest levels since the Great Depression. “This humanitarian relief is not optional for our church; it’s mandatory. We need to provide services to alleviate their suffering.”

According to Biazotto, ACS will partner with churches in the five boroughs to have the van serve local homeless communities weekly. The holistic approach also provides clothing, food, and spiritual and psychological care.

Sung Kwon, NAD ACS executive director, applauds the vision behind the initiative. Instead of a model where we build and invite people to come, “this is about going to people and providing a service they need,” said Kwon. “That is so biblical. It’s the missional church, a movement mindset.”

ACS piloted the van with the Delancey Seventh-day Adventist Church in lower Manhattan and received a positive response. “You see the results after just 10 minutes. When they leave, most of them say ‘You changed my life.’ They’re reminded to have hope. That’s what we bring with Showers of Blessings,” Biazotto said.

Click here to learn more about the ministry.

—Kaara Baptiste is communication director for the Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brooklyn, New York; this article originally appeared in the Nov. 2018 Atlantic Union Gleaner.

kmaran Wed, 11/28/2018 - 10:55

Physicians Conduct Wholeness Screenings for Better Mental and Spiritual Health

Physicians Conduct Wholeness Screenings for Better Mental and Spiritual Health
stock photo of female doctor helping patient with chart

Photo by iStock

Christmas Day and the New Year signify a time of hope and new beginnings. During this time, we look back and reflect on our blessings from the past year. It is also a great time to reevaluate our priorities and think about whether or not we experience the Christmas promise of love, peace, and joy throughout the entire year, or only during the holidays.

With the goal of offering whole-person care, Shawnee Mission Health in Kansas is now conducting wholeness screenings by asking patients about their ability to experience love, peace and joy. The result has been an open conversation about topics surrounding mental and spiritual health.

Opening Up About Love, Peace, and Joy

According to SMH regional director of Clinical Mission Integration Nathan Harrup, most physicians have been pleased with how patients have reacted when asked if they experience love, peace and joy in their life.

“Patients have been more honest and open in discussing spiritual needs than providers, or we as leaders, anticipated they would be,” said Harrup. “We forget sometimes how questions about spiritual well-being fold into the larger conversations about personal balance and wholeness that so many people are having these days.”

Although patient responses are always confidential, Harrup and his team track the type of feedback physicians receive to ensure the questions are resonating with patients. When a patient’s spiritual or mental health need is identified, the physician can send a referral to the E-Spiritual Care Center, which contacts the patient to provide support over the phone and determine next steps.

“Within a few months, thousands of patients have been willing to acknowledge a lack of peace in their lives,” explained Harrup. “This has created opportunities to provide encouragement and support, and has triggered a number of referrals to the E-Spiritual Care Center for even more focused follow-up.”

Our caregivers at the E-Spiritual Care Center are trained to be nonsectarian and religiously inclusive, but do sometimes refer patients to local clergy or faith groups for additional guidance. Depending on the need, they may also suggest resources such as local food banks, shelters, counselors, and financial aid centers.

Determining Your Spiritual Wholeness

If you do not visit a physician who regularly asks questions that spark conversation about your mental and spiritual health, you may be wondering how best to start evaluating the presence or lack of love, peace, and joy in your life.

“There is no reason any of us shouldn’t ask ourselves these spiritual wholeness indicators daily as a starting point for taking stock of our inner well-being,” said Harrup. “But the truth is spiritual self-diagnosis is difficult, because while it is the most deeply personal thing imaginable, it is best experienced in community.”

Harrup suggests that spiritual hunger is a sign your soul needs nourishment just as we recognize our bodies need nourishment through feelings of physical hunger. We can attend to our spiritual hunger through participating in activities like a quiet walk, honest prayer, Scripture reading and reflection, and embracing the love, forgiveness, and compassion offered by God. Additionally, one of the best ways to form spiritual lifestyle habits is to interact regularly with a spiritually mature friend or mentor.

Through purposeful dialogue and formal assessments, SMH physicians are serving as mentors to help patients identify ways to improve health of mind, body and spirit.

“At times, what is urgently desired may be a moment of prayer or immediate reassuring words, so we are training team members within each practice to come alongside patients in moments of need,” said Harrup. “They, along with the physicians, are really the first responders in terms of administering spiritual comfort and emotional care.”

SMH is part of Adventist Health System, a national healthcare system with more than 1,000 care facilities in nine states. On Jan. 2, 2019, they will be united under one nationwide name, AdventHealth. Click here to learn more.

— Shawnee Mission Health, located in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, is part of Adventist Health System network. A number of writers contribute SMH stories; this article originally appeared on the Mid-America Union Outlook magazine website on Nov. 21, 2018.

kmaran Wed, 11/28/2018 - 09:11