Our President Titus Naftanaila opened the September 29, 2021, Zoom Executive Committee with a devotional thought from Joshua 5:13,14. He reminded members that as leaders we are called to humbly and reverently “remove our sandals” as a sign of servanthood, respect, and submission in following God’s guidance. As we do this, we can expect God to do great things for our conference and communities. We must always do our best, but remember to bring all our plans to our Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ.
President Naftanaila then shared important conference news updates such as the LUC recent election of Elder Ramirez as Executive Secretary, Cristian Sorto becoming new pastor in Rhinelander District, and many others, reminding members that more news information is available on the conference website. He also mentioned that plans have begun in preparation for the Wisconsin Conference Constituency Session to be held in 2022.
Brian Stephan, Executive Secretary/Treasurer shared financial highlights as of August 21. He told us that across the North American Division tithe is up 14%. In Wisconsin, tithe is up 16.65% not including last years windfall gift. Wisconsin Budget has a 3% gain without year’s windfall gift. “We are in a much stronger financial position than last year,” said Brian. “Our working capital has gone from 34% to 67%, and we praise the Lord for that.”
Chair of the Audit Committee, Rodney Hahn, reported that on a scale measured by a red, yellow, or green light, our Wisconsin Conference financial audit came through with a strong green light. Planned Giving and Trust Services Director Bill Ochs read a sentence from the his department’s NAD audit report saying, “Your organization for the period of 2017-2019 received an accreditation level of PGTS A-3, the highest accreditation you can get at this time. So grateful for how the Lord has blessed.
Sue Nelson, Superintendent of Education shared that all our Wisconsin schools are back to in-person operation! “Firmly Connected to Jesus,” is this year’s education theme which was highlighted by guest speaker Pam Consuegra, NAD Associate Director for Family Ministries, during the August 2-5 Pastor/Teacher meetings. Our conference is also participating in a pilot program to provide counselor advice to help teachers deal more effectively with issues many children are dealing with today. Wisconsin Academy will partner with elementary students enrolling those who qualify to study more challenging subjects through Wisconsin Academy, while still in elementary school. “Having the ability to work with small groups is one of the strengths of our schools,” said Sue. “We appreciate your prayers for strength and wisdom as we strive to train our children for Jesus.”
Evelio Miranda, Hispanic Ministries Coordinator, reported on the many activities and outreach endeavors the HIspanic churches are offering: Women’s Media Training, Certification training for women’s spiritual health, Adventurer’s Day, Couples Retreat, and highlights of Hispanic camp meeting. On Sabbath September 11, all the Hispanic churches in North America closed their churches for El Centinela Day. That day, Wisconsin Hispanic members distributed 8,700 copies of the bilingual El Centinela special edition titled, “Jesus is Coming” praying with people from door to door in their homes, in the streets, and at shopping centers. Members are looking forward to other upcoming events such as Week of Prayer, Brotherhood Day, a Women’s Health Certification event, and more.
Planned Giving and Trust Services Director Bill Oches shared that this year matured trusts blessed our schools and churches with $200,000. “I’ve written 31 wills and/or trusts for people thus far this year,” said Bill. “It is a blessing for me personally to be able to do this work that is such a blessing for God and His church.”
Zack Payne, our Youth Director, shared a slideshow of pictures reviewing some of the youth activities from this summer. God With Us was the theme for summer camp and there were over 200 decisions made for Christ there! In Wisconsin we currently have 17 Pathfinder Clubs, 9 Adventure Clubs, and 4 Master Guide Clubs in the works. Believe the Promise International Pathfinder Camporee is coming up in 2024 in Gillette, WY, and amazing new classes and activities are being planned! Zask is enjoying visiting Pathfinder Clubs, doing weeks-of-prayer in schools, and preaching most weekends.
Elder Carmelo Mercado, Vice President for the Lake Union closed the meeting with prayer for God to continue blessing the ministry happening in the Wisconsin Conference.
Juanita Edge, Communication Director