Other Affected Events
Read a message from conference leadership regarding the coronavirus pandemic, including its impact on other conference events.
2020 Town Hall Meetings
Conference leaders are closely monitoring the rapidly changing impact of the coronavirus in our field. Because your health and safety are our top priority, adjustments to the schedule have been made (see below).
Held as Planned
Town hall meetings were held as planned at the following locations.
- March 9 — St. Louis West County
- March 10 — Cape Girardeau
- March 11 — Houston
- March 15 — Columbia
In order to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus and to follow attendance guidelines for public gatherings, the following host locations have elected to restrict attendance to leadership of area churches. If you have questions for the conference you would have asked at one of these meetings, please share them with your local church leaders so they may still be addressed and reported back to you. You may also send us questions directly using the “Ask a Question” form below.
- March 16 — Nixa
- March 17 — Independence
For your safety and in order to follow the public gathering restrictions imposed by the state of Iowa, the following town hall meetings have been cancelled/postponed. Dates for any possible rescheduled meetings will be determined at a later time.
- March 23 — Davenport
- March 24 — Cedar Rapids
- March 25 — Sioux City
- March 29 — Ankeny
Adventist Community Services
The Missouri Adventist Community Services Disaster Response (MO ACSDR) Team had a busy year in 2019, with tornados and record-breaking flooding in many areas of the state.
Since 2015 MO ACSDR volunteers have been serving as “Ambassadors” during disasters in Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs). MARCs are set up as soon as possible following an event and serve as a one-stop shop for impacted residents to receive the help and assistance they need to get on the road to recovery. Serving as Ambassadors also gives us an opportunity to minister to residents’ spiritual needs by being the hands and feet of Jesus during their time of great need. In 2019, MO ACSDR Ambassadors were able to help more than 2,000 families, serving at MARCs in 11 communities across the state.
In addition to serving as Ambassadors in MARCs following the tornado that tore through the Jefferson City area last May, MO ACSDR also handled all donations operations at the request of the mayor and city/county governments. This included collecting and receiving, sorting and warehousing, and distribution of goods. We handled over $700,000 worth of material donations during that time.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to work with such a great organization,” said the Emergency Manager for Cole County. “Jody and staff members came to our rescue—when everything looked so gloom and doom—and tried to figure out the best avenues to help people get their lives back in order. They arrived with smiles on their faces and knew exactly what needed to be done. Jody explained everything that was needed with very little help from us. I actually left that meeting with a sense of hope and saw some light at the end of the tunnel. It was a great feeling as an EMD to know these people were here to help our community try to heal a big wound, and all I can continue to say is ‘Thank You’ to the Adventists for leading the way to our recovery efforts and continuing to help others during our time of disaster.”
Those who attended camp meeting last summer may remember that Jefferson City mayor Carrie Tergin visited us on Sabbath morning and shared her gratitude to our conference for the help and support that was being provided to assist in the response and recovery work there in our state’s capital.
We also helped with donations in St. Joseph and Winfield, Missouri, where another several hundred thousand dollars in material goods were stewarded by our ACSDR volunteers on behalf of local authorities. Thousands of families were benefited in tangible ways with material donations that helped them get back on their feet again.
In total MO ACSDR provided 7,162.5 hours of volunteer labor to our state response work in 2019. We want to thank Penske Rentals, out of Earth City, Missouri, for providing over $50,000 worth of free truck rentals for these efforts. And we also want to thank all the constituents and volunteers of the Iowa-Missouri Conference for the stewardship of their talents, time and financial resources that helped make such a big impact on disaster relief efforts in our conference.
— Jody Dickhaut, Missouri ACS coordinator
“To be a person is to have a story to tell.” – Karen Blixen, author
Our stories are the most important avenues of human communication and interaction. They are, more than anything else, what help us build connections. Every person has a story, and every church member is a communication ambassador for Christ. Your stories have the power to impact lives all around you in meaningful ways, both today and for eternity.
The communication department is continuously looking for ways to make sharing your stories easier and to build better connections between people. In recent years we updated the conference website (imsda.org) to make your stories the central focus. We also created a convenient way for you to share your stories with the conference.
Through our website, social media, electronic and print publications, we strive to share accurate, timely, inspirational and meaningful stories throughout the Iowa-Missouri Conference and beyond. Over a period of three years, we’ve doubled the subscription of our weekly e-newsletter, imConnected, which delivers stories from around the conference right to your email inbox. Anyone can sign up at imsda.org/newsletter or at the bottom of any page on the website. Future plans for this newsletter include a periodic (perhaps monthly) accompanying print version for our members who don’t have access to email that would be included in your local church bulletin. Each month, many of your stories are also published in print in OUTLOOK Magazine, a publication of the Mid-America Union.
We want to help share your stories with as many people as possible. What is God doing in your life? Your family? Your church? Your school? Your business? Let us know!
— Randy Harmdierks, director
Our elementary school system consists of 26 teachers in 13 schools across the conference, serving 282 students who consistently perform at a high academic level according to the nationally used Iowa Assessments test.
Each school continues to upgrade technology, and several have recently received funds from the Versacare STEM Grant program.
Students have many opportunities to be actively involved in outreach, such as raising funds for those impacted by natural disasters, making blankets for premature babies, working at food banks, volunteering and raising funds for orphanages, and visiting seniors and shut-ins through the Partners for Eternity program—to name a few.
Along with the many blessings we have experienced over the past several years there are also a couple of challenges. One of those is the funding of elementary education by the local churches. Another is declining enrollments in some schools over the past two years. Each school and its supporting church are working to meet these challenges and increase enrollment—especially among students who are not Adventist.
One of the most exciting developments since our 2016 constituency session is the number of refugee and immigrant students attending our schools. There are currently 54 refugee students in five schools across the conference. Since we began the Refugee Immigrant Family Educational Assistant Fund (RIFEAF) in 2013, over $800,000 in scholarships have been awarded to these students. This incredible accomplishment has only been possible through the generous giving of faithful members throughout the conference and beyond. There are a few high-dollar donors, but the majority are giving just $10 per month. Thank you for your generous support!
All 13 of our elementary schools—and all 282 students—need the support of our over 100 churches. Please pray for our schools and consider supporting Adventist education in this conference through the Combined Youth Ministries offering, Refugee Ministries offering, or direct support through your local school.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you.
— Dr. Joe Allison, superintendent
Here’s a brief summary of what’s been happening in Hispanic Ministries throughout the last year.
1. Evangelistic meetings conducted by pastors and lay members throughout the conference has led to continued growth in our churches.
2. A multi-conference Hispanic Ministry Festival was held at the Central States Conference office in June, and a replica of the Old Testament sanctuary was set up. Many expressed that this inspired them to seek a closer relationship with Jesus.
3. FESJA, which stands for Federación de Sociedades de Jóvenes Adventistas (Adventist Youth Federation), held an event at Sunnydale Academy in July. Attendance was lower than we had hoped, but we praise God because the event led a young lady to surrender her life to Jesus. She was recently baptized at the Kansas City Multicultural church.
4. Hispanic Family Camp was held at Camp Heritage last fall. A wonderful time was had by all.
5. A training event was held in Kansas City last November to better equip church elders for ministry in their churches. They came away from the weekend motivated to be servant leaders like Jesus.
6. A Bible worker has been hired to work in Iowa City in an effort to expand the gospel and increase the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s presence in the area.
7. A part-time pastor has been hired to serve in Southwest City, Monet, and Carthage, Missouri.
The Hispanic Ministries department is grateful to the Iowa-Missouri Conference for their support of our ministry. We are hopeful in the year to come we will continue to grow and be a blessing to the Hispanic communities scattered throughout the conference.
— Carlos Tamay, coordinator
The main focus of the literature evangelism department is Youth Alive. Each summer, college and high-school aged students participate in a nine-week intensive scholarship program, selling Christian literature door-to-door and offering prayer and Bible studies to people who are interested. They earn money for their education, gain experience in communication, collaboration, and hard work, and deepen their relationship with Christ as they participate in mission.
Students must be at least 14 years of age to participate, but it is never too early to work with Christ in mission. There are several churches and elementary schools around the conference where parents, teachers, pastors, and friends have volunteered their time to train younger students in this gospel work during evenings after school and throughout the summer.
More than 3,000 copies of Steps to Christ and over 4,000 Bible story books and devotionals have gone to homes around Iowa and Missouri this past year. Each book can affect a family for generations and represents a miracle of which our young people were able to be a part. Yet, the need is great, and we are looking for even more students and churches to become involved. It may seem daunting, but we are promised that angels walk with us as we do this work.
It is amazing to witness the miracles that can happen when we step out in faith, and we are excited to see what God has planned for this new year. Please continue to pray that the books have a lasting impact and that young people continue to have an experience where they can look back and know that they were used by God.
— Michael Coridan, director
The shared commitment to Refugee Ministries throughout our conference continues to bless a number of groups. Through God’s providence they have come from around the world and are beginning the next chapter of their lives here. We have growing groups of refugees and immigrants worshipping together in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and Nixa, Missouri as well as in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa.
More families come each year, and these groups are able to connect with and be a blessing to them. Our vision is to help these international faith communities grow so they will be able to share the Three Angels’ Messages to those around them.
Through your faithful and regular support of the Refugee Immigrant Family Education Assistance Fund (RIFEAF), we have raised over $800,000 in the last seven years for education. This year’s offerings are making it possible for over 50 students from nine countries to attend our schools. Not only are our elementary schools being blessed by these precious students, our academy has students from around the world giving it a unique, global atmosphere and outreach. In addition to the financial support being provided that is making all of this possible and changing lives, there are churches and volunteers helping with driving classes, household goods and clothes, ESL (English as a Second Language) training, and even immigration classes. Our first Pathfinder group made up solely by “new Americans” in the Kansas City area continues blessing many and making history.
Thank you for your ongoing support of refugees. Your faithfulness and prayers are touching lives and making an eternal difference. Only in heaven will we see the full results of this conference’s commitment to serving our brothers and sisters whom God is bringing to us. May God continue to bless you as you choose to bless so many others.
— Bryan Gallant, director
Stewardship, Development and Trust Services
The Trust Services department has been in transition. Scott Haakenson became director in August 2018, when David Lincoln returned to full-time pastoring. It was determined at that time to add stewardship and development responsibilities to the role, though we are still able to provide the same services to our constituents thanks to the work of our administrative assistant, Roxann Vietz, and David’s continued involvement. In the past year, $323,852 came into conference ministries through matured wills and trusts. In the last 10 years, $2,099,050 has come in from generous constituents through wills, trusts, and gift annuities.
We conducted a survey at the end of 2019 to learn more about the stewardship habits of our constituents so that we may better be of service to members around the conference. Here are a few highlights:
- Over 96 percent of our constituents believe that tithing is a biblical principle.
- Many people who say they tithe aren’t returning it to the conference.
- It appears that many people are considering tithe to be whatever they put in a tithe envelope.
- Many survey respondents believe they don’t know what is happening in conference ministries.
The conference is looking into how to improve communication of what God is doing in our conference funded ministries.
— Scott Haakenson, director
Ask a Question
As time allows, we’ll do our best to answer questions submitted here in addition to those asked in person at the meetings. Have a question you’d like us to answer? Share it with us below.