In this week’s news round-up, Loma Linda University Medical Center doctors save mom with coronavirus who gave birth while in a coma, plus more Adventist news from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and La Sierra, California.
Loma Linda University Medical Center Doctors Save Coronavirus Mom and Her Preemie. More than one month after giving birth while in a coma, Blanca Rodriguez was finally able to meet her daughter, Jade. The stay-at-home mom was 28 weeks pregnant when she tested positive for the novel coronavirus. "My prayers were if God was hearing us to save my baby and me," she said in a video recorded by the Loma Linda University Medical Center in California, according to ABC7.
Rodriguez’s condition worsened, and she began struggling to breathe, putting the unborn baby at risk, her doctor Kanwaljeet Maken said. "During the seven days that I had her, there were lots of moments where I thought I had almost lost her," Maken, an internal medicine specialist, said in the video.
Rodriguez went into a coma and required 30 doctors in the operating room to deliver her baby via caesarean section. Days later, she awoke to learn that her baby had been born. More than a month after the birth, she was able to reunite with Jade, touching the infant through an incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit. "I am grateful they could do all they could do. It is a miracle. It is a blessing,” Rodriguez said. Baby Jade will still need more time to develop, but Rodriguez told NBC she hopes to bring her home in October. "I'm counting those days,” she shared.
Rodriguez and her doctors at the Loma Linda Medical Center said they hoped sharing her story will prompt others to take the ongoing pandemic more seriously. "The women who are pregnant — and their unborn babies — are innocent bystanders to the pandemic. Doctors hope Rodriguez' story reminds people the pandemic is still very much a threat," Martin told NBC. From People.com, “Coronavirus Patient Who Gave Birth While in a Coma Meets Daughter for the First Time.”
Kenosha Area SDA Pastors Lead Worship Service and Community Outreach at Local Park to Help Heal Tensions. Looking to bring the light of the Gospel message in the midst of dark times, local and southeastern Wisconsin regional Seventh-day Adventists gathered at Library Park in downtown Kenosha on Saturday to pray for the violence-wounded community and later spread out into Kenosha to volunteer in support of local clean-up efforts. “This is an opportunity for us to come and be there for a community that’s hurting,” explained Racine resident Zack Payne, head network pastor for Wisconsin Southeastern Network Seventh-day Adventist churches in Kenosha, Racine, and Raymond. “We want to be a light. We want to be a positive presence and able to help. We wanted to come together and show some unity in Christ so we can unify with our community and help. It’s a display of unity that we’re all able to come together and accomplish something — we’re here and we care.”
Noting he “would have been happy” with a turnout of 20, Payne said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the turnout of nearly 80 church members. “That’ll be a good group to get some things done,” he noted. Saturday’s gathering at Library Park drew participants from local Seventh-day Adventist churches as well those from across southeastern Wisconsin in the Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Beaver Dam areas. Also participating were representatives from the SDA’s Fall River-based Wisconsin Conference Office as well as its Berrien Springs, Michigan-based Lake Union Conference in southwestern Michigan.
Before spreading out for several hours to engage in community outreach to help restore the Kenosha community, the assembled church members gathered for worship at Library Park. Among those leading the service was George Andrews III, local pastor at Kenosha Seventh-Day Adventist Church. “God said he would send the Comforter, but God also uses His people to comfort,” Andrews said. “That’s why we’re here today… Keep your heart and your mind on Jesus Christ… God provides us with a source of comfort, strength, encouragement and peace. So if you need any of those, like I do, let’s pray and ask God for it.”
“Wisconsin Conference Youth Coordinator Eric Chavez of Beaver Dam closed out the worship service with a short reflection. “The devil is working very, very hard to make us lose heart,” Chavez said. “We know that God is victorious. Let us not lose heart.” Also participating in Saturday morning’s worship service at Library Park were Elder Patricia Antoine-Norton of Racine, and Auden RovelleQuartz of Franksville. From Kenosha News, “Seventh-Day Adventists gather in Kenosha to pray, volunteer.”
Chattanooga Adventist Faith Leaders Create Framework for Addressing Racism in the Church. Faith leaders in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have released a framework for addressing racism in the church, part of an ongoing effort in the city to bridge the racial divide among houses of worship. The L.E.A.D. pledge — standing for Listen, Embrace, Advocate and Dream — offers a framework for Christians who are not racist but may not be familiar with anti-racism work, said Nicole Parker, an adjunct professor at Southern Adventist University and author of the Tales of the Exodus series for children. Parker wrote the pledge alongside her four teenage children and their friends based on her family's experience of church attempts to embrace multicultural approaches to faith. Many white people are paralyzed by not fully understanding how racism operates and their own fear about saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing," Parker said.
Troy Brand, senior pastor of Orchard Park Seventh-day Adventist Church, took the pledge and started gathering support among local clergy. At least 150 clergy and at least 300 church members from Chattanooga and beyond have signed. "We didn't want it to be a 'feel good about myself for a moment' pledge," Brand said. "We wanted to challenge people. We want to end racism in the Christian church in America with this pledge. We know we are starting small here in Chattanooga."
The pledge calls on people to reflect on ways in which they may be involved in racist systems and offer hospitality toward people from different cultural backgrounds. People taking the pledge can reflect on each step before moving to the next, Brand said.
"It's good to listen and it's good to embrace, but then we need to begin to advocate because there's people in power and people who are not in power, and people need to speak up."
Parker and Brand said the Christian framework offers a meaningful way of confronting racism. Jesus confronted the oppression of marginalized people and showed how all people were equal in the eyes of God, Parker said. "Only a gospel-driven mission will make people willing to keep fighting racism when they are tired or when they get attacked," she said. Brand said the group is planning to release a 40-day devotional series on anti-racism work in the church sometime in September or October. From Chattanooga Times Free Press, “Chattanooga faith leaders challenge Christian church with anti-racism pledge.”
La Sierra University and ADRA Jointly Sponsor Free Backpack Give-a-Way. Volunteers on Friday, August 28, handed out free backpacks packed with school supplies to Riverside, California, students. The gifts are courtesy of La Sierra University’s Enactus team, which joined with the international Adventist Development and Relief Agency on the effort. They were donated through the agency’s global education campaign called “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” The giveaway’s purpose is to help needy families who are struggling even more because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
In all, students from 41 elementary schools in the Alvord and Riverside unified school districts will receive the backpacks. Inside are items such as notebooks, colored pencils, rulers, scissors, pencils, pens, glue sticks, pencil sharpeners, and erasers. From The Press-Enterprise, “Riverside kids getting 5,000 free backpacks full of school supplies.”
Please note: Spectrum news round-ups are an aggregation of regional, national, and international publications around the world that have reported on stories about Adventists. As such, the accuracy of the information is the responsibility of the original publishers, which are noted and hyperlinked at the end of each excerpt.
Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Yucaipa, California.
Image Credit: LLU.edu
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