News reports from Southern Adventist University, ADRA Bulgaria, Andrews University, Breath of Life Ministries and a Maryland father-and-son sea kayaking team:

From a Southern Adventist University press release:

Southern Adventist University has expanded the academic options offered in digital fields such as web design and cyber security. Two new degrees and several additional concentrations will be available beginning this fall. These options were developed in response to high demand by prospective students and employers and are included in Southern’s academic master plan.

The School of Visual Art and Design will give students the opportunity to develop skills in user experience and web design through a new Bachelor of Fine Art in Web and New Media Design.

Additionally, the School of Computing has added a new master’s degree, the Master of Science in Applied Computer Science, which includes a choice of four certificates: Data Analytics, Computer Science, Cyber Security, and Web Development. At the undergraduate level, two new concentrations—Security and Web Development—are available as part of several different degrees, including the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

From an ADRA press release (adjusted for length):

Local reports indicate the majority of the general population in Bulgaria opposes being vaccinated, and dismisses federal mandates to keep safe, such as wearing a mask and keeping six feet of distance from others. Only 10 percent of Bulgarians are willing to be vaccinated, compared to 52 percent who have refused, according to official findings published in February.

ADRA found in its assessments that there is a need for informing and motivating communities in Bulgaria with reliable information. Key components of the information would include ways to self-protect against the virus and appropriately define what immunization means and share options for doing so.

“To combat the lack of information, we are conducting 10 health expo events, with each lasting up to three days depending on needs,” says Marian Dimitrov, ADRA’s country director in Bulgaria. “The expo will have educational and informational sessions, featuring presentations on mental health, healthy lifestyle, and infection prevention. The mobile clinic of ADRA-Bulgaria is equipped for screening for social diseases that have proven to be the main risk factors for COVID-19 (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.).”

A facility in Pazardzhik has been planned with the threefold purpose of being an influence center, a medical facility and a social center. The location was chosen after research and consultation with local authorities and SDA churches.

The government will finance all the social activities there, including part of the medical ones.

The center will allow affected communities access to COVID-19 testing, vaccines, free dental services, psychology services, and general medical assistance. The health center will focus on COVID-19 prevention and will educate communities on the advantages of vaccination.

From an Andrews University Facebook update:

From July 26-28 the Andrews STEM Division hosted “Chemistry: Principles from Food,” a Zoom workshop featuring kitchen chemistry activities that can be deployed by teachers in K-10 classrooms. The workshop included live demonstrations of activities that can teach students about chemical principles in the context of reactions with food. Lisa Ahlberg, associate professor of chemistry, presented from the Andreasen Center for Wellness for the workshop. Maya Turon was Professor Ahlberg’s assistant. By the end of the workshop, participants were fully prepared to implement the demonstrated chemical experiments in their classrooms. The Andrews University STEM Division joined with institutional partners to offer quality STEM workshops and graduate courses, on-campus and online, to K-12 Adventist educators this summer. With a grant from the Versacare Foundation and Loma Linda University, scholarships were available to cover tuition and lab kits as well as accommodations and meals for an on-campus workshop.

From NAD News: On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, the North American Division (NAD) Adventist Media Ministries board voted to accept the name of Debleaire Snell for the position of speaker/director of Breath of Life Ministries. Snell is set to replace Carlton P. Byrd, who accepted a call to serve as president of the Southwest Region Conference this past May.

“Pastor Snell is a gifted communicator of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said G. Alexander Bryant, NAD president. “God has called him to build on the great legacy of the Breath of Life Ministries (BOL) forged by those who have gone before. I believe God has brought him to this ministry for such a time as this.”

Since 2010, BOL speaker/director-elect Snell has served as senior pastor of the three campuses of the First Seventh-day Adventist Church (First Church, Abundant Life, and “The Bridge”) in Huntsville, Alabama. He has conducted several major evangelistic meetings for the church; and throughout his time at First Church, there have been a total of 878 baptisms. In 2020, Snell launched a local television ministry with the Huntsville CBS affiliate.

On July 31, Hearly and Andreas Mayr, a Maryland father-and-son sea kayaking team, completed a 200-mile kayaking journey to raise money for hunger relief, one of the most urgent COVID-19 related issues affecting people today.

The two kayaked north-to-south across Chesapeake Bay from Elkton, Maryland, to Smith Island, Virginia, to complete what they were calling The Bay 200 Challenge. The two helped Adventist Development and Relief Agency’s (ADRA) COVID-19 hunger pandemic response campaign raise $3 million.

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