News Briefs for October 10, 2019
News reports from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Germany, Switzerland, Lansdale, Pennsylvania and Sacramento, California:
More than 12,000 Adventists took to the streets of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to commemorate the 69th anniversary of World Pathfinder Day on 21 September. The young people and church leaders wore their uniforms, scarves and sashes and held banners stating this year’s world church theme, “Created with a Purpose.” The massive group marched through the main streets and avenues distributing copies of the missionary book of the year, Hope for Today’s Families by Willie and Elaine Oliver.
Doing acts of kindness and sharing hope is what recently moved more than 10,000 Adventists in western Venezuela to impact their cities during August amid the political turmoil and economic crisis in the country. They took a week off from their jobs to participate, with the theme “Close to You Venezuela.” More than 37,000 hot meals were distributed; 15,000 blood donations given; 900 trees planted; there were 171 free mobile clinics scheduled; and 9,000 children attended 180 Vacation Bible Schools. During the same time evangelistic meetings were held in 154 churches, and 800 Bible studies resulted in 105 newly baptized members. One of the projects provided safe drinking water in the most needy communities, and church members set up stations to repair clothes and shoes in many communities in Mérida State.
The 120-year history of Adventist presence in Friedensau, near Magdeburg, Germany, was celebrated on 29 September. At the same time a new arena was inaugurated on campus. Almost to the day exactly 120 years earlier, mill owner Otto Knochenmu and the Adventist leader Pastor Ludwig Conradi signed the purchase agreement for 34 hectares of land. Today it is the campus of Friedensau Adventist University. Residents of the city of Mockern and surrounding villages, representatives from government and denominational leaders all took part in the festivities. The school began two months after the purchase with seven students in classes to train pastors and nurses. The new pastor for the university community, Stefan Burton-Schnüll with his wife Barbara, were also introduced. Burton-Schnüll was originally from Lower Saxony and has served the past six years in New Jersey in the United States.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) unit in Switzerland released its annual report on 2 October. It conducted 33 international projects and five in Switzerland at an overall cost of 5.07 million Swiss francs ($5,070,000 USD) in 2018. This included 8 projects in Eastern Europe, 10 in Asia and Africa, 3 in Central America and Haiti and 2 in the Middle East. The total revenue of the agency increased 25 percent over the previous year, which was mainly due to increased revenues from public sources. A total of 14 percent of the funds were used for administration and 3 percent for marketing. There are about 6,000 Adventists in Switzerland. ADRA consists of some 130 national agencies like this one.
Join Dr. Denis Fortin, professor of theology at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, on November 2, 2019, at the Lansdale Seventh-day Adventist Church, 887 Troxel Rd, Lansdale, Pa., as he explores the beautiful truth of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Dr. Fortin will speak for three presentations beginning at 9:30 am, followed by worship at 11:00 am, fellowship meal, and an afternoon session.
More than 2,000 volunteers and supporters met from 19 to 21 September in Sacramento, California, for the 50th anniversary of Maranatha Volunteers International, an independent Adventist agency that collaborates with denominational entities in church and school construction and water well drilling projects. It was originally an initiative of Adventists who were private pilots and it has become a global relief organization. Since 1969, Maranatha has organized 2,170 mission trips with more than 85,000 volunteers in 88 countries. In these projects, the organization has built 11,229 new buildings and drilled more than 1,000 water wells. A total of 9,079 churches and 3,110 classrooms have been built. “One thing has not changed in five decades,” said Maranatha president Don Noble. “God is faithful, and he has remained true to Maranatha. We have felt his hand again and again. ”