The Iowa-Missouri Conference is blessed to have many ministries which are only made possible with the support from members, employees and department directors of the conference. I want to extend a huge thanks to the executive committee for their dedication to carrying out the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Iowa and Missouri. While COVID-19 has presented many challenges, we trust God will faithfully bless us as we diligently share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is a snapshot of what was accomplished over the past five years, thanks to the support of all those involved.
We have been blessed to experience an increase in enrollment at Sunnydale Academy (SAA), where we consistently saw students on the waiting list to attend. Our elementary schools have also increased enrollment from an average of 266 during 2011-2016 to an average of 292 students during the past five years. The Iowa-Missouri Conference constituency is giving more support than ever to help provide for students’ tuition.
Not only have our schools grown, but Camp Heritage also experienced an increase of almost 10% in campers over the past four years. In the fifth year, 2020, there was no in-person camp. However, the camp did host a staff training for a new program called DiscipleTrek. Many of these trainees returned this year as camp staff.
Also in 2020, Magabook participants did not go door-to-door but instead hosted five Vacation Bible Schools in Kansas City, where they ministered to more than 500 children. We are thankful to Shawnee Mission Health for the donated CREATION Health materials which helped make each VBS a success.
On average we fundraised $80,000 a year for our refugee ministries. Some of these funds helped over 70 Pathfinders and sponsors from the NC4Y (New Change for Youth) Pathfinder Club go to Oshkosh. Refugee participants said prior to this event they had never seen so many young people together in one place peacefully. NC4Y Oshkosh participants loved the skits and songs and continue to sing some of those songs to this day.
Over the past five years there were several short-term mission trips lead and attended by individuals from the conference. Students and staff from SAA continued their ministry to India which began in 2007. Teams from SAA also went on mission trips to Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Additionally, many members and pastors went on short-term mission trips to Bulgaria, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Nepal and Cuba. In total the Iowa-Missouri Conference sent missionaries to four continents during this quinquennium. While COVID-19 postponed mission trips during 2020, we hope to begin this outreach again shortly.
The Cape Girardeau Church collaborated with Remote Area Medical in 2019 to bring a healthcare clinic to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. In total this clinic helped about 450 patients receive free medical, dental and vision care. This was only possible through the leadership and support of the local area churches.
While COVID-19 has caused many setbacks, it has also provided us with many opportunities. Before COVID-19 one of our churches had a prayer group that had five attendees, but once the group shifted to Zoom, attendance rose to about 40. COVID-19 has pushed us to incorporate technology in ways we never would’ve tried previously. Moving forward we plan to intentionally integrate new technology and seek innovative methods of delivery for our ministries.
We pray God will continue to lead and bless us as we strive to lift Him up through our numerous ministries. “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (2 Chron. 7:14, NLT).
Dean Coridan is president of the Iowa-Missouri Conference.