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The Final Day
An anointing service, a call to commitment, and saying goodbye (Posted Aug. 12, 2012
 
BY SANDRA BLACKMER
 
Hundreds of educators attending the convention rose early to participate in a 6:15 a.m. anointing service led by the event’s prayer ministries team and NAD president Dan Jackson. Jackson and some 20 pastors prayed for and placed oil on the foreheads of the teachers who came to dedicate their ministry to Christ and to ask God for the infilling of His Holy Spirit in their lives and hearts.

DEVOTIONAL SPEAKER: Pioneer Memorial Church senior pastor Dwight Nelson [Marvin Lowman]
“It was a powerful experience; there were many tears,” Mike Schwartz, principal of Bakersfield Adventist Academy in California, told Adventist Review. “Many teachers came here with giant challenges and heavy burdens on their hearts. This service wasn’t simply a ritual; it was a real, heartfelt rededication.”

Dwight Nelson, senior pastor of Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University and the event’s morning worship speaker, presented the final devotional message to a packed auditorium.
 
From Far and Near
Almost 100 attendees flew thousands of miles to be part of the Gaylord Opryland event. Chek Yat Phoon, education director for Northern Asia-Pacific Division, came from South Korea. He says that the positive experience and learning he garnered at the 2006 teachers convention convinced him to attend this one as well.

“I also brought along with me 30 teachers and two union education directors from my division,” Phoon said. “I wish more of my teachers could have come.”

Euro-Africa Division education director Barna Magyarosi says it was worth making the long trip to the United States “to see more than 6,000 educators gather together to ponder the major issues of Adventist education” and “to feel the common heartbeat of all these educators. . . .

ANNOINTING SERVICE: Pastor Roy Rugless of the Southeastern Conference prays for Gillian and Cleveland Charles of Brooklyn, New York, at the Wednesday morning anointing service. [PHOTO: Dan Weber/NAD]
“Even though we are separated by an ocean, the major issues, such as the ways we have to change to keep pace with technology and answering questions about how to retain our Adventist identity, are the same. It’s a global village.” He adds, “It’s one of the greatest privileges to work in education. There’s nothing more rewarding than to have students come back to you years later and remind you of some incident you no longer remember and tell you that you changed their life.” A school principal from Romania accompanied Magyarosi.

Reconnecting with old friends is also a draw. Antonietta Riviello, Adventist Colleges Abroad director at Italian Adventist College, commonly called Villa Aurora, ran into Anna Maria De Stefani, her academy and college roommate at Villa Aurora 28 years before.

“We are like sisters,” says Stefani, who was born in Brazil, grew up in Italy, and currently is teaching in the Nashville area. “That’s the beauty of our institutions: we are like a family.”

Less time and travel were involved in Jayne Doneskey’s trip to Nashville. A second-grade teacher at Keene Adventist Elementary School, Doneskey said she found the speakers to be inspirational, described the food as “the best I’ve ever had at a convention,” and the surroundings as “very beautiful—all the plants and flowers make it feel like heaven,” But the music, she said, “is at the top.”
 
Closing Commitment Service
NAD president Dan Jackson underpinned the core belief of the Adventist Church in the event’s closing commitment address: “There is only one true north,” he said, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and let it never be said that there’s another.”

 
Jackson’s message explored the foundation of true Christian leadership and the principles upon which Christians build that foundation. He said these include:
  1.  If you really want to know what’s going on, go to where the people are.
  2. We must have the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit if we are to understand an undistorted view of God’s work.
  3. One must learn to think prior to action and speaking.
           
A KEYNOTE PRESENTER: NAD president Dan Jackson [PHOTO: Marvin Lowman]
Referring to disparaging and condemnatory electronic communications commonly used today even among church members, Jackson said, “Jesus would not talk and act the way that many are doing behind a computer screen. . . . Some are inhibiting and injuring the Lord’s work when they think they are advancing it,” he said.

Jackson thanked the teachers for being leaders in God’s cause, and noted that “it’s not about you and me when we’re doing God’s work; it’s about what God is doing that counts.”
          
Jackson acknowledged that many teachers who had come to the convention were “hurt and wounded, and wondering what will happen this school year.” He then reminded them of Jesus words, “ ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.’ ”
 
Closing Remarks
NAD vice president for education Larry Blackmer ended the convention with words of appreciation to the teachers, and said that many attendees had described the event to him as a “mountaintop experience.” He warned, however, that “there’s an enemy out there who wants to destroy this mountaintop experience, and there is only one way to keep it: maintain a daily, personal relationship with Jesus.”
           
The next NAD Teachers Convention is being planned for 2018. The venue has yet to be determined.

To learn more about the convention, go to www.2012teachersconvention.com.





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