Montana Experiences Miracles in His Time

August 01, 2004 | Richard Dower

During the 2004 edition of the Montana Conference Camp Meeting, the chronicles of several of God’s miracles were told.

Several years ago it became obvious that the conference office building on Main Street in Bozeman needed renovation. The cost of upgrading the building to current standards would be equivalent to constructing a new office, so the decision was made to sell. Because of the economic aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, and the condition of the building, there were no sincere offers in two years. Finally an architectural firm saw the building and offered the asking price—a miracle.

The conference owned another piece of property in Bozeman that could be sold to help finance the building of the new office. The property, located near the Main Street interchange with Interstate 90, was appraised.

One of the building committee members, Greg Allen, a Bozeman developer/builder, suggested that the property could be annexed by the city and rezoned as a high-density residential area. Allen’s knowledge of county procedures helped smooth the way for the annexation and rezoning that made the property appraise for five times the original amount. Two potential buyers made offers which were accepted but did not go through to closing. The day after the last deal fell through, an offer was made and the property sold above its latest appraised value—another miracle.

The sale of the office and the property will provide all the cash needed to build the new 6,000-square-foot office. The new office will be located on land adjacent to Mt. Ellis Academy (MEA).

John Loor, Montana Conference president, said, “God has truly led in the selling of the two properties. We can now move forward to building a new office, which will represent the Seventh-day Adventist Church to the hundreds of thousands of people who drive through the Big Sky country.”

Two men were ordained to the gospel ministry on Sabbath afternoon at camp meeting. Both Roberto Correa, Billings District associate pastor, and Edward Starkebaum, MEA Bible and history teacher, are examples of God’s quiet miracles as He has led in their lives and ministry.

Correa was born in Argentina and attended Adventist schools throughout his entire education. He graduated from the Universidad Adventista del Plata in Argentina in 1995 with a bachelor of arts in theology. Following graduation, Correa pastored three churches in the Buenos Aires conference.

He and his wife, Paula, came to the United States in 2000 to work in the Oregon Conference before receiving the call to Montana to work with the Spanish-speaking people in the Billings area. They have a two-year-old son, Gabriel.

Starkebaum graduated from Campion Academy in Colorado and earned a bachelor of arts in religion with minors in history and psychology from Walla Walla College.

He began teaching in Torrance, Calif., in 1971, where he held a series of evangelistic meetings and attended the West Coast School of Evangelism held by H.M.S. Richards Sr. He served in the Oregon Conference for several years before coming to MEA in 1994.

His wife, Juanita, a Montana native, is the administrative assistant to the principal and registrar of Mt. Ellis Academy. The Starkebaums have two children, Traci and Paul, who are both students at Walla Walla College.

Anna Berg is the fifth of seven children in a family that became Adventists when she was eight years old. She loves sports and is a member of the MEA Lady Eagles basketball team.

During the North Pacific Union evangelistic mission trip to the Philippines in March, one of the students preached about baptism. On the way home in the overcrowded minibus, one of the girls told the Montana Conference youth and education director, Larry Unterseher, that she had not been baptized. As they were talking about it, Berg said, “I haven’t either, and I would like to be.”

On Sabbath afternoon, during the evangelism hour at camp meeting, Berg was baptized and became another of God’s quiet miracles.