April 2, 2019
I began and ended the second half of March with funerals. Although funerals always bring sadness and sorrow, very few can also bring joy at the celebration of a beautiful life. Both funerals were an opportunity to celebrate the lives of two godly Christian women. Both women were very different, yet had similar lives. The first one was soft-spoken; the second one had an outgoing personality. One served at the Glendale Spanish SDA Church as a singer and deaconess; the other served as an elder at the East Los Angeles Bilingual SDA Church.
These two ladies represent the beautiful kaleidoscope of thousands of our dear sisters in the Southern California Conference who faithfully serve God according to the spiritual gifts given by His Spirit regardless of their social status, education, nationality, family heritage, etc. Thank you, Lord, for your loving inclusiveness!
Today I want to honor the memory of Lucy Gudjemian and Valentina Hernandez; two wonderful lives devoted to Christ and service of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Southern California Conference community.
May these words of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26), bring comfort to both families during this time of loss. We will see you again, Lucy and Valentina!
The Pacific Union Conference held its quarterly Executive Committee meetings from March 19-21. Inspiring reports were presented, and encouraging decisions were made. (For details, visit www.adventistfaith.com.) I want to highlight what pertains to our conference:
- Pastor Lemuel Niere (Glendale Filipino Senior Pastor) was appointed as a member of the PUC Executive Committee replacing Pastor Edgar Lloren who accepted a call to serve in Guam. He, along with Kathleen Myers (Valley Crossroads), Alejandra Quinteros (Kalēo), Cherise Gardner (Eagle Rock Associate Pastor), and Richard Guy (Santa Clarita) represent our conference in that committee.
- About $160,000 was approved to enhance the ministry of our churches in SCC.
- $67,000 for four churches who applied for Evangelism Endowment Fund.
- $91,000 for church purchases or property improvements in our congregations.
- The Ordination to the Gospel Ministry of Pastor Denilson Reis was approved.
On Sabbath, March 23, Esther and I attended the conclusion of Revelation of Love at the Camarillo SDA Church. This three-week evangelistic effort was conducted by David Machado (Kenneth Cox Evangelism team member), and he did an outstanding job. (To listen to the messages, visit www.camarillosda.org.) In my interaction with church members, I heard nothing but positive comments about the impact these meetings had on all those who attended. Every night they had over 100 people in attendance, and 35 decided to be baptized. That morning nine were baptized, and the rest will be in the following weeks. Kudos to Pastors Erwin Joham and Jason Whitley for facilitating this intentional evangelistic outreach.
Last week, I was in the office attending regular meetings and appointments with standing committees. However, the highlight of the week was the interview of candidates for the position of Literature Ministries Coordinator. It was inspiring listening to these candidates and their vision for this front-line ministry. Wow! There is so much potential for such a challenging evangelistic task. After prayerful consideration, Marco A. Topete was selected to lead this ministry that our dear friend Heidi Carpenter extraordinarily led for eight years. She and her husband, Andrew, will be the parents of a wonderful girl this month, and she decided to be a full-time mom. Right decision, Heidi, and congratulations, Marco. Let’s keep in prayer these two leaders as they assume their new roles.
This past Sabbath, I had an uplifting experience at the International Day at Smyrna SDA Church. This diverse church has members and guests representing 15 different nationalities that make this group of believers a very enthusiastic and inclusive congregation. That day, many wore typical dresses from their countries, brought delicious food and displayed their national flags (for details, visit their church Facebook page). Thank you to Pastor Trevor Stewart and Smyrna church members for making me feel at home. Thank you to Brother Lawrence Klutse for giving me such a wonderful Ghanaian dress. Your gift is a meaningful treasure to me.
- Adventist WestPoint: April 21-24, 2019 in Reno, NV. Click here for details!
- SCC Session Delegates List Submitted to SCC: No later than May 19, 2019, all SCC churches and companies need to submit the list of their delegates to the SCC Executive secretary as indicated in a previous communication to pastors, first elders and church clerks.
- 65th SCC Constituency Session: This important meeting will be held on Sunday, September 22, 2019, at the White Memorial SDA Church from 7:55 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Your fellow traveler,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference