American Union Conference 2017 Highlights

On Wednesday, August 23, members, visitors, youth, and children came together at Pine Springs Ranch Christian Camp and Conference Center for the American Union Conference under the theme of “God’s Grace: Steps to Salvation.” In the next few days, we were blessed with two baptisms performed by Elders Henry Dering and Joel Barnedo, the new American Union officers who had been elected by the delegates were presented, and many inspiring services were given. Below are highlights of the Conference, written by Sister Athai Finch from notes taken by her, Brother Richard Eaton, from Canada, and Sister Evelyn Holmstroem, from Sacramento, California.

Wednesday, August 23

The Conference began at 7:00 p.m., with Elder Oscar Valles, from Vista, California, welcoming the participants as he began his  service, titled “Life,” about what it means to live a Christian life. In this service, Brother Valles mentioned the title of the conference, “God’s Grace,” and explained that every topic would be based on God’s great and blessed promises. We must give ourselves completely to Jesus to be able to live the Christian life, a real life that the Lord will give while we are still on earth.

Often, when we examine ourselves and recognize our faults, we question how to really live this Christ-like life. How is this possible? What are the steps? In John 3 is a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. A well-known teacher of the Jewish people, Nicodemus asks Jesus what He means by saying that one must be born again. Jesus answers, “… Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:5, New King James Verson. The rabbi did not grasp the concept of this rebirth, but it is simple. One must be born from above, meaning our minds and hearts are miraculously changed by God through His indwelling Spirit. There is a need for increased growth in our spiritual lives, for searching God’s word. When we study in the way that we should–with the desire for God to work in us–a change takes place. The first step in this process for a true Christian life is repentance. Repentance shows that we love our Saviour more than we love our sins. Realizing that this change must take place, the Spirit gives us that godly fear that leads to repentance.

There is a great need to study the word of God. Jesus told Nicodemus that if a person is not born from above he cannot enter the heavenly kingdom that He has established. This kingdom consists of purity; and if we are Christian people, we are not citizens of this world, but rather citizens of heaven. As one studies more and more, he or she gains more knowledge. It is amazing how one can change without even thinking about the fact that we have made that change! What does contemplating Christ and His righteousness do for us? It leaves no room for self-righteousness or self-glorification, for studying the word of God will bring us to contemplate Jesus’ righteousness! 

We know that we cannot change ourselves; we also know that trying to change ourselves will not work. Therefore, God invites us to come and reason with Him. “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18, New King James Version. God tell us, “Let’s talk it over.” No matter how bad our sins are, He will take them away. No matter how terrible our condition is, it will be made pure. In order for this to happen, we must have an intimate relationship with our Saviour. How? Draw nigh to God. Get close to Him; don’t look at what’s going on around you. As you look to Him, He will come close to you!

Thursday, August 24

On Thursday morning, after Elder Oscar Valles sang “It’s Only a Prayer Away,” Elder Ciro Arevalo, from Orlando, Florida, spoke about “Grace,” which is defined as “unmerited divine mercy.” Although not one of us deserves it, God has indeed extended amazing grace to each of us. Presidents have the right to give presidential pardons. A Puerto Rican man named Oscar Lopez Rivera was pardoned after spending many years in prison. But he wanted other prisoners pardoned with him. Ironically, those prisoners were released, but Oscar remained in prison for many more years–until he was pardoned by President Barack Obama in January 2017. Such a pardon, however, cannot be compared to the grace of God, which is for everyone. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8, New King James Version. 

The Spirit of prophecy urges us to pray for that “amazing grace.” “Go to your closet, and there alone plead with God:… Do not leave your closet until you feel strong in God;…” –Messages to Young People, p. 131. While public prayers should be short, God urges persistence in our private pleadings. “… Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Romans 5:20, New King James Version. The Holy Spirit waits to soften and subdue hearts, but many refuse to repent. Here in Pine Springs Ranch, while we are “vacationing” with God, let us take the time to eliminate even the smallest fault. We are in the process of sanctification. How much humility we need from Christ! Are we offended when others hurt us, or do we pray for them? God wants to change our faulty characters and make them symmetrical. Sin is selfishness, the “cancer of the soul.” Christ can give us power to overcome all self-centeredness. A tree that has been cut down will regrow but not one that is uprooted. Our characters are being prepared now for eternity. We owe every blessing to sovereign grace. Grace brought about our adoption. Let us tell others of our experiences.

Years ago, during a military battle, a guard fell asleep. By law, he should have been put to death. But the troop leader took the sleeping guard’s weapon–then pardoned the guilty soldier. Christ is coming soon. The Sunday law is at the door. Examine yourselves now, and straighten out your difficulties. The devil trembles when God’s people unite in doing this!  

Elder Pablo Hunger, from Cedartown, Georgia, presented a study on “Virtue.” What is virtue? It is the health of the soul. The virtue of a man is measured not by his extraordianry exertions but by his everyday conduct. Why is virtue important? It is not just a moral idea; it has to do with our practices and habits, with our outward appearance and how we talk and live in the world. It is about the witness that we give to those around us. We need to be different.

If we apply virtue to our own lives, we see that following in Jesus’ footsteps makes us virtuous like Him. Like Him, our presence will be a great blessing to all around us and will give spiritual healing. If we have the virtue of Jesus–or, in other words, His character attributes or moral standard of behavior–we will also have the same power as He does to reach hearts and minds with His love.

The Lord promises all the power of heaven and earth to us. The process is first to accept Him into our hearts, and then we begin to display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Through Him we have more power than we could ever imagine. When we have His virtue, we automatically have power from Him. This power will heal physically and spiritually. If there is disunion, the second step will not be there. We need to ask the Lord for faith, but we also need to ask Him for power. Virtue is not just a moral principle but also something that defines one’s character and behavior. 

Elder Danilo Monterroso, from Guatemala, presented a service titled “Knowledge.” The book of Genesis reveals two kinds of knowledge–a knowledge of good and a knowledge of evil. Why do we have the knowledge of evil? Could it be that God allowed it? When we talk about a knowledge of evil, the Spirit of prophecy refers to sin. Where did the knowledge of evil come from? It is generated by disobedience.

One cannot separate science from religion–faith. The Bible foretold that there would be an increase in the knowledge of evil. Why did God destroy the antediluvian race? It was because of the evil knowledge that they accepted and cultivated. Fast forward many generations, and a moral and intellectual paralysis took hold of all of Christianity. Satan persecuted God in His people because of the scriptures, and the result was that science did not advance. What does Daniel 12:4 say? “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:13, New King James Version.

It is true that, when the papacy took control, no one could have the Bible. A time came when the scriptures were translated into many languages and circulated by the Bible societies. Satan was unable to destroy the holy word. But now Satan has another plan. He does not actively persecute or try to destroy the Bible. His plan is for everyone to have a Bible, but he makes sure they do not read it. 

We must understand God’s will. Today science has increased greatly–exponentially. There have been many advances made in health and engineering, as well as in the social realm. Jesus foretold that conditions at the end of time would be like those of the antediluvians. The Flood swept away the great discoveries and inventions of the antediluvian world. Man will never again come to the great understanding that those people had or could have.

For many, science research has turned into a curse. In allowing amazing discoveries in the sciences and in the arts, God has poured out channels of light. But even the most capable and powerful minds, if they are not guided by God, will lose their way. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” Romans 1:28, New King James Version. 

When man disconnects God from science, he becomes just like the people in the days of Noah. Gender identity is a problem today. Mexico and Colombia have accepted such perverse thinking. We held conferences in these two places, and we spoke about this. In the creation, there was a man, and there was a woman; that has always been clear for all to see. But every day the world is bombarded with Babylonian knowledge. Every day evil is readily seen and heard. But we need to plead for wisdom from on high so that our knowledge comes only from God. “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you….” Hosea 4:6, New King James Version. 

Too often we forget about the importance of basic truth, health reform, dress reform, and our duty to God. This is the science of salvation, which is the most important science in the school of life. The testimonues say that the wisdom of Solomon is desirable, but the wisdom of Christ is more so and is critically essential. Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away, but His word is eternal. May God bless His word in His people!

Friday, August 25

The topic of “Peace,” was presented by Elder Joel Barnedo, from New York, for the Friday morning worship service. “Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:18, New King James Version. Worry and anxiety are opposites of peace. To obtain peace, read your Bible, listen to sacred music, and relax in a hammock when you can. Live life to the fullest! “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15, New King Jemes Version. Without peace in your own heart, you cannot be a missionary. You cannot put on peace; it must come from inside, received from the heavenly throne. In the family, the husband should be the “prince of peace.” Some children don’t even want their fathers to come home! He is always “preaching,” they say. When we have unforgiving hearts, we cannot have peace. Instead, we “serve time for someone else’s crime.” We don’t need to understand every test, but we can still have peace. We can say, “Today I choose to trust You.” Then move on, choosing to forgive.

Brother Barnedo said that he was frightened at the thought of moving from Denver to New York City. His first thought was, I’d rather go to the Philippines and enjoy life. But after he went to the Bronx and moved into the church basement apartment, he created a little garden for his wife and sent her pictures. Then, when she came, she said she did not want to return to Denver! “When we are together, we feel like we are dating once more. I have become young again!” There is joy in bringing souls to Jesus. Those who walk with God always reach their destinations in peace. Be happy. You never know how much time you have left.

Brother Barnedo sang “Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace” with Siter Irene Kim. Then he prayed: “It’s wonderful to be a part of God’s wonderful people. Before our births, You had a plan for us. Help us to experience God. For 40 years You have made me so happy to serve You. Help me to love everyone, to give them hope, to inspire them with the knowledge that serving You is a privilege. Help us to serve our families first, then our neighbors. Help us to serve Jesus in all we do.”

The Sabbath opening service was presented by Elder Henry Dering, from Sacramento, California, under the topic of “Patience.“ “Here is the patience of the saints, here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.“ Revelation 14:12, New King James Version. This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying His commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. We must endure and continue, and then we will be saved.

“It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” Revelation 13:7, New King James Version. The saints will practice patience and persevere during the time of persecution. They have an unbreakable faith and will hold onto the hand of Jesus, standing firmly on the truth. When we think of having faith, the Bible explains that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is something that we cannot see, but it is acted out. Brother Dering used Job as an example of living patience, persevering in honoring God. We must be like Job, but above all we must pray to be like Jesus, our great Example.

Sabbath, August 26

On Sabbath morning, Elder Tzvetan Petkov, from Cedartown, Georgia, gave the morning worship service, titled “Precious Promises.” Brother Petkov began with the verse found in Luke, “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you today you will be with Me in paradise.’ ” Luke 23:42, 43, New King James Version. Hanging on the cross, Jesus promised this criminal eternal life, all because he believed. One question is, Did this criminal really believe in Christ? The criminal could have thought, This promise is too good to be true! However, Jesus knows the inner, deepest thoughts of everyone’s mind and can see his heart. This man had faith, and Jesus promised him eternal life.  Like the two criminals on the cross, we are sinful; we are criminals condemned to death. In this account of the two criminals is a picture of humanity. One criminal was blind and did not know the gospel. 

Even though God’s promises may seem extremely unbelievable, one can do everything through Jesus Christ. Let us not forget that what is impossible for man is possible with God. 

Elder Idel Suarez, Jr., from Cedartown, Georgia, presented the Sabbath service titled, “Godliness.” The sermon began with an example of two ladders, one reaching to heaven and the other going down to hell. Brother Suarez called the first ladder Peter; and, the second ladder Dante’s Inferno. The first step of Peter’s ladder is faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. What would be the first step of the Dante’s Inferno ladder? The answer is doubt and skepticism. Satan comes to make us doubt our relationship with God; he also wants to make us doubt our relationship with our relatives and with the church. To get to heaven we must not encourage doubt, but instead talk faith, sing faith, and flee from doubt. Doubt leads to the opposite of virtue; it leads to vice!

Peter’s ladder goes from faith to virtue and then from virtue to knowledge. “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” 1 Peter 2:1, 2, New King James Version. There is a war going on in our souls. One inclination wants us to climb Peter’s ladder; that is the spirit of God working in us. But there is another natural inclination that wants to take us down the spiral of Dante’s Inferno. In order to desire the pure milk that Peter speaks of, we must feed that desire. For example, we have three foods that are the least allergic in the field of dietetics–applesauce, rice, and bananas. Peter says that we need to feed on the word of God. The Word of God is our baby food and also our solid food. 

We can become godly, but only by the grace of God. The word “godliness” is defined as being devout. To be devout means to be completely committed to God. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16, New King James Version. The mystery of godliness is that God went through a metamorphosis and became man for us. Jesus took the same flesh that Mary had. It is not enough that God became incarnate in the form of Jesus Christ; He also needs to become incarnate in each of us.

At Calvary there were two ladders, one brought by the Roman soldiers; and the other, by Joseph. The word of God tells about Jesus’ crucifixion. Afterward, with tears, Joseph climbed the ladder to free Jesus’ palms from the nails. The lifeless body of Jesus, the Lamb of God, was slowly taken down and put in the tomb, only to be resurrected. Are we willing to take the body of Christ? We must answer this question. God help us all to climb the ladder of faith to salvation.

Youth and Children’s Program

The Youth and Children’s Program on Sabbath afternoon was led by Sister Sandra Nelson, from Sacramento, California, and Brother David Moreno, from Los Angeles, California. It began with Elder Henry Dering, Sister Aracely Elias, and Sister Athai Finch singing “Because He Lives.”

Sister Martha Knight, from Denver, Colorado, shared the most inspiring testimony. She had heard of some young teens who lived under a bridge, and she felt compelled to minister to them by taking them food. As so happens with those who feel isolated from the world, at first the young people were not trusting.

As time passed, Sister Martha kept visiting the young people and bringing them food. Eventually they became trusting of her kindness. One young man approached her and asked her if he could speak with her; he told her that he had been living on the streets for 6 years! He is only 18 years old!

Then, the mother of Sister Martha got very sick for a while, so she and the other volunteers were unable to visit those living under the bridge. It often happens that we get busy and wrapped up in our own lives and then tend to forget about all those others who are in need. However, Sister Martha continued to pray for the young people living under the bridge; and as soon as her schedule opened up again, she and others went back to taking them food.

Eventually other people heard about the ministry, and it came to the point where 200 people were being given food every time. Sister Martha was told by one lady that she had heard about the food that was being brought and came from across town to get it. Meanwhile, another homeless man mentioned that he did not eat meat, which gave Sister. Martha the opportunity to tell him that there was no meat in this food. What a blessing to help others!

Doing the Lord’s work is the most uplifting service that anyone can do. Through our kindness and care for those in need, others from different areas hear and come to see what is going on. This reminds us of Jesus’ ministry on earth–healing, comforting, and giving hope to those in need. We are reminded once again that, to speak of God’s infinite love, we must live a life of love for others, as Jesus did. We thank Sister Martha and everyone in the Denver church and encourage them to continue the good Samaritan work in their community. God bless their efforts!

The children presented a special song with a message. It is always amazing how Jesus speaks to us through young children. A group that included Stephen Nelson, Joella Hunger, and Jonathan and Jeremiah Nelson asked the question: “What do frogs have to do with the kings of Judah?” We know that the kings of Judah fully relied on God, and so the children taught us an acronym: FROG–Fully Rely On God. This is also a very good way to help little ones remember that in any situation, no matter how difficult it is, they can fully rely on God, and He will never leave them. 

Another testimony was shared by a visitor from Colorado who helped a co-worker overcome sadness by sharing with her the book Steps to Christ, by Sister Ellen G. White. When we read this inspirational book, or reference it, our love for Jesus is increased!

After more special music was presented, Sister Sandra Nelson shared a testimony that reminded us of how wonderful God is. As we all know, Sister Sandy is in charge of Small Cloud Christian School in Wilton, California–out in the country. In addition to all of her other work, she manages the school funds and finances, along with her own life at home as a wife and mother of three. She feels the heavy load of work on her shoulders, and at one point she questioned why she continues the school project that is so much work and has so much stress connected with it.

Well, the answer to her question was very simple–she sees God’s love for her, and she sees the happy life that she has lived working for God. No matter how difficult it can get, it is a beautiful life. At one time, money was very scarce, and she prayed and believed that God would provide what was needed. Not long after-ward, she received a check for $10,000. The story about this money is someone else’s to share; but Sister Sandy’s praise was to God, because once again a miracle had been granted. She strongly believes that if one is not working for the Lord, he or she is missing out, especially on seeing miracles before one’s own eyes. Once again, this God we serve is an awesome God!

The Story of Education

“In planning for the education of their children outside the home, parents should realize that it is no longer safe to send them to the public school, and should endeavor to send them to schools where they will obtain an education based on a scriptural foundation. Upon every Christian parent, there rests the solemn obligation of giving to children an education that will lead them to gain a knowledge of the Lord and to become partakers of the divine nature through obedience to God’s will and way.” –Child Guidance, p. 304.

Sister Margie Seely, from Cedartown, Georgia, has been teaching for 24 years. A few years ago, she started the online Christian school, called Orion Christian Academy, under the American Union. Sister Margie told her story about “Education” on this Sabbath day and presented the background of how public schools became corrupt institutions driven by governmental power. 

History relates that Harvard University was founded 16 years after the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts; the people’s main goal was to educate their children and have them learn to read the Bible.

The New England colonies were the most educated colonies at that time; in fact, their literacy rate was 100 percent! The schools were funded by parents and/or teachers; even low-income families had a possibility of an education, because the churches would build low-cost schools.

However, when there is a great work being done for the purpose of God, Satan works hard to destroy it. By the mid-1800s, there was a push for government-funded education. From that time on, the public education system began systematically removing Biblical ideas from the schools.

The “great object,” as Orestes A. Brownson wrote, in the movement to rid public schools of religious traditions was to create “halls of science” and eliminate Christianity from public instruction. It was brought about in a subtle way. Now it has reached the point where prayer, religious belief, and anything related to Christian faith is completely banned from public schools. Thus, millions of young children are literally institutionalized so they will follow the ideas of a corrupt educational system. 

We should all remember to pray for the work of Sister Margie and others in educating children–our future and the future of the Christian faith. Let us lay a strong Christian foundation in our homes for the children’s fertile minds. Remember, they are the ones who will carry to the world the message of faith in Jesus Christ and His soon coming.

Sabbath Close

Elder Neptali Acevedo, from Denver, Colorado,  presented the service to close the Sabbath day, his topic being “Kindness and Charity.” “… To godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” 2 Peter 1:7, New King James Version. When Peter speaks of charity, he means love. Kindness and love can be distinct from as well as synonymous with one another. We can be kind to everyone, but do we ask ourselves if we really, truly love someone with the kind of love that one has for a family member or a child? When Peter said that we should have brotherly love, he meant us to have the foundation of a holy relationship in the spiritual family. 

Brother Acevedo referred to one of Jesus’ parables, given in Matthew 22. A lawyer challenged Jesus, asking Him which was the greatest commandment. Verses 35-40 show how Jesus explained the love that one should have for God in his heart, mind, and soul. And the second great commandment is like it–love your neighbor as yourself. 

True, pure love for others is the love we need to have. The principle of Jesus is love. If we really want to know what true love is, we can find the answer in Romans 12:9-21, which explains kindness and love in detail. These virtues are not just to be shared with our brothers and sisters, but also with our enemies. Yes, our enemies–those who have wronged us. We must forgive and forget their offenses, love them, and bless them. Paul counsels every believer NOT to overcome evil with evil but to overcome evil with good. 

Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:20, New King James Version. But we can have this kind of love only if the Holy Spirit is living in us. Let us set goals to reach this. Even though we may not be ready to accomplish these steps, with the help of and full submission to Jesus, we can do this!

Presentation of New American Union Officers

Before Elder Danilo Monterroso presented the new American Union Officers, he gave a few questions for thought. What should the church of God do? God will ask, “What did you do with your time?” “Did many come to the gospel because of you, or did you close the door?” In 1 Peter 5:2, New King James Version, the apostle counsels: “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly.” With this verse in mind, Brother Monterroso prayed and asked for a blessing on the new officers of the American Union, as follows:

President: Idel Suarez

Vice-President: Ciro Arevalo

Secretary: Larry Watts

Treasurer: Purita Lejuez-Sambre

Family Leader: Pablo Hunger

Canvassing Leader: Humberto Ajucum

Education Leader: Margie Seely

Assistant: Sandra Nelson

Missionary Leader: Henry Dering

Assistant: Tzvetan Petkov

Health Leader: Angella Russell

Good Samaritan Leader: Linda Suarez

Assistant: Vilma Ajucum

Multimedia Leader: Addin Ajucum

Youth Leader: Elvis Echavarria

AU Auditor: Evelyn Arevalo

Second AU Auditor: Rachel Austria

Finance Committee:

Purita Lejuez-Sambre (Treasurer), 

Tzvetan Petkov, Douglas Francis

Literature Committee: Henry Dering, Neptali Acevedo, Larry Watts

Executive Committee: Idel Suarez, Jr., Ciro Arevalo, Larry Watts, Purita Lejuez-Sambre, Pablo Hunger 

American Union Committee: Idel Suarez, Jr., Ciro Arevalo, Larry Watts, Purita Lejuez-Sambre, Pablo Hunger, Northeastern Field President, Puerto Rican Field President, Southeastern Field President, Western Field President

These officers have important responsibilities in the church. We thank them all for their selfless work in the cause of Christ. May God bless them, their families, the ministers, the Bible workers, the local churches, and all the believers!

Conference Close

The close of the American Union Conference was entrusted to Elder Larry Watts, from Cedartown, Georgia, who began by saying, “How do you say a lot in a few words?” He told of a Bible study given to a person who was interested in the truth and who had a question about the Holy Spirit. There is a great difference between one’s having the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s having the person. When we think we have the Holy Spirit, this means that we plan to control what the Holy Spirit does. But when we realize that we are not to have the Holy Spirit but that the Holy Spirit is to have us, there is humility in that.

When we become partakers of the divine nature by the power of God, we can start our heavenly climb. But how do we begin? With diligence! Diligence in what? Hebrews 11:6 gives the answer: Diligence in seeking Him by faith! We need to be diligent in doing His work. But first we must place our will on the side of His will. Let us seek God daily so we can grow in faith, and with that faith we will be able diligently to seek Him! 

“Repent, and Be Baptized”

On Friday, August 25, two souls were baptized: Stephen Nelson from Sacramento, California, and Grace from the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

“Then Peter said, Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38, New King James Version. The holy word of God explains clearly that we are born sinners and with a sinful nature. That is the reason why God gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross, so we may be saved and reconciled with God.

All Heaven is made glad by the decision of these precious souls. And the church is made glad as well. May God bless both Brother Stephen and Sister Grace in their journey with Christ. A wonderful life has just begun for them. The whole church welcomes them as partakers of God’s wonderful promises!

This concludes the highlights of the American Union Conference. We thank all the organizers, presenters, and participants for the spirit of love and unity that made this conference a great blessing. We will look back at this special convocation over the next two years as each of us carries out his or her unique mission for the kingdom of heaven.

The events and social conditions in this world on virtually every front show that soon every person will be placed in circumstances that will demonstrate in whom he or she trusts. But victory is promised to all who respond to and reflect the love of God as shown in Christ Jesus through the movings of the Holy Spirit. May God be praised always!

Many thanks to Brother Gadiel Macias for all of the photos.