The phone rang late on New Year’s Eve. The call relayed the worst news. The Smiths* had not returned from their trip to Kotzebue, Alaska. Edna and Jose, Arctic Mission Adventure (AMA) workers, sprang into action. As members of the Selawik search and rescue team, they knew that they’d be working against the clock.
G. Alexander Bryant: “Here we are again, the end of another year, 2021. And as we look back on this year, we can see that there have been challenges, there have been COVID restrictions, there have been vaccination mandates — there have been all these challenges that we've had before us.”
One morning while shaving, Rich Reiner made a discovery that proved to be a wakeup call. “I found a bump on my neck,” he said. “That shouldn’t be there.” At the age of 39 with three young children, he was shocked when a barrage of medical tests determined he had Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with a less than desirable long-term prognosis. That was more than 30 years ago. Reiner and his wife placed greater emphasis on their health and now will continue encourage healthful lifestyle habits through their support of a new fitness center at Union College.
In Greene County, Tennessee, only one-third of a mile separates Riverview Community Seventh-day Adventist Church from Victory Church of God. And now, the two congregations are sharing a single worship space! Here’s the story behind how two churches of different denominations have allowed the love of God to perpetuate uncommon grace between their congregations.
Angel, with the blue eyes, lurked on the outskirts of our Chester, Pennsylvania, Message Community Infusion in July 2021. I don’t blame him for being wary of our enthusiastic bunch. How desperate do you have to be to clean up an empty city park, trim the trees, set up the praise team and band, bring in free food and give away free COVID shots — all so we can attract a potential contact who needs Jesus?
“God, if You want me to go down there, I have no problem with it. If You want me to leave everything I know, ... and move to Texas, away from everyone—to take on a job that I’ve never done, that I’m not quite sure about—I’ll do it.” This was Robert “Bob” Allen’s prayer eight years ago as he and his wife contemplated leaving their lives and jobs in New York for camp ministry in Texas.
It’s always encouraging to hear the words “thank you.” We love feeling appreciated and also hearing it expressed. There’s a good reason for our affection towards appreciation, it’s built into our DNA — we received the trait from our heavenly Father. Expressing our thanks has no expiration date. I discovered this after expressing my gratitude to my former neighbor for her unselfish act of Christian kindness towards me a long time ago.
Google led Iris Miranda to the Peoria Seventh-day Adventist Church’s weekly “Sabbath Stream” livestream. Iris and her husband, Herminio Irizarry, weren’t able to find a local church home during the pandemic, so they began joining the Peoria church each week: “I am seriously hesitating going back to my church here in Virginia,” Iris wrote, “because I don’t want to stop watching Peoria’s services.”
Adventist education tends to have a ripple effect. Josie Reeves is a junior nursing major at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU). Though she started attending only three years ago, her connection to SWAU goes back all the way to 1955, when her grandfather, Gary Heinrich, headed off to attend Southwestern Adventist Junior College.
Shari Leader, a member of the Lighthouse Fellowship Company in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, regularly conducts evangelistic series twice a year. She was in the middle of preaching an evangelistic series in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began to take a turn for the worse. Then infection numbers rose again during the 2020 holiday season. “In January, I was concerned about whether we should do it again. I had the money to do it, but I didn’t have money to waste,” said Leader. “I can’t see the future, so I took it to the Lord.”