May 1, 2018

May 1, 2018
On April 15 and 16, the Los Angeles Adventist and San Fernando Valley academies, respectively, held their annual constituency meetings, and the SCC Officers had the opportunity to attend both. The main topic for discussion was whether or not they had the viability to keep open the high school program. Both voted to request the SCC Board of Education for authorization to continue offering it, subject to fulfilling their pending financial obligations.

On Tuesday night, I headed to Sacramento to attend the two-day quarterly meeting of the Adventist Health System Board. The first day was very intense; I participated in three subcommittees of which I’m a member, in preparation for the Board meeting the next day. The Board is very efficient in terms of receiving reports; there is the expectation that every single board member will read the reports uploaded to the Board webpage, so when we meet, we are ready to make informed decisions.

Through the years, the president of the Southern California Conference has been a member of the corporate board and the three hospital boards (Glendale, White Memorial and Simi Valley) in this conference territory. My involvement with the top leadership of this organization has enlightened me regarding the operation of our hospitals. Although they are required to fiscally perform like any other hospital in compliance with state regulations, I have witnessed these medical institutions carry on the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

On Sabbath, April 21, my wife and I were so delighted attending the 51st Convocation of our Greater Los Angeles Region. Wow! What a worship service! The music, the message and the Christian fellowship were uplifting, inspirational and encouraging! Dr. Keith Morris, Senior Pastor, Kansas Avenue Church, challenged us to prepare ourselves for “midnight” experiences in life. Once a year, the pastors in this Region take the lead in preparing this event for their church members to get together in a large gathering, fostering the sense of family and focusing on the unique mission and values of this Region. It was a blessing to be a part of the GLAR Convocation 2018!

On a personal note, I started the week with my annual physical exam, and after all the routine exams and tests (blood, EKG, treadmill, bone density, etc.) already completed and sent to my doctor, I was told that I’m still in good health. I’m so grateful to God for this great blessing. I praise the Lord for the strength He gives me and the stamina he provides me to fulfill my responsibilities in a hectic schedule of meetings and appointments. BTW, I encourage you, my friends, to go and get your annual check-up as well. It is well worth it.

Last week was Administrative Professionals Week, and here at the SCC Office, we expressed our appreciation to each person in the role of supporting and managing our offices. We thanked them in person for the ministry they provide every day. This appreciation was expressed through cards, flowers, a gift certificate and a delicious lunch. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful people in this vital role in our conference office.

This past Sabbath, Esther and I visited the West Los Angeles Japanese Church for the very first time. This is the smallest congregation in SCC. After our worship service, we enjoyed a wonderful fellowship meal, and I had the opportunity to talk with the key leadership about their mission in the community, and I became aware of a couple challenges they face. After exchanging ideas and possibilities, the brethren told us how pleased they were with a visit by the SCC President. Although their numbers are small, they felt affirmed and valued in the mission and commitment.

In my message and in my conversation with these brothers and sisters, I reminded them of the words of Jesus Christ when He said: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Praise the Lord that His presence is not limited to the number of worshipers! He is, and He will be, wherever we worship Him, including our one-to-one worship in our daily devotions.

In His service,

Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference