News reports from Larnaca, Cyprus; Generation Youth for Christ (GYC); Geneva, Switzerland; AdventHealth; ADRA Canada and Oakwood University:

Guests from the city enjoyed dinner at the Adventist community centre in Larnaca, Cyprus, on Saturday night, 4 January. Among them was the Deputy Mayor of Larnaca, who highly praised student missionaries Melina and Elias Orlando for their unselfish service to the community. The couple arrived in Cyprus from Argentina at the end of March last year to serve at the Meeting Point, an Adventist community centre, which has become a hub of life-building activities. Elias is an enthusiastic teacher who offers Spanish and English language classes, as well as guitar lessons. The couple organize health promotion events, provide nutrition counseling and offer massages. A church member, Anne-Sofie Nielsen, offers Greek lessons. A Kids’ Club is also run with much love and imagination. The dinner invitees were friends of the centre, as well as class participants.

Deputy Mayor Jason C. Jasonides was exuberant in his words of praise for the young couple and the whole team of volunteers at the Meeting Point. His only regret, he said, was that he had not brought his wife with him to enjoy the evening.

About 3,500 people gathered in Louisville, Kentucky, for the 2020 convention of Generation Youth for Christ (GYC), an independent Adventist organization for young adults. The keynote speaker on the evening of January 1 was Dean Cullinane from Weimar Institute, a small, independent college run by Adventists in California.

GYC president Moise Ratsara in his opening remarks said, “A generation that is waiting for Christ’s coming is a generation of prayer.” He reported that a day before the event opened a group of 150 had arrived in Louisville for a session of prayer. Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the denomination’s General Conference spoke to the group via a pre-recorded video message.

Parents in the English-speaking local congregation of the Adventist Church in Geneva, Switzerland, have set up the Adventist International School AIS, a bilingual private day school, run in French as well as English. The school’s two teachers teach eight children aged four to eight years, whose parents attend the English or Portuguese-speaking Adventist churches in Geneva. According to the communication department of the Adventist Church in French-speaking Switzerland (FSRT), the school is funded by school fees as well as by contributions from members of the English-speaking local community that are being served.

The professional journal Modern Healthcare has named AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw one of 2019’s 100 most influential people in health care in the United States. This prestigious recognition program acknowledges and honors individuals who are deemed by their peers and the senior editors of Modern Healthcare to be the most influential individuals in the industry, in terms of leadership and impact.

As the only representative of an Adventist organization on the list, Shaw’s appearance brings greater awareness to AdventHealth’s legacy of whole-person care, a heritage it shares with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, while acknowledging AdventHealth’s continuing, longstanding tradition of high-quality, innovative health care that is recognized across the country and around the world.

In November the Canada office of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was asked to coordinate an emergency response at the Bearskin Lake First Nation community where an ice jam in the river and surrounding lakes caused rapid flooding. The 360 residents were evacuated by plane to Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay. ADRA Canada worked in partnership with the Independent First Nations Alliance (IFNA) and with support from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) Ontario Region. Daniel Saugh, ADRA Canada programs manager, and ADRA volunteer Nicholas Rhone assembled a team of skilled workers to fly to Bearskin Lake. Rhone is deputy fire chief for Lac Seul First Nation. Operation Home Safe was launched. The team conducted assessments of each home to check for hazards such as heating, leaking or freezing pipes, damaged equipment, and daily rounds to care for pets and provide pet food.

Robert Booker, a freshman at Oakwood University, the Adventist institution in Huntsville, Alabama, is one of four college students from across the United States selected by Michelle Obama, the former First Lady, and the Reach Higher Initiative for a video series. The four first-year college students will be highlighted via Instagram video stories throughout the academic year. Booker is majoring in math and aerospace engineering. He is from Maryland, a graduate of Takoma Academy, and is excited to be at Oakwood, which allows him to take advantage of all of the opportunities in the aerospace industry that Huntsville has to offer. The university will continue to share parts of Booker’s experience through the semester as he shares his story with the world.

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