Conference E-Newsletter
November 2020 - Volume 3, Issue 11
The purpose of the Oklahoma Conference is to 
"Proclaim, Disciple, Live With Christ"
It’s time for the Oklahoma Update! Since we had our last Executive Committee meeting there has been a lot of activity with our weather and church family. Many of our people are without power here in Oklahoma City, which means no heat, lights or internet. Some are using fireplaces to keep warm or small heaters in one room with lots of blankets. Habakkuk 3:17-19 says, ”Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places....” May we take those words and use them as encouragement at this time.

October has been a month of celebration for all of Oklahoma’s church family. One of our workers was organizing in the basement of the office when materials were found that showed the conference office being established October 18, 1970. Immediately, we started to look at all the blessings the Oklahoma Seventh-day Adventist Church has encountered over the last 50 years by celebrating with former Presidents Rodney Grove and John Moyer along with the current president, James Shires. On Sunday, October 18, a 90-minute presentation was given with historical information from Pastor Daniel Ortega and interviews with Elder Grove and Elder Moyer. “Count your blessings, name them one by one…” Please join the officers in praising the Lord for the growth and movements forward in evangelism, education, church growth, health growth and so much more! 

The morning of October 18 before the celebrating began, the Oklahoma Bylaws Committee met for the first time to begin preparing for the quadrennial Constituency Meeting on April 18, 2021. Our church family members from designated groups throughout Oklahoma came together to the Conference office to review the present bylaws and look over the new North American Division (NAD) bylaws which we have to adopt. It’s hard to believe that it’s that time already, but we have a good group to get us started. Please keep this in prayer as we continue to work on this.

The Executive Committee had a busy morning October 22 with God’s business. Elder Shires gave his president's report followed by departmental reports. The treasurer's report showed great blessings throughout this pandemic, and that He is still pushing us forward to do His work during this time of earth’s history. 

Statistics for our local conference are 77 churches, four companies, and 15 groups with a total membership of 8,575 and an average attendance of 2,208. 

The Executive Committee voted Pastor Lonnie Carbaugh to be part of the Oklahoma Conference Personnel Committee. 

So many activities are happening throughout our state with evangelism, education, and youth. Pastor Ortega and his YPAC group held a conference-wide Pathfinder Camporee the weekend of October 16-18. The weather was cold and yet it seemed like everyone was having a great time!

I pray that this letter finds each of you warm and safe. May the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob watch over each of you and your families. 
Upcoming Events!
Out and About...
Club Ministries Presidential Fitness
TULSA & OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Pathfinder and Adventurer clubs held their annual presidential fitness program on Sunday, October 4. Normally this event takes place at the Bristow public high school track and field where nearly 600 individuals attend. However, this year in an effort to reduce the large number of people at one place (due to COVID-19), it was decided to host the event at two separate locations. Both Parkview Adventist Academy in Oklahoma City and Adventist Fellowship in Tulsa were happy to host our young people for that day. Approximately 150 young people and staff attended each location where everyone tested their strength, endurance, and flexibility through the various physical tests. The goal of this program and event is to promote exercise and healthy living among our young people while doing it in a fun and interactive way.

By Daniel Ortega
Tractor Field Day
EDMOND, OKLA. - Generations young and old came together for an afternoon of learning and fun at Tractor Field Day on October 11 in Cashion, OK. Edmond church member Calvin Reasoner organized the event to share his passion for antique and modern tractors with the entire church family. The Edmond Pathfinders and Adventurers took the opportunity to learn about farming and hang out together as Calvin and his buddies showed the kids how to drive the huge machines all over the pasture.

By Kris Bryant
Outdoor Children's Sabbath
The North American Division Children's Ministry department celebrated its annual children Sabbath on October 3. Many of the Oklahoma churches planned programs or had an emphasis on children that Sabbath or the one after. A few churches even gave the children opportunities to share sermon's from their pulpit.

The Oklahoma Conference Children's ministry department organized a couple of special children's outdoor programs with emphasis on participating as a family. Tulsa area leaders Debbie Childress, Damaris Prieto, and Glenda Sweezey worked together to host the event on the grounds of Tulsa Adventist Academy while in Oklahoma City, Norma Shepherd, Cinthia Portanova, and Yesenia Ortega organized the event at the Stars & Stripes Park at Lake Hefner. Both locations had about 100 attendees, which included mostly children and their parents.

Both locations offered crafts, Bible games and activities, and prizes for both children and adults (sponsored by the NAD and Union children's department). Pastor Samson Sambeba and Pastor Daniel Ortega shared a fun, spiritual message of encouragement for the children.

For many of the kids this was the first time having any kind of in-person interaction with other kids their age since the beginning of the pandemic. And even though there were limitations in an effort to keep everyone safe, just being outdoors with friends and family was a blessing for all who attended.

By Yesenia Ortega
"You Saved My Life"
VINITA, OKLA. - Since every believer in Jesus has a guardian angel, I can only imagine how the angels must long for us to show genuine kindness and love to those they are watching over.  Each morning, as we pray for divine appointments, we can cooperate with their hearts’ desires.  

Bruce Johnston has a heart for witnessing through literature evangelism. God has miraculously intervened in his own life and he is eager to share the love of Jesus with others. The following is a remarkable story, told in his own words:

“Every morning, before I leave the house to sell literature, I pray that the Holy Spirit will go before me and give me Divine appointments. It was the same in the summer of 2017. I had finished my work for the day, so I decided to go for a walk in the warm summer evening. I passed a stranger that was seated on a bench and felt impressed to talk with him. He said, “The end is near.” I agreed and handed him the GLOW tract, “A Love Letter from Jesus.” As I walked away, I sensed the Holy Spirit say, “Go back and pray with him.” I returned and told him I would like to pray for him. Then I shook his hand as he told me he had just recently become a believer and he really appreciated the prayer.

A couple of months passed before I saw him again. When I approached him, he said, “You’re the man who saved my life!” I said, “What are you talking about?” He replied, “The day you prayed with me, I was going to commit suicide. You saved my life!” As I returned home, I thanked the Lord for that divine appointment."
Today, three years later, I am sure that precious memory spurs him on to share with others life-saving literature.

May his story inspire each of us to commit ourselves afresh to the Lord each day, that He may give us divine appointments to share His love and help Him save souls for eternity. 

By Kay Mayes
50-Year Anniversary
The Oklahoma Conference celebrated its 50-Year Anniversary of the Conference Building on October 18, 2020. During the virtual program we enjoyed a brief history on how God has led the conference, interviews of former Oklahoma Conference Presidents, and an opportunity to meet our conference office staff. Watch the video above is you were not able to view it earlier.
Wewoka Woods Roof Repair
WEWOKA, OKLA. - It is exciting to see many of the buildings at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center getting some work done on them. During October, the lodge, the four cabins, the pool house and even the small gazebo behind the lodge each received a new roof. The roof repair were possible due to an insurance claim that awarded the camp this upgrade. With the soffit repairs, exterior paint job on the cabins and new roofs, we hope you will enjoy the view even more when you visit Wewoka Woods again.

There are, however, still many projects around that need funding and work that calls for many volunteers. If you would like to know how you or your church can contribute to the camp, please feel free to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you. If we all pitch in a little, we can significantly transform our camp.

By Daniel Ortega
"Days of Creation"
Art Donation
OKLAHOMA CITY - Thanks to a partnership between the NAD Office of Education and the Hart Research Center, each of our schools were able to receive Nathan Greene’s “Days of Creation” to display.   Not only were our schools blessed to receive such a wonderful donation, but we also received a set at the Conference Office as well. The pictures were promptly hung in a prominent spot in the entry way. These wonderful pictures have already proven to be a witness to visitors and delivery drivers as they come into the conference. One delivery driver stopped and was staring intently at the pictures and was told that they depict the days of creation. His reply was that the pictures were "awesome" and "amazing" with great details.  He then stood there analyzing them individually for a few more minutes which provided a few extra minutes for conversation.

By Tim Kripps 
Pathfinder Fall Camporee
WEWOKA, OKLA .- The Oklahoma Pathfinders had their fall camporee from October 23-25. The theme of the camporee was "Trust in the Lord," based on Isaiah 40:31. Thirteen Pathfinder clubs and one Master Guide club attended the camporee, totaling 235 people.

During the Sabbath morning worship service, Pastor Daniel Ortega challenged the Pathfinders to put their trust in the Lord and not on the earthly and temporal things of this world when facing struggles, temptations and challenges. After lunch, the Pathfinders participated in the raptor honor, which consisted of dissecting owl pellets, observing various raptors fly across the lake as the observation was lead by naturalist, Pastor Bob Holbrook, and seeing five amazing live raptors up close and personal. The live raptors where brought in by the Black Prairie Raptor Center from Texas. That evening during the worship service, as a huge bonfire behind the stage area lit up the evening panorama, 10 young people came forward as a response to a call for baptism. A special prayer of dedication was given for those who came forward as their director stood with them in support.

Sunday was a day full of challenges of outdoor activities, such as an obstacle course, knot tying and lashing, bird matching, and tent set-up just to name a few. The morning was topped off with a raft race where each individual club was responsible for building and racing their raft across the lake. All the Pathfinders joined together in cheering for each club's raft whether the raft was fast or even able to stay afloat.

Though the weekend manifested cold nights with mild winds, the Pathfinders stood brave and courageous through the weekend and enjoyed the fellowship, activities and new learning experiences. We praise God for His safety and guidance for our young people during the camporee and we pray that our young people will continue to trust more and more in our God! May they soar like eagles as they follow Him day by day.

By Yesenia Ortega
Arbuckle View Prepares for Virtual Christmas Program
DAVIS, OKLA. - This year has been a year for unprecedented things to say the least. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been in a changing and inventive mode for many months. The Arbuckle View Church has been no exception. We have made several modifications to our normal routine including providing online alternatives to Sabbath School and worship service, to modifying our in-person service to be shorter and accommodate masks and social distancing. Christmas 2020 will be no exception. With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, we have started to creatively think about what we can do for Christmas. In years past, we joined forces with the Ardmore church and created a combined choir program for church members and the public. This has always been one of our most attended events of the year, and so it seemed like such a shame and missed outreach opportunity to do nothing this year. That is why the Arbuckle View SDA Church is proud to announce that it will be hosting “The Greatest Story Ever Told: An Arbuckle View Original Virtual Christmas Program.” This will be a program consisting of a combination of past choir performances and original pieces filmed this year. We are having two recording sessions, one on October 17, and the other on November 8, to ensure that we maintain health practices while getting the material needed to pull this off. The event will premiere live on the Arbuckle View Church’s YouTube channel on December 19 at 7:00 p.m. Please visit the Arbuckle View Church’s website, Facebook page and YouTube channel as we will be posting more information as the program gets closer. For now, we are grateful for the way God has blessed our church to be able to host a Christmas program for our church members and for the community despite uncertain times. We look forward to performing for you on December 19, virtually of course!
Youtube Channel: https://bit.ly/2J6qvUF

By Caleb Pack
Alva Celebrates Baptism
ALVA, OKLA. - Sabbath celebrations abound! An honorable young man decided to commit his life to Christ through baptism on October 31 and we are blessed and excited to welcome him to the Alva Seventh-day Adventist Church family as a member! It's always great to see a young person like Joe take the next step in their relationship with God. The Alva church is excited to see what roles God has in mind for Joe. We love to see young people get involved in the church and are thrilled to have him officially on our team.

By Ashley Alipoon
Resources
Reclaiming Intimacy
The early days of marriage are nearly always filled with intoxicating feelings of romance, desire, and passion. These feelings create such an aura of excitement and uncertainty that they greatly enhance a couple’s awareness of the intimate experiences they share.
Having an All-In Night With Family
Children don’t just accidentally “grow up” to become emotionally healthy, mature, compassionate individuals; they need to have their parents around often so they can see their values put into action. We need to share our life stories and experiences with our children, and most of all, we need to encourage, love and respect them.
Stupid Money TV Episode 11: Kids
Watch as John Mathews, Vivian Johnson, and Diana Santos discuss financial decisions regarding children. Learn how to instill discipline in your children’s spending habits and many other financial tips to teach children.
Adventist World
88.3 The Journey FM Hosts Successful Sharathon
Last week, Southwestern Adventist University’s contemporary Christian radio station, 88.3 The Journey FM, raised over $130,000 during its Fall Sharathon, a bi-annual event when listeners come together to support the station’s mission of being radio for the walk of life.
Service Responds to Disaster Across the U.S.
Wildfires that began small and relatively contained in northwest Oregon, United States, in late August became a catastrophic disaster starting Labor Day weekend, creating one of the most destructive events in the state. 
Hundreds of thousands of acres of land have been destroyed, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate. While 60 percent of the fire has been contained, many are still displaced from — or have completely lost — their homes.
School Kids Get 5,000 Backpacks Through ADRA
When 9-year-old Quetzalli Dominguez opened her new backpack to find the colored pencils and other school supplies inside it was almost like Christmas. “I love it,” she said, smiling behind her face mask decorated with small hearts.
Turn Back the Clock...
On October 12, 2002 the members of the First Tulsa church dressed as the Adventist pioneers for the church's Advent Pioneer Day. From left: Jennifer Dohlman (Annie Smith), Jeff Elder-Sola (William Miller), David Qualls (Joseph Bates), Ruth Qualls (Rachel Oaks Preston), Bruce Carrico, Peggy Dohlman (Ellen White) and Pastor Reggie Phillips (James White).
Thou Shalt Smile...
28 Delicious Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
Don't know what to fix for your family this Thanksgiving? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Let’s make sure you and your plant-based-diet loved ones have an amazing dinner. To get you started off on the right foot this holiday season, here is a collection of 28 incredible vegan thanksgiving recipes. Enjoy!
Please share your church and school activities by emailing pictures and stories to Communication@Okla-Adventist.org. Invite others to sign up to receive our E-Newsletter by visiting our conference website at www.okadventist.org. The sign-up form is at the bottom of the home page.

Daniel Ortega, Communication Director
Yesenia Ortega, Newsletter Manager
Caroline A. FisherNewsletter Editor
Communication@okla-adventist.org