Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Mountain View Conference

Phil Balisciano was brought up in a nominal Protestant home where he was not grounded in the Word of God. So he set off early to pursue what he thought was his real purpose of life—“having a good time.” That was his philosophy, but God had His own deep and wonderful purposes for this party-lover.

“I’m sure it was the Lord’s idea,” Kester Erskine says with conviction when asked how the idea of running a thrift store came to him. “We thought about having something like the Samaritan Center down in Tennessee, and it just grew along. Marie, my wife, was right beside me every bit of the way. I was just going to start it and turn it over to somebody else.”

As the Parsons church, a very small congregation located 20 miles from Elkins, W.Va., puzzled over how best to witness to the local community, Mountain View Conference’s officers encouraged schools across the conference to develop evangelism projects in their local areas. Students and staff at the Highland Adventist School (HAS) in Elkins responded to the challenge. During the 2010-11 school year, they worked with Don Jacko, pastor of the Parsons and Elkins churches, and Parsons members to plan a 10-month evangelism cycle with health ministry as the emphasis.

“These ministry leaders are working tirelessly in their local churches to reach out and engage their youth and young adults,” said Frank Bondurant, Columbia Union vice president for Ministries Development. “To retain and enlist these youth and young adults in our local church ministries is one of the greatest challenges we as a church are facing, and I am grateful that [we] could support and assist these leaders in this important ministry.”