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Never Say Never

Marge Vande Hei is a retired nurse and 2015 graduate of the Lay Minister Certification program. She and her husband, Chris, have three grown children. To learn more about the Lay Minister Program, contact the Personal Ministries Department of the Wisconsin Conference office.

When I was nursing I always thought I was too busy and could never give Bible studies, but when I retired I had nothing but time. With the encouragement of my pastor, Bill Ochs, I started the Lay Minister program offered by our conference. I was terrified! I would never be able to do what these Godly people were doing! When I learned it was a requirement to hold a ShareHim evangelistic program I hit a brick wall. ShareHim is a wonderful tool but not for me. I thought it was all over and I would have to drop out. 

At my pastor’s suggestion, I looked through the Chuck Kohley Bible study DVD’s and immediately knew I could work with them. But how? How could I use this program and still meet my program requirements? So I prayed.


Then, like a tap on the shoulder, the idea came to me, “Put a sign in the yard.” I called a realtor friend and asked for a “For Sale” sign frame with a flyer compartment and he found one! I proceeded to make the sign and flyers. Studies would begin March 22, everyone would get a free King James Bible, and all lessons were free. 


Well the day arrived and two ladies came. We looked at the 30-minute video and then discussed it by way of a worksheet. I also made up more handouts of Bible verses, historical figures, and anything else I thought would enhance their experience. 


It was a hit! The one lady was almost speechless. She was so happy to have found a way to “open the Bible.” Later she said, “Since coming to these studies my husband and I have discussed the Bible more than all the other 40 years of our marriage.” She reads her Bible every day now.


Both ladies embraced the Sabbath, state of the dead, baptism, and are excited about the Second Coming. There wasn’t anything these ladies didn’t agree with, however, they did not want to be baptized into the Adventist church. My job was done. I planted the seeds and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.


This past summer while pruning my bushes a woman stopped while walking her dog and said, “Aren’t you the woman who had a Bible study going on last year? My heart skipped a beat, yes, I was the one, and I plan on doing it again. She smiled and said she does Bible studies as well and told me she thought it was so cool how I put a sign in my front yard.


This experience of Lay Ministry really gave me a voice and the encouragement I needed to follow through with a dream of being more involved in God’s work. I put it off for years thinking I couldn’t do it, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.


That verse means more to me than ever before. I’ve always thought of myself as a good follower but never a leader. However, these past two years has proven that God can make me a leader. I feel so much more bold and willing to do His work. Never say never! God has a plan.

Praying for Don
Margaret Lalond, member of the Shepherd’s House church, is a retired payroll employee of Steven’s Van Lines. Margaret works as a part-time cook here at Camp Wakonda and loves babysitting her grandchildren.

My husband Don and I were not Christians when we married in 1957. He had a Catholic background and I had a Community Church background, with both of us being “holiday Christians.” The Lord blessed us with three daughters and in 1965 when they were young (ages three, five, & seven) a colporter came to our door and sold me the Great Controversy and a set of The Bible Story books. I read the entire Great Controversy within five days and immediately found my way to the Saginaw Seventh-day Adventist Church. I studied with Pastor Donesky and was soon baptized, which began years of trials and resistance from Don. 


Don did everything he could think of to discourage us. He would leave the car without gas for us to get to church, thus forcing us to rely on church members to give us a ride to and from church. He would refuse to give us money for offerings, refused to attend programs the girls were in, provided no financial assistance for church school or academy, and would get very angry when he would find us praying for him. He would often lecture us that “we were wasting our time.” He would tell us to leave our religion at church and not bring it home. He didn’t understand that being a Christian is a lifestyle and not a weekly appointment. 


Life for Don was about smoking, gambling, roller skating, and racing cars. On the day after his 50th birthday, while celebrating with his oldest daughter’s family in Illinois, Don was rushed to the hospital in respiratory distress. X-ray’s revealed that he had less than 10% lung capacity and he was quickly intubated and on a ventilator. The doctors’ predicted that if he lived he would never come off of the ventilator. The prayers continued and the Downer’s Grove pastor went to visit Don in the hospital. The Pastor asked him if he wanted prayer and to learn of Jesus. He shook his head yes and accepted Jesus as his Savior. I wasn’t convinced it was real and if he was really sincere. After all who wouldn’t accept Jesus on their deathbed?


We made arrangements to medflight him back to Michigan and he remained on the ventilator and in the hospital for an additional two months. Once he was off the ventilator he immediately asked for baptism and Bible studies were completed. Pastor Woodhams befriended Don and they worked on many projects together. During one of their projects Pastor Woodhams told Don that he had been praying for him for 15 years. 


Don was physically very weak and could barely walk at the time however he insisted on being baptized by immersion as opposed to profession of faith. With the assistance of his doctor during the baptism to ensure that he was medically able to complete the baptism, and after 21 years of the prayers of many, Don was baptized. 


Don experienced a true conversion and everyone was amazed at the change that Jesus worked in his life. He went from being grumpy to happy, from fighting church to supporting every aspect of it, from not attending to being there every time the door opened and being the lead sound operator. 


Life took a brand new turn for his entire family. He was a grandpa to his grandchildren. He always made sure they had offerings for church, had tricycles to ride, had savings bonds for college, and they knew that he loved them. He started a health food store in the church and turned it into a profitable business. As a non-Christian he would steal money from his wife’s purse and his children when they were young, to now operating a store and making money for the church.  


Everyone that knew him remarked at what a change there was in his life! Never give up praying! God’s timing is perfect!


Driving "Ms. Amy"

nts of loc John Ramsey, member of the Madison East Church, works in the Wisconsin Conference office as Associate Treasurer for Auditing. He has attended Wisconsin camp meeting every year of his life. He and his wife, joni, live in Fall River with their cat, Oliver.

In 1995 the Ramsey family had a transportation problem; our one vehicle, strong enough to pull our camping trailer, big enough to hold our family of six, and reliable enough to make the 300-mile one way journey to Wisconsin camp meeting, had just been totaled by a driver who ran a stop sign. 


Even at this bleak moment we were able to count our blessings. My mother’s normal car, a small Ford, had refused to start the morning of the accident, and so it was the large framed Buick which took the brunt of the accident and kept my mother and sisters safe that morning. 


At this point in their lives, my parents didn’t have the means to go out and simply buy another vehicle. The vehicle that we lost had not been perfect, but it had met our family’s unique set of needs. There were six of us in total, so a simple pickup truck was too small. 1995 was the time period before the earliest SUV’s were available to the well-used market, and about 20 years after they had stopped making the large framed family car with big engines that were capable of pulling a heavy load.


So we prayed that God would help us solve our transportation problem. He always provided what we needed, but never with too much extra to spare. 


The first thing that drew my dad to the estate auction an hour away from our house was the fact that the auction was on Sunday instead of Saturday when auctions are normally held. The second thing that drew his attention was that they were auctioning off a 1972 Buick LeSabre.  At the auction the car which had sat in the garage 15 years, dusty, dinged, and scraped, would not start. Sitting can be hard on a vehicle. But it only had 40,000 miles on it, so Dad took a risk and bought it for $175.  


A new $5 set of points and new battery later, the car fired right up easily. The air conditioning even worked. Feeling awed at how God had provided, Dad went to pay the auctioneer and learned that the lady who had passed, Amy Andrews, was an Adventist and had left the proceeds of her estate to be used for worthy students in Adventist education. 


The Buick he bought that day, affectionately referred to as “Amy” in honor of its former owner, took us to camp meeting that year and every year since.  Amy turned out to be the most reliable car we owned! Four years later when my oldest sister attended Andrews University, she received a total of $2,000 from the Amy Andrews scholarship fund over the course of her first two years there. 


All of us kids have grown up now and we no longer travel together as a family of six. But I expect to see Amy at camp meeting this year parked at site 4275. The car that God gave us in answer to prayer still seems to be running strong.

By John Ramsey


Learning the Joy of Service

Hillside student with residents of local nursing home.  

My husband, Jody Marsh, and I have been teaching at Hillside Christian School in Wausau, WI, for 25 years. Over the years, we have had as few as 5 students and as many as 13 students. Our enrollment may fluctuate from year to year, but the support of the church members of The Shepherd’s House never wavers. Church members support the school in many ways. The main way is that they subsidize the school. If they did not, tuition would be too high for almost anyone to pay. Church members support the school in many other smaller ways. Each week time and money are donated to provide students with a free, hot, and delicious lunch. Members help transport students to their weekly Bible Labs and other fieldtrips. Occasionally, church members bring little gifts or treats to the students. They faithfully attend school programs. This shows students the church cares about them and supports them. 

Teaching the joy of service is important at Hillside. Once a month, students visit a HeadStart classroom to read to them and do a project together. Working with the younger HeadStart students encourages the lower grade Hillside students by showing how much they have grown in reading skills. Doing projects with younger students teaches Hillside students patience. It is great to see our students work so well with their young partners. We also visit a local nursing home once a month. Students color or put together a puzzle with the residents and chat with them. It is interesting to hear their stories. After finding out we were from the Adventist school, one woman shared with us that her parents were Adventist missionaries in South America. 

Our pastor, Tom Michalski, is involved with students by having worship for us once a week. He also has a Bible study class for older students and offers free guitar lessons to any student who is interested. 

We believe in getting students involved in the church service. Many students are involved in the praise team. Almost every Sabbath, a different student reads the scripture. For part of music class, students learn to play hand chimes. We play special music in church about once a month. 

Because of the faithful support of our local church and the Wisconsin Conference, Hillside Christian School is able to lead students closer to Jesus. 

Charlyn Marsh, Hillside Christian School Principal


Shoe Cutting Party at Peterson Elementary

Peterson student cutting jean pattern pieces to make shoes for children of Uganda  

Bible Labs, a time of service for others, is a monthly event at Petersen school. When teacher Leah Anderson learned about the need for shoes in Uganda she ordered the kit and planned a shoe cutting party. The kids collected piles of old jeans, traced the shoe’s 10 pattern pieces, and cut them out. One student kept a tally of shoe parts, and a quality control student pinned and bagged the shoe pieces in sets, ready for the shoe-makers in Uganda to sew re-cycled tire pieces on as soles. 


Most children in Uganda have no shoes, and small sand fleas, called jiggers enter the bare feet and lay their eggs. If left untreated, jiggers cause infections, paralysis and even amputation. “I’m glad we can make these shoes,” said a student after seeing feet infected by jiggers. The school kids hope to send enough jean pieces to make 40 pair of shoes for the children of Uganda.


Am I too Young?

Faythe Hixon  
My name is Faythe Hixon and I am thirteen years old, I am in seventh grade and go to school at a Seventh-day Adventist school called Hillside Christian School. I would like to tell all of you how God has inspired me to do good for children in Africa who don’t have clean water to drink. This is my story…

It was a day like any other, nothing was out of the ordinary, everything seemed normal. If someone told me a month from then that that day would change my life, I would have never believed them. But I soon found out that my life did change that day.

When I arrived at school I followed the same routine as always. Before I knew it we were at our desks ready for worship. We had just received the new KidsView for that month. We listened intently to my teacher as she read the story. The story was about a group of kids from Minnesota who wanted to start a club. When they had finished debating what they would raise money for they all decided on raising money for ADRA (Adventist Disaster Relief Association). This got my attention I kept processing that it was just a group of kids. How could just a group of kids come up with such a thoughtful idea? This led me to start thinking about my own life.

I realized that there wasn’t anything real exciting or productive about what I was doing in my life. All I did was go to school and then sit around doing nothing. I wondered, “Is this really what God intended for me to do? Sit around and do nothing all day?” I know that God has a plan for everyone’s lives and it’s our decision whether we follow what God has planned for us or not.

There was something else that stuck out about the story. It said that every twenty seconds a child dies from lack of cean water. For some reason that one sentence was all that was going thorugh my mind for a long time. I would be doing something and then it would pop in my mind. The more time passed the more I would think about the problelms that children in Africa face every day. I figured I would forget about the whole situation with time. My thought process was, I never cared about world problems like this before so why starte now? I'm too young to do anything aobut it anyway. I don't have a job, what can I do about it? Then something occured to me, what if God was trying to tell me something.

I prayed about the direction of where this was all going. It was about three weeks before I said anything to anyone about my recent inspiration. The first person I told was my grandma, Maureen Hixon. She was very supportive and said she never doubled that anyting I was willing to do for Jesus would bless me more than I could every dream. She showed me a different way of think about the whole idea. She said that you can't focus on all the things that have to get done, you have to focus on doing what God has showed you and He will take care of the rest.

My grandma had talked to a lady this summer who worked for ADRA. We contacted her and she was more than happy to help. She gave us information about the well, and got us into the system at ADRA. The whole project will cost $5,000. ADRA goes to the location where they will be putting the well in, and they meet the people and get to know them. They put special piping in leading to the village so that the water won't be contaminated again. They teach all of the people about proper hygiene. When they leave, all of the villagers will have full access to clean safe water, and will be healthier because of it.

I plan to go to different churches every month and give a presentation about what my project, and I am planning on having a fundraiser dinner in the near future, as well as other things to raise money. I want to raise all of the money by June. I want the well to be put in as soon as possible. If all goes well, I will be able to go to Africa to see the well put in, and meet the people I am helping.

In Luke 6:38 it says, "Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." God tells us to give without hesitation and He will bless you continuously. God has impressed upon me to share my story and show people that anyting is possible with God's help. I have accepted God's call for helping others and I am excited about the journey, and the blessings He has planned ahead.


God Answers Student's Prayer in a Big Way
Sophomores Abby and Kristin pray for God's blessing on the mission project to the Philippines.

“Ask God for big things. He is ready and willing to answer our prayers.” It’s a message repeated again and again by teachers and staff and recently, one student decided to do just that.


“I really don’t know exactly when I started praying,” said sophomore Abby, who plans to be part of the mission project to the Philippines this spring, “but I started praying for money to build the church in the Philippines.” This was in addition to the money she was trying to raise for her own airfare. “I just felt like I should ask God to send a donation of ten thousand dollars.” And so, with a few other girls, Abby began praying for $10,000. The teachers began praying too that God would honor her bold request and not let her down. 


Abby asked that when principal Roger Dunder began calling donors, he would tell her so she and the girls could be praying. “I was on my second or third call with potential donors,” says Dunder, “and I suggested they give maybe two or three thousand dollars. But the donor said, ‘No. I can’t give two or three thousand. It has to be ten thousand.  For the past 3 weeks the number ten thousand keeps popping in my head. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but I feel I must give ten thousand.


Tears began to flow as the realization of what God had done sunk in. As the news spread like wildfire through the girls’ dorm and across the campus, shouts of joy rang out and prayers of thanksgiving ascended to our Almighty God who still answers prayers!  


Let’s take the advice of early missionary William Carey: “Expect great things of God Attempt great things for God.”

By Greg Edge

Advancing Public Campus Ministries
The group that gathered at Camp Wakonda to learn more of how to minister to students on our public school campuses.
God is moving in the Wisconsin Conference! On the weekend of November 13-15, we had an incredible experience at Camp Wakonda during the Public Campus Ministries (PCM) retreat. With over 50 in attendance, Dr Ron Pickell from the NAD reminded us of the incredible opportunity we have to share our faith on the public campuses. Students from La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay and many other places joined together to gain both tools and inspiration to share Christ on the public campus. There was an incredible spirit of unity and joy as we were all led to an understanding of the possibilities for ministry when led by the power of God.
It is being reported that 70-80% of our Adventist youth are attending public schools NAD wide. While we continue to prayerfully support the incredible ministry that is happening at our Adventist institutions, we feel the need to reach out in support of all our youth no matter what school they attend. With that being said, our public campuses present an incredible opportunity to share Christ. It was shared this weekend that all of our nation's “Great Awakenings” were started on our public campuses. Many of today’s leaders received their educations from public campuses. Many of tomorrow’s leaders will also receive their education from public campuses. With this in mind, it is of paramount importance that we have a Seventh-day Adventist presence on our public campuses. Dr. Pickell shared a message entitled “the Power of One" based upon the woman at the well. He challenged us to find the “well” on our campuses and look for the God-given opportunities to reach those that don't know Him.

In addition to the wonderful inspiration, we had an opportunity on Saturday evening for both Pastor Greg Taylor and Andrea Thompson, who serves as our PCM coordinator for Wisconsin, to lead out in an organizational meeting. Here we made connections and observations of what the next steps should be in supporting our youth attending public schools.
Part of the master plan for PCM in Wisconsin is creating a structure of leadership at the local church level. The goal is to find one individual for every district who will help to connect our students to the local church. One idea could be to simply open the church for the group to have a weekly Bible study or activity. Another could be providing assistance in getting something started on their campus.
We are so excited to see this ministry become a reality in Wisconsin. Please contact Greg Taylor or Andrea Thompson if you would like to be a part of making this happen on a campus near you. We solicit prayers as we go where Jesus leads to reach those on our public campuses and network our Adventist youth who are attending public campuses.

Adventist Pastor Veers from Rock's Road to Perdition to Stairway to Heaven


By Mike Tigh (Permission to use granted by the LaCrosse Tribune)

Pastor Michael Ehm. Photo credit Peter Thomson La Cross Tribune

Michael Ehm’s helter-skelter route on the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll road to perdition has veered onto the high road as a pastor.

Indeed, the 59-year-old La Crosse man’s path took a lot of pothole-filled detours between his infant days, when he napped on the pool table in his grandparents’ Onalaska bar, and the launch of his pastoral days a year and a half ago as leader of Seventh-day Adventist churches in La Crosse, Hylandale, Sparta and Tomah.

Congregation members accepted him in spite of — in a certain sense, because of — his questionable past.

As the slogan on the bulletin board of the Adventist church at 2117 La Crosse St. proclaims: “Every saint has a past — every sinner has a future.”

Ehm’s past began in a home for unwed mothers in Milwaukee, where his mom, Onalaska native LaVon Severson, had taken refuge from the judgmental, gossiping tongues her unwed pregnancy would have set to wagging in the mid-1950s.

“The stigmatization of having a child out of wedlock was heavy in those days,” Ehm said during an interview the other day.

She fled from the prying eyes of not only the general public but also the network of relatives in what is one of the largest Norwegian clans in the Badger State.

“I’m probably related to every Severson around here, especially in Holmen,” Ehm said, shaking his head in amazement.

Two choices: Adoption or foster care

The nuns who ran the home told Severson she had two choices: surrender her son for adoption or entrust him to foster care until she could prove she could provide for him as a single mother.

A devoted Seventh-day Adventist, Severson shunned adoption and opted for foster care until she could establish herself. All was well and good until word filtered back to her parents, James and Corrine, who went to Milwaukee and rescued their grandson from foster care, Ehm said.

The Seversons ran the Dew Drop Inn, with Corrine tending bar during the day, with baby Michael swaddled on the pool table. James took over for the bar’s night shift, when the infant went home with Corrine, family members have told him.

After he joined his mother and she married Milwaukee firefighter Don Ehm, the young boy took Ehm’s name and settled in to growing up in Milwaukee, he said.

“It was a time of flux, with different values and shifting paradigms, with the Vietnam War and Walter Cronkite on the news every night,” he recalled.

He ran his own lawn business but aspired to be a golf caddy. He whiffed on that because he needed a birth certificate to prove his age, but his mother refused to produce the document because she didn’t want to reveal his father’s identity.

During his junior year, a couple of his buddies were drafted and sent to Vietnam, leaving him feeling deserted, except for the rock music he cherished.

“I was a troubled kid, and the next thing I knew, I was drinking and smoking pot. Somebody put acid in my drink at a party, and I tripped out for two days. I thought it was the alcohol, but it was the acid,” he said, shaking his head.

“At 16, experiencing all of life’s changes, the drugs didn’t help,” he said, although he still felt pulled to the Adventist values his Bible-studying mom had fostered.

He entered the seminary at Andrews University, the denomination’s flagship educational institution, in Berrien Springs, Mich.

“I wanted to be a pastor, and many in my class wanted to be pastors, but they were only acting like pastors,” he said, a fact that frustrated him.

“I walked away,” he said, transferring to the University of Wisconsin, where he also participated in track and football, although he could not compete on Saturdays, the Adventist day of worship.

Party scene started spiral

The party scene beckoned, and he answered the call, he said, adding, “I never made it to my classes and practice.”

Instead, he began promoting bands as a free-lancer and working as a DJ at 92 MAD-FM in Madison, which led to gigs organizing Club MTV events, a full-blown promotions job and a move to Los Angeles.

Sporting a Rod Stewart haircut and leathers, he began a nearly two-decade stint as a band promoter and performer, working with the likes of AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Poison, Guns and Roses, the Rolling Stones, U2, Hall and Oates, Dr. Hook and others, as well as working in his birth father’s sex clubs.

“On Friday nights, I remember that I often thought of my friends back at the Adventist seminary preparing for the Sabbath, and I was on stage with AC/DC,” he said.

“It was a crazy life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, and we did what we wanted,” he said. “Pot was my drug of choice. I tried heroin, but it was too scary.

“Adventists say to be temperate in all things, and I was temperate in my drug use — I was experimenting,” he said.

Absorbed in the fast lane of the LA/Hollywood lifestyle, and enlisting his middle name to assume the professional persona of Michael Ross, Ehm also toyed with acting and had parts in a few movies with stars such as Charlie Sheen and Vanessa Williams.

“My movie parts, I have to say, were as a glorified extra,” he said, recalling that his five lines in one movie ended up on the cutting room floor but the fact that he had uttered them earned him his Screen Actors Guild card.

His short-lived marriage ended because, he said, “I wanted to be a rocker, but my wife wanted to be a star.”

Despite the friction, he said, “With all the things on the road — drugs and infidelity — I was pretty loyal to my wife. I had one affair.”

Things exploded the day when she came home with an actress friend and he and his cohorts were doing drugs, drinking and barbecuing on a grill — in the living room.

“We were fashionably married on the beaches of Kauai, Hawaii, and unfashionably divorced in Los Angeles,” Ehm said of the union.

Realized futility of drugs

Eventually, he experienced “the realization that drugs kill,” although he continued to use marijuana, he said.

During a phone conversation with his mother, she expressed alarm that he was promoting and hanging around with Ozzy Osbourne back in the heavy metal rocker’s bat-head-biting days.

“My mom had gotten a hold of a paper with a picture of Ozzy Osbourne getting rabies shots and said, ‘Didn’t you have some business with him?’ When I said, ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘Oh, Michael,’” Ehm recalled.

“I said, ‘Why don’t you take my name off of the church books?’ I didn’t think I was a good reflection on the church,” he said. “I always have held Adventism in high regard.”

As a rock promoter and as his conscience shifted, Ehm took it upon himself to accompany band members to narcotics anonymous meetings, he said, although he declined to name names for privacy’s sake.

“It blew me away how many famous actors and rock and rollers were going,” he said.

Other jobs Ehm said he held along the road included selling cars, running a top-performing U-Haul dealership, peddling insurance until he found the agency’s dishonest approach revolting, hawking Harleys, driving a cab by night in Aspen, Colo., after the partaking of the glamorous side of skiing by day and as a house parent for the state of Wisconsin.

After tracking his biological father down and meeting him when he was 26, he became absorbed in helping run “Big Bob” Bekkela’s string of adult strip clubs and massage parlors in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado and Utah.

Having had groupies throughout his rock career, he resisted at first, explaining, “With groupies, I could get on the bus and say goodbye. I couldn’t imagine being locked down being a DJ in the corner of a club.”

Eventually joining the chain with his dad and half-brothers, Ehm said he transformed a dive sex club in North Little Rock, Ark., from being filthy and infested with drugs into respectable adult club, with cleaner surroundings for both patrons and the topless dancers.

Why pay unknown women for sex?

After several years in the business, he wrestled with questions and observations:

  • “I couldn’t make sense of why you would give money to a woman you don’t know to have sex.”
  • “Why would a woman take money from somebody she doesn’t know?”
  • “Adult clubs are like rock ‘n’ roll bands — what you are is professional baby sitter.”
  • “In the DJ role, looking down at three stages, three girls and people at the bar, and I’m listening to the conversation. It was very materialistic, vain, all about vanity. Everyone in the club was vain.”

Oddly enough, as he drove home from the club one night in 2005, feeling burned out and scuffling with his conscience, he asked himself, “Am I vain? The answer I got back — and I know it was God — was ‘You’re the vainest one of all. You’re the worst sinner.’”

At home, he said, “I opened a Corona and pulled out the rolling tray to twist up a fatty.”

Unable to find anything intriguing on the television, he settled in to watch a minister’s sermon.

‘Save this boy for Jesus’

“Come on,” he dared the TV preacher, “save this boy for Jesus.”

Having believed that Ben Franklin had coined the phrase “vanity, vanity, all is vanity,” Ehm was stunned to hear the preacher attribute it to King Solomon in Ecclesiastes.

“The preacher talked about the world and how people are narcissistic. I realized I was narcissistic,” he recounted. “I didn’t drink the beer, and I didn’t smoke the pot. The Bible had spoken to me.”

Ehm also acquiesced to his mother’s request that he pray for her in her battle with cancer, a religious exercise he previously had deemed himself unworthy to do.


He ventured outside, onto a frozen lake, and pleaded with God not only to spare his mother the pain of cancer and chemotherapy but also to show him the road to redemption.

“For an hour, I cried out, snot coming from my nose and freezing,” he said.

Ehm said his mother’s death that year was a pivotal point in his life, with her steady example as a faith-filled, Bible-studying Christian.

“When I prayed to God, I realized there was a happiness, a peace, in knowing where my life was going. I sold my Harleys, my guns and my music stuff so I could go to school,” he said. “On Dec. 31, 2005, I was walking into the unknown by faith.

“My God is good. I don’t see him only as God, but more as a father,” he said.

He returned to school and earned a four-year degree while studying evangelism.

Two years ago, his life took another turn when he married Obeida, a Colombian woman he met online, in a ceremony in Italy.

‘Give me a beer and twist one up’

Settled now into shepherding nearly 400 souls in the four Adventist churches he ministers to in the Coulee Region, he said, “If you would have told me years ago I would become a Christian, and an evangelist here in La Crosse, I would have said, ‘Oh, shut up. Don’t talk to me about Jesus. Give me a beer and twist one up.’”

Ehm said his ministry is founded on “my interest in people. I see a lot of people in pain, and I want to help. I want to be a pastor for health. Evangelism makes me tick — bringing people into a relationship with Jesus and bringing people into a relationship with the Bible, to see that it is not just stories.”

Congregation members appreciate their pastor.

“I think his background — what he has been in the world and done a lot of worldly things — and finding the Lord shows the world doesn’t mean anything,” said Adventist Judy Hallingstad of La Crosse.

“He’s so full of life,” she said. “He’s had a lot of challenges, but he’s going full bore. He’s reading, he’s studying the Bible, teaching the truth.

“People are people wherever you go, and I like people who have turned their lives to the Lord,” Hallingstad said.

The 67-year-old Hallingstad said she was born and raised Catholic but the biblical thrust of Seventh-day Adventism prompted her to join the denomination 35 years ago.

“I am amazed at the truth in the Bible,” she said. “I have faith in Jesus, not in Seventh-day Adventism. This is the only congregation where I find that truth. Once you find a belief, you don’t look back.

“We are supposed to be lights to the world, and I attend because I want my light to shine,” she said.

Also endorsing Ehm is Larry LaSeure, one of the La Crosse SDA’s four head elders, who said, “He’s a good Christian.”

Ehm’s background also is an inspiration rather than a demerit, LaSeure said, adding, “I think it helps what he brings. He’s done everything and tried everything. I know I’ve done things, too.”

LaSeure, a 60-year-old retired medical photographer, is a lifelong Adventist who converted to Catholicism because his fiancée was a Catholic who wanted to be married in the church, he said.

“I never practiced it, though,” he said, and took refuge in alcohol after they divorced.

“I was going through a quart of booze a day,” he said. “One night, I was going down the street to the bar, like I always did, and I heard a voice say, ‘Go ahead, do what you want, but I’ll have to leave you.’”

LaSeure said he spun on his heel, headed home and hasn’t had a drink in the nearly 20 years since.

“I couldn’t turn my back any longer,” he said. “Not that I’m an angel — I’ve still done a lot of things.”

The fact that the congregation accepted Ehm after a vote is testimony to their belief in his leadership, LaSeure said.

“He has a personal touch that’s so important for a pastor,” he said.

Ehm explained that attitude, saying, “A relationship with Christ is personal. If somebody dies for you, that’s personal. Jesus met me where I was at.

“When you are fitted with God’s goggles, you see the world in a different way,” Ehm said. “I realize what God has done in my life, and now, God is taking me on the best tour I’ve ever been on.”


Jesus Calling
Obeida Ehm (on right) is a Bible worker and pastor's wife in the La Crosse District.She is working to plant a church in Sparta for the Hispanic community. Pictured left is Obedia’s newfound friend, Rosario.
One day, as I was driving to the shopping mall, I was passing near the TJ Max store when I heard a voice saying, “go to TJ Max.” I said to myself I am not going to TJ MAX. In the course of my journey I continued to hear the same voice two more times. When I enter the parking lot of the mall, again I heard the voice, and again I said out loud to myself, “I am not going to TJ Max. I have nothing to do there, I have

no money, also every time I go I end up buying things I don’t even need.” However, I now felt an urge to go. Still not understanding, I went to TJ Max and started walking around not having any interest in buying anything.

After a short while I heard someone speak Spanish, I was struck and looked around, but did not see anyone. I continued my tour in the store and suddenly heard the samevoice again, but this time very close to me, immediately I looked and saw a woman with a child around seven years old, and she was talking on her cell phone.

Without realizing, I started walking behind her. When she finished her phone call, I immediately introduced myself and we started a conversation. “Do you lived in Onalaska?” “No,” she replied, “I live in Sparta.” “I’m starting a ministry in Sparta with the Hispanic community,” I replied, “I help people with various needs and offer Bible studies for people who want to know the wonderful messages that God gives us in the Bible. I call my ministry Light in the Darkness.” She answered, “That’s a pretty name. I have so many questions, and I have been praying, asking God to send someone to help me answer all my questions. Obeida, I think God put you in my path to help me, because no matter how much money and success I have in life, there is always an emptiness inside. I would love to study the Bible with you. Can we begin as soon as my son starts school.” At that very moment I realized, the voice I heard was the voice of God. I immediately praised and thanked God for being so wonderful to me.

Rosario and I have been studying the Bible for over five weeks now and each week she is more excited with each new lesson. Rosario is now also interested in reading the Bible on her own throughout the week. In fact, just about the third week into our studies, I went to her home and she said, “Obeida, I know you have not told me anything about the seventh-day Sabbath… but this week, I was reading the Bible and I found that there is a rest day in the Bible and it is Sabbath. I read and re-read and I could not believe that God gave us the Sabbath to rest, and not Sunday.”

After five weeks the studies continue. Rosario is now very happy to not only learn of the Sabbath message but also the wonderful message of salvation that Jesus freely gives. 

Dear friends, like Rosario, there are so many people in this world waiting for someone to bring them the massage of Christ. He has given us all the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20, “Today, if you hear His voice calling you, do not fear, for He says, ‘Behold I am with you always.’” Amen!


Camp Meeting Baptisms 2015
Below are short testimonies from individuals baptized at camp meeting 2015. God has led in each of their lives and we praise God for their commitment to Him. The testimonies are organized alphabetically by the pastor who baptized them.
Pastor Carlos Ancheta  
Zeburia Byiramyucyo said, "When our pastor told us about June 20th – World Baptism Day, he invited me to prepare and make my decision to follow Jesus all the way in baptism. Praise His name!"
Angela Jean Guidry said, "When I was first baptized nine years ago, I had the head knowledge of our Lord and Savior, but I didn’t let Him work on my heart. Over a year ago, a very dear friend came into my life. Through thoughts, words and actions, I saw the love of God shining through her as His love came alive to me for the first time. 'You will seek me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity.' Jeremiah 29:13-14 Today I reaffirm my decision to live for God and allow Him to continue transforming me. As my old self and body of sin is done away with, I am no longer a slave to sin, no longer captive, but freed from sin by Christ. Now I may fully live with Him, not only in this life, but also eternally with Him in his kingdom."
Brent Alden Muhlenbeck said, "My parents Jim and Amy Muhlenbeck have always lead my step toward heaven since birth. I currently live in Blossburg PA, and our pastor Marvin Humbert has prepared me for this big day with Jesus. As the Muhlenbeck clan is from Wisconsin, I want to be baptized at camp Wakonda."
Cheril Cleveland said, "In February of 2015 I asked my district pastor, 'Would you baptize me at camp meeting?” and he said, “Absolutely!' I have been blessed with Bible studies with Bonnie Tillman and Estie Murany."
Marcia Ann Josker said, "Our district pastor told me that Cheril would be baptized today, then he asked me if I would be interested in make my decision to become part of His remnant church and my answer was “Yes!”
Pastor Rick Binford
James Michael Hoier said, "Pathfinders was a big influence in my life. Also my brother and dad were baptized last year. My cousin Jacob and Joey gave me Bible studies and now I’ve been taking Bible studies with pastor Rick. My favorite scripture is 1 John 4:7. 'Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.'"
Pastor Jean-Marcel Clouzet 
Kurtis Lam said, "I got baptized at a young age without really understanding the importance of my choice. After years of falling away from Jesus, I decided I would like to recommit my life to Him. This last year I’ve become so much closer to God. I understand now the importance of making this choice to stand up and say I love Jesus and I want to follow Him. I want to share my love for Him with the world. 'Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.'" 1 Timothy 4:12
Greg Davison said, "I was baptized when I was 14, but I feel like I dropped the ball along the way. Now I believe the Lord wants me to rededicate my life to His service. 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.'” Proverbs 3:5-6
Pastor Michael Ehm
Isaiah Sachse said, "I've be in transition moving between Chattanooga and North Carolina. Through going to church with Grandma and Grandpa, listening to Bible stories that Mom reads to me, I have decided to be baptized."
(Officiating for Pastor Thomas) Mylia Nicole Mensah loves going to church and she has been looking forward to being baptized. She loves Jesus, prays often, and likes to make God happy. She has an awesome family that she loves very much. She credits her mother for showing Jesus to her by reading the Bible with her. She loves Mom and Dad and is glad they are here. "I know that you can do all things, and no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2
Adeline Mae Minett said, "God is a big part of my life and I want to learn more about Him! My family and pastor were the ones who influenced me to get baptized. My favorite Bible verse is John 1:3 'All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.'"
Aliyana YeVonne Hurt has been going to church for a long time. She’s been waiting to baptized. She said, "This is a very special day for me for I have accepted Jesus into my heart. My mom and I thank you for keeping me in Jesus’ arms. I also thank my pastor for teaching me about Jesus. I am looking forward to having pastor Michael and Billy baptize me today. I love Jesus."
Caden Minett  “The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not strike you by day nor the moon by night.” Psalms 121:5-6 I choose this Bible verse because it tells me God will protect me from danger. I choose to follow Him."
Pastor Samuel Garbi
Zane Parker said, "'Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.' Psalm 23:4 I’ve always been good at a lot of things and as a result, I’m always confused of what to do with my God-given talents. The word of God has taught me that my purpose in life is for greater than I can possibly imagine: 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, says the Lord. For so the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.' Isaiah 55:89 So I have decided to follow the true calling in my life; to follow Jesus Christ, and follow the truth that is and will be forever in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Amanda Willcox realizes that in the midst of troubles, trials, and concern, the Lord sent angels to help her, and He promises her: “You will not have to fight this battle! It is not yours but the Lords'. He will fight for you and deliver you”. 2 Chronicles 20:17 This verse is her favorite Bible passage, and her favorite hymn is, “The Old Rugged Cross.
Nathaniel Silvia started to learn about Jesus from his parents Adam and Donita as they read the Bible in their home. They also took him to church and to many church programs such as Vacation Bible School. He also learned about Jesus from watching his favorite Christian movie series, The Veggie Tales. Nathaniel often received a new Bible every couple of years from his family and he witnessed prayer before every meal at home and at his grandparent’s farm. He has stated how he is a Christian and wishes he could help his friends at school become Christian too. Nathaniel has recently attended and volunteered at Christian camps in Wisconsin. He has now decided to take the next step in his walk with Jesus by being baptized.
(Officiated by Stanley Hughes) Borshita Nicolic said, “Hello everyone and thank you for being here today at this baptism. In 1980 I was not yet a Christian; I liked to go dancing and drinking. Then I met a Baptist pastor who became my friend, and I joined the Baptist church in Belgium. In 1990 I moved to Florida, where I lived for 10 years before moving to West Bend, WI. It was there that I met Stanley Hughes and studied with him and made my decision to join the SDA Church. I then met with pastor Garbi as we prepared for today’s baptism. My favorite hymn is Amazing Grace, and my favorite Bible verse is Ephesians 5:25-26 which describe Christ’s great love for the church. My desire is to give my life to the Lord in all things by joining the Adventist Church.”
Pastor David Guerro
Frank Johnson is a rebaptism. He said, “I want it to be clear. I am rededicating my life to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I declare my decision to follow the health message as contained in the Spirit of Prophecy. The Lord has freed me from my bondage and I declare my decision to follow Him wherever He may lead. ‘Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it: and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.’ Judges 6:25-26 I declare my intent to tear down all the altars to Baal in my life and build up altars to the Lord in each ones place. Amen.”
Rick Felts said, “Today I am here by the Spirit’s leading. After a series of events I met Ken Wilson of the Almond Church. His friendship and love led me to thirst for what he had. I began to attend church and the love and care and acceptance of the Almond church was amazing! The Tess family, the Ferguson family, the Anderson’s and Doug Durham took me in and showed me the love of Jesus! My friendships with Doug, Mike and Matt Riggle have been a blessing. I finally resolved to become a member and set up a meeting with pastor David. Pastor David met with me and kindly and Biblically answered all my questions and I made my decision to join the worldwide SDA Church. He continues to disciple me and today I am ready to give my public confession to the glory of God!”
Pastor Eugene Kitney
Gianna Lorbeck said, “I’m ready for this next chapter in my life and I want God to show me the way. ‘Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’ Matthew 5:16”
Orisa Santiango said, “I am ready to be baptized because I believe that the Lord will show me the way in my life and I believe I am a child of God and that Jesus loves me. ‘I will praise the Lord while I live: I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.’ Psalm 146:2 ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ Psalm 119:105”
Pastor Titus Naftanaila
Kiran Potts’ parents prayed for a child and God immediately answered their prayer. In fact, Kiran’s mother knew she was pregnant with Kiran the very next day. The meaning of Kiran’s name is “ray of light” in Hindu and in Arabic it means “Horn of Beauty and Strength.” She enjoys playing the piano and composing her own songs. From a very early age Kiran has loved singing. She enjoys singing praise songs. Her parents can always tell she is happy when she’s singing. Kiran is an avid reader and she likes to read from the Bible to her family. She also likes to listen to her parents and others read from the Bible. Besides reading, she enjoys drawing very detailed pictures and has a strong interest in computers. She is also looking forward to getting her Red Cross babysitter certificate this summer. She delights in being around little children and helping her mom in the kitchen. Kiran is looking forward to helping her parents babysit her little sister. She is a student at the Three Angels Christian School and attends Madison East SDA Church. She has also completed the friends level as a member of the Madison Mustangs Pathfinders group.
Alexis Jade Ellis is a 6th grader at Three Angels Christian School and goes to Madison East Church. She has been wanting to be baptized since her 1st year at Three Angels. Lexi is a hard worker who enjoys singing up front in church. She works hard and loves Jesus! She wants to thank Pastor Jean Marcel, Pastor Titus, and Pastor Greg Taylor for their pivotal role in her decision. Lexi loves the story of Queen Esther because of her bravery and her favorite Bible text is, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Anika Ditto is a very special person/daughter. She has been raised in an Adventist home all her life and now at 11 years old has made the most beautiful and unselfish decision to follow Jesus. Anika was involved in Adventurers and this last year decided to join Pathfinders. She loves to attend summer camp every year at Camp Wakonda. Her hobbies include gymnastics, swimming, and crafts.
Ellie Brittain is the daughter of Paul and Jenney Britain. She attends Madison East SDA Church and will be in the 6th grade at Three Angels Christian School next year. She started studying for baptism with Pastor Jean Marcel Clouzet and continued with Pastor Titus Naftanaila and her classmates this spring. Her interests include playing music on the piano and ukulele, singing, listening to adventures in Odyssey, and being with friends. Ellie wants to be baptized because she wants a lifetime friendship with Jesus. Two of her favorite verses are Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you,” and Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Pastor Bill Oches
Evelena M. Payette is a freshmen. She goes to Pulaski school district and she goes to the Green Bay SDA Church. Pastor Billy Otto and her foster mom Terrie taught her to love God and to trust in Him. She loves to work with the little kids at VBS. She also likes to help special needs kids. She came into a foster home with a loving family to care for her. She has been there since January 2012. She loves to learn about God. She also likes to read the book of Revelation.
Pastor Rowell Puedivan
Marques McKnight said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that who so ever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16. I want to be baptized because there are so many people who need to know about Jesus. When I’m baptized I will want to spread the word about Christ to the world. People that have impacted me are my pastor, my mom, my pathfinder group, and The Thunder in the Holy Land Bible studies.”
Pastor John Redlich
Estela Marie Shirkey (Marie) was born in the Philippines, and married Paul Shirkey 3.5 years ago. She immigrated to the states a little over two years ago. Marie and Paul have completed a set of studies with Pastor John. Marie said that she most appreciated the truth of the Sabbath and the resurrection at the second coming. Both Paul and Marie will be members of the Clear Lake Church.
Pastor Ko Saelee
(Officiated by Abraham Swamidass) Pao Vang was a refugee from Laos. He met Pastor Ko Saelee when his family moved to a home in the country north of Madison. When his wife filed for divorce and he could not live at home, he became very ill, but by attending church, he was impressed with Jesus’ command to forgive seventy time seven times. Through the prayers of the Saelee family and the encouragement of the church members he recovered from his illness and decided to commit his life to God and be baptized.
Jong Thao (John) had the opportunity of attending Three Angels School in Madison and Milwaukee SDA School. In Madison Pastor Jean Marcel taught Bible to John and helped him want to be baptized so he could go with Jesus when He comes to take us home. John has wanted to be baptized for quite some time, but did not have a chance. He is glad that now he can be baptized. His favorite Bible text is John 3:16.
Pastor Nate Skaiffe
Gracie Devalk learned from her Grandma about Jesus. She is excited about coming back to tween camp to tween camp to learn more about Jesus.
Brandon Coon watched Roger Morneau’s testimony on YouTube. It made a big impact on him. Because of the video he looked up the Waukesha church online and decided to go. He began regularly attending the Bible studies. He loved the studies as well as learning about the Lord! Brandon says he wants to follow the Lord for the rest of his life!
Pastor Nestor Soriano
Kylan Klemp said, “I love Jesus because He created me and because he died on the cross for us even though He could have stopped it at any time. I want to thank everyone at my church for being so kind to me, especially Miss Sandy for taking her time to help me.”
Pastor Abraham Swamidass
Danielle Elmer said, “Bible study program series, junior camp meeting program, Pastor Swamidass’ sermons, Darwin and Tammy’s prayers and Josh’s example all influenced my decision.” His favorite Bible verse is John 3:16.
Pastor James Van Arsdale
Maria Karch said, “When people asked me in the past what religion I belonged to I always said Catholic, but in reality I did not belong to any church or religion. All I knew about God was what I heard from the pulpit in the Catholic church that I attended when I was very young and from the catechism. I never read or owned a Bible. Then my sister gave me one. It landed on a shelf and there it stayed for many years. About four years ago I thought maybe I should take a look into this book on my shelf. Little by little I began to understand the amazing promises our heavenly Father gives us and the high price Jesus paid for my iniquities. It changed my heart and filled the emptiness I felt all of my life with hope, knowing now that someday, Jesus will return to take me to a new life that will never end. What a glorious day that will be! Jesus promises us, saying, ‘I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.’ That will be my happiest day, meeting Jesus face to face, walking and talking with Him. Thank you Lord for your never-ending patience with me.
Edna Dockham said, “I did not grow up in a Christian home. We had no Bible in our home. By the strong influence of my aunt who would take me to church whenever I agreed to go I made the decision for baptism when I was around the age of 10 or 12. By that same influence I attended Maplewood Academy for a couple of years. It was there that I met the love of my life, LeeRoy, and was later married. With no Christian influence in my home and at my young age I did not fully understand the full meaning of baptism. I love the Lord with all my heart and want to continue to serve Him in a more deep and meaningful way. My greatest desire is to tell others about Jesus’ love and His soon return. ‘And lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world.’ Matthew 28:20”

Kimberly Block said, “I was raised Catholic with Adventist influence from my grandmother and Aunt Esther. I have always prayed and talked with God and He has been faithful to stay with me through a life of abuse, rebellion and dark forces of spiritualism. He has made His presence known through many life saving interventions. Yet I continued down a path of self-destruction. When I prayed for truth I was taken on a journey through the occult, losing everything including myself. Through all this I continued to pray as God protected and directed my path back to the Adventist faith. I choose now not only to talk and pray to the God of Heaven but to walk with my Father in the truth of a victorious Jesus in service to His Will. 1 Cor. 12:4-7 and Ephesians 6:10-20.

"I Can't Say Enough Good About Wisconsin Academy"

Hailey Hilgart and her mother Vicky Hilgart  
When I became a Seventh-day Adventist in 2006 it was hard. My husband was against it, but I poured my heart out to God and decided to persevere. I wanted to see my children saved.

Two years later my 12-year-old daughter, Hailey, agreed to come to church with me. A church family took her under their wings and soon Hailey was going to camp Wakonda with their children. I could see she was beginning to grow in Christ. 

When she was 13 she asked to be baptized. Then when she was ready for high school she asked to go to Wisconsin Academy. I didn't have the money, and just blew it off, but God kept it on Hailey's heart and she didn't give up. By her junior year, through a miracle of God, she finally got to go to WA. I thank God we had a church family that was willing to help support her through the YES program. I gave what I could, and there were even some people I don't know that were willing to give. It is awsome how God just provides for us.

The support Hailey received at WA was amazing. She found Christian friends and was able to find a father figure in the male teachers that she was missing simce our divorce. Her boss, maintenance director, Kevin Carter, showed her how to change the oil in a car and many other things a father would do. She had many talks with the computer teacher, Steve Brown, and he was a real encouragement to her.

If I had kept Hailey at home, I am quite certain she would have gone down the wrong road. I saw some of the friends she was getting hooked up with. It was difficult, but I had to just let go and really ask God to provide.

Now as I see how God has grown her character, I know the importance of sending her there. She has struggles, we all do, but Hailey blossomed in the Christian atmosphere of Wisconsin Academy. I can't say enough good about WA!

I'm convinced Wisconsin Academy is where we need to send our kids. We  may not see the benefits immediately, but if we just look down the road a ways we will see God's hand in it.

Vicky Hilgart, Marshfield SDA Church
As told to Juanita Edge, Communication Director

GC and Ministerial Meeting Report

Arise? Shine! Jesus is Coming! This was the theme of General Conference (GC) Session 2015, and the final challenge given on Sabbath morning by our newley re-elected GC President, Ted Wilson.

An estimated 60,000 church members from across Wisconsin, North America, and the world gathered last month at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, to worship, learn, fellowship, and hold the 60th annual business session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

Three of the 2,566 delegates chosen to participate in the General Conference Session were from Wisconsin: Mike Edge, president of the Wisconsin Conference, Titus Naftanaila, pastor of the Madison church district, and Alyssa Palmer, an Adventist attorney from Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

First on the agend the delegates reelected Ted Wilson, president of the world church, for another five-year term. Pastor Wilson accepted the position and then presented three goals he has for the next five years: 1) to completely lift up Christ in all things, 2) to be be faithful to God’s Word, 3) and to involve as many church members as possible in witnessing and evangelism. Wilson, age 65, has served as the Seventh-day Adventist world church president since 2010. He and his wife, Nancy, have three married daughters and eight grandchildren. 

Daniel R. Jackson was reelected to serve as president of the North American Division for another five-year term. Pastor Jackson has served the church as a pastor, teacher and administrator. He and his wife, Donna, have three children and four grandchildren. 

The motion on women’s ordination stated: “Is it acceptable for the division executive committee, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? The motion was denied with 58.4% voting no, and 41.3% voting yes. Following the vote, President Ted Wilson said, “Now is the time to unite under the blood stained banner of Jesus Christ....Now is the time to unify in the mission of the church ministry.”



Dan Anderson's Testimony
Dan Anderson owns a painting/contracting company and currently serves as head elder of the Hudson Seventh-day Adventist Company. He and his wife, Lonah have a two-month old son, Azariah.  

I grew up in a broken home. Dad was an alcoholic and drug addict, and I followed the same pattern. I remember dating a girl who gave me a Bible for Christmas. I was angry and threw it in a box. A few years later I came across that Bible, and something prompted me to read it. 


I began with Genesis 1 and became convicted about many things. When I read about unclean foods I called my Dad and said, “Why do we eat pork? The Bible says don’t eat it.” “Oh, don’t worry about that stuff,” he said. Then I asked, “Why do we go to church on Sunday? That’s not what the Bible says.” And Dad said, “Yeah, well, you don’t need to worry about that.” Then I discovered that when we die it’s like a sleep, and I said, “Dad, everyone tells me that grandpa’s in heaven looking down on me, but that’s not what the Bible says. Has anyone ever read this book?” Again he said, “Ya know, you just don’t need to worry about any of that.”


I kept going down the drug and alcohol path, but a few years later prayed, “God, somehow I need to get out of this.” Seven days after saying that prayer I got set up in a drug deal and took off running from the cops. Suddenly a peace came over me and something said, “Dan, it’s over.” I pulled to the side of the road, got out of the car and waited for the cops. 


I decided to attended a church and heard about this man named Jesus who loved me so much that He died for me while I was still a sinner. It broke me. I went up front and said, “Lord, I don’t know if You are real or not, but if You set me free, I’ll follow You for the rest of my days.”


At that time I was smoking a cigarette every eight minutes, drinking a fifth of brandy every day, and using every narcotic under the sun, but I walked out of church that day healed. Delivered. I never touched any of that stuff again, and it’s been almost 15 years. From that day on I’ve been following Jesus.


Soon I moved to Hudson. I was hungry for the Word. I wanted to know everything I could about Jesus, and started looking for a church. The first place I went they put in a video about happy living and it hardly mentioned anything from the Bible. I said, “This is not what I’m looking for.” Then they sent me to Promise Keepers. Now here I am trying to live righteously. I’ve just been set free from the world, and I go to this group and everyone’s telling me, “Don’t worry about those details. You can do ...etc. Who cares about that.” 


I thought, “This is not for me.” One day a flyer came in the mail announcing this Daniel Seminar, so I went. While I questioned some of the things they said, I already believed the state of the dead, the Sabbath, and unclean foods. I thought, “This group follows the Bible,” and I was baptized after the seminar.


One guy, Dan Herwick, took me under his wing and we went out giving Bible studies. This was exciting! When the Hudson church held more evangelistic meetings I set up over a hundred yard signs, put hundreds of flyers on parked cars, and handed them out in stores. The church started getting calls from stores saying, “Make that guy quit handing out flyers.”


Still feeling God’s call to something deeper, I spent four months in Bible study training at Amazing Facts. That year my wife and I held over 200 Bible studies, and five people were baptized.  


I still hold Bible studies and am currently doing an evangelistic series with Dan Herwick. When you know the world is dying, and you know you have a message of hope, to not go out and proclaim it would be a sin. 


I just want to share the love of Christ and see people get into a relationship with Jesus so they can experience the joy. Then hopefully the cycle will continue. That’s how this message spreads. You keep sharing and someone else shares, and they share with someone else. What else is there!

By Dan Anderson as told to Juanita Edge



Travis Maloney's Story

Travis, deacon in the Living Faith Seventh-day Adventist Company said, "I'm so proud to be a member of the Adventist Church."

Travis Maloney grew up in an Adventist home but at age 15 his parents divorced and he was suddenly on his own. He had only finished ninth grade, but quit school, got his own apartment, and began working for a cattle dealer, bailing hay. At the age of 20 he started working construction, and soon after organized his own construction business. “I didn’t go to church anymore,” said Travis. “I figured I could never be good enough anyway, so just didn’t worry about it. I was very successful, always had the newest truck, biggest and fastest boat... I felt stuff showed who you were.”


Seventeen years later Travis found himself chained to many bad habits, divorced, and thinking, “I can’t keep living this way.” He decided to visited the Pound Seventh-day Adventist Church where he had attended as a child. The people were nice, and after a few weeks gave him a Bible.  “For the first time I started to read it for myself,” said Travis, “and I was actually interested.” Day by day at home with his Bible, Travis started to build a relationship with Jesus. 


After about six months of reading the Bible and attending church, Travis started to feel differently about his life. He began setting aside some of his bad habits. “God truly does meet you where you are,” said Travis. “The Holy Spirit kept saying, ‘Hey, you know that’s not good. If you love Me you shouldn’t do this.’” 


One Sabbath, Bill and Laura Labore from Adventist World Aviation (AWA) spoke on an urgent need in Guyana for a carpenter to come and do some building. Everyone looked at Travis saying, “You’re perfect for this!” Travis wasn’t too sure, but when the next Sabbath came around and the members handed Travis $1,200 for the plane ticket, Travis thought, “At this point there’s no turning back. I don’t want to let these people down.”


Travis was still drinking, but those two weeks in Guyana steered him in a different direction. He got more involved in church activities and “I even gave up alcohol, tobacco, and eventually coffee, and other little things along the way. I just started living a different life.” He began to realize that even though he could never be good enough, through Christ’s righteousness he was good enough, and it changed his whole view of religion. “If I fall, Jesus is there to pick me up,” said Travis. “That was good news for me. It just sort of lit a fire underneath me.”


On February 25, 2012, Travis and his wife, Michelle, were baptized into the Pound SDA Church. “Now we give Bible studies to others in our home. I’m a deacon in the Living Faith Adventist Church, and we love being involved in the mission of this church.”


On vacation last November, Travis felt the Lord speaking to his heart. The words of Pastor Derek Morris, who he’d met at camp meeting last summer, kept ringing in his ear, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.” Travis called Derek, and told of his plan to quit his business and do something for Jesus. Derek encouraged him to take some religion classes. “It was embarrassing for me to tell him I had only finished ninth grade,” said Travis. “But he didn’t make me feel bad, he just told me to go get my GED before January 1 so I could sign up for his class on “Life and Teachings of Jesus” at Southern Adventist University.” Travis decided to do it.


The local technical college told Travis he could complete the GED tests by January, but he would probably not pass. The testing had been upgraded and only two people had passed over the previous year.


Travis felt impressed to sell his business and do something for Jesus. He needed to get his GED before taking college classes, even though the technical college said his odds of passing the first time through were almost zero. That didn’t discourage Travis. He knew this was what God wanted him to do and believed God would get him through.


With a prayer to God, Travis took the first test and passed. The second test had a one hour section and a 45 minute section. There could be no breaks. Travis said, “I had used the bathroom before the test, but for some reason I had to go really bad. I was sweating. I finished the first hour, but with 45 minutes to go I knew I couldn’t wait. I asked Kathy, director for GED testing, for a pardon, but it was denied. So I just went to the bathroom, got my keys and left.”


As Travis drove away he was upset. “God, You know why I’m doing this. I want to do it so I can teach people about You! That’s not selfish. I prayed before my test. Why didn’t You help me!”


When he got back to his office he had an email saying “You passed.” The first thing that came to his mind was, “O ye of little faith.” Travis thought, “OK, God’s got a plan for me. I have to keep moving forward.”


In the third test, Travis ran out of time and still had not answered 12 of the 39 questions. He left discouraged, but an email soon informed him he passed. “What in the world is going on here,” asked Kathy? “How are you passing these tests?” 


As everyone said the last test was the hardest, Travis asked a college professor to help him prepare the evening before the test. “When do you take the test,” asked the professor? “Tomorrow morning,” said Travis.” The professor laughed, “You’re not going to pass. I’ve had people study for six weeks and still not pass. You are wasting your time and money.” “Well,” Travis replied, “I have to give it a try.” 


Back at his business, employees Scott and Amanda, had been witnessing these tests results with amazement. The morning of the final GED, Travis took a practice test and asked Scott, his draftsman, to do it with him. They failed. Scott told Travis “If you pass this test, I’ll know that God had something to do with it.”


After taking the final GED test, Travis headed back to the office. His whole crew was there, waiting to hear what would happen. Travis opened his email, and with tears in his eyes announced, “I passed.” Travis called Derek Morris, signed up for the college class, “Life and Teachings of Jesus,” and completed it in May.


“This experience has given me confidence that I can be taught, that I can be a witness, and that God is leading in my life,” said Travis. “Since then God just keeps opening doors. I’m giving Bible studies to employees at work, my business partner agreed to honor the Sabbath in our business, and so many miracles have happened in our business since I’ve accepted Jesus, that Amanda my office manager said, “Something is going on here.”


After passing his GED, Travis called Kathy at the technical college and said, “Kathy, I want to tell you why I think I passed that GED test. It’s because I was doing it for Jesus. My goal is to work for Him for the rest of my life.”


Travis is selling his businesses and has accepted the position of Operations Manager for Adventist World Aviation (AWA). “I don’t know if I’ll be with AWA the rest of my life,” said Travis, “but I do know that whatever I do, I’ll be serving God. Wherever He opens the door, I’m going to follow.”



No One is Safe From Me Telling Them About Jesus

Doug and Rosemary Bruder, members of the Steven’s Point SDA Church, were baptized in October of 2007. Doug was brought up in the Catholic faith and Rosemary was Lutheran.

Doug and Rosemary Bruder heard a tornado had struck Americus, Georgia. They were leaving the next morning for a vacation and thought, “Let’s go down and help.” Although they didn’t know it, that trip would change their lives forever.


“What happened the night the tornado hit,” they asked one couple in the wreckage. “We didn’t have any basement or shelter,” they said. So we just dropped to our knees and prayed, ‘Lord, if our time has come, we’re ready. Just be with us so we won’t be afraid.’”

That statement, expressing their simple trusting faith jolted Doug’s whole being.  Leaving their home Doug told Rosemary, “I don’t know what’s going on in me. When they told their story, I almost felt like I was having a heart attack or something.” He attended church every Sunday, yet knew something wasn’t right with his Christian experience. Now he couldn’t get that couple’s comment out of his mind.


Home from vacation, Bruders had a pile of mail, and right on top was an oversized postcard for a Daniel and Revelation Seminar. “We’re going to have to go to this, said Doug. “I don’t know why I feel this way, but we need to go.”


When they arrived at the meeting and discovered it was being held in an Adventist church, Doug was not happy saying, “We’re here for one night and one night only.”

The first thing the preacher said was “Open your Bible...” Doug leaned over to Rosemary and said, “Open your Bible! My church has never even let me read my Bible.” Doug and Rosemary looked up every text of the sermon, and were so interested they attended every night of the series.


“That was a turning point in our lives,” said Rosemary. “We became Seventh-day Adventists, sold everything we had, and have spent the past nine years traveling in our RV looking for ways to serve. We didn’t plan this lifestyle, God just led us into it.”


Each fall the Bruders pull out of their driveway with over 5,000 missionary tracts and pray, Lord, lead us where you need us. “The Lord orchestrates our lives”, said Doug, “We try and listen to God’s still small voice, and ask to see opportunities.”


This is how it works. In Best Buy they meet a lady, befriend her, and over the next months help her decide not to commit suicide. They notice a child having a bad day & share a little story tract. They often call a lady from their hardware story who has cancer and prayer with her. They buy groceries when they find someone’s cupboard is empty. They clean, build and repair people’s homes when they see the need. They read the Bible to people in care centers.


“When you find out Bible truth, it’s very hard not to want to live like this.” said Rosemary. “The Bible says we are supposed to go out and be disciples to the whole world. It’s become really clear in our minds that we have a mission to do right where we are. Sometimes I think I would rather be somewhere other than where we end up, but then such a blessing happens in that place I didn’t want to be, and it’s heartwarming. The blessings just pile up.” 


“The Lord sends us, shows us, and puts people in our lives ,” said Doug. “No one is safe from me telling them about Jesus.”


Leslie's Discovery

WA Senior Leslie Diaz with VBS kids Maurice, Marcus, and Sharice (left to right)  

Senior Leslie Diaz has always wanted to change the world—to make a big difference for a lot of people. But Wisconsin Academy’s senior mission project this spring changed her mind about that. 


“I was super excited to go on this trip,” said Leslie, a first-year senior from Chicago. “It’s always been in my heart to do a mission project.”  This year, the senior class’s destination was the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. While there, they built a porch with a ramp for a lady who could no longer manage the steps to her trailer, put up a new barbed wire fence around the mission property, chopped wood, held a nightly VBS, assisted with an evangelistic series, passed out literature in the community, and helped out wherever needed. 


Leslie helped with the VBS program. Each evening, fifteen to twenty kids age 4-14 were dropped off by their parents for the hour-long program in the lower lever of the church building. On the first night , Leslie met a very quiet 13-year-old named Maurice. “One of my friends told me I should go and talk to him,” she said. “So I took that as my mission to get him to talk. I didn’t know how to start a conversation with him. I was thinking about trying to put myself in his position. He finally told me his name.” 


Some nights, when Maurice didn’t come in for the program, Leslie went out and found him in his mom’s van and personally invited him in. He was really upset over some things that had happened at home. “One of the church ladies told us about the problems on the reservation. About a month before we arrived, thirteen girls made a pact to commit suicide. Then two weeks before we arrived, a 6-year-old had committed suicide. Suicide is really big on the reservation. When I saw Maurice really upset, it concerned me. It was breaking my heart to see that a lot of these kids couldn’t see a way out. It seemed the only way out they saw was through suicide.”


So Leslie made a point of showing God’s love to Maurice. “I talked to Maurice about God and his worth to God. I told him that he was created and loved by God and to keep growing and be himself.” Each evening as the seniors gathered for prayer, Leslie and several of her friends prayed for Maurice. 


“What people really need is Jesus,” said Beth Strangstalien, a senior from  Waunakee. “They need hope. And we don’t have hope without Jesus. We need to go give them hope, to show them how to get that hope. If we want Jesus to come back, we’re going to have to reach these people, too, and not be afraid.”


As the week drew to a close, and the projects were finished, the time came to leave. “It was really hard saying goodbye to everybody there,” said Leslie. “I do feel we made a difference. When I left, Maurice said he would miss me. I felt like we at least planted a seed. It feels great to know that Maurice knows a little more of God’s love and hope than he did before I met him. Maurice and I still keep in contact. I try and call him every Friday and pray with him.” 


 “Ever since I was little, I’ve always had this idea that I wanted to change the world,” continued Leslie, who plans to continue her education at Southern Adventist University this fall. “This trip changed my view on that. Now I know that I might not be able to change the whole world, but helping to change one person’s life can be so meaningful.”


Nestor Soriano Ordained June 13, 2015
Nestor Soriano and his wife Katherine.

1982-2002: I was born into a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) family. My great-grandmother, one of the first SDA’s in my family tree, lived with my family for most of my childhood and played a pivotal role in my spiritual development. I attended North Shore Junior Academy from Kindergarten to 10th grade. In the fifth grade, I decided to be baptized. 


2002: I drifted from God during my teenage years. Then two old friends came to my home one evening and shared how Jesus radically changed their lives. They invited me to a series of  revival meetings. While attending those meetings, I fell in love with Jesus, and was born again.


2003-2004: I took a break from school and worked as a full-time literature evangelist in Chicago. My faith and trust in the Lord skyrocketed. Attending an evangelistic series I was re-baptized in the winter of 2003. 


2005-2007:  In the spring of 2005, I returned to school at Andrews University. I intended to study business, but sensing God’s call to study religion, I switched majors shortly thereafter.  I joined a team of students to preach an evangelistic series in Zimbabwe, Africa, and was assigned to preach in an SDA elementary and high school. Exactly 100 young people were baptized at those meetings. I began to sense God’s call to gospel ministry. During my senior year I served as the Religious Vice-President for the Student Association. While I was a student, I gave Bible studies to two young people and had the privilege of witnessing their baptisms before graduating with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Religion in 2007.


2007-2010: I was invited by the Wisconsin Conference to serve as a youth and associate pastor in Madison. I accepted the call and served alongside Pastor William Ochs at Madison East Church. It was here that God’s call to gospel ministry became clear to me. I ministered to youth of all ages. I gave baptismal Bible studies to students at our church school (Three Angels Christian School). I also preached my second evangelistic series in the spring of 2010.


I became friends with several Adventist students and we started an Adventist club at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The students planned and held events and led Friday night Bible studies. After giving Bible studies I had the privilege of baptizing four students. 


I first met Katherine in 2007 while she was a student at the university. She was a committed SDA Christian and supportive leader and we enjoyed serving together in the public campus ministry and church. We began our relationship in 2009. She moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan for work in the summer of 2010. Fortunately, I moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan (about 100 miles away from Grand Rapids) to study at the seminary a few months later. 


2010-2013: The Wisconsin Conference sponsored me as a student at the Andrews University Theological Seminary. I served alongside Pastor Dan Rachor as a student intern pastor in two churches (Wyoming and Bauer SDA churches) in the Grand Rapids area. Katherine and I gave Bible studies to a middle school student by the name of Kimberly. She was baptized in January of 2012. During my last semester of seminary in 2013, I preached in an evangelistic series in Grand Rapids. About 10 people made decisions to be baptized at those meetings. 


2013-Present: I was invited to pastor in a four-church district in the Portage area of Wisconsin and began in May of 2013. Katherine and I enjoyed serving together in ministry. We also sensed God’s leading in our relationship. On July 7, 2013, we became husband and wife.


For the past two years, Katherine and I have had the opportunity to serve in the Portage District. We love our members and are blessed by their love, support, and commitment to God. Katherine and I are committed to God’s call in our lives. May His grace sustain us, and may we be found faithful when Jesus comes again. 




Myoung Kwon to be Ordained June 13, 2015

Myoung Kwon, wife Hye Mi and daughter Sebin.

I am a preacher’s kid. When Mom married Dad, she had a medical condition that would prevent her from having children. Even so, Mom did get pregnant, but due to her medical conditions, the health provider recommend not giving birth. My parents were determined to keep the child. Mom went into the mountains to be in nature and pray during her whole time of pregnancy. While she was praying, she made a vow in a similar way that Hannah made for her son Samuel. Mom prayed that she would raise her first child to become a pastor. Thus, I was born. 


When I finished high school it seemed obvious to me I should take Theology at Sahmyook University in Korea. However, during my freshman and sophomore years there, I began to question whether it was my choice to become a pastor or if it was simply my parent’s choice and influence. I was confused, but did not know what I really wanted to do if I didn’t become a pastor.


After my sophomore year, it was time for me to join the Korean Army. Two years are mandatory for all Korean men. I wanted to take a break before going to the army. I needed an excuse so I could get permission from Dad to take a break, so I told him I wanted to be a Bible worker. God led me to Melbourne, Australia, and the few months of experience I had there changed me. I learned the joy of sharing Jesus and saving souls for Jesus. I witnessed secular people being totally changed when they accepted Jesus. I couldn’t believe it. This practical experience during my short time in Australia taught me more than I ever learned in my two years of college classes.


This was truly an eye opening experience for me. Jesus opened my eyes to see the joy of serving Him in full time ministry. It’s like that passage from Matthew 20:32-34, “So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord, that our eyes may be opened.’ So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” It was then I knew that I wanted to follow Jesus for the rest of my life,  serving Him just as the blind man did when his eyes were opened.


When I returned to Korea, I served as an assistant chaplain in the Korean Army. Once I fulfilled my military duty, I returned to school to finish my junior and senior year of college. From there, I went on to the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University to earn my M.Div.


After graduating from the Seminary in 2011, God led me to be the associate (youth) pastor at the Rosemead Korean Church in the Southern California Conference. I got to work with the teens and the youth of the church by worshiping together, having Bible studies, and just witnessing how these youth can fall in love with Jesus and be changed by Jesus for the better. In the fall of 2013, God called me to serve in the Superior District of Wisconsin Conference. 


In the meantime, God allowed me a suitable wife to do ministry with. Hye Mi is more than what I could have ever asked for, and I am thankful to her for her love and commitment to ministry. In addition, God has given a beautiful addition to our family, our daughter, Sebin.


I am encouraged by the words of Paul that he wrote for Timothy: “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:2,5


Pastor Nate Skaife to be Ordained May 2, 2015


Pastor Nate will be ordained on Sabbath, May 2 at 2:30 pm in the Waukesha Community Seventh-day Adventist Church. Please consider attending to showing your support for him and celebrate God’s leading in his life and ministry. The Waukesha Church’s address is: 21380 W. Cleveland Ave. New Berlin WI 53146. There will be refreshments after the service.
I grew up going to a Lutheran church with my family in Janesville, WI. Like many young people, I strayed from church in my teenage years and early twenties.

A time came in my life that decided that I needed to have God in my life. I started attending many different churches looking for one that was consistent in their beliefs and followed the Bible as the basis of their faith. After attending many churches in different denominations, I temporarily gave up seeking God because I was not comfortable with non biblical teachings or how they conducted themselves during the worship services.

One day, a friend of a friend asked me if I would be interested in attending her church. I said that I was willing to check it out. She then told me that they worship on Saturday and gave me the name of the church, address, and the start time. I enjoyed coming to the Janesville, Seventh-day Adventist Church because of the biblically based sermons and the fellowship that came with it. Immediately, I started using my construction background to help maintain the church and it’s grounds. I was baptized later that year in 2002.

The Lord continued to draw me closer to Him and I became more involved leading Bible studies, prayer groups, Sabbath school and started giving a few sermons. In 2005 I started attending the lay pastor program in Wisconsin. It was a blessing to me to learn how to be a better servant to effectively minister to those around me. In the fall of 2007, God impressed me while I was building a house for one of my customers that God had a better and more important
work for me to do than building houses. That night I enrolled in the Theology department at Andrews University so I could enter full time ministry.

Upon completing my undergraduate degree in the spring of 2011, God opened the door for me to come back to Wisconsin to serve as an associate pastor in the Milwaukee area. After serving for almost two years, I was given a two church district to pastor and God continues to bless and multiply my ministry. I am so excited that I have the privilege of shepherding part of God’s flock.

Passions in ministry
I believe that one of the most important things that a pastor can do is to train and equip members for ministry (Eph 4:11-13). I have also noticed that members feel most ministered to when they are involved in ministry and have the opportunities to share how God is moving in their lives. It is fun to partner with members individually to see where they are at spiritually and what their passions are so we can help them to grow in Christ to minister where God is leading them. I have seen God transform many lives at the three churches that I have had the privilege of serving in thus far. One on one work is important, but it is important to work with groups of people at the same time whether teaching how to dig deeper in the Bible or trainings on different topics of ministry.

I am grateful that I am now able to co-teach the lay pastor program so that I can share what I have learned and experienced so people across the state of Wisconsin are better equipped for ministry. It excites me to see how God is moving them and what is accomplished in His name!

I am also passionate about sharing the Gospel! I love giving personal Bible studies as well as conducting evangelistic series. To see God move in people lives is one of the most exciting things to me. I love seeing how lives are transformed in Jesus as we uncover Bible truths that not only affect their mind, but their hearts. It is exciting to see people when learning about God have victory over destructive habits and more importantly, make eternal decisions.

It brings joy to my heart and excitement that energizes me to continue in this awesome work. I like bringing others with me as I study with people so they can experience the same thing and do it themselves.


God was Our Realitor


David and Noi Lopez, members of the Madison Community Adventist Church, are pictured above with their daughter, Dara Rasami Lopez Sinouthasy. David works for the state of Wisconsin, and Noi works as a full time mother. They recently moved to the Madison area from Florida.
Our pastor, Abraham Swamidass, preached a sermon about how all the riches belong to God and what would we do if God entrusted us with additional resources. During this time unfortunate events forced us to sell our house in a hurry. My wife and I talked about Pastor Swamidass’ sermon and decided that we would make God our partner.

We prayed about the house and came up with a specific amount we needed in order to pay our debt and prepare for the uncertain future that we were going to face. We promised God to return to Him any amount over the part that we needed to pay our bills.

We could not afford to put money into fixing the house or work with a realtor. The house was in reasonable condition and we put it on the market in July 2014. Shortly after we listed our house, we found out that two of our neighbors were planning to sell their houses; their houses are nicer. We prayed about it and let God be our realtor. We had a few showings but no offers. In August 2014, we received a very low offer. Accepting the offer would’ve meant that there would be no money left for the church other than tithing. My wife said, “What if it is the only offer we get?” I reassured her that our prayers would be answered. I was equally worried, but we decided that we would remain firm on our trust in God.

In September 2014, we accepted an offer for the price we had in mind. The accepted offer met our needs and left more than twice what tithing would have been for the church. The day after we accepted the offer, a neighbor put his house on the market. If this had taken place just a few days before we would have lost the sale to our neighbor.

Accepting an offer that met our needs and request would have been a great end to the story, but God had more in store for us. A couple of weeks later, the buyer made a counter offer to their original offer. The buyer wanted to offer us more money for our house. We were surprised, but gladly accepted the new offer from the same buyer.

The new offer not only helped us, but also helped our neighbors. By increasing the sale price of our house, our neighbors were able to ask for more money for their houses, and we were able to give more to God.
We were reassured of something we already knew. God is faithful and his promises are eternal. We still face an uncertain future, but we trust that God will continue to provide for us.


Feature: Nothing I'd Rather Do
By Pieter Damsteegt, Communication Intern at LUC


Jonathan Wheeler, member of the Sheboygan SDA Church in Wisconsin, iis  currently a student at Andrews University.
Jonathan Wheeler, a third-year, triple-major student at Andrews University, recently returned from a student missions assignment in Lebanon.  “When I went there, I was expecting it to be like very ‘third-worldy,’” he remembers. When he arrived, Jonathan found Lebanon actually was more materialistic than America. It was quite a shock.
He decided to go to Beirut after talking to his Greek professor. (Yes, Jonathan was taking Greek as a side to the math, physics and engineering he already was taking. Jonathan decided to add Greek after some discussions about the Bible with family members.) His Greek professor mentioned he should consider teaching computers at the Seventh-day Adventist university in Lebanon. When this was suggested, it was as if all the aspects Jonathan was considering linked together and fell into place. “At that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit leading from then on to get me into it,” he said.
Jonathan ended up teaching, from September until June of last year, at Bouchrieh Adventist Secondary School, located just down the hill from Middle East University, the Adventist higher education school in Lebanon. He taught math for 7th and 8th grades and Bible for 7th grade. Jonathan also helped with chapels and used his background in computers to set up databases for the school.
When discussing his overall experience, Jonathan said, “It gave me a chance to really sit down in my dorm room and journal a lot of times, and find out who I was. ... Like, 100 percent of time management was up to me, so it gave me a huge opportunity to find out who I am socially, academically, spiritually, physically. I came back with a much better idea of who Jonathan Wheeler is.”
In reflection, he believes “that one of the most fulfilling things to do with your life is to be a missionary.” Jonathan said, about his mission environment, “All of my fundamental needs are being handled by God. And I’m surrounded by people that are motivated — who are committed and likewise are feeling fulfilled with life. ... I realize, Wow! There is no other thing I would rather do in the world.”
Jonathan looks forward to possible mission opportunities after graduation and further studies abroad. He stays involved with departmental Bible studies and a local Pathfinder club.

Just In Time!


Terri Saelee is the Adventist refugee and immigrant ministries coordinator for the North American Division. She lives with her husband, Pastor Ko Saelee and three children in Rio, WI.
I stopped by Wal-Mart this afternoon to pick up a few things on my way home, and when I got back to the car, I noticed my lights were on, but very dim. I had evidently turned them on in the dark, rainy weather, and now the car wouldn’t start. The engine wouldn’t even turn over.

Thankfully, my husband had equipped the car with jumper cables, so I unwound them, praying that, if it was God’s will, someone would be willing to help me before too long. I was surrounded by parked cars, so I wasn’t sure just how someone would get close enough to jump start my car, unless they were parked nearby. I got out and lifted the hood, holding the jumper cables.
About that time, the driver just to the left of the car directly in front of and facing mine came out of the store and quickly hopped in and left. The jumper cables might not have reached anyway, I told myself.

I had noticed that there were two people sitting in passenger seats in the car to my right, so I went over and asked if they could help me, but the young woman in the front seat told me her mother was in the store. Her brother, who appeared to be in his early twenties, just looked at me, suspiciously, from the back seat. I guessed that probably, if they had really wanted to help, they could have just pulled the latch from the inside and I could have opened the hood and hooked up the jumper cables myself, but they didn’t seem too excited about the idea of helping this stranger, so I didn’t want to push it.

Just then, the driver of the car to their right got in her car. I approached her car window to ask her if she would give me a jump start. She intently avoided eye contact as long as she could, then opened her window just wide enough to tell me she had to go.

I went back to my car and hung the jumper cables on the corner of the raised hood, wondering what to do. I noticed that there was now an empty parking space to the left of my car. Just then, a pick-up truck pulled up and parked in that spot. To my surprise, the driver popped his hood almost before he came to a stop! He had obviously assessed the situation and was already planning to help. As he got out, I didn’t even have to ask for help. He came around the front of his truck commenting that it was just perfect that his battery was on the right side, (the side closest to my car).

As he took the jumper cables and connected them as quickly and easily as if he were a mechanic, I thanked him, and told him, “This is an answer to prayer!” His response was as quick and natural as his willingness to help. He replied, “God works in marvelous ways.” He evidently believed in God too.

He said I could probably go ahead and try starting it. I did, and it started immediately. As he removed the jumper cables for me, he reminded me to keep the car running for at least ten minutes to make sure the battery was charged up. I asked if I could give him something. He extended his hand. “How about this?” he asked, as he gave me a hearty handshake.

I was so thankful, I said, “God bless you!” “God bless you too!” he said. And I got in my car and breathed a prayer of thanks for the answer to prayer.

He turned off his pick-up truck and started to walk behind my car to go into the store. Then he came back around to my window and commented that if I knew any high school age kids, they were having open registration at Wisconsin Academy.
“Wisconsin Academy?” I exclaimed in surprise.
He answered my unspoken question. “I am the new History teacher there this year.”
Praise the Lord for teachers who live their faith on campus and off!


Wisconsin Conference 2014 Constituency Session Report


Click on image for expanded slide show.  
The 36th Constituency Session of the Wisconsin Conference of Seventh-day Adventists convened at 10:00 a.m. on October 5, 2014, at Wisconsin Academy Church in Columbus, Wisconsin.
Mike Edge, president of the Wisconsin Conference, shared in the morning devotional that of the 5.7 million people living in Wisconsin, 7,531 are Seventh-day Adventists. That means there is one Adventist for every 763 people in Wisconsin. "We live in a mission field," said President Edge, "and we are called to shine for Christ in this dark world."
Brian Stephan, executive secretary/treasurer of the Wisconsin Conference shared a financial report emphasizing although we are on a tight budget, members have been extremely faithful and generous with the Wisconsin Budget and World Mission offerings.
Roger Dunder, Wisconsin Academy principal spoke to the many changes at the school including faculty, enrollment, finances and academics. While finances continue to be a challenge, major steps are being taken to place the school on solid ground. There are currently 88 students at the academy. "God has blessed us, and I've seen many miracles happen here recently," said Principal Dunder.
Jerry and Michelle Martin, shared the mission, needs and progress of the Wisconsin Academy farm, and Lighthouse Thrift Store. The store sales continue to increase. The store needs include walls to close in the store portion of the warehouse before winter, repairs to the roof, and more donated items to sell in the store. The farm is in need of a larger tractor and another high-tunnel in which to plant raspberries.
Floyd Brock and Brian Stephan gave an update on the need for a new septic system at Wisconsin Academy. The current system was built in 1947, and is the only system of its kind still in existence in Wisconsin. The Department of Natural Resources is requiring we have the system replaced within five years. Several options are currently being looked at including building our own system onsite, or hooking-up to the city of Columbus utilities. When sufficient information comes in, and if a loan of over 7% of the current net tithe is needed, another constituency session will be called to make a decision.
New goals were voted for this next quadrennial as follows:
(Also see Mission, Vision, & Core Values)

1,200 baptisms
8,000 members
20% attendance growth
100 student increase
4 new K-10 schools
8 new church plants
The six current administrative officers and department directors re-elected to serve for another four-year term are: Mike Edge, president; Brian Stephan, executive secretary/treasurer; Juanita Edge; communication director; Greg Taylor, youth director; James Fox, ministerial director; and Linda Rosen, education superintendent.


Wisconsin Conference 2014 Constituency Session


The Wisconsin Conference Office building located in Fall River, Wisconsin.
On October 5, 2014, Wisconsin Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will hold its quadrennial constituency session at the Wisconsin Academy Church. The following is an interview with Conference President Mike Edge, regarding this upcoming session.

Lamp Letter: What is a constituency session?

Edge: A constituency session is a meeting of delegates from every church in our conference. These delegates gather to: evaluate and vote the priorities, goals, and major initiatives of the conference, vote the organizing and disbanding of churches, and elect conference officers and departmental directors. Delegates may speak to the items presented, and their input helps shape the direction of the conference for the next four years.

Lamp Letter: What are some of the items that will be presented?

Edge: Statistical and financial reports covering the past four years will be shared. The Wisconsin Academy principal will give a report on current issues. The delegates will be voting on the proposed conference goals for the next four years. Also a presentation and recommendations will be made regarding the needed new sewer system for Wisconsin Academy.

Lamp Letter: How are delegates chosen?

Edge: Each Wisconsin Adventist church elects one or more delegates, based on membership, from among their own church members to attend. Each individual is chosen to speak for and vote on behalf of not only their local church, but for all Wisconsin members. These delegates are known at the session as regular delegates, and have the right to speak and vote.

Lamp Letter: Who else attends the session?

Edge: All conference credentialed and licensed employees, such as pastors, teachers, and all members of the Wisconsin Conference executive committee may attend. A limited number of Lake Union Conference executive committee, North American Division, and General Conference Executive Committee members are also invited. These delegates, known as delegates-at-large, serve due to their position and responsibilities. They are also voting members.

Lamp Letter: Can anyone attend the session?

Edge: Yes, anyone may attend, but only delegates have voice and vote at the session.

Lamp Letter: Who are the delegates this year?

Edge: You will find a list of over 300 delegates elected to serve at this session on the Wisconsin Conference website constituency delegate page.

Lamp Letter: How are the conference officers and departmental directors chosen?

Edge: The Wisconsin Conference Nominating Committee, elected at our last constituency meeting, evaluates the current officers and directors and nominates a slate of candidates to be considered for service over the next four years. This happens a few weeks prior to the October constituency session. The Lake Union Conference president, Don Livesay, chairs the meeting. Unlike the current political process, no campaigning is done. One name for each position is presented at the session. It is the responsibility of the delegates to vote the recommendation of each individual nominated, or to ask the nominating committee to come back with another name for that position. This Nominating Committee also nominates the members of our Wisconsin Executive Committee, and the Constitution and By-laws Committee, for the delegates approval.

Lamp Letter: How can I be involved if I am not able to attend the session?

Edge: Each member of the Wisconsin Conference has the privilege of sharing their thoughts with their own church-elected delegates prior to the constituency session. More importantly, however, is that each of us prays for the Holy Spirit to fill the delegates and that every aspect of the meeting will be blessed by God’s leading.

Click here to view the administration and department leaders report booklet. To visit with someone regarding the upcoming constituency session, President Mike Edge or Treasurer Brian Stephan may be contacted at 920-484-6555.


Good News From Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee


Birds-eye-view of Pathfinders gathering for the nightly evening program at the International Pathfinder Camporee held in Oshkosh, WI, August  11-16, 2014.

Below is an email sent to the local newspaper at Oshkosh by one of the offsite activity providers. Thank you to our Seventh-day Adventist youth for their witness to Jesus!

"To the Northwestern Editorial Staff:

Please allow me to publicly share one of a very few equally remarkable weeks in my life of 52 years---3 full days of taking our wonderful guests out sailing on our beautiful lakefront last week--the young people attending the Pathfinder Camporee from around the nation and around the globe.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week, I, along with other staff from our community sailing group, had not only the good fortune to be out on Lake Winnebago with these incredible young people, but in a more profound way, I had the chance to spend three days with high school-aged kids who were (to a person)--polite, engaged, kind, fun, great conversationalists, courageous, thankful for the chance to be sailing on our waters, and thankful to be in our fair city.

I'm writing as the experience of those days was so moving--not a harsh word, no utterances of profanity, sexual innuendos, no put-downs or ill-wishes. The utter example left with us by these young people--"Let your life (actions, words, behaviors) speak, using words when necessary," was the subject of conversation in our family nightly. As an active Catholic, I found the case for whatever it is within 7th-Day Adventism which brings these youth to this state is to be undeniably compelling. Kids from Newark, Los Angeles, Houston, Baltimore, Dallas, Alberta, Romania, Kenya, Chile....all seemingly from the same springboard with regard to this life---compassion. love, service. In the end, the best in Christianity.

Thank you to my new friends for a remarkable, memorable, and life-changing experience during your stay with us here in Oshkosh."

Steve Eliasen
International Youth Sailing/Oshkosh


Sabbath at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee


Click on image above for expanded slide show.  
A few highlights from today:
This morning at least four Wisconsin Pathfinder leaders were invested as Master Guides, and one received the Pathfinder Leadership Award.
Several Wisconsin Pathfinders sang in the Oshkosh international choir this morning.
Greg Taylor was on bathroom patrol last night and to pass the time brought his guitar and made up songs about bathroom lines and keeping bathrooms clean. It was quite a hit.
Here are a few comments of some Wisconsin Pathfinder's favorite things at Oshkosh 2014:
"The theme song and Ashpanez"
The Madison Mustang girls
"Day in Review."

Kasandra Gonzalez of Mensajeros de Paz
"Being able to see all the international people."
Belle Winkie of Coulee Region
"Chico the Lion."
Sofia Minett of Coulee Region
"Pastor Sam and the play."
Adeline Minett of Coulee Region
"Hanging out with friends."
Asa Quartullo of MASH
"Meeting people from other countries, trading pins and learning about the different cultures."
Josh Guerrero of MASH


Friday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee


Click on image above for expanded slide show.  
Friday at Oshkosh began with Jean-Marcel Clouzet, pastor of the Wisconsin Academy Church presenting Wisconsin Conference morning worship.

A big event today was our Pathfinders marching in the parade.

Last evening they performed the color-guard flag lowering for the Oshkosh camporee.


Thursday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee


Click on image above for expanded slide show.  
A few things of note today include:

Dale Ziegele shared morning worship with Wisconsin Pathfinders this morning. He is a former youth director in Wisconsin Conference. He served in Wisconsin from 1978 to 2000.

Today we took a group picture of our past three youth directors, Dale Ziegele, Mike Edge, and Greg Taylor. Together they represent the past 36 years of Wisconsin Conference leadership.

Several Pathfinders earned the prayer pen today by getting acquainted with someone they didn't know and praying with them.

The Monroe Trailblazer club is hosting an international club from Australia. They call themselves the Southlake's Pathfinder Club.

Once again Pathfinders earned honors, did community service projects and enjoyed pin trading.

Here are the questions from tonight's evening program.

1. What is another name for the Babylonians?
2. What did metals of the statue represent?
3. How tall was the statue in Daniel chapter 3?
4. Who wrote Daniel Chapter 4

Answers: 1) Chaldeans  2) Kingdoms  3) 90 feet  4) Nebuchadnezzar


Wednesday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee

Click on image above for expanded slide show.  
Wisconsin Pathfinders began today in joint worship with Mike Edge, their conference president, at  8:00 am. Also, each club attending Oshkosh was given a shofar horn and instructed to blow it three times a day, 9 am, 12 noon, and 3 pm, calling their Pathfinders to pray as Daniel did.

One highlight today was that two Wisconsin Pathfinders were baptized, Korey Chaffee of Wisconsin Academy Church, and Chelsea Brunner of the  Chippewa Valley  Church.  Praise the Lord!

Another highlight was the Milwaukee Central Spanish Leones Pathfinder Club entered the marching and drill competition and received third place in their category section. They did very well and we are all proud of them.

A few other events Wisconsin Pathfinders enjoyed today were playing nine-square and soccer, praying with other Pathfinders and then receiving a free prayer pin, handing out literature in the community, and earning honors. Adventure club kids could even earn awards at a special tent for them, which is a first for the international camporee.

Continue to pray that God's Spirit will be on the campgrounds, drawing hearts to Him.


Tuesday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee


Click on image above for expanded slide show.
It was a rainy night and mud is everywhere, but at noon the camporee activities began. Pin trading, learning honors, meeting friends and enjoying activities together filled the afternoon.

It was fun to see so many people from Wisconsin working in booths and making this a fun experience for everyone.  Even previous Wisconsin youth director Dale Ziegele was helping out.

Wisconsin Academy had a booth which was quite popular. They are giving out devotional books written by WA students, have a daily drawing for $20 if you provide your name and email, and if you answer a history question correctly, like, "What year did America become a country?,"  you receive a chocolate mint.

Each evening there are quiz questions at the evening program. See how you do on tonight's questions.

1. Where was Babylon located?
2. How many miles did Daniel have to walk from Jerusalem to Babylon?
3. How long is a cubit?
4. From what tribe of Israel was Daniel from?

Answers: 1) Iraq   2)   900 miles 3) 18 inches   4) Judah


Monday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee


Click on image above for expanded slide show .  
Pathfinder clubs have been arriving all day and into the evening. Several Wisconsin clubs are already set up and ready for the activities that begin tomorrow at noon. Greg Taylor, Pathfinder director of the Wisconsin Conference said,  "We're expecting 410 Pathfinders from Wisconsin." Total attendance is expected to be around 48,000.

The Sheboygan Shepherds Pathfinder Club is hosting an international club of 14 people from United Arab Emirates. "It is fun hosting," said club staff member Carroll Wheeler. "We help them adjust to the area, feed them, and enjoy their company. We hosted an international club last camporee, also, and it's good for the kids."

First year Pathfinder Savannah Mencheski of the Living Faith Crusaders Club said, "I auditioned by video to be in the camporee choir on Sabbath and was accepted." She is looking forward to performing with hundreds of  Pathfinders from around the world.

Official Forever Faithful Camporee activities begin tomorrow, Tuesday, at noon.

Below is a schedule of evening program times that will be live streamed on  Hope Channel and  Pathfinder Radio.

Tuesday, August 12

  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Wednesday, August 13

  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Thursday, August 14

  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Friday, August 15

  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Sabbath, August 16

  • 9:30 - 10:30 AM (Central Time) / 10:00 - 11:30 AM (Eastern Time)
  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)


Wisconsin Pathfinders go to Oshkosh Camporee
As thousands of Pathfinders converge on OshKosh for the 2014 Forever Faithful International Camporee, the Wisconsin Conference communication department will be there too. We will be on the grounds, along with 48,000 Pathfinders, from August 11-16 to capture the story for those at home.

Daily reports of our Wisconsin clubs and kids will be posted on the front page of the Wisconsin Conference website, and linked from the conference Facebook page. Below is a schedule of evening program times that will be live streamed on  Hope Channel and  Pathfinder Radio.

Tuesday, August 12

  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Wednesday, August 13

  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Thursday, August 14

  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Friday, August 15

  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Sabbath, August 16

  • 9:30 - 10:30 AM (Central Time) / 10:00 - 11:30 AM (Eastern Time)
  • 8:00 - 9:30 PM (Central Time) / 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Eastern Time)

Apple Valley Natural Foods Open in Fall River


Apple Valley Natural Foods has asked Marie Brock to be the manager of their new Wisconsin branch. Marie has been working for the Wisconsin Pacific Press Adventist Book Center for the past two years. "I have a growing interest in small business," said Marie. "I plan to take some business classes this fall."

Apple Valley Natural Foods opened the first part of April, 2014, on the lower level of the Wisconsin Conference office building in Fall River, Wisconsin. An Adventist Book Center is also in the lower level space. These stores fill the void left after the closing of the Pacific Press ABC.

Apple Valley carries a full variety of natural bulk foods, vitamins, bakery and vegetarian meat products. Sale flyers are posted monthly on their webside at avnf.com. The ABC carries many of the same books and church supplies Wisconsin Conference members have come to enjoy and rely on.

Churches needing to order or change their Sabbath school quarterly supplies will need to call the Michigan ABC in Berrien Springs, MI, at 877-227-4800. The ABC has accounts set up for each church and school in Wisconsin. 

Apple Valley will also be managing the food and book store during camp meeting.

Marie Brock has been supervising the Pacific Press ABC for the past few months. "I'm honored that Apple Valley asked me to be the manager of their new store in Wisconsin," she says. "I pray that God will work through me as I continue to serve the customers in our community and throughout the conference."

Toll-free phone orders and on-line orders for Wisconsin members will not noticeably change, and quarterly Sabbath scool supplies will still be shipped directly from the presses. Every Wisconsin church and school automatically has an account for phone orders, and in-store charge accounts for all ABC and Apple Valley purchases.

The store hours are:

Sunday:                             12:00pm - 6:00pm
Monday-Wednesday:          10:00am - 6:00pm
Thursday:                           10:00am - 7:00pm
Friday:                               10:00am - 4:00pm (3:00 pm in winter)

Apple Valley/Wisconsin ABC phone: 920-484-3699.


Maly Vang is a junior on the campus of Wisconsin Academy (W.A.). She is the first Christian believer in her family, and was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church by W.A. Chaplain Jimmy Carter, on April 12, 2013.

I was not raised a Christian,” said Maly, one of 10 children born into a dedicated Animist Hmong family living in Milwaukee. “Looking back, all that happened in the past few years was kinda crazy. But now I know God was leading in everything.”

Maly’s sister and cousin met a friendly lady walking a dog in the park one day. They stopped to pet the dog and visited for 10-15 minutes. At one point Maly’s sister expressed her desire to go camping, as she had never done that. The friendly lady, Nelda Womack of Milwaukee Central Church, offered to send them to summer camp and the girls got excited. “When they came home and told us they had given our address to a complete stranger, we thought they were crazy,” said Maly. “She could have been some psycho lady. But we figured we would never hear from her.”

Soon, however, the lady did show up with food and clothes for the family and an offer to send the kids to camp for a week. The whole camping idea seemed strange to Maly’s parents, and they felt the girls were too young. However, Nelda Womack didn’t stop coming. Over the next year she visited several times, bringing needed items for the family, and even having them over to her home, which wasn’t far away. The next year, when Nelda offered to send the girls to camp again, Maly’s parents said yes.

Arriving at Camp Wakonda, Maly didn’t know what to expect. Standing in the registration line, she made eye contact several times with a girl ahead of her in line. That girl, Karin Sokolies, ended up in the same cabin as Maly and they soon became best friends. “I could ask Karin anything,” said Maly, “about vespers, Sabbath, anything.”

As Maly got involved in camp activities and listened to the worships and evening programs, she found herself believing what she heard about this God. “It made a very big impact on me,” said Maly. “Everything just came together and I believed it.”

After camp Maly thought, “I’ll never see these people again.” Then Nelda invited Maly to visit church and what a surprise awaited her. Karin, her best friend from camp was there!

Maly visited church as often as she could and attended camp every summer. One summer before high school, her counselor, Lisa Cunningham, told stories of what it was like at Wisconsin Academy. “I knew I probably couldn’t go,” said Maly, “and my parents would never agree, but I thought it would be so cool.”
A few weeks before Maly’s freshman year she received a letter inviting her to come to W.A.; she suddenly felt very strongly that God wanted her to go. Nelda supported her idea, and after many prayers and a series of miracles, Maly found herself enrolled at W.A.
The next summer at camp, when Pastor Greg Taylor made a call to accept Jesus on Friday night, Maly, with tears in her eyes, walked up front. “I wanted more than anything to give my heart to Jesus,” she said.
Back at W.A. again, Maly met regularly with chaplain Jimmy Carter for Bible studies. She thought of waiting until age 18 to be baptized, fearing her parents would not understand this decision. “But when the studies ended,” said Maly, “I felt God telling me to not wait any longer. We picked a date, April 12, 2013, and after a lot of prayer, my parents agreed. My mom and four sisters came to my baptism.”
“I am the first and only Adventist in my family at this point,” says Maly. “I feel so blessed. It seems God has always put the right people in my life at the right time.”
Maly’s favorite verse in the Bible is Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


NuLifeSong Outreach Cafe Opens in Wausau
Rowell Puedivan, pastor of the Wausau  church district, has long envisioned  opening an all-inclusive missional café in  Wausau. This dream was realized this past May, 2013. “I believe we have a lot to offer people who wouldn’t ordinarily step into a  church,” said Pastor Puedivan. 

NuLifeSong Outreach Café, a ministry of the Antigo, Merrill, and Wausau churches, is dedicated to reaching the unreached for Jesus. This evolving church plant café currently offers a casual Saturday evening open mic for the musically minded, live Christ-centered entertainment, and an informal environment where people are encouraged to interact freely. 

The café offers tutoring classes, math and Spanish lessons, and English as a second language sessions. Pastor Puedivan and his wife Eldinh, plan to offer guitar and keyboard lessons soon, with future counseling, coaching, and other seminars planned.

Since opening, NuLifeSong Outreach Café has seen a steady stream of 25-40 individuals come each session and enjoy the music, programs and fellowship. Pastor Puedivan encourages anyone to come and see what this NuLifeSong Café is all about. “People can come and go as they please,“ says Pastor Puedian, “There are no strings attached!”

NuLifeSong Outreach Café is located at 217 Scott St. Suite B, between Chi Chi’s Gift Shop and Inner Sleeve Records. They are open Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. Find NuLifeSong Outreach Café on Facebook, or call Pastor Puedivan at 715-297-8081.

Diana Spieth
Wausau SDA Church
Living the Mission

Dr. Abraham Swamidass and his wife, Joan, have been married 27 years. Their children left to right in above picture are: Rajesh, Ravi, and Sanjay. Swamidass is a certified family life educator and dynamic seminar presenter.
 Dr. Abraham Swamidass, family ministries coordinator for the Wisconsin Conference, wrote the following article which was published in the February, 2013, issue of the Lake Union Herald. In this article, Swamidass, who is also pastor of the Madison Community, Monroe, and Evansville churches, shares important aspects in helping children become more like Jesus. It is well worth the time reading.

According to Romans 8:29, God's dream for all of us, including our children, is to conform us to the image of His Son. Our goal as parents is to help each one of our children to become like Jesus. This goal has nothing to do with hairstyles and dress code. Neither is it about rigidly observing a set of rules. Our task is higher and more sacred than that. In fact, it will require God's help. The point is for our children to be kind like Jesus, disciplined like Jesus, and others-centered like Jesus — not because they have to, but because they love Jesus and want to be like Him. How, then, can we, as stewards, help our children become like Jesus? How can we cooperate with God in such a way that His dream for our children can become reality? There are three specific things we can do.

Teach the beautiful, simple plan of God's salvation
Teach your children that salvation is a gift from God and that it cannot be earned by good behaviors. But make sure they understand that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was costly, and that they should not condone sin. Make sure they understand that God's grace should never be trampled underfoot or His forgiveness taken lightly. Always underscore the goodness and the unconditional love of God. Teach them that we are loved not because of what we are but in spite of what we are.

One of the reasons I talk so much about the goodness of God is because my mother not only taught it but also modeled it. My father walked out on us and was not home for several years, but Mom took charge of things at home. My siblings and I were not perfect kids; we made plenty of mistakes. But Mom never focused on our weaknesses nor on the problems. She always focused on the solutions. Mom constantly told us we were the best kids in the world and God has a wonderful plan for every one of His precious children. We grew up secure, knowing that my mother loved us and believed in us. She was going to stand behind us through thick and thin.

By the way, research indicates that most children get their concepts of who God is and what He is like from their fathers. If the father is mean, critical and harsh, inevitably the children will grow up with a distorted view of God. If the father is loving, kind, compassionate and just, the child will better understand God's character.

I came across an interesting statement in an article, by Robbie Low, titled "The Truth About Men and the Church." In this article, Robbie pointed out the results of a survey that took place in Switzerland. Questions were asked to determine whether a person's religious practices influenced the spiritual practices of the next generation. What the survey discovered was interesting. Here is the major result of that survey: "It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children."1

So, fathers, teach your children the beautiful, simple plan of God's salvation. Take them to church; don't send them. You have incredible spiritual influence on them.
Be Christlike
Since the goal is for children to grow up to act, look, think, live, speak and pray like Christ, the method [for adults] is to be that example for them. We can preach to our children until we are blue in the face, but if Jesus Christ is not real in our lives, He won't be in their lives either. I have discovered that good modeling is not acting. We must not pretend or show off our good behavior. If our example is going to be effective, it has to be honest.

A few years ago, after a marriage seminar, my eight-year-old son approached me and asked, "Dad, how come you don't do all that you teach in your seminar?"
Jokingly, I asked, "Did Mom tell you to ask this question?"

But I was humbled. I responded, "Son, Dad is not perfect. I am praying everyday to become more like Jesus. Would you pray for Dad to look and act a lot like Jesus?"

"Okay, Dad," he answered. It became crystal clear that children have x-ray vision. They can see right through their parents' hypocrisy. Children see through us if we pretend, so be authentic.
Authenticity is the goal, not perfection. If being Christlike causes parents to feel an enormous amount of pressure, let me encourage you. You don't have to be perfect. In fact, you couldn't pass perfection down to your children if you wanted to; they are fallen human beings, just like you and me. What you can do, however, is demonstrate how godly people handle themselves when they blow it. Let them see how you deal with failure as well as how you deal with success. You can demonstrate what it means to repent, to confess, to humbly accept responsibility for your mistakes, and to ask forgiveness. In fact, asking your child to forgive you for a mistake is one of the most powerful teaching tools we have.

It's not about having it all together; it's about living out what you believe day by day and responding appropriately when you miss the mark. It's impossible for you to be perfect for your children, but anyone can be authentic. When Jesus said that everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40 NIV), He wasn't putting a heavy burden on people in teaching or parental roles. He was giving every parent and teacher an opportunity to nurture honest, genuine disciples. You can make lots of mistakes and still raise awesome kids by showing them how God has mercy toward you and gives you hope. When children see change in their parents, it gives them hope that their failures are not final either. They grow up to be authentic human beings who are aware of their faults and embrace God's grace.
Expose your humanness. I can remember numerous times when I blew it in front of my children. My tendency was to get frustrated when they didn't follow clearly laid-out instructions. But when I began to see the effect of my reaction on them, I was compelled to repent and apologize, affirming that what I had said was appropriate, but acknowledging that I had said it in the wrong way. In time, I began to see them play out the same dynamic with me; they would take the initiative to apologize for their offenses toward me. Because I had shown them how I dealt with my failures, they began to imitate me in dealing with their own.

Ask yourself this question: Do I want my children to turn out like me? Can you honestly say that the way you live — your worship, lifestyle, prayers, devotion, habits, stewardship, generosity, love and kindness — is the way you want your children to live when they grow up? What we parents have to accept, whether we like it or not, is that there's nothing we can do to change this dynamic. It's as universal as gravity.
I think psychologist and author Carl Pickhardt had it right when he declared, "The power of parental influence comes to this: the example parents model (who and how they are) and the treatment parents give (how they choose to act and react with their child)."2

What if it's too late? What if I've already modeled many of the wrong things? Don't despair. God can take the most negative past and produce a positive future as we turn wholeheartedly to Him for help. Scripture promises, Love covers over a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8 NIV). I can't tell you how many times I went to my children, privately met with them in their bedroom, owned up to violating one of my own standards, and asked them to forgive me for the behavior I knew they'd just witnessed. My kids didn't learn how to be perfect from me, but they learned how to be real.

Our parenting is about more than getting through the stages of development. It is an offering to our children, a gift that will help them to become Christlike, and an eternal relationship with their heavenly Father.
Offer Unconditional Love. Showing unconditional love requires three things:
1) Let kids see that you love your spouse. Here's the first thing we want to show when it comes to modeling unconditional love: Parents must love one another and let their children see them express affection. My wife and I never fail to show our kids that their mom and dad not only love them but they also love each other very much. Particularly after a conflict in our relationship, we make it a point to show a proper level of affection to one another in front of the boys. We don't have to fake it — and you can't fake it either!

We want our boys to know, through our mutual affection, that God loves us unconditionally and that we should forgive each other just as in Christ God forgave us (see Ephesians 4:32).

Through the years, I've learned a lot about forgiveness — not just in my relationship with my wife but in all of my relationships, both personal and professional. But recently, I've learned that there's a big difference between reconciliation and conciliation. Reconciliation means to bring things back to the way they were. Conciliation means ending things on friendly terms.3

Today, most couples don't want reconciliation when they are offering forgiveness — they want conciliation. They want to just go ahead and end the argument without dealing with the real issues. Sadly, some even choose divorce — a form of conciliation — because things may end "friendly."4 The greatest gift parents can give their children is reconciliation. Remember God's goal for all of us, including our children, is not to conform us to an ideal but to the image of His Son.

2) Make sure your children feel  loved. This is not to say our children are always right about what they feel. However, when we focus on emotions, we say to our children, "I care how you feel. Your feelings matter to me." And when our children get this message, they feel deeply cared for. That's when they feel loved.

A few months ago, I was lying in bed and thought of a conversation I had with my son. He said he didn't feel as though I understood the pain and frustration he had gone through recently when I lost my cool with him. Actually, he reminded me that I lost my cool a few times. This was happening quite frequently, and he wondered if I really cared.

At the time, I didn't know the depth of his feelings. So before I went to sleep, I chose to walk in his shoes during the past month and experience it with my heart. So many feelings came to me; it was quite overwhelming. I felt his pain and, suddenly, understood how he could have felt. I became quite emotional.

I met with him two days later and shared what I had done, explained how I started to understand his pain, and asked him to forgive me. I believe it helped my son to know that I understand his hurt. Now if he was an adult, he would have looked at me and said, "That's all I needed from you."

James gives this counsel: But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19 NIV). I think that is especially true for parents. Children will break your rules and your heart; but when you understand their feelings, a connection is established that makes healing a lot easier.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus related to people's feelings. When they cried, He cried; when they celebrated, He celebrated with them. This doesn't mean He was controlled by people's feelings but that He understood them and identified with them. As parents, we should not be slaves to our children's feelings; but at the same time, we should not send out signals that we don't care about how they feel.

3) Love in the hard times. Loving our children unconditionally means that no matter what they are, what they do, where they go, they're still ours. A story that came across the Internet, from an unknown source, illustrates the point.

Some time ago, a father punished his three-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, "Don't you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside of it?"

The little girl looked up at him, with tears in her eyes, and said, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They're all for you, Daddy."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and begged for her forgiveness. Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. The author also wrote that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.5

As believers in Jesus Christ, as men and women filled with the indwelling Spirit of God, you and I have the capacity to love without restraints or conditions. It is the supernatural love of God flowing through our weakness and powerlessness. And, let's face it, it's not always easy to love our children. Scripture tells us that real love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (I Corinthians 13:7, 8 NIV).That kind of love doesn't flow naturally from a parent's heart. It's a gift from the Holy Spirit. And if we belong to Him, that divine love can pour over the channels of our lives (see Romans 5:5).

Pray for and with Your Children
There never has been a time when we needed to pray for our children more than today. They're fighting battles we can't imagine. They need to know that Mom and Dad are standing with them and praying for them. My wife and I make it a priority to pray with and pray for all three of our children.

If it's true that prayer changes things, what sorts of issues can we pray about regarding our families? How should we pray for our spouse and children? What petitions can we bring to God's attention?

Author Patrick Morley offers a list of concerns we parents can pray for regarding our children:
  • Pray for a saving faith if they don't know the Lord.
  • Pray for a growing faith if they're immature.
  • Pray for an independent faith as they get older.
  • Pray that they will be strong and healthy in mind, body and spirit.
  • Pray for a sense of purpose and destiny in their life.
  • Pray for a desire within them that they will have integrity, for a call to excellence.
  • Pray that they would understand the ministry God has for them.
  • Pray that they will set aside times to spend with God.
  • Pray that they will acquire wisdom.
  • Pray for protection against drugs and alcohol and premarital sex.6
If I had to summarize this, I would appeal to the story of Mary and Martha, in Luke 10:41, 42, where Jesus said, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed. He was talking about her personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. If our children's personal relationships with Jesus are solid, most of the other stuff will settle in. So, I pray about my children's walk with God and their faithfulness to the Lord.

Parents must have a single focus and a daily prayer: "Lord, will You help me cooperate with You so we can work together on this gift You've entrusted to me? Will You help me prepare this vessel to be filled with your Spirit, so that in ten, 20, 30 years this child loves and trusts You, knows Your grace, and has values and convictions that reflect Your heart?" If you ever wanted to know how to get an "A" as a parent, this is it.

1. Robbie Lowe, "The Truth About Men & Church: On the Importance of Fathers to Church Going," accessed December 29, 2012, http://www.fisheaters.com/menandchurch.html.
2. Carl Pickhardt, "Keeping Parental Influence in Perspective," accessed August 5, 2003, http://www.carlpickhardt.com. Quoted in Ed Young, The 10 Commandments of Parenting, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2004), 61.
3. Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham, The Language of Sex: Experiencing the beauty of sexual intimacy, (Ventura: Regal Books, 2008), 189.
4. Ibid.
5. http://help.com/post/91319-the-story-goes-that-some-time-ago, accessed December 28, 2012.
6. Patrick M. Morley, The Man in the Mirror, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), 97. Quoted in Dr. David Jeremiah, Gifts from God, (Colorado Springs: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1999), 73.


Twenty New Members Join Clear Lake Church

Clear Lake Adventist church welcomed 20 new members at the end of their November 2012 evangelistic meetings. This is believed to be the largest group of people ever received into Clear Lake church membership at one time.
Can traditional evangelism still be effective in our busy society? Twenty people were baptized in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, a town of 1,200 people, when the Clear Lake Adventist church held prophecy meetings with evangelist Steven DeLong October - November of 2012. Here are a few of the newly baptized member’s stories.

Jeff and Sheryle Colombo and their children regularly read the Bible and pray for God to guide their understanding. One day Sheryle discovered from her Bible that the seventh day, Saturday, was the Sabbath, not Sunday. She shared her discovery with Jeff. Both became convicted they should keep the Bible Sabbath, and shared their new belief with their Sunday pastor. The idea was not accepted by their pastor or fellow members. They began to keep Sabbath at home and had started listening to Doug Batchelor, a Sabbath-keeping pastor on TV, when the advertisement for Pastor Delong’s meetings arrived.

Linea Mortenson had not attended church for several years. “I felt my spiritual soul was beginning to dry up,” said Mortenson. “Yet when I received the advertisement for Pastor Delong’s meetings, I felt a need to get back with God.” When Mortenson realized the meetings were hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, she suddenly remembered her mother telling her years earlier, “The Seventh-day Adventists are right.”

Marvin and Cheryl Blok loved the Lord, but had not been attending a church for some time. Cheryl began to pray, “Lord, if you want us back in church, please show me where to go.” The next day an advertisement for Pastor Delong’s meetings arrived in their mail. Marvin and Cheryl didn’t miss one meeting.

Mark and Linda Miller listened to religious services on TV rather than attending a church when they received an advertisement about Pastor Delong’s prophecy meetings. Linda was hospitalized at the time, but Mark decided to attend the meetings. Mark went to work, went to the hospital, and went to every meeting save one, driving 264 miles a day. Linda joined Mark after her hospital stay and they faithfully attended every night, sitting in the front row. Mark said, “We learned more in those 30 days than we have in our entire lives.”

Curtis Denney, Pastor
Clear Lake Adventist Church

Sabbath School Bible Study Resources
The Seventh-day Adventist Church holds weekly Bible study groups, called Sabbath School classes, in churches every Saturday. These Bible classes exist to teach and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Study guides, called The Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides (formerly called Sabbath School Lessons) are prepared by the church and available to all members and visitors alike. Below are several links to aid you in these weekly Bible studies.

To order print copies of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides, please visit the Adventist Book Center.

GoBible.org Weekly teaching outlines posted by Bruce Cameron. (Also found at SabbathSchoolLessons.com

Sabbath School Teaching Outlines available from the General Conference Sabbath School Department. (Click on the correct year and lesson.)

Dr Ken Hart’s Sabbath School Class Often lively lesson discussion in a small group, composed of persons from various backgrounds, several weeks ahead of the time the lesson is scheduled to be studied in church. You may watch the class online, listen to it and download a PDF handout with a list of discussion questions. Podcast available.

Hope Sabbath School Interactive Study with Derek Morris is broadcast via Hope Satellite TV and available a week ahead of the date the lesson is scheduled for local churches. You download a weekly lesson outline with questions and a Scripture song or theme song, including sheet music, for each quarter. Pastor Morris also provides a weekly example of how to effectively teach a Sabbath School class in a Christ-centered way.

Doug Batchelor and the Sacramento Central Adventist Church discuss the current Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides a week ahead of time. Online video and audio formats. Downloadable video available in WMV and MP4 formats. Audio available in WMA and MP3 formats.

Pine Knoll
Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides. Listen to a weekly audio commentary on the current Sabbath School Guide.

Sabbath School U Weekly program produced by the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries covering a quarterly topic or theme. It follows the studies found at www.cqiblestudy.org

Adventist Connect. Podcast reading of the printed
Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides. These are prepared by the Sabbath School Department, Christian Services for the Blind and Hearing Impaired, and the Adventist Media Network.

In Step With Jesus, a series of four Bible study guides in print format, contains a total of 52 lessons. It is a valuable new resource for assisting new members to connect with church members and with God. It will help them understand and follow God’s Word, will demonstrate how to minister to others, and will equip them for discipleship during that all important first year of church membership.
Sabbath School App in the iPhone and Android Apps Store includes the Teacher’s Edition. Download the app, click on the app, go to “More” (top right), go to Settings (bottom) and enable Teachers’ Content.

Weekly Teacher Helps via email are available three ways:
1 .Subscribe to our SSNET2 mailing list. On this list we distribute weekly helps from Michael Fracker and Joyce Griffith.

2. You can subscribe to the blog edition with images.

3. Contemporary Comments Weekly commentary, often tied to a current national or world event. These may be used as an introduction to the current week’s study.

Sabbath School Teacher Training Courses Online training for teachers of various age groups.

Celebrating Christmas in Wisconsin

"And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6  
Many Wisconsin Adventist churches and schools are offering Christ-centered holiday events to help us keep focused on the reason we celebrate this time of year. Explore the following list of concerts, plays, worship services. You'll even find a live walk-through nativity pageant! Then, invite a friend to join you in worshiping our Savior this holiday season.
Columbus: Wisconsin Academy Christmas Concert; December 22, 4:00 pm in the Academy church.  Address: N2355 Duborg Rd., Columbus, WI. Phone: 920-623-3300.
Columbus: Wisconsin Academy and church presents “Journey to Bethlehem," live walk-through Christmas pageant; December 13, 6:00-8:30 pm and December 14, 5:00-8:30 pm. Tours leave every ten minutes. Address: N2355 Duborg Rd. Columbus, WI. Phone: 920-623-3300.
Columbus: Petersen Adventist School presents “Christmas Around the World”; December 20; 7:00 pm. Address: W1004 Hall Rd., Columbus, WI. Phone: 920-623-4056.
Frederic: Frederick Adventist School presents the play, “The Two Sides of Christmas”, music and poetry; December 20, 7:00 pm. Address: 2955 140th Street, Frederic, WI. Phone: 715-327-4956.
Green Bay: Green Bay Adventist Junior Academy presents the play, “Casting Call”, music and skits followed by refreshments; December 18, 6:00 pm. Address: 1414 Shawano Ave, Green Bay, WI. Phone: 920-494-2741.
Green Bay: Green Bay Adventist Church presents “God Sent Forth His Son”; December 15, 11:00 am.  Address: 1414 Shawano Ave, Green Bay, WI. Phone: 920-494-5245.
La Crosse: La Crosse Adventist Church Christmas cantata; December 15, 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. Address: 2117 La Crosse St., La Crosse, WI. Phone: 608-769-5861.
Madison: Three Angels Christian School presents "Christmas Comes to Lone Star Gulch"; December 20, 5:30 pm. Address: 900 Femrite Drive, Madison, WI. Phone: 608-222-5775.
Madison: Madison East Adventist Church is hosting "The Heralds of Hope", a Romanian international Christmas concert; December 23, 2:30 pm. Location: Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda, Madison, WI, first floor rotunda. Phone: 608-215-8055.
Madison: Madison Community Church Christmas program “Love’s Pure Light”, dinner following; December 15; 11:00 am. Address: 1926 Elka Lane, Madison, WI Phone: 608-249-2080.
Milwaukee: Southside Adventist Fellowship Christmas worship service; December 22; 11:00 am. Address: 5200 W. Looking Rd., Greendale, WI.

Milwaukee: Milwaukee Adventist School Christmas program; December 19, 7:00 pm,  Address: 10900 W. Mill Rd., Milwaukee, WI. Phone: 414-353-3520.
Milwaukee: Milwaukee Central Adventist Church "Lessons and Carols", adapted; December 22; 11:00 am. Address: 2229 N. Terrace Ave, Milwaukee, WI. Phone: 414-273-7933.


The Thirteen-Year-Old Evangelist

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Tatiana seems like any other 13-year-old girl. She lives with her mom, dad, and little sister, Elizabeth, in a duplex in Milwaukee. She rides a yellow school bus to school, takes piano lessons, shares a room with her little sister, and likes to play volleyball and badminton.

Yet Tatiana is doing something most girls her age don’t do. She is studying the Bible with 6-12 neighborhood friends every Sunday and Monday evening at 6:00 pm. Tatiana, her mom, and little sister drive down to a neighborhood friend’s house in downtown Milwaukee. As Tatiana and Elizabeth go door-to-door inviting friends to come, her mom unloads a dozen folding chairs from her van and sets them up in her friend’s yard. Soon Tatiana and Elizabeth return with their group of Bible study interests.

“I’m very pleased that you could come tonight and learn about God,” begins Tatiana. “First of all, let’s pray.” After a song, Tatiana begins with a review. “What did we study yesterday?” No one says anything. “That’s OK,” says Tatiana, “That’s why we are here to study.” Tatiana opens her Bible, reviews things they can’t remember, then moves on to the evening’s lesson with patience and skill. No one but Tatiana has a Bible. They listen as each verse is read. Then each writes in their own notebook what the Bible has to say on the topic. “We really need Bibles and study lessons,” said Tatiana. “These kids don’t have Bibles.”

“They call me the little preacher,” laughs Tatiana. “We study the Bible, play Bible games, sing and pray. They didn’t know how to pray so I told them it was just like having a conversation with a friend, but you do it with your Heavenly Father, God. We all made a circle and each one prayed, asking God to forgive us for things we’ve done wrong. It was wonderful!”

Tatiana’s mom works as an in-home caregiver. One morning Christina, one of her patients daughter’s said, “I want to learn more about God.” That night Tatiana’s mom asked Tatiana if she would study the Bible with Christina. “I was excited to meet Christina,” said Tatiana. “We studied the Bible once, and the next week lots of kids came because Christina had invited all her neighborhood friends.”

Christina and friends have been studying with Tatiana for several months. “I’ve learned to pray,” says Christina. “I now know there is only one God, and that Jesus is about to come back to earth. Tatiana reads her Bible and we write the Bible answers in our notebooks.”

While teaching Christina and her friends, Tatiana is growing as well. “I’ve learned that doing God’s work is such a joy that you can’t explain it,” said Tatiana. “The kids ask questions about things we’ve already studied, and then I know that they were paying attention. They are putting in their hearts more thoughts about God. I know Jesus would be doing the same thing if He was here. My friend Christina asks questions after the study like, ‘Does God care when I get sick?’ It’s just exciting!”

“I like to talk to them about God. I want them to know that Jesus is coming, and I want to see them in heaven. I would also like to motivate the kids to share what they learn with others. I pray they will say, ‘If she can do it with the help of God, maybe I can too,’ Then they will start doing this work also.”


Educator's Gift Blesses Green Bay Adventist School and Community
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Realizing the dream of an unexpected donor, the Green Bay SDA Church and Adventist Junior Academy (AJA) hosted a teacher book sale, July 16–18. What started as a fundraiser became a life-changing outreach event that, through the Lord's leading, brought both community and church together in support of disadvantaged students.

Sheila Saunders, wife of a former Green Bay Church member, recently lost her three-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. An educator for almost 20 years, wherever she lived she opted to serve in the poorest of schools. Part of that mission included collecting sufficient books so that every child in her classroom would have a copy of each book used, and each library would have the resources her students needed. Sheila had amassed a tremendous collection of books, DVDs and other educational materials. It was her wish that these materials be put in the hands of people who would help students overcome their economic disadvantages and have a better life through education. So, upon her death, the resources were donated to AJA.

AJA administrators quickly realized that this collection was far more than could ever be used by the school. Susan Slikkers, a church member and the sale organizer, suggested the teacher book sale, open only to teachers, with items priced very inexpensively and the money raised to benefit the school's outreach projects. Initially a reluctant volunteer, Slikkers says she didn't feel prepared to devote the necessary time and energy to the sale, but "God decided something different."

The most daunting part of the project was the sheer scale of the collection — there were over 12,000 books (for comparison, a small bookstore might have an inventory of 3,000 books). The materials filled the entire school gymnasium. Had the books been set out on a single shelf, that shelf would have extended more than a half-mile.

With strong support by the local media* and a lot of legwork from Slikkers and other church members, traffic at the teacher book sale was strong and steady. However, mid-way into the second day, it was clear that, even with consistent sales, there was no way all the items would be sold by the end of the sale. When Slikkers worried that they would either have to open the sale to the public — not in line with Saunders' wishes — or explain a gymnasium half-filled with books to the pastor, she followed her father's advice. He said, "Just pray. Have a little prayer meeting. God knows what you need to do." Her volunteers busy, she had a prayer meeting of one.

The solution came when she called her husband, Mark Ringwelski: Along with the sale, offer the books for free to schools with the greatest need for them.
So Slikkers called schools in high-poverty areas individually, inviting them to come down after the sale hours and haul away whatever books their school could use. "They didn't believe I was serious, but I assured them that our Christianity doesn't go very deep if we can't share what we've been given."

By the end of the sale, all 12,000 books were gone. One teacher, from a school less than a block away from the church, carted away eight boxes and three grocery bags of books. Crying when she left, she said, "You have no idea how much you have changed our school and our community. This is an incredible gift; we will never be the same."

A superintendent, from a school in an area where the poverty rate is 53 percent, came at the end of one day and filled her pick-up truck to overflowing. When it was clear she was disappointed that she couldn't take more, Slikkers asked how much she would like to take. "I felt God's power as the answer to my prayers happened right in front of me," she says, "because the superintendent told me she would take them all if she could." With a borrowed truck and trailer, she did just that, and informed Slikkers that the donation would change the lives of thousands of people — children and adults.

In the end, more than 110 people volunteered for this project and just under $11,000 was raised for AJA, but there is no way to calculate the number of people impacted by Saunders' generosity and her love for the students she served. "God's plans are so much bigger and greater than ours," Slikkers shared. "We just have to be willing to follow His lead and try to keep up! It is thrilling to be willing and see Him work."

*Three out of four local television networks aired multiple news segements, one as the lead-in story a few days prior to the start of the sale; the local talk radio station aired interview clips at the top and bottom of every hour on Monday, the first day of sale; plus local newspaper coverage.

More information at: http://www.facebook.com/GreenBayAJATeacherSale.

                                           Aileen Yingst, communications leader, Green Bay Adventist Church

Wisconsin Academy Enrolls 129 Students

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Greetings from Wisconsin Academy (WA). The 2012-2013 school year can be summed up in one word: Growth! The first evidence of growth is our current enrollment of 126 students, an answer to many prayers. In addition to the 126 campus students, three more students joined our WA Online distance learning program, and more students are scheduled to arrive soon.
Brandon Maciel, a freshman student, arrived today because yesterday at potluck the Racine Adventist church members raised $1,400 to pay his entrance fee. "I'm really happy to be here," said Brandon. "I'm very thankful for my Racine church family making this possible."
A new sophomore, Abigail Hill, recently learned about the Adventist message and was baptized this summer at camp meeting. Abigail said, "I decided to change schools because Wisconsin Academy is a better school. My public school has a lot of drugs, and the teachers don't have control of the classrooms. It's just better here."
Brian Derrik, a first year junior said, "I'm excited to be here and get to know the people. I want to absorb the atmosphere on campus and grow in my relationship with Christ."

A strong, Christian joy can be seen in the growing smiles of students and staff. The students and faculty have committed themselves to being one in the family of God and it is reflecting across the school from faces to programs. Our campus ministries department has been retooling, placing Christ at the center of all events. Student chaplains are being utilized along with dorm pastors and other student led enterprises. Please pray for our team.
There are also growing pains. The girls dorm has over 60 girls living in quarters designed to house only 46. Nearly 45 girls are living 3-to-a-dorm room. There is simply not enough space to house them and the overcrowding needs to be relieved soon to maximize the efforts of our program. Funding and volunteers are a priority as we strive to complete new dorm rooms in the girl’s dorm basement.

WA does not currently have adequate transportation for our students. We urgently need funding to add two more busses to our motor pool. Some much, needed campus improvements have been placed on hold just to meet these basic demands. But our God is the great Jehovah-jireh and will provide all of our needs in His time and through His means.
Praise God from where all blessings flow, His grace is sufficient and abundant. Thank you for your continued support.   
                                                                                                                               Keith Nelson, Wisconsin Academy Principal

Student Literature Evangelists Impacts Milwaukee
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A student knocks on your door. "Hi! My name is -------. I'm working on a scholarship program. Instead of junk food, we're sharing something longer lasting. I'll let you take a look..." She shows you Steps to Christ, The Great Controversy, and several other books... "Which ones are you most interested in?"

Wisconsin Conference is sponsoring a magabook ministry program in Milwaukee this summer as a part of the Milwaukee Miracles outreach to the city. Fifteen committed Adventist young people, ages 16-23, are knocking on thousands of doors across the city distributing truth-filled literature while earning needed funds for their Christian education. For a donation, they are sharing Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy, and many other books designed in a colorful magazine format.

"I believe these books are the strongest means we have for winning souls," said Matt Hasty, director of the Wisconsin Magabook Ministry. "We don't always see immediate results, but they will come. Ellen White said in the book Colporteur Ministry, page 151, 'More than one thousand will soon be converted in one day, most of whom will trace their first convictions to the reading of our publications.' We've shared $23,637 in literature during our first 84 hours of door-to-door ministry. Over 170 of those items wereThe Great Controversy. That book is out there working even as we speak."

Here are a few testimonies from some Milwaukee magabook students.

Kara - It was late. I hurried up the last driveway right as a van pulled up. Perfect timing, I thought! A lady and her daughter got out. The daughter went into the house, but mom listened as I began sharing about The Desire of Ages and other books I had. Before I got too far, she called her daughter to come back out. "My daughter is really involved with Christian ministries at Indiana State University," she said.  "She needs to see these." The daughter shared with me how she was really on fire for the Bible and was leading some small group Bible studies at her university. I showed her several books, then she said, "What I'm really interested in is history." "Wow," I said. "I have just the book for you!" Pulling out The Great Controversy, I told her about how people years ago would hide the Bible in their clothes when it was illegal to own a Bible. "You've been such an encouragement to me," she said. "I don't meet many young people out and sharing their faith." She and her mom tookThe Great Controversy and The Desire of Ages. Thank you Lord for Your perfect timing!

Joel - At the first house a I met a lady who is a teacher. I showed her Steps to Christ and Christ's Object Lessons and told her about the books. She said, "Just yesterday my pastor told me to get a book about the parables of Christ. I don't think you're coming today is a coincidence." She took both books.

Jadis - As I walked toward the last house on my street, the garage door opened. A father and daughter were getting into the car. I started to tell them about my books, but the father said, "Don't bother us. We're already late for an appointment." I said OK and left. As I started to cross the 4-way street, the same car pulled up beside me. The girl got out and said "Hey, show me what books you have." I showed her Steps to Christ and Christ's Object Lessons. As she gave me some money she said, "Wow, these books can really help me. I've just recently overcome being a drug addict." Praise God!

Gina - It was the last visit of the morning. It was hot. I walked up to this warehouse and saw this tall, very serious looking older man. I was scared but introduced myself and started my canvas anyway. He didn't have any response. He didn't say anything. I just kept talking and showing him books in my bag. I was a little bit scared at the end to show him my last book, The Great Controversy, but thought, "I don't have anything to lose." When he tookThe Great Controversy, it opened to the timeline of Daniel 9. He smiled a little, closed the book, put it on top of all the other books and DVD's and said, "I want them all." I was shocked! Now he has in his house, Steps to Christ, Christ's Object Lessons, The Great Controversy, The Desire of the Ages, two vegan cookbooks, and a set of story books for children. A light from God is in that man's house.

Magabook students are paid 50% of their donations. If the student attends an Adventist school, they receive a matching scholarship of about 50%, depending on the school they attend. Milwaukee Magabook students are sleeping in classrooms at Milwaukee Adventist School. Five days a week, students begin their day with breakfast at 9:00 am, followed by worship and a megabook training session. From 1:00 - 9:00 pm they are out knocking on doors. "We need continual prayer, as this work is not easy," said Winnie Ndovie, a magabook student, "but God has immensely blessed and is doing a great work in Milwaukee."

"God wants to do Miracles in Milwaukee," said Matt. Please keep us in your prayers."


Wisconsin Seventh-day Adventists "Live the Mission"

Chief Wilkinson shakes hands with a young boy who donated to a community project. Wilkinson's story appeared in a recent issue of the Camp Lamp.  
“The crazed man was breaking windows in his house, screaming at me and the rest of the SWAT team,” said Kevin Wilkinson, chief of police for the New London police department. “More disturbingly, he came out the back door with a shotgun in his hand. I was just a few yards away, sending up prayers for everyone’s safety.”

Kevin Wilkinson, along with nine other Seventh-day Adventists across Wisconsin recently shared stories of how they “live the mission” in the Camp Lamp, the daily paper issued during Camp Meeting (June 15-23).

“I’ve always felt I was called to this career,” says Wilkinson, “like God wanted me to be there for people in crisis. I’ve delivered my share of babies and death notifications. I’ve both succeeded and failed in my attempts to save lives. I can’t count the times I’ve had strong, confident officers in my office breaking down in tears. I am honored to know they trust me with their deepest concerns. Each day before work I pray for four things: wisdom to make good decisions, diligence to get much accomplished, compassion to care for the heart of each person, and humility to accept responsibility for my errors, yet giving credit to others for our successes.”

Pearo Ackles lives the mission while working at Walmart. He passes out books, magazines, and tracts. “Sometimes I give them directly as gifts, sometimes I just leave them at random for anyone, and sometimes I even open my mouth and share God’s truths verbally.” Ackles has finds encouragement in the book Acts of the Apostles, especially in the passages describing Paul’s time spend as a tent-maker: “Paul did not regard as lost the time thus spent … As he worked at his trade, the apostle had access to a class of people that he could not otherwise have reached” (AA 351). He recently invited one of his co-workers to attend a Revelation Seminar and continues to pray for opportunities to share Jesus in his work place.

Deidra Olson works in a hospice. “It can be hard helping those who are dying. Sometimes I think it’s hard because our minds can’t comprehend the concept of death. I’ve come to realize that each of us has a dying heart no matter what our age. So each morning, I beg the Lord to take my soiled and dying heart and do with it what He can to make a difference in the lives of others.”

How are you living the mission in your life? How does you relationship with Jesus impact those around you? To share your story, email the Communication department.

To read full issues of the Camp Lamp, visit the Camp Lamp 2012.


lumni Celebrate Adventist Education at Wisconsin Academy
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Nearly 800 people attended the alumni weekend celebration at Wisconsin Academy on April 19-21, 2012. This year's event honored the classes of 1942, 1952, 1962, 1972, 1982, 1987, 1992 and 2002. The oldest alumnus in attendance graduated from Wisconsin Academy's precursor, Bethel Academy, in 1938.
Dr. Walter C. Thompson, class of 1952, was named Alumnus of the Year. "Coming to Wisconsin Academy was the beginning of God's miraculous leading in my life," said Thompson during the Sabbath School testimony time. "I didn't have many objectives in life, but after graduation the principal found me a job at Andrews University, so I went. While there, I decided to be a medical missionary doctor." Dr. Thomson has touched many lives through his medical skill in Guam, Cambodia, Poland, Africa, and the United States. He is an author, educator who has also worked many years with 3ABN and Your Story Hour. "I'll never forget the influence for good the teachers at Wisconsin Academy had on my life," said Thompson.
The campus was alive all weekend with the hum of students past and present sharing stories and catching up on life since they last met. Here are some of their memories:
Beverly Vieau Rhodes, '51 - "I had a ball here. I spent two years at Bethel and two years here at Wisconsin Academy, so I got the best of both worlds. When the school first opened we didn't have any running water, no electricity, and we got to spit out the windows when we brushed our teeth. Now they have these nice new dorms and indoor plumbing! But we had fun and I loved it. I sang in the choir and got to sing in a triple trio. The highlight of this reunion is getting together with all my dear friends."   
Dorothy Duffie Cross '72 - "One of the things I learned here at Wisconsin Academy is to listen to God's voice. In whatever circumstance I find myself, if I listen past the noise of life I hear the message of hope and joy God has for me."
Greg Klemp Sr. '69 - "My pastor encouraged me to try the academy after my freshman year of high school and I really liked it. I wish I had buckled down and studied more while I was here, but I really had fun. My favorite memory was when the gym teacher caught my future wife and I holding hands! I have so many good memories of this place. My wife and I try to put as much money back into this place as possible.
Matthew Jacobson '02 - "Wisconsin Academy was the place I needed to be between the years 2000 and 2002. The three most pivotal decision of my life were made right here. First, I met my wife in the 7:00 am English class. Second, I decided to be a teacher while here, largely through the influence of a teacher telling me, 'You have a lot to offer and you need to offer that to other people.'  And third, I met my Savior here. Now that I'm a teacher, I hope I can help my students in their walk with God."
Mick Burrington '48 - "I went to Bethel and met my wife. The first day of school I saw this blond girl walking down the stairs and said, 'Guys, see that girl there, I'm going to marry her.' I was 17 years old. I dated other girls after that but never could get Charlotte out of my mind, and I finally married her. Now here we are at alumni 57 years later!"
Lance Misheleau '02 - "My favorite memory at Wisconsin Academy was the year we had an awesome spiritual revival. The guys in the dorm started a prayer group. I remember one night we started out planning to have a five minute prayer time and it turned into two hours. There were 15 or 20 of us and it was incredible! We sensed the Holy Spirit and it was a great experience. Our whole senior class was impacted."

Ginny Spangler Campbell '78  - "The highlight of my years here at Wisconsin Academy were the relationships I made. I have so many friends from here and they can never be replaced. No matter where I go, I meet people I know because I attended Wisconsin Academy. It really is wonderful."

Yahaira Betancourt '92 - "When I left my family in Costa Rica at age 15, my mother said, 'Wherever you go, look for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. You will be safe there.' I came to Wisconsin Academy and had no money, spoke no English, and had no worries. I was naive, yes, but I trusted God. In three weeks God helped me to speak English. Some kind anonymous people paid my school bill. When I needed personal things I would find money in my desk. To this day I do not know who they are, but I am so thankful. I am proof that the money you give to this school is not wasted. Matthew 25:35-40 says best what Wisconsin Academy means to me.  'When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat,...when I was a stranger you welcomed me, when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear...'"

Sandy Lanaville Miller '60 - "The things I learned here at Wisconsin Academy have really stuck with me. This academy is pretty important to me. I'm so glad to see the positive spiritual attitude on campus."

Pastor Lisa Habenicht Isensee, class of 1992, spoke Friday evening for vespers, Pastor Dean Waterman, class of 1987, spoke for church, and former teacher Carl Sigler ended the Sabbath hours with Hallowed Moments. Saturday evening the girls WA Knights basket ball team beat the girls alumni 25 to 18. After an amazing show by the gymnastics team, the guys WA Knights basket ball team beat the alumni guys 73 to 41.

Keep contact with Wisconsin Academy and the Alumni Association at www.wisacad.org.


Local Elders Lead Evangelistic Meetings in Green Bay

Local elders and pastors of the Green Bay SDA Church  
"I've heard these topics presented many times, but this time I finally got it," said one woman who attended the elder-led evangelistic meetings held March 9-31, 2012, in the Green Bay SDA Church. This sentiment was echoed many times by visitors and church members alike.

Several months ago, the eight elders of Green Bay SDA Church decided to hold lay-led evangelistic meetings with the assistance of their two pastors. For the presentations, they used ShareHim materials, each choosing topics he felt a passion to present.
None of the elders had any official training in preaching. Doug FitzGerald is a dairy farmer. Brian Davis is a refrigeration contractor. Curt Eckstein works with graphic arts and design. David Stonebrook is retired from semi-trailer repairs. Richard Wilde has recently started his own medical/dental equipment business. Dan Guido is involved in environmental work for the state. Glenn FitzGerald is an elementary school teache. Keith Sopp works for the DMV as a motorcycle safety and training instructor. "Some of the elders will tell you they were not very comfortable with the idea of getting up front and speaking," says Dan Guido, "but, they didn't back down."

"The two topics I preached on were the Sabbath and the change of the Sabbath," continues Guido. "It was powerful for me to be the one to deliver these messages, as I grew up in a Catholic household. I was very honest in telling them where I came from. I told them what I had learned and that I felt it was important for them to know about these things, too."

Glenn FitzGerald, head elder of the Green Bay Church said, "I think this was a very logical thing to do economically and for local impact. Personally, public speaking is not my favorite thing to do, but it turned out wonderful. Each evening we prayed that we would not stand in the way of the message. We just wanted to be faithful servants."

"We were very different from each other," continued FitzGerald. "We each had our own speaking styles and personalities, and the people seemed to appreciate us for who we were and what we were sharing. We knew our only qualifications were that we knew the Lord and we knew our Bibles."

"We tried to keep the meetings brief, beginning at 7:00 pm and ending by 8:00 pm. Pastor Bill Ochs introduced each of us, we had prayer, special music, then each elder shared a bit of his own background and experience with the evenings topic as he began. It was just really good."

"Every one of these guys far exceeded my expectations," said Pastor Ochs. "They did an incredible job. I think I'm sold on the idea of our lay people holding outreach meetings. Each brings their family and friends. It really helps build a crowd."

Each of the six people who were baptized at the end of the meetings had previously established friendships with people in the church. One lady had her first contact with Seventh-day Adventists ten years ago. She and her husband hired contractors James Hopkins and John Pearlberg, members at Green Bay, to build their house. While building, James and John told her about 3ABN and invited her to church. After ten years of listening to 3ABN and visiting church sporadically, Chris Guido invited her to join the "women only" Sabbath school class. "Once she joined our class she started coming every week," said Chris. "The class seemed to give her strength and hope, and she started staying for church." She was baptized on March 31.

"On the last night, over 100 people came forward and committed themselves to having a deeper walk with Jesus," says Pastor Bill Ochs. "The Holy Spirit moved in a powerful way."

Listen to audio recordings of the presentations at www.greenbaysda.org.


Reflecting on Wisconsin Academy's Nicaragua Mission Trip
Click on the images for an expanded slide show. See more pictures on the Wisconsin Academy website.
On Thursday, March 23, forty-one Wisconsin Academy students and adults returned from a twelve-day mission trip to Chinandega, Nicaragua. While there, they constructed two Maranatha one-day churches, saw over 540 patients at free medical clinics in three communities, conducted six Vacation Bible School programs, and painted the existing Chinandega SDA Church.

A daily blog was posted during the trip at the new Wisconsin Academy website. The following participant quotes are excerpted from that blog:

Grace: We went to the suburbs of the area where we are building the one-day church. All the houses were made of tin and sheets of plastic. We met a lady who dug a 15-foot well by hand all on her own. It was amazing. She dug it all out and then lined the bottom with concrete bricks. At the top was a tractor tire. This was her water source, but the water was still really dirty and contaminated. Her house had sheets of plastic for walls. Better houses in the neighborhood had tin siding, but many just had mud with plastic.
Hannah F: The outhouse at the church we’re building was just a cement block over a hole. There were tin sheets around it but we tore it down today because we’re building them a new one.
Alec: Materials for the outhouse we’re building were delivered by horse and cart.
Andrea: There was an 87-year-old lady [at the clinic] today and everyone sensed her presence in the room. She was so lively and went around hugging and smiling at everybody and she looked so happy. She came because something painful was in her throat. Dr. Shaw examined her and said she has throat cancer. I felt bad. She stopped and grabbed my arm once and said, “We’re going to see each other in heaven, aren’t we!” I said, ‘Yeah, I guess.’ That just touched me so much I wanted to cry.  I said, “God bless you,” and she said, “God bless you, too, for what you are doing. You guys are helping a lot of people.” She hugged me and then went on, but it just hurts to see someone so alive dying of cancer.
Noemi: Today was not as busy as yesterday, but I still enjoyed it. I loved watching the reaction of people when they received glasses. They felt so glad to be able to see again. The smile on each person’s face made my day. After an exhausting day, I thank God for everything He gives me!
Kimberly: Today was an awesome experience. This was our second day for medical clinic, and it was extremely hot. We prayed that this day would be helpful for the people that came and that we could learn from them. We are blessed in having Dr. Shaw with us. God is obviously giving him the knowledge he needs for every case. God is keeping us safe. The most important part about this trip is helping people in need.
Ken’yun: I went with the VBS group. I met this little guy named Alleito. He didn’t seem to care what language I spoke. With laughter, smiles, and soccer, we bonded. He was so awesome even though he looked like he was sick. He was so happy and filled with joy. Even though I was super hot and exhausted, he brought energy out of me I didn’t think I had. He touched me and helped me decide no matter what I’m doing, I’m doing it to the fullest of my ability to help others and to praise God.
Kelah: Today in the medical clinic, I was given thirty pairs of a combination of reading and sunglasses. So many of the people here need reading glasses, and they all need sunglasses. It is so hard when we run out. While talking to Rafael, a local translator, I found out that glasses cost from $100 – $200 a pair, which is a totally unrealistic amount for most Nicaraguans. It is hard to put ourselves in their shoes and feel how deep their need is, but their smiles and simple words of thanks go right to our hearts. It is hard to decide who is more blessed.
Laurina: We’ve all used the term “tongue-tied” when we can’t think of what to say. Today a five-year-old boy came in and his tongue was truly tied. The thin piece of skin under the tongue extended out to the end of his tongue so he couldn’t lift it. His dad, Pam, and I, held him while Andrea held the flashlight. Dr. Shaw snipped that skin and loosed his tongue. He’ll be fine now for the rest of his life.
Melissa: VBS today was AWESOME! We started with crafts and games because yesterday we told the Bible story before many people had come. There were over 100 kids there today, and everyone was able to do the craft, plan, and listen to the Bible story and skit.
Elizabeth: Working in VBS is such an amazing experience. It’s so neat to interact with the kids and communicate with them even if we don’t speak the same language.
Keturah: When digging the hole for the church outhouse, we were in the poorest neighborhood I have ever seen. The houses were made of basically sticks and plastic, yet the people were so thankful for what they had. Back in the states, we take everything for granted; like flushing toilets. Here the people are thankful if they just have a covering over a hole in the ground. Even though these people can’t afford even the most basic necessities, they are always smiling. It really makes me wonder: if we were in their shoes, would we be able to be as happy as they are?
Jonathan: Today just really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I don’t want to say I’ve never been appreciative, but now I realize I should be way more grateful for things that I have.
Melanie: Being here really makes me grateful for everything I have. Especially school. Today in the bus we saw a little boy taking care of the house and all, and many kids have to stop going to school before they get much of an education. It just makes me really grateful and it makes me want to strive more to do well in school. I want to go to college and become a doctor and someday be able to do mission work. I’ve always thought about going as a missionary, but now I’m really sure. Dr. Shaw has really inspired me. I just want to say thank you to him as well.
Hannah H: Today we started the prep work for the one-day church in Posoltega. We started late, and it took us a while to get what we needed to do done. They decided we could only get one of the two churches done. That was pretty disappointing. But we all worked late and even did the prep work for the second church. It’s cool because now we’re still able to build both churches. God made that happen.
Melanie: I work in the medical clinic, so my days here have been pretty interesting. Today was one of those days that felt long but awesome. It was awesome because we got one hundred and eight people through the clinic today! I was very happy because that is the most people we’ve treated in a day. I can’t wait to see what the next two clinic days will bring. I’m excited!
Shawna: Today was a lot of fun. We were busy all day with our construction crew. I’m very excited about getting these two churches built for these people to worship in. We are sunburned, but we accomplished a lot!
Pam: Today we had a true experience of how some medical people around here may get paid for their services. Paula got paid in mangos, coconut, and artwork.
Monte: A highlight of my day was riding to the worksite in the back of the pickup truck with “Jimmy John” [the new outhouse]. Later I got to pedal the little tricycle bike thing over to the clinic site to get more water for our construction crew. Then a lady gave me a wonderful, juicy mango. It was really good. We got all the church posts in concrete today.
Alexandra: I spent all day entertaining some kids. It was so refreshing to see their smiling faces and hear their bubbly laughter. Today I played soccer, red light/green light, basketball, and freeze tag, which I learned they call “frozen chicken” here in Nicaragua. I loved this entire day, from meeting new kids to reuniting with ones I’d seen from previous VBS programs.
Alan: We delivered 22 new chairs to the newly completed Posoltega church site today. These are chairs the group purchased out of our personal spending money.
Keturah: I have really enjoyed working with the kids and just trying to communicate with them. Even though we don’t speak the same language, they love it when we spend time playing with them. They always have plenty of smiles to share with us.
Melody: I really enjoyed painting the mural on the Chinandega church veranda today. It was nice to do something I’m good at and know other people can enjoy it. I got so much paint on my hands, at one point I looked like a smurf. But it was definitely worth it. I’m so glad we got the opportunity.
Jair: The highlight of my day was getting up early and getting ready to build a church in one day. One day! I got to be the translator for the project. It took us two hours to finish the first half of the roof, and only one hour to finish the second half. As we progressed with the project, we got better. I also read a Bible text at the church dedication today.
Vanessa: I really felt like I did something important today. I was part of a team that put up a church!
Read the entire story on the Wisconsin Academy blog.


Wisconsin Academy Mission Team Arrives in Nicaragua
Click on the images for an expanded slide show. See more pictures on the Wisconsin Academy website.  
Twenty-five Wisconsin Academy (W.A.) students and seventeen adults arrived in humid 90-degree Nicaragua at 7:13 pm Sunday evening, March 11, 2012. During their 12 days in Nicaragua, the group will construct two Maranatha one-day churches, repair and paint the existing Chinandega Seventh-day Adventist Church, operate free daily open-air medical clinics in three communities, and conduct six Vacation Bible School programs.

“This is a great opportunity for the students,” said Jimmy Carter, Wisconsin Academy chaplain and organizer of the mission trip. “Helping students discover the beauty of serving others is a high priority at Wisconsin Academy.”

The trip began at 5:00 am Sunday morning, as participants loaded into a bus at Wisconsin Academy.  Excited but sleepy students and adults adjusted piles of luggage and compared their lack of sleeping hours. Wisconsin Academy principal Keith Nelson and Wisconsin Conference president Mike Edge saw the group off with prayer and well wishes. The flight out of O’Hare Airport was delayed making it impossible to make connections in Miami. Praise the Lord the group was large enough that the plane waited the exra hour and a half! Going through customs was a miracle in many ways, as was finding two lost passports. Everyone was ready to eat, shower and sleep when they finally unloaded the bus at the “Companeros en Christo” motel in Managua.
“Going on a mission trip is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Andrea Fernandez, a Junior at Wisconsin Academy and a member of the  Maranatha Spanish SDA Church. “I figured I better go on this trip while I had the chance. I’m really excited.” Hannah Fitzgerald added, “I want to thank the people who sponsored me to come on this mission trip. I’m looking forward to helping people and growing myself.”

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America with a population of approximately 6 million. Prior to the Nicaraguan Revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Nicaragua was one of Central America’s wealthiest and most developed countries. The revolutionary conflict, paired with a 1972 earthquake, reversed the country’s prior economic standing. They are now one of the poorest in Central America. The biological diversity, warm tropical climate, and active volcanoes, make Nicaragua a beautiful and interesting place to visit.

Nicaragua Mission is part of the Central-American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and has one vocational school in the capital city of Managua. During 2010, the church membership in Nicaragua grew 5.65%.


Wisconsin Sends Three Pathfinder Clubs to Union Level Bible Achievement

Question 1: According to the SDA Bible Commentary, when did Sargon II die?
Question 1: According to Isaiah 7:1, name the two kings, and their kingdoms, that went up against Jerusalem. Be Specific.

On March 3, 2012, qualifying Pathfinder youth from across Wisconsin met at Wisconsin Academy for the conference level Bible Achievement. After spending months studying the book of Isaiah, Pathfinder youth answered 90 timed questions about the book of Isaiah
from memory. Three Pathfinder clubs won first place, and will be competing next on March 31, 2012, at the Union Level Bible Achievement at Andrews University. The first-place clubs are the Lena Wildcats, Madison Mustangs and Sheboygan Shepherds.

“My favorite part of being in the Bible Achievement is getting to travel to Andrews University for the competition,” said Jennifer Wheeler, fourth time competitor for the Sheboygan Shepherds club. “It’s fun. I also really like the idea of having to study the Bible for the competition. I don’t think many of us busy teenagers would take this much time studying the Bible without the incentive. I’m really sad that this is my last year to be in the competition.”

Pathfinder Bible Achievement, begun in 1987, is a yearly worldwide competition for Pathfinder youth grades 5 through 10. Groups of six or seven Pathfinders in local church clubs work together as a team preparing to answer questions from a designated book or portions of the Bible. Area clubs come together and compete in several qualifying events. Those earning first place then move on to next qualifying event.  It is a fun way for youth to study the Bible, challenge their memory, and work together as a team.

“The kids did extremely well,” said Greg Taylor, Pathfinder coordinator for the Wisconsin Conference. “This is a very challenging event.”

Learn more about Pathfinder Clubs and Bible Achievement.


General Conference to Launch "Revived By His Word" Bible Reading Initiative
Seventh-day Adventist church members worldwide are being encouraged to read, or listen to, one chapter of the Bible a day beginning April 17, 2012. This initiative, titled “Revived by His Word,” and coordinated by the General Conference, is aimed at strengthening the spiritual experience of each church member.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has founded its existence in the Bible. Adventists are a Bible-based, Bible believing, Bible-reading people. “Nothing can possible replace listening to God speak to us through His Word,” says Armando Miranda, vice president for the world church. Prayerfully meditating on scripture is a primary source of spiritual strength.
During the 1,171 days from Spring Meeting, April 17, 2012 through the beginning of the General Conference Session on July 2, 2015, participants will cover the 1,189 chapters in the Bible. By reading one chapter each day and two chapters during the General Conference Session, millions of participating members will complete their journey through the Bible.

The goal of “Revived by His Word” is to encourage every church mem­ber to allow the Holy Spirit to transform their lives as they meditate and pray over one chapter of the Bible a day. It will direct the attention of the entire world church to the impor­tance of knowing Jesus through His Word and encourage families to read the Bible together. It is simple, practical and affordable.
“I would like to invite every church member to join the worldwide family of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in reading one chapter of the Bible a day, beginning April 17, 2012, and con­cluding during the General Conference Session in the summer of 2015,” says Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church. “I am confident that this journey through the Bible together will draw us all closer to Jesus. As we prayerfully read and meditate upon God’s Word, we each will be led to a renewed experience with the Savior as we look forward to His soon second coming.”
Learn more about “Revived by His Word” at www.revivalandreformation.org.


Jeff Metherell New Trust, Stewardship and Religious Liberty Director

Jeff Metherell will join Wisconsin Conference team in mid-April.
On Thursday, February 16, the Wisconsin Conference Executive Committee voted to call Jeff Metherell to be the new Planned Giving, Stewardship Ministries, and Religious Liberty director for the Wisconsin Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Metherell comes from Boise, Idaho with a rich background in law, finance, and management. Jeff attend Pacific Union College, spent a year in Colognes, France, before earning a B.A. in French from Walla Walla University. He spent nearly 19 years in Colorado, where he earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Denver. While in Denver, Jeff worked several years at Porter Memorial Hospital as Director of Medical Staff Relations. Jeff also spent several years working in the mortgage industry.
Metherell has a passion for music and writing, including poetry and drama. He also loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, skiing, and playing tennis. He has two grown sons.
Metherell has a passion for promoting the beliefs and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He will be joining us in Wisconsin mid-April of 2012.


Wisconsin Members Walk Around the World

Keith Hatcher, principal of Three Angels Adventist Elementary School, turned in over 1,000 miles to Walk for Life last year.
“I needed to lose some weight,” said Roger Morton, member of the Baraboo church. “So I started walking in the comfort of my home. I have a multi-level home, so walk three laps on each level three times a day. It comes out to about 20 minutes each time, or an hour a day. It really is a good workout.”

“When I turned in my 59 miles to Walk for Life for January I was amazed! I didn’t realize till I added it up how much I was walking. It’s like walking to Madison from my place. I couldn’t believe it.”

Walk for Life is a fun 6-month program to walk around the world as a church family. The goal is to join everyone’s miles together and walk the 24,901.4 miles around the world between January 1 and June 22. Walk for Life is designed to help people start a regular exercise program through walking. It also accommodates those who are already active, and includes a large variety of physical activities including biking, swimming, jogging, gardening, and active sports.

It’s not too late to join. Here’s what is happening in a few places to date.
  • The Wisconsin Academy church developed a health team to organize this year’s health events. In the church foyer, worshipers are greeted with a large goal marker poster about Walk for Life. “We just got started last week,” said Amar Miller, a local health team member. “I’m anxious to see how many people sign up.”  There are already over 15 names on the sign-up sheet.
  • While the web site states Oxford church has walked 37 miles so far, Wendell Springer says he and his wife alone have walked 80 miles in January. “We haven’t turned in our miles yet, but we will,” says Springer, member of the Oxford church. “My wife and I walk down our road a mile and then back every day. We meet quite a few neighbors when we’re out. Some say, ‘You guys really keep in shape! You’re looking good.’ We really look forward to our walks.”
  • Roberta Pratt, member of the Rice Lake church walks 30-35 miles each week. “When I found out I was a diabetic, I knew I needed to change my diet and walk more,” said Pratt. “But I only exercised occasionally. Joining Walk for Life in 2011gave me the motivation I needed to walk regularly. Now my blood sugars are within normal range without having to take shots.” Roberta and her husband Wyatt walk to the Library and back, or, in bad weather they walk around in their house or in a nearby mall. “We feel so much better when we walk, said Pratt. “It’s a regular part of our lives now.”
  • Keith Hatcher, principal of Three Angels Adventist Elementary School in Madison completed the Ironman triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin, on September 11, 2011. This race demands a continuous 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run be completed in under 17 hours. Keith finished in 12 hours and 12 minutes. While Keith’s training program was far more demanding than a two-mile walk each day, he turned in over 1,000 miles for last years Walk for Life event. “I try to show my students that a healthy lifestyle can be fun,” said Hatcher, “although not everyone may think a 140 mile race is fun. Those three sports are my favorites.” Read more about Keith’s Ironman.

Research clearly shows exercising helps you sleep better, age more slowly, think clearer and improve your social relationships. So start walking. Track your miles. Then, submit your miles through your local church Walk for Life coordinator, or directly online. 

To learn more, or submit miles, visit the Walk for Life page.  Enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle!


Wisconsin Academy Trains Students for Service
W.A. sophomores Arianna King and Denel Strangstalien assist at Kindred Kids, a non-profit lending library for children.
“I never thought I’d be doing this,” says Miguel Gomez, a Wisconsin Academy sophomore as he disinfects a plastic toy bus and places it in a bag of cleaned toys. “It’s alright though. It’s for the kids.” He’s seated in the doorway of a cleaning closet at Kindred Kids, a non-profit lending library for children with differing abilities in Columbus, WI. Not far from Miguel and his bag of freshly-scrubbed toys, Denel Strangstalien and Arianna King are folding baby clothes. Two aisles over, another group of sophomores are alphabetizing children’s videos. Others are sweeping a storage room and talking with Wendy Simyab, the founder of Kindred Kids, about her work and how it benefits the community.

“We are thrilled to have the students from Wisconsin Academy help out,” says Wendy. “As an organization that relies on volunteers and donations, we’re happy whenever people are willing to give of their time, but I especially appreciate the students from Wisconsin Academy. They’re self-motivated. I really appreciate their moral character.  It was evident in the way they worked. I’d be happy to have them volunteer again.”

This afternoon is only one among dozens of intentional service opportunities built into the Wisconsin Academy experience. So far this year, students have scrubbed and painted over 28 fire hydrants in the village of Fall River, participated in a 30-hour famine to raise money for hungry children in Haiti, raked leaves in residential neighborhoods, preached and given testimonies at churches across Wisconsin, and put on a live nativity pageant at the academy attended by over 750 people from the area. The list goes on.

“God calls us not to be hidden Christians” says junior Naomi Ferrel. “When we get out in the community, people find out that not all teens are bad. It’s about gaining trust and not being afraid.”

First-year junior Andrea Fernandez agrees. “Serving others changes us too. It helps us open up our hearts more to people. Being at the academy really takes you away from everything you know - out of your comfort zone. At home, to be honest, I pretty much just sit in the pews. But here there’s a whole different atmosphere. They want me to get involved and are very supportive. It’s really helped me grow in faith and opened my mind up to God’s power. It’s like riding a bike with training wheels. You have a chance to practice and try things out.”

Both in the classroom and out, Wisconsin Academy is committed to establishing faith, building commitment, and training for service.

“Only by practicing actual acts of service can a young person understand what it means to serve or be served,” says Keith Nelson, Wisconsin Academy principal. “A theoretical class on such a subject will only carry the student so far. Opportunities to serve come packed with their own built in rewards.  This creates an ongoing desire to serve again.”

Find out more at www.wisacad.org


Jay Lo Steps Into the Light

Jay Lo learned about the Seventh-day Adventist Church through Pastor Ko Saelee, pastor for the Hmong people in Wisconsin.
"We must leave the village tonight and head for the border, or it will be too late!" whispered 14-year-old Jay Lo to his friends. War had ravaged Laos, Jay's homeland. Jay's father had been killed, and the communists had taken over the country. Jay knew that he'd have to leave Laos if he wanted to live. "Others want to come with us," Jay's friends said. "We can't leave them behind!" Under the cover of darkness 265 people began the 17-day journey to Thailand; only 96 made it.

Life in a refugee camp was difficult at best. Then Jay learned that his uncle lived in another section of the camp. His uncle welcomed Jay as his son. For the first time Jay was exposed to Christians. He realized that Christians were different from most people he knew. In time Jay and his uncle's family were able to relocate in the United States. Jay was eager to continue his education. In time he gave his life to God.

Jay studied in a Christian college, where he met Paniya, a young Hmong woman who also was studying there. They both wanted to take Christ to their own people. They felt God leading them into a lifelong relationship, and the couple was married. They were among the first of their ethnic group, [huh-MAWNG] the Hmong to receive college degrees.

Family members who remained in Thailand had become Christians, and they asked Jay to send someone to teach them the Bible. Jay couldn't go, but he sent his cousin, who was studying at a Protestant seminary. The young man led 50 people to Christ before he was poisoned by someone who resented his efforts to bring Christ to the Hmong. "We are sad that your cousin has died," a friend told Jay. "You should prepare to take his place and minister to the Hmong."

How can I say no? Jay wondered. He recalled his desire to be a missionary to his own people. Jay entered the seminary and earned a degree in religion. A Protestant church hired the couple to train lay Bible workers in the United States and Asia. Jay was frustrated by the poor translation of the Hmong Bible. My people need a better translation of God's word so they can learn who God really is, he thought.

His in-depth Bible study raised more questions, including questions about the Sabbath. He went to a church official for answers, but was greeted with a challenge: "Are you questioning the church's teachings?"

"No," Jay replied. "But the Bible says that if we break one commandment, we break them all. I need to understand where the truth lies."

Soon after that Jay received a letter from his church's headquarters notifying him that he was no longer needed as a teacher and pastor. Suddenly Jay had no job. For months he searched for work. The family lost their home and most of their possessions. "Why doesn't God answer our prayers!" Jay asked his wife.

Then Jay's cousin introduced him to a Hmong pastor named Ko. Jay learned that Pastor Ko is a Seventh-day Adventist who worked in a nearby metropolitan area. Jay told Pastor Ko about his Bible study that led to losing his job.

"You are right," Pastor Ko said. "The Bible says we are to keep the Sabbath, so Seventh-day Adventists do." Jay was excited to learn that there was a church that kept all of the Ten Commandments. Jay and Paniya studied with Pastor Ko Saelee and discovered that their questions had answers. Soon they asked to become Seventh-day Adventists.

The Adventist Church sponsored Jay to study at Andrews University Theological Seminary for a year to prepare for a new ministry. He is translating the Bible into Hmong and has completed several books. "God has blessed me so much through His Word. I want other Hmong to be able to read the good news in their own language so they can make their choice to follow Him." This quarter part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help expand the church's work among dozens of refugee groups throughout North America. Thank you for your sacrificial gift to help reach these people for Christ.

Reprint of Sabbath School mission story for October 1, 2011


Changing Her World
Amy Hahn with some of her kids from Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Amy Hahn, of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, is a senior theology major at Andrews University. This year she received the “Heart and Soul” award for her commitment and service to the people of the Benton Harbor community.

“Amy is a leader of leaders because of her deep passion for Christ,” said Ron Whitehead, Assistant to the President for Spiritual Life for the Center for Youth Evangelism at Andrews University. “She can’t help herself. She’s not waiting to change the world after she graduates, she is doing it now.”

Every Sabbath after a busy week of classes, Amy heads to the town of Benton Harbor to help run an outreach program for children. “The community is quite run down and has lots of violence,” said Amy. “Kids are growing up without knowing Jesus, and I see this as a great opportunity to help change that.”

Amy organizes the five-bus runs to pick up kids for church and afternoon programs each Sabbath. Once, while riding the bus on Sabbath, Amy shared the story of David and Goliath with one of the boys. “Did that really happen”, he asked? “Can you tell me another story?” Amy then told him about Jonah, Noah, and others. “He had never heard any of these stories before,” said Amy. “That right there confirmed why I do what I do.”

Amy also organizes a group of students from Andrews to visit people living in a retirement home on weekends. “We visit, put on programs, make cookies with them and sometimes have a camp fire,” said Amy. “Their families do not visit often, but those people have become family to me in every sense of the word.”

After her sophomore year, Amy took a year off from school to serve as a student missionary in Cambodia. “What a blessing,” said Amy. “That year gave me direction. It was there that I realized the importance of listening to God. I decided I no longer wanted to make God come up with plan B for my life. I wanted plan A.”

“I’m so thankful for all the ministry opportunities Andrews has provided,” said Amy. “Not all schools encourage you to take a year off to be a student missionary, or study abroad, or become involved in outreach projects. These experiences have greatly impacted my life.”

Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan serves students from across Lake Union, North America and abroad. Learn more about Andrews University at www.andrews.edu.


Coronary Health Improvement Project Makes News in Wausau

Joy Sajdak of Knowlton began a local Coronary Health Improvement Project after learning of the program while visiting her son in Indianapolis. At the heart of the program are healthy eating and exercise. Here, she prepares a meal with fresh cucumbers.
(Xai Kha/Wausau Daily Herald)
Joy Sajdak, member of The Shepherd’s House Seventh-day Adventist church, is currently holding a 6-week Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) for the community of Wausau. The following article appeared in the Wausau Daily Herald on Monday, September 26, 2011.

A new program that promises to help people slim down, lower their blood pressure and improve their overall health has begun in the Wausau area.
Seventeen people are participating in the Coronary Health Improvement Project, a six-week program that focuses on encouraging people to eat more vegetables, fruits, grains and other high-fiber foods and limit their intake of fats, oils and sugars. It also steers participants toward regular exercise and making other decisions toward a healthy lifestyle.
CHIP began Sept. 19, and the participants will meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings through Oct. 27 at Shepherd's House, a church in Rib Mountain. The program has been offered in various locations across the country since it was founded in late 1988. The local program was started by a 63-year-old retired medical technologist who talks about CHIP with the zeal of an evangelist.
"This is my retirement project," said Joy Sajdak of Knowlton. "This is an effort of love. ... I'm trying to help people turn their lives around, to actually save lives."

Sajdak first found out about CHIP at a program she attended in Indianapolis while visiting her son there. She heard the testimony of a former diabetic who basically was "getting ready to die," Sajdak said. He started exercising and eating a healthy diet, and turned his life around.
"Now he bikes 20 miles a day and goes around Indiana telling his story," Sajdak said. "I thought, 'Wow, this is some kind of program.'"
Sajdak went to another CHIP meeting in Hinckley, Minn., with her sister, and she was sold on its merits. She decided she would bring the program to Wausau and now volunteers her time as a local CHIP director.
Pam Krueger, 53, of Weston, a hospital supervisor at Aspirus Wausau Hospital is both participating in and volunteering with the local program. Krueger is involved, she said, because "I totally believe in the program.
"The nice thing about the program is that it helps people learn how to cook and eat in a way that tastes good, looks good and is good for you. It's very sound. There's no gimmicks, no hoaxes."
For Krueger, the dietary and lifestyle changes had an effect not only on her health, but on the way she felt.
"I think one of the big changes is that you start to feel better. You can't really put your finger on it. You don't feel so sluggish, and you just feel you have more energy," she said.
The Wausau program costs $200 to join. Meetings include watching informational DVDs, sharing program recipes and sampling food. Participants also get blood checks done before and after the program to track changes in cholesterol levels and other indicators.
But the program also helps build a support network, Sajdak said.

"This is a lifestyle thing," Sajdak said. "It is common sense, but people really don't know how to get started."
It's too late to join this group, but Sajdak expects to make the program an annual offering. Find out more about CHIP at www.chiphealth.com.

By Keith Uhlig, Wausau Daily Herald
The World On My Doorstep

Terri Saelee lives in Wisconsin and serves as coordinator for Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
When I was little, I never dreamed I'd be doing anything like being the coordinator for Adventist Refugee and Immigrant Ministries (ARIM) across the North American Division.

I grew up on a farm in Nebraska, and I can remember at age five wondering where life would take me. I happened to be living at the house my mother was born in, my grandfather was born in, and my great-grandfather built with lumber from Illinois. I thought, I'll probably never leave the state of Nebraska. Little did I know God would take me halfway around the world into war-torn areas to work with refugees.

Some people say that God veils the future because we can't bear all the pain we're going to have in our lives. I think His real reason is similar to the reasons parents wrap presents for their children at Christmas. He has so many neat surprises, He doesn't want to spoil all the fun all at once, so He opens it up little by little.

It all started when I saw a note on the bulletin board at Union College asking if anyone with a car would be willing to pick up refugees to take them to a church service in their language. That was my first experience.

I then went to Asia as a student missionary and worked in refugee camps. I remember asking my English class to tell me what they had been through. When I asked, there was an uncomfortable silence followed by nervous laughter. I knew they had been through horrendous things, and so I couldn't quite understand their reaction until one of my students, who was a spokesperson for the group, said, "We're laughing so we don't cry."

I remember one young man, about 17, who shared his story with me. He came from a well-to-do family in the capitol city of Laos. When he was age 10 and his sister was seven, there was some turmoil in the government. He explained that his parents had been captured, and he was suddenly the man of the house with the responsibility of caring for his sister. He decided to raise fish in the bathtub, but it wasn't enough. He ended up fleeing to a refugee camp in Thailand.

As he told me his story, he revealed that he had never seen or heard from his parents. He didn't know if they were dead or alive. Then he surprised me by saying, "I'm so glad that Communism came into my country." My mouth must have dropped open. I couldn't imagine why. He went on to say, "If it hadn't, then I would never have learned about God."

I thought back to someone I had talked to in the States before I left who said, "You know, those people have their own culture; they have their own religion. Why do you have to go mess them up?" This young man's testimony was the answer to that question. I think we who have grown up knowing God have not an inkling of what a bright world we live in and how very blessed we are to be in a country where there are so many people who believe in God, and where there is prayer. I believe there's a lot of protection that we enjoy as a result.

From what I've observed, there are people who witness the devil's power on a regular basis. I stayed in the home of a pastor and his family who was working with refugees. His father had been a spirit doctor and was grooming his oldest brother to be the next spirit doctor in the village. But the oldest brother was mysteriously killed. During the funeral ceremony, the person conducting the ceremony kept accidentally saying the name of the next oldest son. The people in the village believe that when that happens it means that he is going to be the next victim in short order. And sure enough, he was next and right on down the line.

Finally, the mother decided "I only have one boy left. This is it. I'm going to become a Christian." And she did. Her youngest son lived to become a pastor. As a result of his work, there are literally thousands of people in the refugee camps from several language groups who have been baptized in the camp.

But my heart goes out to these new-Adventist refugees when they are relocated to America. Due to our lack of understanding of the culture, of their needs, we have unintentionally alienated thousands of these precious people.

They arrive with a number of challenges, with language being a primary one. They typically have no transportation and don't know how to find a church, or how to ask. If they do find a church, they don't know what to expect or how to act. They most likely have never been to a church.

In many cultures, there is an underlying fear of imposing on others. They are often very warm in their hospitality. If you were to go to their homes, they would immediately bring you water or something else to drink. They may also provide a snack or an entire meal.

I remember, when I was in Asia, some of my English Language students invited me to their home. We were sitting and chatting around a little table outside and talking about different fruits because they were interested in learning their English names. When they asked me if I liked mangoes, I said, "Oh, I love mangoes." Soon, some mangoes appeared on the table and I thought, Oh, wow! This is wonderful! So I ate the mangoes.

Later, they asked, "Do you like rambutans?"

I said, "I love rambutans!" Pretty soon some rambutans appeared. I soon began to realize that what I happened to say I liked, they provided by sending someone to the market right then and there to get it. When I finally realized what was happening I thought, Oh my! They are so eager to please.

When they come to America, our style of welcoming them is not what they have grown up with. It is very different from what they would pour on us if given the opportunity. When they come to our churches and we only say, "Oh, hi. How are you today?" and continue on, they may conclude that we're not happy for them to join us for church.

One of their common greetings is, "Where are you going?" We might think, Why are they asking me that? It's none of their business. But their question comes from a sincere desire to meet any need that we might have. Their way of making us feel welcome is by finding a way to help us.

They wonder how to interpret our brief "Hi" and "Bye" at church. If the situation were reversed, they would invite us to join them for dinner. Even if they had nothing but rice and water, they would invite us to join them. When we don't invite them to our homes, they assume they must not be doing something right. They would rather disappear from the scene than to be a burden or imposition to anyone.

When I was in Thailand, I had the privilege of meeting Chris Ishi. He was the pastor of the Fresno Asian Church and started reaching out to Hmong refugees in their community. He then organized a group of Japanese and American young people to go build a church in northern Thailand for the Hmong people there. He said to the Hmong refugees in Fresno, "I know that you probably still have relatives in the refugee camps. If you have a little letter or little package you'd like me to take, I'll be happy to take it to your relatives when I go."

Well, Chris ended up with three suitcases full of more than 200 letters and packages. When he arrived at the camp, Chris was not able to go in. He did not realize that he needed permission from the Ministry of the Interior from the capitol city, so I had the privilege of distributing the letters and packages for him.
He gave me a camera to take with me. There were tears in the refugees' eyes when they saw a package or letter from their relatives in the States. They would ask, "Do you know my family?"

And I replied, "No, not yet, but I'm going there soon." As I planned to return to Thailand, I had the privilege of taking pictures of their relatives here in the States as well. Through Chris and other people who were involved in refugee ministry here, the Lord mentored me little by little.

When I was a student at Weimar College, I had an assignment to give an informative speech in class. I thought, What do I know a little about that I can learn more about and share? I had heard there were some refugees in Sacramento, about an hour away, so I did a little research and found out there were about 5,000 Hmong refugees there at the time.

The week following my speech was Week of Prayer, and the focus was on the Holy Spirit. The speaker touched briefly on the fact that within the space of two years everyone in Asia had heard the gospel through the ministry of Paul (see Acts 19:10). That fact was just riveted in my heart. It's as though God was saying, "Terri, there's a little Asia right down the hill from you—just an hour away in Sacramento. And look around you. Here is a whole school full of people who are eagerly preparing to share the gospel. What a perfect fit."

The next assignment in speech class was a persuasive speech. My topic was "Weimar College Should Have an Outreach to the Southeast Asians in Sacramento." A missionary who had just returned took me under his wing and mentored me. Our outreach team worked with the Japanese Church of Sacramento, and the result was two church plants—one among the Lao refugees and one among the Hmong. Both groups are still there, worshiping and growing.

I had the privilege of sponsoring three families. I regret that as a student I was scared to take on the first one. When the family came, they were so sweet. I vowed I'd never pass up that opportunity again; and eventually, sponsored two more refugee families. The first family is the core family of believers in the Sacramento Lao church plant, and the other family moved to Michigan to find work. They have planted a Lao group of believers in Holland, Michigan. The Holland Church has just welcomed them with open arms.

It's beautiful to visit and see the loving atmosphere that there is between the members of the mother church and the Lao church plant. I just praise the Lord for how the members there have welcomed them. I wasn't there to introduce them, but love translates into all languages.

I never realized that I would be in the Lake Union myself. My husband and I were called in 2005 to come and reach out to the refugees for the Hmong people in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Now we're working primarily in Wisconsin, and God is opening doors.

While we were in Minnesota, the Lord miraculously put us in touch with a pastor who does translation work. He eventually asked his church leaders why they were keeping Sunday when the Bible says to remember the Sabbath day. Well, they quickly decided to shift their focus from Hmong ministry to another ethnic group, and they dropped him like a hot potato. They terminated him just after he had built a new home with ministry in mind. It was built as a split level so they could have church in the lower level. His wife was just about to deliver their third child and his benefits were cut—everything was cut.

But you know, God brought them through that. They basically lost everything except their faith in God, and that kept shining through. Thanks to the vision of the North American Division, he has now completed his Masters in Divinity at Andrews University and is continuing his translation work of the Hmong Bible. He had recruited about 22 students to the Seminary he previously attended, and they still regard him as their beloved professor. A few months ago, the first of them was baptized in the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church along with a Lao pastor friend of his who is bringing his members into the new truth he has found. It is so exciting to see what God is doing among the people on our very doorsteps.

I worked with refugees for years before I realized that God gave Ellen White some very specific counsel. Tucked away in the book, Evangelism, under the title, "Working for Special Classes," under the section, "The Stranger in Our Midst," I stumbled upon these words and they began to germinate in my heart:

"God would be pleased to see far more accomplished by His people in the presentation of the truth for this time to the foreigners in America than has been done in the past. ... As I have testified for years, if we were quick in discerning the opening providences of God, we should be able to see in the multiplying opportunities to reach many foreigners in America a divinely appointed means of rapidly extending the third angel's message into all the nations of earth. God in His providence has brought men to our very doors and thrust them, as it were, into our arms, that they might learn the truth, and be qualified to do a work we could not do in getting the light before men of other tongues. There is a great work before us" (Evangelism, p. 570). Read more of Ellen White's comments.

I didn't see the whole picture at first, and then about three years ago I began waking up in the wee hours of the morning, thinking, If I know about these few language groups that few of our members seem to know about, how many other language groups are among us? How many are eager to know God, to learn the truth about Him, and would be willing to commit their lives to Him that we don't even know about? The thought just began to weigh on my heart.

I am discovering some incredible parallels between countries that we are unable to reach or that are extremely difficult to reach with missionaries, and countries from which we have the most refugees, asylees, other immigrants and non-immigrant visitors. I believe that if we were more awake to the Divine appointments that God is setting up for us, we might discover them in the grocery line, at the gas station or even at our doorstep. 
                                                                       (Adapted from September, 2011, LUH)

Oakland SDA Church, First Foreign-Speaking Church in the World
A gathering of church members at Oakland SDA Church sometime in the early 1950s.
”If you want to follow the Bible literally, you ought to keep Saturday instead of Sunday,” said the Lutheran minister to a small group of people meeting in Ole Sern’s home in Norway. Little did that Lutheran minister realize that years later his words would result in raising up the first foreign-language Seventh-day Adventist church in the world, and that many influential ministers, missionaries and leaders would come from that church.
Weary of the formality of their Lutheran church, and looking for improved economic conditions, Ole Serns and several other Norwegian families migrated to the United States, eventually settling in the township of Oakland, Wisconsin. The idea that Saturday was the true Bible Sabbath, suggested by that Lutheran minister back in Norway was not forgotten. In the fall of 1854, Ole and his friends decided to study the subject deeper.
By the spring of 1855, four families in Oakland were keeping the seventh day Sabbath with Ole. Within two years, the number had doubled. For all they knew, they were the only Sabbath-keepers in the world. Later they learned that there was a group of Adventists in a nearby settlement. In April of 1858, an Adventist pastor named Phelps visited the Oakland group and shared the three angels’ messages with them. One month later, the first baptism was held.
The Oakland SDA Church was organized in December of 1861, the first Norwegian-American Adventist church in the world. Three years later the members erected a church building, a portion of which is still in use today. It has undergone alterations and additions, and now houses an English-speaking congregation.
Over the past 150 years, many church leaders received early training at the Oakland SDA Church. One of these, O.A. Olsen, became president of the Wisconsin Conference and later president of the General Conference in 1888. O. A. Johnson became president of the Dakota Conference, and four years later president of the Wisconsin Conference. John Mattson, also from Oakland, conducted the first Scandinavian mission school in America, traveled throughout the Midwestern states establishing Scandinavian churches, and labored many years in Denmark. Before returning to the United States Mattson helped convert over 700 Scandinavian Adventists in Denmark, and organized the first conference organization outside the United States. He was known to many "the Adventist apostle to the Scandinavians." These are only a few of the numerous ministers, teachers, and missionaries Oakland SDA Church has sent to share God’s truth to the world.
On September 2 and 3, 2011, Oakland SDA Church will be hosting their 150th anniversary celebration. Dr. Bjorgvin Snorrason, a native Norwegian a graduate of Andrews University will be the guest speaker for the weekend. He completed his doctoral dissertation on the history of the Norwegian Seventh-day Adventist church from the 1840s to 1887. Currently he serves as Sabbath school and Personal Ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Iceland. The weekend will begin with a vespers Friday evening at 7:00 p.m., and conclude with an evening of music Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m.

More than 150 people attend the 150th anniversary event at Oakland SDA Church. Read Dr. Snorrason's dissertation on the origin, growth and history of the Norwegian Seventh-day Adventist Church. 


Fox Valley Adventist Surgeon Gives Medical Care in Haiti

Dr. Terry Dietrich performs surgery on a patient in Haiti.
Dr. Terry Dietrich and his wife Jeannie, of the Fox Valley SDA Church, are spending a year as medical missionaries at Haiti Adventist Hospital.
After the January 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated the island if Haiti, Dietrich, an orthopedic surgeon in Appleton, WI, was invited by his friend and colleague, Dr. Scott Nelson, to come help care for earthquake victims at Haiti Adventist Hospital. The Dietrich’s decided to go for two weeks. While there, Dr. Nelson asked Dietrich to stay on staff as director of surgical services.
“My wife and I looked at the situation and decided to adjust our obligations and stay in Haiti for a period of a year,” says Dietrich, who has spent almost 40 years contributing time to other medical missions in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Romania, El Salvador, and several African nations. “I had to return and give my employer a 6-month notice, then we went down in November [2010] to spend a year volunteering at Haiti Adventist Hospital.
“What really drew my wife and I to do this project was that this was something really worth putting a year of our lives into. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince was the fourth most deadly earthquake in the world. Haiti was on it’s knees, if not on it’s back before the earthquake struck. The needs are incredible.”
As money, equipment and volunteers poured into Haiti after the earthquake, Haiti Adventist Hospital was able to provide care to earthquake victims, and also hundreds of people with deformities caused by birth defects, developmental conditions and infections that had been present for many years. These people had never received care because they were too poor to pay for it.
Here is a excerpt from Dietrich’s blog entry dated May 13, 2011. “Today I did the clinic by myself… Saw a 6 year old with bilateral Tibial Hemimelia (the shinbone, or tibia, doesn’t form properly). She scoots around in the sitting position.  I offered her surgery to allow her to stand and walk and be as tall as her friends and she is eager… A five year old with untreated clubfoot also came in.  A displaced femoral neck fracture, nasty diabetic foot, and a 3-day-old unstable pelvic fracture all came in within two hours yesterday.  The coming week with no one to help me and only spotty local anesthesia help will present some challenges.”
“My desire and my goal are to establish a program that will make it possible for every patient, regardless of their financial situation, to come and receive care at Haiti Adventist Hospital,” said Dietrich. “No patient should ever be turned away from the door. Yet, providing care for those who cannot pay presents a challenge.  It can only happen if there is an outside source for addressing the financial burden.”
Dietrich has now developed the Haiti Indigent Patient Fund to help address this challenge, and is also working to involve visiting volunteer surgeons and anesthesia providers.  He has also produced a book about Haiti and the great needs there. He hopes it will raise awareness and financial support.
“There are so many areas that, if properly funded, could help insure the ongoing capability to provide high quality orthopedic care to the indigents in this country,” said Dietrich, listing such needs as a blood bank, orthopedic formulary, housing for patients and volunteers, a cannulated screw set, and more. “The list goes on and to some might even seem endless,” he says, but remains confident. “This is God’s work and I have a strong belief that it will work out in His time frame.”


Camp Wakonda's Staff at Work
Camp Wakonda staff member Kali Jardine has fun with the kids at camp meeting.
It’s 8:30 a.m. on a camp meeting morning. In Red Pine Lodge, thirty-seven young adults have gathered, like they do every day, for prayer. They pray for safety, wisdom, enthusiasm, and the power of the Holy Spirit. They’re the Camp Wakonda summer camp staff. While a majority of their summer is spent running the summer youth camps, they also help out at camp meeting in a number of departments.

Many camp meeting afternoons, you’ll find Wisconsin native Jessica Buchholz standing attentively on the waterfront dock, red rescue tube under her arm, and whistle within reach. She completed training as a lifeguard in January, but her preparations for camp began long before that. “It’s been my dream to work at Camp Wakonda since I was ten,” she explains, keeping a careful eye on the splashing children in the water. “When I was a camper, being a staff looked like fun. They were all so close. Now I’m a staff and it is fun. It’s very busy. Before camp meeting, we put the docks in the lake. It was muddy. We also set up tents, and that took a lot of work.” During summer camp, Jessica will lifeguard and work in the kitchen. Right now, Jessica is one of six trained lifeguards working at the waterfront during camp meeting. “We keep kids safe in the lake and make sure they have fun,” she says. When asked if all the waiting to work here was worth it, she’s sure to smile and say, “Yes. Camp is my favorite place in the whole world.”

Most evenings Kali Jardine is in the Junior tent, holding a microphone and leading a hundred Juniors in a lively song service. Kali is Bio/Pre-Med major from Berrien Springs, MI. This fall she heads to Denmark as a student missionary. In a few weeks she’ll be the girls director at summer camp. But right now she is teaching 10-12 year olds the motions to a new song. “I really like kids,” says Kali. “Kids who come to camp have a good opportunity to make God their best friend. We try to get them really excited about God. Camp is a great place to learn. I came to camp to learn to rely on God, not myself. I can tell He is really working here.”

Adele Marsh, another Wisconsin native, bags a stuffed animal for a customer at the camp store. She keeps an eye on the little boy by the window playing with a bouncy ball and answers a questions for a mother wanting a sweatshirt for her son. “I like working the cash register at the store,” Adele says, “and I love working with kids. Working at camp is really good for your spiritual life. You’re always spending time with other camp staff who are spiritual and teaching kids about God.” During camp meeting, Adele works at the camp store, the summer camp office, and the Junior tent where she plays guitar, helps with puppet shows, and keeps score for the Zonk game. “I’ve been coming to camp meeting since I was a baby,” says Adele. “It’s awesome.”

Much of the day, David Ward works at the youth tent. “I’ve been helping lead out with praise time, announcements, and encouraging the kids share their testimonies every night,” David says. “Some do.” David comes from Indiana, “and a lot of other places,” he adds. He plans to spend his life in overseas mission service. “Service to others helps you to experience God’s power in a new way, and changes you,” says David, “I made God a promise that if He gives me any opportunity I’ll take it. My life is in His hands. I love kids, I love God, and want to maintain relationships that will be valuable to Him.” David plans to do mission work in Africa and Japan in the next few years, establishing his own mission organization to take advantage of opening opportunities. This summer though, David’s plans are here at camp. “I’m going to be a counselor and help on the climbing wall. I think there’s nothing better that I could do to prepare me and keep me in shape spiritually for ministry. There’s really not a better summer I could have.”

Jessica, Kali, Adele, and David are only a few of the 37 camp staff helping in a variety of departments on the grounds. They set up tents, clean the dining room, staff the divisions, drive the ski boat, run the camp store, lead games, lifeguard, and do countless other tasks to help camp meeting run smoothly. “The staff have a work ethic that is awesome,” says Greg Taylor, camp director. “I’m having a hard time getting them to take a break.”

As camp meeting draws to a close, the camp staff will begin preparations for summer camp. They’ve got a blob to set up at the waterfront, evening programs to practice, cabins to prepare for campers, and horses to ride. But the most important preparations are the ones they’re making every morning. “The campers this summer will see Jesus through our camp staff,” says Greg Taylor. When they do, it's because of what happens at the beginning of the day, at 8:30 a.m. in Red Pine Lodge.

Find out more at the Camp Wakonda Website.


An Interview with Ron Clouzet

Director of the North American Division Evangelism Institute Ron Clouzet is the featured speaker Monday through Thursday evenings at Wisconsin camp meeting 2011. The following interview was published in the Camp Lamp on Monday, June 20.

CAMP LAMP: Tell us about your background.

CLOUZET: I am a fourth generation Adventist, born and raised in Argentina. My parents worked for the church publishing house in Buenos Aires. I emigrated to the United States in 1975 after I’d graduated from academy. I did not know a word of English.

CAMP LAMP: Tell me about when you first found Jesus as your personal Savior.

CLOUZET: After praying with friends during a week of prayer my senior year of academy, I gave my life to Jesus in His service. It was the clearest decision of my early years. I didn’t know how, but all I wanted to do was serve Him.
CAMP LAMP: Tell us about your family.
CLOUZET: Lisa and I met at La Sierra University, her freshmen and my senior year. I was a student worker, helping teach Spanish and French. She was in one of my classes, and I noticed her. So, I can say I married my student! We have three young adult children: Christoffer, Alexander, and Stefani.

CAMP LAMP: What led you to the subject of the Holy Spirit for your doctoral study?

CLOUZET: I developed an interest in the Holy Spirit over 20 years ago while pastoring. My book, Adventism’s Greatest Need: The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, tells more about it. I began to study it on my own later, during a sabbatical year in South America, I decided to pursue a formal degree on the subject. The dissertation is called, The Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Writings and Experience of Ellen G. White and Implications for Adventist Theology.

CAMP LAMP: Has that study changed your thinking?

CLOUZET: Yes, in a number of ways. I have a much more Biblical understanding of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It’s also given me an immense respect for the work of Ellen White. It is unequivocally clear to me that only God could lead a woman like that to such clarity of thought in theological thinking, avoiding all the mistakes of giant minds that preceded her.

CAMP LAMP: As director of NAD evangelism, what is your vision for the church in North America?

CLOUZET: Revival and reformation among the churches. I believe a critical mass of people is needed to be totally committed to Jesus before God can work freely and powerfully in our midst. That number need not be great. God can do much with relatively few. The challenge is most of us are good people distracted by the cares of the world. Few know a deep love of God and fewer still know how to live by faith in His promises. When this changes, the work in North America will be done very quickly, and the world will follow.

CAMP LAMP: We have many churches in Wisconsin with less than 100 members. What advice would you give a small church wanting to make a difference in the community?

CLOUZET: First, refuse to be discouraged or give in to statements like, “We can’t grow here”, We don’t have enough young people”, or “People are not interested in our message”. Second, really learn how to pray—together. Third, take considerable time with Jesus each MORNING, and do not compromise that time. Last, pledge as individuals and a church to do any and everything the Lord Jesus makes clear to  you. Things are bound to radically change.

CAMP LAMP: How do you see revival and reformation playing out on the local church level? Individual level?

CLOUZET: Personal revival is fundamental to corporate revival but it is not likely to be sustainable at a personal level only. We need each other to be revived. Coming together to plead before the Lord is critical to all this. That’s what the disciples had to do in Acts 1. There will never be an Acts 2 before there is an Acts 1.


Meet Don Schneider

Don Schneider was the featured speaker on Sabbath and Sunday at Wisconsin camp meeting 2011. The following interview was published in the Camp Lamp on Sabbath, June 18.
Our first weekend speaker for camp meeting 2011 is Elder Don Schneider, former president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. Don is passionate about sharing what it means to know Jesus, share Jesus, and live for Jesus.
Born in Merrill, Wisconsin, Don’s parents took Bible studies from the head elder of the local Seventh-day Adventist Church. After going through all 28 lessons, mom and dad Schneider were not ready to commit.
Yet, that faithful Adventist head elder just wouldn’t give up on the family. He kept coming back, even though it looked as if it might do no good at all. For a second time he started right at the beginning and studied all 28 Bible lessons with them. That is when they started going to church. “I’m glad that he kept coming to see us,” says Don in his book, One Heart Rejoicing. “We may have looked worthless to some people, but not to that elder, and not to Jesus, either.”
Within a few months of joining the Adventist church, Don’s parents enrolled him in the local church school. “My teacher helped me to grow in Jesus,” remembers Don. “My senior year at Wisconsin Academy is when I made my personal decision. I remember kneeling beside my bed in room 139 of the old boy’s dorm and it was there that I gave my life to Jesus.”
Don has served the Lord as a pastor, youth director, conference president, union president and recently retired after serving 10 years as president of the North American Division. He is currently interim pastor of the Denver South SDA Church in Colorado. He also continues to host a 60-minute weekly show, Really Living, on Hope TV. “It’s all ministry,” says Don. “You do different things and deal with different topics, but the thrust is still the same, telling people about Jesus.”
Don wants to be an encourager who affirms the importance of those who feel worthless. He wants to love wandering sheep back into the fold. “Stop griping about the defects in Christ’s bride, the church, and start working to increase the groom’s market share over the devil,” says Don. “Become a member of the Aaron and Hur club, and hold up the hands of the leaders. Dispense the medicine of prayer and the balm of caring, and watch people get happy that you are alive."


I Am a Missionary

I was seven.
It was first grade, and I was given the very important assignment of illustrating my future career. There was no hesitation; I wanted to be a missionary. I grasped a chubby pencil in my left hand and scrawled a handful of large-eared stick figures in a land far, far away. Gratefully (they had thin, squiggly smiles) they accepted the carefully sketched, cross-embellished square Bible from my stick hand.
I was nineteen.
It was sophomore year at Andrews University, and I’d signed up for the Passport to Missions class on a whim. I was squirming in my desk chair in room S340, feeling flushed and anxious. I’d recently decided to postpone my student missionary plans to the year after next, and Someone wasn’t satisfied. I was pushed and prodded, poked and pressed. As soon as the Campus Ministries office opened, I was there. “I want to look at calls for this year,” I blurted.
I was twenty.
It was junior year at Andrews University, and I was disappointed. I hadn’t planned to be in Berrien Springs this year. I’d applied to work in an orphanage in Tanzania, as a science teacher in Egypt, as an elementary teacher in the Marshall Islands, and as a teacher in Micronesia. Though some positions were more promising than others, each fell through in succession, the final call failing less than three weeks before the first day of classes at Andrews. I was frustrated and a little bit angry. I am a willing volunteer! Why is it so hard to get to “far, far away”?
I was twenty-one.
It was March, and I had been accepted to be a high school dean in Norway. During the processing phase, however, the call was removed. No-way Norway. Ta-ta Tanzania. Maybe not, Micronesia. Many would consider this 18-month session of repeated failures a sign to pursue a different direction, but I’m stubborn. Frustrated, I looked through the Adventist Volunteer Services mission calls one last time.
I am twenty-two.
April is winding down, and I am sitting in the library at Maxwell Adventist Academy in Nairobi, Kenya, where I am volunteering. Rather than studying, however, I’m planning physics and chemistry labs. I’m reviewing concepts of Algebra 2 so that I can tutor students in the dorm later tonight. I’m musing about what exercises I’ll give in Physical Education. This is life in “far, far away”. I’m not a stick figure, and I’m not handing out Bibles, but I am a missionary.
After searching at length for “far, far away,” I’ve learned that it isn’t really a place; it’s an attitude. There’s no invisible barrier rising from the Atlantic that magically transforms one into a missionary when it is crossed. The responsibilities I have in Kenya are nearly identical to those I held stateside. Leaving home didn’t make me a missionary; God did.
Far, far away: inaccessible by car, boat, or plane. I’ll meet you there.


Hallelujah Hustle - Building Community & Encouraging Wellness

Lace up your shoes and get ready to go! Spring is right around the corner. That means camp meeting will be here before we know it. And with camp meeting comes the Hallelujah Hustle 5k run/walk. Last year, 253 participants ran or walked the five kilometer (about three miles) course through Camp Wakonda. On Sunday, June 19, runners and walkers will again line up for the fifth-annual Hallelujah Hustle.

Each year, proceeds from the Hallelujah Hustle are used for wellness-related donations to the community of Westfield. On February 8, members of the Hallelujah Hustle planning committee presented Wii Fit exercise equipment along with money for the senior meals program to the new Senior/Community Center. The county of Marquette, in which Westfield is located, has five senior centers who all share a Wii Fit. It was often weeks before the group in Westfield had their turn with the equipment. Now, they can exercise and play games whenever they want, encouraging exercise and building friendships. Megan Hockerman, deputy clerk and treasurer for the village, said, “The seniors are so excited. Right now, we are in the process of putting a bowling tournament together. We so appreciate everything your group has done for our village.”
While most camp meeting attendees do not know anyone in Westfield, the community knows us. The thousands of visitors during camp meeting week do not go unnoticed. Dean Alexander, village board chair, said how grateful the community is to have the extra business from visitors during the summer. And, something as simple as grocery shopping habits makes an impression. “I used to own the grocery store, years ago,” he said. “When your church started coming here, we had to change our model at the store and order more fruits and vegetables.” A woman named Karen said she’s noticed how well the camp is taken care of since being purchased by the Adventist church.
In past years, Hallelujah Hustle proceeds have provided Westfield with two AEDs and equipment for the village playground. Some participants may ask why the proceeds for the Hallelujah Hustle aren’t used to benefit Adventists. The answer is, 1. They are! and 2. It’s not about us. The Hallelujah Hustle encourages camp meeting attendees to include exercise in their lives. It benefits participants by giving them something to aim for as they include a “training” routine in the months leading up to the race (and hopefully, throughout the year), which is one of the main goals of the run/walk. The second part of the Hallelujah Hustle’s mission is to reach outside the Adventist circle to establish relationships in the community. The health and wellness equipment donated to the community speaks volumes about us and our church.
Proceeds from this year’s race will be used in two ways: first, permanent course markers will be set up at Camp Wakonda. This will allow attendees at camp meeting to use the course throughout the week and will ensure that the course length is consistent from year to year. Second, the Hallelujah Hustle planning committee will work with the village of Westfield to determine a wellness-related project for which funds can be contributed.

We encourage you to participate in this year’s run/walk. Register before May 14 and you’ll be guaranteed a limited-edition race t-shirt, as well as saving on your race fee ($12 before May 14, $15 thereafter). This year’s race will feature separate men’s and women’s divisions. For a race application, visit hallelujahhustle.com or call (608) 882-5432. For updates and to join the community of race participants, search for Hallelujah Hustle on Facebook.


Brian Stephan New Executive Secretary/Treasurer for Wisconsin Conference

On March 26, 2011, Brian Stephan accepted the call to serve as executive secretary/treasurer for the Wisconsin Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He currently serves as undertreasurer and association treasurer in the Michigan Conference.
“It is a real privilege to be able to serve in Wisconsin, and very humbling,” says Brian. “We look forward to serving and will do everything we can to be what the Lord wants us to be. We’re excited about this opportunity.”
Brian was born in Eau Claire, WI. His father pastored in Eau Claire, and later Green Bay. “My father took me into a department store in Madison,” recalls Brian. “Bart Starr was there signing his black and white pictures. I stood in line to get one, and have been hooked on the Packers ever since.” Brian’s father became principal of Wisconsin Academy in the 1960's, while Brian attended Peterson Elementary.
Brian graduated from Andrews University with a BA in Business Administration in 1978 and a MBA with an accounting emphasis in 1980. He was hired as a business intern by the Michigan Conference in 1980, and has continued to serve in various treasury positions there for the past 31 years.
Brian and his wife Cindy were married in November of 2003. Cindy has worked in various secretarial roles for the Michigan conference for the past 8 years. She enjoys cooking, camping, and being with her family.
Brian has a daughter, Jessica, who lives in Denver, Colorado, and a son, Craig, who will graduate from Southern Adventist University this spring with a degree in nursing. Cindy has one son, Dalton, who will be a sophomore in academy this fall.
Brian’s number one hobby is bird watching. He also enjoys running, watching sports, and spending time with family.


Keith Nelson New Principal for Wisconsin Academy

On March 18, 2011, Keith Nelson accepted the call to serve as principal at Wisconsin Academy. Keith comes to us from Greeneville Adventist Academy in Tennessee, where he has been principal for the past ten years.
“The Lord has great things in store for the future of Wisconsin Academy,” says Keith. “I believe Adventist education is not a luxury, but a responsibility and an obligation we have to the youth of our church. It will be my privilege to work hand in hand with Wisconsin churches and schools to market and maintain quality Adventist education for all of God’s children.”
Keith and his wife, Andrea, have two children. Their son, Ryan, will be a sophomore at Wisconsin Academy this fall. Their daughter, Kari, will be a freshman.
Keith was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and grew up in a medical missionary home. “Father was an outdoor enthusiast,” recalls Keith. “He instilled a desire and sparked my love for nature. Two of our pets were a boa constrictor and a scarlet macaw.”
After his family returned to the United States, Keith graduated from Forest Lake Academy and attended Southern Adventist University, earning a B.A. in biology with secondary teaching endorsements in religion and the sciences. He also worked as nature director and later, as camp director at Camp Kulaqua.
“I met Andrea, my wife, in biology class,” says Keith. “We were both biology majors. Later, she applied to work at Camp Kulaqua and I hired her as a girls’ counselor. One Friday night in June of 1990, I packed a picnic lunch, canoed her out to ‘Tree House Island’ and proposed to her.”
After they married, Keith and Andrea moved to Bismarck, ND, where Keith taught science and later served as vice principal from 1993-2001. Andrea, realizing she and Keith would always be competing for the same jobs, returned to school and became certified to teach elementary, kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. In 2001 Keith accepted a call to be principal of Greeneville Adventist Academy, a PreK-12 school in Greeneville, TN, where he has served for the past ten years.  In 2007 Keith earned a M.S. Ed. in Administration and Supervision.
“I love anything to do with aquatics and sports,” says Keith. “I love canoeing, and have always dreamed of canoeing the boundary waters. Now I’ll be close enough to do it.” He also likes mountain biking, soccer, floor hockey, and disc golf.
Keith enjoys public speaking and looks forward to preaching in area churches. “My relationships with Christ and with people are what’s important to me.”
The Nelsons plan to move to Wisconsin this summer in preparation for the 2011-2012 school year.


The "Opening Providences of God"

Elder Mike Edge baptizes Phoumma Chindaphone at the Green Bay SDA Church  
On Sabbath, January 29, 2011, the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist church joyfully welcomed Choua Pao Lee and Phoumma Chindaphone into their church fellowship through baptism.
Though Choua Lee had visited the church on several occasions, the news of their desire to join the church came as quite a surprise when Choua Pao Lee called Pastor Jennifer Ogden one day in late December to tell her that he (a Hmong pastor of another denomination) and Phoumma (a Lao pastor of another denomination) would like to become members. Pastor Ogden immediately called Pastor Ko Saelee, coordinator for the Hmong work in Wisconsin. Pastor Saelee called Choua Pao Lee and found that the interest was genuine. Choua and Phoumma not only wanted to become Seventh-day Adventists themselves, but that they both wanted to bring their members into the Seventh-day Adventist Church as well. This led to a series of meetings with Pastor Ko Saelee, who speaks both Hmong and Lao, the Green Bay Church elders, and the Conference administrators, Elder Mike Edge, president, and Elder James Fox, Ministerial Secretary.
While Choua Pao Lee and Phoumma had done their homework and were quite well-informed about our church, they were happy to participate in Bible studies to prepare for baptism. They requested that instead of studying merely once a week, they would like to take several full days of intensive Bible studies. So Pastor Ko Saelee came from his home near Madison, and spent several days of intensive Bible study with the two pastors at the Green Bay Church. They even slept at the church and ate their meals together at the church. Pastor Saeng (Sean) Saengthip, one of only two Lao Adventist pastors in the world with a Master of Divinity in Theology, drove from Holland, Michigan to join Pastor Ko in sharing God’s word in the Lao language.
Choua Pao Lee and Phoumma had visited various denominations in Green Bay and as far away as Milwaukee, but decided that they liked the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church best for a number of reasons. The international flavor and warmth in the Green Bay Adventist Church made them feel welcome. They liked the reverent worship style. Most of all, however, they liked the fact that, in this church, the Bible was not merely referred to, but actually opened and read together. During the intensive Bible studies with Pastor Saelee and Pastor Saengthip, while there were a few things that were new to them, they had no objection to any of the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, because they were already committed to doing whatever the Bible says.

Miracles in the Background
Miraculous are the providences that led these two men to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In 2004 recognizing the large Hmong population in every major city in the Conference, the Wisconsin Conference Constituency voted to launch a ministry to the Hmong. Through much prayer and a series of providences, the Conference leadership found a Hmong pastor in California who was planting a Hmong church in Sacramento. Together with the Minnesota Conference, which has the largest urban population of Hmong people in the United States, the two conferences, (both in separate unions), jointly called Pastor Ko Saelee, in 2005, to reach out to the Hmong in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

About two years after he arrived, and had planted new Hmong congregations in Madison, Wisconsin and St. Paul, Minnesota, Pastor Ko heard that a relative from Thailand was in the States for a visit, and was staying with someone in St. Paul area. This particular relative, though he had grown up as an orphan, had become chief of his village, then mayor of the district, and soon was recognized for his just and effective leadership. In fact, the prime minister calls him “uncle” and even the king knows him by name. Recognizing a golden opportunity to share Christ with this relative, Pastor Ko invited this relative, and some other Hmong people from Thailand, to his home for a visit. This prominent relative’s ride to that meal was with the man in whose home he was staying, who “happened” to be a pastor and seminary professor of a well-known Christian denomination, an unusually high accomplishment for someone from a refugee ethnic group that arrives in the States with an average of 0-4 years education. Yet Pastor Jay Lo listened attentively, without interrupting or interjecting his own wisdom, while Pastor Ko Saelee shared with his relative (a traditional Hmong animist from Thailand) why he should believe in God and become a Christian. Pastor Saelee and his wife were very impressed with the humility of this highly educated first-generation Hmong seminary professor, and decided to find an opportunity to get better acquainted with him and his family.
The next Sabbath evening, Pastor Saelee felt impressed to visit Pastor Jay Lo. He learned that Pastor Jay Lo had already discovered the Sabbath truth in his own personal study, and had asked his church leadership why they were going to church on Sunday when the Bible teaches us to keep the seventh day holy. Pastor Jay Lo had just been notified that his full-time salary, his substantial housing allowance, a subsidy to help his congregation rent a place to worship, and the health benefits for his family would cease at the end of that month—just before his wife, currently on bed rest due to complications, was to give birth to their third child.
  Pastor Ko Saelee translates for Phoumma Chindaphone and Choua Pao Lee before their baptism at Green Bay SDA Church
So it was that God brought Pastor Saelee in touch with Pastor Jay Lo who, with his lovely family, after careful study, became a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. Pastor Jay Lo has now finished the Seminary at Andrews University (in August of 2010) and is working on a more accurate translation of the Hmong Bible.
But that is only part of the story. As a seminary professor in his former denomination, he had recruited 22 students to the Theology program. Choua Pao Lee in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was one of those 22 students. He still respects Pastor Jay Lo as his beloved seminary professor. So it was through his professor, Pastor Jay Lo, that he learned of the Adventist Church and began attending the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him.” II Chronicles 16:9. “God, who reads the hearts of all men, has many sheep that are not of this fold.” John 10:16

Potential Implications
Not only do these two pastors have several families in the Green Bay area that trust their leadership, Phoumma also has 120 families in another country who he has led out of their traditional religion into a saving faith in Jesus as Creator and Redeemer. Now that he is a Seventh-day Adventist, he is eager to connect his churchless congregation abroad with the Adventist Church in that country.

Ninety-six years ago Ellen White penned these words:
God would be pleased to see far more accomplished by His people in the presentation of the truth for this time to the  foreigners in America than has been done in the past. . . . As I have testified for years, if we were quick in discerning the opening providences of God, we should be able to see in the multiplying opportunities to reach many foreigners in America a divinely appointed means of rapidly extending the third angel's message into all the nations of earth. God in His providence has brought men to our very doors and thrust them, as it were, into our arms, that they might learn the truth, and be qualified to do a work we could not do in getting the light before men of other tongues.   

There is a great work before us. The world is to be warned. The truth is to be translated into many languages, that all nations may enjoy its pure, life-giving influence. This work calls for the exercise of all the talents that God has entrusted to our keeping--the pen, the press, the voice, the purse, and the sanctified affections of the soul. Christ has made us ambassadors to make known His salvation to the children of men; and if we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy of His indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace.--Review and Herald, Oct. 29, 1914. (Emphasis supplied.)
The Green Bay Church members, seeing God’s providential leading, have already donated enough to pay Phoumma’s plane ticket to visit his 120-family congregation abroad. However, he would like to give the message wings, by purchasing Bibles and two or three small scooters for his local leaders in that congregation who are now without transportation. With scooters, they would be able to visit and nurture the members and speedily spread the message of Jesus’ soon coming to others who would eagerly believe and prepare if they only knew of Jesus and His love.

Please remember to pray for both Choua Pauo Lee and Phoumma, who no longer have jobs and are struggling financially, as they share their newfound understanding of Bible truth.
For more, contact Pastor Ko Saelee at (608) 443-6575 or Email Ko Saelee.




Feature Stories
09/10/16 Never Say Never
08/12/16 Praying for Don
Driving "Ms. Amy"
Learning the Joy of Service
04/15/16 Shoe Cutting Party at Peterson Elementary
03/12/16 Am I too Young?
02/12/16 God Answers Student's Prayer in a Big Way
01/30/16 Advancing Public Campus Ministries
01/14/16 Adventist Pastor Veers from Rock's Road to Perdition to Stairway to Heaven
11/24/15 Jesus Calling
11/02/15 Camp Meeting Baptisms 2015
"I Can't Say Enough Good about WA!"
08/03/15 GC and Ministerial Meeting Report
07/21/15 Dan Anderson's Testimony
07/13/15 Travis Maloney's Story
07/07/15 No one is Safe From Me Telling Them About Jesus
06/30/15 Leslie's Discovery
06/18/15 Nestor Soriano Ordained June 13, 2015
06/08/15 Myoung Kwon to be Ordained June 13, 2015
04/12/15 Pastor Nate Skaife to be Ordained May 2, 2015
02/24/15 God was Our Realitor
01/03/15 Nothing I'd Rather Do
11/02/14 Just In Time! 
10/06/14 Wisconsin Conference 2014 Constituency Session Report
09/01/14 Wisconsin Conference 2014 Constituency Session
08/18/14 Good News From Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee
08/16/14 Sabbath at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee
08/15/14 Friday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee
08/13/14 Thursday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camoree
08/13/14 Wednesday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee
08/12/14 Tuesday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee
08/11/14 Monday at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee
08/19/14 Wisconsin Pathfinders go to Oshkosh Camporee
04/10/14 Apple Valley Natural Foods Open in Fall River
Maly's Story
10/12/13 NuLifeSong Outreach Cafe Opens in Wausau
06/30/13 Living the Mission
Twenty New Members Join Clear Lake Church
01/12/13 Sabbath School Bible Study Resources
12/05/12 Celebrating Christmas in Wisconsin
11/01/12 The Thirteen-Year-Old Evangelist
9/20/12 Educator's Gift Blesses Green Bay Adventist School and Community
8/20/12 Wisconsin Academy Enrolls 129 Students
7/01/12 Student Literature Evangelists Impact Milwaukee
6/18/12 Wisconsin Seventh-day Adventists "Live the Mission"
5/24/12 Alumni Celebrate Adventist Education at Wisconsin Academy
4/08/12 Local Elders Lead Evangelistic Meetings in Green Bay
03/24/12 Reflecting on Wisconsin Academy's Nicaragua Mission Trip
03/11/12 Wisconsin Academy Mission Team Arrives in Nicaragua
03/07/12 Wisconsin Sends Three Pathfinder Clubs to Union Level Bible Achievement
03/02/12 General Conference to Launch "Revived By His Word" Bible Reading Initative
02/17/12 Jeff Metherell New Trust, Stewardship and Religious Liberty Director
02/09/12 Wisconsin Members Walk Around the World
02/06/12 Wisconsin Academy Trains Students for Service
12/20/11 Jay Lo Steps Into the Light
11/09/11 Changing Her World
09/29/11 Coronary Health Improvement Project Makes News in Wausau
09/06/11 The World On My Doorstep
08/20/11 Oakland SDA Church, First Foreign-Speaking Church in the World
07/29/11 Fox Valley Adventist Surgeon Gives Medical Care in Haiti
06/23/11 Camp Wakonda's Staff at Work
06/18/11 Meet Don Schneider
06/09/11 I Am A Missionary
05/30/11 Hallalujah Hustle - Building Community & Encouraging Wellness
03/27/11 Brian Stephan New Executive Secretary/ Treasurer for Wisconsin Conference
03/17/11  Keith Nelson New Principal for Wisconsin Academy