Stories & Commentaries

About Stories & Commentaries

From time to time, the North American Division shares commentaries on issues and/or events important to Adventists in this division. We also publish stories, which sometimes include interviews and features, to inspire our leaders and members.

Luke Zabala and Dex Esmeralda

Southwestern Adventist University Nursing Grads Share Experiences From the Front Lines of the Pandemic

When the pandemic started, Southwestern Adventist University nursing graduates Dex Esmeralda (2019) and Luke Zabala (2018) were fresh in their careers. Little did they know, they would soon join thousands of nurses across the country experiencing a time unlike any other — encountering more trauma in a year than some nurses encounter in a lifetime. Yet both were prepared for the challenges at hand because of the clinical and spiritual training they received at SWAU.

ministerial virtual stuff

Creating Real Community in Virtual Spaces

Early in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in wide-spread quarantines that shut down church buildings all around the globe, many of us pastors, churches, and tech teams faced the challenge of trying to figure out how to do ministry effectively in a media space we had spent quite a bit of time demonizing. Upon making the plunge, however, attention naturally turned to two main things: how to make the technology actually work in these new spaces, and then how to create better programming that would grow bigger audiences — or at least just help us not lose the ones we already had.  

stock photo

Listen, Help, Pray

Anyone who works in law enforcement, or who has a loved one that works in a law enforcement agency, dreads news like what we heard on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. As the news agencies reported, two FBI agents were killed and three others were injured in a shooting as authorities were executing a search warrant at a home in Sunrise, Florida. The gunman, who was also killed, was a 55-year-old man suspected of producing and trafficking in child pornography. I am a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, and a volunteer chaplain with the Federal Bureau of Investigation — and I was contacted to help.

mental health awareness illustration

The Gospel and Mental Health

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), about one in five adults in the U.S. — 43.8 million — experiences mental illness in any given year. Many of these individuals turn to their church or their personal faith in search of support and guidance in times of emotional distress. Despite the prevalence of mental health concerns, there is still a stigma attached to mental illness in many of our churches.

stock photo phone computer search

The Promise to Be Forgotten

Recently I listened to a podcast that contemplated the “right to be forgotten.” The episode featured the staff at a medium market newspaper who were grappling with the balance between relevant media coverage and an individual’s right to privacy. Because of the longevity of the Internet and the paper’s extensive online archives, local residents’ minor legal offenses haunted them years after they had paid their fine, served their probation, or even had their court records expunged.

Schley Valencia

Connecting the Pieces

Many people wonder how a volunteer finds their calling and what leads them to that decision. My story begins in December 2019, when I was a volunteer science teacher at the Ebeye Seventh-day Adventist School in the Marshall Islands.

La Sierra University assistant professor

Unintended Odyssey: History Professor’s Dissertation Discovery Leads to Major Book Deal

It started with a mistake. Alicia Gutierrez-Romine, La Sierra University assistant history professor, arrived at the California State Archives in May 2015 to research her dissertation topic, but discovered she did not have the required authorization for certain records. Eventually, though, the professor would end up with a major book deal.

G Alexander Bryant May 2021 greeting

A Message from the NAD President During Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage month; we celebrate the rich contributions of our Asian/Pacific Islander brothers and sisters to the North American Division and beyond through a video message of solidarity and support from the NAD president G. Alexander Bryant.

Christine Weis SWAU alumna

The "Richest Woman in Keene"

The students call her Miss Chrissie, Mama Weis, Rental Mom, Queen Christine, Lady Weis, or, most often, simply “Mom.” But without question, they all agree: Christine Weis is pure gold. In addition to feeding students, giving them advice, and being a "second parent," Weis started an endowed scholarship fund in honor of her friend, Wes Stoops (‘89), who was killed in a car accident. The scholarship rewards one SWAU student each year who demonstrates a desire to learn, contributes positively to the learning environment of the campus, and who is in need of financial assistance to stay in school.

Evan Swanson

After 57 Years of Service on One Academy Campus, Adventist Educator Retires

Almost six decades have come and gone, along with the Soviet Union and most of the British Empire, 11 U.S. presidents, nine Minnesota Vikings coaches (no Super Bowl victories yet!), and three generations of Maplewood students who counted Evan Swanson (known as "Swanee") as a lifelong friend and mentor. This year, at age 80, Swanson finally retired his dry erase markers.