VOICE OF HOPE: Wintley Phipps, Adventist pastor and gospel singer, performs in Slovenia.intley Phipps, Seventh-day Advent- ist pastor and singer, visited prison facilities in Dob, Slovenia. Invited by European Union (EU) parliament member Lojze Peterle, Phipps per-formed in front of prisoners, their families, prison personnel, and invitees from political and church domains.
Phipps started the program with a rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer,” then included some well-known worship songs and spirituals and finished it majestically with “Amazing Grace.” Through the messages of songs and his short presentations between them, Wintley truly “brought hope to all of us,” as Joze Podrzaj, prison director,
said in his thank-you speech. Inmates thanked Phipps with heartfelt applause and a handmade beehive panel, a traditional Slovenian souvenir. “It was truly an inspiring visit of a special person who invests his life in encouraging those who need encouragement most,” said Peterle in his statement to AdventPress.
Phipps arrived to Slovenia together with his wife, Linda, from Brussels, where he sang at the annual Prayer Breakfast for EU parliament members. During his short visit he also met with Robert Friskovec, a coordinator for chaplaincy ministry in Slovenian prisons, and Zmago Godina, president of the Slovenian Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. —reported by TEDNews
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cuba gathered its 150 ministers and their families for a historic retreat in Santa Clara last fall. The event, which took place September 23-25, 2011, be- came the first in 50 years to gather so many pastors and family members to unify and network as they strive to shep- herd the fast-growing church on the island.
CUBA MEETING: Ministers and their families gathered to participate in the first pastoral retreat of its size held in Santa Clara, Cuba, on September 24, 2011. The event allowed pastoral families to unify and network as they strive to shepherd the fast-growing church on the island.“It has been such an accomplishment to gather our ministerial body for this council,” said Pastor Aldo Perez, president for the church in Cuba. “We came together to share spiritual messages, spend time with pastoral families, pray together, and unify efforts to continue the great mission to spread the gospel.”
Nearly 400 met at the Canaan campground in central Cuba to participate in messages addressed to ministers, the ministry of pastors’ wives, and the nurturing of pastoral children.
Hector Sanchez, ministerial secretary for the Inter-American Division, spoke and encouraged pastors and their families to continue serving God as chosen leaders endeavoring to fulfill the mission of the church to a needy people on the island.
“Councils like this give the pastor and his family the opportunity to renew their commitment and calling and feel that their church has not forgotten nor abandoned them,” said Sanchez. “It’s about the identity of the pastor coming together with his identity as a husband and father.”
It was the end of a four-region visit across Inter-America for Pastor Sanchez, one that he will never forget. “It was an indescribable experience to be with our pastors, pray with them, and hear of the great blessings taking place throughout the church in Cuba,” he said.
Leticia De Los Santos, director for shepherdess ministries for the church in Inter-America, spoke to pastors’ wives on how to develop a strong supporting ministry in the church and addressed dozens of children of pastoral families on their purpose and legacy in an uncertain world.
Organized in 1905, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cuba has more than 32,000 church members worshipping in more than 280 churches and operates three conferences, one mission, and a seminary.
In Germany, Adventist Chaplain Honored for Saving Babies
An 11-year effort in the Berlin, Germany, district of Zehlendorf, to save infant lives has been recognized by the national government. Gabriele Stangl, chaplain of the Waldfriede Seventh-day Adventist Hospital there, was awarded the Federal Republic of Germany’s Medal of Merit in a ceremony led by Steglitz-Zehlendorf mayor Norbert Kopp.
STATE HONOR: Seventh-day Adventist chaplain Gabriele Stangl, with Norbert Kopp, district mayor of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Berlin, at a ceremony during which Stangl received the Federal Republic of Germany’s Medal of Merit for her work with abandoned babiesThe “baby hatch” is a specially constructed box, with sensors, but without video surveillance, where an infant can be placed anonymously. “If a mother opens the door and places a newborn in the warming bed,” Stangl explained, “sensors send a delayed alarm to the continuously manned gatehouse, so that the mother has enough time to leave the area undetected.” The baby will be immediately brought to the hospital’s nursery, and receives any necessary medical care. Foster families are assigned to care for the children, who can be reclaimed during an eight-week period; otherwise, the children are made available for adoption.
Stangl got the idea after counseling a dying 80-year-old woman who’d regretted the death of her baby, as well as others who were concerned about being identified as being pregnant, for various reasons. The north German city of Hamburg had established a similar refuge, and Stangl, working in her spare time, established such a program at Waldfriede. During its 11 years of operation, about 20 infants have been placed in the baby hatch, and another 110 women were able to anonymously give birth at the hospital.
The 91-year-old Waldfriede Adventist Hospital has 170 beds and served 9,000 inpatients and 18,000 outpatients last year. —Herbert Bodenmann, Adventist Press Service, Switzerland
Hundreds of South American Seventh-day Adventist leaders and their spouses spent a late 2011 Saturday morning distributing copies of The Great Hope.
HERE’S “HOPE”: An Adventist pastor hands a copy of The Great Hope to a convenience store employee in Brazil. Adventist leaders in South America distributed thousands of copies of the missionary sharing book on October 29, 2011.The missionary sharing book is a modern-language version of Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White’s The Great Controversy, which traces God’s leading throughout history and provides answers for today’s unsettled world.
Adventists worldwide have pledged to share millions of copies of the book with friends and neighbors in 2012 as part of the world church’s Revival and Reformation initiative. In the church’s South American Division alone, leaders plan to distribute 52 million copies of the book. The region is known for wide-scale literature distribution campaigns.
The October 29, 2011, distribution was a preview of the main distribution, which is set to begin in March 2012, church leaders there said. In one region of Brazil alone, more than 120 pastors and their spouses handed out 5,000 copies of The Great Hope. Similar distributions were conducted in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
One recipient, restaurant owner Rosa Maria Dantas Ferreira, welcomed the copy of The Great Hope she received. She told church leaders that the book was the motivation she needed to seek God.
Erton Kohler, Adventist Church president for South America, said the distribution comes at a time that people worldwide are looking for answers. The Great Hope offers a balanced Biblical perspective on the world’s final events, he said.
Adventists Do Good in Bahamas, Prime Minister Says
The national leader of the Bahamas applauded the Seventh-day Adventist Church recently for its contributions to society and ongoing work in the community.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham called the church a “beacon of faithful service and Christian stewardship in our country,” citing Adventist work among young people and in support of strong families and healthy lifestyles.
COMMENDATION: Bahamas prime minister Hubert Ingraham commends the Adventist Church during the October 30, 2011, dedication of new headquarters for the denomination’s Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission.“You’ve also made an important contribution to education in the Bahamas, molding the lives of young men and women who have, in turn, contrib-uted to the community and national development,” Ingraham said.
The prime minister’s comments came during the October 30, 2011, dedication ceremony for the new headquarters of the church’s Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission. The administrative region oversees Adventist Church work in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Previously the union mission served a constituency of nearly 30,000 Adventists from temporary headquarters in the Summer Winds Plaza, also in Nassau.
Ingraham previously commended the Adventist Church when the Bahamas parliament voted in May to recognize the church’s then newly established Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission as the legal entity of the church in the Bahamas. Church leaders first created the union mission when they split the former West Indies Union Conference into two administrative regions to recognize church growth and financial autonomy in the Caribbean.
Israel Leito, president for the Adventist Church in Inter-America, told Ingraham that Adventists in the Bahamas appreciate the high level of religious freedom the country’s government grants.
In his keynote address Leito also reminded the audience why they had gathered—to dedicate not the building itself, but the people who work there “to serve God’s people and the community.”
Adventist’s University of Arusha Receives Tanzanian Charter
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete granted a charter to the University of Arusha, giving the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the country an institution of higher learning with the highest academic accreditation.
The ceremony took place at the state house in Dar es Salaam on August 20. Kikwete handed the certificate of approval to Chancellor Godwin Lekundayo, who also serves as president of the Adventist Church in Tanzania.
CHARTER APPROVAL: Officials from the Tanzanian government and eight universities pose for a Daily News photojournalist following a ceremony that granted a charter to each of the educational institutions. One entity was the Adventist Church’s University of Arusha.“We thank God for this development and pray that the university will continue to uplift the name of God and the Adventist Church,” said Andrew M. Mutero, education director for the denomination’s East-Central Africa Division, based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Representatives from seven other universities receiving a charter also participated in the ceremony. Twenty of the country’s 50 universities are now formally licensed by the federal government.
Kikwete challenged the representatives of the institutions to increase the number of students who graduate with master’s and doctoral degrees, which could increase the number of students who might later return as university lecturers.
Kikwete advised the newly established universities to also consider recruiting international teaching staff as a temporary strategy. He said this would reduce the practice of having one lecturer teaching in more than one university.
“University professors should have permanent areas so that they can concentrate and produce quality professionals who will compete in the global market,” he said.
The University of Arusha began in 1974 as Arusha Adventist Seminary, which offered ministerial courses and health courses. In 2003, then known as Tanzania Adventist College, the school was permitted to adopt the name University of Arusha and start the process of becoming a university. In 2007 it was offered a provisional license by the Tanzania Commission for Universities.
The church’s Adventist Accreditation Association also accredits the University of Arusha, which today serves more than 2,700 students.
The University of Arusha offers certificates, undergraduate degrees, and master’s degrees. Besides its main campus at Usa River, it operates the Arusha Extensional Centre in Arusha City and Buhare Extensional Centre in Musoma, in the northern part of the country.
There are more than 450,000 Adventist Church members in Tanzania.
—Lusekelo E. Mwakalindile, public relations director, University of Arusha
In Nepal, Adventist Church Promotes Work to “Mission” Status
The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s work in the central Asian country of Nepal was recognized in September as a denominational “mission,” a move up from an “attached field” of its parent division.
Though it’s a small milestone, the subtle distinction represents the Adventist Church’s development throughout an entire country. Only a handful of countries still have Adventist work in beginning stages. The Adventist Church officially operates in 208 of the 232 countries recognized by the United Nations.
PRAYING FOR NEPAL: The Adventist Church in Nepal has grown to become official “mission” status in the denomination. Here, members of the executive committee pray during the September 6 ceremony in Banepa, which is located 15 miles southeast of the capital of Kathmandu.The Adventist Church in Nepal was formerly classified as an attached field to the Southern Asia Division. It will now be known as the Nepal Section. The denomination’s administrative structure unit “mission” sometimes goes by different names in various world regions for the sake of clarity in the local context.
There are some 8,700 Adventists in Nepal, up from 212 in 1993, according to the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook.
At a ceremony on September 6, Southern Asia Division president John Rathinaraj held the first meeting of the Nepal Section, saying the church in Nepal had grown.
Umesh Kumar Pokharel, the first president of the Nepal Section, welcomed church officers and 60 guests from other Adventist churches in the country.
Division secretary Gordon Christo recalled the role of his father, who came to Nepal in 1958 with missionary Dr. Stanley Sturges to establish Adventist medical work.
Much of the Adventist Church’s infrastructure in Nepal surrounds Scheer Memorial Hospital in Banepa, located 15 miles southeast of the capital city of Kathmandu. The Adventist-operated medical center was established in 1960.
The Nepal Section, in coordination with the division, now has an elected president. The division will soon coordinate the appointment of a secretary and treasurer. Future development of the section could promote the unit to a “conference,” which means it would be self-supporting, both in nominating leadership and financial self-sufficiency.
The church in Nepal has made small but steady gains in recent years. Membership has increased, and the country’s first native Adventist Church member continually translates the denomination’s Adult Bible Study Guide into Nepali. In 2011 the Adventist Church held a major youth rally, with many participants walking several days and riding rural public buses to attend. Also, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency has run several programs to help exploited children.
Nepal’s population is more than 30 million. Formerly a Hindu nation, the Nepalese parliament declared it a secular state in 2006.
—Bhaju Ram Shrestha and Ansel Oliver/Adventist News Network
S I WILL GO!: Seventh-day Adventist pastor Mike Ryan, with translator, shares Sabbath message at the second “I Will Go!” Conference at River Place Adventist University on Sept. 7, 2013, in Entre Rios, Argentina.tudents and young adults from throughout theSouth American Division gathered on the campus of Universidad Adventista del Plata(UAP), or River Plate Adventist University, to emphasize spending a year in missionary service as part of their education. “I Will Go 2.0” was the theme of the September 5-7, 2013, event.
The conference, which drew more than 1,000 participants, including 300 young Adventist professionals, was abuzz with commitments to missionary service, as dozens responded to a video call direct from Moscow by Guillermo Biaggi, an Argentine Seventh-day Adventist pastor who currently heads the church’s Euro-Asia Division, for volunteers to serve in Kyrgyzstan, one of the former Soviet Union republics. Students from other South American Division schools—Chile Adventist University, the Adventist University of São Paulo(UNASP), and Colombia Adventist University—also attended.
Mike Ryan, a general vice president of the Adventist world church, described the scene: “Well, they were expecting that there might be three or four, people just crowded up to the front. They all wanted to go! They aren’t sure how they’re going to get there, but the point was that they all wanted to go.”
According to Ryan, UAP president Oscar Ramos cast a wider vision for missionary involvement from Adventist educational institutions: “Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if every Seventh-day Adventist college and university in the world would pick one country in the 10/40 window?” Ramos said, “We’re running 110-plus colleges and institutions. There are 70 some countries located in the 10/40 window, and if everybody picked one, at least you could have a supply of young people continually going in there to make a difference, do something, and work in ministries.”
Carlos Gill, Argentine Union president, opened the event by saying to students, “Your passion determines your mission.” He encouraged students to take up the call to world service.
ADOPT A COUNTRY: UAP president Oscar Ramos urges all Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities to adopt one country in the under-reached “10/40 Window” to which it will send young adult missionaries.“I see a missionary movement; I see young people who are being awakened by the [Holy] Spirit to become more deeply involved in the mission, but not only in the mission here with us, but to the ends of the earth. Now, the ‘ends of the earth’ is simultaneous, because we can never pretend to finish first here and then end there. I perceive that God is awakening a movement that looks beyond their own local needs and, despite the challenges, looks further, to the ends of the earth, where there are cultures, entire villages, that do not even know the word ‘Jesus’ and nothing about Jesus.”
One unique aspect of UAP’s educational program is that the school’s medical students often take one year of missionary service as their required “social service” project in order to obtain a medical degree.Middle East and North Africa Union president Homer Trecartin, who attended the event, made an appeal for volunteer’s at Middle East University’s “center of influence” in Beirut, Lebanon, and many students responded.
—Mark A. Kellner, news editor, with reporting from Bill Knott and UAP’s La Agenda Digital
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Costa Rica was recently recognized by the National Blood Bank for being the most successful organization in obtaining blood donations.
CHURCH RECOGNIZED: Earnal Scott (left), youth ministries director for the church in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama, holds the award presented by Patricia Contreras of the National Blood Bank in Costa Rica as Frank Artavia coordinator of the church’s blood drive campaign looks on. The church was recognized as the most successful organization to obtain blood donors during its “Gota a Gota por mi Projimo” (Drop by Drop for my Neighbor) campaign.During a special ceremony held at the University of Costa Rica in San José, Patricia Contreras praised the work of the church and said it is the most recognized entity with the most blood donor volunteers in Costa Rica. The recognition came as the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated its World Blood Donor Day on June 14.
According to Contreras, the nation has only 50 percent of blood needs in regards to volunteer donors, and the goal is to cover 100 percent of the needs in the country with new and repeat donor volunteers every year.
Earnal Scott, youth ministries director for the church overseeing Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama, accepted the award on behalf of the church.
“We know that people in Costa Rica are interested in saving lives,” said Pastor
Scott. “One blood donation can save five lives, and the church is prepared to continue campaigning and recruiting volunteer blood donors to save lives.” —Marilyn Cernas/IAD, reporting from Alajuela, Costa Rica
Brazilian Adventists Offer Hospitality to World Youth Day Pilgrims
Seventh-day Adventist young people in Rio de Janeiro demonstrated Christian hospitality in July when they offered 170 Catholic youth in town for World Youth Day a place to stay.
ADVENTIST HOSPITALITY: Young people from the Rio de Janeiro Central Adventist Church share a meal with Catholic youth in town for the 2013 World Youth Day. Several of the young visitors said they liked what they heard at Adventist worship meetings.The Italian Catholics were part of the World Youth Day Pilgrimage, which saw thousands of young Catholics worldwide travel to Rio de Janeiro for a week to celebrate the diversity of the Catholic Church and deepen their personal spirituality.
Members of the Adventist Central Church in Rio de Janeiro welcomed the group at the airport and provided transportation to and accommodation at their church during the week of pilgrimage.
“We have our doctrinal differences, but we serve a God who gave us an example of loving our neighbors. We are helping these young people not because of their faith, but because they are in need, and we would assist members of any denomination,” said Romulo Silver, a local church leader.
During the week of World Youth Day, local Adventist churches also took the opportunity to pray for the young Catholics and invited them to local church functions.
“Several of the [young people] wanted to join in our worship every night and said they liked what they heard,” Silva said, adding that he believes kindness and generosity can send a stronger message than preaching.