April 2021 Carolina's 10,000 P5
1. PRAYING FOR PEACE TO PREVAIL DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
During my first year in the United States, I had the privilege of visiting the Statue of Liberty just outside New York’s harbor. I read the words of Emma Lazarus’ sonnet entitled The New Colossus engraved on a bronze plaque and placed at the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Generations of pilgrims who have visited this site over the years have been moved by these particular and powerful iconic words from that sonnet:
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
America has been revered as a land of freedom and hope around the world. Millions encircling the globe have dreamed of finally arriving on her shores – in spite of the challenges we have faced in the past and continue to face today.
This month, I would like us to especially pray about three of those challenges:
A. Immigration Challenges of Children at the Southern Border:
I realize there are strong and varying opinions regarding the illegal entry of children and emigrants across the southern border of our nation. As Seventh-day Adventist Christians, our hearts of compassion ache for children being herded into the United States out of desperation.
What would we do as parents? If our child was in a place of danger, hungry or homeless, we’d most likely act out of fear and desperation to do whatever we could to save our children. It breaks my heart to see children who have gotten lost and disoriented in the desert, dropped across the “fool- proof” wall over the border and sadly drown while trapped in the river current of the Rio Grande.
As I write this, over 19,000 children are being held in overcrowded sites as the difficulty of processing that to do with each child is being determined. Pray for these children. Pray for our nation. Pray for our President and those in governmental positions who are grappling with this monumental dilemma. Let’s avoid politicizing the problem and pray for God’s wisdom and help in resolving these difficult issues that are impacting the children of our church, our nation, and our world.
B. Acts of Hatred toward Our Asian-American Brothers and Sisters:
We as Seventh-day Adventists in North America, denounce the recent acts of violence and hatred against our brothers and sisters in the Asian-American community. God calls us to love all His children, no matter our differences. Our diversity makes us stronger as a people, and the variety of cultures making up our territory are a direct reflection of His creative power. We need to celebrate our differences and embrace the uniqueness of each and every person. We want all Asian-Americans to know we stand with them and beside them during this season where they are being unfairly targeted.
We call on all our members to stand up and support the Asian-American communities where they live.
Be vocal in your appreciation of our brothers and sisters in their time of need. Create a safe space for them by listening to their experiences and showing Christ-like compassion. There is no need for anyone to live in fear because of the color of their skin, or their race. The book of Proverbs commands us that, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 NKJV). Let’s pray for the safety and well-being especially of our Asian-American church family and communities across the Carolinas and our nation during this difficult time.
C. The Families of American Refugees impacted by the Political Unrest and Violence in Myanmar:
BACKGROUND: Myanmar, also known as Burma, is in South East Asia. It neighbors Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, China and India. It has a population of about 54 million, most of whom are Burmese speakers, although other languages are also spoken. The biggest city is Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon), but the capital is Nay Pyi Taw.
The ruling military changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. The two words mean the same thing, but Myanmar is the more formal version.
But use of "Myanmar" has become increasingly common, and in 2016 Ms Suu Kyi said it did not matter which name was used. The military is now back in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency. It seized control on February 1 of this year following a general election which Ms Suu Kyi's NLD party won by a landslide. Military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing has taken power.
The armed forces had backed the opposition, who were demanding a rerun of the vote, claiming widespread fraud. The election commission said there was no evidence to support these claims. The coup was staged as a new session of parliament was set to open.
Thousands of people have fled a series of recent airstrikes by the military. The strikes in areas populated predominantly by ethnic Karen people represent another escalation in the increasingly violent crackdown by Myanmar's junta on protests of its February 1 coup.
This past Sabbath (April 3) more than 100 people were killed in and around demonstrations throughout the country — the bloodiest single day since the takeover.
Eric B. Hare, who served as an Adventist missionary and storyteller in Burma, worked among the Karen people. During his years of service, Hare introduced thousands to the gospel message, establishing clinics, churches, and schools among the Karen in Burma and Thailand.
“This rich Adventist history has made a deep impression with generations of believers,” Pastor Jimmy Shwe, is the pastor of our Adventist Karen members in for our Karen SDA Church in Chapel Hill, NC and the Karen SDA groups in New Bern & Greensboro, NC as well as in Columbia, SC. He also serves a wider Karen refugee membership across North America.
Over the past several years, thousands of Karen refugees have immigrated to the United States. Shwe said. “What is happening now in Myanmar has frightened many of my Karen brothers and sisters. We know that God will do the best thing for His children. So, we pray, and we come together with one heart. And the people see how much they need Jesus, and how we need more unity as a family.”
Our Karen Adventist members are especially quite concerned about the safety and wellbeing of their families and friends from their native homeland. Please join our dear Karen brothers and sisters from Myanmar as we pray for God’s intervention to calm the political strife and violence that has taken so many innocent lives already.
2. PRAYING FOR OUR CHURCH SCHOOLS
As we began this school year last August, our teachers, our churches, and our school boards worked tirelessly together to safeguard the reopening of our schools and minimizing the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus by ensuring that our schools follow federal guidelines of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), state and local guidelines, and the directives of the Emergency Response Team of the Carolina Conference. As a result, we can thank the Lord that none of our teachers or students in our Carolina church schools have lost their lives or have been affected in any significant manner by this dangerous viral epidemic that has tragically impacted over 400,000 lives in the United States alone.
We need to never forget in uplifting our church schools, our teachers and the precious lives of our children and youth that have been entrusted to us. They are our sacred treasure to be educated and nurtured to become a blessing on earth and a saved soul for all eternity.
Continuing with this issue of the President’s Prayer Partners, we highlight our second listing of church schools and the teachers of the Carolina Conference till we close the pages of our 2020-2021 school year in May.
Please uplift these schools in your prayers this month:
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. Eric Hagan ......................................................................................................................................Pastor
Anderson SDA Church Clemson SDA Church
2. Thorn Hean ....................................................................................................................................Pastor
Gastonia SDA Church Cambodian Lexington SDA Group Cambodian Sharon SDA Group Charlotte Hmong SDA Group
3. Ralph Henderson ......................................................................................................................Pastor
Brevard SDA Church Mills River SDA Church
4. Brian Hindman .....................................................................................................Associate Pastor
Hendersonville SDA Church
5. Ryan Hodgins ........................................................................................................Associate Pastor
Greensboro SDA Church Greensboro Montagnard SDA Group*
6. Charles Hong ..........................................................................................................Assistant Pastor
Fayetteville Korean SDA Mission Group
7. Justin Howard ..............................................................................................................................Pastor
Winston Salem First SDA Church Clemmons SDA Church
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 our prayers with the departmental functions of
Administration and Outreach. We continue our focus on the next department that is designated as a vital part of the Church Ministries in the Carolina Conference:
During this month of April, I invite you to prayerfully uplift our Women’s Ministries Department under the leadership of Beth Grissom and her secretary, Courtnie Hodgins.
The desire of Women’s Ministries is that every woman in the Carolina Conference comes to recognize Jesus as her personal Savior and friend. Their goal is to know Jesus passionately and to serve and disciple women. They want to lift up Jesus Christ by enabling women to discover and realize their leadership and ministry potential—within their home, church and community.
5. SATURATED WITH THE WORD – Fundamental Belief # 21 – Stewardship
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 # 21: Stewardship We are God’s stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God’s ownership by faithful service to Him and our fellow human beings, and by returning tithe and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. Stewards rejoice in the blessings that come to others as a result of their faithfulness.
A. Genesis 1:28 (ESV) — “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
B. Malachi 3:8-10 (NKJV) — ““Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.9 You are cursed with a curse,For you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this, ”Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heavenAnd pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
C. Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) — “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
D. I Peter 4:10-11 (NIV) — “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
6. PRAISE & PRAYERS FOR SPECIAL PROJECTS
A. Mills River Seventh-day Adventist School
Turning Students into Spiritual Leaders
Mills River SDA School has been so important to the community that they have grown in student attendance over the last few years! They desperately need space to accommodate full time students. They also provide a home school enrichment day once a week for homeschooled students to have classes in an environment with their peers. Enrichment classes include choir, art, guitar, physical education, Spanish and educational field trips. Many families are in need of the option of Christian education for their children.
Due to the ever-increasing numbers they have been blessed with, it is their hope and plan to start construction on a new school building in 2021. They keep their tuition as low as possible only to maintain the school, therefore their school does not have the funds for a new building.
Will you please consider blessing this church school building project with your generous contribution? Simply make your tax-deductible donation payable to Mills River SDA Church or online giving at:
https://adventistgiving.org/#/org/ANT8IQ/envelope/start Mark the memo for School Building Project.
Feel free to view the proposed building at: https://millsrivernc.adventistschoolconnect.org/
We know that through faith, God will provide the needs of our church school in Mills River. Please join us in prayer by adding the Mills River SDA School Project to your prayer list. May Heaven open up generous hearts to assist in the accomplishment of their needs.
B. Wake Forest Seventh-day Adventist Church Building Project
For the past several years our church family in Wake Forest has dreamed of the day when they would have their own church building. After years of fundraising and efforts they were able to purchase an ideal property in this expensive city north of Raleigh.
Much planning, effort and expense have been invested in this building initiative. However, with extremely stringent city codes and rising building costs, the church has run out of money to finish the project of their dreams.
Today we have an unfinished church in Wake Forest without the possibility of procuring an occupancy permit unless the Lord helps our church family there with a miracle of financial resources above and beyond all that the Carolina Conference has already invested to assist them with this project.
Pastor Peter Trzinski shares that they are about $225,000 short of what they need to move in under Phase 1 which would be the sanctuary, Sabbath School classrooms, foyer and bathrooms completed along with all the landscaping and some parking lot improvements for the handicap parking.
The church has started and stated that they are doing everything they can in 2021. However, if they have not raised enough money for Phase 1, then they will most likely consider selling – which would be a major setback and disheartenment to their church family. Who knows if a buyer will be present then and what the price would be? This year – 2021 – will certainly be a make-or-break fund-raising year for them.
Presently they are finishing up the electrical rough in, low-voltage wiring for sound systems, etc. and then they will move into an inspection phase with insulation and drywall to follow.
The church has applied with Maranatha Volunteers for a June 2021 visit where they will paint and install trim and doors. They are praying that they will be able to keep a good timeline so when the volunteer team comes, they will be ready. It is tight, but by God’s grace and blessing, it will be doable.
Join me as we all make this a matter of prayer so that the Holy Spirit will convict generous hearts across the Carolinas to do their part to help our sister church in Wake Forest. By God’s grace and with His blessing, I pray that we will be able to celebrate this year in a service of worship and praise with the realization of their dream come true. All gifts to this project are tax-deductible and may be sent through the Carolina Conference for the Wake Forest Church Building Fund.
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 by uplifting these leaders also in the Pacific Union of Seventh-day Adventists and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada who guide God’s work in these territories of God’s vineyard: