1. PRAYING FOR THE RE-OPENING OF OUR SCHOOLS
The past few months have witnessed challenges that we could never have anticipated. It was unexpected to us, but certainly not to our God.
He knew about the challenges we would face and has seen us through the adjustments that have been made across the Carolinas, the nation and the globe. The footprint on Adventist education marked by the COVID-19 Pandemic has been no different.
I greatly appreciate our teachers who, in a matter of days, pivoted to deliver a quality education that would normally have taken months to plan and execute. I am also grateful for the students who also made adjustments to the new delivery system and had such great attitudes as we transformed our physical classrooms into virtual ones across North and South Carolina.
And I want to say a special, “Thank you!” to each of our parents for the extra work they put in to support their students, and in turn, assisted the teachers’ work as they provided a distance learning experience to the best of their ability. Above all the glory goes to God because were it not for His grace, we would not have been able to finish the 2019-2020 school year as effectively as we did.
Here we are now in the month of August. A brand-new school year is about to commence. It’s that time of backpacks and books and back to school energy and enthusiasm. It’s also a time of apprehension and uncertainty — especially for parents and teachers alike. Some may wonder what things are going to look like in just a few more days. We are walking forward in faith with our plan to reopen our schools in either a traditional, virtual, or combined mode as the governors of both our states move optimistically in that direction. We as an Adventist educational system will continue to adhere to and adjust our operations in harmony with orders and mandates that specifically pertain to private schools in each of our states.
During the past month, the Executive Education Committee [EEC] has literally spent several hours over multiple days drafting policies and guidelines to assist our schools with the development of their individualized plans for reopening. We will continue to keep our schools up-to-date with pertinent information and they will pass along any information to their respective families and students.
Now is the time for us to band together, in solidarity, as one family in Jesus Christ. Now is the time for us to pray as we have never prayed before. Now is the time for us to call on Heaven’s angels to place a hedge of protection around each of His schools, each of His children, each of His teachers, and each of His parents and homes. Now is the time for us to cling to the promise of His Word: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:7 NLT).
Since our children are a heritage from the Lord according to Psalm 127:3, let’s pray for God’s safety net of protection from any harm that the enemy of mankind may attempt to unleash on our children, our teachers, their families and our schools.
2. PRAY FOR BLESSINGS ON THE YOUTH ACROSS CAROLINA AS WE LAUNCH OUR BRAND NEW YOUTH PRAYER-LINE INITIATIVE
We are delighted to announce the launching of a brand new initiative with our prayer-line. As you may recall, last month we completed 100 Days of Prayer launched by the North American Division and coordinated by Beth Grissom, our Carolina Prayer Ministries Director.
Every Monday night we shared the wonderful fellowship of 8-10 faithful disciples of Jesus in a time of prayer, praise and petition. I am grateful we will continue every Monday night, as Carole and I are so blessed by this time of connection to our Savior and our Carolina prayer-line family.
You may also recall that one of our visionary goals during this quinquennial (2015-2020) was to launch a program to engage our Youth and Young Adults in Prayer Bands across the Carolinas.
I am so excited to announce that beginning Tuesday, August 11, from 7:00-7:30 PM (and every Tuesday thereafter) a new prayer-line initiative will be opened specifically for our youth to be involved in a time of prayer. Our leader for this wonderful prayer ministry will be Hope Griffin, a member of the Thomasville Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Here’s what Hope has to share about her experience as she has faithfully joined us on our Carolina Conference prayer line team:
My Prayer Line Experience
I was 13 years old, and my dad, as well as others who got on the Carolina Conference prayer line regularly, were encouraging me to get on. Somehow, when Monday rolled around, it always seemed “inconvenient” and I’d go on with whatever I was doing.
In July 2018, the Carolina Conference had a prayer retreat and I was very blessed by it. The prayer line family invited me to help pray over the churches represented there, even though I had never been on the line before.
After this experience, I knew I had to at least try out the prayer line. I did, and didn’t look back! It was amazing!!! I loved the family atmosphere, and as I got to know the regular folks, I was amazed at how, over time, deep relationships could be formed by praying together! The prayer line is truly a family!
Though there are a few awkward moments, and the technology can get finicky at times, if I miss the prayer line, I’m missing one of the biggest blessings of my week! Sometimes, I’ve gotten on the line in a depressed or discouraged mood, but almost every time, I’ve gotten off encouraged and refreshed! Prayer really lifts our hearts!
The prayer line has blessed me in ways words can’t express, and I know that God is with us through the Holy Spirit every Monday night, hearing our prayers and working out the answers. I praise Him for what He’s doing through this group and for the answers we’ve seen, and I pray that many more will want to experience this powerful blessing that is the prayer line!
The Youth Prayer Line
I’m excited about the Youth Prayer Line because God says that in the last days the young people will be His army, helping to finish His mission to tell the world about His love. The only way we can be prepared for this is by staying connected to Him. My prayer is that, through this prayer line, we’ll encourage each other to stay connected to our Heavenly Commander-our Savior Jesus, so we can finish the work He has for us.
3. PRAYING FOR OUR PASTORS & THEIR CHURCH DISTRICTS
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, these words of encouragement were penned for our churches: “Ask of me, and I will answer your requests. The promise is made on condition that the united prayers of the church are offered, and in answer to these prayers there may be expected a power greater than that which comes in answer to private prayer. The power given will be proportionate to the unity of the members and their love for God and for one another.” [9MR, 303]
Praying for our pastors is very important. They are serving God and the attacks of the enemy are relentless. They must be covered in our prayers on a daily basis. Our prayers should be personalized by saying the title of pastor along with their name since they hold a position of sacred trust for God’s remnant church.
Why not pray specifically for our pastors by name using these seven needs and scriptural promises:
For Protection from Satan — "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
For Protection from Our Own Sinful Hearts — "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." (James 1:14-15)
For Deep Spiritual Encouragement — "For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine." (Romans 1:11-12)
For Wisdom — "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5)
For Doctrinal Faithfulness — "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." (2 Timothy 1:14)
For A Healthy Body — "But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:27)
For A Strong Marriage & Family — "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church." (1 Timothy 3:2-6)
PASTOR CHURCH(ES); COMPANIES & GROUPS
1. Jo Ottinger ..................................................................................................................Chaplain
Mount Pisgah Academy
2. Jin Yong Park .................................................................................................................Pastor
Charlotte Korean SDA Church
Asheville Evergreen Korean SDA Company
3. Domingo Paulino ............................................................................................................Pastor
Bluffton Spanish SDA Church
Hardeeville Spanish SDA Church
4. Richard Peterson ...........................................................................................................Pastor
Washington SDA Church
Jacksonville SDA Church
Jacksonville Spanish SDA Group
Kinston SDA Church
5. Jose Pieretti ...................................................................................................................Pastor
Henderson SDA Church
Raleigh SDA Church
6. Rubi Pimentel .................................................................................................................Pastor
Asheville Spanish SDA Mission Group
Arden Spanish SDA Mission Group
Hendersonville Spanish SDA Church
Swannanoa Spanish SDA Company
7. José Pontorreal ..................................................................................................Interim Pastor
Asheboro Spanish SDA Church
Asheboro SDA Church
Biscoe Spanish SDA Church
Salisbury Spanish SDA Company
4. PRAYING FOR OUR DEPARTMENTAL MINISTRIES
Last year, starting with our April, 2019 issue of P5, we began highlighting a department of the conference each month – not so much as to give a full length report of all that they have been doing or are accomplishing, but rather to simply uplift in our prayers all our leaders and their faithful service. The ministries of the Carolina Conference are basically structured under 6 organizational departmental functions. They include:
1. The Adventist Christian Book Center
2. Camp Meeting
5. Church Ministries
6. Children & Young Adults
Over the past few months, we have focused the departmental functions of Administration and Outreach. We continue with this issue to focus on another vital outreach departmental ministry – that of our Prison Ministries.
So during August, I invite you to prayerfully uplift our
Prison Ministries Department
Under the volunteer leadership of
Jim Wetmore & his volunteer area coordinator in
South Carolina, Larry Barker.
The mission of our Prison Ministries is to share the love of Christ with incarcerated persons and their families. They aim to achieve this through following the example given us by Jesus in ministering to the needs of the spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental components of a person’s being.
It is their commitment to keep Christ and Him crucified as the center of all their words, actions and programs as they provide support to bring hope and light into some of the darkest corners of society.
Please contact Jim or Larry if you would like to be involved in prison ministries in your area.
5. SATURATED WITH THE WORD – Fundamental Belief # 13 — The Remnant and its Mission
As a President’s Prayer Partner, we again invite you to truly be a people of the Word. As Seventh-day Adventists, we embrace 28 Fundamental truths that are based on the Bible alone. This is the second cycle in our emphasis on these vital beliefs that are centered in Christ as our Savior and as our Lord.
Let’s continue to place His Word prayerfully in our hearts each day of this month. I carry a set of these passages with me in my car and repeat them aloud as I drive from place to place. My goal is to prayerfully say one verse at least five times a day for a week, thus embracing the promise of God’s Word – “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11. Repeat these passages over and over till they become a part of your very being. Of course, you can always choose to do more. Prayerfully consider how you can saturate your soul and make His Word a part of your heart every day.
FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF # 13: The Remnant and its Mission
The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness.
A. Jeremiah 23:3 (NKJV) — “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.”
B. Micah 2:12 (NKJV) — “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; They shall make a loud noise because of so many people.”
C. I Peter 3:13-14 (NKJV) — “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”
D. Revelation 12:17 (NKJV) — “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
6. REMEMBER AND KEEPING IN FOCUS OUR 2020 VISION
VISION V: FOSTER A CULTURE OF SOUL WINNING
PRAY AND COMMIT to leading at least 1000 new souls every year to embrace Christ and His truth as members of God’s remnant church. To accomplish this, every pastor will receive encouragement and support to:
Develop, communicate and implement an annual plan for kingdom growth in each church. This plan should intentionally include and involve the youth and young adults of the church.
Host or personally hold at least one evangelistic/reaping effort annually in their church district. Opportunities should be explored to involve students who have participated in a ShareHim series of meetings.
Follow with an extended plan of discipleship that includes an intentional involvement in the life and ministry of the church including that of being an actively engaged disciple-maker.
We hold the conviction that the Holy Spirit will bring people into the church by the power of proclaiming the truths of God’s Word. However, only the power of compassionate love will keep them connected to Christ and the mission of His church.
During these past several months we have certainly witnessed the enemy of mankind working through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we have also witnessed the powerful hand of God to stem the evil tide from accomplishing Heaven’s desire to reach hearts for Christ.
The primary mission of each church and company in North and South Carolina is to herald the end-time truths of the three angels of Revelation centered in Jesus Christ. Acts 13:47 reminds us of His plea to every faithful disciple.
“For the Lord gave us this command when he said, ‘I have made you a light
to the Gentiles, to bring Salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’ ”
Acts 13:47 (NLT)
When we, as God’s church, neglect or minimize this calling of Christ, we fail in the purpose of our existence and disregard our prophetic mission to the world.
That is why in faith we march forward without fear of the unknown. In faith we pray for hearts of generous commitment to reach an annual goal of $1,000,000 to invest in evangelistic and soul winning endeavors throughout the 167 churches and companies of the Carolinas. In faith we pray for the outpouring of the Latter Rain, claiming the promise of Jesus in Luke 10:2 that the harvest is plentiful and as we near the return of our Savior, we will break the threshold of seeing over 1000 baptisms and professions of faith in His vineyard of the Carolinas. In faith we pray for faithful laborers that will consecrate their efforts to reaching those who are lost and safely drawing them into the shelter of Christ’s truth and His abiding love. In faith we will utilize every resource possible, especially during this pandemic period and beyond – including the gifts of technology to reach the world around us who are desperate for hope, peace and the joy of knowing and walking with Jesus.
7. REMEMBERING AND UPLIFTING GOD’S ANOINTED LEADERS FOR THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN CONTINUOUS PRAYER
Be part of God’s praying church across North America for these leaders also who guide God’s work in these territories of God’s vineyard: