Idaho Conference Holds Town Hall Circuit
In preparation for the 53rd Quadrennial Constituency Session coming on May 17, 2015, 11 Town Hall meetings were held from Feb. 25 to March 18. David Prest Jr., Idaho Conference president; John Rogers, Idaho Conference vice president/finance; Patrick Frey, Idaho Conference education superintendent; and Wayne Wentland, Gem State Adventist Academy (GSAA) principal, visited 11 churches throughout the conference to share reports on finances, elementary education, GSAA, proposed changes to the conference’s bylaws and creating a vision for the Idaho Conference.
Over the course of the 11 meetings, the men drove nearly 2,000 miles, crisscrossing the conference from John Day, Ore., to Salmon and Idaho Falls, Idaho, and back to Enterprise, Ore.
With a theme for the Town Halls and Constituency Session of "Let’s Go Home!," reports and plans focused on how God has blessed church members this far and how they can anticipate continued blessings as they move forward with Him into the future. Prest shared the mission statement the conference staff are bringing to the delegates at the session — the reason we exist: “Raise up people across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon who are so in love with Jesus that they share the fullness of His love as expressed in the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14.” Rogers presented the details of Idaho Conference finances, ending with a passage of Scripture from Luke 18:1: “… they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” God has blessed and is blessing the faithfulness of Idaho Conference church members.
Frey shared that, of the 240 students enrolled in the elementary schools, only 31 are baptized. Thirty-one of the remaining students are from non-Adventist homes. What a mission field! Wentland shared some of the amazing, only-God-could-do-this happenings at Gem State Adventist Academy. From April 2014 to March 2015, volunteers have provided more than 9,000 hours of service — equivalent to 5.5 full time employees. The new GSAA Gardens has purchased a 30-by-96-foot greenhouse. By working with the city of Caldwell, the school has saved about $45,000 in repaving costs as work continues to connect the campus to the city sewer system and retire the antiquated lagoon system.
The excitement and positivity does not overlook the fact that Adventist education has challenges. Idaho churches also have challenges. In spite of the challenges, it is evident that God is at work. The excitement is spreading, as evidenced by comments from members who attended:
- "Gem State is thriving!"
- "Sounds as if Gem State is on the grow."
- "I am feeling good about the direction we seem to be going."
- "So excited about the education prospects and GSAA. Prayers are being answered!"
Prest shared that, although the Town Hall schedule was grueling, it was worth the time and effort to share the good news, to hear what is important to church members and to see God at work in an abundance of ways. He says, “It is good to be a part of God’s work in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. I can’t wait to see what He will do next.”