ACS at Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee

Adventist Community Services Disaster Response was engaged in the International Pathfinder Camporee that was held August 12-17 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. ACS personnel from the Texas, Arkansas-Louisiana, and Greater New York conferences offered tremendous help in ensuring that we offered two Pathfinder Honors to hundreds of our young people who visited our stations. Several attendees were appreciative of the opportunity to not only obtain a Pathfinder Honor, but to also be able to serve their community in the future with the skills and knowledge provided. The focus was based around Preparedness and Recovery efforts, both areas ACS DR are involved in throughout the year.

Pathfinder clubs from around the world stopped by and took advantage of our stations. Texas and Arkansas-Louisiana conferences led our efforts in educating and preparing individuals for tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. The children appeared engrossed as they sat and listened to Lavida Whitson and Beverly Wynot who stressed the importance of ensuring readiness before a crisis. Marshall and Julie Gonzales took each participant through the actual hands-on work that goes into filling flood buckets with supplies. The young people showed an excitement that seemed to resonate throughout Area 51, where we were located.

The positive vibe continued as groups were then whisked away to our Rebuild station led by Walter Harris of Greater New York Conference. Here they were informed about what happens during some of the events we generally respond to. Moreover, they were able to work on a makeshift home, preparing drywall replacement in a room... the very work we participated in during several hurricane Recovery efforts in the past few years. Tools and equipment were used by the youth and they thoroughly seemed to enjoy the real work they actually got to assist. "Some of them spoke of wanting to do more, and our hope is we’ve created a desire that we’ll be able to provide opportunity in the future," stated W. Derrick Lea, NAD ACS DR director.

In addition to the sheer enjoyment that seemed to permeate the activities, by the end of the week not only had we ensured hundreds of young people visiting our stations, we were able to prepare 5,000 flood buckets that were then transported around the NAD. These complete buckets will now be housed until needed for the next disaster.

Click here to view photos from this event.

ACS Responds to Mass Shooting - El Paso and Dayton

Update - August 8, 2019

The Family Assistance Center in El Paso has been serving those affected by the shooting. Yesterday, the Center helped over 200 people. The city officials informed the leadership within the Disaster Response community that they would be taking over the operation. Though this did not affect our work on the ground much, another event took place that had a very definite impact on the operation. President Trump had decided to visit both Dayton and El Paso today.  However, several residents were against this visit and a protest was set up at the Walmart where the shooting took place in Texas. Many of those that were expected to visit the Center decided to go and voice their opinions at the protest. Hence, today’s numbers were around 50. The team was not deterred in the least, and our Emotional and Spiritual Care Providers gave assistance to those that did visit the facility.  

Our Disaster Response Team met with the Mexican Consulate this morning to ascertain how we might be of more help to the Latino population at large that live both Stateside and across the border. It is believed that some of those injured may not be coming for help because of their legal status. Regardless of this situation, our team members were ready to help all those who were in need of our services and this point was stressed repeatedly. Our current team will be in place for the remainder of this week. We have planned a second team to be used starting Sunday who will continue to render care to those affected. Our Care Providers have been observed and well-appreciated by those receiving services, as well as members of the Disaster Response Community. 


Derrick Lea, Director of Adventist Community Services Disaster Response, met with American Red Cross and Emergency Management contacts overseeing the Family Assistance Center for families affected by the horrific shootings in El Paso, Texas. A team of ACS bi-lingual Emotional & Spiritual Care providers were approved and vetted to assist and support the individuals and families experiencing great trauma. In addition, Andrew Mobley, Adventist Community Services Director of Allegheny West Conference has reached out to the local leadership in Dayton, Ohio and has a team on stand-by. Read more here!

Please pray for the ACS teams as well as the families that are suffering due to this tragedy.

Passing of Gordon Botting

With a heavy heart, we regret to announce that Gordon Botting, retired Northern California Conference Adventist Community Services Director, passed away on Thursday night, July 11. Besides ACS, he also served as Director of Health and Stewardship for the conference. He was very passionate about all three ministries as they enabled church members to reach out to their communities. At the time of his death, he was serving as the Stewardship Director for the Pacific Union Conference.

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“I am so saddened to hear this news. I did ask him about his health two weeks ago when we talked, and he gave a simple response that God was good,” said W. Derrick Lea, Disaster Response Director of NAD ACS. Both Gordon and his wife were always so friendly and welcoming. Derrick added, “I stayed with them in their home a few times and they were such a loving couple… I am so sorry to hear this and makes my desire even more for Christ’s return.”

Gordon is survived by his wife Margaret, his daughter Angela Graf (and husband Ricardo), his son Tim (and wife Dusty), and five grandchildren.

On behalf of ACS, we extend our deepest condolences to the Botting family. We are truly grateful for Gordon’s dedication and remarkable service to ACS, and are appreciative of all he has done to serve his community.

A memorial service is being planned. Details will be shared on the Northern California Conference website, when it’s available.

Adventists Support Families at the Border

In light of influx of immigrants at the Border, Adventist Community Services is finding ways to support families experiencing the Border Crisis in California and Texas. As was reported by the Los Angeles Times, a way that a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Blythe, California (part of the Southeastern California Conference), has addressed community needs is by setting up a shelter at their church. The church, which started helping the homeless in 2018, has been doing this for several months, and local Adventist Community Services Disaster Response (ACS DR) leaders have requested assistance. Click here to read full article.

ACS DR Efforts Around the Division

Our ACS teams around the Division continue to assist their local communities in response to the recent disasters that have occurred in the past few weeks. Allegheny West ACS Director Andrew Mobley, is working alongside the Ohio Conference, Kettering Medical, and other faith-based groups as they serve the residents of tornado-struck Dayton. Kettering Medical has fed over 3,500 meals to those in the affected ares.

The Multi-Agency Warehouse in Jefferson City, Missouri, has been serving the needs of the communities affected by the tornadoes and flooding. The Mid-America Union Conference is seeking additional support from within the Union, and ACS Director Roger Wade is working with his team to offer support. The Lt. Governor visited the Warehouse and thanked them for their dedicated efforts. 

The Southwestern Union is also working hard to support a local community in Arkansas that was hit by severe flooding. Our ACS Directors Marshall and Julie Gonzales have made deliveries of food, clothing, and flood buckets to the State, and are aiding Lavida Whitson and her team as they serve those currently housed in shelters. The city of Baton Rouge in Louisiana was also hit by a tornado recently. Marshall is currently monitoring the situation, and is in talks with the State on how we can be of support to them in their Recovery. 

Let us remember those who have been affected by these disasters in our prayers.