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KENYA: California Young Adults Preach to Thousands in Nairobi
forty-two youth and 10 adults recently participated in a three-week Heritage Missions evangelistic campaign held in Nairobi, preaching to thousands who attended the meetings. The series was held at the Nairobi New Life Adventist Church, where nearly 3,000 people attended and many made commitments for baptism. The young adults also preached nightly at the Changamwe Adventist School to more than 500 students and at the Mombasa Polytechnic Institute to approximately 100 students. On the first Sabbath of the series, 45 youth made decisions for baptism.

The group also helped many in the region by donating clothing, supplies, and funds to a local orphanage, underprivileged residents, and students and teachers at Narok Adventist school.

How am I going to help change people’s lives; what do I have to offer them? team member Shanice Aiken asked herself at the beginning of the trip. “[But] I realized that God was answering my questions. I could help change people’s lives by displaying the love of Christ and by offering the love and affection that only comes from a friend. I never would have guessed that just being the normal, friendly person I am would make me a witness for the Lord.”

Heritage Missions is a senior youth ministry under the leadership of Ronald Pollard, youth director for the Greater Los Angeles region of the Southern California Conference.

For more information, go to www.heritagemissions.org.

--Heritage Missions/Southern California Conference Communication Department/AR.


New Religious Freedom Initiative Launched in Georgia Republic
In a breakthrough for religious freedom, a new organization dedicated to promoting this fundamental human right was launched in Tbilisi, Georgia, on October 23. Following an initiative by the Adventist Church and the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), leaders of different faith communities, representatives of Human Rights organizations, and government officials met to inaugurate the Georgian Religious Liberty Association. The event was covered by national television and included the participation of two representatives of the Patriarchate of Georgia and ombudsman Beka Mindiashvili.

Archpriest Basil Kobakhidze from the Georgian Orthodox Church pleaded for the protection of religious minorities, a very real issue in a country where smaller faith communities are often attacked by the media and experience difficulties in building churches and sharing their faith.

IRLA secretary general John Graz chaired the meeting and reported on IRLA activities and the state of religious freedom in the world.

“Religious freedom does not threaten any religion or church but is a factor of peace and stability in society,” said Graz. “Religious difference is unavoidable in our global world, and it is better to deal with this issue in the context of promoting human rights than to deny it.”

According to the participants, religious freedom in Georgia has improved since the detention of religious extremists and the election of a new government. Religious freedom challenges, however, are still a daily reality.

Vladimir Gokabhidze, director of the Center for the Study of Religious Issues, will serve as president of the new organization, and Adventist pastor Grigol G. Tsamalashvili was elected secretary general. Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims are among the 21 members of the board.

Georgia is a former Soviet republic that shares borders with Russia in the north and Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan in the south.                                                                   --International Religious Liberty Association/AR.


OHIO: Kettering Medical Center Earns Magnet Designation

Kettering Medical Center (KMC) has earned the highest honor awarded to hospitals for nursing excellence—the Magnet Designation—given in recognition of outstanding nursing care, participation in nursing research studies, and demonstration of a prominent role and promotion of growth and development for staff nurses. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has given this recognition to only nine institutions in Ohio and about three percent of the country’s approximately 6,000 hospitals.

“Our nurses and nursing administration have worked so hard to achieve this, and I am so very proud of all of them,” said Fred Manchur, president of KMC, which includes three hospitals: Kettering Memorial Hospital, KMC-Sycamore, and Kettering Hospital Youth Services. “Magnet Designation underscores the quality care they provide and the way they work together for the benefit of our entire community.”

Judi Church, RN, served as Magnet project manager. “We are just ecstatic,” Church said. “It’s validating and just reinforces our beliefs in the crucial role nurses play in providing health care.”   

--Kettering Medical Center Media Relations/AR.

ALABAMA: Name Change Voted for Bradford-Cleveland Institute
The North American Division Council of Regional Conference Presidents recently recommended that the Bradford-Cleveland Institute for Continuing Education in Ministry change its name to the Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Institute for Continuing Education in Ministry. This action was approved by both the Bradford-Cleveland Institute Board of Trustees and the Oakwood College Board of Trustees, and honors Charles D. Brooks for his leadership in television evangelism as speaker-director of the Breath of Life telecast for more than 20 years.

The Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Institute (BCB) provides in-service training in ministry and leadership to lay persons, clergy, and administrators in the North American Division.    

--Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Institute/AR.


Reinhold Reinhardt Bietz Dies at 99

Former General Conference vice president Reinhold Reinhardt Bietz died November 6 at his home in Vancouver, Washington. He was 99 years old.

Bietz’s leadership spanned 59 years. His early ministry was in youth departmental leadership until 1943, when he became president of the Texico Conference. He also served as president of the Southern New England, Southern California, and Pacific Union conferences. In 1968 Bietz was elected as a general vice president of the General Conference. He retired in 1974, but spent the next 10 years leading the Christian Leadership Seminars for the General Conference.

Bietz was predeceased by his first wife, Martha Reiswig, and second wife, Vivienne Craig. He is survived by his wife Pee Zee Abernathy; sons Duane, a retired surgeon in Portland, Oregon, and Gordon, an academic administrator in Collegedale, Tennessee; as well as by four grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.  

--AR.

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