Sixteen young Walla Walla University students and pastoral interns learned something life-changing through their evangelistic trip to Retalhuleu, Guatemala, during spring break, March 22-April 1, 2018. They all knew it in theory, but for the first time some of them directly experienced how eternal decisions are made when the Spirit moves.
Human trafficking is believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, and has no demographic restrictions, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “There are horrific stories,” said attorney Amanda Rodriguez. “But [it’s inspiring] to see the strength of survivors. It’s made my faith stronger. ... I know this is my purpose and I know God has led me on this path.”
Isaac, born Dyirengiro Amini Byiringiro, and his family had to flee their home in the People's Republic of the Congo when he was just 5 years old. Isaac, his parents, and sisters moved into a Rwandan refugee camp, where they’d live for 20 years. In the refugee camp, Isaac and his extended family discovered an Adventist church and began attending each Sabbath. Soon, the majority of the family were baptized into the faith. After the decades of life spent as refugees in Rwanda, Isaac and his family were able to immigrate to the United States and settle in the Denver, Colorado, area.
Sitting with my family on a sand dune at the beach in South Haven, Michigan, with Gatorade in one hand, glow stick in the other, I watched the 4th of July fireworks display. I wondered, as one of the shells exploded revealing a smiley face in the sky, what it might have been like to be Francis Key, watching from the water, as the British bombarded Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
During the appeal at the close of his message, Pastor Allen was thrilled to see a thirty-something man rise from his seat and make his way to the front of the worship center. The event was especially emotional because the pastor knew the backstory. Two years before, the man — we'll call him Irwin — had begun to attend the church. Sporadically at first, then with regularity. But then he disappeared.
Last fall, during the North American Division 2017 Year-End Meeting, a group of church leaders gathered in a conference room for a lunchtime meet and greet. A conference president, three college presidents, several ministry leaders, and a few church officers — all women — gathered to reflect, share, pray, and praise God. They also shared advice they'd give to their younger selves.
Have you heard the phrase “the church is a hospital?” Generally, it means the church is a place of healing from physical, mental, spiritual, and social brokenness. But there is more to be gleaned from the analogy.
As a Loma Linda University student, Tevita Palaki once skipped meals to financially support his budding ministry. Today, the non-profit organization, United Feet, which Palaki launched as a sophomore in 2015, sends out volunteers up to four times a week to serve local homeless by offering them the Christian act of footwashing.
This is about the souls of human beings whom Jesus came to give His life for, and God has called you for the special purpose of conveying that. And it doesn’t matter where you are on planet Earth. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Australia or Canada, the United States or Bermuda, or Guam, Micronesia. Just do it. Don’t be afraid. Move ahead. Evangelism continues to be the life blood of the church. We will never do away with it. It’s just that it may morph. Get ready.
In Jovannah Poor Bear-Adams's seven years at Holbrook Indian School—first as girls’ dean and English teacher, then as vice principal, and now as dean of Student Services and Programming—she has worked with hundreds of students, each with their own unique narrative.