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Montana Herald • May 2022

Support for Ukraine

The Adventist Church is currently collecting funds to address the needs of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. You may donate directly to ADRA through their website at adra.org.

Support can also be given through AdventistGiving. The "Ukraine" offering button in is under the "World" offering tab after first clicking on donate and selecting your local church. The offering category is a clickable field under "More Offering Categories."

Adventist Giving

63rd Montana Conference Constituency Update

Montana Conference Meets to Conduct Church Business

ARTICLE BY: JAY WINTERMEYER

Sunday morning, April 10, 2022 dawned bright and cold in Bozeman, Montana. Despite an approaching early spring snowstorm, 247 delegates and many more session guests began gathering at Mount Ellis Academy for the 63rd Montana Conference Constituency Session.

The constituency session had been delayed a year due to COVID-19 restrictions. This was the first time Montana members gathered post-pandemic to conduct official conference business.

Following the morning devotional, John Freedman, North Pacific Union president, invited attendees to spend a few minutes in prayer. “This is one of the most important tasks we will do today,” said Freedman. “Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to be here today to give divine insight and wisdom to our work today.”

After the delegates were officially seated, Ken Norton, Montana Conference president opened the session with the president’s report. “The best part of my job is getting to meet with you. I love hearing about what God is doing through you,” said Norton.

Norton went on to lay out a two-fold vision for Montana Adventists to renew faith and restore hope. "Let’s make Montana a template for the rest of the North American Division," he said. "We have to do things differently to accomplish that.”

The delegates received several reports from Montana Conference leadership. Erin Tungesvik, Montana Conference vice president for finance, shared how the conference is diligently working to bring energy and resources to several ministry areas that have struggled during the pandemic. A highlight from Tungesvik’s report included the good news of improved net operating assets levels — they are at their highest point in a decade. This is a direct result of God’s blessings and members’ faithful giving.

As delegates stopped for lunch, snowflakes drifted down gently, making the April afternoon feel more like March. Following lunch, delegates overwhelmingly voted to re-elect Montana Conference officers and the education superintendent to serve for the next four years.

  • Ken Norton, president

  • Jim Jenkins, vice president for administration

  • Erin Tungesvik, vice president for finance

  • Renae Young, education superintendent

Dane Bailey, Mount Ellis Academy principal, reported to session delegates about the conference’s only high school. At past sessions, delegates wrestled with difficult financial issues. Bailey gave the encouraging news outlining how the school has been operating in the black every month during the 2021-2022 school year. New fiscal accountability protocols are helping streamline budgeting and expenditures.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Bailey. “It is not sustainable to rely on donations for 33% of our operating budget. We need to bring that number down to about 10%.”

Bailey shared MEA plans to increase enrollment. The plans include offering distance learning as well as trade school training which will bring income to the school while providing valuable career skills for students.

Delegates spent significant time working through changes proposed by the constitution and bylaws committee. Careful discussion took place over the policies that guide all conference operations.

At the end of the day, Norton encouraged delegates and all members to press together. "Let this ring in our hearts. Let's be willing to do what it takes to mend relationships and move forward and see what God will do through us."

A Note from the President

Pastors and Teachers

It is a great time to be part of the Montana Seventh-day Adventist Church Family! One by one, God is bringing us excellent pastors to fill our empty districts. God is doing the same on the Education front as experienced and godly teachers answer the call to serve in Montana for the next school year. These new additions to our workforce are joining an existing top-notch team of pastors and educators, making a tremendous difference for God’s kingdom across Montana. We can praise God for His leading and continual guidance in this Conference and for the opportunity to live and serve in this great state.

Camp Meeting 2022

Excitement is building for Montana camp meeting 2022! You won’t want to miss this year’s Campmeeting, which begins Wednesday evening, July 6, at 7 pm in the Mount Ellis Academy gymnasium. This year’s speaker is Elder Pavel Goia. He serves as the Editor for Ministry Magazine and the Associate Director for Ministerial at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Elder Pavel is an excellent speaker, and we are blessed to have him joining us this year. Besides the spiritually uplifting evening programs, there will be unique activities this year that will be fun for the whole family. Thursday afternoon will be the “Madison River Float” event for all those who want to enjoy a relaxing day on the river. Watch for upcoming announcements to sign up for this outing. On Friday afternoon, there will be games and a cookout for all who want to join us at the ski lodge at the base of the MEA ski hill. Thursday and Friday morning will feature a “menu” of Hobby Classes for you to choose from and small group Bible studies on different topics. Do you have a hobby or skill that you would love to show others how to do? Are you knowledgeable on a topic that you know others would love to know about? We want you to share your knowledge and skills with the rest of the Montana church family! Please click here if you would be willing to lead a Hobby Class for camp meeting this year. Please click here if you know of someone who might be willing to teach a class. Watch for more coming announcements, and we look forward to seeing you July 6-9.

One more important piece about camp meeting…

If you sing or play a musical instrument, we invite you to join the camp meeting Choir/Band/Orchestra! Our goal is to have every singing and instrument playing Montana Adventist attending camp meeting participate in this musical group and help with song service during each evening meeting. You will be provided the hymn music beforehand to practice on your own. Then we will have a practice or two altogether when everyone gets to camp meeting. Sign up here if you want to join the Choir or Band/Orchestra group.

Thank you to each of you for being a part of the Montana Adventist family. May God continue to use you to bless the lives of those around you.

New Pastors across Montana

Pictured above: Pastor Ney Khut, his wife Emily, and their son William.

Another month is already upon us, so it is time to meet another of our new pastors in the Montana Conference. This month we will get to know Pastor Ney Khut, from the Butte, Dillon, and Whitehall District. Ney came to Montana last year as a Bible Worker for the Butte Church, where it soon became clear that God had other plans for him. When Ney arrived, former Butte District pastor, Michael Hope, had just recently accepted a call to the Havre District in Northcentral Montana. It wasn’t long before word began to reach the Montana Conference office that Ney would be a good fit as their pastor. Evidently, they were right!

There is, however, much more to Ney’s story before Montana. Ney was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and raised in Cambodia, where his mother and two older sisters still live. His dad passed away when Ney was three years old. Pastor Ney served as a lay Bible worker for the Cambodia Adventist Mission before coming to the US. He graduated in March 2012 from Asia-Pacific International University in Thailand with a bachelor’s degree in religious education. A month later, he worked for ASAP Ministries as a translator. In late 2013, he was called to serve as the Youth Steering Committee coordinator for the Cambodia Adventist Mission.

From 2013 to 2016, he served as the youth director for the Mission. While serving in this position, the Mission gave him another position as Associate Pastor, serving at Toul Kork Adventist Church in the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Pastor Ney came to the US in 2016 and completed his MDiv degree from the Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, in May 2020. He is married to his beautiful wife, Emily, whom he met while she served as a student missionary in Cambodia. They were married in the summer of 2019. Their son, William, is the joy of their soul.

Pastor Ney enjoys outdoor activities, such as biking, canoeing, swimming, running, hiking, and walks in nature. He also likes reading books, listening to Spirit of Prophecy audiobooks, and playing his guitar.

Pastor Ney is grateful to God, who has sustained him along life’s way, and for the work of the Holy Spirit that continues to enable him to minister for Christ. He thanks God for calling and choosing him and his family to serve His people in Butte, Dillon, and Whitehall.

Camp Meeting Lodging

All dorm rooms are booked for camp meeting, but we still have campsites available.

If you would like to be added to the dorm room waitlist if there’s a cancellation, or reserve a campsite for camp meeting this year (July 6-9), please call Laryssa Barlow at
406-414-9896.

Dorm rooms are $100, campsites with electricity and water are $80, and campsites without hookups are $50 (prices are for all four nights total).

Education Department

This week was Teacher Appreciation Week. If your church or school missed this opportunity to say “We Appreciate You” to your teachers, it’s never too late to tell them!

Something Better
Article by Renae Young

“Something Better” is the current watchword of Adventist Education in the North American Division. This mission focus trickles down to Unions, Conferences, and our local schools, with each level doing what they perceive as their contribution to making Adventist Education better. That term is comparative in nature, causing us to ask, “Better than what? Better than whom?” I challenge us to think about being better in what we offer each day, each month, each year. What does it mean to you (and to me) personally to make Adventist Education in our corner of the world better?

Over a decade ago, a book entitled, How to Kill Adventist Education (and How to Give It a Fighting Chance) by Shane Anderson hit the bookshelves. Well, the Adventist Book Center shelves, at least. Once the word was out about this book, Conferences started purchasing copies for their teachers. Churches also purchased multiple copies. School boards purchased copies. I think I accumulated 4-5 copies of the book myself from various sources. The intrigue of this book came from the fact that it was the first time the things that had only been said in hushed tones (to avoid being irreverent) were now published and contained documented research for added support.

As I have traveled around the Montana Conference, visiting with teachers, boards, and constituents, I have found myself repeating some of the same advice outlined in Anderson’s book. Though written so long ago, Anderson’s “Eight-Step, Plus One” strategy is timeless. These steps are listed below, with added comments below each strategy.

1. Ask and answer the right questions.
Sometimes a school board makes an erroneous judgment about their failing school and blames low enrollment or lack of money. It’s uncomfortable to ask deeper questions. However, to do so is often the first step of recovery.

2. Become a school of prayer.
Absolutely. All the time. One of our schools in Montana nearly had to shut its doors three years ago. The board huddled and made some marketing plans. At the top of their published marketing plan was a deliberate call to prayer. The board made prayer a priority – not just in word but in action. Today, their school has two teachers, and their enrollment is still growing!

3. Find the right local leader.
A leader is tough to find. Just because you have the world’s best teacher doesn’t mean they will make an equally strong leader. So often, at interviews for a headteacher, I ask about the needs or qualities that the board perceives are important. The list usually goes something like this… “We need someone good upfront, is a people person, is good at detail work, is good with finance management, is creative, is okay with the isolation of small schools, etc.” Take a look at that list again. Finding someone fitting each descriptor would take someone with a split personality! The first step of the local board is to prayerfully analyze the actual needs of the school and church community.

4. Discover the true state of your school.
This step takes a deep breath and thick skin, especially if you’re a long-time school board member. Constituent surveys, accreditation reports, comparative tuition studies with other Christian schools, and student test scores are only a few ways to take off any rose-colored glasses. A word of caution here, the leadership through this process is critical. A reminder of the goal to create a high level of quality Adventist education is core. But, the process must remain uplifting. It’s tempting to start pointing fingers at someone, anyone, when failures or growth areas start to appear.

5. Master the fundamentals of Adventist Education.
Too much to say here, but perhaps it would be a good idea for the local school board to commit to reading the book Education, by Ellen White or other Adventist education-themed books.

6. Relentlessly eliminate weaknesses or make them irrelevant.
This step naturally follows the step of discovering the true state of your school. Looking at areas that need help and prioritizing them will be an ongoing process. This is not a neat and orderly process because once one weakness is discovered, it is often the first in a line of dominoes. Hence the adverb, relentlessly.

7. Get the good word out/enlist widespread support.
Thanks to technology, there are numerous resources for marketing ideas for our school than ever before. But, the best form of marketing our schools is the “Word of Mouth” principle. If a parent is excited about what their child is doing at your school, they won’t stay quiet about it! They want friends for their child at your school.

8. Embed the positive changes in the culture of the school.
School culture is vital. It’s a hidden yet visible school attribute. What does that mean? It means that parents notice if they enter the school and overhear a teacher speaking ill of another parent or student to someone. Students notice when a teacher says something harsh and makes excuses instead of apologizing. It means that teachers and students see when an angry parent stops by the school and yells at the teacher. This is not to say our schools and teachers must be perfect, but our lives, though messy, should show Christ’s transformative power in the way we live our lives. This is often the most difficult change that must be made. What is the culture of your school?

Plus One: Pursue transformational money.
Very few like to donate money to operating costs. What projects is your school doing to match its vision and mission? These are exciting projects that donors love to support! Get the word out!

The work represented in the steps above is significant. We have to be okay with taking it one thing at a time. Together, we can prayerfully collaborate to provide a better version of Adventist education than we did yesterday.

Bolded lines are cited from:
Anderson, S. (2009). Chapter 9. In How to Kill Adventist Education: (and How to Give It a Fighting Chance!) (pp. 90–90). essay, Review and Herald Pub. Association.

Camp Paxson registration is open, but almost full!

Camp Paxson summer camp is an event operated by the Youth Department of the Montana Conference Office of Seventh-day Adventists. This one week summer camp is open to those between 9-14 years of age. Sign up now to reserve your spot for June 26-July 3, 2022. Cabin space is going quickly!

We hope your child has a great experience, learns new skills, and sees Christ in new ways! To register, click on the button below. If you have questions, you may contact the Montana Conference Office at 406.587.3101.

Camp Paxson Registration

Mount Ellis Academy Highlights

Career Day is Back
Article by Carmen Mathis, MEA Librarian

Before spring break, we challenged our Sophomore and Junior classes to seriously consider how they would answer the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" After two years of missing from our program, it was time to bring back Career Day!

Career Day is an opportunity for our students to explore the workplace in a career they are interested in pursuing. Local Bozeman community companies and small business owners welcomed our students into their facilities. They allowed them to career-shadow for a day to see what the real-world workplace looks like.

At MEA, we are thrilled to offer an experience where students can potentially see where their developing academic knowledge and God-given talents may take them in the future. Our nervous, yet excited students, were driven all over Bozeman (and Belgrade) throughout the day for their varying work placements.

The range of career choices was diverse. Students chose to shadow careers that included:

  • graphic design

  • architecture,

  • nursing,

  • physical therapy,

  • orthopedic surgery,

  • CEO of Bridger Orthopedics,

  • mechanics,

  • baker,

  • small business owner,

  • Fish Wildlife and Parks,

  • MSU athletic department,

  • photography,

  • veterinary medicine,

  • Fire Department,

  • Police Department,

  • computer programming,

  • aviation,

  • cosmetology,

  • and engineering.

The students seemed to have a great day and returned to campus with enthusiastic chatter and beaming smiles! The experience has confirmed many students' ideas about their future careers and sent others back to the drawing board. Nonetheless, the day was a huge success and highly beneficial to our students.

"Career day provided information and lessons to help determine what I would like to do in the future. Shadowing Warden Aaron from Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 3 showed me that it would be an interesting career. While I had an excellent experience, I have realized this is probably not a career I will choose in the future." Jim Hanson - Sophomore

"I loved career day. I especially appreciated how open and enthusiastic the Belgrade Fire Chief was at answering all my questions. I never realized how many different responsibilities a firefighter has!" Grace Klein - Junior

"It was such a privilege to visit Central Copters at the airport. Seeing the mechanics of the different aircraft was interesting and gave me insight into my possible future career choice. Flying above Bozeman locked it in!" Dylan Wonenberg – Junior

"Architecture has always been an interest of mine. Seeing their drafting programs and how projects are conceptualized and developed was an interesting process." Shelby Dietrich - Junior

Subscribe to Mt. Ellis Peaks

Sub-zero Temps Cause Broken Pipes at Fort Peck

Three weeks ago, my wife Cindy and I took some boxes to the Fort Peck Living Hope Center. When we opened the door, we immediately heard an unusual sound. I thought it was the furnace, but Cindy thought it was the sound of running water. Unfortunately, she was right. Sometime in the not too distant past, both furnaces had inexplicably stopped working, causing several pipes, three toilets, one sink water feed, and six shower valves to rupture, flooding the entire basement. Fortunately, one of the three floor drains had been unplugged, and the water was only about 1.5 inches deep.

We had had nearly three weeks of subzero weather and about as many days where the daily high temperature had been in the teens. I’m guessing that was when the pipes burst. But when the furnaces stopped is anyone’s guess.

With water damage, the top priorities are to stop the leak and remove the wet. Stopping the leak was easy after I found the main water valve. Removing the wet is the hard part. Wet sheetrock is messy and very heavy.

Since then, we’ve had many specialty contractors come and go, each inspecting the damage and making estimates for the fix. The combined cost of repair is approaching $40,000. Thankfully there is insurance.

This catastrophe has dramatically accelerated our integration into the community. I’ve met loads of people in the different offices around town and the surrounding towns. The most spiritually interesting was a man that had wandered past the building while I was outside, my hands full of sheetrock. Like so many others that had come by, he offered to help. I thought it better that he didn’t help for several reasons. After talking for about an hour, I had the privilege of praying for him and his future. When I finished, I asked if he would pray for me! He did (praise the Lord!) and afterward told me it was the first time he had prayed for anyone in his life. He looked radiant when he finished, and I was tremendously blessed. What a privilege!

Please keep the Fort Peck Living Hope Center in your prayers. We were planning a grand opening this summer, but that may not happen as expected. Please pray that Cindy and I continue to connect with many others in the community throughout the restoration of the building.

His disciples,
David and Cindy White

Adventist Community Services

Food Distribution made possible with NAD ACS Covid-19 Food Grant
Article by: Gabriele Laub, Montana Conference Adventist Community Service Coordinator

On a cold February day, a team of devoted volunteers distributed a total of 58 food boxes to families and single households in the town of Eureka. 24 boxes were handed out to residents of a low-income apartment complex, 4 to specific families in great need, and the remaining boxes to patrons of the local Senior Center. All recipients felt blessed and were appreciative. The boxes also contained a brochure about the work of Adventist Community Services and some health and wellness literature.

Thank you to the Eureka Church members who donated their time and resources to make this event happen! The food purchase was made possible with funds from the NAD ACS Covid-19 Food Grant. 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow'!
For more information or ideas on Community Service projects, please contact Gabriele Laub at communityservices@montanaadventist.org or call 720-560-4763 (cell).

Helping Families with Grocery Gift Cards

Article by Norma Trent, Communication coordinator for Roundup SDA Church

The Roundup church was honored to present to the Principal of the Roundup elementary school, Rick Griffin, gift cards to the local IGA store. These gift cards are to be used as needs arise during the school year.

We are always looking for ways to help our community. Several church members work at the Roundup Elementary school and were made aware of food insecurities among several families. We praise God we are able to help.

Matthew 25:40 states: “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.”

Resources & Events

How the Church Works

Ever wondered why we have constituencies, General Conferences, and nominating committees? While for some it may seem like a waste of time or resources, we need to understand how the church works. Kaleb Eisele does a good job explaining the processes in his latest article for the NPUC Gleaner, but he also has a podcast called “How the Church Works,” where he talks about the inner workings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Read the Article
Listen to the Podcast

Renewed Faith Bible Study Initiative

Renewing Faith, the Conference has provided resources that are designed to inspire a revival of spiritual life among our membership. These resources include Bible Study lessons. Find out how your church can participate.

Learn More

The Montana Herald is the official communication publication of the Montana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. If you know of another member of the conference not receiving this email, share it with them so they don't miss out on what is happening across our conference.

President - Ken Norton
Vice President of Administration - Jim Jenkins
Treasurer - Erin Tungesvik
Education Superintendent & Youth Ministries - Renae Young

Communication Coordinator & Newsletter Editor - Stephen Carlile