News and information from around the Ohio Conference
Students Excel During Third Annual Geography Challenge
Geography. It encompasses so much more than states and flags and waterways. “It’s about cultures and people, not just about where they live, but about how and why they live," shared Richard Bianco, Ohio Conference Superintendent of Education during his welcome at the third annual Geography Challenge.

“Think about our schools and our young people…just look around here.  Look at how different everybody is in this room alone! That’s geography!” Bianco went on to share, “All three of my judges (today) for the United States Geography Challenge, none of them were born in the United States. That is a powerful thing. Geography is a wonderful thing!”

This year, 32 Ohio Conference students competed in the challenge, held Thursday, February 20 at the Worthington Adventist church. Twelve students were from grades 1-4, eighteen from grades 5-8, and two were from grades 9-12. Students had 20 seconds to answer each question, and were only allowed one "lifeline." Whomever made it through all ten rounds were considered winners.

The first participant of Thursday's event was Nolan Hood from Toledo Junior Academy. His question? What was the capital city of Massachusetts? Hood answered correctly [Boston]. Round after round, students were asked questions or shown images, some answered correctly, others did not. Many adults were seen contemplating the questions, unsure themselves of the answers!

Winners received a trophy and cash prizes ($100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third place). In the end, after some nail-biting rounds, the 2020 Geography Challenge winners were:

Grades 1-4
1st place: Nicholas Myers (Mount Vernon Elementary)
2nd place: Anthony Narog (Eastwood Junior Academy)
3rd place (tie): Nolan Hood (Toledo Junior Academy) and Xavier Verdugo (Toledo Junior Academy)

Grades 5-8
1st place (tie): Faith Babcock (Worthington Adventist Academy) and Laila Wisecup (Northern Ohio Adventist Academy)
3rd place (tie): Cameron Dulaney (Mansfield Adventist School), Noah Myers (Mount Vernon Elementary), Eleanor O'Grady (Northern Ohio Adventist Academy), and Rishi Reddy (Toledo Junior Academy)

Grades 9-12
1st place: Ayden McCoy (Spring Valley Academy)
2nd place: Thomas Hoover (Zanesville Adventist School)

Congratulations to all winners, participants, sponsors and judges. Video of the event will be shared on the Ohio Conference Education Department Facebook page . Details in next week's issue of Faithpoints .

Photo credit: Rita Sukola
Our Need of Small Groups
Pastor Michael Stough II, Springfield First, Delaware, New Carlisle District
Small groups.

Now that you read it, your mind is processing your feelings, thoughts and attitudes towards small groups. Some of the thoughts are positive, others negative, while still some thoughts are merely phlegmatic shoulder shrugs.

Whatever your think about small groups, both the Bible and Ellen White provide insights into why we need small groups more than ever. I want to spend time this week looking at what the Bible says regarding small groups.

In the Bible, I believe the greatest small group of all time was the apostles. Twelve unlikely men from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences brought together by their belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah. For three and a half years these men pretty much followed Jesus wherever He went. They learned deep insights about the parables and lessons He told, participated in ministering to the people, joined Jesus in prayer, and saw amazing miracles take place. And even then, they still didn’t fully understand everything about Jesus’ messiahship or mission. One apostle, Judas, even left the group in a dramatic way by hanging himself over self-regret in betraying Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Showing that not everybody is changed for the positive by small group experiences.

Paul, in talking about our Christian gatherings to the Hebrews says we should not be “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  [1]  In these meetings, which were typically small in nature, Christians are to consider “how to stir up one another to love and good works.”  [2]  Personally, I have always loved the King James’s “provoke” for what the ESV says “stir up.” The Greek actually means to “incite” or “irritate,” showing how strongly connected we are to be to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ that we can really press home needed encouragement. Also notice, as we draw closer to the “Day” of Jesus’ return, the more we should be meeting together, something which seems to be happening less and less in our busy world.

Other significant small groups can be seen in Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, Noah’s family, and even the division of Israel into groups as recommended by Jethro in helping the people learn the instructions God passed along through Moses.

It is to the Jethro story I want to turn next time, but until, I will “provoke” you with this, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”  [3]

[1]   The Holy Bible: English Standard Version . (2016). (Heb 10:25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
[2]   The Holy Bible: English Standard Version . (2016). (Heb 10:24). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
[3]   The Holy Bible: English Standard Version . (2016). (1 Th 5:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Nearly 250 Attend Akron Crusaders' International Food Fair
For more than 25 years, the Akron First church and the Akron Crusaders Pathfinder group have held an annual International Food Fair. This year sixteen countries were represented, attracting nearly 250 visitors and raising a record $1700, which will help send the Crusaders to the International Camporee in Oshkosh in five years.

Attendees enjoyed foods from "Mexico, Kenya, Congo, England, Finland, Bosnia, Philippines, Italy, USA, India, and Korea just to name a few," said Sue Kirschbaum. " We have an amazingly diverse congregation and they all love to share their special dishes!"

Kirschbaum also shared that the eighth grade class (from Mayfair Christian School) had a table during the food fair, offering ice cream sundaes, raising $136 for their class. Recognizing the need for child-friendly activities, the church provided a supervised game room for the children seven and under.
Kettering Adventist HealthCare Named One of Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For ®
Great Place to Work® and Fortune have named Kettering Adventist HealthCare one of the 2020  Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For ® .

The list is based on responses from more than 650,000 employees at Great Place to Work-Certified TM organizations across the country. Great Place to Work, a global people analytics and consulting firm, evaluated more than 60 elements of team members’ experience on the job. These included the extent to which employees trust leaders, the respect with which people are treated, the fairness of workplace decisions, and how much camaraderie there is among the team. Rankings are based on employees’ feedback and reward companies who best include all employees, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization.

Mayfair Christian School Hosts Art Auction & Exhibition Fundraiser, February 22 at 7:00PM
Mayfair Christian School has outgrown their building and are in need of serious renovations. They also need a bus. You are invited to be a part of helping them grow.

This fundraiser is a semi-formal event, where hor d'oeuvres and sparking juice are served while visitors listen to live piano music.
Enjoy both a silent and live auction comprised of children's artwork as well as various items and experiences from the surrounding business community.

Auction items include family packages to the YMCA, gift baskets, lessons at Painting With a Twis t, professional artists' work, a resort package and more.

Tickets: $20 Adults; $15 Child (12 and under)

To purchase tickets please contact Mayfair Christian School, 330.896.3184.

Photo of the Week
Earlier this month, the Mansfield Adventist School Robotics team, The Mansfield Traffic Cows , unveiled their prototype for next month's Robotics Challenge in Dayton.

The First Lego League prototype invention, called "The Crosswalker," may be just the ticket to help them go to Nationals again this year in Orlando, Florida.

The FLL Adventist Robotics League Challenge, sponsored by the Ohio Conference Education Department , will be live-streamed on March 15 on Facebook. Stay tuned for additional details in Faithpoints .
Inspirational quote of the week:
Verse of the Week
Upcoming Events Around the Ohio Conference
February 29
Mansfield Adventist School
March 7
Vernon Township Gymn (Wilmington Church Event)

April 19
Centerville Church
Have an event you would like to share with the Ohio Conference? Let us know!
Read the Current Issue of Mission Ohio in the Columbia Union Visitor
Highlights of this issue include Ron and Buffy Halvorsen accepting call to Pacific Northwest and the launch of a new church plant in the Lorain area.

Read these articles and more in the current issue of Mission Ohio in Visitor magazine.
Heidi A. Shoemaker, Communication Director
Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
1251 E Dorothy Ln, Dayton, OH 45419