I’ve been truly blessed that the pastors in my life have been committed, caring reflections of God’s love. They have not been perfect, but I’ve seen God in and through them. And in this appreciation month in particular I am grateful.
In early July 2022, Armando Miranda Jr., associate director from the North American Division Youth and Young Adult Ministries department, spent a week in the whirlwind of summer camp ministries at Camp Yorktown Bay, a historical retreat on Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. In addition to leadership opportunities, Miranda was impressed by the healing he observed during his time at camp.
The 2022 Master Guide Convention was held on August 3-6, 2022, with the theme of “Leading the Way.” The event allowed dedicated youth leaders from all across the North American Division to meet new and old friends, enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, and participate in round table discussions about the past, present, and future of Master Guides in ministry.
During this summer's canvassing program in Colorado and Wyoming, 19 literature evangelists distributed about 14,000 pounds of books, knocking on around 200,000 doors.
The North American Division has a wonderful strategic focus called Together in Mission. I love this focus and the emphasis on multiply, media, and mentorship as our way of going about our mission. But what I especially love about this focus is the word “together.” For too long our church and its various departments have worked in silos. It’s time for us to come together and unify — and work together in mission.
In January, as news reports about an impending Russian invasion mounted, Andrey Gulko, a Pacific Union College graduate, readied his team in Ukraine for the “worst-case scenario.” Have extra fuel on hand. Keep your car’s gas tank full. Gather together important documents. Pack a suitcase with bare necessities. Be ready for an emergency. They all did it. But nobody believed it. “I myself didn’t believe it,” Gulko said. “I didn’t think it could happen.” The Gulko family, along with millions of other Ukrainians, suddenly found themselves at the center of a crisis that had been escalating for years.
The North American Division’s CALLED Pastors’ Family Convention is a time centered around guiding, supporting, and celebrating pastors. The CALLED Arena Experiences not only met that goal, but exceeded it, focusing on pastoral health and how believers must be grounded first and foremost on Christ alone. Over the course of four days, the arena experience was the central point of group worship that capped each day with morning and evening sessions.
Christ’s final prayer for His people—for His church—is that we would work together as one. One people and one church. We find Jesus’ prayer to His Father recorded in John 17:23: “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected and completed into one, so that the world may know [without any doubt] that You sent Me, and [that You] have loved them, just as You have loved Me” (Amplified).* His prayer was for His people, His church, to be one, working together as one!
We’re in the midst of one of the greatest youth crises in history. Suicide rates are up. Way up. So is depression, anxiety, sexual confusion, and desperation. All of this was completely predictable when so many school systems decided to close their doors and leave children to the mercy of the Internet. But one system has bucked the trend. Here’s the story of Adventist Education in North America.
A shoe giveaway was held Sabbath, May 21, 2022, on the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. The Madras, Pleasant Valley, and Redmond Seventh-day Adventist churches collaborated on the event in close cooperation with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and with funding from Samaritans’ Feet.