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Adventist Record by Linden Chuang - 1d ago

Success is a subjective word. For some, success equals fame or fortune. The perfect job. A happy family. Good health. For many, success is a combination of these factors.

Like everyone, I have my own set of goals—measures I use to determine whether or not I have achieved “success”. I want to thrive in my work. I’m saving so I can own property. I want my marriage to flourish.

My idea of success is probably shared by many people who live in developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand. But what do people who live in developing countries think success is?

I recently travelled to Timor Leste to visit an ADRA Australia project. It was there that I met Maria, who helped me reconsider my definition of success.

From a rural village, Maria has lived in poverty her whole life. Decades ago, Maria lost her right leg. Severely infected from a wound she received while fleeing her village during the war, Maria was forced to choose between losing her leg or her life.

Losing a limb is a traumatic experience for anyone, but for a subsistence farmer living in poverty, losing a leg is devastating. Maria told me that it was very difficult for her to earn money because of her disability.

". . . compassion towards others is a measure of true success."

Maria’s challenges didn’t stop there. Water was over a half-hour walk away. Imagine walking that distance with just one leg several times a day! And despite toiling under the sun, the produce that she harvested from her home garden was never enough.

Her family would often go hungry, they rarely had any crops left to sell, and, at times, they couldn’t afford to send the children to school.

When you struggle to meet basic needs like Maria did, survival is the only measure of success.

But Maria, like other mothers in Timor Leste, didn’t want to just survive. She wanted to help her children to rise out of poverty. She wanted her family to thrive.

So, when an ADRA project began in her village, Maria was eager to participate. With ADRA’s help, Maria’s community got clean water. And, thanks to the seeds and agricultural training she received from ADRA, Maria more than doubled her yield.

Life is very different now for Maria’s family.

My job at ADRA is to write—to tell the stories of the people whose lives have been changed by the generosity of ADRA donors. Usually, I receive these stories via email. It’s one thing to hear about ADRA projects but an entirely different thing to meet people like Maria whose lives are transformed for the better.

Maria’s story of struggle and resilience is a shared experience amongst Timorese. Coming from a place of privilege in Australia, it is difficult to fathom that another woman, living just an hour away by plane, can face such difficulties.

We know that no country is exempt from poverty. Jesus told us that the poor would always be with us, but the Bible also instructs that we are to care for those less fortunate than us. Luke 3:11 says, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

God isn’t asking us to give up our basic needs to meet someone else’s. Rather, He is asking us to share our abundance—our success; His blessings—with those less fortunate.

I was privileged to meet Maria—a resilient, hardworking and resourceful woman. She taught me that compassion towards others is a measure of true success because, as people receive a hand up, they can indeed turn survival into a future free from poverty and filled with hope.

To read Maria’s full story, visit adra.org.au/marias-story. ADRA works to serve people so that all may live as God intended—free from poverty and disadvantage. Your gift this end-of-financial-year can provide mothers like Maria with the skills and resources to succeed: to earn a living, to send their children to school and to break the cycle of poverty. To donate visit adra.org.au/transform.

Ashley Stanton is Media and Communications coordinator for ADRA Australia.

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Five hundred and forty-seven students of Epauto Adventist Senior Secondary School with their teachers are reaching out to their parents and the wider communities in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The whole school has been divided into 14 groups, with each group allocated to visit an Adventist church in Port Vila and take charge of Sabbath services.

“Leading in the church’s services will build student confidence while at the same time, providing an opportunity for the school to inform parents of what it is doing, and in a way re-enforcing the idea that Epauto is a district school for all Efate,” said principal Willie Luen.

Sabbath, April 13 was the first for Epauto to begin its visits to churches in 2019. A group went to Freshwind Adventist Church in Port Vila where they ran all their Sabbath programs, including sharing testimonies, singing songs and organising the church into Sabbath school lesson study groups.

Epauto recorded another increase in enrolments in 2019 with 547 students and 32 teachers (last year’s enrolment was 479). Fifty per cent of this year’s students are from other faith backgrounds.

Another milestone achievement was reached this year with 42 students now doing year 13 for the first time in both science and arts classes.

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New Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, New South Wales) was hit by theft and arson at 4:00am this morning (May 23), when thieves stole thousands of dollars of film equipment from a shipping container and trailer, before setting the trailer on fire.

The local police and arson squad have investigated and found an accelerant was used to ignite the fire. Initially, the thieves attempted to break into the Vineyard Christian Church building itself—which the New Hope congregation is currently using—before targeting the western Sydney church’s mobile van that plugs straight into the high-tech church.

New Hope’s pastor, Lloyd Grolimund, and chief of production, Andrew Hunt, are devastated. Although some of the equipment was insured, the team have lost thousands of dollars, as well as countless holidays, evenings and weekends spent building the mobile van and investing in New Hope’s media ministry.

“It’s a severe blow to us,” said Mr Hunt. “We’re not sure how long the rebuild will take, but we’ve received countless mysterious donations and answers to prayers in the past, so we know God wants this ministry to continue, and we know He is still good.”

Receiving over a hundred thousand hits to their weekly podcasts, videos and live streaming, the duo and their dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to transform New Hope church into a dynamic television ministry.

“It’s the voice of God in the local community,” said Mr Hunt, “We’re devastated because the mission of New Hope was to be a TV church.”

It is unclear how much this incident will affect New Hope’s future endeavours, but Pastor Grolimund and Mr Hunt are determined to continue their media ministry.

“We’re dedicated to still doing our live stream this Sabbath. It will be a different production and we’ll only be able to use one camera, but we’re not giving up,” Mr Hunt said.

The team have asked that if anyone has production equipment that they are not using, to please consider donating it to New Hope.

“They’ve reached thousands of viewers worldwide and created connections with local churches through our resources, so we’d hate to see that ministry stop,” said Pastor Boehm, director of Hope Channel Australia.

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Dr David McClintock has been appointed as the new Adventist Education director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific (SPD).

The announcement comes after current SPD education director Dr Carol Tasker expressed a desire to transition into a part time role. She will continue in the education department, serving as associate education director until September 2020.

Dr McClintock was most recently the principal of Avondale School in Cooranbong, New South Wales, a position he commenced at the start of 2017. He previously served as SPD associate education director, and has also been a Conference and Union education director and a curriculum writer for Adventist Schools Australia, as well as deputy of three schools and principal of five. He holds a degree in theology as well as various degrees in education.

“Please pray for David and Carol as they enhance the disciple making ministry within the vast SPD school system,” said SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend.

Dr McClintock will take up his role in early June.

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Adventist Record by Linden Chuang - 4d ago

Larisa and Helen sit watching the screen. A new show is on and they are deciding: Will the show get the thumbs up for nationwide broadcast? Will it get thumbs down? Or, in the case of Helen, paw down? Larisa Fleming is a Hope Channel New Zealand program reviewer. And Helen? She’s Larisa’s guide dog.

“I had a brain tumour when I was 10,” recalls Larisa, “and by the time I was 11 I had completely lost my eyesight. They said I only had two years to live,” she continues, “but I like a challenge—38 years later, I’m still going strong! Sometimes people ask me whether I’m angry at God. No! I love every day of life that God gives me and I love Him for all the good things He’s brought into my life.”

Larisa got married one year ago. “My husband is amazing. He’s a paraplegic who fractured his spine in a quad bike accident. We now do inspirational speeches together for companies around New Zealand. My husband wrote a book entitled Change the Channel about staying positive. I read it through in just one night because once I started, I couldn’t stop. My husband has got me into skiing. It’s so much fun to be out on the slopes with him in his sit-ski.

“Sometimes you meet people who feel sorry for themselves. I don’t have time for that. Life’s for living, so, no matter what we face, we have to get going with life. My husband and I have, and if we can, well, I think pretty much anyone can.

“My favourite song is ‘God Will Make a Way’ by Don Moen. The lyrics are just so true. I know, because He has for me.”

Larisa learning to ski while her husband watches on.

Larisa, who is a praise team leader at Hawera Adventist Church, gets her church to sing the song as often as she can. She also teaches the Sabbath School lesson at church—all from memory.

One of the ways that Larisa stays positive is by giving service to God. “When I first heard that Hope Channel New Zealand needed volunteers to review potential programming for the channel, I thought, What a great opportunity to serve God! But when I told someone about my interest, they said, ‘You’re blind, how are you going to review television shows?’ Apparently the person wasn’t aware that, yes, blind people do watch TV. We watch through our ears because 99 per cent of the story is told through dialogue, mood-setting music and sound effects. When I called Julia Ross at Hope Channel New Zealand, she welcomed me into the reviewing team with open arms.”

Larisa became one of the first Hope Channel New Zealand program reviewers and has faithfully reviewed potential programming for five years. But what does she look for in a program? “Of course I look for content. I ask, Is the program consistent with Christian values? But I look for something else too—is the program interesting?”

Larisa and her husband, with Helen by their side.

Does she ever reject programs because they are boring?

“Yes, I reject boring shows regularly,” she laughs. “It’s painful enough that I had to sit through it, I don’t want to inflict TV tedium onto others!

“What I love about Hope Channel New Zealand is the way it is connecting with people all over the country,” concludes Larisa, “I’m inspired when I hear of stories of Hope Channel viewers from Te Kao in the far north to Invercargill in the deep south walking into churches looking for a closer relationship with Christ.”

If you’ve watched Hope Channel New Zealand and enjoyed it, you can say a very big thank you to Larisa, and don’t forget Helen too! They are the ones who help find the inspiring—and interesting—shows Hope Channel New Zealand broadcasts.

James Standish lives in Washington (USA) where he works in law, government relations and media.

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Adventist Record by Linden Chuang - 5d ago

Author C S Lewis wrote, “Our father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but He will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

We can be so focused on the material blessings that God gives us, that we forget whose they are and what they are for. “Our” assets are not actually ours. Money, houses, investments, clothes, sports equipment, furniture, decorations, tools and even talents are entrusted to us to be enjoyed, yes, but also to test us—to see whether we will use them for eternal interests or for selfish purposes.

We are called, trained, resourced and empowered to be fast-moving pilgrims. We have a simple but crucial mission—to help people to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ. God supports and funds this mission with the talents and possessions He entrusts to us. What a privilege!

Let’s use God’s resources to encourage people to fix their eyes on Jesus. In doing so we will also be empowered to keep our eyes on Him.

As Helen Lemmel penned, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Julian Archer is the founder of Faith
 vs Finance—a global ministry working with Christians who seek to maintain a vibrant relationship with Jesus amidst the pressures of materialism and self-centred lifestyles.

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Felicity Gerard-Helps has dedicated the past 30 years to helping others through her volunteer work at Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Felicity is one of the more than 500 San volunteers being recognised this week as part of hospital-wide celebrations for National Volunteer Week.

Felicity spends four hours every Friday at the San, helping patients to accomplish various tasks. She has been a member of the San Help Team since 1989.

“After my son went to school, I decided to start volunteering,” she explained. “Initially I was one of the ‘pink ladies’ before we changed to yellow shirts. Thirty years on I’m still here. I’ve made great friends and it’s really a beautiful community. I’ve never thought of doing anything else.”

Fellow San volunteer and Felicity’s good friend, Rosemary Taylor, also joined the team in 1989.

“I started volunteering at the San after my mother-in-law was treated here,” Rosemary said. “I’d grown up with the philosophy of giving back to the community, but I’ve definitely received more than I’ve given. If I walk out of each individual patient’s room and they have a smile on their face, then I know I have helped. I’ll keep volunteering as long as I can.”

San Help Team manager Patrina McLean said National Volunteers Week is a time to celebrate at the San. In addition to Felicity and Rosemary, 40 other Help Team members are also being recognised for their 10, 15 and 20 years of service milestones at an awards ceremony.

"I've made great friends and it's really a beautiful community. I've never thought of doing anything else."

Volunteers are aged anywhere between 16 and 94, and range from stay-at-home mums to retired chief executives. They help with a diverse range of tasks, including chatting with patients, helping the wards with their stock, running errands, greeting visitors, helping with meals, guiding therapy dogs to long-term patients who miss their own pets, and helping in the volunteer snack bar.

“The ways they have supported us are as wide as their wide skill sets, backgrounds and their reasons for volunteering,” Mrs McLean said. “Quite a few of them have been here for more than 30 years. Clearly they enjoy what they do and are engaged at the San in making a difference, which is why they keep coming back every week . . . and we love them. Our volunteers make the San a very special place.”

Since the San Help Team was first established in 1973, over 1800 volunteers have donated more than 1.57 million hours of their time. Each year, San volunteers work the equivalent of 58,000 hours, and are among the 6 million Australian volunteers donating close to 932 million work hours to Australian businesses and charities.

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More than 100 senior leaders from several South Pacific Division (SPD) entities and territories recently participated in the second of a series of quarterly SPD leadership development workshops.

The workshop was available both in person and via live-streaming, and was facilitated by Dr Stephen Brown, an international leadership and change expert, and Simon Banks, director of creativity for innovation company Visual Funk.

The theme, “Tangling with your temple cats”, was a metaphor used to talk about dealing with change in the church organisation. It compared the different types of individuals in organisations to cats seen wandering around ancient temples. Participants were asked to identify the types of “cats” in the SPD that thwart change, as well as outdated policies, ideas and beliefs.

“Our director team really related to the cat network notion,” said Clare Lumley, nursing and operations executive for Adventist HealthCare. “In fact, we even used the analogy in a recent change initiative communication.”

Participants were also challenged to think about what type of cat they represented, basic instincts that make them resist change, and personal values that influence how they deal with change and relate to others.

“The workshop was really engaging, inviting us to live and work with authenticity,” said Dr Carolyn Rickett, associate dean of research at Avondale College. “It enabled deep reflection into human motivation and behaviour, and the way these intersections affect teams.”

“It’s great to see so many leaders across our diverse entities commit to ongoing development, networking and sharing their wealth of leadership experience together,” said SPD leadership development manager Dean Banks.

Leading and learning: SPD leadership development workshop attendees.
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While the Australian election result was the best outcome for faith-based schools, nothing should be taken for granted, Seventh-day Adventist education leaders were warned yesterday.

About 160 Adventist school leaders from around Australia are attending the “Setting the course” educational leadership conference in Sydney—an Adventist Education initiative held biennially. The three-day conference ends this afternoon.

Yesterday’s morning session saw Pastor Michael Worker, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the Adventist Church in Australia, give a presentation on religious freedom.

“Religious freedom has become one of the hottest topics in Australia in recent years,” Pastor Worker said. “And whilst it didn’t receive a lot of mainstream media attention in the lead-up to the election that was held last weekend, we believe it was a significant sleeper issue for the political parties. There is no doubt that neither of the political parties wanted to address it, deal with it, have it on the front line, but as you no doubt have seen in the last few days of the campaign it broke through.”

Pastor Worker speaking at the educational leadership conference yesterday.

Pastor Worker said Australia is the only Western democracy in the world without any positive protections for religious freedom, a situation that is “quite alarming”.

“We have traded on societal goodwill until this point and whilst we can breathe a sigh of relief with the election results on the weekend, there is still a long way to go to ensure positive protections for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience in Australia,” he said.

“The challenge for every one of us in the room is that schools are currently ground zero in this battle. Recent attempts by [Senator] Penny Wong to remove our ability to employ teachers and staff who will uphold the beliefs, values and ethos of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are a prime example of this. As a Church we are taking this threat seriously, this threat to the ministry and mission of Adventist education.”

Keynote speaker, Anglican Bishop Dr Michael Stead, has been heavily involved in Australia’s religious freedom debate.

“Despite the outcome of the federal election, and let me be clear, it is the much better outcome in terms of the protection of religious freedom, but despite that outcome the reality is that faith-based schools are still going to face very significant challenges, particularly in the next 12 months or so if we are to ensure that our schools continue to have the freedom to operate according to their faith-based ethos,” Dr Stead said.

“We shouldn’t take anything for granted. Let’s be very serious about the very steep road ahead of us.”

Anglican Bishop Dr Michael Stead was the keynote speaker at yesterday’s morning session.

Dr Stead said last year’s Ruddock review into religious freedom raised questions that remain unresolved and have now been referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

“And so whether we like it or not this issue will be very much on the agenda in the second half of this year when the ALRC will produce draft legislation and invite public comment,” Dr Stead said.

“The ALRC has been asked to work out what is the appropriate way to balance two rights: the right to thought, conscience and belief, with the right to equality and non-discrimination.”

School leaders were encouraged to very clear about the doctrines, tenets and beliefs of the Adventist education system.

“We need to stand firm for those things we believe, to be clear about them and to teach them clearly in our schools without fear,” Dr Stead said.

Yesterday’s worship music was presented by Hills Adventist College.

The conference was also an opportunity to set the course for the future direction of Adventist education in Australia.

“And we are looking for the wisdom in the room to come forward and to help guide where we go with Adventist education,” Adventist Schools Australia national director Dr Daryl Murdoch said yesterday.

“The aim [of the conference] is to affirm our leaders, to inspire our leaders, to spiritually refresh our leaders and to value our leaders so that in the really difficult challenges they face, and often the isolated challenges that they have in their own school communities, they feel part of a team, they feel valued and inspired to go back and lead with passion.”

Attendees at the conference.
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A new ministry was recently launched at Freshwater Community Church, an Adventist church on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Seventeen-year-old Lilly Jenke had a passion for sewing and wanted to use her talent to help people going through difficult times. She soon learned about support pillows, which are used to support women after they have undergone breast cancer surgery, and began making these pillows with the intention of donating them to cancer patients.

Several women from her church found out what Lilly was doing and wanted to support her. They decided to form a small group that would meet at the church fortnightly and sew for the sake of helping others. On March 17, they went shopping for material and launched the project on March 24, which they named the Heart 2 Heart Pillow Project. They made thirteen pillows on the first day.

After launching the project, the women were eager to begin donating their pillows but weren’t sure where to start. After much prayer, they were led to make an appointment with the McGrath Foundation breast cancer nurses at Royal North Shore Hospital.

On April 3, the Heart 2 Heart team took some sample pillows and a presentation paper and met with the nurses.

“The reception was great. They liked the idea and the pillows straight away!” said one team member. “They were very enthusiastic and asked us if we would cover the local district, which would include other hospitals.”

Royal North Shore Hospital even organised a promotional photoshoot for the Heart 2 Heart team, so that other hospitals could see the work that they were doing. More than 60 pillows have been sewn by the group including 23 by Lilly herself.

Breast cancer nurse Catrina Ross thanked Lilly and the group for their thoughtfulness and kindness in the hospital newsletter.

“I know Lilly started this project with the goal of spreading love and she has certainly achieved that,” she said.

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