On behalf of the administrative team of the Iowa-Missouri Conference, I would like to thank our members, employees and volunteers for the prayers, support, generous giving and hard work that make all the ministries of this conference possible. Here is just some of what has been accomplished during the last five years, thanks to your efforts.
Since 2007 Sunnydale Academy has been sending students and staff on short-term mission trips to India. Beginning in 2011, teams started going to Africa; and in 2013 and 2014, Nepal received help from SAA student/staff/volunteer teams as well. This evangelistic emphasis in our academy has been continuous throughout the last five years. Trips for adults in several of our churches have also increased, and the services of those who have participated in missions around the globe have greatly blessed our field and the countries visited.
Our YOUTH ALIVE student literature evangelism team has been busy each summer knocking on an average of 70,000-80,000 doors. Approximately 17-23 academy and college students, as well as a handful of students in leadership roles, participate in this program. Elementary magabook programs are increasingly helping students with needed school scholarships.
We’ve maintained solid enrollment in our schools during the last five years at approximately 120 academy students and 300 elementary students each year. We now also have 35 refugee young people being sponsored at our schools with plans to increase that number substantially as funds allow.
Our Pathfinder and Adventurer programs have been growing and attendance at Camp Heritage has also increased, with record breaking numbers during the camp seasons of the last three years. Plans are being laid for more housing for campers.
Project offerings collected at retreats and volunteer evangelistic speakers were sent over three continents this quinquennium: North America, Africa and Asia.
Twice during the last five years our conference received Adventists InStep for Life Awards from the North American Division for most miles of physical activity reported and top member participation rates in Mid-America Union.
We’re also grateful to be participating in Your Best Pathway to Health’s free healthcare clinics, with the San Antonio event during this last quinquennium and again recently in Los Angeles.
Conference-wide participation in serving the refugee families in our territory has been strongly encouraged during the last five years, and in 2015 we started a Refugee Ministries department.
I mentioned above that we have 35 refugee young people being sponsored in our schools. Four years ago we had none sponsored by the conference. Thousands of refugees are being placed in the Midwest by God’s grace. May we effectively take the Gospel to these persecuted people groups.
Our greatest challenge and opportunity in the Iowa-Missouri Conference during the next five years is big city evangelism. With more than 3 million people in St. Louis, 1.5 million people in Kansas City, 500,000 in the Des Moines area and the large population in the Council Bluffs/Omaha metro area, the task to carry the Gospel of hope to these cities is daunting.
To catch people’s attention in this age of skepticism and unbelief seems at times impossible. But God is good and the promise is sure: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself” (John 12:32, NKJV). On this we can rely.