THE MEASURE OF GOOD THINGS

Doug InglishQuestion: What do you do when the really important things can’t be counted?

Answer: You count the things that can be counted and you pretend that they are really important.

This might seem cynical, but there is perhaps more than a grain of truth to it. As human beings, we like to measure progress. But the problem is, sometimes we are making progress on very important things, but in ways that cannot be counted.

How do you tabulate an afternoon spent with a grieving family? What is there to count? It may be the most important thing you do the entire week, but there is no way to measure the blessings that came to them through your ministry. How can you assess your reassurances of God’s love to a broken-hearted divorcee? What is the real value of a student who was able to stay in Adventist schools through your generosity? These things may shine more brightly in heaven than all of the things you do in an entire year, even though you aren’t keeping a record of your actions.

None of this is intended as criticism of accounting or careful record-keeping. There are things that can and must be counted. We have to keep track of finances in our homes and in our churches. We should have accurate records of membership. We need to account for many things, and I would never suggest that we ignore any of it. I am simply calling attention to the fact that there are important things that neither can be counted, nor need to be.

For Biblical support of this position, notice that the apostle Paul was not obsessed with counting, either. When the Corinthian church got into a squabble, he put the matter in proper perspective: “I thank God that I didn’t baptize any of you, except Crispus and Gaius . . . . Oops, wait a minute; now that I think of it, I did baptize Stephanus and his family. I can’t remember if there were others.” (Paraphrased; see 1 Corinthians 1:14-16)

My grandparents were baptized in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression. My grandmother’s brothers and sisters thought it was madness for a man with four children to support (five, when my mother was born a little later) to accept a doctrine that kept him from work on Saturdays, when any kind of work was so desperately hard to get. They made their feelings known, and relations were strained for several years as they watched my grandfather pass up work opportunities in order to keep the Sabbath holy. But as the doubters saw that over the years, God was faithful and none of the children missed a meal, attitudes began to thaw. And as my grandparents were able to afford it, they sent Signs magazine to family members.

Wilbur was one of my grandmother’s brothers, and Nellie was one of her sisters. In the late 1970’s, when both Wilber’s wife and Nellie’s husband had passed away, brother and sister attended Adventist meetings together and were baptized. When the evangelist remarked to them that it was unusual for people to change religious convictions at this time in their life, they replied, “Our sister and her husband were baptized in 1932, and we have been watching them for over fifty years. We want what they have.”

For half a century, a witness was going on in a thousand small ways, none of which could be measured. There was no sign that there would ever be any result. But Personal Ministries is not about counting things. It is just a simple reliance on the words of another Christian who wasn’t much interested in counting things, either: “Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)

(With thanks to my father, Elder Don Inglish, who inspired me with this thought early in my ministry, and who helped in the preparation of this article)

By Douglas L. Inglish Personal Ministries Director Assoc. Director Gift Planning & Trust Services

e-TNL Staff: Jeff Wines, Director; Carol Lyons, Editor; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com
Website: http://www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

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TWIN CITIES EVANGELISM SCHOOL OPENS

Eduard SchmidtMore than 100 people gathered for the first weekend seminar in a series being offered by the Minnesota Conference Personal Ministries department. Ed Schmidt, Associate Director of the North American Division Evangelism Institute (NADEI), and a professor at the Andrews University Theological Seminary, presented the topic Lay Model and Church Growth at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park. Members came from seventeen churches, including one in Canada and one in Kenya.

It was an inspiring event, and participants left with a lot of things to think about, and some clear ideas on practical things they can do to share the gospel. People who would be uncomfortable giving a Bible study learned about ways they can witness that fit their own personalities. They learned that every personality type is needed to reach out to our communities. They also learned how their personal gifts complement the gifts of others, and how we can use those gifts in harmony. Since everyone who has accepted Christ as Savior is called and equipped to share with others, Dr. Schmidt showed how Jesus works in each of us in different ways to grow the Kingdom of God.

The Minnesota Conference has partnered with NADEI for a total of eight seminars, with various Seminary professors presenting a broad range of topics designed to promote healthy, growing churches. In order to make the seminars accessible to as many members as possible, they will be held in locations around the metro area. Costs are being held to a minimum, and Sabbath lunch is served.

Our next event will be November 15-17, with Dr. Schmidt returning to teach Witness for Life. Although this seminar builds on the first one, people who come without having attended the first event will learn enough about witnessing to bring positive changes to the world around them. The location has not been determined yet, but we will announce it as soon as we have settled on a venue. As before, you will be able to preregister online through AdventSource, or you may call the Personal Ministries department at the Minnesota Conference office.

By Douglas L. Inglish Personal Ministries Director Assoc. Director Gift Planning & Trust Services

e-TNL Staff: Jeff Wines, Director; Carol Lyons, Editor; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com
Website: http://www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

NEW SCHOOL OPENS IN THIEF RIVER FALLS!!

Russ Bantin, new teach TRFSeventh-day Adventists in Thief River Falls voted on April 17, 2013, to re-open the doors of their school after 16 years of closure.  The new teacher, Russell Bantin, brings educational experience, a heart for evangelism, technological savvy, and love of children to the Thief River Falls community.  Accompanying Russell are his wife Amy and three children, Caleb, Sarah and Anna.

Nearly all church members have participated in individual and corporate work bees to prepare the building for the influx of youthful energy.  Closets were emptied, dumpsters filled, walls and halls painted, updates installed, and textbooks purchased, including the new “By Design” science series.  When Superintendent of Schools, Connie McCormick, came to check on progress, she was overwhelmed by improvements to the facility.  Considering that the work on revamping the school did not begin until summer, she felt what she was seeing was a miracle:  “I feel like I’m walking on holy ground!”

Another young couple, hoping to relocate, were praying for God’s direction when the wife heard a voice saying: “Thief River Falls, Minnesota”.  She and her husband looked on the map to see if there was such a place, and sure enough there was, complete with a new Adventist church school opening in the fall!  Their two children are among the seven who were “Present” for the first day of school on Monday, August 19.

We praise the Lord for the courage and dedication that has inspired this generous gift to the children and parents of the Thief River Falls community.  We are also thankful for the services of Joan Freeman who is volunteering as Language Arts teacher and general assistant.

By Connie McCormick, Education Superintendent – Minnesota Conference

e-TNL Staff: Jeff Wines, Director; Carol Lyons, Editor; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com
Website: http://www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

A GREAT PLACE TO GROW

Stone Ridge Christian School 3Stone Ridge Christian School started its new academic year on Aug.19th with three full-time and two part-time kindergartners and five elementary students. With two full-time teachers and intermittent helpers from the local Seventh-day Adventist church, the school eagerly embraces its mission of grace centered Christian education based on mutual respect and high academic standards.

The school property is continually being refined into a beautiful, functional and community-friendly environment. Two years ago geo thermal heating and air conditioning were installed.Stone Ridge Christian School 4 Last year, the ball field was laid out and the years of rock picking finally ended. This year, the ball field has grass and the egg limestone has been packed down and provides a safe solid surface for ball games. The play equipment has also been serviced and painted. Stone Ridge Christian School 2Most exciting of all, Stone Ridge’s “Back To Eden Community Garden” has been established and has five plots that have been planted, two that are ready to receive seed and several more plots are under construction. The landscaping is becoming park-like with flower plantings, shade trees and benches. Even if you’ve completed your education, this is a school that’s truly inviting. Stone Ridge Christian SchoolIf you’re in the area, we encourage you to call and make an appointment to stop by. We’d be delighted to show you around and share our excitement about our educational goals and our love for Jesus.

By Collene Klick

e-TNL Staff: Jeff Wines, Director; Carol Lyons, Editor; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com
Website: http://www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

MY MAPLEWOOD EXPERIENCE

Edited-My Maplewood Experience Veena TharayilMy name is Veena Tharayil, and I recently became one of Maplewood Academy’s most recent Alumni after graduating this past May 26th, 2013.  One day last summer my parents sat me down and told me that the next morning the three of us would be going to take a tour of a boarding school about an hour and a half away.  My parents had various reasons for wanting to send me away, including my not-so-good grades, my rebellious “I-already-know-everything-so-I-don’t-need-you-to-tell-me-what-do” teenage attitude, and my illegal bad habit (earlier that summer, I came up with the marvelous idea to smoke marijuana).  They had called many different Catholic and Charter schools but didn’t find one that they felt was right, so I continued at my public school.

My mom had previously heard of Maplewood through a co-worker. The co-worker talked about how her nephew, who was in a similar situation as me, went to Maplewood and changed for the better.  I remember crying in my room after they told me we were going there to take the tour.   The next day we arrived at the school and met Mr. Ellstrom, our tour guide.  He was really nice and showed us around, explaining a lot about the school.  After asking a billion questions, my parents decided that I was attending the school in the fall.

August 19, 2012 was registration day.  I felt kind of awkward being a new student as I observed people hugging and greeting each other with excitement.  It seemed like everyone knew each other.  I knew no one.  Through the registration process I met a lot of the faculty who greeted my parents and me with smiles and were very helpful.  One of them was Ms. Ketchum who helped us figure out my class schedule.  We also met Dean Mally who welcomed me to the dorm with friendliness and tried to make me feel comfortable.  While waiting in line for the office, twins, Karina and Kiara Lee-Way were the first students to introduce themselves to my parents and me.  They were very sweet.  Later that day, I met more students like Abner Campos, who helped carry my things to the dorm; Brittany Houchins, a sweet girl who he introduced me to in the lobby; Mary Anne, a junior who showed me her closet while she was helping me understand the dress code; and Bailey Dehning who later invited me to go to supper with her.  Earlier that day, I remember going to lunch with my parents.  I was so used to delicious homemade Indian food with real meat.   I took one bite of the fake meatball then looked at my mom and said, “Are you really going to leave me here?”  She was just eating away and said, “I think it’s good.”  It took me a while to get used to the food and living in the dorm, but each day I got more and more comfortable at MWA.

One of my favorite classes was Bible, which was surprising since I used to go to Sunday School classes at church but was never a huge fan.  I found myself wanting to know so much more and asking a lot of questions.  Thankfully Mrs. Vigil, my Bible teacher, was kind and open to answering them all.  I would randomly pop in her office sometimes just to ask her questions and she was always willing to take time to explain things to me even though she was a very busy lady.  In one year, I learned more about God than I did my whole life, even though I was raised in the Catholic Church.  I was exposed to Jesus in a whole new way like I’ve never experienced before.

There were a lot of experiences that I went through that inspired me and helped strengthened my faith.  These included listening to different guest speakers such as Dr. Tim Riesenberger and Willie Ramos, who both had incredible stories to share; having a prayer answered that I never expected; hearing other students’ testimonies; going to Phil Wickham’s concert at Union during basketball tournament; and having questions answered the very next day during a Bible class or at church during Pastor Wayne’s sermons.

At MWA I tried new things such as basketball, volleyball, and band.  So many memories were created including going to North Star Camp in the beginning of the year with the whole school, falling off a canoe with Kiara during senior experience, dancing in Briggitte’s room, senior prank night, senior benefit, and so much more!  I made new friends who I could pray with, have Bible studies with, and talk about God with.

Like any high school, Maplewood isn’t perfect and honestly, it wasn’t always easy for me being there.   I did have my moments where I wanted to get out.  However, overall there was so much more positive than negative, and I’m thankful that God led me there.  There is a lot I will miss about MWA.  I will miss going to Swanee’s house with some of the senior girls to hang out and make brownies, stalking Ms. Ketchum all the time to get Pre-Calc help, visiting in Mr. Bacon’s office almost every day, getting candy from Mr. Okimi’s office, volunteering at the nursing homes with Ms. Cummings and other students, and having Mrs. Piersaniti as a laid-back boss.  I will miss having worship with Mrs. Morrison in the beginning of A&P.  I will miss going over to Mr. and Mrs. Liepke’s house.  I will miss seeing the students every day. I will miss playing basketball with the Lady Huskies.   I will miss Hutch church a lot.  I could go on and on.

Things are so different now.  My parents are glad they sent to MWA.  They say I’ve really turned around and that I’ve become more appreciative and respectful to them.  I’m a lot more spiritual, my grades are better, I pray more, and instead of fighting with my parents we get along just fine now.  Before MWA, I would never go out of my way to open the Bible.  Now, I read it every day.  Last summer I had friends who would want to smoke.  This summer, I have friends who encourage me spiritually.  Abner Campos started a youth church this summer that Krista Froemming and I go to every Saturday that we can.  Charles Kimaiga and I became prayer partners.  We have a system of reading a chapter from one book of the Bible every morning and at night before we sleep, and we text each other a Bible verse from each chapter after we read it to hold each other accountable.  My parents, extended family, and family friends prayed a lot for me.  I think Maplewood was the answer to their prayers.

This fall I will be attending Union College.  I decided Union would be better for me education-wise, and being in a spiritual environment would help me continue to grow in Christ.  I hope to continue my walk with Jesus, get educated, and be successful in a good career so I can donate money back to MWA in return for what I got out of it.  With the Holy Spirit, I know it can happen.  If God wasn’t the gracious and merciful God He is, I wouldn’t have had this experience and be who I am today.  I will always be thankful for that.

By: Veena Tharayil

e-TNL Staff: Jeff Wines, Director; Carol Lyons, Editor; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com
Website: http://www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.