Adventist News in Brief
A roundup of church news from Bulgaria, the U.S., Madagascar, Argentina, and Afghanistan.
, news editor, Adventist Review
Madagascar: ADRA, USAID Team Up
ADRA, the Adventist relief agency, is partnering with the U.S. government's USAID in a $75 million initiative to improve health and nutrition in Madagascar.
The five-year program titled Asotry—which means “harvest” in the local Malagasy language—will directly benefit 264,380 men, women and children, ADRA said.
Tackling high rates of malnutrition and growth stunting in children under 5, ADRA will work to deliver education and promotion regarding maternal health, breastfeeding, caring for common illnesses, sanitation and hygiene.
Additionally, farmers will receive technical assistance to sustainably increase crop yields and sales of products. Farmer Field Schools will introduce farmers to agricultural innovations, including drought-resistant seeds, soil management techniques and pest control.
This partnership with USAID follows a long list of successful ADRA projects in Madagascar, many of which were implemented with the help of USAID, said Imad Madanat, ADRA International’s vice president of programs.
“We value our partnership with USAID,” Madanat said. “It has enabled us to deliver high impact interventions and foster positive change around the world.”
Bulgaria: 50 Requests for Baptism
Two simultaneous evangelistic series held in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, have resulted in more than 50 requests for baptism.
The meetings—one in downtown Sofia and the other in the city’s Roma district—were conducted on Sept. 28-Oct. 11 under the world church’s Mission to the Cities initiative to share Jesus in the world’s largest cities.
Vadim Butov, a Russian-Australian national and senior pastor at the Avondale Church in Australia, spoke to about 430 people nightly, 140 of whom got Bibles as gifts after eight visits. Attendees also received free massage, blood pressure tests, tea and cookies, and sharing books.
At the end of the series, 50 people enrolled for Bible studies, and 36 are preparing for baptism.
As Butov preached, Craig Young, head elder at the Avondale Church, spoke to a crowd of 80 to 130 people nightly in a tent in the Roma district. A tent was used because no suitably large hall could be found. Ninety-six attendees received a Bible for coming for eight nights in a row, and 19 requested baptism.
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: A teaser video of the "Peace on Earth" Christmas program being produced by Voice of Prophecy for ABC television.
U.S.: Adventists on ABC TV
Teams from U.S. television network ABC and the Voice of Prophecy descended on the Spencerville Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, on a recent evening to record a special Christmas program that will be broadcast across the United States on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.
The television program, directed and produced by the Voice of Prophecy, an Adventist media ministry, has the theme “Peace on Earth” and features a message by Voice of Prophecy speaker and director Shawn Boonstra, the North American Division said.
“The gift of peace is the very best gift that we can share with our friends and family this year,” the division said in a statement.
Music is performed by the King's Heralds Quartet; international vocalist Christine Wollmann, and Spencerville Adventist Academy's Adventist Children's Choir under the direction of Jane Lanning.
Broadcast times for the annual Christmas program are to be listed on ABC television’s website in November.
Argentina: ‘Healthy University’ Awarded
River Plate Adventist University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Entre Ríos, Argentina, has been awarded a state certification as the country’s first “healthy university.”
The award recognizes the efforts of the university’s health-care graduates to encourage healthy lifestyles in the region and beyond.
“This is a very important moment being the first university in the country to be awarded this recognition,” Hugo Cettour, the top health official for the Province of Entre Ríos, said at a ceremony on Oct. 16.
He added: “What we are about to do here is just a symbol because we know that the work you accomplish in this school is well beyond any formality.”
University leaders said a landmark had been reached in the school’s 116-year-old history but also spoke of greater responsibility.
“This new status provides us with a higher benchmark that we will strive to keep,” said academic vice president Víctor Armenteros.
U.S.: $10 Million Hospital Deal
Adventist Health/Central Valley Network is teaming up with another nonprofit organization to open a $10 million medical plaza in Fowler, California.
The 50-50 partnership combines Children’s Hospital Central California’s expertise in pediatric care with Adventist Health’s expertise in rural and adult health care to benefit the region’s families by improving access to high-quality care, the two organizations said in a statement.
“We’re very grateful for this partnership to benefit our families,” said Wayne Ferch, president and CEO of Adventist Health/Central Valley Network. “It will also support the growth of our Selma and Reedley hospitals.”
The network operates medical centers in Hanford, Selma, and Reedley in addition to 31 Community Care clinics in 21 towns and other services.
“Children are healthier when they have easy access to their care providers,” added Todd Suntrapak, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Central California, one of the largest children’s hospitals in the U.S., with 356 licensed beds and a medical staff of more than 550 physicians.
Afghanistan: Keeping the Sabbath
An Adventist chaplain serving in Afghanistan has been featured in an article published by the U.S. Defense Department.
The chaplain, Captain Edgardo Rivas, provides spiritual guidance during the week and conducts a Seventh-day Adventist worship service to civilian and military personnel every Sabbath morning at Bagram Air Field, said the article published by DVIDS, a media arm of the Defense Department.
Rivas, who is on his second tour of Afghanistan, said a highlight of his job was when a soldier, a former Adventist, embarked on a search for God’s will after a Sabbath service.
“After the service, he approached me and told me that it was time for him to come back to God,” he said. “Little by little God is doing His work, regardless where you are.”
John Biama, a military information technology specialist and a native of Sudan, said he was surprised to learn that an Army chaplain was conducting an Adventist service. As a church member for 19 years, he hasn’t missed a service.
“It feels good to take time out of our busy work week to observe the Sabbath,” he said.
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