November 6, 2018
Greetings from the NAD headquarters in Columbia, MD, where Elder John Cress and I are attending the 2018 NAD year-end meetings from November 1-6. The reports and the conversations have been encouraging and have fostered dialogue on how to be more relevant to our mission in North America. If you are interested in reviewing the proceedings of these meetings, visit: https://www.nadadventist.org/news/2018-nad-year-end-meeting-video-coverage.
This gathering makes me recall when the early Christian church received reports on the expansion and growth of the Kingdom of God among the Jewish and Gentile communities. Those reports also created concerns, questions and dialogue. And the beautiful finale was an agreement which did not limit the growth of the church but enhanced and promoted its global mission (Acts 15). I pray that we keep this same attitude as we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Southern California.
The weekend of October 19-21, the three Adventist hospitals (Glendale, Simi Valley and White Memorial) in SCC had the opportunity to renew their mission, vision and values during their annual Board Retreat. Esther and I were blessed as we interacted with these wonderful people, determined and committed to advance the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, even though some are not of the Adventist faith. We praise God for these fellow Christian partners in this ministry.
The West Region (WR) Elders Training took place for three consecutive Sabbaths ending October 20. Almost 130 of the local leaders from all WR churches met at Camarillo, Canoga Park or Lancaster churches to participate in this annual orientation to become acquainted with this ministry role as elders. Elder Greg Hoenes, West Region director, and his pastoral team conducted the ministry presentations.
Our SCC Office had its Fall Week of Prayer October 22-25, and the theme was Jesus in the Book of Revelation. Thank you to pastors Todd Leonard, John Aitken II, Peter Baptiste and Adam Hicks for your messages lifting up Jesus as the Faithful Witness, the Conquering Savior, the Compassionate Judge and the Victorious King. We were blessed.
Our deep condolences for the Armstrong and Hoenes families. The last weekend of October was a very difficult and sad one for Elder Greg Hoenes as he lost his father on Saturday morning, and for Lauren Armstrong, SCC communication director, who lost her grandparents just two weeks apart. Please keep these two beloved families in your prayers as they grieve their losses. We are so grateful for the Hope we share to meet our loved ones again on Resurrection Morning.
On Sabbath, October 27, the White Memorial church celebrated their 100th anniversary. In 1918, this church came into existence to complement the holistic healing ministry of the White Memorial Hospital in the growing community of East Los Angeles. Since that time, this church has been a refuge for so many hurting souls and a beacon of light for those seeking hope and peace. Kudos to this church and its pastors, Benjamin Del Pozo and Kevin Morris, for their devoted ministry in their community.
Your fellow traveler,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference