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Canadian Adventist Church Helps Local Refugees—And More News

Credits (left to right): Rhonda Wilson, Barry Wilcox, Martine Verfaillie, and Elizabeth Glenn

Recently, Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church has partnered with North Yorks Revivaltime Tabernacle Church in Toronto “to house refugees in need of shelter,” reports Jane Stevenson for the Toronto Sun.

“For me, its almost surreal,” said [pastor] Andre Anderson. “You just wouldn’t think that would be happening in your own city. And, of course, while some people are putting some energy into who do you blame for this, our posture isn’t who do you blame but what do we do?”

Anderson, who has served the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church for five years and has been a pastor for nearly 18 years, said of his church, “They had already given out a brochure or at least a flyer that said, ‘These are the needs,’ and so we took a look at the list and we thought, ‘We wanted to tackle the toiletries.’”

“And so we put a call out to our congregation, and they responded, and we were able to give over 200 bags stocked with underwear, T-shirts, and toiletries and toothbrushes, and we were able to pack some food for them. And we continue to.”

Anderson says about 25 volunteers from his church showed up with the first drop-off, and they have promised to keep coming “for as long as there is a need.” He said his church is also looking at additional things like providing hot meals and grooming.

“Were also working on getting some barbers and hairdressers to go down there and help them to feel good about themselves while they are in transition,” said Anderson.

From the Toronto Sun, “Scarborough Church Provides Refugees with Toiletries and More.”

Loma Linda Connections for Two Cycling World Championships Competitors

Barry Wilcox, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in Gilbert, Arizona, "was thrilled to recently receive an invitation to compete in handcycling for Team USA at the 2023 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships this August in Glasgow, Scotland,” reports Trent Toone for The Church News. Wilcox enters the world cycling federation’s championship races during the first year the para-cycling events will be held together with the able-bodied cycling world championships, creating the biggest cycling event ever, August 3–13.

Wilcox qualified for Team USA in early 2022, but he needed to take some time away from competitive handcycling to deal with the stresses of life” and take care of himself, he said. During this time, he was selected by Loma Linda Universitys Paralympic training program, “PossAbilities,” and began training with higher-functioning handcyclists.

“My attitude changed,” he said. I was completely reinvigorated with these changes.”

Loma Linda University, a higher education system of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, requires its selected para-cycling athletes to uphold Christlike values, which the Latter-day Saint appreciated.

“It is a privilege to be part of and represent such an organization as one who is Christian to the core,” Wilcox said.

As a 16-year-old, Wilcox was on the path to becoming a professional cyclist and an Olympian, racing against people who would later compete in the Tour de France and other major professional races. His life changed when Wilcox was in a car accident that left him paralyzed.

“I’ve definitely seen the Lords hand in numerous parts of my life,” he said.

Wilcox is looking forward to traveling to Scotland to take part in the largest event in cycling history, featuring thousands of cyclists from around the world. “Its going to be awesome,” he said. “Huge.”

If things go well, Wilcox hopes for a shot at the Paris 2024 Paralympics. Reflecting on his journey, Wilcox expressed gratitude for his faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also attributed his success to hard work and goal-setting medals.

Read more of Wilcox's life story here.

—From Church News, “Latter-day Saint Prepares To Compete at Para-Cycling World Championships in Scotland.”

Loma Linda Academy senior Ella Sabo, 17, competed for the U.S. National Team this past weekend at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Championships, which are taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, August 3-13. She placed 55th out of 98 competitors in the under-19 women’s road race.

“I had the opportunity to race at the USA National Championships in Virginia and finished third place in the road race,” Sabo told Redlands Community News reporter John Murphy by phone from the Netherlands. “I petitioned and got accepted to race in Scotland.”

When not racing for the U.S. National Team, Sabo is a member of Virginias Blue Ridge Twenty-24 squad. She enjoys the camaraderie. “I love the community aspect of racing,” Sabo said. “I’ve formed a lot of connections because of cycling, and Im always meeting new people.”

One of the bonuses of being on the U.S. team is Sabos travel is paid for. She visited the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain before heading to Scotland. “My goal is to go back to Europe and do some more traveling,” Sabo said. “One of the advantages to being on the team is you get to explore new places in addition to enjoying your sport.”

The Loma Linda student keeps in close contact with her mother Jessi Sabo, a local dentist. Unfortunately, her father, Joe, recently passed away at age 46 of a brain aneurysm.

“Both my parents were supportive of my racing,” Sabo said. “I used to talk to my dad a lot about it. I think hed be proud to know where I am now.”

Asked what is difficult about racing she said, “It takes a lot of determination. You need to be self-disciplined and work hard and spend a lot of time training. Sometimes you have to miss hanging out with your friends to ride.”

—From Redlands Community News, “Cyclist from Loma Linda Academy To Ride at World Championships.”

AdventHealth in Colorado Renamed AdventHealth Avista after Expanded Oversight

In a partnership with CommonSpirit Health, AdventHealth in Colorado will now be named AdventHealth Avista, as announced in an August 1 press release.

AdventHealth is renaming Avista Adventist Hospital, Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Littleton Adventist Hospital, Parker Adventist Hospital and Porter Adventist Hospital, as it assumes direct management of these owned facilities. In addition, the related care sites and physician practices will also be renamed to reflect AdventHealths national brand and the brand promise it is known for, to help people feel whole.

“We are excited to directly manage the operations of our hospitals and care sites in Colorado, to welcome our caregivers and team members back into the AdventHealth family and to continue to provide whole-person care to the communities we serve,” said Terry Shaw, president/CEO for AdventHealth.

AdventHealth has appointed Brett Spenst to serve as president/CEO for the Rocky Mountain Region of AdventHealth, which, in addition to the five full-service hospitals, includes freestanding emergency rooms, urgent care centers, imaging services, outpatient services and primary and specialty physician practice locations.

Most recently, Spenst served as the senior finance officer and chief information officer at Adventist Health in California. Spenst previously served AdventHealth as the CEO of AdventHealth Orlando, where he provided crucial leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and made significant contributions to the development of that market. Before his time at AdventHealth Orlando, Spenst was the president/CEO of Littleton Adventist Hospital.

“Im thrilled to be returning to AdventHealth and Colorado to lead our teams of skilled and compassionate caregivers as we serve our communities and help them experience wholeness through our care, now fully backed by the strength of a powerful nationwide network,” said Spenst.

AdventHealth is committed to a smooth transition with a focus on taking care of team members and providers, continuing to deliver safe, high-quality, whole-person care, and supporting health and wholeness in its communities.

—From AdventHealth press release.

Seventh-day Adventist Chaplain Featured in U.S. Army News

(Lt. Col.) Kevin Daul is a Seventh-day Adventist and a U.S. Army Chaplain, serving the U.S. Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, Illinois. He is featured in a story by Elizabeth Glenn in U.S. Army News and Information.

“The role of a chaplain in todays Army isn’t a whole lot different since the Chaplain Corps was authorized by the Continental Congress on 29 July 1775,” said Chaplain Daul. “We are right next to our soldiers on mission while deployed, advising commanders and staff on hard ethical and moral situations, and in garrison caring for their families. Chaplains nurture the living, care for the wounded, and honor the dead.”

For 18 years, Daul has served in the Army and provided faith-based care for the needs of its soldiers, but the West Bend, Wisconsin, native has been serving God since he was a young boy. “I was raised in a Christian home where Christianity was everything,” said Daul. “My grandmother taught us how to pray, how to go to church, how to have a relationship with Jesus. I went to a Christian school, and the teachers invited us to be Christians and to give our lives to Jesus as our personal Savior and friend; in fourth grade, I accepted Christ as my Savior.”

At that time, Daul did not know that he was going to be a pastor, but after serving in the U.S. Air Force as a crew chief on KC-135Rs, he went to school and became a pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He took three years of undergraduate training at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and earned his Master of Divinity at Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Seminary, in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

“We are thoroughly educated before we come into the Chaplain Corps,” said Daul. “Chaplains are required to complete a Bachelors degree, a Masters degree, and the religious endorsers requirements before we come into the United States Army. Chaplains are fully qualified professionals before we put the rank on.”

“Being a chaplain is really all about receiving a calling for service,” said Daul. “Regardless of what denomination or religion you represent, chaplains have that calling for serving soldiers and the mission of the U.S. Army.”

Supporting people, regardless of denomination or religious preference in a wide variety of ways, is Dauls favorite part of serving as an Army chaplain. Whether he is needed as a listening ear about a persons joys and successes, or as a guide through lifes struggles, Daul will meet in whatever capacity and whichever location he is needed.

“We are kind of like a physician in that a physician takes care of the needs of every person, no matter what they believe,” said Daul. “I look at a person as a human being that God loves, and every human being that God loves, I take care of their spiritual needs.”

—From U.S. Army website, “New ASC Chaplain Ready To Provide Religious Support.”


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.

Title image by Spectrum / photo credits (left to right): Rhonda Wilson, Barry Wilcox, Martine Verfaillie, and Elizabeth Glenn.

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