September 16, 2015

Church Leaders Brainstorm on Sharing Jesus in North Korea

, news editor, Adventist Review

More than 400 Adventist church leaders met in the U.S. state of California to discuss how the Seventh-day Adventist Church can spread the gospel in North Korea.

The first North Korea Mission Forum in the United States took place at the Garden Grove Korean-American Adventist Church in Los Angeles, ANN reported.

Attendees learned about the realities in North Korea and brainstormed strategies for mission.

Organizers believe the highlight of the forum was the collaborative spirit between the church in the Northern Asia Pacific region and the Korean-American Seventh-day Adventist Church Association, which sponsored the event.

Church leaders attending the first North Korea Mission Forum in Los Angeles. (ANN)

U.S.: Landmark Sabbath Talks

A Seventh-day Adventist professor has spoken on the doctrine of the Sabbath at the Fuller Theological Seminary, marking the first time in living memory that the Sabbath has been presented in a large forum at the prominent seminary.

Johnny Ramirez-Johnson, professor of intercultural studies in Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies in Pasadena, California, and a member of the Pasadena Adventist church, was the faculty member invited to respond to a presentation titled “Covenant, Justice and Law” by world-renowned Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann.

Close to 1,000 people, including faculty, delegates, and members of the academic community, heard the Sabbath presentation, titled “Neighborly Love in Sabbath Keeping: Sabbath-keeping guides us in living with neighborly love and justice in relationship with other people and the rest of creation," the Pacific Union Recorder  reported.

“Ramirez-Johnson … brought a clear, compelling and engaging call to the practice of Sabbath as an act of justice for all people,” said Tim Dearborn, director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching, who with other organizers invited Ramirez-Johnson to speak.

Professor Johnny Ramirez-Johnson spoke about the Sabbath as an act of justice. (Fuller / Recorder)

U.S.: Classes Restart at AUC

Classes are back in session at Atlantic Union College after a four-year hiatus following the loss of its accreditation.

Degree programs in health sciences/biology and religion/theology began Aug. 24, and a number of certification programs will start Sept. 21, the Worcester Telegram newspaper reported. The certification programs include bookkeeping, information technology, culinary arts, office management, and evangelism.

The Seventh-day Adventist institution in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, closed in 2011 after losing its accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges while facing a growing debt burden.

A few months ago, Atlantic Union College halted efforts to receive accreditation through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools over differences with the association’s stance that hell will burn eternally.

In preparation to reopen, the college hired Avis Hendrickson as its new president last year.

A view of the Atlantic Union College campus. (Wikicommons)

PNG: Frost Ruins Crops

Severe frost in areas of Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands province has had a disastrous impact on local vegetable producers, including a number of Adventists, the South Pacific Adventist Record  reported.

Church leaders in Tomba and Tambul said local residents wept openly after several days of frost left their food crops withered and brown, almost as though someone had poured hot water on the plants.

Among the ruined vegetables were crops of potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower, which get distributed to markets and mining centers across Papua New Guinea.

Local community leader Titus Nokopa estimated thousands of kina of produce had been destroyed.

“In the past it has affected only a few people, but now it covers the whole of Tomba and Tambul,” he said.

Church leaders said it would take some time for the people to recover because the frost has affected both mature and younger crops.

Pastor Matthew Lambu and his wife, Rose, showing their frost-affected garden in Papua New Guinea. (Adventist Record)

India: ADRA Assists in Flooding

Heavy rain in a northeastern state of India caused major floods and landslides that have affected hundreds of thousands of people.

Residents of the state of Manipur are facing numerous challenges as they seek to restore their communities, ANN reported. Hundreds of villages no longer have access to safe drinking water and have experienced substantial loss of crops.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency in India is providing numerous supplies and resources including cash for work, food kits, hygiene kits and halogen tablets to the 18 most severely affected villages.

Residents of India's state of Manipur are facing challenges as they seek to restore their communities after flooding. (ADRA / ANN)

U.S.: New Kind of Mission School

A new grade school in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania aims to take Adventist education to another level: to evangelize children from the community.

The Adventist Church’s Pennsylvania Conference opened Simplicity Christian Academy in the town of Allentown this fall with its first class of third- through sixth-graders.

“SCA is more than just a new school,” Karin Lebo, principal and teacher told the Columbia Union Visitor. “It’s a new approach to mission and evangelism. Students are all from the community, not from the local Adventist church.”

A team of young adult missionaries has worked in the Allentown community for several years, meeting physical needs and building relationships within the surrounding neighborhoods. Their Kidz Church program, a special service for children and other activities, has connected them with more than 100 children.

Program leaders decided that an Adventist school would be the next step in teaching and leading those children to Christ.

“Simplicity Christian Academy was designed to be a mission school, educating children right in their own neighborhood as a center of influence,” the Visitor said. “It is one of the first mission schools in the North American Division committed to reaching children who aren’t growing up in an Adventist home or family.”

Students attending class at the new Simplicity Christian Academy in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Visitor)

Uganda: 168 Pathfinders Baptized

Thousands of Adventists young people have learned how to bring hope to others and help heal their communities in the Adventist Church’s East-Central Africa Division.

The seven-day “Hands of Hope” camporee drew more than 10,000 pathfinders from 12 east African nations to the Pine Wood Camping grounds on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, ANN reported.

A total of 168 young people dedicated their lives to God through baptism, and thousands more made the commitment to go back to their villages and communities and be the hands and feet of Jesus. 

Some of the 10,000 Pathfinders camping at the seven-day “Hands of Hope” camporee in Uganda. (ANN)