The Lord is my Protector


PSALM 18:1-2 “How I love you, Lord! You are my defender. The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe.”
Let these words of the Psalmist lead us to the assurance that we are safe with the Lord. Pray this Scripture. Grow in faith that God knows you personally. He cares about you and He loves you.


Last Monday night the church Board had a virtual meeting. The emphasis of the meeting was on the church’s response to the tornado devastation. We heard great stories of our church members being willing to help in the very first hours after the storm. The grim picture of this natural disaster is still all around us.

Board members were also very glad to learn more about the new initiative of our Community Services. Lucas Patterson, the leader of this ministry, shared a new plan to help homeless people in Chattanooga. As the Community Kitchen downtown is closed there is another way to help people by providing sack lunches. We agreed that our church volunteers will prepare a hundred and fifty sack lunches twice a month. These lunches will then be distributed among the homeless. The Benevolence committee approved the funds needed for this project. Lucas needs volunteers. Here is what he asked me to share with the church:

SACK LUNCHES FOR HOMELESS. Our church is volunteering on the first and third Mondays of May, June, and July to purchase supplies and pack sack lunches for the homeless. We’ll assemble 150 lunches during each shift in our church social hall and deliver them to staff at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen who then pass the lunches out at various homeless encampments around town. This project is directly connected to COVID-19; the homeless would normally come to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen for meals in its dining hall, but the dining hall is closed to encourage social distancing for this highly vulnerable population. Our first packing session is Monday, May 4, at 8 a.m. Volunteer spots are limited. To sign up, contact Lucas Patterson: 423-582-1678,

The Board has also discussed a possible date for reopening our church for worship services. We tentatively agreed to resume in-person services on May 30. In the next week or so the pastoral staff will present the guidelines for the initial stage of our church reopening.

HOPE AWAKENS meetings continue through May 17. Many of you are receiving blessings by watching these messages. Some of you are helping as Bible instructors for the contacts. God bless you for your ministry.

LIGHT OF HOPE. I am grateful for your support and for your prayers for the satellite evangelistic meetings streaming from our church across the ocean to the Russian-speaking countries of Europe and Asia. The response is overwhelming. Click here to read more. Or here is the direct link:

PRAYERS. Please pray for our church members and our community. Let the Lord lead us out of this valley of the shadow of death.

SABBATH WORSHIP. Dr. David Hartman will be speaking for the worship service this Sabbath morning, Мay 2. You can watch online by either following the link on the church Facebook page (posted at 9 am on Sabbath morning) or by visiting the church website and clicking on the blue color box at the bottom of the page. The box says Sermons and Online Worship Services. Here is the address of the church website:

Sabbath school study will be presented by Greg and Arlene Leavitt. We all appreciate their weekly SS lesson discussion.

CHURCH GIVING. God bless you for your faithful support of the local church budget and your tithes. Rita shared with me the preliminary figures for the month of April. It looks like me met our monthly goal again! Praise God. We’ll be able to pay our bills and to support OAKS 🙂


If you have not yet tried the online giving option click here to access the Adventist Giving page. Also, you can access some very helpful information on Stewardship during the time of crisis if you click here.

Church online bulletin. Click here.

Happy Sabbath.


Doing good.


MESSAGE. It is in tough times that our true nature becomes obvious. The recent tornado in our own community caused unimaginable pain to hundreds of residents. At that same time my phone was flooded with phone calls and text messages from our church members offering help. It showed me how many loving people we have in our congregation. They were ready to cook food, deliver generators, cut branches and broken trees, etc, etc. I praise God for each one of you who followed the example of Jesus and went into the community “doing good” (Acts 10:38.)


Following the devastation caused by the tornado on Easter night, our neigborhs have many needs. We also have so many people willing to jump in and work hard to help those impacted by the storm and it is a blessing to see! Last Friday we had over 30 people come out to volunteer in the community. Organized by the Love In Action ministry, volunteers divided up into four teams and went to four locations to offer help. Those four locations turned into eight as we made connections with neighbors and learned of others we could help. Four of the families helped were from our church family and the other four were points of outreach. An additional team of nine went out on Sabbath to help a family with immediate need caused by the rain that was to come that night.
Our volunteers worked all day long with chainsaws, wheelbarrows, hatchets, rakes and a whole lot of muscle. We were able to remove trees from rooftops, chop and untangle mounds and mounds of mangled trees and do some yard clean up as well. The work was hard, but the workers were many and much was accomplished. The spirit of service and determination was energizing! A huge thank you to those that came out to help and who found additional opportunities to help our community. The support and love has been felt again and again by those hit by the storm. And an even bigger thank you to our God for keeping us all safe as we engaged in sometimes dangerous work to help meet the needs of others.
There is still a lot of work to be done in the community and we will continue asking God to show us the opportunities He has lined up for us to take care of others. If you would like to be notified of upcoming volunteer days, please contact Edymar Penagos at 813-541-2184 or


Here is more received from Mike Haughee:

760Hope Awakens. The It Is Written meetings are bringing the message of hope into our homes. Just in the area around our church, sixty people haver registered for the meetings. We need to do our part and connect with these people to help them with Bible studies. I am very encouraged that we have a team of volunteers who are staying on top of this important task. I am grateful to Mike Doucoumes for his great job in coordinating this effort.

Here is an update form Mike Doucoumes: “The church has been actively involved in It is Written’s Hope Awakens evangelistic series, with John Bradshaw. Ooltewah Church has 15 Virtual Bible Workers (VBWs) who are following up around 65 interests who have registered for the series. As far as we know, these are non- SDAs and we have checked their names in e Adventists and we did not find them there. Our Bible workers are sending e-mails to the interests with friendly messages and pdf books attached in an attempt to build relationships with these viewers. Across the U.S. there are 70,000 people viewing this series. Please pray for Elder Bradshaw that he will he strengthened by God so he can continue to bring such powerful messages as he has thus far. And pray for our VBWs, as well as the VBWs all over the U.S. and pray for our interests and the country’s interests. We hope to see hundreds of people baptized as a result of this series.”

To watch the messages go to

God’s Word is being preached to Europe and Asia in the Russian language from our own church. I was humbled by the request that came from the Euro-Asia Division to present a series of ten meetings to the millions living in that part of the world. Four times a week Hope Channel Ukraine and Hope Channel Russia deliver these messages straight from our Fellowship Hall. Wrapped in Steve Darmody’s songs and Jaime Jorge’s violin the sermons are being sent across the ocean. Hundreds of thousands are watching live on the internet, not even counting all those who watch in their homes via satellite  and cable networks. The response is overwhelming. Please continue to pray for Europe and Asia. Your support of the Light of Hope ministry is needed and greatly appreciated.


Shelter in Place order and our worship services. The Tennessee state authorities are planning on a gradual reopening of businesses beginning May 1. Let the Lord give wisdom to our governor and our county mayor. We all want it to be done right. With churches being a place where people are in very close contact, we may wait a few more weeks before we resume our regular in-person worship services. The Church board meeting will discuss this matter this coming Monday night. I will keep you posted on the final decision of the board.

This Sabbath, April 25, once again we will worship in our homes with a live stream from our church starting at 9 am. I am sure by this time you have figured out how to access the video stream from our church website. But just in case here are simple instructions: go to, at the bottom of the main page you will see this box online services

click on right before 9 am or any time after 9 am and join the service.

If you use Facebook then go to our official Ooltewah Seventh Day Adventist page and right at around 9 am you will see a post inviting you to watch the service live.

The Blessing of Giving. Are we not grateful that in spite of all the hardships we have gone through in the last six weeks, we still have food eat and warm beds to sleep in. I am absolutely sure that God will continue to take care of His children. Let us show our love to God and His church by bringing our tithes and offerings this Sabbath. This is the last Sabbath of April. I invite you to show faith by supporting your local church and school.  To make a donation visit our church website and follow the ONLINE GIVING link. Paper tithe envelopes are available in the church office during normal office hours.

Attention families who are new to our church since September 2019 and families who were not able to participate in our directory photo session in September.
If you have a photo (jpeg) of your family that you would like to share for our online directory, please contact Mike Haughee by email ( It might take a couple of weeks for the updates to be downloaded but you will be notified when the updated directory is ready for viewing.
If you have any questions, please contact Mike.

Dr. Derek Heldzinger, MD is an SDA family physician who recently opened a Family Medical clinic in Ringgold. He is American Board Certified in Lifestyle Medicine and received his certification in Lifestyle Medicine from Blackhills Education Institute as well.  He has also worked with Dr. Neil Nedley, running the residential Nedley Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program.

The clinic is located at 102 RBC Drive.  The phone number is: 423-827-4705.
Dr Heldzinger is accepting new patients and has a comprehensive lifestyle treatment approach, and understands vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.

Elma Marie Heldzinger – Office Manager

Disclaimer: this is not an endorsement of the clinic. Posted in this blog per office manager’s request.

Please continue to pray for our church and our community.

Happy Sabbath,


“I am the resurrection and the life.”

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MESSAGE. “What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 MSG

Pandemic kills; Jesus brings life! This is the message that we need to affirm today. As a caring parent by the bedside of a sick child, Christ is right next to each one of HIS children during this time of pain and suffering. He knows how to heal. He has the power to resurrect! Share this hope with one another today.



The April 4 Sabbath worship service united our church again in the spiritual reality of our online services. Lots of phone messages were going back and forth sharing praises and prayer requests. Pastor Matthew had an excellent children’s story based on his personal experience of God’s faithfulness during tough times. Wonderful songs by the Highlanders group reminded us about heaven without tears. Thank you, Larry! Greg and Arlene Leavitt blessed us all with a thorough Sabbath School lesson study. There were several other ZOOM studies going on at the same time. Hear a short message from the Herrell’s:Hi Pastor Peter, we enjoyed your sermon so much yesterday! It was very meaningful to us.  Thank you! I wanted to tell you that my mother’s favorite Bible verse in the whole Bible was Titus 2:13. My maiden name was Titus. My mother always clung to that wonderful blessed hope. I know I will see her again someday!  We had our own Sabbath school class on Zoom yesterday. That was our Discipleship Class. Mike was the facilitator as usual. Fifteen of us met together on there! It was wonderful. We plan to do it every Sabbath from now on until we can meet back at church.”

Jenny Spicer and Pastor Matthew led the Youth Sabbath school class. Their class will meet again this Sabbath at 10:15 am. Cory Goss is planning on starting a ZOOM Sabbath class for the Primary age group tomorrow at 11:15, after the Adult Sabbath study is over.   How exciting that we can still study God’s Word and worship Him at this time.

April 11 Worship Service will go live at 9 am at . Let the Spirit of God keep us together in worship and in study through this new Sabbath day.

HOPE AWAKENS. We are exactly a week away from the opening night of the It Is Written online evangelistic meetings. Our church registered to be a part of this virtual outreach. Please visit the It Is Written resources available online, and share the news with your friends and family.

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Click here to register and to learn more about the upcoming seminar.

Light of Hope Ministry. COVID19 is hitting every possible nation of the world and is wreaking financial and economic havoc. The Euro-Asia Division based in Moscow, Russia asked me to present a series of evangelistic meetings starting April 17. I will be preaching in Russian from Ooltewah, and the Hope Channels Russia and Ukraine will be broadcasting it across Eastern Europe and Asia. People living in those countries need hope and encouragement. I am humbled by this request and solicit your prayers. Steve Darmody and Jaimy Jorge graciously agreed to be a part of this unprecedented global evangelistic event. We are just a few days away from the opening night of the meetings. Please keep the Light of Hope Ministry in your prayers. Below is a 40 second promotional video in the Russian language used by our churches and satellite networks in preparation for the event.

PRAYERS. I invite you to pray for our church and our community. Pray for those who lost their income. Pray for the healthcare professionals from our church as well as around the globe. They are on the battlefield of a real war. Pray for the young couples with little children. Pray for our OAKS students and the school teachers. Pray for those volunteers who help with food and household supply deliveries. Pray to find your place in the ministry to the discouraged and the struggling souls around us.

Pray for Pastor Matthew as he’ll be sharing the message of hope tomorrow.

widowsGod bless you for your faithfulness in bringing your tithes and offerings. Last week many drove by the church and dropped their tithe envelopes into the “secure offerings mail box” by the office door. Others used the online Adventist Giving option. COVID19 will not stop us from supporting the work of God’s Church! Here is a link to the Online Giving

Church bulletin is also updated every week and you can access it at anytime by visiting our church website

FROM MY HEART. This weekend was planned a year ago as a time to celebrate our youngest daughter’s wedding. COVID19 closed the doors for a big event. Our family members cannot travel to attend the ceremony, but the wedding is still taking place. We agreed to pray over this new union of hearts right at the sundown time this Sabbath night. The ceremony will take place in our back yard. We cut a couple of trees, set a few stumps (for 10 people 🙂 ), put together an arch made of our of own tree branches. Please remember our daughter Barby and her fiancé Jared in your prayers as they will be joined in marriage by the end of the day tomorrow.


Encouragement during COVID-19

save-imageMESSAGE. The daily news of the growing coronavirus cases and deaths makes my heart bleed. The new Hamilton county order to shelter in place makes me think of those who lost their income due to closed businesses. Driving by churches with closed doors brings a terrifying feeling of a ‘doomsday scenario.” With this dark reality weighing heavy on my heart, I keep opening God’s Word. It gives me hope that God is still with us. I begin to realize as never before that hope is a lifebelt from the heavenly Father “who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope” (2 Thessalonians 2:16). With all the bad news there is good hope!

MINISTRY. Our church is a living church in spite of the closed doors. Last Sabbath hundreds of fiber optics internet strings connected us together in the joy of Sabbath worship. Thank you all, who sent text messages while you were participating in the online worship service. I hope to hear from y’all again this Sabbath (it does not matter what time you watch the service…just send a short text or a prayer request. My number is 678-571-1743). Below is a photo from the Kulik’s home. Maggie liked the worship service!


0BDECD80-9742-4A1D-AFE0-E2CCABA4CFEFOn Monday night our Church Board had a virtual meeting. I was impressed to see thirty two members join the ZOOM room. Thank God we have this option in the time of sheltering in place and social distancing. The Board prayed for our community, our nation, and the whole world. After reviewing the February financial statements we praised God for the faithful and generous giving of our church members. The local church budget was met, all the bills were paid, all ministries received their allocations. How wonderful! However, I was even more encouraged today when the church Treasurer, Rita Rogers, shared with me the good news of your giving in March. Once again your contributions to the local budget reached (and even slightly exceeded) the set goal for the month! This church believes in sharing the Gospel no matter what!

With the shelter in place order we cannot proceed with our plans for our own spring evangelistic meetings. This, however, does not mean that we’ll remain silent. The church board voted to join the It Is Written online evangelistic meetings scheduled to start on April 17. In the next few days you’ll receive, by email, and see on Facebook promotional material for the meetings. Please, plan on your own participation as well as sharing these digital flyers with your friends and family. Use your email, repost these flyers on your Facebook page. Stay home, and be creative. Pray for the thousands of people in our community to watch these meetings. More info is coming in the next few days.

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OAKS. OAKS is moving forward bravely into the new world of online schooling. There are many neat things that this system can create for students. Please pray for our teachers and students as they navigate this new challenge.


On Sabbath afternoon a couple of our prayer worries walked around the Morning Pointe Assisted Living Center. They prayed for the residents and decorated their windows 🙂 Sue Wiley share this photo with me.  Thank you, ladies!




Men’s Ministry remains active in service and prayers for one another. Thank you, Edymar, for providing spiritual guidance to the men of our church. Below is Edymar’s latest update and photos.

“I wanted to share a few things with you and also let you know that each of you, as well as your families, are in my prayers. With all the uncertainty out there, let us not forgot that God who spoke ALL things into existence is with you and you can take that to the bank! “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Love in ActionWe recently completed a screened-in porch for a special lady whose trust was taken advantage of by someone who could use our prayers. Thank you, Geofrey Jenses, Barry Tryon, Chester Caswell, David Denton and our foreman, Darren Downey. You guys embodied and demonstrated Christ’s command to “love our neighbors.” I have found that when I am most stressed about my life, focusing on others really helps! Aren’t Gods directions on how we should live our lives so amazing!?

Men’s Sabbath School class: Guys, I want to encourage you to reach out to others (especially those who might not have the same support and resources as you) and either start a virtual group or join a group during this isolation period. It will help with the psychological impact of the physical separation. One option is our sabbath school class this Saturday at 10:30am which you can join using the Zoom link below. For those that want to participate, please watch “The Echo” by Andy Stanley. This is the finale in his series “Future Family” and can be found on RightNow Media. If you are unable to view the video before Sabbath, don’t let that stop you from joining class. Thank you, Lucas Patterson, for leading this virtual segment of our class. I really enjoyed it last week! (see attached photo, sorry David Denton) Link for the meeting:

 Here is a testimony about the men’s class from Luis Rivera:  “I love that we can openly share and not be judged, and I think it’s because most of us either are going through or have gone through or know someone whose gone through a similar experience. I love that we are breaking down the lie that men aren’t supposed to talk about their feelings or aren’t supposed to show emotion. I love the various ages that are in our class and that despite the gaps we can still learn from each other. We have great discussions and am so happy when I hear younger men say they enjoyed the class even though they stayed quiet. I feel it is imperative to have a class like this because men need each other, we were not meant to go through life alone, Jesus didn’t so there is no reason we should. The devil can do a lot of damage when we isolate ourselves and shut down everyone around us and try to be the lone wolf/hero. I pray that the class continues to grow and that us men grow closer together and to God. Thank you to everyone who makes this class happen and to those who continue to share and pray for each other.”

 Mountain Bike Ministry: One way that you can get out into nature while still observing current TN recommended guidelines for social distancing is to get on a bike and join our mountain biking group! No need to be close to anyone in order to share some fun on a trail! If you are interested, contact David Denton at 423-505-7878 or

Lastly, I know these are challenging times and we are all doing the best we can. We also know that our loving Father uses challenges to draw us closer to Him. I would love to hear and share how He is accomplishing this in your life. How are you seeing His hand in your life these days? “Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21″ 

You are in my prayers daily. Let the Spirit of God unite us in the Sabbath morning worship service on YouTube.

Hugs from Galena and I.

Be The Church



If my church is closed because of the pandemic what can I do? I can Be The Church! Each one of us is a living cell of the spiritual body of Christ. Christ is alive, and His Church is alive today. Don’t allow the virus or panic or fear to infect your spiritual cells. Let the blood of Jesus continue to circulate through your “sanctuary”, let the fresh Spirit breath the words of love and care through your “spiritual lungs”, let the living Word of God fill your lips with words of grace and your social media with the messages of hope, let the power of Christ strengthen your spiritual muscles in serving your community. While a virus may destroy the church, God builds up His sanctuary. Be the sanctuary in your home or your community.


Last Sabbath morning hundreds of our church members participated in the digital worship service. During the sermon I asked those who were watching to send me a text message. My phone was flooded right away with messages from many watching individually or together as families. That was really encouraging! Please keep sending your messages tomorrow. It helps me feel connected with all of you. It assures me of our spiritual spiritual unity. I was grateful to Larry and the choir for the excellent service in music and songs. Connie shared a perfect children’s story which helped our children get the sermon message in a simple way and with a beautiful illustration. Below are a couple of photos I received last Sabbath. Don’t forget to share your photos tomorrow, please 🙂


Church library. This morning while at church, I met Noah Banks, Moriah, and Noah’s mom, Joan Banks, sorting books for our church library. We prayed together asking God to bless this new initiative. Here is what Noah asked me to share with the church:  “Hey church family, we wanted to let you know that your church library is quickly growing with many wonderful books donated by fellow church members. Once the church is open we hope to have the church library ready for check out after we get our system in place. We want to personally thank our contributors for their donations and would like to ask if you have any books for donation please let us know so that we can get them and share them with our Ooltewah church family. We are looking for all kinds of books from marriage, family, men’s/ worms ministries, stories, study helpers, and all kinds of genres to give our library some diversity. We please ask that you look at the books and think if it is a kind of book that our church should carry and pending approval we can put it into the library. If you need more info please contact Noah Banks at (423) 599-3656 or Moriah Shadley at (256) 794-5492.”


SMALL GROUPS MINISTRY. Like never before, small groups ministry becomes crucially important in keeping our church alive and keeping it together. Here is a message sent by Lucas Patterson to the group leaders:

“You’re likely NOT meeting in your homes, but that doesn’t mean small groups have to stop. I see pictures of church members hiking with 8 or 9 other church members, so clearly some folks are still willing to gather and are prioritizing time with their friends. And speaking of nature, Pastor Kulakov has offered to let small groups meet outside at the church if you want. We can set up some folding tables in the grass and you can spread out to a safe distance. No offense to our church’s location—it’s relatively serene—but if you’re willing to meet outside I can probably think of more attractive locations (parks, etc). Either way, give it some thought.  What about the possibility of online studies using a Facebook group or videochat function? I’m no expert in either of those options, but have been doing group videochats with co-workers all week and I’m happy to help set you up to lead in this way should you want.

Please shoot me a reply and let me know the status of things with your small group. I encourage you, as the group leader, to be intentional about staying in touch with your group in the best way possible—whether that means meeting in person, online, or making regular phone calls to each participant (and encouraging them to do the same).”

Let me encourage our church members to build a beehive of  “small groups”. You can meet online or on the phone. Today is the day to act.

MEN’S MINISTRY is here for you.  Please read Edymar’s message: “Men, I hope this email finds you and your loved ones doing well. I wanted to reach out to see if you or anyone you know (church member or not) needs assistants in the following ways:

  • Money for food?
  • Food?
  • Money for fixed expenses like a power bill, water bill, insurance bill, cell phone bill, etc?
  • Money for medicine?
  • Pickup and delivery of goods?
  • Someone to talk to and pray with?
  • Toys or games for kids?
  • Toilet paper and sanitizing products?
  • Repairs around the home?
  • Vehicle repairs?
Please know that I do take the current situation seriously and if we are called for assistance, we will use every precaution the CDC has recommended to prevent the spread of this virus. With that being said, I also want our brothers and sisters to know that God loves them, and that in times like this the church is still united and here for them. Even when the doors to the church building have been shut.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9″


Almost every day I am receiving phone calls from our church members offering help to deliver Sabbath school study guides, groceries, or any other needed supplies to our sick or elderly members. What a caring church we have!!! If you need help, please, do not hesitate to contact your elder, me, or Pastor Matthew. We are here to help.


This Sabbath, March 28, our live stream worship service will start at 9 am. We’ll have a children’s story and a song service. To watch the worship service go to and right there on the home page, click on the “ON AIR” blue box. If you go directly to YouTube, search for the Ooltewah Adventist Church channel.

Sabbath school study will start at around 10:20. If you do not stop the live stream after the worship service you’ll smoothly join the Sabbath school discussion.

Tithe and offerings is a sacred part of our worship service. You can easily participate by going to the church website and clicking on the ONLINE GIVING link. Your tithe automatically goes to the Conference account. Your support of the local church budget allows our church to continue its operation even at this dramatic time in the history of this world. Your local giving supports our ministries, church daily operations, utilities, and of course, over 60% of our local church budget goes to support our school and students attending Adventist academies. God bless bless for your generous and faithful support of our church and school.

If you prefer to write a check or donate cash you can always request a tithe envelope from the church office. Please call or text me and our office will deliver tithe envelopes to your front door.

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STUDENT AID REQUEST DEADLINE – The deadline to submit student aid applications is MONDAY, JUNE 15, AT NOON. Please email the church office at to request an application. Student Aid Forms must be completed every year.

The forms are also available on the church website (under CONTACT tab) or right here: Non Constituent Application 2020-2021, for Academy (1) Student Assistance Guidelines and Application 2020-2021 (1)

Be Still

438716547_191798MESSAGE. The Ooltewah Adventist church will be open for both services this Sabbath, March 14. Church leadership takes the spread of Coronavirus very seriously. We do not want to subject our church members to additional risk of getting infected. Therefore we strongly advise against coming to church if you feel sick or have flu symptoms. Those who come are invited to refrain from hugging or shaking hands. Smiling and waving to each other is a great way of showing your friendliness and hospitality. The cleaning crew will do extra cleaning of all surfaces, bathrooms, pews, door knobs, etc. YouTube and Facebook streaming will be used for both services. If you prefer to stay at home and do not know how to watch our services on your home devices, please email one of the pastors for instructions. If you choose to participate in worship services via online streaming please remember to use the web based giving option. To access the online/virtual tithe and offering envelope go to our church website and click on the ONLINE GIVING link. The Church Fellowship meal for March 21 is cancelled. The Church Yard Sale is cancelled as well. All other church program and event cancellations will be posted on the church website calendar. We believe these are temporary measures. God is in control. We encourage you to pray for our community, our nation, and this world.



FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN EVENT CANCELATION. Here is the message from the Event coordinators:

“It is with a very heavy heart, that after much consideration, we regret to inform you that The Ooltewah Community MobilePack event is being postponed to a future date. The decision is based solely on the safety of our volunteers, staff, and the food itself. The situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) is fast evolving with daily announcements about the spread of the virus and we do not want to put anyone at risk. We do not make this decision lightly as we recognize how important these meals are for children all over the world.

If you were contacted by your Group Leader earlier today that the event was still happening, please be aware that this event is now postponed. If there are people in your group whose emails are not in the registration system please let them know of this postponement. We look forward to serving together with you as a community at a later date!”

Bible Studies Training event. On Sabbath afternoon, February 29, Michelle Doucoumes, SAU Business Professor, conducted a two hour Bible Instructor training, following a delicious meal of lasagna provided by the church. Michelle helped start the SALT program several years ago, and served as the first SALT program coordinator, filling that position for three years. Her program centered on how instructors could make Bible studies interesting and relevant for students and keep them excited about studying each week. The seminar was attended by over 30 participants and many positive comments were made. Many are eagerly looking forward to the next seminar on March 28, which will deal with how to gain decisions on Bible truths, and other topics as well. A mailing is in the process of going out to over 5,100 people in the vicinity of our church, inviting them to order free Bible study guides. It is our hope that the follow-up to these interest cards will result in a number of Bible studies starting in the homes around us, so that each of our teams will have an in-home Bible study. Please pray for the success of the follow-up, and pray for the March 28 training event as well.

HEALTH MINISTRY had an excellent Cooking Class program last Sunday. Thank you all who worked hard to make it happen. Here are a few photos from the event.

Church Business meeting. Last Saturday night the overwhelming majority of our church voted to start a Capital Fundraising Campaign towards the Church Expansion project. This is a major step into the future for our church. I pray that God continues to keep us united in ministry and in love. Please pray that God leads us to the goal that we agreed to reach by September of 2021.  When you contribute to this project please clearly mark you donation as “Church Expansion program.”

Cereal Barrel Ministry needs your support. As you enjoy your breakfast every morning please remember our friends from the community who cannot afford a simple meal for their family. We can all bring just one box of cereal and brighten the day for one of “God’s little ones.” Thank you, Julia, for your leadership in this ministry.


Evangelism. Our church believes in sharing the Gospel! Here is an update from the Barbosa family:

“This coming May both my wife Jaude and I will each be going on an evangelistic mission trip to two separate locations. Jaude will be going to Cajamarca, Peru and I will be going to Vineland, New Jersey. The trip to Peru is part of field school which is part of the Theology program at Southern and will be an amazing experience. The trip to New Jersey is not required for graduation, but it is special because it is the first of hopefully many evangelistic trips that will take place within the United States from Southern. We will be apart from each other for these trips and are not looking forward to that, but we are praying that the Lord will use us in a powerful way and for His glory. We would like to invite the church to join us in prayer and support so that we the other students can carry the saving message of Jesus Christ to these parts of the world.”

Jaime and Jaude will be partially sponsored by the Ooltewah Adventist Church!

Church Directory Make Up Photos
On Sabbath and Sunday March 21,22, and 28,29 (if needed.)
Hours will be from 1:30 – 4:30 pm.
An appointment is required. Sign up sheet will be available in the foyers today and next Sabbath.
Any questions please contact Mike Haughee 423-488-4848

With all the turmoil in the world around us let us show strong faith and unity.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Let this be a blessed Sabbath day for you.

Praying for you!

Pastor Peter


Sharing the Good News



“When a man is filled with the Word of God you cannot keep him still, If a man has got the Word, he must speak or die.”  – Dwight L. Moody
This Sabbath morning I am starting a new short series of sermons titled “Our Mission.” The first message is “Sharing the Good News.”



IMG_1492 2Pathfinders. “This past weekend, regardless of the cold weather and snowfall Friday morning the Timberwolves enjoyed an eventful camping trip to Gee Creek where they spent much time hanging out around the campfire and climbing trees at the campsite. Worships involved singing songs accompanied by guitars and thoughts of how God helps us move mountains and highlighted some of the ways in which Jesus relates to us. We also enjoyed delicious food and hot drinks. Sabbath afternoon we hiked  to a waterfall where we ate our sack lunches and dreamed of jumping in the frigid water.
Thanks so much to all the staff who tirelessly sacrifice for the sake of our kids!! Thanks to the parents who allow us to take your kids on these life-changing adventures!! And thanks to the kids for being willing to go the distance!!” David Reynolds, Pathfinder Director

IMG-4202On March 3, Super Tuesday, more than 1,100 election workers and residents visited our church to vote, and for many, this was the first time at our church. They were greeted with free water, granola bars, and Little Debbies, and they were so appreciative.

This is one of the many ways our church supports our community. It does not take much to leave a lasting impression. Sometimes it just takes a smile or a kind word to leave a positive impact.

Stewardship: The job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.


tn-feed-my-starving-childrenVolunteer Spots Still Available for Global Service Project. Thank you for signing up to help with “Feed My Starving Children,” a March 14 mission event where our church will help other local churches pack more than 100,000 meals of rice, soy, and vitamins to send overseas. Two of our three time slots for the day still have volunteer spots available: 12-2 pm (3 slots), and 2:30-4:30 pm (17 slots). We would love to have your help with this fun, fulfilling work. Bring your family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors! Email project organizer Lucas Patterson with your questions or to sign up.  You can also sign up via the Community Services page on our church website. Click here.

Health Ministry team is actively preparing for a big program this Sunday. Go to their web page to register or to learn more about the upcoming events. Click here. 

Photo10Light of Hope team is preparing for a major evangelistic effort in Eastern Ukraine. Ten evangelists and four medical professionals will join me for this trip. We will be holding eighteen meetings simultaneously in eight different cities. Three mobile clinics will be rotating between these eight cities. Two evangelists are from our own church – Anita Shelton and Greg Leavitt! Other pastors are Chris Anderson, Rick Greve, Kevin Pires, Daniel Romanov, Sergio Freeman, Mikhail Skripkar and Daniel Reband. All churches in Ukraine are actively preparing for the meetings. They need our prayers and support. The GCC contributed $21,000 toward these meetings. Praise God for their support. An additional $16,000 is needed; not counting the travel expenses for the evangelists. If you are willing to contribute to this mission you may use the tithe envelope or the online AdventistGiving page. Please mark your donation for the Light of Hope.

PRAYERS. Please pray for God’s guidance to be given to our church regarding the new addition. I encourage everyone to attend the meeting. This way we will all participate in making this important decision.

Karen Boles had surgery on Tuesday morning. She is in recovery and needs our prayers.

Mike Haughee had a CT scan on Thursday. Praying for the “all clean” results!

Happy Sabbath. See you tomorrow.


The Power of Faith



“We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill. Put your talents into the work, ask God for wisdom, and it will be given you.”
Ellen G. White (COL, 146)


CHURCH MINISTRY EXPANSION PLANS. Our church members who attended the town hall meeting last Saturday night were introduced to the conceptual drawing for the new sanctuary and the new Sabbath School class wing. The sanctuary is being planned for six hundred seats. This number is less than our current membership of 730, but more than our average Sabbath attendance of about 450-500. This way the proposed new sanctuary is planned simply to accommodate the needs of our current membership. The total projected  building cost is 5.5 million. On March 7 the whole church is invited to a business meeting where we will need to vote on the proposed drawings and the capital fundraising campaign. Let the Spirit of God guide us in the right direction. He gave boldness and courage to the pioneers of this church fifty years ago. He has been with this church up to this day blessing the amazing growth of this congregation from 85 members to 730. I have no doubt that He will continue to guide this church in the future until the day of His glorious appearing.

BUSINESS MEETING. On Monday night, at the church Board meeting, we had an active discussion of the future of our ministry. The Board affirmed the Church Manual policy on business meeting voting. There will be no provision for early voting or voting by proxy. You need to be present to express your position on the voted items.

EVANGELISM. I was very encouraged by the support this church is giving to public Evangelism. The Board of Elders, as well as the Church Board, approved the concept of Spring Evangelism. You will be hearing a lot more about the upcoming health, music, and community service projects leading to a Bible Seminar in May of 2020. I hope you will be actively participating in the outreach ministry of your beloved church. Jesus is coming soon. People in our community need to hear the Good News of salvation.

TRAINING. One of the building blocks of evangelism is our engagement in offering personal Bible studies. I’m grateful to elder Mike Doucoumes for inviting his daughter Michelle to train us in giving successful Bible studies. The first training event is tomorrow right after the second service. Lunch is provided for the seminar participants.


Volunteer for Global Service Project. Thank you for signing up during the past two weeks to volunteer with “Feed My Starving Children,” a March 14 mission event where our church—along with two other local churches—will help pack more than 100,000 meals of rice, soy, and vitamins to send overseas. This is a great opportunity to serve alongside your friends, family, and neighbors. We have raised all the money we need. Now we are simply asking for your time, and more than 120 of you have already signed up! There are three volunteer slots available for the packing event which will be held at our neighbor’s facility, the Ooltewah United Methodist Church: 9-11 am (4 slots still available), 12-2 pm (10 slots still available), and 2:30-4:30 pm (15 slots still available). Email project organizer Lucas Patterson with your questions or to sign up. Sign up form is also available on the Community Services webpage here.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to the deaconesses of our church who provided a wonderful meal for Opal Vega’s memorial service last Sunday. Your hard work is a witness to what the Spirit of God is doing in this church.


OAKS Music & Marinara planning crew worked from early Sunday morning fully transforming our Fellowship Hall. They put so much effort and love into making this a very successful event. Here is what I read in the school newsletter:
“Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to raise
$3,039 from Music & Marinara and $65 from the bake
sale afterward. These donations will go toward the band
trip. We were also given a generous donation for the
band program. Thank you so much for your support!”

The Sabbath School Council met on Wednesday night to review the ministry joys and challenges. I’m extremely grateful to all SS leaders and teachers for their passionate ministry. It requires serious study and commitment to be ready to lead your class discussion every week. A few weeks ago Sarah Penagos stepped down from the SS Superintendent position. Her leadership was truly inspiring for us all. I hope after a much needed spiritual sabbatical Sarah will come back refreshed to continue in a leadership role.

The SS council voted to start a New Beginnings class for those who are new to the Adventist doctrine. The class will be meeting in the school building. Watch for the official announcement and the starting date.

Men’s Ministry update by Edymar Penagos:

“Happy Friday! Anyone else as glad as me that tomorrow is Sabbath?

If you were not able to attend the Haney Hungry Hombres (HHH) breakfast last Sunday, boy did you miss a powerful meeting. We had around 30 guys show up hungry and ready for fellowship. Even though we had planned for a short devotional and budget discussion, we had church that went for an hour and could have kept going.
What I mean by church is that we praised and celebrated God together by sharing all that He continuously does for us. Guys shared the promises He has faithfully kept and the tough situations He has delivered them from. There was real fellowship, a closeness to the spirit and each other that I and others felt in the room. Attached is a picture of the group and below are a few testimonials from the guys. Psalm 59:16 “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” 
“Hi Edy,  Words cannot come out of my mouth of how impressed with last Sunday’s meeting.  I was so emotionally moved by the wonderful testimonies the different fellow shared.  I appreciated the openness the fellows shared with us and how the entire group was so impressed and moved by those who shared.  I am so proud to be part of the best church I have ever attended.  I have been in the church 50 years and never had the opportunity to witness such a powerful experience among men in church.  Some shed tears and others were moved as well with their testimony.  I am so glad I made the decision to attend that meeting on Sunday.  What a grand experience.  Sincerely,” Fred Turner
“Loved the fellowship, men crying, and being emotional, and the food.” Micah Guster
“This week I enjoyed having a select few guys sharing their favorite or meaningful scripture and how it effected their life. On a regular basis, I enjoy the fellowship with the guys while we cook. Arron Brewer
Men, I shared a picture of the group because we are one body, and a body missing parts is incomplete. If you have never attended one of these breakfasts or the men’s sabbath school class, I hope you will consider joining us next time. Corinthians 12:26 “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
In addition:
David Denton has relaunched the “mountain bike small group” and we are trying to come up with a name, so far at the top of the list is the Holly Rollers or Bikecipes. We had our 2nd ride last Sunday, and had a blast. See attached picture. If you would like to learn more or join the group, please contact David Denton at 423-505-7878. THIS IS FOR EVERYONE not just guys.
Coming up soon on 4/3-5, Blue Print for men is having a recharge retreat, link with info is below. I will be there and if you would like to join, don’t forget to register ASAP. If you or know of someone you know could use a recharge but needs some final assistance, please get with me.



Betty Chastain had a heart procedure this morning. She is on her way home. Everything went well. Prayers of praise!

Pastor Matthew has been very sick for the last few days. Please pray for Matthew.

My dear wife Galina has been sick for over a week. We are trying to figure out what’s causing her condition. Your prayers are needed and appreciated.


Potter’s Workshop


MESSAGE. The Lord sent prophet Jeremiah to the potter’s workshop to teach him a valuable lesson of success. When your life is broken or looks like a pile of dirt do not try fixing it using your own tools or expertise. Our methods will fail us, our formulas of success will confuse us, our logic will fool us… (1 Cor. 3:19). The Master works in mysterious ways. We may not like it or understand it, but when we crush our pride and  surrender to His masterful craft, out of His hands comes a beautiful vessel “shaped it as seemed best to Him”. (Jer. 18:4). This is what I call success.


Last Sunday the Ooltewah Health Ministry team presented a five star Cooking Class. Every details was thought through. Christine Martins prepared a great plant-based meal for all 50 plus participants. There were many helpers and I will not be mentioning every name here as I am afraid I may miss one. A huge Thank You to the whole Health Ministry team.

Check out the Health Ministry updated page to learn more about upcoming events:

Here is a video report nicely produced by pastor Matthew and his wife Emmalee:

Prayer Ministry. Over thirty members of our church attended the GCC Prayer conference last week. They came back charged with the power of the Holy Spirit. Many of them passionately shared with me how this seminar helped them to see new opportunities for their spiritual growth.

This week I have been praying in a special way for those of our many church members who work behind the scenes. We may not see them on the platform, we do not hear them preach, but they are faithfully serving the Lord and His church. God has a big army of His warriors in this church. Often I feel compelled to cry to the Lord saying ““Open [our] eyes, Lord, so that [we] may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17).  God sees them, equips them for the ministry and blesses many others through them. I see them in church on weekdays, late nights, weekends. Their reward is in heaven. They are serving God, not seeking recognition. Thank you, God’s angels of the Ooltewah Adventist Church!

The Church Board invites you to be a part of the Day of Prayer and fasting this Sabbath, February 22. We all want to see what God’s plan is for the future of our church. Fasting is not necessarily about abstaining from food. Keep your heart humbled before God, keep your eyes open to see His path, keep your ears open to hear the gentle whisper of His voice.



Town hall (open board) meeting tomorrow, February 22, starting at 6:30. We’ll meet the architect and will discuss the draft of the building proposal. Ice cream social will follow the meeting.

Men’s Ministry. “The men’s breakfast is this Sunday, 2/24/2. Invite a friend, brother or neighbor and plan to join us for a stick to your ribs breakfast and devotion. In addition to the powerful testimonies, we are going to spend a little time discussing the ministries budget for 2020. God blessed us so much last year, I can wait to share all the HE did and is still doing.

If you like to cook, we meet at 7:30 a.m. in fellowship Hall (we always a good time). Otherwise breakfast is served at 8:30 a.m. sharp.” Edymar Penagos

Music & Marinara is this Sunday, February 23, from 5-7pm. Concert band will be performing as well as selections from individuals and ensembles. Donations will be accepted. Please pick up your complimentary tickets today!

Evangelism training event. On Sabbath, Feb. 29 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., there will be training for all who are interested in learning more tools that can be used to become more effective in giving Bible studies, and leading souls to Christ and our wonderful message of truth. Our presenter will be my daughter Michelle Doucoumes, who is a Business Professor at SAU, and who helped start the SALT program several years ago and was the program coordinator for the first three years of SALT’s existence. Michelle has always had a love for souIs, and she is passionate about outreach. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to grow in this vital area of outreach that can positively affect the people you work with for time and eternity.

Topics that will be covered are:
How to keep your Bible student interested
Personalizing the Bible studies to meet the needs of your student
Using studies to reach the heart
How to conduct the Bible study visit
What to look for and listen for during the Bible study
Dealing with issues and objections
Building transformative relationships
Q and A on common issues when giving Bible studies
A lunch will be provided for all who sign up on the sign up sheet that will go
around this Sabbath during the announcement period at both services. This will be a fast moving presentation that will keep your attention and you will find it time well-spent. Be sure to sign up this Sabbath, put it on your calendar and plan to be there. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Health Ministry. Healthy & Happy ~ one choice at a time!  You are invited to come to our next COOKING DEMO & TASTING on March 8 at 3:00 pm in our Fellowship Hall.  If you want to make a whole food, plant-based lifestyle doable and therefore sustainable, then you’ll love Chef Julie’s simple food prep ideas and delicious recipes!  You may be inspired to take a fresh look at the amazing foods God created for us… foods that bring healing and strength to our Body, Mind and Soul. Looking forward to seeing you there! Invite your friends and neighbors. Only $5 per person, PAYABLE AT THE EVENT, includes food samples and all recipes.

RSVP REQUESTED: Go to church website or use sign-up sheet in foyer.  For questions, or to help with the event, reach out to Diana at 423-605-2080 or Sylvia at 423-305-4373