Chesapeake Conference

Story by Ricardo Bacchus

Two teachers recently received the Columbia Union Conference Office of Education Outstanding Educator Award: Carla Thrower, the principal of Potomac Conference’s Takoma Academy in Takoma Park, Md.; and Vail Bigelow Mason, 1st and 2nd grade teacher at Chesapeake Conference’s Mt. Aetna Adventist School in Hagerstown, Md.

By presenting this award, the union’s education officials “seek to promote the recognition and appreciation of outstanding educators who have demonstrated consistent excellence,” they say.

Story by Tompaul Wheeler

For half a century, nowhere has embodied the phrase “so near, and yet so far” for Americans more than Cuba.

Cuba is only 93 miles from Key West, Fla., but for the average American, for decades it may as well have been on Mars. Home to 11 million people, the Caribbean island nation is the size of Virginia. Due to the travel and trade embargo imposed by the United States since the early 1960s, Cuba’s colorful and dynamic culture, and its turbulent political scene have been shut out from much of the world.

 Juliana Baioni

Story by Heidi Wetmore

When Jacob Harris was 8 years old, his family moved from Liberia to Maryland so his father could serve as a Lutheran minister. Harris was bullied in school because he was not from the United States. He decided that he didn’t want to be different and started hanging out with gang members. That decision led him to an unhealthy lifestyle including drugs, fighting and crime.

Pastor César González visits with Cenaida Fort Defaus, a Cuban member who opens her home as a meeting place for her church.

Story by Samantha Young

A group of 18 pastors and lay members recently conducted evangelistic meetings in Cuba. They held meetings in 11 churches in Pinar del Río, an area with extreme poverty, food scarcity and a typical monthly salary equivalent to about $25.

“Our pastors are enthusiastic about their meetings and the congregations were very receptive,” says Rick Remmers, conference president.