August 21, 2018

August 21, 2018
Earlier this month, I joined our 140 SCC K-12 educators in Chicago to attend the 2018 NAD K-12 Teachers Convention, where nearly 6,000 schoolteachers convened at the largest gathering our denomination has in North America after the General Conference Sessions.

I witnessed the vibrant spirit among our educational team. I was thrilled and inspired by seen these thousands of ministers of education, united by one common goal: seeking relevant ways to model Christ to their students. Yes, I’m intentionally using this title for this group of committed servants of the Lord who are molding and shaping our children’s characters for eternity. You can find more details by viewing the NAD Teachers Convention 2018 | Week in Review and Pacific Union “All God’s People,” August 10, 2018 Episode 211.

There were lectures, workshops, and hands-on activities. Kudos to Ricardorie Glaze, Rose Gorospe, Angel Nair, Marvin Martin, Judy Nunez and Josie Hirsch from our SCC educational team who were among the presenters of the 200-plus optional seminars.

While there, on Wednesday afternoon, Conference Presidents in North America met with the nine Union Presidents and the top NAD officers. The topics focused on: 1) How to reverse the declining enrollment in our SDA education system and 2) how to increase the remuneration of our K-12 educators. The dialogue was productive, and a task force committee was formed to prepare a proposal to present to the NAD Executive Committee for serious consideration the first week of November. I will report the outcomes at a later time.

Thank you, superintendents, for giving this opportunity to all our educators to attend this professional growth and encouraging assembly.

The Chicago Summit 2018 followed, where college and university leadership were joined by church leadership of the North American Division, Unions and Conferences. The purpose of this gathering was to envision the future of Adventist Higher education in North America planning strategically to ensure strong faith-based education in a financially challenging and increasingly secular environment.

The three full days of meetings were intense, with the intention to have a statement ready to share with our constituencies after leaving on Sunday noon. For details, please visit

In preparation for our Conference Executive Committee meeting last Tuesday afternoon, Monday was spent interviewing candidates for the following openings here in our office: Asset/Risk Management and Senior Youth and Young Adults department directors.

Among the reports presented and decisions made by our Executive Committee were the following:

  • Our evangelistic growth by baptism and profession of faith year to date was more than 500. I praise God for these new members of the SCC family.
  • Our membership has declined as our members moved out of our conference territory for several reasons, and we have 40,663 members YTD.
  • Our tithe has increased by 9% for the first six months. Praise the Lord for this extraordinary blessing not seen in at least 15 years.
  • Elder Iki Taimi has been elected as director for the Senior Youth and Young Adults department. He will serve half time in this position as he still pastors Gardena Genesis Community church for the first year.

Last week, I met with our Empower Retirement specialist, and after reviewing the amount of my personal contributions, I realized that I need to make some adjustments to have sufficient money for my retirement years. I encourage you to visit the website at or contact our representative at (866) 467-7756 and become well informed about your retirement fund. TODAY is the right day to think about retirement, even if you just started working this year — not when you are 4-5 years from retirement.

Early morning on Sabbath, August 18, Esther and I headed to Visalia to attend the annual iShare Conference where about 350 young people get together to conclude the summer Youth Rush program. More than 40 young people from SCC participated this year.

It was an inspiration to see our youth sharing what the Lord did through them this summer as they visited more than 210,000 homes, leaving more than 26,000 books or DVDs, and raising $142,000 for scholarships. Kudos to Heidi Carpenter and Marco Topete for the awesome job done here in SCC.

As we conclude this summer, I pray for the Lord bless us all to retake our regular responsibilities at home, at work, at church.

Your fellow traveler,

Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference