News Briefs for April 16, 2020
News reports from the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu; Escondido Adventist Academy; southeastern Tennessee and north Georgia; It Is Written and Loma Linda University Health:
The first native-born Adventist in the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu was ordained to the gospel ministry at an historic ordination held at Funafuti Adventist Church on February 22. Pastor Vaguna Satupa made history as the first Tuvaluan citizen to become an ordained minister. Tuvalu has at least 11 inhabited islands, with three having an Adventist congregation. For seven years, Satupa has served on Niutao, an isolated island with no airstrip and only a monthly boat. – From South Pacific Record
Escondido Adventist Academy Teacher Hosts Zoom Gathering on Sabbath Mornings for Students
When stay-at-home orders separated teachers and students at Escondido Adventist Academy in the suburbs of San Diego, California, the 4-5th-grade teacher Valerie Blue had an idea. “I wanted to connect with my students right away after school was dismissed long term,” she said. “Our principal helped me get started on Zoom, so I invited them to our first meeting, ‘Sabbath Blessings with Mrs. Blue.’ We’ve enjoyed it ever since and have met each Sabbath.” From 9:30–10:00 am, teacher and students visit together, read Bible verses, share what the verses tell them about God, and share prayer requests. They then dismiss so that students can join their church’s planned worships. “About 17 tune in each week,” Blue said. “I ask if they want to gather on Sabbath and they all do, so I keep inviting them!”
An EF-3 tornado brought havoc and death to southeastern Tennessee and north Georgia in the middle of the night on April 13, 2020. The tornado caused widespread destruction and 16 deaths. Two Seventh-day Adventist churches in Tennessee were significantly damaged — the Collegedale Community Church in Collegedale and the Hamilton Community Church in Chattanooga.
“In the aftermath of these recent tornadoes, I am encouraged that I have not heard of any loss of life among our members. As members have come together to assist those who have lost much, I am reminded that this is the gospel. We are praying for each of you that has been affected,” said Gary Rustad, president of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference. – From the North American Division (NAD).
Tornadoes touched down just feet away from the It Is Written ministry headquarters in Collegedale, Tennessee, early Monday morning, April 13, 2020. Reports of power outages, missing persons, and deaths filled local news reports Monday morning.
After the tornadoes and storm swept through the area, the It Is Written generators kept power running to the offices. When staff went to check on the building, they were met with debris all across the parking lot and hundreds of trees snapped in half all around the building.
“Miraculously, the building was spared,” shared John Bradshaw, It Is Written speaker/director. “It became clear when we looked at drone footage that tornadoes had come through on either side of our ministry home. They flattened trees along two distinct paths before lifting just yards short of a nursing home and a dental practice.”
From the NAD.
Loma Linda University Health has published guidance titled “Dealing with anxiety, mental health during COVID-19.” The main recommendations are:
Take a break from the news
Log out of social media
Practice deep breathing
Connect with others