Stories from the Olympics in Brazil, Zimbabwe, Washington Adventist University, Mexico, Adventist University of Health Sciences, Tanzania, Virginia and California

Usain Bolt, the track star from Jamaica who ran a gold medal in the 100-meter sprint this week during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, was raised an Adventist. His mother is still an active member and “he respects the teachings and values of the church,” the Adventist Review quoted Richard Daily, an Adventist serving as a volunteer chaplain at the Olympics. His church home was Sherwood Content Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trelawny. He is an 11-time world champion. About 800 Adventist young adults from across South America are volunteering during the Summer Olympics in outreach projects for the denomination.

Baba Shupi, a popular comedian in central Africa, is a recent convert to the Adventist faith and announced this week that he is leaving show business, reports the Daily News in Harare, Zimbabwe. He started as a comedian in 1992 and became a star on radio and later television. He later became a successful musician, poet and story teller. “We are distinguished by our observance of Saturday, the seventh day of the week in Christian calendars,” he told journalists of his Adventist faith. “It was hard for me to observe the day if I continued with showbiz … since I have surrendered my life to God, I am now spreading the goodness of Him to other people through writing Christian books.” He recently published Christian Sayings and Riddles. Baba Shupi is his stage name; his personal name is Dudzai Mtomba.

The First Lady of Maryland, Yumi Hogan, and the states comptroller, Peter Franchot, presented an award to a community project of the Enactus student group at Washington Adventist University on Monday afternoon. The 34 students gave more than 3,000 hours of time to help revitalize the Rainbow Coin Laundry near campus in Takoma Park. They helped it become profitable by rebranding the business, painting and cleaning the storefront, and developing an after-school tutoring program for the children of customers, states a news release from the state government. They also obtained a small business grant from Sam’s Club for the business. The student team is now rated in the top 40 of the 443 colleges and universities in the United States with Enactus entrepreneurial teams.

More than 100 young adults have spent several weeks this summer in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, helping communities build family gardens, distributing food, singing on public transit buses and working with Adventist congregations to advertise an evangelism campaign with Pastor Jose V. Rojas who has been youth director for the denomination’s North American Division and is currently working youth evangelism projects. The project was sponsored by the Inter-Oceanic Union Conference in Mexico, according to the Adventist News Network.

A Bachelor of Science degree in diagnostic medical sonography has been opened at the Adventist University of Health Sciences in Orlando, Florida. It is one of only 14 programs in the United States that offers majors in general, cardiac and vascular sonography, the news release noted. Additional information for interested students is available at the university web site:

Adventists in Tanzania are working to build up the nation’s reserve of safe blood for transfusions, reports the Daily News published in Dar es Salaam. The goal is to collect at least 100 units of blood in each district across the country. A blood bank official stated that currently there is a desperate need for safe blood. The newspaper commended the Adventist denomination for turning out large numbers of blood donors.

A community barbecue brought a large number of neighbors to Bethany Seventh-day Adventist Church in Charlottesville (Virginia) last Sunday (August 14) and Channel 19, CBS television news covered the event. There was a free ride on a fire engine, face painting and a bounce house for children, as well as health screenings, including vision tests. Pastor Nathaniel Drew is new in town and told an interviewer, “Connecting with the community is what we’re here for.”

Pastor Curtis Bradford died this week in Yucaipa, California. Since 1981, he had been an evangelist with the Voice of Prophecy Evangelistic Association. He was senior pastor at the Azure Hills Adventist Church near Loma Linda, California, one of the largest congregations in the denomination from 1976 through 1980 when the main facilities were built. He led a number of other congregations in California, Arizona and Oregon. He is survived by his wife, Sandy.