Crossers seek crosses
Adventist Churches Take Action During U.S. Border Crisis
Crossers seek crosses
A Seventh-day Adventist church in California has taken God’s command to love foreigners to heart by setting up a shelter inside their church. Blythe Central SDA church received local news coverage when the San Diego Union Tribune reported on the church’s efforts since 2018 to aid those in need. Blythe, California has recently seen a rise in released refugees—people leaving the custody of the border detention centers. In response to this influx, members at Blythe Central SDA church have focused their efforts on taking in these refugees to assist the local Adventist Community Services Disaster Response (ACS DR) team.
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The church building has been housing up to 200 people at any given time, leaving them struggling to meet the needs of the refugees. Once news coverage of Blythe’s efforts was released by the Los Angeles Times, the conference learned of the situation and the Southeastern California Conference ACS reached out to the NAD for additional resources. What started in one local church has now reached clear up to the division. However, California isn’t the only place serving refugees. In Texas, ACS DR union directors reported that ACS has made two trips down to McArthur, delivering needed items such as clothing and comfort kits to those in need. Since then, the state Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) has also asked ACS to assist them in delivering needed items.
Yes we (Mexi)can!
The Los Angeles Times article reported that “nonprofit and faith-based organizations in Riverside and San Bernardino counties are among those that have stepped in to help the asylum seekers.” In terms of numbers, Riverside County spokeswoman Brooke Federico confirmed that 2,600 migrants have arrived in Blythe, a city of 20,000. As of July 7, the federal government placed a highly controversial hold on US shelters holding refugees and are now holding them in Mexico. This means the flow of released refugees has stopped for now, but locals and state agents are sure that there will be more.
Word on the street is…
Adventists who are against the influx of undocumented immigrants are struggling with the tension between Bible texts instructing us to love foreigners by treating them like citizens and their belief in the need to secure the nation’s borders. Overall, it seems people are pleased with how these Adventist churches and others have stepped up to help people in need. Maria Crespo-Lind, an elder at the Blythe church, explained why the church decided to step in, saying, “These people are not criminals. They are kids thinking that maybe they can do better. These people are just coming to try to seek a better life, and we are just trying to help them in this transition.”
Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle held at Loma Linda University
There’s more to life than FriChick and Big Franks
On July 9-13, Loma Linda University hosted the third Global Conference on Health and Lifestyle and it was not all Wham and Cutlets. The main idea of the conference was to promote the holistic interconnection between the activities of the mind, body, and soul. Daniel Giang advocated the idea that sleep is essential for our core functioning, especially at a time when many are disregarding this primary need. He gave the example of sleep apnea being a factor in the deaths of Supreme Justice Scalia and actress Carrie Fisher, as well as college students’ need for a schedule that accommodates to their circadian rhythm. Dr. Gary Fraser, one of the primary investigators of Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2), asserted that vegetarian Adventists as a group (vegans, vegetarians, ovo-lacto vegetarians, etc.) show tendencies in better health and longer life over those who eat red meat or poultry at least once per week. Fraser also pointed out the significant improvements in the mental health of individuals who worship on a regular basis. With growing movements in society such as degrowth, a movement focused on efficiency in work and not long hours, veganism, and crossfit, Adventists are excited to have a contemporary message that is relevant for people to be conscious of their health and accept the fact-based truth of a simple life.
Contributors: Jose Briones, Stephanie Wilczynski