Conference E-Newsletter
September/October 2021 - Volume 4, Issue 8
The purpose of the Oklahoma Conference is to 
"Proclaim, Disciple, Live With Christ"
Finding Peace in today’s world.

As the year winds toward its end, it seems the world is doing the same. We are seeing around us an unstable, unsettled, and fearful world. This often results in stress and worry. We see hurricanes, fires, societal unrest, rising prices, war, and an unstable world and we wonder what the future holds. We Adventists, of all people, should know that Jesus is coming and He also holds the future as well as the present in His powerful hands. As we sing “Lift Up the Trumpet” let’s also remember Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” He is with us in the present, and He will be with us in the future, even unto the end. Hebrews 12:2 says it very well: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” We must keep our eyes on Him, not on the trouble, or the problems. Jesus probably said it best in the section on the second coming in Luke 21:25 where He mentions, the “sea and waves roaring” (like Hurricane Ida). Next Jesus mentions, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” This is a perfect description of our world today. But then Jesus offers hope for the future.  He says, “And they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." In the time of man’s fear and weakness, God reveals His power and glory. He then counsels us this way: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near." Hallelujah and praise the Lord—that is great news. So let’s remember, God is with us in the present. He is in control today and will be in the future. We need to keep our eyes on Him, trust in Him, and keep looking up and going forward. After all, we are Adventists, and have known that the future is about the good news of Jesus coming, not the bad news we see in our world today. This world is not our home, so “let not your heart be troubled” because He has prepared places for us in heaven and is soon coming to take us home. Let’s share this great news with our neighbors and families. Maranatha!

James Shires, Conference President
Dear Conference Family,

Our Executive Board Meeting was held in person at the Conference office on August 26, 2021. Each department gave a report and various items were brought up for discussion and vote.

First, the Executive Committee approved new credentials for all pastors, lay pastors, and teachers. The Executive Committee then voted for a new Conference Board of Education. The members are by position and as voted. Members by position: James Shires, Apple Park, Charles Reel, Tim Kripps, and Dr. Carol Campbell. Voted members: Tim Scull, Annette Park, Peggy Fisher, Audrey Fabriga, Vicki Toews, Tasha Schellenberg, Sheila Teal, Andrew Spooner, Wes Via, Daniel Ortega, and Silvia Berumen.

The Board voted to approve the Wewoka Woods Adventist Center Board's recommendation to create a plan to move the nature center from the lodge to the ABC building.

The Executive Committee received a recommendation to change the conference office hours: The office will be open Monday—Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and closed on Fridays. It will take awhile for everyone to get used to these new hours so the time change will go into effect on October 1, 2021. We are the last to join the Southwestern Union for these new office hours.

The Executive Committee voted to ask Norma Shepherd to serve as Children's Ministry Coordinator, Damaris Prieto as the Children's Ministry Assistant Coordinator, and Luis Prieto as the Community Service Assistant Director.

A report for new pastors and their new assigned districts was given. They are:

  • Barry Smith to the Elk City, Weatherford, and Altus District
  • Anthony Adams to the Choctaw and Shawnee District
  • Kwansoo Kim to the Tulsa Korean Churc
  • Lonnie Carbaugh to the Central SDA Church in Oklahoma City

We are also in the process of transferring Dominic Alipoon to the Bartlesville, Nowata, and Ponca City District and Ben Burkhardt to the Woodward, Shattuck, Cherokee, and Alva District.

Elder Shires reported that the Conference is looking to organize special committees to improve and grow the ministries in Oklahoma. An evangelism committee, a strategic planning committee, a district re-organizing committee, and a lay leadership committee will be organized to enhance the different ministries and provide some training in different areas. If you are interested in being on one of these committees, please get in touch with Elder Shires or me. 

Apple Park, Conference Executive Secretary
Oklahoma Conference Welcomes New Employees
Pastor Kwansoo Kim and his wife Moonhyuo Jo will be serving as a part-time pastor of the Tulsa Korean Church.
Pastor Barry Smith and his wife Jasmine will be serving the Altus, Elk City, and Weatherford churches.
Pastor Anthony Adams and his wife Angela will be serving the Choctaw and Shawnee churches..
Pastor Benjamin Burkhardt and his wife Shiela will be serving in the Shattuck, Woodward, Cherokee, and Alva Churches
Damaris Prieto will be serving as Hispanic Ministries administrative assistant and will be helping at the front desk as receptionist.
Upcoming Events!
Youth Leadership Training
Our annual Youth Leadership Training Weekend will take place from September 10-12 at Wewoka Woods. There will be training for Adventurers, Pathfinders, Master Guides, TLTs and Children's Ministry leaders. Register today to reserve your place.
The Women’s Ministry of the Oklahoma Conference will host a fall retreat on October 10, 2021. The theme is guarding your heart and growing in Jesus Christ. t will be a day of encouragement in your journey with Christ and equipping to share the good news with others. Please register immediately; seats are filling up. Registration is due by October 1, 2021.

The speaker will be Cindy Mercer and the retreat will take place at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 2501Conference Dr., Norman, OK, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
The Oklahoma Youth Department is inviting all youth to come together to a work bee at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center on October 17. The camp needs a lot of TLC! Minor carpentry jobs/repairs, deep cleaning, painting, repairing and trimming trails, and brush/rock clean up are some of the jobs we will be doing. Please register and let us know that you are coming so the chef can prepare meals and plan accordingly.
Plan to join Native Ministries on October 22, 23, and 24 for the next Native Camp Meeting and Training to be held at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center. There will be information on working with Native Americans, and we will be joined by Native Ministries directors from other conferences and unions to report on the activities in their field. Enjoy a special appearance by a very good friend of Native Ministries, singer Jennifer LaMountain. We are currently working on a second musical guest and other programming. You do NOT want to miss this meeting.

By Jim Landelius
The Union Pathfinder Camporee takes place every five years with the participation of Arkansa/Louisiana, Texico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Regional Conference. This year the camporee will take place fro October 28-31 in Athens, TX. Click the link below for more information.
The church was born at Pentecost when the first Christians came together to pray. As they prayed, they drew nearer to Jesus and then to each other. This is our greatest need today. After the groups received the Holy Spirit, they took the gospel to the world. We have been given the same commission today! Go tell the world Jesus is coming soon and share how to get ready. To do this will take big prayers, serious prayers. That’s what we plan to pray about at our upcoming prayer conference at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center. Come and join us ~ big prayers change lives, change families, change churches and change the world.  Let’s come together and pray big. Registration details coming soon!
Out and About ...
Oklahoma Campmeeting
Click on the button below to view picture highlights from this year's Camp Meeting. If you missed any of the presentations or would like to view it again, you can purchase a copy of the dvd by clicking on the button below.
Blind Camp
WEWOKA, OKLA.- Beginning in 1990 and continuing for 13 seasons, Wewoka Woods Adventist Center has provided a summer camp opportunity for the blind. This year we had a small number of attendees due to concerns of COVID-19, in addition to struggles with transportation. Regardless, those who attended were excited to be there, eager to reunite with returning staff and getting to meet the new staff. Affiliated Blind of Louisiana brings a group of campers every year so we asked them why they choose our camp. They enthusiastically replied, “Because we love Wewoka Woods, and we love the staff!" This year the top three most popular activities for them were horseback riding, lake activities, and swimming at the pool. Aside from our daily activities we had our annual bonfire, talent show, and traveled to Shawnee for a memorable night of bowling.

Blind camp is always the favorite week for our summer camp staff because they have an opportunity to relax a little and interact in a special way with the campers. In addition, working with blind campers allows them to better understand invidiuals with special needs and challenges. It gives them a better perspective of life and helps them better appreciate the things that we sometimes take for granted.

By Yesenia Ortega
Spanish Camp Meeting
WEWOKA, OKLA.- The sunny days and high temperatures of this summer were no obstacle for the Hispanic families of the Oklahoma Conference who declared “I WILL GO” to camp meeting, celebrated from July 23-25, 2021. It was an extraordinary event, since the news channels were announcing the return of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some were fearful of becoming infected. In the end, the desire to celebrate together this spiritual feast and feel the presence of God was stronger than the fear.

We were richly blessed by the messages from Pastor Jose Pagan and his continuous altar calls to surrender our lives to God, and to allow the Holy Spirit the opportunity to do the work of reconsecrating our lives. We were witnesses to the miracle of three lives sealing their pact with heaven through baptism. 

More than 200 youth met with Pastor Paulo Tenorio, who motivated them to serve and have a personal encounter with Jesus. The children were an important part of the services, both with assisting but also with the message that we have a great future ahead of us. Our guest singer, Felipe Garibo, called us to God through special music and a very spiritual concert. 

The central part of our camp this year was the Passion Play. Different scenes were represented by different churches. It dramatized the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the hope of seeing His return in glory.

We thank God for the privilege that He gave us to present this program to around 1,200 people who accompanied us and we hope that, if it is His will, in 2022 we are able to have a similar experience where we can marvel at His great love, and find strength in the surety of His promise, “Behold, I am coming soon….” 

By Luis Prieto, Hispanic Ministries Coordinator
Children's Ministries Certification Training
TULSA - The Tulsa area Spanish churches came together to receive Children's Ministries Training on August 21 to help them better serve children. We had representatives from Broken Arrow, Garnett, Independence and West Siloam Springs churches. Almost 50 people attended the training. The theme of this training was "Ministering to Parents," where participants learned the great responsibility of increasing Christian values in our children. The event was held at the Tulsa Central Spanish SDA Church, which did an excellent job as the host church. Enriched by the seminars and eager for more trainings, members asked when would it be the next training. It is our desire to continue to provide opportunities for  future certifications in which we hope many more will join.

By Damaris Prieto, Children's Ministry Assistant Coordinator
Father/Son Lake Escapade
WEWOKA, OKLA.- The Oklahoma Conference Children’s Ministry Department hosted its first ever Father/Son Lake Escapade at Wewoka Woods Adventist Camp on Sunday, August 22. The day started off at 8:00 a.m. with the option to go mountain bike riding, disk golfing, or fishing. We learned that the fish in the lake really like vegetarian food as we used Loma Linda Tender Bits for bait and those that were fishing had fun catching and releasing the fish back into the lake. By 10:00 a.m. most everyone had arrived, and we gathered together at the lakeside amphitheater and had worship. Rex Shepherd led out with his focus on the parable of the prodigal son and how important the father-son relationship is.

Four of our wonderful summer camp staff returned for the day to be our lifeguards.  The pool was open for those who wanted to swim and also the lake front was open for canoeing, kayaking, paddling the paddle boat, playing on the water trampoline, and swimming. We stopped for a picnic-style lunch ofveggie burgers, macaroni salad, chips, and cookies. After lunch, the boat was prepared to take all those who wanted to go tubing.

Another fun factor was the inflatable obstacle course. It was enjoyable to watch the fathers and sons in action as they raced each other. Of course, the sons that beat their fathers had to proclaim the fact loud and clear!  We had other games set up to be played, but the biggest hit was being able to play in the water on a hot August day.

It is the mission of the Children’s Ministry department to provide opportunities for families to connect not only on a spiritual level but in a fun and safe environment.  Thank you to all the fathers who took time out of their busy schedules to bring their sons to this special event. Thank you to Pastor Daniel Ortega and to the Children’s Ministry Team who worked together to make it happen!

By Norma Shepherd, Children's Ministry Coordinator
Wewoka Woods Welcomes Volunteer from Argentina
WEWOKA, OKLA.- On August 10, Wewoka Woods Adventist Center received volunteer Andrew Block who will be serving with us for just under six months. Andrew, who is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, recently finished high school and committed the next six months to serve in a mission field abroad before starting college. Through our denomination's world-wide volunteer program, Adventist Volunteer Service, Andrew applied and was accepted to serve in our conference. Andrew's main responsibility will be to assist our camp ranger, Sam Hutchinson, with the various needs throughout the camp. In addition, as time permits, he will be preaching at some of the local churches.

When asked why he decided to leave the comforts of his home country and travel thousands of miles away to serve in a place he didn't know, he gave many great responses. However, one that stood out was that he, "wanted to be in a place where he had to rely fully on God and trust His promises, strengthening his relationship with Him." We are thankful for young men and women like Andrew who are willing to dedicate their lives for a period of time to serve fully in the Lord's work. We pray that other young people will be inspired and consider taking time off to serve as missionary. If you or a young person you know is interested in serving as a missionary oversees, please contact our Youth Department for guidance and counsel on how to make this a reality.

By Daniel Ortega, Youth Director
Adventist Fellowship hosts "Children in the Park"
TULSA- During the first week in August, Adventist Fellowship hosted an outreach called "children in the park." It happened at a local park around the corner from the church. The outreach team knocked on doors and passed out fliers in the community within close proximity to the church and the community came out. Each day children were taught a bible lesson, made a craft, played games, and were provided a snack. They learned that Jesus loves them and so do their neighbors at Adventist Fellowship. 

By Karol Mosebay 
SWAU, the Southwestern Union, and ACS Partner to Assist Students In Need
KEENE, TEX. - Interviews are hard. I remember my first interview, and it was terrifying. My palms were sweaty, my voice was shaky, and my heart was pounding in my chest. First-time interviews can be nerve wracking—there are many things to be worried about—but occupation-appropriate attire should not be one of them. This is why Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU), the Southwestern Union, our local conferences, and Adventist Community Services (ACS) have partnered together to launch “The Success Closet” at SWAU, with the mission of providing young professionals who may not have professional attire clothing to dress for success.
Muskogee School Holds Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
MUSKOGEE, OKLA - Muskogee Seventh-Day Adventist Christian Academy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, August 30, 2021 to celebrate joining the Muskogee Chamber of Commerce. Those who attended included members of the Muskogee Chamber, Pastor Pat Milligan from the Muskogee church, Tim Kripps from the Oklahoma Conference education department, and the Honorable Marlon Coleman, Mayor of Muskogee. We had a special prayer ceremony for our students and staff, for future students, and then students sang a special song. Guests were then given tours of the facility.
Native Ministries Holds Stewardship and Finance Seminar for Pastors
OKLAHOMA CITY - During camp meeting, the Native Ministries department invited the pastors to bring their wives to Oklahoma City for a finance seminar. On Sunday morning, August 22, nearly a quarter of the pastors and their wives, along with a retired minister and a pastor from the Southwest Region Conference, responded to the invitation of Pastor Jim Landelius, who with his wife, Tammy, organized the event.  

Mark Eaton, former treasurer of the Oklahoma Conference and current treasurer of the Indiana Conference, began with a seminar on pastoral taxes. Some of the content he covered was familiar to the pastors. The United States Tax Code has become so complicated, most individuals would do well to consult a CPA or similarly trained financial consultant. Pastors, whose tax situation is different from most people, need to make sure their consultant is well versed in the portions specific to ministers.  

Elder Robert Burnette, Assistant to the President and Director of Native Ministries, gave the next presentation, on investing for the future, both temporal and eternal.  On the temporal side of things, Burnette spoke of ethical investing. There are certain companies whose practices make it unethical for a Seventh-day Adventist Christian to invest in. Burnette demonstrated how companies can be searched and investigated to ascertain whether a company is ethical or not regarding investments.

After a tasty lunch of haystacks and fresh fruit, the group came back together to discuss the most important part of the weekend’s topics: stewardship. Burnette pointed out it is far more than just returning tithe on Sabbath morning. Not all who practice some aspects of stewardship are Christians, but all Christians follow the practice of stewardship. Burnette counseled the group that seeking God with all one’s heart is the cornerstone of true Christian stewardship.

Stewardship and finances will be one of the areas that will be discussed at the upcoming Native Ministries fall camp meeting from October 22-24. Make plans to join us at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center.

By Jim Landelius
Native Ministries
Presents at ASI in Orlando
Adventist-laymen's Services and Industries (ASI) is the Seventh-day Adventist organization of supporting ministries, businesses, and professionals who are responding to the call of God to actively share Christ’s love and hope with the world. Many Native Ministries donors attend ASI and so Native Ministries attends each year and has a booth in the Exhibitors Hall to share what we have accomplished in the twelve months. This year, our ASI team leader Pastor Jim Landelius was joined by Pastor James Bokovoy, Caroline Fisher, and Sam Hutchinson.

Oklahoma Native Ministries is interested in an agriculture program here in our conference to help strengthen relationships with the tribal entities in our field. The idea has been very well received, with Chief-Elect Lewis Johnson of the Seminole Nation expressing a heartfelt desire to work together on such a project. During Oklahoma Camp Meeting, Chief-Elect Johnson spoke with several local farmers about this important project.

This year was a particularly rewarding experience for Native Ministries. The Pacific Union Native Ministries team, with funding and counsel from Oklahoma Native Ministries has pioneered an agriculture program for the Navajo Nation. On the entire Navajo Reservation, there are fewer than 20 grocery stores to service the tribe. Some individuals must travel over 100 miles to the nearest grocery store and often the choices are limited. Native Ministries sent our team photographer, Pastor James Bokovoy, to meet Nancy Crosby, Director of Pacific Union Native Ministries. While he was there, Pastor Bokovoy shot video and together with Pastor Christian Smith, put together a video showcasing the successful project. Native Ministries was able to work with ASI leadership and the video was shown on Sabbath Morning at ASI just before Elder Ted Wilson, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, spoke to those assembled. Due to its showing, every Native American booth (in addition to Oklahoma and Pacific Union, Holbrook Indian School had a booth) had people visiting in large numbers.

Native Ministries looks forward to working with the Chief-Elect Johnson on this project and several more as he is very interested in the Adventist message and may eventually begin Bible studies.

By Jim Landelius
Joseph's Storehouse Holds Food Giveaway
MUSKOGEE, OKLA. - The Muskogee church’s food pantry, Joseph’s Storehouse, held its first drive-by food giveaway on Monday, August 30, 2021 and distributed 125 bags of food. Joseph’s Storehouse is open each Monday, except on major holidays, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Adventist Community Services Center at 615 South Main Street, Muskogee. Anyone needing food is welcome to come twice per month and select items they need.   Joseph’s Storehouse held the food giveaway to reach more people in need and make them aware of our presence in the community.  

By Cindy Adams
Audio Stories for Kids
Discovery Mountain is a dramatized audio program where listeners experience adventure, mystery, camp fire songs and, most importantly, get to know Jesus. Discovery Mountain launched in 2017 and is a ministry of the Voice of Prophecy.
Coping With Grief
Adventist World
James Winegardner to Lead ARM as President
Silver Spring, MD.— Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) announced the appointment of James Winegardner to serve as president and chief executive officer of ARM and Gencon Insurance Company of Vermont (GICV). Winegardner will begin his role at ARM effective immediately and will replace Karnik Doukmetzian, who served ARM as interim president since April 1, 2021.
ADRA Mobilizes Support In Haiti Rattled By Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake
HAITI – On Saturday, August 14, around 8:30 am, an earthquake measured at 7.2 magnitude struck the southern areas of Les Cayes, Jeremie, Saint Louis de Sud, Aquin, Petit Trou de Nippes, Anse-a-Veau, and Cavaillon, followed by several aftershocks. Vibrations could be felt as far as Jamaica, about 200 miles away.
What's Cooking
Five Healthy Salad
Dressing Recipes
When it comes to salad dressings, there are so many different options and flavors, sometimes I even find it difficult to pick one to put on my salad. So, I’m sharing with you not just one, not two, but five of my current faves!
Please share your church and school activities by emailing pictures and stories to Invite others to sign up to receive our E-Newsletter by visiting our conference website at The sign-up form is at the bottom of the home page.

Daniel Ortega, Communication Director
Yesenia Ortega, Newsletter Manager
Caroline A. FisherNewsletter Editor