Day 2 of the 2016 General Conference Annual Council Business Meetings as Reported by Kat Taylor
On a day that found most everyone having side conversations about what will come tomorrow, the big topic of discussion was money, or what could become the lack thereof.
Juan Prestol-Puesan, GC Treasurer, shared the stark news that in order to make budget for 2016, 9 million dollars must be moved from reserve funds. Additionally, the 2017 budget, will also need to draw another 9 million dollars from the reserves in order to balance. According to Prestol-Puesan if there are no changes (a decrease) in the strength of the US by 2020, there will have to be major budget cuts due to exchange rates for monies coming into the treasury from outside the United States.
The issue of devaluation has hit the church in a massive way. In 2015, after devaluation was figured into the equation, there was a shortfall of a staggering 19 million dollars.
“I was to assure you that we are not downcast…this is just a bump in the road, a big bump.” Prestol-Puesan said as he closed his meetings.
Mission Emphasis in the Middle East
As Missions to the Cities gave their report on the Middle East-North Africa Union (MENA), delegates got a glimpse into the struggles that the Mission has faced. In a region that currently has 50 cities that have over 1 million residence, there are still 13 cities that have no Adventist presence.
Even with the staggering number of people that need to be reached for the Lord, there was amazing news that in many cities, within a month of being entered by an Adventist, there are people gathering to praise God. What a powerful example in a region where sharing Jesus could be hazardous to your health (life).
The afternoon was filled by an amazing, and informative, session about reaching people groups that have been largely unreached. Leaders and attendees where directed not to audio record any portion of the presentation, nor take pictures or make social media posts.
For Seventh-day Adventist, being able to reach unreached groups is vital to finishing the work. As Elder Wilson stated at the beginning of the session, “This is one of the most serious sessions we will have at this Annual Council” and he was right.
God has a great plan for the Church, and if we want to see it come to fruition before the end of our lifetime, we must work together and put self aside.
Tomorrow brings the anticipation of arguing, bickering and maneuvering to get a word in. It is my prayer that as a church, we can unite in our focus on serving God and working together.