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Adventist Deacon Detained by Immigration in New Jersey and More News Shorts


In this week’s news round-up, an Adventist deacon in New Jersey who fled Indonesia is detained by immigration agents, a Colorado Adventist school creates Valentine’s Day activity for local community, and a volunteer coach at an Adventist school near Seattle is charged with voyeurism.

Adventist Deacon Detained by Immigration in New Jersey. Gunawan Liem, a member of the First Indonesian Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Plainfield, New Jersey, was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after he dropped his daughter off at the school bus stop. Following his detainment, his pastor, Steven Rantung, was interviewed by Democracy Now. “He’s one of the deacons of the church, who serve in our church services. Also, when we need to serve the community, he’s one of the members that we usually send,” said Rantung. Liem fled Indonesia in 1999 after the Suharto regime collapsed because he is ethnic Chinese and a Christian. He stayed in the U.S. on an expired tourist visa. From Democracy Now, “Two Immigrants Detained in NJ While Taking Children to School; Third Seeks Sanctuary in Church.”

Colorado SDA School Provides Community Painted Rock Valentine Activity. The first- to fourth-grade students at Lighthouse Seventh-day Adventist Christian School in Fort Morgan, Colorado, developed a community event for Valentine’s Day—a painted-rock hunt. Teacher Karen Reinke thought it might be a good social studies project. “The community already has the car show and Christmas events, but we don’t really do anything for Valentine’s Day,” Principal Jodie Aakko said. “Why don’t we paint rocks and set them out for the community to find? When they find the rocks, why not have gift bags for them?” The children did lots of planning, including decorating the rocks. Then they got permission to hide the rocks in two city parks. If a rock has a sticker on the bottom identifying it as part of the Lighthouse School Valentine’s Rock Hunt, the finder can take it to the Fort Morgan Library & Museum to receive a gift bag reward. From the Fort Morgan Times, “Valentine’s Rock Hunt is on.”

Volunteer Coach at Kirkland Adventist School Charged with Voyeurism. The girls’ basketball coach, Brenden Rajah, a 28-year-old volunteer at Kirkland Seventh-day Adventist School near Seattle, Washington, has been charged with two counts of first-degree voyeurism after two high school athletes found videos of themselves changing on a school-issued iPad. Ron Jacaban, the school principal, reported the incident to Kirkland police. He was at an away basketball game in Bremerton the previous day when another volunteer basketball coach summoned him to discuss “a serious staff issue,” according to the Kirkland police report.

When Jacaban met with the female coach, he found her with three “very distraught” students, two of whom were the victims named in the incident report, ages 14 and 17.The coach showed Jacaban the school’s iPad used to record basketball stats, used by coaches and students alike. A couple of students were using the iPad when they reportedly found some “upsetting” videos. From, “Charges: Kirkland basketball coach filmed girls changing.”


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 Redlands, California.

Image Credit: video still.


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