Minnesota Conference Family Changes

The Minnesota Conference family is showing signs of significant growth as the conference Board voted to fill several positions in our work force. As we welcome the new workers to join the Minnesota Team, we ask that they keep their “EYES” on eternity. The conference strategy uses the acronym “EYES on Eternity”, with the letters E. Y. E. S representing Evangelism, Youth, Education and Spirituality. It’s the Board’s hope that every church worker and every church member in the conference will fix their EYES on eternity. We pray that every local Church will develop strategic goals to keep EYES on eternity as we move towards 2016. It is exciting to see the growth of our work, in groups, companies, churches and in the entire conference.  Our membership stands at 9,450 (Third quarter 2015). We are seeing men and women, boys and girls being added to the kingdom.

We welcome the following workers to our team:

KAREN LEWIS

15 Lewis, KarenKaren Lewis was invited to serve as the Pastor of Hinckley and Stillwater. She has been and will continue to be Minnesota Conference’s Bible worker trainer.  The Board of Trustees voted to hire her as a full-time pastor effective September.

Karen Lewis has a lot of ‘fire’ in her bones, which she uses to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. For the last two years, she was not only training Bible workers, but she was also the Assistant Pastor at our Stillwater Church. Karen is married to Steve, and together they work as a strong ministerial team doing home visits and attending to people’s spiritual needs.

Karen Lewis says “I long to share the gospel with others that their lives may be transformed. The most glorious thing about ministry is to see changed lives. It is such a blessing to be used by God to touch another life for Him; that is the greatest joy!”

NOEL ROSABAL PEREZ

Pr Noel RosabalNoel Rosabal Perez is hired as Pastor of the Southeast Hispanic district. He will cover four churches, namely Rochester Hispanic, Redwing, Northfield, and Winona Hispanic groups. Pastor Rosabal comes with experience. He is an ordained minister, beginning his ministry in Cuba in 1995 and has pastored numerous churches throughout Cuba before moving to the United States of America. We welcome Rosabal Perez and his wife Lidia Esther Perez to Minnesota.  Pastor Rosabal will start his pastoral work October 1, 2015.

JARED LITTLE

Jared LittleJared Little was invited to serve as a Church Planter for The Way congregation. He was in Minnesota doing his pastoral practicum with the St Cloud district under Pastor Bill Nixon. Jared just finished his studies with Ouachita Hills College – Amity, Arkansas. He comes to church planting work with an AFCOE – (Amazing Facts College of Evangelism) background.  Jared worked as a Bible worker in Kentucky and Texas. He has given Bible studies, and has worked with and in evangelistic meetings. Jared was involved with personal ministry work in a church in Virginia, so he comes to The Way with an understanding of how important home visitation is to building a church community. We want to welcome Jared and his wife Sarah to the Minnesota team. He started his work in Minnesota as a church planter in September.

DAVID JAHN

David Jahn familyDavid Jahn was invited by the Board to pastor the Northwest District. The Northwest is multi-church district. Jahn says he finds a multi-church district to be an ideal place to work “I can be a trainer, equipper, and mentor to the local congregations. I want to help lead more of our people to live Christianity rather than simply being Christians.”

David has work as a missionary in South Korea. We welcome him and his wife Eunice to Minnesota. Eunice is a certified elementary teacher and also Natural Hygiene coach. They started their ministry in the Northwest district in August.

JIM MARTIN

Jim Melissa 2015The Conference Board invited Jim Martin to serve as Pastor in the Dodge Center district.  Jim comes to us from Kansas Nebraska Conference where he was a pastor of a three church district.

Jim is always looking for ways to win souls for the Kingdom. He is a faithful proclaimer of the everlasting gospel. We are looking forward to having the Martins joining our team, as we work together to engage members in advancing the work of the kingdom of Christ.  We welcome Jim, His wife Melissa, and their two kids, Seth and Adeline.

SE HYUN LEE (Sean Lee)

Sean LeePastor Se Hyun Lee accepted the conference call to be Associate Pastor at Southview church and work as Assistant Conference Youth Director.  Lee has been involved in ministry the last six years, working in music ministry and youth ministry. He has worked in Korea as a youth pastor and chaplain. In the United State he has worked in the Central California Conference as a pastor in the St Maria Korean church, which is a bilingual church. He also worked as a youth pastor in the Chesapeake Conference.

Lee is married to his wife Helen and they are blessed with two sons, Nathan and Joseph. They moved here in August from Michigan.

D. BRIAN BEAVERS

Brian BeaversThe Minnesota Conference welcomes D. Brian Beavers as a Bible Worker / Evangelist for the River Bluff district.   Brian comes to us with a very strong passion for spreading God’s word. He has worked with people doing evangelism, preaching, and doing outreach activities.  He has also done missionary work, travelling to South Africa as a volunteer to participate in a twenty day evangelistic series, where he helped with lifestyle counseling, leading people toward the attainment of a better quality life.  Brian has been a speaker at camp meetings in Pune, India, and Kisii, Kenya. He has also conducted evangelism and church revival meetings in Mombasa, Kenya.

More recently Brian has been participating in church and the community evangelism, conducting over twenty active Bible studies of various kinds across the Fredericksburg Region, while also participating in Prison Ministries in the Potomac Conference. Brian is skilled in American Sign Language.  We are pleased to welcome D Brian, his wife Tania, along with their daughter Danielle Candace Beavers, to the Minnesota Conference and to the River Bluff district in particular.

JUST GOT MARRIED

Bigogo weddingWe want to let you know that we have a new ministerial family and we want to share their wedding bliss with the conference family. Pastor Enock O. Bigigo pastor of Faith Church International and Serah N. Misesi, of Cambridge SDA church, were married on August 30th, 2015, 1:30 PM at Faith Church International in Brooklyn Park Mn 55428. The officiating minister was elder Justin Lyons the president of the Minnesota Conference.  The couple is aware that it is possible that many in the conference family did not attend the ceremony or didn’t even get an invitation to the wedding. But because you are family and you have shared in their lives by your friendship and love, we are very proud to share the happy news.  We wish the new couple a blessed life together.

JEFF SCOGGINS

Jeff Scoggins (Brainerd pastor)

Pastor Jeff Scoggins informed the officers of the Conference that he has accepted a call to join the Adventist Mission team. Jeff and Becky have been part of our team here for the last 12 years. We, as a conference have enjoyed their ministry here in Minnesota. Jeff says “I loved my stay here, and a great deal of thought and prayer went into the decision making process to reach this decision.”

We have appreciated Jeff’s work at camp meeting, on the website, his musical abilities at workers meetings. It has been a blessing working with Jeff. May the good Lord who calls, bless the Scoggins family in their new role at Adventist Mission. The plan is that the Scoggins will be in Maryland by October 1, 2015.  Farewell Jeff  “Keep your EYES on eternity.”

Brian K. Mungandi, Vice President for Administration

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: 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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A Big Family

15 Mungandi Brian 2I remember many, many years ago, when I was a young boy, involved in Junior Missionary Volunteer society (JMV) that our aim was “The advent message to all the world in this generation” Back then we felt (I still feel the same) that God called this church to invite people of every nation, tribe, and language into God’s kingdom. (At that point, the phrase of every tribe and language is what made sense.) I still believe that we were organized as a church for that specific mission. I hope to keep that calling vivid; it will and should always be the intent of our ministry.

In my reading of the Bible, I have noticed that God’s mission is to bring people from every nation, tribe, and language. Minnesota Conference MUST remain mission oriented, we MUST keep our members witnessing and advancing the kingdom and we MUST keep our EYES on eternity – that is the battle cry! We cannot rest till we have a church planted in every town, county, and in every locality and people group.

We, as a conference MUST be willing to recognize the growth pattern in our midst. The church is now one big family, we have Anglo, African-American, African, Korean, Russian, Hispanics and many others – 9, 450 members strong! We are seeing new groups, companies, men and women joining our churches. As a Conference, we are making sure the work force reflects and embraces this diversity. Diversity should not be an issue in a global family. We must be willing to diversify, to do ministry outside the box, and as new members and people groups come into our churches we should welcome them with open arms (we have a church by this name, don’t we?)

I will admit I am always challenged by apostle Paul’s thinking (by the way I named my second son Paul).  Paul says there is “no distinction . . . neither male nor female . . . you [all] are heirs according to the promise.” (Romans 10; Galatians 3) Now I am not naïve. I know that as the family gets bigger, we need more food, more land, and more housing. Maybe like the Jerusalem church, we need to think about new strategies and new structures that utilizes more “men [and women] of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.” Acts 6:3. I know that the world church is right now faced with a challenging situation as a result of growth. The family growing larger on our watch. As the Minnesota family gets larger and larger, the challenges of administration becomes more complex, are we going to shrink from the challenge? No! The administration is saying we will face the challenge, we will focus our EYES on eternity. We are planning big, we want to go forward, “with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we all must observe the Lord’s festival.”” Exodus 10:9. Let’s keep our EYES on eternity.

Brian K. Mungandi, Vice President for Administration

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: 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.

We Prayed For You Before We Knew You

Amber Harper IMG_4132Amber never chose adoption, rather it chose her.

Amber recalls, “As a little girl, my dolls found homeless kids and took them in. Also my sister and I regularly played ‘Orphan Annie’. As I grew older and started to learn more about adoption, I knew for certain that this was how I would make my family. In July of 2009, I became certified to adopt as a single parent.

“By October of 2011, I started looking into international adoption. I had always felt a pull towards Africa. I wanted to be a missionary as a teen, or perhaps join the Peace Corps after college.” Amber continues, “So in December of 2011 I started the process for adopting a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo” (DRC).

Being orphaned is tragic under any circumstance. There are five million orphans in the DRC, most who wonder the streets. The Congolese believe that orphaned street children are “witched”. Local Witch-doctors will often pour bleach on a child or set them on fire to excise the demons they believe the child has. Children lucky enough to be placed in an orphanage will likely be fed only once a day. Disease is rampant; fear and ostracization cling to them like a pall.

On May 19, 2012 Amber found a little girl on a ‘waiting child’ website and contacted her agency.

“That child has already been matched with a family,” the agency contact informed Amber.

However, a little girl had just come into one of their orphanages a few days before. They offered to e-mail her a picture.

“I said no, she was a little too old,” Amber remembers.

Amber had been approved for and wanted two girls under age five. The agency contact e-mailed the pictures anyway.

Harper's placement photo IMG_4130“I opened the email and looked at the pictures. The three photos in front of me were the saddest photos I had ever seen.” “I remember thinking,” says Amber, “Oh sweet girl! She is so, so skinny! I hope they find her a family! Look at those long thin legs. She looks so sad. So sad. She needs a mommy.”

Amber stared into her computer screen at the little face in the photos.

“I kept thinking, I could be her mommy. I can do it. She needs a mommy and I want a baby, we would be perfect. I’ll do it. I want to do it! I can be her mommy.” “When I typed the response, ‘I want her, I want to be her family’, I could barely see my phone,” Amber recalls. “The tears kept coming and coming.”

One would think that since Amber had been approved for adopting in the US and since the child was on a waiting list to be adopted from another country, that with a few more fees and a little more paper work, Amber and the child would be united and start their lives together. However they would have no clue what’s really involved in adopting a child from the DRC.

Once Amber had committed to the child in the photograph, she had to obtain another Home-study referral, more fingerprints, background checks, interviews, training and paperwork. Then there was court in the Congo.

On January 25, 2013 the sad little face in the photo became Amber’s legal family. She was then physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually responsible for that little girl, Harper.

Still Amber would not be able to wrap her arms around that skinny little body and comfort that wary little heart, or work on bringing a smile to that little face. It was passport approval time. In the spring of 2013, just before she was to go get Harper, the US started an investigation process to verify orphan status. In September of 2013 the Congolese government suspended all exit permits for adopted children.

Even though getting Harper out of the Congo had ground to a heart wrenching stop, Amber continued to prepare for the child she wanted so badly.

A friend who had been sending her children to Stone Ridge SDA Christian School for several years, shared some of her experiences with Amber about the school, its size and values.

Amber asked to have a place in the Kindergarten program reserved for her daughter. The Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Carlson, was happy to keep a spot open for the little girl from the Congo. A cubby was reserved for her. A basket with Harper’s brightly colored name tag attached was set on the cubby shelf. All that was needed was the coat and book bag to hang there, and of course the new little girl. The Kindergarten class started praying for their unmet friend Harper. Several months went by and the cubby remained empty, waiting, just like Amber.

In November of 2013 Amber received alarming pictures of Harper from a friend.

“My little girl was rail thin; her bones were sticking out and her eyes sunken.” Amber recalls with anxiety, “She was dying. I tried to get a travel visa to go and move her from the orphanage to a foster home.”

While waiting for permission to travel into the Congo, the orphan status investigation ended; it was December 2013. Harper’s exit visa was issued, but it would be issued two more times before she would really be able to leave the country.

In May of that year the Kindergarten class at Stone Ridge graduated and prepared for first grade with Mr. Carlson. Still Harper’s cubby remained empty.

Just because something doesn’t happen right away doesn’t mean it isn’t going to, and it doesn’t mean God isn’t listening. A new Kindergarten class would start praying for the little girl with the empty cubby.

In February of 2014 Amber was finally able to get into the Congo. Amber says. “Some friends of mine were able to pay off the orphanage director the week before I arrived so I would be able to take her to the hospital to be cared for. My little girl had Girardeau, malaria, typhoid, a blood infection, lice and jiggers. She weighed 28 pounds and was 44 inches tall. My sweet friend Laure, a doctor, saved Harper’s life and then let her stay in her home for 14 more months.”

Finally on April 2, 2015 Harper came home. Just 14 days shy of three years of working, worrying and waiting ended for Amber.

“There were, there are, so many new things, so many first things,” Amber remembers. We have had hard moments. There is trauma, drama and there are sleeping problems, behaviors, emotional roller coasters and that is just me!”

Imagine being eight years old, not understanding the language, or culture, and having to go to school with strangers’ every day. The size of the school, the schedule and the atmosphere becomes even more important than under normal circumstances.

“I knew I wanted Harper to go to Stone Ridge two years before she came home,” says Amber. “I had hopes and dreams of her attending Kindergarten with Mrs. Carlson, and then moving up with Mr. Carlson.”

Harper 1st week of School IMG_5041Harper has her own cubby in Mr. Carlson’s classroom now. It’s filled with all the things that second grade little girls have in their cubbies, a book bag, a sweeter, an extra pair of shoes, some favorite thing from home for show and tell.

“Thank goodness I had the option of Stone Ridge when Harper finally did come home,” Amber said. “The idea of putting my unschooled, non-English speaking eight year old right into a public school second grade classroom was terrifying. I am so excited that she has so much time outside during the day and has so much one on one help. Harper has already learned so much!”

One of the advantages of a multi-grade school is that Harper is able to move freely between Mrs. Carlson’s room as she learns phonics, numbers, colors, and object identification, and Mr. Carlson’s room where she spends time in her regular second grade class with the kids her age.

Harper has a definite spot here at school and here in our hearts. It’s exciting to see our prayers answered. It’s especially exciting when they involve the addition of a happy, healthy, bright little girl to our Stone Ridge family.

Collene Rognlie-Klick, Stone Ridge SDA Christian School Volunteer

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: 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.

MN Conference of Seventh-day Adventist India Mission Trip

India Ladies with biblesAn exciting India Mission Trip is coming up between February 2- February 22, 2016.  The Minnesota Conference is organizing a mission trip for evangelism to India. The team will be leaving Minnesota on February 2, 2016, arrive on Feb 4, 2016. We invite you to pray, fund or join us as we take a team of missionaries to India. God is asking men and women, boys and girls to go and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The plan is to start the evangelistic series on Feb 5th.  It is the prayer of the Minnesota Conference family, that you will be blessed as you share what the Lord has done in your life with those who don’t know the Lord in distant countries.  If interested in joining the mission trip, it’s not too late. Please contact the Minnesota Conference office at 763-424-8923 for information, or email Barb Christiansen at keithandbarb.christiansen@gmail.com.