Within the Seventh-day Adventist content library, there are countless articles, sermons, videos, books, podcasts, and seminars speaking to what the young adults in our church need. Some of the observations are helpful, some miss the mark. But the majority of the discussions lack one crucial element: the voices of actual young people. This is an issue that the North American Division is seeking to correct.
The stories we tell matter. Perhaps my favorite stories in our Adventist past pertain to how Adventism spread to new places; and in telling our Adventist stories, we should not overlook how Adventism spread across what is today the North American Division.
The Pacific Press Publishing Association, the printing and publishing house of the North American Division, produces several sharing magazines. These magazines are geared toward members being able to share them with their family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. "Signs of the Times" magazine is the third to be featured in our series.
In the Red Slough Wildlife Management Area in southeastern Oklahoma, you will find well-loved and well-respected Jared Wood handling and observing alligators, following a passion he developed as a kid. “I love all animals,” Wood begins. “My mother always encouraged my fascination with animals by letting me bring them home to play with, but I always liked reptiles the best.”
In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. While world leaders deliberated how to support the people of Ukraine militarily, the international governing body of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (the General Conference) reached out to Adventist colleges in North America and Europe, asking if they could help displaced Ukrainian students whose educations were disrupted by the invasion. Kettering College was one of the institutions that answered the call — 50 times over.
I met Athena and Kevin Gray at my favorite smoothie shop just down the street from the Oregon Conference office. It was a summer morning when we sat down together. I had reached out to ask if Athena might be willing to share a little bit of her life through a weekly storytelling project we do called “Oregon Adventist Stories,” and although she often tries to stay out of the spotlight, Athena finally agreed. What she and Kevin shared next was a story that, unbeknownst to any of us, would carry across the country.
On April 8, 2023, Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president, joined a group of about 60 young adults aged 18-35 in the Holden Convention Center of the Gladstone Park Conference Center for the second annual “Dinner with Dan” event. Hosted by Pastor Benjamin Lundquist and Oregon Conference Young Adult Ministries, the night began with worship music led by musicians from the Walla Walla University School of Nursing and a message from Pastor Jose Saint Phard, who began serving at the Oasis Christian Center in Vancouver, Washington, this spring. After worship, Lundquist transitioned into the conversational time.
A few years ago, Christopher,* a former Agnostic and recovered alcoholic, sought Christian community and purpose. “I began by surrendering to God, who led me to One Accord the Guild (OAG), where other Adventist kids like to build, so [I could be] built for the great commission.” OAG, a faith-based digital community for gamers and creatives, began with a free webinar with Felecia Lee, then-special projects manager, Center for Online Evangelism, Jamie Domm, then-digital strategist, North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Jay Razzouk, lawyer and eventual OAG producer.
Seventh-day Adventist higher education is facing many challenges, including lack of affordability, mounting student debt, and emerging college alternatives. These are just some of the unprecedented difficulties colleges and universities nationwide — not just Adventist ones — have been grappling with in the past few years. But leaders at Adventist colleges and universities are working to change that, setting aside their competitive differences to further the mission of Seventh-day Adventist education.
Before the pandemic, the last mission trip by a medical team of the Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic was in November 2019. They traveled to Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia to provide primary care. The return to missions began in November 2022 when the clinic’s eye care team went to the Republic of Palau, followed by a medical and dental trip to Rota in the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in January 2023.