A predominantly refugee church in southern Italy emphasized the World Refugee Day during their June 17 Sabbath morning worship service. The service which included refugee stories, a concert, reports, and interviews were live streamed. The church which is located in Castel Volturno, a town 21 miles northwest of Naples, has opened its doors to welcome migrants that are coming in mostly from Libya. Some were already Adventists before they arrived, some found faith on their journey, and some were introduced to the Adventist faith after getting in touch with the church. Read first-hand stories about refugees and the trials they endured in their homeland, the struggles they encountered during their journey, and the challenges they continue to face in their new home, Italy.
A 24-story apartment complex in London got caught on fire early Tuesday morning, June 13. Several charity organizations and agencies were seen on the ground providing immediate assistance to those who were affected by this unforeseen tragedy, one of them being the South England Conference Community Services Department. The staff helped out on the scene by distributing food and clothes. ADRA UK has also been involved by providing the funds for much-needed supplies.
Read more information here on the work that Adventist organizations are doing to provide relief to the victims and their families.
1- Write a message of encouragement for your refugee neighbors. Go to the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AMRARIM/ which was created between two NAD identities, Adventist Muslim Relations and Adventist Refugees and Immigrants Ministries, so that you could have a positive voice, and share ideas. Share this page with others and help us spread the word.
2- Pastors and church leaders, visit your local mosque, or Islamic center. Introduce yourself, let them know that you are an Adventist leader who has a distinct calling to reach out to anyone with a message of hope and wholeness. Ask how things are affecting the Muslim community, offer a prayer and ask for any way in which it will be possible to bring a better interfaith understanding, and foster stronger ties between neighbors.
3- Hospitality meals - This can be done in an individual level, or can be a collective initiative. Your church may choose to offer a hospitality meal for the local mosque. The kids could prepare a banner saying, “we love our neighbors” and sign it, and let them know that our food is clean, so they can freely come to our tables. That we want to bless them, and get to know one another.
ORGANIZATIONS THAT WORK WITH REFUGEES:
The Emergency Management in Spokane County had requested ACS to cover water distribution on Sunday, June 4, while the military was on a special training mission. They asked Latter Day Saints Church to cover on Sabbath as they did not want to disrupt our worship day.
Duane Kraft, an 82-year-old gentleman from the Spokane Valley SDA Church, was one of the volunteers who dedicated their time and services on that day. "I was in church yesterday and they said they needed help and I thought I'd come," Kraft said. One of the youngest volunteers found on the scene was 16-year-old Philip Keer, who also decided to come out and help rather than spending time at home.
Leonard Westermeyer from Upper Columbia ACS is the Volunteer Coordinator who is in charge of the water distribution for Spokane County. Patty Marsh, UCC ACS Director, is extremely appreciative of Westermeyer’s strong leadership skills.
Watch this video clip to get a glimpse of the work that ACS is doing.
The Urban Mission and Ministry Congress (UMMC) will be held on September 6-8, 2018 at Andrews University. It is planned and implemented by the SDA Theological Seminary (SDATS) of Andrews University (AU), with significant participation of the North American Division Evangelism Institute (NADEI) and with the North American Division of the SDA Church (NAD) and the General Conference of SDA. The NAD invests participation through us, Adventist Community Services, and Ministerial departments.
The mission of the UMMC is to transform, empower, and equip individuals to provide outstanding leadership for the Gospel in urban ministry. The rapidly expanding urban population creates a mandate to care for people in cities, serve them, and share the Gospel with them. The need for building capacity to develop others for ministry in urban contexts is urgent! Hence, the purpose of this event is to provide individuals an interdisciplinary congress that shapes the church’s understanding of urban community and promotes Christ’s method of reaching people across cultures.
Logo Contest Details:
One of the first steps to branding this event is to come up with a logo design. Therefore, we have activated a logo design contest to generate interest and seek for innovative and creative artwork for this event.
All are welcome to participate! The call for submissions is NOW OPEN, and entries will be accepted until June 14, 2017.
The winner will receive a prize money of $250, as well as the prestige of having their logo represent the Urban Mission and Ministry Congress.
So don’t pass up this opportunity, and get your creative designs in soon!
One family that sought the assistance of Adventist Community Services in the aftermath of the devastating floods were David and Wendy Kratz, who lived in the town of Pocahontas. They came to our local Distribution Center and expressed gratitude for all the help we could provide. David told the DR team his story of how he and his wife were addicted to Meth about ten years ago, but have fully recovered and are now raising their3-year-old daughter. Through this crisis, they were able to get in contact with the Seventh-day Adventist by meeting a group of people who he stated "live out their religion." His wife added that the support was very much appreciated and they never realized how great the Adventist people were until now. David invited the ACS volunteers who were assisting in the area to visit on Labor Day as they grilled in his backyard. His kindness was greatly appreciated!
Another resident of the local community rushed up to some of the team members with a couple of Bibles in her hand. She explained that they had enough for each person in the house and she knew many would be stopping by our location, and perhaps we’d be willing to allow them to take one with them. As she was leaving, she asked if she could post our location to her Facebook and twitter page so others affected by the floods could stop by and receive the needed items.
The Bayfills also truly appreciated the services ACS DR was providing. Gary and Shella Bayfill, whose home was flooded by the devastating floods, left the house within hours of being evacuated. This family had nowhere to go and only had what they could fit into their vehicle. Both were recently baptized into the Pocahontas SDA Church. Calls went out from the local ACS team to support this local community with tangible resources, which included the Bayfills. When the team heard the family didn’t have anywhere to stay, the doors of the church were opened and the church basement was turned into a shelter. Shella could not stop expressing how blessed she was by the local SDA Church. She stated “no one knows what we go through when you experience something like this.” She went on to say how extremely grateful she was that the church stepped up, and believes that Jesus is strengthening her through them.
The State of Arkansas has been heavily impacted by the recent Missouri floods. The waters from Missouri have flowed into Arkansas, resulting in substantial flooding. For days the rain continued filling the Black River, causing levees in several communities to overflow and break. The effects of these events had devastating consequences on the towns of Georgetown, Pocahontas, DesArc, and Bescoe. The Arkansas/Louisiana ACS DR Coordinator, Lavida Whitson, is leading out a team in the operation of small Warehouses that are currently distributing needed items to the local communities.
ACS is partnering with various faith-based organizations such as the Red Cross, LDS, and others that had donated goods to us for previous disasters sitting at a Warehouse ready for use. The International Paper Company donated 1000 boxes to be used for distribution. Payron Elementary, a local public school in Clarksville, also set up a collection center for bleach. By the end of their call they had secured about 200 bottles of bleach which were distributed, along with food and other household supplies.
On Memorial Day, there were approximately 15 volunteers who took their holiday to serve their community. They not only distributed supplies, but also spoke with many survivors that were uncertain about how they would manage through the next day. ACS DR provided some resources, and in areas where we couldn’t help we tried to connect them with other organizations that might offer the assistance needed. "The one thing you quickly realize when working on a Disaster is how many it takes to truly have an impact on a community affected by Disaster. It’s encouraging to see we have such competent, dedicated people working in every community within the Division," said W. Derrick Lea, NAD ACS DR Director.
Reports indicate that the tornado which hit the Cameron/Chetek area was rated a F2, meaning they sustained winds going up to 122-150 mph. There were 38 homes destroyed and around 20 damaged. East of Clear Lake, nearly 30 miles West from the epicenter of the storm, was severely affected. One homeowner had a lot of tin strewn in his pasture and on his fields. Another one had a large metal shed which had its roof blown off, leaving all the tin in the woods about 1/4 mile hanging from the trees. The raging storm brought down trees as well. A clean up crew was organized to assist in this area.
This past weekend, volunteers gathered in the Cameron/Chetek area to help out on the fields by picking up debris left from the storm. Even though there was steady rain on Saturday, over 700 volunteers responded to the call. On Sunday, some volunteers provided help to a church member and her son who were impacted by the storm significantly. They witnessed several downed trees and so much brush, along with a broken down fence in the horse pasture. They did a lot of chainsawing and piled up tree limbs which were hauled away by a tractor.
There were other volunteers that assisted at the Multi Agency Resource Center by supplying food and water to the affected community. Some of the donations that were set up for the survivors were used to get the items they needed. In addition to providing for the survivors, they also helped supply meals to the volunteers working on the scene, along with Salvation Army. The volunteers also offered emotional support to the survivors by hugging them and listening to them.
"I want to thank our certified chain saw operators for responding to the need and working very well taking the job at hand very seriously. Your work is very much appreciated. I especially want to thank our local ACS leaders. You have done an outstanding job and with out you we would not have accomplished what we did," said Alice Garrett, ACS Wisconsin Director.
The Greater Spokane Emergency Management is looking for volunteers to assist with distributing drinking water to residents in Airway Heights, Washington State from May 17 - 20. Leonard Westermeyer from Upper Columbia ACS will be heading up this distribution of water for Spokane County. Several wells have been contaminated by flood waters in the past few weeks. The floods carried foam used to fight fires from the military base into the water supply.
Where: 12825 W Sunset Hwy, Airway Heights, WA 99001 (Behind the Yoke’s Grocery Store)
When: Between the hours of
--- 7:00 am -11:00 am
--- 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
--- 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Duration: 4-6 volunteers are needed per hour.
Report to: Leonard Westermeyer 509.941.6125 for instructions.
Scheduling contact: Cindy Thompson, Chair of COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster).
- Please call Cindy at 509-280-3057 in advance in order to ensure they have adequate volunteer coverage.
- Notify them if you have access to any other volunteer groups that could assist.
Check out a video here on ACS involvement in supplying clean water to the affected community.
A tornado hit the State of Wisconsin on late Tuesday afternoon, May 16. The tornado swept through the Cameron/Chetek area destroying a mobile home park and also a nearby turkey farm. The disaster left 25 injured and one fatality; and several mobile homes completely wiped out. Currently, the first responders are doing what needs to be done. There are reports of several tornado touchdowns around the affected area, so there may be other regions also that will need assistance with the Recovery efforts. Wisconsin ACS Director, Alice Garrett, will be in contact with local authorities and WI VOAD to assess the needs of the communities. Please let us remember all those who have been affected by this tornado and also other disasters in the past few weeks.