Dam Mang https://www.dammang.com Life is a never ending learning process Thu, 15 Apr 2021 03:15:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.5 https://www.dammang.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cropped-icon-32x32.png Dam Mang https://www.dammang.com 32 32 149723435 More than $1 Million Raised for LLU Children’s Hospital at Virtual Gala https://www.dammang.com/more-than-1-million-raised-for-llu-childrens-hospital-at-virtual-gala/ https://www.dammang.com/more-than-1-million-raised-for-llu-childrens-hospital-at-virtual-gala/#respond Thu, 15 Apr 2021 03:03:43 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1694 The 28th Foundation Gala raised $1,015,115 for patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital on April 8. The virtual gathering drew more than 1,000 community philanthropists and hospital supporters. From Loma Linda University …

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  • The 28th Foundation Gala raised $1,015,115 for patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital on April 8.
  • The virtual gathering drew more than 1,000 community philanthropists and hospital supporters.
  • From Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital — 12 April 2021 | More than 1,000 community philanthropists and hospital supporters virtually gathered for the 28th Foundation Gala, raising $1,015,115 for patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital on April 8.

    Presented by Alaina Mathews, Nathan Mathews, and Alexis Leyva, the “Resiliency”-themed free-of-charge program took a special look at the hospital’s continued dedication to caring for children in the Inland Empire and beyond throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Kerry Heinrich, CEO of Loma Linda University Health, addressed guests, saying how important it was to imagine experiencing the pandemic through the eyes of a child.

    “The unacceptable reality is children in our communities face tremendous adversity every day, and the pandemic has only worsened life for many of them,” Heinrich said. “Tonight, we are coming together to support the whole-child concept of resiliency for children.”

    Funds raised will contribute to Children’s Hospital’s mission in helping children disproportionately affected in the community by abuse, neglect and other adverse childhood experiences to reach a place of wholeness, health and safety. Funds will also support the purchase of an advanced neuronavigator system for pediatric neurosurgery.

    Four awards were presented to individuals or groups who have made significant dedications to the lives of children.

    • Walter’s Children’s Charity Classic received the Shirley N. Pettis Award
    • Loma Linda University Health Frontline Workers received the Nancy B. Varner Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Ricardo Peverini, MD, was recognized with the Dr. Leonard L. Bailey Outstanding Clinician Award
    • Robin Diamond-Ward received the Hometown Hero Award

    About Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital – LLUCH
    The Children’s Hospital is the only dedicated pediatric hospital in the vast geographic region of San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo and Mono counties. With 348 beds dedicated just for kids, one of the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the country and more than 100,000 children who come each year, LLUCH is a major pediatric teaching facility, known worldwide as the pioneer of neonatal heart transplantation. LLUCH is part of Loma Linda University Health – the umbrella organization encompassing Loma Linda University’s eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center’s six hospitals and more than 1,00 faculty physicians located across the Inland Empire in Southern California. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, Loma Linda University Health is a faith-based health system with a mission “to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”

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    Adventist Church Leaders Vote to Hold a Special One-Day GC Session in January 2022 https://www.dammang.com/adventist-church-leaders-vote-to-hold-a-special-one-day-gc-session-in-january-2022/ https://www.dammang.com/adventist-church-leaders-vote-to-hold-a-special-one-day-gc-session-in-january-2022/#respond Wed, 14 Apr 2021 03:09:26 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1698 One-day event will discuss a constitutional change to allow virtual attendance. By: Adventist Review and Adventist News Network On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, members of the General Conference Executive Committee (GC EXCOM) …

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    One-day event will discuss a constitutional change to allow virtual attendance.

    By: Adventist Review and Adventist News Network

    On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, members of the General Conference Executive Committee (GC EXCOM) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church voted to hold a Special General Conference (GC) Session on January 18, 2022.

    The vote took place on the opening day of the 2021 Spring Meetings, one of the two annual business meetings of the denomination’s top governing body between world session. This year’s meeting took place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The special one-day, one-item GC Session at the world church headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States is being called for the sole purpose of amending the GC Constitution to allow delegates to participate by digital means in a future GC Session in the event that unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances arise.

    Before the vote, Adventist Church associate secretary Hensley Moorooven detailed some of the factors considered in presenting this proposal to the GC EXCOM members. He reminded his listeners that the Church’s constitution stipulates that GC Sessions and all voting must take place in-person and onsite. Additionally, article V, section 1 of the constitution states that postponing a GC Session should not “exceed two years” beyond a regularly scheduled date. Moorooven then explained that amendments to the GC Constitution and Bylaws can only be done by the delegates at a regular or special GC Session. All in all, Moorooven said, the church leaders’ proposal stays within the appropriate provision of the GC Constitution and Bylaws.

    Among other elements taken into account, Moorooven said, leaders tried to make a decision that would be beneficial to delegates and avoid frustrations, while also following a clearly predetermined path. “Our goal was to be transparent at each step of the process,” he said. “The proposal we bring today is the more plausible solution.” This solution would allow delegates to participate in the upcoming GC Session even if they could not physically travel to St. Louis because of the impact of the pandemic.

    General Conference president Ted N. C. Wilson also confirmed that the special GC Session would meet for one agenda item only. He assured members that the special Session would not add any agenda items.

    As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge large gatherings and travel, GC administrators, though planning for an in-person GC Session June 6-11, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri, felt it prudent to work on an alternate solution. After the initial Session postponement, the Constitution and Bylaws Committee met and recommended an amendment to the GC Constitution which would allow for the possibility of virtual attendance in the future. However, the possibility of another delay because of the ongoing worldwide impact of the pandemic would put the General Conference out of compliance with its governing document. Church leadership recommended that it would be advantageous if a Special GC Session was called for the sole purpose of amending the Constitution which would provide for a virtual or hybrid GC Session.

    In 2020, a meeting of the GC EXCOM already voted to propose an amendment to the GC constitution that would allow for virtual participation when specifically requested by the Executive Committee. The recommended amendment, to be voted by the GC Session delegates, reads as follows:

    Article V. Sec. 4. Generally, regular or specially called General Conference Sessions are to be held in person and onsite. However, delegates when requested by the General Conference Executive Committee may participate by means of an electronic conference or similar communications by which all persons participating can hear each other at the same time, and participation by such means shall constitute presence in person and attendance at such a meeting. Votes cast remotely shall have the same validity as if the delegates met and voted onsite.

    The GC EXCOM would still have to make a decision at the appropriate time based on the then circumstances whether the GC Session would be held virtually, in person, or a hybrid of the two.

    Based on the authority granted to it in Article V of the Constitution to reduce the total number of delegates to a GC Session for reasons of a “major crisis within the Church or international arena” GC EXCOM on Tuesday also voted to reduce the total number of regular and at-large delegates to the January Special GC Session to 400 people for this specific meeting. The allocated quota of delegates for the GC, 13 divisions, and two attached unions was approved as well. The motion included a request that divisions unable to send their allotted quota of delegates due to travel restrictions or other reasons be allowed to reallocate their unused quota back to the GC. The GC Administrative Committee would then designate these positions to individuals currently working at the GC headquarters, primarily from the divisions which shared their quota.

    A final element in the voted motion was to request all 13 world divisions and 137 union executive committees to discuss and vote on the proposed constitutional amendment and to report back to the GC Secretariat by August 31, 2021.

    During discussion, several GC EXCOM members expressed support for the motion, noting how the pandemic has shifted operations within and outside of the church. Hope Channel president Derek Morris spoke in favor of the motion and said, “This is an excellent proposal, and actually what we are wanting to do is to include more people rather than exclude people. In the environment that we find ourselves, I stand in full support of this proposal.”

    Other committee members posed both questions and suggestions. Barna Magyarosi, executive secretary of the Inter-European Division (EUD) observed: “First of all I think this is a logical step in order to solve a technical conundrum, and I think we need to go in this direction.… I would also suggest that probably somewhere in the minutes or the wording of this vote we could include something to the extent of not making it a precedent.… For posterity’s sake this cannot be considered a precedent for other agenda items that might be convenient to be sorted out in this way.”

    After discussion, three motions passed with overwhelming majority support.

    The first motion, to approve the Special General Conference Session proposal, was approved by a vote of 169 to 3.

    The second motion, to convene a Special General Conference Session on January 18, 2022, in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, for the purpose of amending the General Conference Constitution to allow for electronic participation at General Conference Sessions, was approved 168 to 3.

    The final motion, to reduce the total number of regular and at-large delegates to the January 18, 2022, Special General Conference Session to 400 was also approved by a margin of 170 to 1.

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    Lesson 1   *September 26–October 2 Education in the Garden of Eden https://www.dammang.com/lesson-1-september-26-october-2-education-in-the-garden-of-eden/ https://www.dammang.com/lesson-1-september-26-october-2-education-in-the-garden-of-eden/#respond Mon, 28 Sep 2020 07:29:59 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1682 Lesson 1   *September 26–October 2 Education in the Garden of Eden   SABBATH AFTERNOON Read for This Week’s Study: Gen. 2:7–23; Gen 3:1–6; 2 Pet. 1:3–11; 2 Pet. 2:1–17; Heb. 13:7, 17, 24. Memory Text: “Behold, God is exalted by His power; who …

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    Lesson 1   *September 26–October 2

    Education in the Garden of Eden

     

    SABBATH AFTERNOON

    Read for This Week’s Study: Gen. 2:7–23; Gen 3:1–6;
    2 Pet. 1:3–112 Pet. 2:1–17Heb. 13:71724.

    Memory Text: “Behold, God is exalted by His power; who teaches like Him?” (Job 36:22, NKJV).

    Most Bible students know the story of Genesis 1–3 and its cast of characters: God, Adam, Eve, the angels, the serpent. The setting is a splendid garden in a paradise called “Eden.” The plotline seems to follow a logical series of events. God creates. God instructs Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve sin. Adam and Eve are banished from Eden. However, a closer look at the first few chapters of Genesis, especially through the lens of education, will uncover insights into the cast, the setting, the story.

    “The system of education instituted at the beginning of the world was to be a model for man throughout all aftertime. As an illustration of its principles a model school was established in Eden, the home of our first parents. The Garden of Eden was the schoolroom, nature was the lesson book, the Creator Himself was the instructor, and the parents of the human family were the students.”—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 20.

    The Lord was founder, principal, and teacher of this first school. But as we know, Adam and Eve ultimately chose another teacher and learned the wrong lessons. What happened, why, and what can we learn from this early account of education that can help us today?

    *Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 3.

    SUNDAY                   September 27

    The First School

    Though we don’t think of a garden as a classroom, it makes perfect sense, especially one like Eden, filled with the unspoiled riches of God’s creation. Hard to imagine, from our perspective today, how much these unfallen beings, in an unfallen world, being directly taught by their Creator, must have been learning in that “classroom.”

    Read Genesis 2:7–23. What do you notice about God’s purposefulness in creating, placing, and employing Adam?

    God made the man and the woman in His image and gave them a home and meaningful work. When you consider teacher-student dynamics, this is an ideal relationship. God knew Adam’s abilities because He had created Adam. He could teach Adam, knowing that Adam could realize his full potential.

    God gave the man responsibility, but He also wanted happiness for him, as well. And perhaps part of the means of giving him happiness was giving him responsibilities. After all, who doesn’t get satisfaction—happiness, even—from being given responsibilities and then faithfully fulfilling them? God knew the heart of Adam and what he would need to thrive, so He gave Adam the task of taking care of the garden. “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Gen. 2:15, NKJV). It’s hard for us to imagine, knowing only a world of sin and death as we do, what the work must have entailed and the lessons that, no doubt, Adam learned as he worked and kept their garden home.

    In Genesis 2:19–23, God creates animal companions for Adam, and He also creates Eve as Adam’s wife. God knew that Adam needed the companionship and help of a peer, so He created woman.

    God also knew that man needed to be in close relationship with Him, so He created an intimate space in Eden within the confines of the garden. All of this attests to God’s purposefulness in creation and His love for humanity. Again, from the great distance between us and Eden, it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like—though it is fun to try to imagine, isn’t it?

    Though we are far removed from Eden, we can still learn lessons from nature. What are some of those lessons, and how can we benefit from them as we interpret them through the lens of Scripture?

    MONDAY           September 28

    Intrusion

    One of the great joys for many teachers is assembling their classrooms: hanging bulletin boards, organizing supplies, and arranging the rooms in the most desirable way. When we look at God’s vision for the classroom that was the Garden of Eden, we see the care He took in preparing a learning environment for Adam and Eve. He desired beauty to surround them. We can imagine that every flower, bird, animal, and tree offered an opportunity for Adam and Eve to learn more about their world and about their Creator.

    Yet there is an abrupt shift from Genesis 2 to Genesis 3. We have taken inventory of all the good that God created with divine intention. But in Genesis 3:1 we also awaken to God’s provision for free will. The presence of the serpent as “more subtil than any beast of the field” is a departure from the language heretofore used. Such words as “very good” and “not ashamed” and “pleasant” are adjectives used to describe God’s creation in the prior chapters. Now, however, with the serpent, there is a change of tone. The word “subtil” is also translated in some versions as “cunning.” Suddenly a negative element is introduced in what, so far, has been only perfection.

    In contrast, Genesis presents God as the opposite of “cunning.” God is emphatically clear about His expectations of the pair in the garden. We know from God’s command in Genesis 2:1617 that He has established one key rule that they must obey, and that was not to eat from the forbidden tree.

    Whatever else we can take from this story, one thing stands out: Adam and Eve were created as free moral beings, beings who were able to choose between obedience and disobedience. Hence, right from the start, even in an unfallen world, we can see the reality of human free will.

    In Genesis 3:1–6, examine the descriptions the serpent used and that Eve then repeated. What do you notice about the information that the serpent offers Eve? What do you notice about how Eve then regards the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

    In Genesis 2:17, the Lord told Adam that if he ate from the tree he would “surely die.” When Eve, in Genesis 3:3, repeated the command, she did not express it as strongly, leaving out the word “surely.” In Genesis 3:4, the serpent puts the word back in but in an utter contradiction of what God had said. It seems that though Eve was taught of God in the garden, she didn’t take what she learned as seriously as she should have, as we can see by the very language she used.

    TUESDAY                     September 29

    Missing the Message

    As we saw yesterday, despite God’s clear command Eve—even in her language—watered down what she had been taught.

    Though she didn’t misinterpret what the Lord said to her, she obviously didn’t take it seriously enough. One can hardly exaggerate the consequences of her actions.

    Thus, when Eve encountered the serpent, she repeated (but not exactly) to the serpent what God had said regarding the trees in the garden (Gen. 3:23). Of course, this message wasn’t news to the serpent. The serpent was familiar with the command and was therefore well-prepared to twist it, thus preying upon Eve’s innocence.

    Examine Genesis 3:4–6. Besides directly denying exactly what God had said, what else did the serpent say that, obviously, succeeded with Eve? What principles did he take advantage of?

    When the serpent told her that part of the message was incorrect, Eve could have gone to confer with God. This is the beauty of Eden’s education: the access the students had to their Mighty Teacher was surely beyond anything we can now fathom on earth. However, instead of fleeing, instead of seeking divine aid, Eve accepts the serpent’s message. Her acceptance of the serpent’s revision to the message requires some doubt on Eve’s part about God and what He had told them.

    Meanwhile, Adam wanders into a difficult situation himself. “Adam understood that his companion had transgressed the command of God, disregarded the only prohibition laid upon them as a test of their fidelity and love. There was a terrible struggle in his mind. He mourned that he had permitted Eve to wander from his side. But now the deed was done; he must be separated from her whose society had been his joy. How could he have it thus?”— Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 56. Unfortunately, though knowing right from wrong, he also chose wrongly.

    Think of the deceptive irony here: the serpent said that if they ate of the tree, they would “be like God” (Gen. 3:5, NKJV). But didn’t Genesis 1:27 say that they were already like God? What can this teach us about how easily we can be deceived and why faith and obedience are our only protection, even when we have been given the best of educations, as had Adam and Eve?

    WEDNESDAY                 September 30

    Regaining What Was Lost

    When Adam and Eve chose to follow the serpent’s message, they faced, among many other consequences, banishment from God’s classroom. Think about what Adam and Eve lost because of their sin. When we understand their fall, we can better understand the purpose of education for us in the present age. In spite of their banishment, life in an imperfect world ushered in a new purpose for education.

    If education before the Fall was God’s way of acquainting Adam and Eve with Him, His character, His goodness, and His love, then after their banishment the work of education must be to help reacquaint humanity with those things, as well as re-create the image of God in us. In spite of their physical removal from God’s presence, God’s children can still come to know Him, His goodness, and His love. Through prayer, service, and studying His Word, we can draw close to our God as did Adam and Eve in Eden.

    The good news is that because of Jesus, and the plan of redemption, all is not lost. We have hope of salvation and of restoration. And much of Christian education should be pointing students toward Jesus and what He has done for us and the restoration that He offers.

    Read 2 Peter 1:3–11. In light of all that was lost when human beings left the garden, these verses come as encouragement that much can be regained. What does Peter write that we must do in order to seek restoration of God’s image in our lives?

    Through Jesus, we have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (NKJV). What a promise! What might some of those things be? Well, Peter gives us a list: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and so on. Notice, too, that knowledge is one of the things Peter mentions. This idea, of course, leads to the notion of education. True education will lead to true knowledge, the knowledge of Christ, and thus not only will we become more like Him, we may stand also to share our knowledge of Him with others.

    Think for a moment about the fact that the forbidden tree was the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil.” What should that tell us about why not all knowledge is good? How do we know the difference between good and bad knowledge? 

    THURSDAY                         October 1

    The Despisers of Authority

    Some people are considered “natural students” in the classroom. They barely need to study to make excellent grades. They absorb material easily. Their knowledge seems to “stick.” Second Peter 1 and 2, however, make it evident that our education in Christ is an equal-opportunity experience for those who will dedicate themselves.

    The encouraging words of 2 Peter 1 contrast with the sobering warning in 2 Peter 2.

    Read 2 Peter 2:1–17. What powerful and condemning words is he saying here? At the same time, amid this sharp warning and condemnation, what great hope is promised to us?

    Notice what Peter writes in verse 10 about those who despise authority. What a sharp rebuke for what is a reality in our day, as well. We as a church body must work on the assumption of certain levels of authority (see Heb. 13:71724), and we are called to submit to and obey them, at least to the degree that they are being faithful to the Lord themselves.

    However, amid this harsh condemnation, Peter offers (in verse 9) a counterpoint. He says that although God is mighty to cast out those who chose deception, “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (NKJV). Is it possible that part of our education in Christianity is not only avoiding temptation but also learning the many ways that God can and does deliver us from it as well as help guard us against those, he warns, who will “secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2 Pet. 2:1, NKJV)? And also, since the despising of authority is so condemned, shouldn’t our Christian education also consist of learning the right way to understand, submit, and obey “those who rule over you” (Heb. 13:7, NKJV)?

    Though one could not say that Adam and Eve despised authority, in the end they chose to disobey that authority. And what made their transgression so bad was that they did it in response to a blatant contradiction of what that authority, God Himself, had told them, and who had done so for their own good, as well.

    Dwell more on this question of authority, not just in the church or in the family, but in life in general. Why is authority, both the proper exercise of authority and the proper submission to it, so important? Bring your answers to class on Sabbath.

    FRIDAY                        October 2

    Further Study: “The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care of God but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between. They were full of the vigor imparted by the tree of life, and their intellectual power was but little less than that of the angels. The mysteries of the visible universe—’the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge’ (Job 37:16)—afforded them an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. The laws and operations of nature, which have engaged men’s study for six thousand years, were opened to their minds by the infinite Framer and Upholder of all. They held converse with leaf and flower and tree, gathering from each the secrets of its life. With every living creature, from the mighty leviathan that playeth among the waters to the insect mote that floats in the sunbeam, Adam was familiar. He had given to each its name, and he was acquainted with the nature and habits of all. God’s glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, ‘the balancings of the clouds,’ the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night—all were open to the study of our first parents. On every leaf of the forest or stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in earth and air and sky, God’s name was written. The order and harmony of creation spoke to them of infinite wisdom and power. They were ever discovering some attraction that filled their hearts with deeper love and called forth fresh expressions of gratitude.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 50, 51.

    Discussion Questions:
    1. If God originally intended for school/work to be an opportunity for humans to encounter Him and His creation, are we still keeping with God’s intention in our work today? How can we become better acquainted with God through our work (paid, education, voluntary, ministry, etc.)?

    2. When we consider the craftiness of Satan in the Garden of Eden, it is easy to become frustrated with our own human weakness. Adam and Eve knew God was close, and yet they accepted the serpent’s half-truth. How can we, who are removed from such close physical proximity to God, still find power from Him to help us to overcome temptation?

    3. Discuss the question of authority and why it is so important to obey that authority. What happens when the lines of authority become blurred? How can authority be abused, and how do we respond when it is?

    inside Story

    Helping a Distressed Priest

    By Gabriel Golea

    The Romanian priest came to me with a problem.

    “Can you convince the commission members that I have a good job and a good level of education so I can start my doctoral studies?” he asked.

    The priest had enrolled to study theology at the University of Strasbourg in France, but the doctoral commission had decided that he first needed to repeat a year of undergraduate studies. I was a second-year doctoral student, and he and I struck up a friendship when we realized that we both were from Romania.

    “Do you believe in God?” I asked the priest, smiling.

    He was shocked. “Of course, I do!” he said.

    “Do you believe in the power of prayer?” I said.

    “I believe that God can do miracles,” the priest said.

    “I’m not talking about a ritual or some other religious ceremony,” I said. “God can answer our prayers if we pray directly to Him.”

    Several days later, I invited the priest to pray with me. “Before I ask the professors, we should make this a matter of prayer,” I said. The priest agreed.

    I decided not to try to convince the professors to change the rules for the priest but instead to show them that Romania’s education system met French standards. I met with each of the seven professors who sat on the commission. Each promised to review the matter at the next commission meeting. The professors ended up testing the priest’s knowledge in a special interview and accepting him into the doctoral program. We thanked God for the miracle!

    Our friendship flourished over the next two years. The priest often visited my home to talk, eat, and worship with my family. But during his third year, the priest announced that he would leave the program. “I have a new job,” he said. “I have been appointed as Romania’s secretary of state for religious affairs.”

    He had become the Romanian government’s top religion official.

    You never know the far-reaching influence of your words and actions.

    Upon hearing that a priest had taken office, some Adventists in Romania feared restrictions on religious freedom, especially against members of smaller religious denominations like the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But no crackdown materialized. In fact, the priest turned government minister was exceedingly fair and objective with people of all faiths.

    After he settled into his job, I jokingly asked to visit his office for a photo. “I want to show my children that I know someone famous,” I said.

    He laughed. “Come anytime you want,” he said.

    We remain friends to this day.

    Gabriel Golea is executive secretary of the French-Belgian Union based in Paris, France.

    Part I: Overview

    In the beginning, there were no schools or universities. But even without books, lecture halls, or internet-saturated electronics, knowledge—rich with wisdom and virtue—was still communicated. Through an irrigating mist (Gen. 2:6), one can just discern the form of God, a garden classroom, and two fresh clay pupils, recently animated by His life-giving breath (Gen. 2:7). One doesn’t often think of the Garden of Eden as a classroom in which God sits as Instructor, but this week’s lesson guides us in that direction.

    Two layers of instruction emerge from the beginning of Genesis. First, Genesis permits us to walk in Adam’s and Eve’s sandals (or, rather, in the prints of their bare feet) and listen in on the master classes that God likely held on the history of Creation, the purpose and responsibilities of the human family (Gen. 1:26–28), lessons from nature, meditations on marriage (Gen. 2:18), and warnings about an enemy and the forbidden tree (Gen. 2:17). Second, we can learn from the Genesis narrative as we would from a textbook. Insights into the nature of the serpent’s temptation, consequences of distrust and disobedience, God’s character challenged and vindicated, and the provisions for salvation emerge as themes for instruction and contemplation.

    Knowing the historical foundations of any branch of academia always brings greater perspective and nuanced understanding. Just as there is no substitute for knowing Euclid’s axioms in studying geometry, understanding the initial chapters of Genesis is essential for comprehending the rest of the Bible and the full story of Redemption.

    Part II: Commentary

    Innocence Versus Cunning

    In Genesis 3, the opening description of the serpent as “shrewd,” “crafty,” and “subtil” (NET, ESV, KJV) highlights an important contrast between the snake and the adam and his ishsha, the man and his wife. The Hebrew word translated “shrewd” (‘arum) contains the same consonantal root and similar vowel sounds as the Hebrew word translated “naked” (‘arom), which is used to describe the condition of Adam and Eve in the previous verse. When reading the Hebrew aloud, this ‘arom/‘arum is spoken virtually back-to-back and alerts the reader that a word play (paronomasia) is in use. We are about to see an innocent Eve step into the arena of a seasoned, cunning deceiver. She and Adam eat the fruit, and nothing has been the same since.

    But how did the serpent do it? How was he able to leverage 26 words to cause a sinless being, completely content and cared for, to rebel against a God whose essence is pure love (1 John 4:8)? Whatever the serpent did, it was effective. By a careful dissection of the conversation between the serpent and Eve, you as the teacher can show just how shrewd Satan’s strategy was—and how effective it still is, millennia later.

    The School of Eden and the Test of Obedience

    Eden was not simply a garden; it was an education: “The system of education instituted at the beginning of the world was to be a model for man throughout all aftertime. As an illustration of its principles a model school was established in Eden, the home of our first parents. The Garden of Eden was the schoolroom, nature was the lesson book, the Creator Himself was the Instructor.”—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 20.

    But the continuance of Adam’s and Eve’s education was conditional upon their unswerving loyalty to all the precepts and commands of their divine Teacher. “So long as they remained loyal to the divine law, their capacity to know, to enjoy, and to love would continually increase. They would be constantly gaining new treasures of knowledge, discovering fresh springs of happiness, and obtaining clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the immeasurable, unfailing love of God.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 51.

    Thus, to ensure their loyalty, God would test their obedience. “Like the angels, the dwellers in Eden had been placed upon probation; their happy estate could be retained only on condition of fidelity to the Creator’s law. They could obey and live, or disobey and perish. God had made them the recipients of rich blessings; but should they disregard His will, He who spared not the angels that sinned, could not spare them; transgression would forfeit His gifts and bring upon them misery and ruin.”—Page 53.

    The final exam involved a tree and a prohibition. “In the midst of the garden, near the tree of life, stood the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This tree was especially designed of God to be the pledge of their obedience, faith, and love to Him. Of this tree the Lord commanded our first parents not to eat, neither to touch it, lest they die. He told them that they might freely eat of all the trees in the garden except one, but if they ate of that tree they should surely die.”—Ellen G. White, The Story of Redemption, p. 24.

    God did more than simply instruct Adam and Eve not to touch or taste the fruit. He sent angels to give the pair additional instruction, telling them that they would be stronger together against temptation than apart. “The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her husband while occupied in their daily labor in the garden; with him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she were alone. But absorbed in her pleasing task, she unconsciously wandered from his side. On perceiving that she was alone, she felt an apprehension of danger, but dismissed her fears, deciding that she had sufficient wisdom and strength to discern evil and to withstand it. Unmindful of the angels’ caution, she soon found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the forbidden tree.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 53, 54.

    Eve does not subordinate her curiosity to the cautionary instruction of her angel instructors, and to God, her Master Teacher. “Eve found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the fruit of the forbidden tree. She saw it was very lovely, and was reasoning with herself why God had so decidedly prohibited their eating or touching it. Now was Satan’s opportunity. He addressed her as though he was able to divine her thought: ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”—Ellen G. White, The Story of Redemption, p. 32.

    The serpent’s opening question is the wedge that will eventually erode Eve’s worldview and undermine much of what she had been taught to cherish and had held to be true. “To the tempter’s ensnaring question she replied: ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’

    “By partaking of this tree, he declared, they would attain to a more exalted sphere of existence and enter a broader field of knowledge. He himself had eaten of the forbidden fruit, and as a result had acquired the power of speech. And he insinuated that the Lord jealously desired to withhold it from them, lest they should be exalted to equality with Himself. It was because of its wonderful properties, imparting wisdom and power, that He had prohibited them from tasting or even touching it.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 54.

    This narrative showcases an education in worldviews. Eve’s worldview before the Fall was grounded in the knowledge of a Creator God who abundantly provided for His creation, motivated only by unselfish love. The forbidden tree stood as a test and a symbol that Adam and Eve, though free, were not to live autonomously apart from the God who made them. But the serpent inscribed a different picture on the impressionable and innocent Eve. Using the same data all around them, he reinterpreted the dynamics of the garden in a way that painted God as (1) maximally restrictive of that which is good, (2) threatened by those who partake of the knowledge-imparting powers of the forbidden tree, and (3) misinformed/deceptive as to the lethal consequences of the tree. One would be compelled to doubt the love of such a God. Once love is undermined, then the person questions the reliability of God’s words, and it is a short step from there to reject His authority. Adam and Eve did this, and we have all followed suit. It is the mission of Seventh-day Adventist education to reverse this initial twisting of God’s character in the minds of His creation and to replace it with the truth of who God is. Being created as God’s image bearers uniquely fits us for this task.

    Part III: Life Application

    1. The trio of shame, nakedness, and fear comprises a key motif in the temptation narrative. Nakedness and the absence of shame are the introductory descriptions of the first human pair before they succumb to temptation (Gen. 2:25). Realization of their nakedness and implied shame are the first results of disobedience (Gen. 3:7). Again, it is fear and shame that cause them to hide when they hear the voice of Adonai Elohim, the Lord God (Gen. 3:910). The Lord even inquires as to how they know they are naked (Gen. 3:11). There is no use of the Hebrew words for sin, rebellion, or iniquity in the narrative. Why do you think that is? In what ways are shame and fear fundamental to humanity? How does knowing God and His salvation address these issues?

    2. People still see the Christian God as restrictive. How often have we heard, “What’s wrong with doing” this or that? What is the most effective way to dispel this millennia-old smear on the reputation of God? One strategy is to show that God still restricts only one thing from His creation: sin. The fact that the one tree bears a thousand different fruits doesn’t mean that God restricts us from a thousand different things.

    The post Lesson 1   *September 26–October 2 Education in the Garden of Eden first appeared on Dam Mang.]]>
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    4th Quarter Lesson Update Not Available in App https://www.dammang.com/4th-quarter-lesson-update-not-available-in-app/ https://www.dammang.com/4th-quarter-lesson-update-not-available-in-app/#respond Sat, 26 Sep 2020 05:10:49 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1677 Dear Brother and Sister in Christ, 4th Q 2020  Sabbath School Lesson cannot update in Adult Sabbath School Lesson App.  But you still can use Church Hymnal, Tithe and Offering …

    The post 4th Quarter Lesson Update Not Available in App first appeared on Dam Mang.]]>
    Dear Brother and Sister in Christ,

    4th Q 2020  Sabbath School Lesson cannot update in Adult Sabbath School Lesson App.  But you still can use Church Hymnal, Tithe and Offering Reading.

    So sorry for inconvenience caused. we will try to build better App for you.

    Alternate App you can use Sabbath School by Adventech

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    Online Evangelism Initiative Draws 404 New Members in Southeast Mexico https://www.dammang.com/online-evangelism-initiative-draws-404-new-members-in-southeast-mexico/ https://www.dammang.com/online-evangelism-initiative-draws-404-new-members-in-southeast-mexico/#respond Sat, 04 Jul 2020 14:01:47 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1658 Seventh-day Adventist leaders and members in Southeast Mexico recently celebrated the culmination of their first online evangelistic campaign that drew in 404 new believers through baptism. “Covid-19 made our churches …

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    Seventh-day Adventist leaders and members in Southeast Mexico recently celebrated the culmination of their first online evangelistic campaign that drew in 404 new believers through baptism.

    “Covid-19 made our churches close, but we know the mission cannot be detained,” said Pastor Isaias Espinoza, president of the church in Southeast Mexico.  The new believers add to a total of 3,087 newly baptized members during the first half of the year.  Comparing to the 2,690 baptisms held up to June of 2019 to this year’s increase reassures leaders how the church needs to continue working together to spread the gospel, church leaders said.

    “The crisis opened our eyes, and taught us that we have a great opportunity to preach the message through digital media at a large scale in a powerful and affordable way.”

    Titled “A World With Hope,” the virtual evangelistic series was led by Special Guest Evangelist Rubén Bullón via Facebook Live and YouTube, from May 16-23, 2020. The series highlighted the promises in the Book of Revelation at a time of crisis affecting the world today.

    It took the coordinated efforts of leaders and hundreds of small groups to engage in connecting with friends and neighbors on social media networks and cell phone contacts to be part of a one-week online evangelistic series, at a time when positive Covid-19 cases were increasing and the social distancing regulations were still being enforced, organizers said.

    “There were hundreds of messages and calls that came in for special prayer requests from the Southeast region and other parts of Mexico and even outside of the country,” said Pastor Jesús Corona, evangelist for the church in Southeast and one of the organizers of the virtual campaign.  Corona said that dozens of online meetings with pastors and small group leaders were held to pray and strategize in preparation of reaching non-believers to take part in connecting and inviting to watch the online campaign. “Every contact was sent digital audio of the evening’s sermon, along with Bible study lessons to follow up.

    Pastors and lay leaders were called in to baptized many who, at the end of the series, made the decision to accept Jesus and get baptized with proper protective gear, according to Pastor Corona.

    There were so many miracles of conversion stories like the one with a young couple in the States of Quintana Roo, said Corona. Héctor Jeremías and Candy Contreras had taken Bible studies during a whole year, but for various reasons they had not been baptized yet. “They felt moved by the Holy Spirit during the week and by God’s grace that same week, a judge agreed to marry them and were soon ready to begin a new experience of faith,” said Corona.

    Top church leaders are encouraged to plan for a second online evangelistic impact if the pandemic crisis continues during the following months.

    “As a church we must continue to preach at all times and at the very moment of crisis is when individuals are more sensitive,” said Pastor Espinoza. “We must offer assurance and hope at a time when people’s heart are more receptive to accept Jesus as their Savior.”

    The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Southeast Mexico has more than 80,400 church members and operates 1,199 churches and congregations organized in 7 local conferences and missions, one hospital, an educational institute and 14 primary and secondary schools.

    To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Southeast Mexican Union, visit unionsureste.org.mx

     

    This article was originally published on the Inter-America Division’s website 

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    HAPPYHAND DONATES FIFTY THOUSAND TO SHELTER https://www.dammang.com/happyhand-donates-fifty-thousand-to-shelter/ https://www.dammang.com/happyhand-donates-fifty-thousand-to-shelter/#respond Sat, 04 Jul 2020 13:56:13 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1654 HappyHand promised NOK 30,000 to the Crisis Centre in Moss. They got NOK 50,000. Each month, the HappyHand second-hand store in Moss, Norway distributes its profits from sales to charitable …

    The post HAPPYHAND DONATES FIFTY THOUSAND TO SHELTER first appeared on Dam Mang.]]>
    HappyHand promised NOK 30,000 to the Crisis Centre in Moss. They got NOK 50,000.

    Each month, the HappyHand second-hand store in Moss, Norway distributes its profits from sales to charitable purposes at home and abroad. The shop is run by volunteers from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Moss.

    For the month of June, the profits went to the local Crisis Centre. Representatives from the centre came to receive the NOK 30,000 [EUR 2,800] which they had been promised a few weeks ago. However, just before making the presentation, store managers Carsten Jørgensen and Pia Nielsen recognised that sales had gone much better than expected so cheerfully increased the donation to a full 50,000 [EUR 4,600]. HappyHand’s accountant Øivind Berger handed over the symbolic gift card to CEO Arna Beate Hansen and Irene Lillejord.

    Front row, l. to r.: Mayor Hanne Tollerud, manager for the Crisis Center Irene Lillejord, general manager of the Crisis Center Arna Beate Hansen; and May-Brit and Carsten Jørgensen from HappyHand. The others are people working for HappyHand, who were present during the donation. [Photo: Yngvar Børresen/ADAMS].

    Hansen and Lillejord were especially grateful for the gift as they confessed that the promised NOK 30,000 had already been spent. “We have sent some families on a short holiday to Hunderfossen family parks,” they said. “There are mothers with children who have major financial challenges ahead, without the opportunity to travel a bit away to have a little fun as a family.”

    The mayor of Moss and Rygge, Hanne Tollerud, praised the work the shop was doing. “I was here at the distribution of the first monthly surplus that went to a shelter for homeless in Moss and was pleasantly surprised already at that time by what is happening here. And when I come here today, I see that this has become an oasis, with music and people, and it’s almost like a shopping centre. This is an important arena for many people.”

    The mayor praised the efforts, idealism and volunteerism of everyone who runs HappyHand, and what this means for the recipients of the profits. “You give back to both municipal enterprises and to teams and associations that make a difference in people’s lives. Could it be any better? Applause!” she said.

    The applause did not fail!

    “The next donation is slated for August and will be divided between the Adventist Church’s language school for immigrants and others who would like to learn Norwegian better, and for ADRA’s annual aid campaign,” says Pia Nielsen from HappyHand.

    HappyHand stores mix the sale of quality second-hand clothes and products with a friendly atmosphere that allows for the development of relationships with customers, who will often come just to spend time at the store, sharing a hot drink and a biscuit. The concept originated in Denmark and has since spread to other Scandinavian countries.


    tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
    119 St Peter’s Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3EY, England
    E-mail: tednews@ted.adventist.org
    Website: www.ted.adventist.org
    tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division. Readers are free to republish or share this article with appropriate credit including an active hyperlink to the original article.

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    Understanding Daniel and Revelation: An Interview with Mark Finley https://www.dammang.com/understanding-daniel-and-revelation-an-interview-with-mark-finley/ https://www.dammang.com/understanding-daniel-and-revelation-an-interview-with-mark-finley/#respond Sat, 04 Jul 2020 13:45:57 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1651 Mark Finley’s Understanding Daniel and Revelation has just been released from Pacific Press Publishing Association. Finley has conducted evangelistic meetings around the world — and on just about every continent for the …

    The post Understanding Daniel and Revelation: An Interview with Mark Finley first appeared on Dam Mang.]]>
    Mark Finley’s Understanding Daniel and Revelation has just been released from Pacific Press Publishing Association. Finley has conducted evangelistic meetings around the world — and on just about every continent for the past 50 years. He has taught and preached on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, and applied these books to everyday real life. This chapter-by-chapter commentary is written to show our day in the light of Bible prophecy. It is a sharing commentary! Recently Dale Galusha, president of Pacific Press, had the opportunity to interview Finley about this new book.

    Seventh-day Adventists have been studying and writing on the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation for many, many years. What new or needed contributions do you see this book bringing to the conversation?

    As I have shared the Christ-centered, hope-filled message of Daniel and Revelation with audiences around the world, I have witnessed lives changed by the power of the gospel embedded in these prophetic books. The uniqueness of Understanding Daniel and Revelation is that it blends a careful analysis of the last day prophecies with practical life-changing lessons in an easy to understand way so the average person can not only grasp the significance of the prophecies, but also apply the lessons they teach to their lives today.

    How has your experience as an evangelist affected the insights you bring to these two books?

    In preparing this material I had the sense of God’s nearness and special guidance. The single fact that jumped out at me more powerfully than ever before is the reality that Jesus is the center of all prophecy and the purpose of prophecy is to clearly demonstrate that He is never caught by surprise and will be victorious in the battle between good and evil.

    So often we become caught up in dates, history, and identifying symbols when we look at these books. These things are important. But are there “practical” lessons for Christian living today that we can glean from the study of Daniel and Revelation? 

    Understanding the prophetic symbols and the timeline of history is extremely important. These prophetic timelines enable us to face the future with greater confidence. But there is much more in the books of Daniel and Revelation than mystic symbols and strange beasts. These books speak of deeper faith, more earnest prayer, and stalwart courage. They reveal a Jesus who loves us so much that He would go to any length to redeem us and one who is coming again soon to take us home.

    How important are these two books for Adventists today who are looking for the soon return of Jesus?

    The books of Daniel and Revelation are at the very heart of Adventism. We are a prophetic movement. These books help to define who we are and where we are in the light of history. They reveal our origin, our purpose, our reason for existence, and our ultimate destiny. They are essential to really understand Adventist identity. One of my great concerns about the Adventist church is this sense of a loss of identity. My prayer is that this volume will help to restore that sense of prophetic identity and reaffirm that we are a movement divinely raised up by God.

    What do you see as key take-aways from the books of Daniel and Revelation?

    The key take away for me from this volume is that Jesus longs for each one of us to be in His eternal kingdom and is coming soon to take us home. My prayer is that this book will lead us to our knees to seek to be more like Jesus each day and live in the abundant grace He provides as we look forward to eternity.

    Understanding Daniel and Revelation is not just for Seventh-day Adventists to read. How can church members and pastors use this book in sharing their faith?

    I have written this volume in a way that Adventists can feel confident in sharing it with their friends that may be seeking a deeper understanding of the times we live in and looking to know from the Word of God what the future holds.

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    New Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists Is Now Online https://www.dammang.com/new-encyclopedia-of-seventh-day-adventists-is-now-online/ https://www.dammang.com/new-encyclopedia-of-seventh-day-adventists-is-now-online/#respond Thu, 02 Jul 2020 12:23:59 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1646 The new resource tells the story of Adventists as never before, project coordinators believe. By: Seventh-day Adventist Church Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research Did you know that the first …

    The post New Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists Is Now Online first appeared on Dam Mang.]]>
    The new resource tells the story of Adventists as never before, project coordinators believe.

    Did you know that the first woman authorized to practice medicine in Mexico was a Seventh-day Adventist? It was Lillis Wood Starr, who served as a missionary to Mexico.

    Did you know that the current world church system of organization was originated by Asa T. Robinson, a pioneer missionary to southern Africa and Australia? He preached his last sermon at the age of 95. Its title? “The Blessed Hope.”

    Did you know that the first patients at what is now Songa Adventist Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were treated by John Sturges and his wife, Viola, on the veranda of their thatch-roofed hut?

    Did you know that one of the first Seventh-day Adventist missionaries to Papua New Guinea was a Fijian, Peni Tavodi? He died while serving there, after a fatal snake bite.

    Or did you know that it took the first Adventist missionaries to the far west of China up to sixty days of travel each way? For the first dozen years Adventists had a presence in China, the missionaries worked only in the east of the country, relatively close to sophisticated port cities, which had connections by ship to the Western world. Arthur Allum and Merritt Warren were the first to travel deep into China, and, having set up a mission station at Chongqing, in Sichuan, in the country’s west, after six months they traveled east again. With their wives, Evaline and Wilma, they then spent several weeks journeying back to Sichuan.

    These stories and thousands more are found in the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s first online reference work, the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists (or ESDA), which launched July 1, 2020.

    What is ESDA?

    The Encyclopedia is the fruit of a five-year project (to date) of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. It launches with 2,100 articles and 3,200 photos, most of them never published before. ESDA Online is a free resource that will be regularly revised: at least another 6,000 articles will be added, along with many more photographs, plus video, audio recordings, and original documents. In addition, existing articles can be corrected and augmented. While a version will eventually appear in print, the ESDA Online, which is constantly being updated, will be both more flexible and more accurate than any printed work could ever be — and also easily available to anyone with a cell phone, unlike bulky (and expensive) multi-volume books.

    Why ESDA?

    The old Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia was published in 1966; the second revised edition appeared in 1996. The worldwide Adventist Church has experienced dramatic shifts in that time, not least in global membership. The old SDA Encyclopedia was written by a small group at the church’s headquarters in Washington DC, representatives of a church that was still largely of European descent. Furthermore, since the 1990s, Seventh-day Adventist historical scholarship has been almost transformed. Finally, numerous errors in the old SDA Encyclopedia have been identified, while many more sources have been discovered.

    The Seventh-day Adventist Church thus needs a new “go to” reference work, reflecting the astonishingly diverse and truly global church of the twenty-first century. There is also need of an online encyclopedia that allows all the possibilities of the digital age.

    One concept for such an online work was conceived in the Adventist Review office, and the current Encyclopedia has drawn on some ideas from it. Adventist scholars have produced short reference works, but they relied on the old Encyclopedia for their information, and the works were not available online.

    And so it was that, in 2014, the executive officers of the General Conference asked the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR), located in the world headquarters, to produce a replacement for the venerable SDA Encyclopedia. David Trim, director of ASTR, came up with a plan for a truly global and online encyclopedia, which the world church funded. Because it was to be an entirely new work rather than a revised edition, it was given a new title: the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists.

    It has been prepared by hundreds of researchers and authors and dozens of editors from around the world, writing on the institutions, organizations, and first church members and church leaders of their own nations and people groups. All articles have been peer reviewed, which has expanded the number of Adventist scholars, administrators, and church members who have contributed to the project.

    Trim has overseen the Encyclopedia as editor, while the role of managing editor was filled by Benjamin Baker initially, and, since 2018, by Dragoslava Santrac. According to Trim, Santrac made a key contribution by her energy and enthusiasm.

    ESDA Goals

    ESDA’s stated goals are:

    • Supply reliable and authoritative information on Adventist history, crucial events and themes, organizations, entities, institutions, and people
    • Strengthen Adventist identity in a fast-growing worldwide movement, heightening awareness of distinctive doctrinal and prophetic beliefs
    • Provide a reference work for those new to Adventist faith, mature in the faith, and not of Adventist faith, to learn about all aspects of Adventism
    • Bring out the role of denominational organization in fulfilling the church’s mission
    • Highlight the missional challenges still remaining in order to “reach the world”
    • Reflect the nature of the world church today, both in subject matter and in those who write and edit the encyclopedia

    The Future

    According to Trim, although ESDA Online launches with more than 2,000 articles, there are more than twice as many articles that still need to be written. World church funding will continue for another two years. Trim also states that many of those who’ve written articles to date found the experience faith affirming, even transforming. He appeals to Adventist scholars of all disciplines, not just history, and to any church member who is passionate about Adventist heritage, to contact the Encyclopedia office if they are willing to write or review articles. There are many more interesting, encouraging, chastening, inspiring stories from Adventist history waiting to be told.

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    Adventist Church reorganizes spending amid pandemic https://www.dammang.com/adventist-church-reorganizes-spending-amid-pandemic/ https://www.dammang.com/adventist-church-reorganizes-spending-amid-pandemic/#respond Thu, 02 Jul 2020 12:07:36 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1642 Measures to reduce expenses have been taken to optimize resources and further strengthen the mission of preaching the gospel. In its most recent report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released …

    The post Adventist Church reorganizes spending amid pandemic first appeared on Dam Mang.]]>
    Measures to reduce expenses have been taken to optimize resources and further strengthen the mission of preaching the gospel.

    In its most recent report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released projections that take into account the economic effects caused mainly by the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe. According to these data, the Fund’s estimate is a 4.9% decline in global growth in 2020.

    For 2021, the projection is for growth of 5.4%, but the Fund warns that, if there is a wave of infections next year, this number may fall by 0.5%. In Brazil, according to the IMF, Brazil’s economy is expected to shrink 9.1% this year.

    The scenario of caution and concern, some months ago, prompted immediate reactions from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America. Several measures have been adopted, for some time, to reorganize administrative expenses with a very clear purpose: to optimize resources for to follow strongly in fulfilling the mission of preaching the gospel.

    “The moment is one of gratitude to God, because the Lord is sending the means for missionary projects to remain strong, relevant and with a profound impact on the spiritual life of thousands of people”, comments Pastor Erton Köhler, president of the Adventist Church in America from the South. He further adds that “in the midst of this unfavorable social and economic scenario, the Adventist Church recounts its accounts and makes every effort to remain active, in person or in virtual form, and therefore deeply focused on the mission . ”

    Less expenses

    Pastor Marlon Lopes, chief financial officer of the South American Adventist headquarters, explains that the biggest reductions occurred on three fronts: expenses with people, administrative and with events and materials. A survey shows the comparison of these expenses, in reais, between January and May 2019 and the same period, now in 2020, at the headquarters located in Brasília.

    The figures are as follows: drop of 18.43% in personnel expenses (payments of salaries to people who work in the administrative headquarters of the Adventist organization); decrease of 31.34% in administrative expenses and 83.56% decrease in expenses with events and materials. The prospect is that, globally, the reductions will be even greater, as the trend is that these changes will reach all the administrative headquarters of the territory, as is the case of Associations, Missions, Unions and institutions.

    At the same time, data shows that, in the same period evaluated (accumulated up to May 2020 compared to the accumulated period up to May 2019), the entry of tithes grew by 1.07% and offers remained at 0, 19%.

    Simplification and automation

    A few years ago, studies to reduce expenses at Adventist administrative headquarters have been a reality. Several measures are adopted, many of them aimed at simplifying and automating processes. In practice, this reduces the need for more people and makes it possible to carry out more activities with fewer resources.

    Pastor Marlon Lopes exemplifies the data. He explains that the accounting area at the South American headquarters, in Brasilia, works with the concept of zero paper (that is, fewer impressions, with the advancement of digitalization of services and records) and centralization of some Business Intelligence (BI) systems . These BI processes help to organize data for analysis and monitoring to ensure that the information needed for decisions at all hierarchical levels is made more organized and faster.

    At the same time, department directors at Adventist Church headquarters for eight South American countries have seen budget cuts this year and next year, without compromising missionary work that takes place especially in local congregations.

    “We are re-discussing everything and projecting progress in the coming years. The Church has been working for a long time to further optimize resources in administrative areas in order to strengthen the mission of preaching the gospel of salvation. We work tirelessly and we will increase efforts in this direction, because we understand that God expects this of us and we only have reason to be grateful for everything that has happened ”, concludes the financial director.

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    Free at Last https://www.dammang.com/mn3q202013/ https://www.dammang.com/mn3q202013/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:18:20 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1638 Free at Last 13th SABBATH: GUINEA | Sept. 26 Maria, 29 Mother took matters into her own hands after failing to convince her daughter Maria to renounce Christ. Mother slipped …

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    Free at Last

    13th SABBATH: GUINEA | Sept. 26

    Maria, 29

    Mother took matters into her own hands after failing to convince her daughter Maria to renounce Christ.

    Mother slipped a sleeping pill into Maria’s drink at a restaurant. With the help of Maria’s younger sister, she carried her unconscious daughter to the car and drove her to their home village in Guinea. Maria’s 5-year-old son, Mark, came along.

    Mother was a wealthy business owner, and the family compound in the village contained a multistory mansion, a luxurious guesthouse, and several other buildings. A high fence surrounded the property, and a watchman kept a close eye on the gate. Maria was locked in a bedroom.

    Mother had a nefarious plan. She had hired a Nigerian witchdoctor to change Maria’s mind about Jesus.

    “I will never deny Jesus, even if you kill me,” Maria said when she saw the witchdoctor. “I will worship Jesus, even if I don’t go to church. Jesus is everywhere.” The witchdoctor smiled grimly.

    “Your mother told me that she has tried and failed to kill you many times,” he said. “But let me tell you that I have something more powerful than your Jesus.”

    He mixed a strange powder with water and forced Maria to drink. Later he rubbed a strange lotion on her body. “Deny Jesus or die,” he said.

    Maria refused.

    “I will never deny Jesus,” she said.

    Mother helped the witchdoctor with his work. One day, she applied a strange powder to Maria’s face. Sores broke out on Maria’s skin and, the next day, she was bleeding everywhere.

    Maria’s son, Mark, didn’t understand what was happening to his mother. When he saw his mother’s sore-covered face, he wept. But he remembered praying with his mother every night before bed. He begged Maria’s younger sister, Hadja, to pray with him. Hadja agreed but first made sure Mother was nowhere nearby.

    “Jesus, please save Mommy,” Mark prayed. “Help her to get well.” Seven months passed.

    Maria grew so weak that she could barely move. Her flesh smelled like it was rotting. Hadja was afraid and called one of Maria’s Adventist friends.

    “Maria is dying,” she said. “Please pray.” The friend asked to speak with Maria, but Hadja explained that her sister was too weak. She snapped a photo of Maria on her cell phone. The Adventist friend wept when he received it.

    “I see that your mother wants to kill her,” he said. “I’ll ask all of the church members to pray.”

    Church members across Guinea prayed for Maria. After a few days, the Adventist friend called Hadja.

    “I know it would be difficult for Maria to travel, but can you help her escape?” he said. “I will send money.”

    Hadja promised to try. The Adventist friend contacted Jacob Gbale, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guinea, who sent money for the car fare to Conakry, the capital.

    Hadja saw her chance on a Friday morning while Mother was away on business. The witchdoctor left the house on an errand, and Hadja sent the watchman out to buy something at the store. Opening the gate of the compound, she hailed a passing car and paid the driver to take Maria and Mark to the church headquarters in Conakry.

    As Maria and Mark traveled, a small commotion erupted at the church’s headquarters. The church watchman spotted a green, yellow, and brown snake in a mango tree by the front gate and called for help. But when other men arrived, the snake was nowhere to be found.

    Later that day, Maria and her son arrived and were taken to a guest bedroom. The exhausted mother slept.

    The next morning, on Sabbath, church elders anointed Maria and prayed for her at the church located on the compound. As they prayed, Maria fell to the floor unconscious. When she regained consciousness, she was confused, and her body ached. Michel Guilavogui, the executive secretary and treasurer of the Adventist Church in Guinea, carried her back to the guest room to rest.

    As she slept, a green, yellow, and brown snake slithered to her window and entered a hole in the wall, trying to find a way into the room. It was the snake from the mango tree. A church member noticed the three-foot (one-meter) snake and called for help.

    A crowd gathered outside the window, trying to coax the snake out of the hole. Someone made a makeshift torch by placing a plastic bag doused in gasoline on the end of a wooden stick and lighting it. When he thrust the fiery stick into the hole, the snake leaped out and tumbled, writhing, to the ground. Michel jumped on the snake, crushing its head instantly.

    Hours later, Maria’s cell phone rang with a call from an unknown number. She was afraid to answer, but the person kept calling back.

    “If they keep calling you, it must be important,” a church friend said. “Answer it.”

    The caller was Maria’s younger sister, Hadja. “I just wanted to tell you that you have time to get well,” she said. “I know that you will get well now.”

    “Why do you say that?” Maria asked. “Listen,” Hadja said. “Can you hear the sound of the ambulance?”

    “Ambulance? What happened?” Maria said. “Did something happen to Mother?”

    “No, not to Mother,” Hadja said. “The witchdoctor from Nigeria. He fell from the second floor of our house. He struck the ground headfirst and died instantly. His skull was crushed.”

    The next day, Maria’s sores began to disappear.

    Maria has given up everything for Jesus — a luxurious home and successful shop, two cars, and a comfortable life. Mother still wants to kill her, so she and Mark are in hiding. But her love for Jesus is strong. She is praying about becoming a missionary to her people.

    “I dream about seeing my people become Christian,” she said. “I want to talk to them about Jesus. I cannot keep this truth to myself. I must share the good news with my people.” 

    The Seventh-day Adventist Church faces enormous challenges in spreading the gospel in Guinea and other parts of the West-Central Africa Division. You can help people like Maria and Mark by giving to the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today. Part of the money will be used to construct Kobaya Academy, a K–12 school in Conakry, Guinea, where Maria would like Mark to study one day. Your offering will also help build a school in Liberia and a medical center in Nigeria. Thank you for remembering Maria, Mark, and the Adventist work in the West-Central Africa Division in your prayers.

    By Andrew McChesney

    Story Tips

     The narrator doesn’t need to memorize the story, but he or she should be familiar enough with the material so as not to have to read it.

     Adventist Mission is not identifying Maria by her real name to protect her safety. The photo shows her son, Mark. Hadja is a pseudonym.

     Pronounce Hadja as: ha-JA

     Pronounce Gbale as: g-ball-EE.

     Read more about Maria last week.

     Download photos on Facebook (bit.ly/fb-mq) or ADAMS databank (bit.ly/maria-in-guinea).

     Download photos of Thirteenth Sabbath projects: bit.ly/WAD-2020.

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    Murderous Mother https://www.dammang.com/mn3q202012/ https://www.dammang.com/mn3q202012/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:15:07 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1635 Murderous Mother GUINEA | September 19 Maria, 29 Mother was furious when she learned from cousin Hamadou that her daughter Maria had a Bible. Mother had raised Maria in a …

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    Murderous Mother

    GUINEA | September 19

    Maria, 29

    Mother was furious when she learned from cousin Hamadou that her daughter Maria had a Bible.

    Mother had raised Maria in a nonChristian world religion in the West African country of Guinea, and she didn’t want her to become a Christian. Mother marched over to Maria’s house in Conakry.

    “Where is your Bible?” she demanded.

    “It’s in my bedroom,” Maria said.

    Mother stormed into the bedroom. She searched everywhere but couldn’t find it. “I didn’t see the Bible anywhere,” she said.

    Maria looked into the bedroom. The Bible lay in plain sight on a table.

    The next Sabbath, Maria went to the Seventh-day Adventist church for a second visit. As a result, she skipped work at the big store that she owned. Mother didn’t understand why she hadn’t worked.

    “Where were you?” she asked.

    “I was in church,” Maria replied.

    Mother looked upset. Maria didn’t know that her family’s religion opposed Christianity and even taught that it was praiseworthy to kill a family member who became a Christian.

    “Mother, I am happy to work during the week, but I can’t work on Saturdays anymore,” she said.

    From that day, Mother began to beat her. “I would rather see you dead than to see you dishonor us,” she said.

    When the beatings didn’t change Maria’s mind, Mother blocked her bank account. Maria, who was used to living a luxurious lifestyle, expressed confusion when she lost access to her funds. Mother blamed the problem on the Adventists.

    “Those Christians have somehow managed to steal your money,” she said. Maria wasn’t dissuaded from her convictions.

    “I have learned that when you have problems you should pray and give them to Jesus,” she said.

    The beatings continued. Then Mother called Maria’s husband, a polygamist who lived with his other wife in Germany. After the phone call, he gave Maria an ultimatum. “Choose between me and your God, Jesus,” he said.

    “Let me ask you a question,” Maria said. “Can you forsake your God because of me?” “No way,” he said.

    “Then why do you ask me to choose between you and my God, Jesus?” she said. After that, he refused to answer the phone when Maria called.

    When Mother saw Maria still clung to her faith, she announced drastic steps.

    “My daughter, since you don’t listen to me, I have to kill you,” she said.

    A few days later, she came over to Maria’s house and prepared a favorite stew. Unknown to Maria, the stew contained a deadly poison. When the stew was ready, Mother asked Maria to carry the pot to the table. Maria was hungry but she wanted to take a bath first. She promised to eat afterward, and Mother left.

    As Maria bathed, a cat came out of nowhere and jumped onto the table, knocking the pot to the floor. Maria didn’t own a cat. That night, Mother called to inquire how Maria felt.

    “I’m doing well, very well,” Maria said. Mother’s astonishment was evident over the phone.

    A few days later, cousin Hamadou poured the poison into Maria’s bottle of drinking water. After drinking, Maria bent over with a severe stomachache.

    Hamadou saw her agony and told her what he had done.

    “I’m so sorry,” he said. “The witchdoctor asked me to put medicine into your drinking water to purify your body.”

    Immediately Maria called Jacob Gbale, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guinea, to pray for her. He came to her house and gave her five charcoal pills. Thirty minutes later, she vomited.

    The witchdoctor called that evening to find out whether Maria was dead. He was shocked to hear her answer the phone.

    Mother enlisted another cousin to help. He arrived at Maria’s house with two friends and a poison-filled syringe. After sending the housemaid on an errand, he injected Maria in the left arm and fled.

    The housemaid didn’t go far beyond the house before remembering that she had forgotten her cell phone. She found Maria unconscious on the floor with the syringe lying nearby. Knowing that Maria and Pastor Jacob were friends, and she called him for help. The pastor and two church elders brought Maria to church headquarters and prayed for her. Maria vomited and recovered.

    Maria has no doubt that Jesus protects His children.

    “He can solve a crisis because He knows crises before they happen,” she said. “Psalm 68:20 says, ‘Our God is a God who saves, from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.’” 

    Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct Kobaya Academy, a K–12 school in Conakry, Guinea.

    By Andrew McChesney

    Story Tips

     Adventist Mission is not identifying Maria by her real name to protect her safety. The photo shows her with Jacob Gbale, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Guinea. Hamadou is a pseudonym.

     Pronounce Hamadou as: hama-DOO.

     Pronounce Gbale as: g-ball-EE.

     Read more about Maria next week and last week.

     Download photos on Facebook (bit.ly/fb-mq) or ADAMS databank (bit.ly/maria-in-guinea).

     Download photos of Thirteenth Sabbath projects: bit.ly/WAD-2020.

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    Illiterate but Able to Read https://www.dammang.com/mn3q202011/ https://www.dammang.com/mn3q202011/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:12:48 +0000 https://www.dammang.com/?p=1632 Illiterate but Able to Read GUINEA | September 12 Maria, 29 Maria wasn’t a Christian, but she kept dreaming about Jesus. She sacrificed a cow in hope that the dreams …

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    Illiterate but Able to Read

    GUINEA | September 12

    Maria, 29

    Maria wasn’t a Christian, but she kept dreaming about Jesus. She sacrificed a cow in hope that the dreams would end, but she was still disturbed every night for a week.

    Then a stranger directed her to the office of Jacob Gbale, president of the Seventhday Adventist Church in Guinea. He worked just up the street from her luxurious house in Conakry, capital of Guinea.

    As Maria described her dreams, Pastor Jacob began to smile.

    “Glory be to God!” he exclaimed.

    Maria was shocked. She couldn’t understand why he was so happy.

    “You don’t need to make any more sacrifices,” Pastor Jacob said, lifting up Bible from his desk. “God is calling you.”

    “I think your God has made a mistake,” Maria said. “I have always belonged to my family’s religion.”

    Jacob held out the Bible.

    “This is your Bible,” he said.

    “What would I do with that Bible?” Maria said. “I don’t even know how to read.”

    Pastor Jacob asked whether anyone in her family was literate, and she conceded that she had a cousin who could read.

    Jacob wrote Maria’s name inside the Bible.

    “Take your Bible and go,” he said. Maria was annoyed with Pastor Jacob, and she left without even saying goodbye. “Who do these people think they are?” she thought as she walked home. “They tell me to read the Bible as if I don’t know God.”

    At home, Mary placed the Bible in a drawer and closed it. She wanted to relax. Turning on the television to her favorite channel, she saw a program about Jesus. Click! She changed the channel. The next channel also had a program about Jesus. Click! Another program about Jesus.

    Maria called her satellite television provider. “What is wrong with your channels?” she demanded. “Every channel is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

    The male voice sounded puzzled.

    “Everything is in order,” he said.

    “No, it’s not that!” Maria shouted. “Come here and fix my TV.”

    A short time later, a man arrived and flipped through the channels. Everything worked normally. Maria was speechless.

    Maria went to bed, but she couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus. Then she remembered the Bible. The only way to stop thinking about Jesus would be to read it, she decided.

    In the morning, she asked her cousin to come over. “What is this?” she said, holding out the Bible. “Tell me.”

    Her cousin, Hamadou, had studied at a Christian school in Sierra Leone, and he recognized the Bible. “Who gave you that Bible?” he said.

    “I received it from a pastor,” Maria said. “What do you want to do with it?” he said. “You don’t know how to read.”

    “Look, you went to school,” she said.

    “I want you to help me read this Bible. Teach me how to read.”

    Hamadou opened the Bible.

    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,” he read. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

    He read until he reached the end of the Lord’s Prayer. “Are you happy?” he asked. Maria asked him to underline the verses. Hamadou laughed. He laughed so hard that he cried.

    “You never went to school!” he sputtered. “How can you read?” Yet he underlined the passage. Then he made Maria repeat it a dozen times so she would remember it.

    That evening, Maria picked up the Bible and found the Lord’s Prayer. Even though she had never learned to read, she found that she was able to read it. She turned the page and, to her surprise, realized that she could read other verses as well.

    The next day, Maria couldn’t wait to talk to Hamadou.

    “You laughed at me yesterday, so let me show you that I can read,” she said. “No way,” he said. “Not even in your dreams can you read.”

    Maria opened the Bible to a random page and read. Hamadou looked startled and then afraid.

    “How did you do that?” he asked. “My cousin, that is human intelligence,” Maria said with a smile. “If you really believe that you are able to do something, you can do it.”

    From that moment, Maria read the Bible every day. She later realized that it was Jesus who had given her the ability to read the Bible, and she gave her heart to Him. 

    The Seventh-day Adventist Church faces enormous challenges in spreading the gospel in Guinea, where only 7 percent of the population is Christian and many people are hostile to Christianity. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help construct Kobaya Academy, a K–12 school in Conakry, Guinea, where the love of Jesus can be taught to many children from nonChristian homes.

    By Andrew McChesney

    Story Tips

     Adventist Mission is not identifying Maria by her real name to protect her safety. The photo shows her hands. Hamadou is a pseudonym.

     Pronounce Hamadou as: hama-DOO.

     Pronounce Gbale as: g-ball-EE.

     Read more about Maria next week and last week.

     Download photos on Facebook (bit.ly/fb-mq) or ADAMS databank (bit.ly/maria-in-guinea).

     Download photos of Thirteenth Sabbath projects: bit.ly/WAD-2020.

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